Low cost properties are not necessarily bargains – experts warn

Property investors looking to snap up a property bargain should not get carried away when it comes to low-cost developments in emerging markets, one expert has warned.

Emma Holifield of Property Frontiers explained that while people might get excited about remote ramshackle farmhouses which sell for less than £4,000 in some countries, they do not always represent a good buy.

'Research suggests that the properties which do best in investment terms are attractive developments in areas with strong fundamentals of demand, such as city centres or emerging tourist resorts where people are likely to travel,' she said.

By seeking advice and taking the time to examine all the options it is more than possible to find a property that will offer a good rental return at the same time as increasing in value by around 20 per cent a year, Ms Holifield added.

There is also concern that emerging markets have hidden red tape that can make buying tricky for overseas investors. While it might be straightforward buying new and off-plan properties, buying old run-down property or land can be fraught with difficulties.

In some emerging markets such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Turkey and Albania, there is concern about the number of foreigners buying land in particular.

'I would advise anyone buying an older property or land in Eastern Europe in particular to seek independent legal advice. Real estate agents often offer to act as a go between and arrange title deeds but then years later these bits of paper could be worthless. Also governments in emerging markets are changing the rules and you need to be fully aware of any changes that affect foreign buyers,' said Sam Juvenal, a legal consultant based in Sofia, Bulgaria.