Dubai price news prompts a rash of comment

The news from global investment bank Morgan Stanley that property prices in Dubai are predicted to fall by 10% by 2010 is met with a degree of scepticism in the property forums this week.

Responses vary from those who agree with the report to those who dismiss it as mere speculation. But investing in property is sheer speculation, as others point out.

But you do wonder if people are actually paying attention to this kind of information. The report clearly predicts that prices will start falling in 2009 and go down by 10% the following year. So one response on the forum that 'its just summer when the market is always slow', doesn't really have much relevance.

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What the thread does indicate, however, is that there is much discussion throughout the whole property industry and among investors in particular about what is going to happen in Dubai in coming years.

The analysis from several different sources indicates a downturn coming in a few years time due to factors like oversupply and booming prices. It would appear that it is those who want to make quick profits that are dismissive of the analysis.

As one poster Stephendxb, says; 'A "correction" will come and those who have speculated without due diligence will be the first to suffer.'

Spain is another country much in the news at the moment and a subject where there is a wide variety of opinions, both good and bad.

Despite the headlines Spain is still a good place to invest, especially for lifestyle buyers, according to the forums. But some investors are turning their attention to next door Portugal.

Opinion is divided however over whether Portugal is more expensive or not. One thread on the site indicates that in terms of property prices Spain is cheaper. But Portugal is better regulated.

As the thread points out there are always cheaper and more expensive areas where ever you decide to invest. It all comes down to what you want. Buildings within one kilometre of the beach are limited to three stories in Portugal and there is no building within 800 metres of the beach.

'The Portuguese governing body has always looked at Spain and learns by their mistakes and how to build on this. No land grabs, no illegal buildings to be knocked down. Quality of build is to a higher standard, no extras for a garage or pool,
infrastructure is in place before any building permits are allocated and all insurances in case the developer goes bust,' claims one poster David-S.

Other remarks include Portugal being less touristy than Spain, although the Algarve is very popular, and inland there are hundreds of small rural villages were prices are very low.

And it would seem that Spanish developers think Portugal has lots of potential as they are moving across the border with their projects. And there is money being poured into Portugal. The area around Silvas has undergone a major transformation with the help of a €100 million grant from the European Union.

In the US all the property forum news seems to revolve around foreclosures. Undoubtedly there are bargains to be had and in many areas they are snapped up pretty quickly. The scenario has led to a rash of new property investors, many of whom need advice.

One key area for these new investors is where to find out about foreclosed properties before anyone else – that is at the pre-foreclosure stage. There is a wealth of discussion on the forum from investors actually on the ground in the US.

One thread tells you where to find pre-foreclosure lists. It also reveals the extent to which some investors will go to get a good deal including getting in touch directly with those who are under threat of foreclosure and making them an offer before a forced sale goes through.

According to the thread, the law in the US states that notice of defaults must be advertised to the public for some period of time prior to the sheriff's sale. They are usually published in the financial sections of local newspapers.

One investor reveals that he looks at these ads, extracts the addresses in zip codes and sends the owners a letter or even telephones direct. 'If the deal looks especially good, I will try to hunt down their phone number and call them directly,' says Mike S.

You can apparently find out owners who are behind with their payments – these are called 30-60-90 day lists. It all smacks of hounding people but where there is money to be made it is perhaps not surprising that in the current climate some people will go to any length.

On the other hand those who are behind with payments are advertising their homes for sale on a special website with the aim of selling before the foreclosure procedure begins.

Once you have found the foreclosure properties the next issue is whether or not they are worth pursuing. It is suggested you speak to owners direct but as one poster comments; 'these owners are often in a heightened state of mind and could be hostile'.