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Property investors urged to look beyond the glamour and glitz of a well known brand

This is certainly the situation in Panama where a number of over hyped projects have been cancelled or delayed. It is even reported that the Trump project is facing delays although Ivanka Trump was recently enthusiastically praising the real estate boom in Panama and the official marketing blurb talks of unprecedented demand.

Reading through the posts indicates that those who have invested in projects where the apartments are complete are not having difficulty renting but those who are still in an off plan situation are more worried.

There are concerns about apartments being completed on time and if they are there could be a glut and owners might have difficulty renting, according to posters on the forum.

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'Always it's buyer beware but Panama, although a wonderful place to visit, it seems to me, has more hazards for an investor than a lot of other places,' comments one poster, Diligent.

The problem with the high profile projects that are delayed or cancelled is that investors can be taken in by the glamour and the glitz, but a well known brand or name does not guarantee success in the current global economic climate.

As another poster comments; 'Just having a nice office in Panama doesn't mean that you understand real estate it just means you know how to decorate and office.'

But there are undoubtedly rewards for those who do want to invest in an emerging market like Panama. According to the forums these include many people speaking English because of the country's proximity to the US.

But the downside includes virtually no legal recourse if things do go badly wrong as the Panamanian legal system can be lengthy and expensive. There is also mention of rising crime rates.

Bulgaria is another emerging market that is creating a lot of comment at present. The demise of Bulgarian Real Estate Limited has left a lot of property investors out of pocket and the chances of recovering their deposits look slim.

However information posted on the same website give details of various options including the European Consumer Centre which may be able to give help and advice.

While low interest rates are regarded as some as a positive for property investors the question of when they might start rising again is already being posed on the property forums. Opinions on the forum varies from 12 months to 10 years.

The main reason for interest rates having to rise again is inflation. But it is one of these questions that constantly comes up in property investment circles and perhaps the simple answer is that nobody really knows.

Certainly the balance of opinion seems to be that they won't rise to five or six per cent for many years. But this question raises another of equal concern – what will be the effect of quantitive easing on interest rates?

To get back to the concept of buyer beware, it is clear that this affects all markets and is not isolated to particular countries. Many British investors buy in France, for example, with rose tinted spectacles.

But it is in emerging markets that lack of regulation can lead to more traps. India is an example of this. In India, but also European countries like Cyprus and Turkey, a major issue is title deeds. Mortgage fraud is another which is highlighted on the indianrealestateforum.

As India does not have a real estate regulatory body a lack of clear documentation is a hazard for property investors, as is trying to seek recourse when things go wrong. As one poster, panther, points out India has 'a murky landscape' when it comes to real estate and there is a good deal of 'black' money in the economy.

The picture painted is a cloudy one with talk of developers and real estate agents going bust, investors losing their deposits, unscrupulous companies 'running away' with investors money and the prospect of bail outs for Indian banks.

Suddenly Panama doesn't seem that bad a place after all.