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Since 2012, property sales have been rising steadily in the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera. In 2012 annual sales were just under 8,000 and in 2017 they were just under 16,000. However, 2018 tells a very different story: the year-on-year figures in May were 45% down and another 18% in June. On the other hand, the other parts of Spain popular with overseas buyers have seen an increase in the number of sales, so what has happened in the popular islands?

According to real estate agents operating in this market who spoke with Spanish Property Insight’s Mark Stücklin, the Balearics, which have a particular appeal to upmarket buyers, have enjoyed the longest and strongest recovery in property sales since the Spanish market turned around. However, that couldn’t last forever and it was inevitable that there would be a slow down at some point. One of the causes of this downturn are the restrictions that create a shortage of land to build on, and as they are islands, there really is no place left to go for developers.

Spokespersons from the major real estate agencies, the building contractors and developers all have a view on what is happening in the region.

For example, Marc Pritchard, Sales & Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey said, “Much of the declining sales rate is actually attributable to a significant shortage of available properties at affordable prices on the islands,” but added, “demand is still strong and Taylor Wimpey has seen reservations go up by 25% in 2018.” His view is that the market is still strong, but looks weaker because of supply problems.”

Lone Schaefer of Kelosa Selected Properties in Ibiza said, “I think it’s probably a blend of factors including a shortage of homes that people want or can afford, the holiday-rental restrictions turning off some buyers, but some segments completely unaffected, such as the large villas and country estates.”

In Mallorca, Alastair Kinloch, RICS surveyor and head of Property Works remarked that “only premium properties are shifting easily and those seen as ‘development opportunities.” He also believes that prices may have risen too steeply in the last couple of years and more competitive pricing is needed.

It would therefore appear that the depressing sales figures for 2018 are not a reflection of demand for this successful Spanish market – supply simply can’t keep up with it in the sectors below the most expensive properties.

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For many people Salzburg is Austria’s most beautiful city and can even trump Vienna for charm and culture. Even Austrian’s think it is “more Austrian” than Vienna, so if the locals think that, who are we to argue. The city has so much to offer in the form of music, restaurants, sightseeing and shopping, plus it sits in the heart of Europe, making access easy by any form of transport, and is surrounded by some of the most stunning countryside.

  1. Salzburg’s Aldstadt
    Salzburg’s Old Town is famous for its Baroque architecture and it is one of the best-preserved examples north of the Alps and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The city has three universities, so as you can imagine it has all the buzz and culture that comes with a student population and the setting here makes it comparable to Oxford or Cambridge. It’s also a small city, so it is easy to get around and the Alpine scenery that is its backdrop is an added attraction.
  2. It’s the birthplace of Mozart
    As the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg has flourished as a European centre for music and music festivals. Naturally, there is a Mozart museum and if you’re a fan of “The Sound of Music”, this city played a role in the film and you’ll be able to do the tour of all the main places used in this eternally popular film.
  3. It’s close to the Eastern Alps

    Many expatriates who plan to live in Salzburg are no doubt further attracted to the city for its close proximity to the breathtaking Central Eastern Alps, and the potential for adrenalin-fuelled weekends on the slopes. There are numerous ski resorts in the area that can be reached in under an hour from the city centre, meaning that skiing and snowboarding can be your new sports of choice.

  4. It’s not far from Munich or Vienna
    With Germany just a short distance away from Salzburg you can easily visit Munich. Trains run from the city centre every hour and the journey only takes 90 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to experience the hustle and bustle of Austria’s capital, you can, for example, travel by rail to Vienna in under 3 hours.
  5. There’s plenty of work in Salzburg
    Anyone from EU, EEA and Switzerland can work in Austria without the need for a work permit. After Vienna, it has the biggest job market in Austria with many small and medium sized companies based there. Jobs in the tourism industry are plentiful, and because of its location near the German border, Salzburg is also a hub for automobile companies, many of which have their registered head offices in the city. Furthermore, the city’s location at the heart of Western Europe makes it a popular choice for the European headquarters of many international companies. The Salzburg W.A Mozart Airport is just a 15-minute drive from the city centre and offers flights to destinations throughout Europe, perfect for those who travel regularly for business.

At Umuzee.com we have properties for sale in the Salzburg area – live here and you’ll have all the benefits of living in an historic yet progressive city that is surrounded by Alpine scenery and great ski slopes.

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Portugal is one of Europe’s hottest spots at the moment, and we’re not just talking about the weather. More people than ever are flocking to the country for holidays and to buy property, among them some of the world’s richest and most famous people. And, whilst many are looking at the less known parts of this delightful country, its Algarve region still holds a strong attraction for a significant number and here are five reasons why.

  1. Property at great value prices
    Property prices here are at a great level and there are so many options. On top of the pricing, which is more advantageous than in similar areas of southern Europe, the rental potential is strong here, especially for investors who don’t plan to be here all year round.
  2. Fantastic tax breaks
    Portugal’s new tax legislation is paying huge dividends for the country. The tax breaks for foreign investors, especially pensioners, with non-habitual resident status, means they can receive their pension tax free for 10 years. And if you haven’t retired, there is also a cap on income tax for a range of professions for services billed from Portugal.
  3. High standard of health care
    Portugal has a national healthcare system called SNS – Serviço Nacional de Saúde and it offers residents access to low cost care. There are also excellent private hospitals and clinics available all across the Algarve, and general health insurance is always available to cover most costs.
  4. Developed expat communities and businesses

    One of the things that makes Portugal attractive to overseas buyers is the fact that there are well-developed expat communities and that they have a good relationship with local residents. Many expat communities are meshed into the local social life and a good number of newcomers have thriving business ventures within the Algarve. In the Algarve there is an exciting expat and local community spirit built around activities at pubs, sports centres, golf clubs and restaurants, which all embrace the multi-cultural scene. You’ll never feel out of place or completely away from home in the Algarve.

  5. Outstanding weather and leisure
    A fantastic year round climate, a rich cultural heritage, a celebrated cuisine and a diverse landscape that ranges from golden beaches to ripening vineyards, plus excellent golf courses and vibrant cities all combine to make Portugal and the Algarve one of the most outstanding places in Europe when you’re looking for a lifestyle that will add years of pleasure to your life.

Browse the properties for sale in Portugal at Umuzee.com

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Do you like beaches, or lying by a swimming pool? Do you enjoy being surrounded by stunning scenery and historic buildings? Or are you a lover of good wines and fresh food produce? These are all good reasons to consider retiring to Spain and here are eight of the reasons we’d give for choosing Spain as the place to buy a retirement or holiday home.

  1. A lower cost of living
  2. Your money really can go further here. Spain has the lowest cost of living in Western Europe.
  3. Great healthcare
  4. The World Health Organisation puts Spain’s healthcare system in the Top 10 worldwide, plus there are plenty of private clinics in addition to the public hospitals.
  5. It’s a diverse country
  6. Spain is one of the largest countries in Europe in terms of its land mass and that also means that it has a wildly diverse landscape. There is something for everyone here: from the seaside to the mountains to vibrant cities, you’re sure to find a place that strikes a chord with you.

  7. Great travel hub
  8. It’s pretty easy to get anywhere else in Europe, as well as other parts of the world, when you live in Spain, and travelling within the country is simple as well thanks to its great train service and its motorways.
  9. A choice of climates
  10. Like the scenery, Spain also offers a variety of climates. The sun seekers gravitate to the south and the eastern Costas, but if you prefer something a bit cooler, there’s always Spain’s beautiful north.
  11. It’s filled with culture
  12. Spain’s historical past has been well preserved in its architecture and cultural events. It is packed to the brim with places to explore from north to south, including the majestic Alhambra palace, the Camino de Santiago, Toledo and Segovia, just to mention a very small handful of what you will find here.
  13. Great wines
  14. Sadly, Spain has not marketed its wine to the same extent as the French and Italians, therefore many expats have only heard of ‘rioja’. Spain produces an enormous number of wines that can easily compete with those of its nearest neighbours and spending time here will give you an opportunity to discover them.

  15. Great food and friendly people
  16. Spain’s cuisine is not limited to paella; there are many more dishes to try that all use local ingredients. And on top of that, the Spanish people are known for their generous hospitality, friendliness and respect for people from other countries. Which Spanish region would you choose to live in? At Umuzee we cover most Spanish regions and have some spectacular properties for you to look at. Just do a few searches in the various Spanish regions on our site and you’ll see what we mean!

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Florida is the ideal state for Europeans looking for winter sun. It’s a shorter journey than to California and it has well-established expat communities, which will make you fell right at home straightaway. However, it is the USA and you might find that there are tax and compliance issues that are ‘foreign’ to you, but with plenty of advance planning and expert help it will all be fine – otherwise fewer expats would buy property in Florida.

Here are a few of the issues you should plan for before buying in Florida.

How will you pay for the property in Florida?

If you’re paying cash, no need to concern yourself with sorting out a mortgage. If you do need a mortgage for a U.S. property, it is best to go to a licensed mortgage expert. Not only do they undergo continuous training, they also keep up-to-date with all the current special offers and can often offer you lower rates and better set-up costs. Banks on the other hand are limited to what they have to offer in-house, and their deal may not be the best for you.

What are the Florida tax requirements for property owners?

There are several of these and you should consult a tax expert to minimise your payments within the legal requirements.

You will need to pay income tax to the IRS if you rent out your property, even if you mostly live overseas, unless IRS withholding tax has been applied, and then you don’t.

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Moving overseas?

There is a tangible personal property tax on furniture and fixtures in rental and business properties. Tax returns reporting the value of these assets must be filed to the Property Appraisers’ office by April 1st.

Property tax must be paid annually. The Property Appraiser’s Office establishes the assessed value of a property and prepares the tax roll. You’ll usually receive the tax statement around the beginning of November each year.

If you’re renting out your property and it is for less than six months of the year, there is a tourist development tax and a sales & use tax. A management company can handle this for you, even if you collect the income in your home country.

There is also a local business tax that rental owners have to pay annually. And then there is the capital gains tax, which applies to a sale once you’ve owned the property for more than one year. And, U.S. tax law also demands that any non-resident alien who sells an interest in a U.S. property is subject to a withholding tax of 15 percent of the gross sales price.

It probably sounds more complex than it is, but it is still better to get expert advice and ensure you know exactly when to pay and what you are liable for.

Take a look at the properties for sale in Florida on Umuzee.com – bring some sunshine into your life!

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There will always be someone who has to be different, and we’ve discovered that when it comes to choosing a place to live, as well as the kind of accommodation they prefer to live in, there really are some weird and wonderful places to live.

A Fairy House in Turkey

These don’t look anything like a Wendy house that you might put in a garden for a child to play in. You will find the Fairy houses in Turkey’s ancient Cappadocia, which sat on the Silk Road trading route. Some also call them Fairy Chimneys and they are a natural phenomenon that has been inhabited by humans.

The chimneys are a result of a geologic process that began millions of years ago, when volcanic eruptions rained ash across what would eventually become Turkey. That ash hardened into tuff, a porous rock, which was covered by a layer of basalt. Finally, the long work of erosion began. As millennia passed, the softer tuff wore down, giving way to pillars that stand as tall as 130 feet. The harder basalt erodes more slowly, forming a protective, mushroom-shaped cap over each one.

During the Roman period, persecuted Christians fled in droves to Göreme, a town in Cappadocia. There, they learned that the forms could easily be excavated and built homes and churches in the chimneys. Today tourists can stay in some of these spectacular ‘chimneys’ that have been transformed into hotels.

Slab City USA

Residents of Slab City, who are a transient community of artists, retirees and an assortment of colourful characters have been squatting amongst the abandoned concrete slabs in California’s Sonora desert since the 1950s.

It was created from the remains of Camp Dunlap, a WWII military barracks and might just be one of the strangest places you’ll ever find on Airbnb, although if you plan to visit it, the temperatures in summer are pretty unbearable. It certainly attracts tourists who also want to visit a massive art installation near Salvation Mountain consisting of adobe, straw, mud and lead-free paint, which has drawn movie crews, photographers and bands to it for many years.

The Floating Villages of Tonle Sap Cambodia

Although they are more of a tourist attraction now, some Cambodians still live in these floating homes on a lake near Siem Reap. This is perhaps the least weird of weird places to live, as there are many other places where floating homes are popular worldwide.

Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and it is also an important commercial resource, as it provides more than half of the fish consumed in Cambodia.

Chong Khneas is the name of famous floating village at the edge of the lake. You reach it by boat and the trip through the floating village takes approximately two hours. Here you can see the different types of Khmer, Muslim and Vietnamese floating households as well as the floating markets, fisheries, clinics, schools, basketball pitch and the village pig sty.

Read more…
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