Expat property investment hubs under the microscope

Published:  19 Apr at 6 PM
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Expat property investment is seen as an option by many retirees living overseas, but needs to be carefully considered.

Buying a second home or investment property outside the home country is a popular option for many expat retirees, but making an informed decision takes a good deal of research as regards location, tax liabilities, renting out and leasing legalities and the chance of capital appreciation. In short, making the right decision should be based on personal priorities, the purpose of the purchase, any risk exposure and financial vulnerabilities. Other issues, including the ease of getting a long-term visa and/or work permit and the cost of living in your chosen expat haven, should also be taken into consideration.

The UAE is the destination of choice for expats seeking to make a good living and advance their careers, although language and cultural barriers are set high and can trap the less than confident expat. A renewable three year residency permit can easily be had if the property purchased cost more than US$500,000.

The Bahamas are favourites with wealthy US citizens for the favourable tax regime as well as glorious weather and a laid-back lifestyle. It’s the perfect place for retirees with another US$500,000 to spend, but is a tricky prospect for those wanting to start a business or looking for a lower than average cost of living.

Another tropical option for those with US$500,000 is the island of Mauritus, nestling in the ocean off the coast of Africa. Property purchasers spending $500,000 or more can get permanent residency, and buyers of luxury villas can bring their families with them under the Integrated Resorts Scheme. If you’re successful in finding professional work, the three-year permit can include your husband or wife. Taxes are low, and the cost of living is favourable.

For good yields on property investment, the Bahamas are again a good bet, especially for the user-friendly tax regime. Other tax-friendly hotspots include Croatia, Malta, Italy, Dubai, Fiji and Bahrain. As a general rule, and especially nowadays, it’s best to avoid areas of possible political unrest or terrorist attacks as well as regions prone to natural disasters.
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