James' Blog about Property

Discussion, advice and philosophical points about all things property whether UK or International markets

Is there a market in the Middle and Far East?

Posted by jamesdearsley on March 27, 2009

I have been thinking for sometime about the market in the Middle and Far East in terms of offering properties in the US and Europe……..I truly believe there could be a market out there and not just based on the fact that their economies are not as bad as some but also based on the “Numbers Game”.

As far back as two and a half years ago I had a feeling there would be a problem in the UK domesitc property market despite the fact that we were still selling well. This was when we made a real push into the European market and started a rapid expansion there. This has really had a big impact on our company and the way that we have had to do business – as you may have read in my earlier posts.

Six months ago, before the market really started to just show signs of weakening  in Europe, I knew that we needed to start moving things out to the East. We could really see the market out there taking shape and they, at the time, weren’t having the massive problems that Europe was having with credit.

This isn’t, for any moment, me stating that they are not having their own problems with credit now. We all know that this is a global economy, despite at the start of all the issues, people stating to the contary. I don’t really know how people and politicians couldn’t realise that if the West was suffering then it was bound to cause a problem with manuafacturing out in China and India for example.

With regard to the property industry however, my philosophy was built on two areas:

  1. We knew there was a demand from the East having sold there in the past. However, we started to really see a pick up from the Eastern market wanting to buy product near American Universities so, needless to say, we have started to facilitate this. Also we were seeing clients wanting property in Europe as almost a status symbol
  2. I also know that it was simply the horrible saying of “its a numbers game”!!.

When you consider that the population numbers below it starts to make sense from a sales perspective:

  • UK population           61 Million (0.92% of the worlds population)
  • US population            303 Million (4.52%)
  • India                              1.1 Billion! (17.15%)
  • China                              1.3 Billion! (19.84%)        

 * Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population

These numbers just speak volumes – Nearly 20% of the whole worlds population is based in China!! Over 17% of the population of the world are based in India of which most use English over and above the 11 or so other dialects of the country – this would be a great market to work with.

Yes, okay, you could argue that the average wealth is not comparable and so how would you sell a product to the East. My argument is that still, there are over 200 million middle class people in India and hence it is always a numbers game. The more people you have the more likely you are to sell.

As you know from my other post earlier today, I believe that technology is key to all of this. Fortunately we have been working hard on developing our systems to be able to cope with new languages – something you may not have thought of but you need to consider is whether you systems are set up to take on different alphabets – this is something we took very seriously so we now know that we can support languages like Hindi and even more obscure languages like Farsi (Iranian) so we are in the driving seat.

In terms of sales, I believe the key to success in the global area of Real Estate, whether European or US orientated lies in the East. I also truly believe that these markets are not yet particularly globally aware, especially in terms of European property, and so there is a market waiting to be taken here – particularly India.

There was a law passed in India recently, for example, that allowes each Indian citizen to take out $200,000 and invest it outside of India – even the govnernment is keen to help people invest. Now i can’t quite see the UK government wanting people to do this at the moment!  

I truly believe that the first companies in India, because of this recent law change, who start selling real estate in the US and Europe could make a killing…..

This is a fantastic time for Real Estate investment outside of your own country whereever you are and I really hope that people can capitalise on it.

Best wishes to all.

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