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Analysis: Up periscope
Jul 25, 2012
Holding court in the local beverage house a few days ago, bar talk turned to the subject of free-falling European economies. Submerging Spain, grinding down Greece and the frantic French all took on their own cultural backlashes. It’s amazing how clear things become, or how smart you become, after going full bore straight through happy hour. Never mind the demon in the bottle, I’ll have a double!
But back to our key topic of discussion. What did Pink Floyd say about another brick in the wall? Though these days that’s business school chatter for emerging economies. Seems that now even the BRICS are hitting the proverbial money train marathon wall. Of course, we have the mini-BRICS too, but those are like the vertically challenged assistant to Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers Movie and look more like a garden gnome than one of those superhero, democratically driven (or so they’d like to think) superpowers.
The property trade has rapidly dialled into the latest disaster in the making in Europe. London brokerage houses are hiring French speaking staff, hoping to cash in on an exodus of tax-burdened High Net Worth individuals from across the channel, while adventuresome capitalists are looking into century old Greek estates and beach front villas, on the cheap. As for Spain, well, the land that brought us the bumbling Manual from Fawlty Towers can’t even muster a “Que?” when it comes to its massively overbuilt and leveraged to the hilt coastal resort grade residential market.
Perhaps they need to think out of the box? What with global warming and all, setting up a series of independent city states along the coast may be the answer. Forget the family moving van, move the entire country. According to widespread reports there are currently close to a million vacant units in the country.
Now let’s check out a few places which will be joining Atlantis shortly. Maldives – 316,000, Fiji – 816,000. Wait, this is going too fast, we might be needed duplexes, or lofts, failing that at least a bunk bed to accommodate the overflow? Then there is Tahiti, 178,000 and counting, but they do have that French association, so off they go, back into the life raft. Cook Islands 10,000 plus. Nauru, another 9,000, and Palau over 20,000. We’ve got a sellout already and I haven’t even gone halfway around the globe.
Note to Al Gore, I just solved what you couldn’t in all those boring hours of that cinematic coma-inducing snooze fest of a movie. But this is where the real inspiration kicks in. We are going to need more condos, apartments and even for those upper echelon islands – luxury homes. Yes, let’s start building again. We have to compete with the other property markets, so let’s wrap up some bank financing as well. Hell, why just work this angle? Let’s look for more niches. There is a growing market for disgraced international athletes who failed drug tests, or former and about to be former dictators gone wild. We can get Syria’s Bashar al-Assad on some billboards and TV spots. If he can sell his own version of democracy, he’s a clear shoe-in to promote property.
So, up periscope, the submarine is headed back the surface. Dry land ahead. Catching a glimpse of the shoreline my mind sparks up an idea. What a great location for a beachfront condo tower or two. Here we go again…
About the Author:
Bill Barnett is the founder and managing director of hospitality and property consulting firm C9 Hotelworks, a leading analyst in the region, he also writes for various publications including his own news site www.thephuketinsider.com