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2017 Update

I have to apologise for not writing much recently about real estate. The truth is I have found the markets rather boring of late. There has been a dearth of really unusual property coming to market, and the housing markets have not really moved much.

Across Europe there has been a sporadic resurgence of interest, and a scattering of price rises, none of which fill me with interest. I regard the European markets as being subject to very high risk factors.

Those of you who have followed my views over the years will know that I have espoused a rather wary view of properties for sale in Southern Europe. That has not changed. In fact, my views are even stronger on this point at the moment.

My own view on Brexit is irrelevant. My views on real estate relate to what is happening on the mainland, and however you choose to see things there is no doubt that the EU is in crisis.

Catalonia is seeking to break away from Spain. Thatís nothing new. Catalonia existed centuries before Spain, and whether you or I think their succession ideas are sensible or not, they are real. And didnít we have a similar problem a little while ago with Scotland voting on whether they should break away from the UK?

These events are not unique. After all, how old are those big countries like Italy and Germany? A hundred and fifty years of integration? Thatís not much in the scheme of things, so there is no wonder that there are cracks in the edifice. We have recently seen the Northern League seeking more independence from Rome. Lombardy voted by something like 93% for more independence, while Venetoís vote was in the region of 97%. (Yes, I know, Iím too lazy to check the exact figures, but when the results are in the nineties the precise figure becomes somewhat irrelevant.)

We also have The Czech Republic voting against the euro, and serious opposition in Austria to the EU. And I havenít mentioned a couple of other countries where the undercurrent against the increasingly fascist stance of Brussels is rising. The EU as it stands is very much at risk. People who are rushing to leave the UK to settle in the EU may be making a huge mistake. Now is not the time to buy in Europe. Such a move may well be stepping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I do not regret selling my European property several years ago. My rent in a gorgeous area is minuscule and I have no upkeep costs or taxes, and I have no plans to buy anywhere in Europe in the near term.

One of the reasons for ignoring property for the moment is the fact that I donít need any more real estate, and I am getting a great return from my bitcoin. Those of you who subscribed to my magazine, The Big Pension will know that I flagged bitcoin as a great punt four years ago when it was $282 a coin. I repeated my plea to my readers to load up yet again about fifteen months ago when the price was around $750. It is, of course, now ten times that price.

That doesnít mean I shall not be doing my usual end of year round up, but it might be a bit thin this year.

There is one other point that I will mention. There has been some idiotic suggestions going the rounds that properties along the route of the high speed train in the UK are likely to escalate five-fold. Such a suggestion is ludicrous. There are two very obvious reasons why.

First, where is the money to come from to service such price rises? It isnít going to happen. Secondly, why should prices rise? Itís not because people can easily get on the train as it hurtles past at 150 mph. So what other reason is there to suggest any price rise at all? This is just some twit trying to make some money by promulgating a particularly stupid idea. I hope you will ignore this rubbish.


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