Fear, Loathing and Real Estate in Fourteen Easy Steps
In Psalm 23:4 the Good Shepherd keeps an eye over wayward travellers in the Valley of Death with only a rod, a staff, and little regard for any type of earthly fear. Going post-biblical, these days we'd more likely be armed with an iPhone and Wi-Fi on a staycation down in that deep dark valley, but at least we could convene with the spectre of Steve Jobs.
Sadly, as we look up over the cusp of twenty fourteen Steve Jobs is still deceased, Manchester United have fallen apart like a crash test dummy strewn from end to end at the site of some horrific road wreck, and, yes, Putin has freed Pussy Riot. It's all is starting to make sense. Not.
All too often these day's strangers come up to me – readers who perhaps have too much time on their hands or a deluded few true believers who ask: "Bill, what's the next big thing?" There's a gleam in their eyes that keeps me awake at night, and visions of orange jump suits, Nikes, and Kool-Aid blast through my tortured dreams.
Getting up to speed and onto the ramp of fourteen, rolling up the windows, setting the air con way down low and hitting the accelerator, I start to get some sense of what things to look for during the next #threesixtyfive.
My Fourteen Insomniac Property Fearless Forecasts are as follows:
SINGAPORE – love it, hate it, everyone wants it, but it's not going to get much cheaper anytime soon so queue up and bring a stack of cash.
CURRENCY – the Fed could be Asia's party buster; not bringing down the house, but pushing many of the region's currencies into the red.
HOTEL BRANDED RESIDENCES – shift into the top of the cycle, beware once the guaranteed returns roll off, the air is getting mighty thin up there.
CHINESE PROPERTY BUYERS – while the tourism numbers mount, unlocking the giant upside in many of Asia's emerging economies remains an arcane science.
VIETNAM – has the bottom been hit? Until the state-owned enterprises are cleaned up and market forces emerge, the bottom remains cloudy.
THE BUBBLE – where ever I go people ask about the god-damned bubble. The answer, of course, remains yes, no and maybe.
EMERGING RESORT PROPERTY MARKETS – the outer islands of Bali, Cambodia, Phang Nga (as development regulations remain poised to reform the market) and Langkawi.
CELEBRITY DESIGNERS – we've had hotel brands, designers, Trump and even Paris Hilton. More big names will be headed east as frankly, there is nowhere else in the world to go for big brand real estate like Southeast Asia.
GREAT ASIAN CAPITAL ESCAPE – Europe, the US, and other markets remain affordable and with cheap debt and perceived stability so more of Asia's capital for property will continue to fly long haul.
MIDDLE CLASS – cheap shoebox flats remain an urban pest and yet continue to sell. Cheap and small as Asia's middle class grows. There is safety in numbers
ASIA'S RISING STAR – the Philippines is coming of age and is expected to retain momentum on strong market fundamentals
WORST PROPERTY IDEA EVER – a parking slot in your own condo, that why God invented car parks, the coming year will be hard pressed to top this one
BINTAN AND DESARU – is just being close to Singapore enough? Let's see.
THAILAND – despite the ongoing political crisis, people continue to love the brand and it remains an object of property desire.
That's it. With the New Year hot on my heels, I'm off to the car – now if only I could fit my rod and staff.