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Investment Tide Flows Both Ways in Property

Category: , Posted:02 Apr 2011 | 06:00 am

What do they say about the familiar tongue twister… picking seashells from the seashore? It's all about selling those little shiny creatures from the deep blue sea.
My palms suddenly break out in a sweat as I type this, realizing that I may have erred into the environmental and ethical no-go zone.
"Leave those shells where they are! I hear. My mind skips to that ubiquitous tourism infomercial, "Don't buy them. And take home only memories" uttered by a smiling, bland tour guide.
Thoughts of pearls being plucked from the luxury-view seaside lead my mind to wander. I wake awash in the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore. Ahh yes, our wandering Prince of Tides indeed has reawakened.
But this time a brochure in front of me fizzles the fantasy in thin an. The images are not of tropical beaches or seashells, but illustrations of CBD real estate in London.
Lots of "esses" are scattered throughout the text: safe haven, security, serene and, yes, even satisfactory are all lumped in with the salt and pepper.
Over the past 24 months when the appetite of foreign property buyers in Thailand came to resemble a case of bulimia, several internationally affiliated property agents looked at business models that could sustain the lean times or downturn.
As we all know, the great t-shirt event of last year certainly caused not only foreigners to view Thailand's business climate as if it were a bongo band gone awry, but also well-heeled Thais started looking at investing in other parts of the world to mitigate property risks.
Asia certainly led the recovery after the economic crises, and many Thais took to the skies instead of their cars to look for the perceived safety of real estate elsewhere in the world.
One keen agency in Bangkok, Savills, has been marketing London and UK property extremely successfully, as they realized that the tide of investment buyers not only comes in. and but goes out beyond the distant horizon as well.
Another key player, CB Richard Ellis, recently made headlines as they hooked up with Europe-based Horizon Investment Management to lure high net worth domestic investors and institutions to the continent.
Let's face it, given the choice of either waiting for the missing in action foreign buyers or creating new opportunities – the latter makes a lot of sense. It's like that kitchen door: not only does it swing in, it swings out as well.
Our global village and the changing fortunes between East, West and in between, change so quickly that perhaps instead of relying on exporting value-based goods from Thailand and switching over to making boatloads of baht by buying into foreign property markets makes sense.
Thailand's taste for all things English need only be demonstrated on any late weekend night with the masses huddled around television sets cheering to the Premier League.
Thailand has exported its unique food around the world, but what goes around comes around and London casts an alluring eye to increasingly cosmopolitan Thais.
Whether that extends to Ireland remains to be seen. Irish pubs continue to flourish the world round, but the great Dublin property crash has yet to come.

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