If you own real estate or are thinking of buying real estate then you better pay attention, because this could be the most important message you receive this year regarding real estate and your financial future.The last five years have seen explosive growth in the real estate market and as a result many people believe that real estate is the safest investment you can make. Well, that is no longer true. Rapidly increasing real estate prices have caused the real estate market to be at price levels never before seen in history when adjusted for inflation! The growing number of people concerned about the real estate bubble means there are less available real estate buyers. Fewer buyers mean that prices are coming down.On May 4, 2006, Federal Reserve Board Governor Susan Blies stated that “Housing has really sort of peaked”. This follows on the heels of the new Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke saying that he was concerned that the “softening” of the real estate market would hurt the economy. And former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan previously described the real estate market as frothy. All of these top financial experts agree that there is already a viable downturn in the market, so clearly there is a need to know the reasons behind this change.3 of the top 9 reasons that the real estate bubble will burst include:1. Interest rates are rising – foreclosures are up 72%!2. First time homebuyers are priced out of the market – the real estate market is a pyramid and the base is crumbling3. The psychology of the market has changed so that now people are afraid of the bubble bursting – the mania over real estate is over!The first reason that the real estate bubble is bursting is rising interest rates. Under Alan Greenspan, interest rates were at historic lows from June 2003 to June 2004. These low interest rates allowed people to buy homes that were more expensive then what they could normally afford but at the same monthly cost, essentially creating “free money”. However, the time of low interest rates has ended as interest rates have been rising and will continue to rise further. Interest rates must rise to combat inflation, partly due to high gasoline and food costs. Higher interest rates make owning a home more expensive, thus driving existing home values down.Higher interest rates are also affecting people who bought adjustable mortgages (ARMs). Adjustable mortgages have very low interest rates and low monthly payments for the first two to three years but afterwards the low interest rate disappears and the monthly mortgage payment jumps dramatically. As a result of adjustable mortgage rate resets, home foreclosures for the 1st quarter of 2006 are up 72% over the 1st quarter of 2005.The foreclosure situation will only worsen as interest rates continue to rise and more adjustable mortgage payments are adjusted to a higher interest rate and higher mortgage payment. Moody’s stated that 25% of all outstanding mortgages are coming up for interest rate resets during 2006 and 2007. That is $2 trillion of U.S. mortgage debt! When the payments increase, it will be quite a hit to the pocketbook. A study done by one of the country’s largest title insurers concluded that 1.4 million households will face a payment jump of 50% or more once the introductory payment period is over.The second reason that the real estate bubble is bursting is that new homebuyers are no longer able to buy homes due to high prices and higher interest rates. The real estate market is basically a pyramid scheme and as long as the number of buyers is growing everything is fine. As homes are bought by first time home buyers at the bottom of the pyramid, the new money for that $100,000.00 home goes all the way up the pyramid to the seller and buyer of a $1,000,000.00 home as people sell one home and buy a more expensive home. This double-edged sword of high real estate prices and higher interest rates has priced many new buyers out of the market, and now we are starting to feel the effects on the overall real estate market. Sales are slowing and inventories of homes available for sale are rising quickly. The latest report on the housing market showed new home sales fell 10.5% for February 2006. This is the largest one-month drop in nine years.The third reason that the real estate bubble is bursting is that the psychology of the real estate market has changed. For the last five years the real estate market has risen dramatically and if you bought real estate you more than likely made money. This positive return for so many investors fueled the market higher as more people saw this and decided to also invest in real estate before they ‘missed out’.The psychology of any bubble market, whether we are talking about the stock market or the real estate market is known as ‘herd mentality’, where everyone follows the herd. This herd mentality is at the heart of any bubble and it has happened numerous times in the past including during the US stock market bubble of the late 1990′s, the Japanese real estate bubble of the 1980′s, and even as far back as the US railroad bubble of the 1870′s. The herd mentality had completely taken over the real estate market until recently.The bubble continues to rise as long as there is a “greater fool” to buy at a higher price. As there are less and less “greater fools” available or willing to buy homes, the mania disappears. When the hysteria passes, the excessive inventory that was built during the boom time causes prices to plummet. This is true for all three of the historical bubbles mentioned above and many other historical examples. Also of importance to note is that when all three of these historical bubbles burst the US was thrown into recession.With the changing in mindset related to the real estate market, investors and speculators are getting scared that they will be left holding real estate that will lose money. As a result, not only are they buying less real estate, but they are simultaneously selling their investment properties as well. This is producing huge numbers of homes available for sale on the market at the same time that record new home construction floods the market. These two increasing supply forces, the increasing supply of existing homes for sale coupled with the increasing supply of new homes for sale will further exacerbate the problem and drive all real estate values down.A recent survey showed that 7 out of 10 people think the real estate bubble will burst before April 2007. This change in the market psychology from ‘must own real estate at any cost’ to a healthy concern that real estate is overpriced is causing the end of the real estate market boom.The aftershock of the bubble bursting will be enormous and it will affect the global economy tremendously. Billionaire investor George Soros has said that in 2007 the US will be in recession and I agree with him. I think we will be in a recession because as the real estate bubble bursts, jobs will be lost, Americans will no longer be able to cash out money from their homes, and the entire economy will slow down dramatically thus leading to recession.In conclusion, the three reasons the real estate bubble is bursting are higher interest rates; first-time buyers being priced out of the market; and the psychology about the real estate market is changing. The recently published eBook “How To Prosper In The Changing Real Estate Market. Protect Yourself From The Bubble Now!” discusses these items in more detail.
Very few people are aware that investments in Slovenia are much more profitable, compared to investing the same amount in the United States or the United Kingdom. Slovenia property investments have potential for higher returns on your hard-earned lifetime savings than other markets. With the guidance of a professional experienced in Slovenian markets, you would be able to benefit from the opportunities existing in Slovenia for maximizing your returns. When you mention property investment in overseas markets, the initial reception is usually skeptical. When you take this topic further by saying that investments in Slovenia are more profitable compared to the property market in California, you are most likely to shock most of the people.For example, if you say that you had bought a housing property in Slovenia for $500,000, the initial comments would most probably be, “Slovenia? Is it a town or a country? I have never heard of it”, “Don’t you think buying a house in Slovenia is a risky affair?”, and “I am convinced that you are not acting in an intelligent manner.” Some of the comments could be even harsher. On the other hand, if you state that you have invested $1,000,000 in a waterfront property in a remote area in California, people would unanimously agree that you had made a wise decision. In reality, which of the above two investments is riskier? How to decide whether property investment in new overseas markets like Slovenia is riskier or safer than an investment in native California?Slovenia EconomyIt is true that many real estate investors in various countries had neither heard of Slovenia or the opportunities that this little known neighbor of Italy offers in the property field. Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004 and recently adopted euro as its currency. It would be interesting to know that Slovenia possesses the highest per capita GDP in the Central Europe region, according to the CIA World Factbook. Further, the infrastructure of this country is one of the best and the workforce is also quite well-educated. Like most global countries, properties appreciated significantly between 2004 and 2007. However, the worldwide recession after the bursting of the real estate bubble in the middle of 2008 in the United States affected Slovenia also to a certain extent. Still, the country had managed to recover and is now on the growth path again. The present GDP growth rate is around 5%, the highest for any new member state of the European Union.Slovenia Real Estate MarketData released by the Statistical Office of Republic of Slovenia (SORS) reveal that property values rose at an annual average of 1.3% between 2004 and 2007 but declined after that. During the first quarter of 2009, the prices of houses on sale in second-hand market dropped by 7% from the same period in 2008, while the fall in real terms was at 8.7%. The real estate prices in the capital city of Ljubljana collapsed by 8% in nominal terms and 9.6% in real terms, while the decline was 6.8% in nominal terms and 8.5% in real terms in the rest of the country during the first quarter of 2009. This had brought down property prices, which is not a negative point but a positive factor. You could buy properties at lower rates right now.Investment Opportunities in Slovenian PropertiesThe biggest assets of Slovenia are its valleys blooming with vineyards, the breathtaking coastlines, the snowy peaks of Alps and the rolling hills, the numerous rivers, and beautiful waterfalls. These features had made Slovenia a major tourist attraction, with possibilities for rental properties thriving financially. At the same time, the slump in property values and the possibility of significant appreciation in this decade make this country a prime location for real estate investment. After the setback of 2008, the Slovenian economy had been recovering at a faster rate than several other European and North American nations. A recent survey voted Slovenia among the top 10 countries offering best opportunities in real estate investment.According to the survey, the growth rate of property values in Slovenia are forecast to increase at an astonishing rate of 284% on an average, between 2010 and 2020. The annual rate of real estate price growth is estimated at 30% at present. As such, investment in real estate of Slovenia is considered as a long-term, safe and solid proposition. Do you know that you would be able to buy a few hectares of prime land covered with vineyards and having a medium-sized 2-bedroom house for a low price of 80,000 euros or about $100,000? The interesting fact is that nearly 40% of Slovenia has land covered with vineyards and it is a major wine-producing nation. Even the properties in major cities of Slovenia, such as Ljubljana and Maribor cost only around 1,500 to 3,000 euros or $1,800 to $3,600 per square meter.Procedures of Investment in Slovenia Real EstateApart from the several registered real estate operators in Slovenia, the local laws explicitly permit people from the United States and European Union to buy properties in Slovenia without any restriction. It would take about a month to complete all the formalities required to buy a property. With certain stipulations, you could also avail financing and mortgaging options but it is advisable to finance your purchases out of your own resources, if you want to maximize the returns on your investment.ConclusionIt is obvious that a property investment in Slovenia is likely to be more profitable as a long-term venture when compared to the same amount being invested in the United States or other countries in the European Union, where the economic growth rate is still sluggish. The present growth of Slovenia promises better returns in this decade than any real estate investment in these countries. As such, it could be safely concluded that your investment in Slovenian real estate would prove to be more profitable than a similar investment in several other countries right now and much less riskier.