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mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
1/26/12 8:06 a.m.

location, location, location.

ThePhranc
ThePhranc HalfDork
1/26/12 8:29 a.m.

I can sell my 900 sqft condo in the DC metro area and buy a Mcmansion in NC with money left over to refurnish.

It aint cheap every where in the US. My aunt owns property in Colombia on a cliff over looking the gulf with flower gardens and what not like a villa. It was about 1/2 what she paid for a house to be built on the Jersey shore.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill SuperDork
1/26/12 8:30 a.m.

One episode was in Bulgaria. The homes were like $30,000.

I am a little surprised by the much higher costs of homes in The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Belize and similar countries. I guess the infrastructure is better there. Many years ago my sister was talking about a town somewhere in Mexico that was mostly retired US citizens. Seems they built their own water treatment and waste treatment facilities and the standard of living was high and cost of living was low.

Nowhere is Europe has been cheap. Including the former East Germany.

nderwater
nderwater SuperDork
1/26/12 8:31 a.m.

Developers aren't idiots - the real estate markets for desirable tourists enclaves in these third world countries are priced according to what their target shoppers are used to paying elsewhere. Why ask for less when prospects are willing to pay more?

I've watched HHI off and on for maybe seven or eight years now. If you ever happen to catch a rerun of one of the early episodes where they visit Roatan, Honduras, the town is a tiny village with affordable beachfront properties catering to the seasonal dive & surf crowd. Today, a recent episode shows the place all grown up with a bustling downtown area and clusters of million-dollar mansions catering to vacationing European businessmen.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill SuperDork
1/26/12 8:33 a.m.
nderwater wrote: Developers aren't idiots - the real estate markets for desirable tourists enclaves in these third world countries are priced according to what their target shoppers are used to paying elsewhere. Why ask for less when prospects are willing to pay more? I've watched HHI off and on for maybe seven or eight years now. If you ever happen to catch a rerun of one of the early episodes where they visit Roatan, Honduras, the town is a tiny village with affordable beachfront properties catering to the seasonal dive & surf crowd. Today, a recent episode shows the place all grown up with a bustling downtown area and clusters of million-dollar mansions catering to vacationing European businessmen.

You 'splanded it a whole lot better than me.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
1/26/12 8:33 a.m.

The other side is England. I watch bbc shows and when they talk about housing prices it's staggering- especially when you realize they're talking in Pounds and not dollars. Yikes!

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/26/12 8:36 a.m.

We occasionally watch this program and I'm still convinced that some of the prices are "expat special deals". That said, you have to look at the correct comparisons - for example, if you compare the small apartment in Paris with a similar sized apartment in the right location in New York City, there suddenly isn't much of a price difference anymore. And homes in the more rural areas in France aren't much more expensive than what you pay for something fairly similar over here.

Another typical reason why a lot of the places seem to be extremely expensive is that the people who want to buy or rent them want the "typical" American house with 2000-3000 sq ft. Out here in the West, that's a fairly affordable size but in Europe, that's somewhere between a big house and a mansion so you pay accordingly.

nderwater
nderwater SuperDork
1/26/12 8:37 a.m.

By middle-American standards, Europe is staggeringly expensive.

The only European episode of HHI I've seen which has shown affordable housing was from Budapest, Hungary. $30-60K will buy you a small, gutted, ugly flat in an old Soviet-style apartment block. They mentioned several times that the low real estate cost reflected a low standard of living and poor job prospects in that area.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/26/12 8:42 a.m.
Ian F wrote: The other side is England. I watch bbc shows and when they talk about housing prices it's staggering- especially when you realize they're talking in Pounds and not dollars. Yikes!

My little house in the UK - which is probably around 500-600 sq ft with a tiny garden and a single car garage - cost me roughly as much as a 3000+ sq ft McMansion in the nice upper middle class subdivision the parents in law live in in Deland, FL. Actually about $20k more IIRC. But the market over in the UK went nuts in the same way as it did over here - fortunately I didn't buy at the top of the market but you do get a lot less house for the money. Something to do with the lack of space - especially in the Southeast, there's a lot of people crammed into not a lot of space.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that the dollar and the pound have got almost purchasing power parity (with the notable exception of GRM-style crapcan cars, those are much cheaper in the UK) so if you base the prices in USD you get a lot less for your money in the UK.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper SuperDork
1/26/12 10:52 a.m.

http://www.forbes.com/2008/09/18/properties-world-million-forbeslife-cx_fl_0918realestate_slide_2.html?thisSpeed=20000&boxes=custom

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
1/26/12 1:56 p.m.

I worked for Habitat for Humanity for 10 years, and lived in the Dominican Republic for 3. I've lived and worked in 7 different underdeveloped countries.

You are looking in the wrong spots.

If you are seeing property advertised in poor countries, that doesn't mean it is poor neighborhoods, or poor areas.

That's because any agent who has an expensive property to sell will market it aggressively to wealthier people.

Additionally, the vast majority of tourists have NO IDEA what the local community is like when they visit a tourist area. Everywhere in the world, hotels look the same. They include hot water, flush toilets, swimming pools, saunas, luxury restaurants, queen sized beds, closets, and AC, even though NONE of these things are likely to be the local "norm".

Most people who hear I've lived in the Dominican Republic say, "Oh, that's beautiful! I was there on vacation!". I generally respond, "Oh, you must have been on the North coast". That's where the resorts are. But I lived on the SOUTH coast, near the Haitian border. In a country where more than half the people (at the time) lived on only a few hundred dollars annually, it is NOT normal to have AC or hot water. Trust me. My family of 5 lived on $450 per month with no running water, outdoor pit latrines, inadequate electricity, and we were in one of the nicest houses in the village.

Think of it like this... If I lived in Appalachia, or the Mississippi Delta, or rural Maine in a shack worth $5,000-7,000, would I be able to advertise it for sale at a premium to International buyers from England, Copenhagen, or Japan? Probably not. I wouldn't have the resources. But if I had a premium property for sale in San Francisco, New York, or Washington DC worth tens of millions, I could advertise it anywhere in the world.

Oh, and FWIW, "Africa" is not a country, and the "Stans" are not generally considered third world. There are very wealthy parts of both.

nderwater
nderwater SuperDork
1/26/12 2:12 p.m.

Interesting counterpoint. Do you ever go back to visit the DR? Would you consider buying a vacation/retirement home there?

Osterkraut
Osterkraut SuperDork
1/26/12 2:29 p.m.
SVreX wrote: and the "Stans" are not generally considered third world. There are very wealthy parts of both.

The berkeley?

Well, if you go by the old, true standard where 1st world is NATO & friends, 2nd USSR & friends, and 3rd world is unaligned, then yes. The UN now uses "developing country" which most of the stans are, and least developed country, which Afganistan is. Small pockets of wealth don't wealthy make.

And they called my Political Science degree useless.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
1/26/12 4:24 p.m.

HHI is not going to show somebody buying the average home in these countries. That doesn't draw in the viewers. They want to see upscale expensive crap, so HHI gives them what they want. It's the same with 'Selling New York' which makes me want to puke sometimes. I have pretty much quit watching that stuff.

Particularly since I got divorced.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
1/26/12 5:16 p.m.
nderwater wrote: Interesting counterpoint. Do you ever go back to visit the DR? Would you consider buying a vacation/retirement home there?

I would, and I'd live in one of the non-wealthy, non-tourist areas. My wife, however, would not.

So until I'm hunting for the ultimate doghouse, I will not be going back to the DR.

Type Q
Type Q Dork
1/26/12 5:18 p.m.

The only thing I can add here is anytime I feel like the San Francisco Bay area is too crowded or too expensive, I just have to go visit my in-laws and friends in Tokyo. Two weeks there and I feel like I like I'm living really large when I get home.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
1/26/12 5:22 p.m.
Osterkraut wrote: Small pockets of wealth don't wealthy make.

Ummm... that was exactly my point.

I guarantee if you can find real estate for sale in Afghanistan (while searching on the internet, through a broker, or from virtually any other country) it is not in a poor area. I'm not suggesting the country is wealthy. I'm suggesting that whatever home value you can see from a distance is not representative of the poverty.

Will built good solid houses that were well above average when I was building in the DR for about $3200 each, including the land cost. They were very desirable. You won't find them for sale on the internet.

Zomby woof
Zomby woof SuperDork
1/26/12 5:24 p.m.
mguar wrote:
ThePhranc wrote: I can sell my 900 sqft condo in the DC metro area and buy a Mcmansion in NC with money left over to refurnish. It aint cheap every where in the US. My aunt owns property in Colombia on a cliff over looking the gulf with flower gardens and what not like a villa. It was about 1/2 what she paid for a house to be built on the Jersey shore.

You don't understand. Prices are different All over the country.. It's location, location, location.

I'm pretty sure that's exactly what he was saying.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
1/26/12 5:55 p.m.

What makes American sized yards and American sized rooms such a standard to attain?

You won't find that comparable because it is a complete cultural miss. Those things don't make sense in other places.

But you won't find any bidets here either, no Italians who want to wash their heiney are out of luck.

Middle class can be compared to middle class, but you will never be able to compare amenities.

If you do, you are playing into EXACTLY what I was talking about. You are measuring other cultures only by what you know and understand, which is why hotels all look the same. If you are going to insist on the amenities you are familiar with, you WILL be buying in a wealthier community, because you ARE wealthier.

Capt Slow
Capt Slow Dork
1/26/12 6:44 p.m.
mguar wrote:
Type Q wrote: The only thing I can add here is anytime I feel like the San Francisco Bay area is too crowded or too expensive, I just have to go visit my in-laws and friends in Tokyo. Two weeks there and I feel like I like I'm living really large when I get home.

Good Point.. then ask them what their home is worth. (or check it out on the web) that will shock you..

The real key is that American homes are under-priced compared to the rest of the world..

Bull pucky! I pray daily for the market to drop another 50% so I can finally afford a home of my own.

Mitchell
Mitchell SuperDork
1/26/12 6:53 p.m.
mguar wrote: You are starting to understand the point I'm trying to make.. But I don't think you're completely reached it yet.. Please note I said similar homes.. Yes there are shacks for sale for dirt cheap here in America.. as everyplace in the world.. However a Nice three bedroom in a safe community with American sized yards and American sized rooms will be more expensive in most of the world than it is here in America.. The point I'm making is that anybody in say Sicily, New Zealand, or Scotland will get much more home here in America than they sell their home for..

I can guess a few reasons why houses are relatively cheap here in the States compared to anywhere else. First, our population density is pretty low, and we not only have a lot of land, but a lot of land that is easily developed. Russia may have a huge landmass, but how much of that is Siberia? We also develop much differently than other countries, and even a lot differently than we did at the beginning of the 20th century. Instead of keeping our population close to the city centers, we just build further out. Real estate is cheaper, but we pay the price in commute time. I'm sure that you could buy a great house in South Dakota for not a lot of money, but could you find a job?

If you look at housing from the early-mid 1900's, if the house wasn't a farm, it was probably built just a stone's throw from your neighbor. I live in a 1930's shotgun house, and the houses are spaced about 15' apart. Some people prefer the isolation and "safety" of a suburban neighborhood with one entry/exit, but I really enjoy living on the grid layout. My yard is almost nonexistent, but I can walk to the downtown area, and I have nice city parks a few blocks away.

Most of the world is older than the US. City structures were already in place, and instead of developing out, they developed up. A yard is quite uncommon; from what I understand, most houses have a small garden. When I was in Peru a few years back, many of the middle/upper class houses were rectangular compounds, with the houses set way back, and a nice courtyard in the front. and 10' walls surrounding the property. Here's a picture of the hostel we stayed it, which was a converted house.

Osterkraut
Osterkraut SuperDork
1/26/12 7:33 p.m.
SVreX wrote:
Osterkraut wrote: Small pockets of wealth don't wealthy make.

Ummm... that was exactly my point.

I guarantee if you can find real estate for sale in Afghanistan (while searching on the internet, through a broker, or from virtually any other country) it is not in a poor area. I'm not suggesting the country is wealthy. I'm suggesting that whatever home value you can see from a distance is not representative of the poverty.

That is not what you said at all, no matter your intended point. Let's hop in our time machine...

SVreX wrote: and the "Stans" are not generally considered third world. There are very wealthy parts of both.

Literally said a place like Afghanistan isn't 3rd world. What you should have said was something like this:

Me, pretending to be SVreX wrote: Some parts of the "Stans" are very wealthy, you would hardly know you were living in a third world country.

Final note, "both" is also incorrect. I can think of 5 "stans," there are probably a few more.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/26/12 7:48 p.m.
SVreX wrote: What makes American sized yards and American sized rooms such a standard to attain? You won't find that comparable because it is a complete cultural miss. Those things don't make sense in other places.

Don't forget that in a lot of places, energy costs at least used to be much higher (and probably still are much higher) than they are in the US, so having to heat or cool a 3000 sq ft house gets really expensive really fast.

Plus, building plots in most of Europe tend to be smaller on average than over here so houses are necessarily somewhat smaller or multi storey.

There's something else that nobody's mentioned so far, though, and that's the vastly different methods of construction in the US vs Europe. Excluding pre-fab housing, most of the houses in the US are stick built, right? So you frame them up, slap drywall on the inside and whatever sheet type material goes on the outside and you're done.

Most housing in Europe (except highrises and the prefab style stuff) is still bricks and mortar with ceramic tile roofs or other shingle style roofs. That's shingles that don't come off a roll or in strips of five. So the cost per sq ft to build a house in Europe tends to be higher which naturally keeps the houses somewhat smaller anyway, but they tend to last a lot longer than the ones built over here, at least recently.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
1/26/12 8:18 p.m.

Europe has much less open land for sale than we do. Scarcity drives pricing. That's why beachfront property is so expensive, there's so little of it (comparatively speaking). That's also why a 1000 sq ft brick bungalow in Columbia SC is ~$75k and the same thing in, say, Atlanta might be ~$125k. Those are out of my butt figures!

A lot of what I saw on those HH shows was older existing homes which had been remodeled. I saw almost no new construction. That's not to say there is none at all, in fact, Ireland had a housing crash involving new housing which was very similar to what happened here, just on a much smaller scale. But if there is no new construction going on then the price of existing housing will go up.

Bloomberg did a big comparison between the US and European housing markets recently and they noted something else: according to their report the US style 30 year fixed rate mortgage is unheard of over there. Everything is variable rate with high down payments. Don't know what that would have to do with housing values but it has to figure in there somewhere.

There is not a 'book price' for homes, that's a fact. There is instead what's called 'comps' (comparables) and they are recent sales in a given area for similar properties, in suburban areas it's generally a 2 mile radius and 6 months of transactions. If business has been slow, they will go back a year and maybe 5 miles.

The problem with comps is that if there is an anomaly in the comps such as a dirt cheap foreclosure, it will affect your housing values. Say you live in a n'hood of $125,000.00 homes and one foreclosure sells for $55,000.00. That's going to hurt property values for at least a year. I know this one first hand, believe me. You don't even want to know how bad one foreclosure hit the value of one property I'm involved with.

If you live way out in the boonies and there are no comps there's a SWAG (Scientific Wild Assed Guess) based on the construction of the home, its age and amenities, etc. they will come up with a $ per square foot.

SVreX
SVreX SuperDork
1/26/12 8:47 p.m.

In reply to Osterkraut:

You are reading what I said as you choose, not as it was said in context. If it's that important to you to win this, go ahead.

I didn't choose the word "stan". It was a reference to the original post which in context specifically referred to "The "STAN" regions of the former Soviet Union etc.." (a phrase I do not even care for, but followed form to the original post). I was never referring to Afghanistan, nor making any kind of assumptions of cultural similarities of any nation based on semantic and technical structures of their names as written in English.

"Both" was a reference to both Africa and the "stan regions of the former Soviet Union", not "both" of the "stans".

You are picking fights over alleged errors in my grammer , but failing to read the context and have any clue what I am (or others are) talking about.

So, I give. You are right. If you read what I said in the narrowest of incorrect context, then I said those things. Interpret it as you choose. You are loosing sight of the forest while focusing on the bark patterns of the trees.

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