The overseas property market was badly hit by the economic crisis leaving many Irish investors with apartments and villas that are now costing more than they can afford.
But despite the continuing slump in Europe there’s still a demand for good properties in prime locations from cash-rich Russians looking to develop their portfolios in sun drenched countries like Bulgaria, Spain, Turkey and Hungary.
Up to now, the difficulty has been matching up these potential buyers with the property owners.
After all, for most of the year the apartments and villas are either lying empty or being rented out and the owners are thousands of miles away in Ireland, blissfully unaware that there may be a solution to their dilemma.
But an Irish owned firm has come up with an answer to the problem. Extra Sales is one of the few companies involved in property that has actually grown during the recession, and the secret of its success is its expertise in Russia.
Extra Sales has a developing network of Russian agents connected with investors looking to put their money in bricks and mortar in good European destinations.
They’ve already sold dozens of properties owned by Irish investors who could no longer afford their upkeep or the mortgage payments.
It’s been a Godsend for those who thought that it was impossible to offload their overseas investment in the current climate.
And the good news is that there’s no sign of this potential lifeline ending anytime soon.
Late last year representatives from Extra Sales attended an international investment show in Moscow and confirmed that demand is still healthy.
“The show was a big success,” said Extra Sales listings manager John Lynch.
“We sold lots of properties and made more new connections with Russian agents who can put us in touch with buyers. In turn, we have the connections with property owners in Ireland looking to sell.”
Extra Sales are now looking for more Irish owned properties in holiday destinations like Bulgaria, Spain, Turkey and Hungry for Russian buyers.
In 2010 Russians were responsible for close to half of all foreign property sales in Bulgaria, spending a mind-boggling €5.7billion.
And prices are holding up surprisingly well in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, where there’s now a shortage of properties for Russian investors.
The attraction to overseas property is exactly the same as it was for Irish investors a decade ago. Russian buyers are looking for good summer and winter holiday resorts, beaches, culture and a relaxed lifestyle.
“They want good quality properties in decent locations, like the ones bought by Irish investors during the boom,” Lynch explains.
“Many Irish owners now need to sell as they can’t afford to maintain their property or they’re stuck with an unaffordable mortgage.
“Russia offers the best prospect of finding a buyer and we have the contacts and experience that can find them, and get the best price available.”
Over the past five years, the changing overseas property landscape has seen Extra Sales move from sales to Irish and British buyers to an intense focus on the Russian market.
The company has developed an expert, multi-lingual network operating in several countries and works with strategic partners throughout all of Russia.
There’s now also signs of an emerging demand from Scandinavian countries and Extra Sales has established links into that market too.
It could all amount to a lifeline at last for overseas property owners in Ireland, struggling to offload their overseas property and faced with an increasingly shrinking pool of potential buyers.
Extra Sales can be contacted on 00353 1 4847033 or see www.extrasales.ie for more information.