"I'd like to speak with you, privately...without Lief," the gentleman began.
"Well, I know that Lief is the numbers guy. He's all about pricing and valuations and return projections. And that's all important, I realize. However, I'd like to ask you a question, putting all those things aside.
"I'd like to know your three favorite places in the world right now," continued the attendee at last week's Emergency Offshore Summit in Panama City. "The top three places you'd recommend today, profit agendas notwithstanding."
I replied without hesitation:
"Paris, Istria, and Medellin."
Investment arguments can be made for each of these markets. Paris is perhaps the most recession-proof rental yields market in the world. I believe that values in Istria, Croatia, will move up over time, and, meantime, in this part of the world, Europeans are keeping the rental occupancy rates high. Medellin, Colombia, is one of the most undervalued real estate markets in the world right now, meaning prices are absolutely low. Meantime, in this case, the supply of available rentals is low, and demand is increasing.
Even if none of those things was true, though, I'd still want to own property in these three places.
For me, at this stage of my life and my investment career, that's the litmus test when considering any real estate buy:
Is this a place where I want to spend time?
If it's not, even the promise of a serious profit upside probably won't get my attention.
As the attendee at last week's conference understood, my perspective is different from Lief's. Lief prefers to invest in places where he wants to spend time, but his head can be turned by a straight-up profit promise. And, in truth, if you're buying for investment, it can be dangerous to cloud that agenda with one related to personal use. Serious property investors want to keep the profit objective separate from any others.
The rest of us should buy houses and apartments in places where we want to be.
In that context, again, three places I'd recommend as holding out what amounts to world's best-level quality of life right now, as I suggested to my new friend at last week's conference, are Paris, Istria, and Medellin.
In different ways, for different reasons, life doesn't get any better than you'll enjoy it in each of these three very special places.
Publisher Live and Invest Overseas