Sunseeker London Group

Sunseeker London is the official and exclusive distributor for the UK,
Europe and Africa for Sunseeker boats. UHY Hacker Young London provide group audit and tax compliance work – including due diligence and other advisory services. Local advice is provided by UHY member firms in Croatia, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

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The Tremendous Entertainment Group

The Tremendous group has worldwide commercial operations in the media and entertainment industry based in Singapore.  UHY Lee Seng Chan & Co are
tasked with consolidating the financial statements and audit from group companies operating in the US and Europe), and are supported by UHY Haines Norton in Australia.

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The UHY global real estate guide has been developed to provide property investors with information on rules and regulations from over 100 countries featured in the guide, covering areas such as real estate regulations (e.g. deduction of expenses and interests), tax rates (e.g. VAT, wealth tax and inheritance tax) and also touches on some tax planning techniques.


Issue 2018

This edition includes six case studies featuring a range of international clients across a variety of market sectors: engineering, financial services, health sciences & biotech, leisure and media & communications.

Bank lending to European businesses now 25% lower than pre-credit crunch, hampering return to economic growth...



Bank lending to the private sector in Europe is now on average 25% lower last year than it was before the financial crisis, hampering European economies’ return to economic growth, reveals a new study by UHY, the international accounting and consultancy network.

According to UHY, in 2016 a total of USD 12.2 trillion was lent to businesses in the European economies studied – down from USD 16.3 trillion in 2008.

By contrast, on average across all the 24 countries studied around the world, private sector bank lending increased by 24% over the same period in absolute terms.

UHY says that countries like Spain and Ireland which were hardest hit by the banking crisis are seeing the slowest recovery in private sector credit.

Bank lending to the private sector in Ireland is 69% below 2008 levels (USD 148 billion in 2016, down from USD 475 billion), while in Spain, it is 51% lower (USD 1.3 trillion down from USD 2.7 trillion).

Even in Germany, widely seen as the economic powerhouse of Europe, there was a 21% decrease, falling to USD 2.6 trillion last year from USD 3.3 trillion in 2008, and the UK is also down by 20.3%.

UHY says that small businesses continue to be worst affected by the ongoing bank lending slump.

This is partly due to regulators tightening banking rules in response to the financial crisis to increase the amount of capital banks need to hold to cover their liabilities. With less capital available to lend, banks tend to be more likely to focus on larger businesses that they see as having better security and repayment prospects.

Smaller businesses more negatively impacted by the fall in bank lending as they are less able than large corporates to rise cash by issuing corporate bonds as an alternative for bank loans.

Bernard Fay, Chairman of UHY, comments: “Almost a decade on from the global financial crisis, many European small and medium-sized businesses are still suffering from a shortage of credit.”

“As regulators have forced banks to shore up their balance sheets and reduce risk, many SMEs have found their access to lending severely curtailed. While some larger companies may have been able to get around this by accessing the bond market, smaller businesses are unlikely to have been so lucky.”

“Recent economic crises in some Eurozone countries and the prospect of Brexit also continue to hit lender confidence. Across Europe, this is making the road to recovery even more of an uphill journey, with even the strongest economies adversely affected.”

“Without the capex they need to fund investment, businesses will struggle to capitalise on growth opportunities or drive innovation, ultimately risking losing ground to global competitors.”

Alan Farrelly of UHY member firm UHY Farrelly Dawe White Limited in Ireland comments, “As the Irish economy rebounds and confidence returns, access to bank lending will play a critical role in helping businesses to reach their potential, both in domestic markets and on the world stage. It is important that the government and EU policymakers do all they can to ensure small businesses are not left behind.”

“However, as in other countries, initiatives to ensure that the private sector is less dependent on bank lending, for instance via alternative financing sources, are also starting to take effect. New options like crowdfunding and P2P are increasingly gaining traction.”

G7 economies lag well behind BRICs

UHY adds that the G7 group of leading world economies is also lagging behind – while BRICs economies power ahead. On average, the G7 saw a 1% decrease in real terms over the period, whereas BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) enjoyed an average increase of 209%.

China topped the UHY table, with bank lending to the private sector jumping 270% between 2008 and 2016.

Bernard Fay says, “It is debateable whether the appetite to lend to BRICs and other emerging economies is sustainable, as debt levels increase while economic growth slows in countries like China. Scrutiny of companies’ ability to service their borrowing will be increasingly intense.”

“What is more, if interest rates – particularly in the US – were to rise that could put the brakes on lending to both developed and emerging economies, as companies think twice about taking on more expensive borrowing.”

Oscar Gutiérrez Esquivel, managing partner at UHY member firm, UHY Glassman Esquivel y Cia, S.C., in Mexico says, “Bank lending to the private sector is vital to the economy of the country, but currently the Mexican banking system is highly concentrated in four main institutions.”

“In order to reduce costs to borrowers and stimulate lending, greater competition should be promoted by the authorities. Development banks should recover their role as main lenders to small and medium sized companies, many of which currently are not serviced by commercial banks.”



Notes for Editors

UHY global press contact: Dominique Maeremans, marketing and business development manager on +44 20 7767 2621,


Nick Mattison or Peter Kurilecz, Mattison Public Relations

+44 20 7645 3636, +44 7860 657 540 or email

About UHY

Established in 1986 and based in London, UK, UHY is a leading network of independent audit, accounting, tax and consulting firms with offices in over 325 major business centres across more than 95 countries.

Our staff members, over 7,850 strong, are proud to be part of the 16th largest international accounting and consultancy network. Each member of UHY is a legally separate and independent firm. For further information on UHY please go to

UHY is a member of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms. For additional information on the Forum of Firms, visit


European economies levy some of the world’s highest property purchase taxes on prime real estate – UHY’s global study reveals...



European economies levy some of the highest property purchase taxes in the world on prime real estate, charging on average 4%, or USD 38,356, in tax on a property purchase of USD 1 million, reveals a new study by UHY, a leading international accounting and consultancy network.

UHY says that major European economies including France, Germany, and Spain levy among the highest property purchase taxes in the world (see table below).

UHY says that although high property taxes are an attractive source of revenue for governments, they could risk discouraging labour market mobility and valuable overseas investment from High Net Worth individuals.

UHY’s findings show that Belgium has the highest average property taxes for real estate worth USD 1 million of any country in the study at 11.3%* – a charge of USD 113,131.

Other western European economies at the top of the table include France and Germany, charging USD 50,901 and USD 50,000 respectively on residential property transactions worth USD 1 million.

This is far higher than the global average of 3.3% (USD 33,038) for properties in this price bracket.

By contrast, many other advanced economies have far lower property purchase tax rates on prime real estate. For instance although the rate can vary across states, the US levies just 0.6% on average (USD 5,970) and Canada charges an average of 1.8% (USD 17,833).

Ireland also charges significantly lower taxes than its Western European neighbours at just 1% (USD 10,000).

UHY tax professionals studied tax data for individuals purchasing a house worth USD1 million in 26 countries across its international network, including all members of the G7, as well as key emerging economies.

UHY says that while the G7 economies charge on average 3%, (USD 29,720) – broadly in line with the global average – tax charges in the BRIC economies are around a third lower at 2.3% (USD 22,720).

New Zealand and Russia have the lowest taxes in the table, effectively charging 0% on prime property purchases.

New Zealand has no central or local government transaction taxes on real estate and residential property deals between home owners, as they are exempt from the government’s Goods and Services tax. Similarly Russia imposes no transfer taxes on the buyer, who only pays a minor fixed amount of State Duty of around USD 30.

Comments Bernard Fay, Chairman of UHY: “European economies continue to see property purchase taxes as a rich seam and a good way to bolster public finances which remain under intense strain. However, governments should be careful not to over-exploit it.”

“Higher property purchase taxes can also put a strain on domestic buyers, who may not actually be particularly wealthy, given house price inflation in some locations over the last decade or two.”

UHY points out that in the Netherlands the government reduced the Real Estate Transfer Tax in 2011 from 6% to its current 2% to help stimulate the housing sector for buyers. The lower rate is only applicable to residential property, with the higher 6% remaining for non-residential property.

Bernard Fay continues: “Levying significant taxes on the cost of a new property could constrain labour market mobility. If businesses have to offer much greater incentives for employees to relocate, this could have a serious impact on job creation and business investment in that country, and ultimately on its wider economy.”

UHY adds that in many countries, including Italy, Spain, and Uruguay, property purchase taxes are calculated using the value of the property in government registries, but these prices can often differ from the market value.

Comments Andrea D’Amico of UHY Advisor Srl in Italy: “Prime properties, especially in capitals, such as Paris or Berlin, are particularly desirable for wealthy investors from overseas, but excessively high taxes could make these markets less attractive. There’s a risk that they could lose out to locations such as New York where purchase taxes are seen as more reasonable.”

“These wealthy overseas investors contribute to the local economy in many other ways, through discretionary spending while they are staying in the property, as well as maintenance costs, for instance by refurbishing extensively, or employing staff.”

Residential property transfer taxes for the purchaser of a property worth USD$1,000,000

* This figure represents an average of the rates in Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia which can vary from 9.8% to as high as 12.5%.

**Rates rounded to nearest tenth

***Rate paid on cadastral value of property, not market price; for Italy (based on 2015 data), it includes the law with the provision that the rate applies on the cadastral value of the property, which is largely lower than the market price

****Average of local variations

Press contact:
Dominique Maeremans          
Tel: +44 20 7767 2621, or email:

Where start-ups succeed

Every thriving start-up ecosystem is unique, but they all find new and better ways of bringing the right people together.

If dark clouds have been gathering ominously over the global economy of late, one chink of sunlight continues to break through the gloom. According to a recent research study by UHY, many countries are experiencing a boom in new business creation.

That’s even true of China, where economic slowdown has spread panic through boardrooms from Beijing to Berlin. In fact, it’s especially true of China, UHY’s research confirms. The world’s most populous country is outpacing the world in new business formations. Nearly 1,610,000 new companies were established in China in 2014, almost double the number created in 2010. [Data correct to end of 2014].

Second in the league table of start-up success was the UK, which registered a 51% increase in business births in 2014 compared to 2010, while other winners included India, Australia, Italy and Germany. Brazil created 22% more businesses in 2014 than 2010, but started from the highest base of any nation in the UHY survey. Over one and a half million new companies were established in Brazil in 2010.

Some of this activity is the direct result of central intervention, with governments acting to kickstart economies left reeling by the financial crisis. Lower tax rates and reduced SME bureaucracy are the most obvious manifestations of government efforts. According to UHY International chairman Bernard Fay, these efforts must continue.

“The next few years are not going to be without their own challenges, and governments globally need to find ways to help these new start-ups grow into successful businesses and even the next generation of multinationals,” he says. “In many European countries there is still a long way to go in cutting down on bureaucracy.”

Reducing business bureaucracy is one way to encourage new start-ups, but there are others. Every start-up ecosystem is shaped by its peculiar local circumstances, and experts believe the best initiatives for encouraging business creation are homegrown and pragmatic. Nevertheless, successful start-up hubs, from Paris and London to Tel Aviv and Toronto, tend to share similar core components.


Peace and prosperity

At the most basic level, start-ups need peace, political stability and a culture that promotes entrepreneurship as a worthy life choice. All three are present in Indonesia, where entrepreneurs – as the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) reports – exhibit ‘a low fear of failure’ which results in high levels of ‘early-stage entrepreneurial activity’.

If companies are to grow, entrepreneurs need access to finance and in some economies new funding avenues are rejuvenating start-up ecosystems. Peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and angel investing are filling the gap left by more risk averse institutions like banks and venture capital firms. The Association for Financial Markets in Europe calculates that 30% of finance available to European companies is now non-bank funding.

Meanwhile, GEM reports that physical infrastructure is considered the most valued component of a start-up hub by the start-up companies themselves. Good transport links and high speed internet is often essential to new business in a globalised world, wherever a start-up happens to blink into life. At the same time, many new businesses need access to an educated workforce and a set of core professional services.

But while the presence of these factors is clearly advantageous, experts warn that different start-up ecosystems have different priorities, and that no ‘one size fits all’ global model exists. Slavica Singer, professor of economics at the J.J. Strossmayer University of Osijek in Croatia and co-author of the GEM Global Report, argues that what ecosystems need most of all, regardless of the speed of local broadband services, is the flexibility to change and the wisdom to do so sensibly.

“Healthy start-up environments share the ability to change quickly, but without rushing into trendy solutions without sufficient thought,” she says.

“Solutions must be contextualised, and checked for harmonisation with other components of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. For example, enriching financial markets with entrepreneurial financial instruments (such as angel investing) won’t contribute to a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem if you don’t first teach entrepreneurs how to use them properly.”


Local initiatives, global significance

Professor Singer believes that every healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem is in some way unique and the best examples of start-up friendly initiatives are local ones. She pinpoints the BA Emprende programme in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which offers short-term training for entrepreneurs and access to new avenues for finance, helping to overcome any traditional limitations to Argentinian entrepreneurship.

“We are lucky in Buenos Aires,” says Roberto Macho, managing partner, UHY Macho & Asociados, Buenos Aires. “Not only do we have accelerator initiatives such as BA Emprende but it’s relatively inexpensive to start up a business, we have a highly educated workforce and our community is naturally entrepreneurial, collaborative and resilient.”

Across the border in Brazil, the city of São Paulo has become a high-spending customer for its own SMEs, giving small businesses preferential treatment when bidding for public sector contracts. In fact, São Paulo is a good example of a city trying to best exploit natural advantages, says Marcello Reis, business development manager, UHY Moreira-Auditores, UHY’s Brazilian member firm.

“São Paulo is absolutely massive – roughly 21 million people,” he says. “With so many people, it opens the door for many smaller companies to cater to a local market. Moreover, due to a very restricted capital market, in the past ten years many angel seeds and crowdfunding companies have been created to boost local start-ups.”

Those factors, plus the city’s large and diverse immigrant population, mean São Paulo is now among the best 20 in the world (according to Compass, which publishes the Global Start-up Ecosystem Ranking study) for starting a business.

In Berlin, entrepreneurs from outside the city once struggled to gain a foothold in its populous, relatively expensive central districts. The city now offers a ‘Business Welcome’ package that includes cheap office space and a number of hours of free legal and financial advice.


Money and mentoring

That advice is key, according to Compass. It argues that ‘knowledgeable and start-up-adapted service providers such as lawyers, accountants and other specialised consultants,’ are crucial to a thriving start-up ecosystem.

To that end, UHY member firm, UHY Advisors, Michigan, US uses local knowledge to connect start-up and early stage companies to new sources of finance. The firm sponsors the ‘Great Lakes Angels’, an angel investment group, is an active board member and hosts its pitching nights.

“It fills a gap between friends and family funding,” says Bradford Southern, UHY Advisor’s principal for valuation and transaction services. “Typically these early-stage companies have exhausted these monies but are not yet ready for venture capital. That’s the angel investment segment and that’s what we focus on with the Great Lakes Angels.”

UHY Advisors hosts quarterly company pitching nights where several early-stage companies present the unique attributes of their company, the investment opportunity and their funding needs from accredited angel investors in the audience. These meetings double as networking events for UHY Advisors to mingle with up-and-coming business owners, third party advisors and high-net-worth individuals. In addition, the firm offers educational seminars aimed at potential accredited investors. Taken together, this activity has made UHY Advisors a key player in its local start-up ecosystem.

Similarly, two years ago a team of partners in the UHY LLP, Albany office, in New York State, formed a joint venture to invest in the Eastern New York Angels (ENYA), helping to give the region’s start-ups access to both early-stage finance and professional mentoring.

Again, this local initiative addresses a local issue. The New York Capital District area is home to a large population of science and technology students who typically graduate and move to large cities like New York and Boston to garner support for their fledgling companies. “By providing the funding and mentorship locally, we are looking to keep those businesses local, in the hope that someday they blossom into successful companies,” says F. Michael Zovistoski, a partner in UHY LLP, Albany.


Incubate and accelerate

These local initiatives address local priorities, and they are being joined in modern start-up hubs by increasing numbers of business incubators and accelerators, which have similar aims. These institutions offer fledgling businesses a mix of cheap office space, practical education, networking opportunities and mentoring. Many mould their offer to local circumstance, focusing (for example) on high-tech industry, finance, retail or fashion.

Incubators have become something of a phenomenon everywhere, from the US and Europe to China, Brazil and India, highlighting a universal requirement for advice, mentoring and cheap facilities, right from the outset.

“In the UK our business creation hotspots show how influential clusters of expertise can attract more businesses to set up in various developing areas. Identifying the industries and sectors that a particular area should target for growth is clearly bearing fruit. Nationally all of the top five postcodes for business generation are in London – specifically Silicon Roundabout, City Road, Borough & Bankside, North Finchley & Woodside Park and Covent Garden & Leicester Square – but Warrington, Nottingham, Leeds and Hove also appear in the top 20 hotspots,” says Colin Jones, head of London audit, UHY Hacker Young, London, UK.

In Hove, the Sussex Innovation Centre, part of the University of Sussex in the UK, aims to guide new businesses through their difficult first few years, and has an enviable record. Around 85% of members are profitable at three years from start-up, compared to a national UK average of just 15%.

“One of the most valuable things our members get from us are the introductions and connections to a network of people who can help their business as it develops,” says Mike Herd, executive director of Sussex Innovation.

They include the local entrepreneurial community, an in-house support team, and a wider network of corporates and public bodies, investors, professional service providers, academics and specialists. “Because we’ve built up great relationships with these people, they know we’re not wasting their time and that we will always make relevant introductions that give them an opportunity to add real value to a business,” says Mike.

Incubators are now a significant ingredient in many healthy entrepreneurial environments, but they should not be seen as a magic bullet, experts warn. Despite the success of Sussex Innovation and others, Professor Singer says that no component of an entrepreneurial ecosystem exists in isolation, and that the connections between components are more important than any individual element.

“All forms of supporting organisations can contribute to building a successful start-up ecosystem,” she says. “But both the media and policy makers should understand that a successful start-up ecosystem depends on the quality of relationships among its components.”

Ever more important

Facilitating these relationships is what a successful start-up ecosystem does. It brings relevant people together and lets them communicate in a way that best suits local circumstances.

Once established, a good start-up hub should be self-sustaining. From Silicon Valley to São Paulo, the chief draw for any new generation of entrepreneurs is the living, breathing, thriving example of the entrepreneurs who came before.

That example, and the new entrepreneurial activity it sparks, will only become more important. Despite UHY’s upbeat assessment of its start-up sector, China’s wider economy continues to lose momentum. In February 2016 its once unstoppable manufacturing sector shrank for the seventh consecutive month, dragging the global economy – and major industries like oil and metals – down with it. With that in mind, the central position of SMEs in the global economy, and the vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems which nurture them, will become ever more important.

For more on UHY’s study of new business formations, visit


Notes for Editors

Press contacts:
Dominique Maeremans          
Tel: +44 20 7767 2621, or email:


Think city, think local

Global megatrends are reshaping where people live and work and where businesses want to be based. Nowhere feels the impact of these trends more than major cities. So, when it comes to property, should we be thinking city not country? And how do we know where’s hot and where’s not?

Everyone has a view on the global property market. Every year, specialists such as Knight Frank and DTZ publish their rankings and predictions. But the fact that these analyses often contradict each other points to a market that’s far from simple. Where experts do agree is that significant social, economic, political, environmental and technological changes filter down into political and economic decision-making. This has an impact on which parts of the world become attractive and investable. Right now, these ‘megatrends’ are mass urbanisation, an ageing population, a rising proportion of middle class and a shift of power from the West to Asia and Africa.

For anyone considering property investment – whether commercial or residential – there are two key factors. Firstly, cities feel the effects of megatrends more dramatically than countries. This suggests that potential investors and developers should be looking in detail at particular cities rather than basing strategies around a country.

The populations of several European countries, including Germany, Greece, Spain and Portugal, are forecast to decline over the coming decades. Most of Europe’s largest cities, however, are predicted to grow. The number of ‘megacities’ (10m+ population) is expected to rise from 28 in 2014 to an estimated 41 by 2030 – 25 of these in Asia.

Research by Savills Investment Management found that property investors are increasingly focusing on cities as more people are drawn to living and working in central areas.


Local knowledge

And the second factor for investors to consider? Given that experts can’t agree, the hotspots highlighted by megatrend data must be balanced by information at the microeconomic level. Put simply, local knowledge becomes more valuable when deciding where and when to invest.

This is evident when an investor tries to make sense of news that Spain is both “one of the leading markets in 2016” and is also heading for price stagnation in 2017 and 2018; or that the United Arab Emirates has both a “softening” residential market and “robust activity”.

On the ground the picture becomes clearer. Take the UAE, for example. David Burns MBE, director of UHY Saxena in Dubai, says the region has always been a tale of two cities – Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In both, the price of oil, speculation and regional instability are the main factors affecting the property market.

“People are investing speculatively here for short-term gain. Prices are relatively low now but are expected to rise with the 2020 World Expo. The general yield in the UAE is 7%, compared to a global average of 2-3%. Reasonable quality, real estate regulations in Dubai and the perception that the UAE is a safe haven in the region attract investment.”

David believes that in his region the thinking should be about individual cities. In Saudi Arabia, for example, there are several major cities with very different dynamics – in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, foreigners are not allowed to buy property; land-locked capital Riyadh is the natural base for many corporates, and Jeddah is viewed as a relatively laid-back city with easy logistics thanks to its seaports.

In Dublin, Ireland, Alan Farrelly, managing director of UHY Farrelly Dawe White, sees both opportunity and challenge.

“This is a city where large employers like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are creating jobs. This is attracting young graduates, who are now seeking accommodation in the city. It’s creating real demand,” says Alan. “However, there are still issues around planning and council levies in the city that are delaying projects getting started.”


Hopes and dreams

Sunil Hansraj, joint managing partner of UHY’s member firm, Chandabhoy & Jassoobhoy in Mumbai, agrees that it is cities that count. Mumbai is going through a lean phase with supply exceeding demand – something that seems to contradict many of the property market reports that put Mumbai at the top of world rankings.

“In India, each city performs differently at different times, because development regulations and plans differ – each city has its own municipal corporation, which implements rules and regulations. This has a huge impact on the sector. There are several instances where the real estate market of a city has fared better than the country as a whole.”

Reports looking at global trends can’t take account of the motivations and goals of individual investors. A business needing a base as it expands into a new market will be looking for places that have the talent it needs. In this case, affordable housing, social amenities and logistics may be more important than a fast return on investment – though, in fact, a city’s development often leads to a property boom.

Knight Frank states in its Global Cities 2016 report that in emerging world cities megatrends are producing dramatic impacts that lead to an explosion in new consumer markets. “In developed world cities, where real estate risk is more palatable, the emphasis should be on cities which have the ability to attract talent, tourism and international tenants.”

For a business looking for pure investment opportunities, the consideration is more one of prospects for rental income or capital growth over the term that suits the company’s needs.

Mumbai is an example of a complex market where detail and timing are critical. The city may not be attractive to developers right now, but buyers are benefiting from easy access to long-term loans at attractive interest rates.

“Traditionally, the greatest asset for a middle-class Indian family is their own home. The need and requirement for housing will always be there – but the price needs to be right,” says Sunil Hansraj. “Due to the overall slump, developers are offering discounts if the buyer can pay quickly. Investors cannot always get quick return on the investment, however. The wait can be long and if a sale is urgent, they may have to sell at a lower rate. The real estate sector will always be an avenue of opportunity – it’s all about getting the timing right.”


Expert advice

More than simply helping a client take advantage of the business opportunity, Sunil Hansraj says the accountant’s role is to understand the microeconomics and be able to give the investor the assurance that standards are being adhered to and transparency is being maintained.

 “The accountant can play an important role in determining the health of the industry, over a long period of time,” says Sunil.

Malta rarely registers in global property market reports, but that doesn’t mean its capital Valletta – the smallest national capital in the EU – isn’t an attractive location for investors. Pierre Galea Musù of UHY Pace, Galea Musù & Co in Malta points out that Malta recorded the highest quarterly increase in house prices in the EU (+6.2%) in the third quarter of last year.

 “There is demand, a large percentage of which is definitely from international investors,” he says. “We have a strategic location, possibly the best climate in the world, a favourable health system and our infrastructure is improving – albeit slowly – thanks to EU funds.”

While analysts debate whether falling populations in smaller European cities, for example, or the high productivity of Singapore or Tokyo should be uppermost in decision-making, David

Burns believes that, whatever the city, local knowledge is imperative. “Accountants have an extensive knowledge of the market through their clients. They apply that knowledge to help potential investors use their funds more effectively,” he says. “Preparing feasibility studies and financial forecasts for property investments can provide a holistic overview that is very valuable when it comes to decision-making.”

Pierre Galea Musù agrees. “At local level, the accountant is both advisor and consultant and takes a holistic view on the client’s behalf – helping with discussing re-domiciliation, retirement schemes and tax benefits, to finding trusted realty advisors and ensuring clients get fair deals and good aftersales service.”

Before being able to tap into that local expertise, investors need to have shortlisted the cities of interest to them. Size and predicted growth are not necessarily enough. According to Savills’ research, the hotspots will be the ‘smart cities’ – those that are dealing with the challenges of urbanisation by creating new infrastructure or bringing in favourable regulation. The research cites London’s Crossrail and Grand Paris in Paris as examples of where new transport infrastructure would reduce journey times for people living on the fringes, with a positive effect on property markets. Singapore is also cited as a megacity that combines a high-density population with high liveability thanks to investment in public transport, low impact buildings and a large network of cycle paths and pedestrian walkways.

So, the focus, it seems, needs to be on ‘winning cities’ rather than countries. Investing in just one or two cities across a region could still bring valuable growth, providing buyers do their homework and take advantage of the wealth of local information.

Contact the UHY executive office, for more information about UHY global property capabilities or visit to find out more.

Notes for Editors

Press contacts:
Dominique Maeremans          
Tel: +44 20 7767 2621, or email: