Japan Foreclosed Property 2015-2016 - Buy this 5th edition report!

Over the years, this ebook has been enhanced with additional research to offer a comprehensive appraisal of the Japanese foreclosed property market, as well as offering economic and industry analysis. The author travels to Japan regularly to keep abreast of the local market conditions, and has purchased several foreclosed properties, as well as bidding on others. Japan is one of the few markets offering high-yielding property investment opportunities. Contrary to the 'rural depopulation' scepticism, the urban centres are growing, and they have always been a magnet for expatriates in Asia. Japan is a place where expats, investors (big or small) can make highly profitable real estate investments. Japan is a large market, with a plethora of cheap properties up for tender by the courts. Few other Western nations offer such cheap property so close to major infrastructure. Japan is unique in this respect, and it offers such a different life experience, which also makes it special. There is a plethora of property is depopulating rural areas, however there are fortnightly tenders offering plenty of property in Japan's cities as well. I bought a dormitory 1hr from Tokyo for just $US30,000.
You can view foreclosed properties listed for as little as $US10,000 in Japan thanks to depopulation and a culture that is geared towards working for the state. I bought foreclosed properties in Japan and now I reveal all in our expanded 350+page report. The information you need to know, strategies to apply, where to get help, and the tools to use. We even help you avoid the tsunami and nuclear risks since I was a geologist/mining finance analyst in a past life. Check out the "feedback" in our blog for stories of success by customers of our previous reports.

Download Table of Contents here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who are buying property in the Philippines

I just flew to Sydney over the weekend, and in the process I took the opportunity to talk to people about my new 'Buying Philippine Property' book. It was probably feedback I should have sought before righting it, and it was not totally unexpected. But it did focus my mind on the market for this book and the fact I had covered the required issues. I identified the following groups:
1. Business foreigners - I did not talk or identify this category among the people I spoke to.
2. Single foreigners who came to the Philippines for girls. I suspect a lot of these guys when they are not with girls, are complaining to other guys about how bad the girls are. Not unexpected when you are 20-40 years older than your GF. These people are generally on tourist visas and far dominate. Comments from this group are basically - they wouldn't trust buying property in the Philippines because they are cheats. Well in as much as these 'guys' are here for short term relationships, in a poor country, and much older than their partners, this is not surprising too anyone. Mind you there are ways they can buy property with protective measures, even it not in their name. They can of course buy condos in their name. I can offer assistance to these people in terms of identifying how to buy and how to identify fake partners for the innocent among you. I have lived in several Asian countries and dated numerous. More importantly I have analysed those relationships.
3. Coupled foreigners who are living or visiting the Philippines in relationships based on respect I would expect to have more favourable comments to make about Filipinos and buying property in the Philippines. That's not to say they should not take precautions. I identify those options in the book as well as strategies and property values, to assist people make those choices.
Another negative comment from a person was that he knows a number of people who had trouble selling a property in the Philippines. One of those who was screwed perhaps. Well if there is no market for these properties clearly that is an opportunity to buy properties at distressed prices. If someone is making a huge loss, then someone can make a huge gain. The logic of pundits is rarely critically appraised. It pays to break it down. Mind you its true enough. There are plenty of sharks trying to rip people off buying property in the Philippines. They are readily identified and avoided though. I do provide suggestions on that note.

Of course the other big market for property is Filipinos, OFWs/expats and balikbayan. I did not however talk to this group since they were not readily evident. They tend to have different reasons for buying, eg. Easier to blend in, greater local support, etc.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My other great conversation tonight was with a Japanese businessman. He was a lot smarter and more interesting than most Japanese businessmen I talk to. No hint of arrogance and a moderately conceptual thinker. What the Japanese lack in capability they make up for in system thinking, working things through. They are not naturally critical thinkers, but some experiences have ensured that some of them are 'special', as was my conversation counterpart tonight. One of the truly Japanese gentlemen, and there is no better place to meet them than overseas.

We discussed Japan mostly. He had a lot of interesting things to say about Japan history post-WWII. I was talking about the prospect of mass Japanese emigration to the Philippines and such countries. There will come a time when the Japanese will build cities in the Philippines. The constitution however does not allow it. The question is how the issue is resolved. Well maybe private citizens will make the choice themselves by buying property in the names of Filipinos or setting up corporations. More likely I think Japanese corporations will set up 40/60 JVs but they will hold the rights for 75 years.

The pressing reason is the under-funded Japanese pension system. There is a lot of wealth in Japan, but its no longer so evenly spread. Consider that you could draw a ring around Japan, and most homeowners outside a certain perimeter would be 'on average' unable to meet their pension obligations. This engineer lives in Tokorazawa, no problem, he has a house worth $400-500K, no problem. Go out to Hanno, and they are just $50-300K, depending on the building age and proximity to the station. Go to the rural areas and these people are living on subsidised farm income, with houses with $10-30,000, land that no one wants. For those inward of Tokorazawa, they will have Thai or Filipino maids taking care of them in Japan. For those living in the outer perimeter, they will either die at 55-60yo of alcohol-related death or be paid off by the Japanese government to retire in the Philippines or another such place. This of course presents a problem. Japan would happily allow Japanese to go abroad, but they would suffer without people to replace them. Can we expect Japan to have an open-door policy? I think its coming. I think the decision to fingerprint foreigners entering the country is a sign of that desire to control 'foreign' crime, mostly Chinese organised crime. The Japanese would never lower themselves to commit a crime of course. This will of course take time to happen.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

The Philippines is over-sold

I was up the pub in Manila tonight talking to some expats. I was talking up the prospects for a stronger Filipino economy. I don't mean to imply that the Philippines is going to put out some startling performances any time soon, since the global economy is weakening. But I am implying that in 3-5 years the Philippines economy will do very well, and that in the next 0-3 years it will out-perform other markets.
Speaking to these people and you would think I'm talking pipe dreams. Not just expats. One of them had a Filipino friend who talked about corruption. Yes, there is terrible corruption in the Philippines. I would however argue that it will eventually be curtailed. Maybe gradually, maybe a radical fall with a new anti-corruption president. Clearly that is not Arroyo, though I would argue that corruption can't get any worse, so thus the Philippines has only upside in that respect. Its in the area of tax and land administration reform where I see the greatest prospect for gains. Greater tax receipts will allow the government to improve compliance.
I don't think these people see the positive factors. They are not looking at the empirical evidence, which is positive. I would also argue that these people are cynics or tragic, always too prepared to put down the Philippines. Its great sport, but one does have to acknowledge progress. I don't think its prejudice, I think its just being accustomed to a point of few, just as the biggest cynics are found at the bottom of the market. The evidence supports them. They can talk about where the market has come from, but can they offer any evidence for where its going.

Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Monday, August 25, 2008

Foreclosures on the increase

One gets the sense that the number of foreclosures are on the increase. On the weekend I drove around the edge of Lake Taal, from San Nicholas to Laurel, then up the edge of the caldera to Tagaytay. It was interesting to observe the amount of 'FOR SALE' signs around. One gets the impression a lot of them are foreclosures since the signs are often the same style of signage. Its still a little early to buy I think, buy its a good time to get a sense of prices. Your market is not so much people who are being squeezed by higher interest rates at this point, but small businesses who expanded too quickly, business people who lavishly went out spending before they had actually made the money, only to see their margins plummet with higher costs and lower prices. There is not just a credit squeeze, there is a squeeze on profit margins. It will be some time before confidence returns to the market, but that's not to say investors in the Philippines should wait too long. There is higher inflation in the market and less debt to purge in this market. I think Western markets will recover far more slowly than the Philippines.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Hardcopy of ‘Buying Philippines property’

There is a lot of interest in our book ‘Buying Philippines Property’. Inquirers are asking if it would be available in hardcopy form. The answer is – it’s possible, though I would encourage you to buy the eBook copy for several reasons:
1. The books are cheaper. I could not possibly sell this book for $50 if I didn't get the benefit of free shipping, no printing costs, and low cost of materials. Did you know 60-70% of the value of a printed book goes to a publisher/distributor? That is another compelling reason to sell books direct.
2. The book is more useful. My books are dynamic in the sense that I provide hyperlinks to current data where it is available. This means that you can readily update content when you need it. For example the latest inflation figures, a list of barangays. I provide a lot of links to external sites as well as my online resources. This might include hyperlinks to white sand beaches in Google Maps, or a location map of shopping malls.
3. eBooks are more flexible since readers can read the book wherever they are, without having to carry the book around. This means you can read the book when you are in a coffee shop, or in an airport without carrying two volumes.
4. eBooks offer enhanced communication: There is the opportunity to develop a relationship with the buyers of your book. This is good for me because I learn more about my customers, and they sometimes become friends, as well as being an opportunity for them to ask questions, and for me to provide updates on any critical content. By comparison, the humble ‘hardcopy’ looks a little tired.

Of course the problem is that people still buy 85% of their books in bookstores, yet I would guess that a great many of those people are buying novels, cookbooks, travel books, where there is really no opportunity or need to communicate with the author. This should highlight the fact to people that eBooks are a compelling way to sell NON-fiction books. This is my business model. I hope you also find value in this approach to information. Basically it offers you the opportunity to buy for $50 information that took me 3-4months to compile. Why did it take so long? Because I was also going out and talking to rural banks so you don't have to, looking at a lot of ugly people so you don’t have to.
With this particular book there is going to be a lot of interest from retirees in the Philippines, some of whom might find the technology for eBooks a burden. Please let me know if this is the case and I will see if I can make alternative arrangements.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Discrimination against foreign tenants

This article by JapanProbe highlights the difficulty that Westerners have finding rental accommodation in Japan. Prejudice in Japan is concealed somewhat because foreigners often live in Japan with the support of spouses, girlfriends and sponsoring companies (employers). In my case, I did all three. Some foreigners are able to lease on their own accord, but often they need a Japanese guarantor, or a sponsoring company.
There is the option of 'gaijin accommodation' as well, which is short term rental accommodation targeted at foreigners, which is priced around Y60-150,000 per month. The most popular is Sakura House. Such companies have grown to a size where they are able to offer decent accommodation all over Tokyo. Prejudice against foreigners is particularly strong in rural areas, though even in tourist areas, where you would expect Japanese business owners to appreciate the value of foreign customers, there are signs saying 'No foreigners'. That is of course a red flag for a foreigner like me to enter. he he.
If you are looking at accommodation in Japan for more than 2 years, or you plan to come back, it might make sense to buy your own place. Bear in mind however that apartments have steep management fees attached to them. The solution of course is buying a house and lot. There are reasonably priced housing in subdivisions on the outskirts of Tokyo, say around Sakado in Saitama. I viewed a lot of such properties selling for around Y3.5-6.5 million, though you can pay a lot more. Some people would never consider living in such a place. In these cases you need to wait for further weakening in the market as central city prices rallied more than the outer suburban areas.
I personally don't think the Japanese prejudice is much of a concern because of the alternatives. The Japanese are more scared of foreigners than anything else. They don't understand foreigners and are not very comfortable outside their rigid routines. Its a very homogeneous society and they really do want to knock down the nail that sticks out, but at the same time few of them take the time to understand foreigners.
The Japanese tend to be very polite when they have to accept you. My new neighbour is a lovely guy, a retired engineer from Tokorazawa. My other neighbour is the guy from whom my property was acquired. He is surprisingly friendly, though he can be difficult. He took a year to move his rubbish from my lot (previously his). People are very friendly. On our other property, the prior owner even offered parting advice on how to maintain the house. i.e.. Keep pine needles out of the gutters because they can cause water to flood into the house. It makes all the difference if you can converse in Japanese, otherwise they are not so helpful.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Yakuza involved in Japanese foreclosures

The Philippines is not the only country face foreclosures. This article by William Pesek of Bloomberg highlights the deterioration in the credit quality of Japanese property holders. The question is - would one want to bid on a property that is associated with the yakuza. I'm not entirely sure how well the yakuza would feel if the they lost money. I'm quite certain I would not want to be a foreigner in those circumstances as they would likely find the support of a local authority. The solution is simply to avoid the types of properties which would attract the yakuza.
Japanese properties offer very attractive yields because over the years property prices have fallen whilst rents remained stable. The market picked up for a few years but has softened again. The yields remain attractive, particularly for well-bought foreclosed properties, though its not yet time to buy back in the centre of the major cities.
Japan is a yield proposition and mainly serves those living or retiring there. The Philippines otherwise suits investors with a regional perspective. Japan is a reform laggard, while the Philippines is looking interesting.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

The politics of property in the Philippines

Property in the biggest industry in any country. If you consider how important building or housing construction is to a country, then appreciate that real estate is sum value of that land and property over its useful life, say 70-100 years. That's a lot of value, and agents get a 5% commission for any sale on those assets. So you might therefore appreciate the importance of the real estate sector, and the implications for how the sector is managed. Ever wondered why the real estate sector remains loosely regulated despite the desire of the peak bodies to increase regulation. Well let me give you my theory:
1. Realty associations have no interest in improving the standards of agents. Apart from the rhetoric, they really want their agents dumb and docile so they go out and earn commissions for them, but never have the standing to establish their own agency. Put another way, they want a steep supply curve, where they act as gate keepers.
2. Real estate has several associations because they want power and prestige rather than wanting to improve the industry. Reason is not the standard.
3. Realty associations want to talk down the standards (and they are bad) of the industry because it increases their market share, and increases the number of agents working for them.

The industry, like any other, is divided into perpetrators and victims, and they operate on different planes. Consider the following:
1. Aspiring unlicensed agent who wants a piece of wealth and will do anything it takes to achieve it. They don't see the need for a licence because the industry is poorly regulated, and if they ever had a license they could lose it. If they don't have a licence, they can always become a legitimate agent later because they could only be prosecuted on criminal grounds. Can convicted criminals become real estate agents. I don't know, but I dare say a bribe will avoid that consequence.
2. Honest agents - bless these people because they are so unaffected by the world around them. Seldom do I meet them, but then the scum of the earth are attracted to foreigners, so its understandable if we are a little tragic in our assessment. Or maybe its when confronted by a foreigner than people truly reveal themselves. Sorry, I have not conducted an empirical study of industry ethics. But if I estimate from unsolicited contact with agents, the news is bad.
3. Industry leaders: There are those who have influence and those who earn it. On the issue of earning respect, there is an agent named 'Gigi' who is all over the internet. I don't know if she is a good agent, able to delegate responsibility so that she can adequately service clients. Regardless, her marketing efforts are formidable. A cynic would conclude that Gigi died 20 years ago and her agency has retained her facial image as a brand. She is the new breed nevertheless challenging the old school, which is about protecting entrenched interests.
4. Profitable bureaucrats: There are those bureaucrats with the power to veto projects. They of course have the capacity to earn significant kickbacks so any proposal made does not get to the next stage, as the politician controlling that department is going to require so much more. So I guess for an aspiring developer, you really want to know the people in the department, so you can avoid the politicians. So congrats to the directors with influence. It is of course those corrupt dept heads which are promoted.
5. Unprofitable bureaucrats: These are the people who for lack of presentation or a legacy of honesty, or outspokenness are unable to rise through the system. Some of them become people haters, complaining about every issue, others do their own smaller deals. You might call up the dept, and they have this desire not to help you on the phone. Instead they want to meet you at a coffee shop, so they can sell their services. eg. I can get your project approved. These are of course the fixers. Some of them are useful because they are the unloved technicians who actually have some sense of objective reality. There are those very smart people who have remained deputy directors because they have been outspoken. They risk loosing their jobs, but they are sometimes tolerated because they are good. These people in a Western country would be perceived as 'negative' because Westerners evade such thoughts. In the Philippines people cannot escape it. Its great to here these people when they speak out. You get so many insights.

The values that drive the Philippines political system should be apparent to one and all. Living by others standards of value and judgement, by compromising any sense of personal pride and integrity, thats how these people become like that. The thinking is so entrenched that virtue is rendered impractical. People are reduced to concrete-bound, short-sighted morphs. So how does it change? It requires reason to be the standard of value. So how do you get that? Well it takes the following:
1. Better data gives better decisions
2. Better justice since law enforcement is at least a tacit attempt at instituting objectivity, that is assuming the laws are objective. Big sigh there!
3. More outspoken people, particularly influential people outside the sector
4. Greater prosperity would give people greater sense of conceptual comfort. You don't engage in abstract thinking when you are on the edge of extinction
There is of course a chicken inside that egg.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Why are Filipino real estate agents so bad?

There are a number of reasons why Filipino real estate agents are so bad. First I should clarify that not all agents are in fact licensed agents. This is of course asserted as reason why you should use a 'licensed' agent.

The reasons why agents, brokers, referrer are so bad can be traced back to the following:
1. Culture is a generalised set of values that define a nation's values. Of course it must be appreciated that 30% of Filipinos are close to the poverty line, so its fair to say that desperation is never far from most Filipino minds, and the allure of material possessions and comforts. This country defines people as victims and perpetrators based on money, influence and education. Justice is given very little attention, though I understand the government is starting to clamp down on bad agents. It will take some time before a cynical Filipino people start reporting incidents of malpractice, so that is more reason for the government to be more vigilant. Are there any signs of that? No, corruption remains ever-present at the top.
2. Lack of training: I know someone who has done the required or approved training to obtain a real estate license. The course is just 20 hours of seminar and of course the study to pass the exam. Just 58% of attendees pass the exam. In the course they claim that real estate is 90% law and 10% all else. Based on my assessment (right) law should only be about 32% of the course content, and I am allocating 40 hours to it, more than twice the amount required for the Filipino license. I am in fact suggesting that a half-decent course in real estate would need to be about 123 hours of course work (compared to 20 hours present). This of course no guarantee of service, but it would greatly lift the standards because I can assure you, it would discourage the plethora of 'weekend warriors' who are currently doing the course. They include retirees, socialites, Congressmen's silly daughters.
3. Lack of breadth: The biggest problem with agents is their lack of breadth. The above bar chart shows the lack of subject diversity in the course. These agents should be making this a profession. The problem is they are treating it like a sideline. This can only result in a deterioration in standards. As a foreigner I am constantly annoyed by people selling me property. I am of course the gold mine that is going to generate a signature which is going to buy them a car. They are hoping for a P1 million commission. The problem is - even the best of them don't know much about the market, they don't know how to analyse the market. Why? They know they only have to rot learn 20 hours of course material to get a licence. I dare say those that don't pass still practice the 'art', as no one expects a license to mean much anyway. Apparently the industry is calling for higher standards, but then there are politics there too, because their vested interest is increasing the market share of their members.
4. Ethics and ambition: The problem with the Philippines is that anyone good enough to be conceptual, has a running chance of scamming you. They see an opportunity to make money from a foreigner, or even expat Filipino. I just don't deal with them. They don't realise how they show their hand when they make such propositions. They neglect to see the conflict of interest, the deceit. They live in a subjective reality because there is an almost total absence of accountability. If you get caught there is a good chance you can pay your way out of trouble, particularly for the larger enterprises.
5. Lack of enforcement: The only way the industry can lift standards is by lifting the level of enforcement, and raise the standards for compliance.

You might think that I am against the idea of buying property in the Philippines because the agents are so poorly prepared for their job. But actually no. I am a great believer in managing risk rather than avoiding it. I also believe that you don't need a real estate agent in the Philippines. The best approach is to deal direct with buyers if you can. Avoid all agents wherever possible. I think you do need the assistance of a Filipino if you are not one, otherwise you will not be able to communicate in the local language, and that would help you a great deal. Its easy enough to find someone to help you. There are ample Filipinos out of work. Even a call centre agent gets just P1000/week net ($US22), so you shouldn't have much trouble finding someone willing to help since they are amongst the better paid. They might even take time off for you if you doubled that. Its better to have an older person with an education. You might just teach them something about real estate besides.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Friday, August 22, 2008

Buying property from rural banks

An important element of the Philippines property market is 'acquired assets' or foreclosed properties. Many people will be familiar with the major banks in the Philippines which offer properties to investors. These banks have the advantage of a large number of clients and also far greater resources to promote the sale of their foreclosed properties. In contrast, there are some 751 small rural banks scattered across the country with maybe 1-5 branches. Most of these banks don't even have email or website capacities. So you might ask how these banks sell their properties. Well the answer is - with a great deal of difficulty. Some are more helpful than others. Some just don't want to sell. Some have useless lots, some have valuable properties. Some are prepared to offer deep discounts, others are waiting for the market to meet their prices. You might ask - how do you get in contact with so many rural banks? Well you don't need to. We have spoken to many of them. The attraction of these properties is that they are under-loved. These banks don't have the high-end customers that the major banks have. The discouragement by some banks suggests to me that they don't want to waste time with tire kickers, or they have some vested interest in retaining the properties. It's not all too clear. I've had rural bank managers trying to sell me other non-bank properties so they can make commission. When I was not interested, they were not interested in selling me bank assets. A lot of that type of thinking around.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Easier than ever to buy, live and retire abroad

I have long been thankful for this period in history in which we have been born into. Apart from the long period of economic prosperity, we have never been more free to travel, to work abroad and increasingly its becoming popular to live or retire abroad. Prosperity has not fallen upon everyone equally, but even still astute investors have more capacity than anyone to buy property abroad. But I don't have to tell most people that. When I go around the Philippines people tell me 'That property is owned by a Chinese man, that one by an English guy and his wife, that one by a German'. Its always a good sign that you are looking in a good area when foreigners think well enough of a place to buy. They have a global perspective, yet they chose to buy here.

Some people retire in the Philippines because they can't afford to retire comfortably in their own country. Some have no problem retiring comfortably in their own country, then just want to retire in the Philippines so they can retire early. The lifestyle is certainly a selling point. The people make it such a relaxing place to be. They are not uptight like aspirational Westerners. But for Westerners looking for a place to build a business I can think of no better place. Whether you goals are profit-seeking or altruistic, there are many opportunities to set up a business here. If you want to set up a business here I recommend doing a seminar or course here. Study real estate, doing business, etc. This is the best way to meet the local people. I would not advise going into business without a local partner. Try to avoid the bars and clubs, that's not where you meet real people.
If you are interested in learning more about living in the Philippines check out my blogs and by all means buy my report. The table of contents is available here. Its not all good news, but then life is managing your affairs to avoid such problems. I hope I have offered some insights in how to do that.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cheapest houses in the Philippines

It would be no easy task finding the cheapest house in the Philippines, nor I dare say would you want to live there. So what would you want in a house? Well lets see if I can cover the basics:
1. Decent house
2. Remote from neighbours
3. Quiet
4. Cheap
5. Good proximity to places
How would you fancy this place? It is being sold by a bank for just P1 million, that's $US23,000. Its located in the Balete area of Batangas, near Lake Taal, however the place is occupied by the previous owner. The bank will evict them for you. The problem of course is that you will be making the current residents homeless. Well it might not be that bad. Maybe they have a job, but can't make their payments. But its not a strategy for solving proverty. Behind the house there are nice views of the mountains near Calamba. The Balete road will take you to the lake or the shopping malls of Lipa City. The problem with this property is the neighbours behind the property. Anyway not a bad property for <$US25,000. Low maintenance garden, so good for a rental.
It does not meet all my criteria for a house purchase, but not bad. The neighbours behind (down the hill) could be a little noisy.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fears of property crisis overstated in Philippines

Suggestions by some that there is a risk of a property crisis in the Philippines are way off-ball. There has not been the crazy buying that we have seen in other markets, at least not with respect to domestic debt financing, and foreign banks don't readily lend to property purchases abroad. The Philippines has among the lowest mortgage debt to GDP ratios, so no great credit bust ahead. All that buying came from OFWs, balikbayan rich from offshore savings and investments. When the US looked peakish, they moved money to the Philippines, resulting in the strong currency last year. High oil prices, weaker outlook has taken the top of the market, but there will be another period of strong strong in the Philippines property market.

There will come a time when the Philippines does have a property crisis, but we have yet to really see the boom yet. It has started, but it has a long way to go. In another 15-20 years I dare say, after $10-15 bil of investment in resorts and condos by Chinese and Korean developers, you will see the top of the Philippines property market. I might be overstating the intensity of the investment. Labour productivity and the strong yuan are likely to make China very attractive for Chinese, but there are other considerations. Pollution in China, a desire for exotic locations, diversification, not to mention that the Philippine currency will be no slouch either. We are a long way yet from that. We are seeing an inflationary phase resulting from higher commodity prices and a slight shortage of skilled labour. This is a rest period, not a sustained slump. I must say that other Asian countries will perform well as well, but the Philippines I think will lead the ASEAN countries, though I think Indonesia will offer some interesting opportunities in a few years after it relaxes its regulations regarding foreign investment and visa restrictions. Malaysia and East Timor too should have some appeal.
It must be remembered that this economic cycle is a 'super-cycle', as was witnessed in the 1880s and the prior booms when the world made great headway. As long as there is cheap labour capacity I dont see it running out of steam. There will be cost impositions on the global economy like higher oil prices, environmental compliance, but these will create just temporary setbacks since these costs are absorbed.
As far as the current property weakness is concerned, it will not sink far because of the low debt exposure, but prices are set at the margin, and any surplus property sales will hurt the market, as well as creating an over-supply of property. There is also strong inflation which is pushing prices up. Unlike Western markets (excluding Japan) high debt is not pushing up interest repayments as bad.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Friday, August 15, 2008

How English-only speakers can find properties

I don't wish to convey that it would be easy to find Japanese foreclosed properties without speaking Japanese, but there are ways around the language barrier, apart from relying on others support. The use of the internet being a case in point.
The files you download are PDF so sometimes they can't be translated from the PDF file, but you can still translate from the 'green' reference file online.
You can cut & paste a piece of name and place it into Google, and search it. Its very easy to pick up the pattern because the format is all standardised right across Japan.
You take the English name for the station and place that into Hyperdia.com. Use your home town as the other reference point. You will know exactly where the station is, how long it will take you to get there, and how long it is from the closest regional centre. Great tools!

Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

How to look for foreclosed property

I cover this in more detail in my ebook, but just to give people an idea of the steps I take to find foreclosed property.
1. Identify the values you want to achieve in your life
2. Concretise you values in the context of property values, eg. Quiet neighbourhood, close to station
2. Perform a strategy study of your area of interest, eg. Anywhere within say 1.5hrs of your place of work using all the values you have identified.
3. Buy a street directory (map) - there are think provincial map books which I use
4. Get on to the Bit Sikkou website and look for properties - a guide is in previous posts
5. Download the property specific details - focus on the price, layout and photos, as you can read more later. Even if its not what you want, the info can be useful, particularly for using the future bidding results.
6. Read up on the properties. At this point you need Japanese reading skills, or know someone with that skill.
6. Go and have a look at the specific properties you are interested in, as you will learn a lot more by going there. I personally would not approach the occupants of the place, but do take a discrete look, unless it looks empty (a lot of weeds in summer, or no snow prints in winter, etc), then take liberty.
7. Take care if you talk to neighbours. Its pretty embarrassing for Japanese people to concede that they are lost their home, so don't be surprised if the neighbours don't know. I personally prefer not to talk to them because they are prospective bidders. eg. They might have children looking for a home in the neighbourhood, and few people consider foreclosed property. Many neighbours will want to know what you are doing.

The approach in the Philippines is very different. But that's another story.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Can non-English speakers buy Japanese foreclosed property

My Japanese level is very basic, so I would have to say it would be very difficult to buy foreclosed property without Japanese assistance unless:
1. You use a local broker who specialise in such matters
2. You find a Japanese agent who speaks English. This could be expensive unless you filter out the properties you want him to analyse in detail. The instructions I provided for people to people to use the Bit Sikkou website are intended to help you get to this point.
3. You call upon the help of a Japanese friend with business-level English.

It might seem like a drag for them to do this for you, but I would suggest several novel approaches:
1. Turn it into an English lesson field trip - i.e.. Today we are going to go to the Japanese District court to investigate property. I can imagine them saying 'Really, sounds exciting'!
2. Turn it into a lesson in financial literacy. I am always talking about investments, and I really find the Japanese curious to learn, particularly the girls. The guys can be too proud to take advice from foreigners, particularly the older guys, whilst the younger guys tend to lack a strong sense of purpose. Older girls & boys (>30yo are better). I would often talk to Japanese young people about buying property in izakayas. For many of them its really an interesting way to learn English.
3. Appeal to what they value. If you say to a guy he can buy a foreclosed 18m2 studio to bang his girlfriend for P1mil, he will probably say:
(a) But I already spent that I jewellery and holidays for her, or
(b) I'm too shy
(c) But whose going to wash my sheets.
I think the girls are so much more fun to take on field trips, but be sure to stop at many coffee shops because they quickly lose interest.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Rural banks in the Philippines

Of late I have been running around the Philippines talking to a lot of the rural banks in the Philippines. You have to run around because their English is pretty useless, or maybe its the twang in my Australian accent. Anyway, they don't want to speak to me sometimes. You turn up at these branches for a list of foreclosed properties, and often you would think you are pulling teeth. This is just some of the responses I got today:
1. Sorry we can't show you properties today, we close to 1PM.
2. Would you like to buy a property, I can refer you to several. I'm an agent you know...No, I thought you were working for the bank. I didn't know it was a front for your dubious undertakings. Didn't you get my email..eh yeh, I responded yesterday. Nope, actually he didn't. But he did after I attended his office.
3. Sorry we are closed. Oh, but its 12 noon. Come back at 3PM. But you close at 3PM. I guess he would prefer I don't come back.
4. No, we don't have acquired assets. Yeh right. You just don't know what one is.

I have had some good feedback as well though, but for a sector such as banking I would have expected better service, and certainly not the gross unethical behvaviour of some bank managers. Anyway I will say more on this topic when I release my Philippines property report within the next week. I keep saying this but I keep finding/thinking of something else that just needs to be said. Up to 280 pages at present, so its a much bigger effort than my Japan study. This will be the first eBook that I will publish in hardcopy, though actually it makes much more sense as an eBook because I very much rely on hyperlinks for pertinent internet content such as links to online maps, the banks lists of foreclosed properties (for those that bother to publish them), and so many more. I will publish a table of contents here soon.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

Major cities of Japan

資料:各都市の推計人口(ホームページ) Japan's major cities:
札幌市 Sapporo 仙台市 Sendai さいたま市 Saitama 千葉市 Chiba
東京都区部 Tokyo-23 横浜市 Yokohama 川崎市 Kawasaki 新潟市 Niigata 静岡市 Shizuoka 浜松市 Hamamatsu 名古屋市 Nagoya 京都市 Kyoto 大阪市 Osaka 堺市 Sakai 神戸市 Kobe 広島市 Hiroshima 北九州市 Kitakyushu 福岡市 Fukuoka

Cities and towns of Tokyo

競売物件購入 keibai buttsuken kounyu 千代田区 Chiyoda-ku 八王子市 Hachioji-shi 羽村市 Hamura-shi 中央区 Chuo-ku 立川市 Tachikawa-shi あきる野市 Akiruno-shi 港区 Minato-ku 武蔵野市 Musashino-shi 西東京市 Nishitokyo-shi 新宿区 Shinjuku-ku 三鷹市 Mitaka-shi 文京区 Bunkyo-ku 青梅市 Ome-shi 郡部 Towns and villages 台東区 Taito-ku 府中市 Fuchu-shi 瑞穂町 Mizuho-machi
墨田区 Sumida-ku 昭島市 Akishima-shi 日の出町 Hinode-machi 江東区 Koto-ku 調布市 Chofu-shi 檜原村 Hinohara-mura 品川区 Shinagawa-ku 町田市 Machida-shi 奥多摩町 Okutama-machi 目黒区 Meguro-ku 小金井市 Koganei-shi 大田区 Ota-ku 小平市 Kodaira-shi 島部 Islands 世田谷区 Setagaya-ku 日野市 Hino-shi 大島町 Oshima-machi 渋谷区 Shibuya-ku 東村山市 Higashimurayama-shi 利島村 Toshima-mura
中野区 Nakano-ku 国分寺市 Kokubunji-shi 新島村 Niijima-mura 杉並区 Suginami-ku 国立市 Kunitachi-shi 神津島村 Kouzushima-mura 豊島区 Toshima-ku 福生市 Fussa-shi 三宅村 Miyake-mura 北区 Kita-ku 狛江市 Komae-shi 御蔵島村 Mikurajima-mura 荒川区 Arakawa-ku 東大和市 Higashiyamato-shi 八丈町 Hachijo-machi 板橋区 Itabashi-ku 清瀬市 Kiyose-shi 青ケ島村 Aogashima-mura 練馬区 Nerima-ku 東久留米市 Higashikurume-shi 小笠原村 Ogasawara-mura 足立区 Adachi-ku 武蔵村山市 Musashimurayama-shi 葛飾区 Katsushika-ku 多摩市 Tama-shi 江戸川区 Edogawa-ku 稲城市 Inagi-shi

Cities & Towns of Saitama

競売物件購入 keibai buttsuken kounyu 西区 Nishi-ku 北区 Kita-ku 大宮区 Omiya-ku 見沼区 Minuma-ku 中央区 Chuo-ku 桜区 Sakura-ku 浦和区 Urawa-ku 南区 Minami-ku 緑区 Midori-ku Cities (-shi) さいたま市 Saitama-shi 川越市 Kawagoe-shi 熊谷市 Kumagaya-shi 川口市 Kawaguchi-shi 行田市 Gyoda-shi 秩父市 Chichibu-shi 所沢市 Tokorozawa-shi 飯能市 Hanno-shi 加須市 Kazo-shi 本庄市 Honjo-shi 東松山市 Higashi-Matsuyama-shi 岩槻市 Iwatski-shi 春日部市 Kasukabe-shi 狭山市 Sayama-shi 羽生市 Hanyu-shi 鴻巣市 Kounosu-shi 深谷市 Fukaya-shi 上尾市 Ageo-shi 草加市 Souka-shi 越谷市 Koshigaya-shi 蕨 市 Warabi-shi 戸田市 Toda-shi 入間市 Iruma-shi 鳩ケ谷市 Hatogaya-shi 朝霞市 Asaka-shi 志木市 Shiki-shi 和光市 Wako-shi 新座市 Niiza-shi 桶川市 Okegawa-shi 久喜市 Kuki-shi 北本市 Kitamoto-shi 八潮市 Yasio-shi 富士見市 Fujimi-shi 上福岡市 Kami-fukuoka-shi 三郷市 Misato-shi 蓮田市 Hasuda-shi 坂戸市 Sakado-shi 幸手市 Satte-shi 鶴ケ島市 Tsurogashima-shi 日高市 Hidaka-shi 吉川市 Yoshikawa-shi 北足立郡 Districts (-gun) 伊奈町 Ina-machi or ko 吹上町 Fukiage-machi 大井町 Oi-machi 三芳町 Miyoshi-machi 毛呂山町 Moroyama-machi 越生町 Ogose-machi 名栗村 Naguri-mura

Cities &Towns of Kanagawa

競売物件購入 keibai buttsuken kounyu 県計 市部計 郡部計 横浜市 鶴見区 神奈川区 西区 中区 南区 港南区 保土ヶ谷区 旭区 磯子区 金沢区 港北区 緑区 青葉区 都筑区 戸塚区 栄区 泉区 瀬谷区 川崎市 川崎区 幸区 中原区 高津区 宮前区 多摩区 麻生区 横須賀市 平塚市 鎌倉市 藤沢市 小田原市 茅ヶ崎市 逗子市 相模原市 三浦市 秦野市 厚木市 大和市 伊勢原市 海老名市 座間市 南足柄市 綾瀬市 三浦郡葉山町 高座郡寒川町 中郡 大磯町 二宮町 足柄上郡 中井町 大井町 松田町 山北町 開成町 足柄下郡 箱根町 真鶴町 湯河原町 愛甲郡 愛川町 清川村

Cities & Towns of Chiba

競売物件購入 keibai buttsuken kounyu 県計 市計 郡計 千葉市 中央区 花見川区 稲毛区 若葉区 緑区 美浜区 銚子市 市川市 船橋市 館山市 木更津市 松戸市 野田市 佐原市 茂原市 成田市 佐倉市 東金市 八日市場市 旭市 習志野市 柏市 勝浦市 市原市 流山市 八千代市 我孫子市 鴨川市 鎌ヶ谷市 君津市 富津市 浦安市 四街道市 袖ケ浦市 八街市 印西市 白井市 富里市

Cities & Towns of Osaka

競売物件購入 keibai buttsuken kounyu 総 数 府 保 健 所 計 池 田 池田市 豊能町  箕面市  能勢町  豊中豊中市  吹 田 吹田市 茨木摂津市  茨木市 島本町 枚方枚方市  寝屋川 寝屋川市 守口 守口市  門真市 四條畷 四條畷市 交野市  大東市 八 尾 八尾市  柏原市  藤井寺 松原市  羽曳野市 藤井寺市 富田林 大阪狭山市 富田林市 河内長野市 河南町  太子町  千早赤阪村 和泉和泉市  泉大津市 高石市  忠岡町  岸和田 岸和田市 貝塚市  泉佐野 泉佐野市 熊取町 田尻町  泉南市  阪南市  岬町 大 阪 市 堺市 高槻市 東大阪市  

Cities & Towns of Hiroshima

競売物件購入 keibai buttsuken kounyu 県計 広島市 広島市中区 広島市東区 広島市南区 広島市西区 広島市安佐南区 広島市安佐北区 広島市安芸区 広島市佐伯区 呉市 竹原市 三原市 尾道市 福山市 府中市 三次市 庄原市 大竹市 東広島市 廿日市市 安芸高田市 江田島市 府中町 海田町 熊野町 坂町 安芸太田町 北広島町 大崎上島町 世羅町 神石高原町