Pit Stop 2

In the second of a two-part series, Marc Da-Silva completes a swift tour around this season’s Formula 1 circuits, offering a brief overview of the property market in each destination, along the way

Property in Germany
Michael Schumacher’s native Germany could see its property market strengthen on the back of falling unemployment figures, which is having a positive impact on the German economy as a whole.

Residential demand is on the up, not just because more people are in employment, but also due to the recent relaxation of the country’s immigration policies. Yet, this is not being met by the supply of new homes coming onto the market.

However, while the Germans are keen buyers of holiday homes abroad, domestically, the general mentality is to rent, presenting potentially good buy-to-let opportunities.

Property in Hungary
Much like many of the drivers that have tackled the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest, in the past, Hungary’s public debt has spiralled out of control.

Although the country’s housing market has been weak for years, a lack of new credit, combined with the economic recession, is likely to lead to sharp falls in residential prices over the next couple of years.

Budapest, where a rental return of around six per cent can typically be achieved, is almost a single city investment consideration for UK investors at this time.

Property in Valencia
The European grand prix is held in Valencia, Spain, where there are over 155,000 unsold new-build homes lying empty on the market, following a construction boom.

Nationally, there are now over a million unsold new homes, and if Spain’s housing stock was to keep growing at its current level, then there by 2012 the oversupply of new-build homes could potentially exceed 1.2m unsold units.

Although the volume of housing starts has actually slowed, it will still take years for the Spanish housing market to fully recover, particularly in Valencia.

Property in Belgium
In 1998, an incredible 13 cars were involved in a first-lap pile-up as the Belgian race began in torrential rain, leaving Britain’s Damon Hill to win the race. Luckily, no similarly chaotic scenes have been witnessed in Belgium’s property market.

However, market activity and prices have dropped back into first gear, following a 97% in the average price of a home in the country between 2000 and 2007.

Property in Italy
Nicknamed the Pista Magica in Italy, Monza is the quickest circuit in F1, with cars reaching a top speed of 215 mph. Unfortunately the country’s housing market has failed to keep apace with most cars on the grid.

Much like the Williams F1 vehicle, the Italian property market has been slow for the past few years. Nevertheless, demand for property in the country is growing, particularly in the island of Sicily, which the Italian government plans to link to the mainland, with the construction of a two mile bridge.

Property in Singapore
The Marina Bay circuit takes in the iconic Raffles Hotel where the gin-based cocktail the Singapore Sling originated. Those working in the Singaporean housing industry have probably drunk their fair share of concoctions in recent months, as they come to come to terms with the current plight of the city-state’s housing market.

Property prices are plummeting, as demand falls well short of supply. There are currently over 2,000 luxurious new-build homes lying empty and unsold on the market.

Property in Japan
Suzuka is the only F1 race circuit that follows a figure-of-eight format, where the circuit passes over itself - it is also sited in a theme park.

With a stringent oversupply of unsold new-build homes across parts of Japan, particularly the capital of Tokyo, the country’s housing sector could also be in for a bit of a rollercoaster ride over the next few years. Sterling’s weak exchange rate against the Japanese yen also makes property in Japan extremely expensive for potential British buyers.

Property in Brazil
The Autodromo Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo is named after the Brazilan grand prix driver who regrettably died in an air accident in 1977. Fortunately, the Brazilian property market is today successfully flying high. Foreign direct investment into the country’s property sector rose by almost 21% on annual basis in 2008.

With Brazil scheduled to host the 2014 football World Cup, and short-listed as a contender to hold 2016 Olympic Games, the prospects for future capital appreciation look good.

Property in Abu Dhabi
The new kid on the block, Abu Dhabi, will host its first ever F1 race at the Yas Marina Circuit, the 17th and final race of the season on 15 November.

The Arabian capital, which controls 90% of the oil wealth in the region, is the richest and largest of all the seven UAE states. The emirate – ahead of Dubai – is well positioned to lead the UAE property recovery, following a sharp downturn in recent months.