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Is Goan Property Still A Wise Investment

Aug 20, 2008
Although it may not be such a common occurrence in today's economic climate, some people still have the means to invest in property. Narrowing it down for the purposes of this article, you can choose between buying a property on home turf or investing in a foreign property. You could buy yourself a UK property that will see you living in relative comfort for many years. When you get bored you can go out and walk the hard, cold pavements of the UK's towns and cities and take in all that dull, grey atmosphere that Britain is so famous for.

Alternatively, you could buy a foreign property. You could pick up a little place in a hotter climate, waking up to blue skies and warm breezes most days. Your walks would consist of burying your bare toes in white sand as soft as cotton wool, seeking shade under the palm trees lining the beach and bathing in the turquoise sea waters.

Many people have chosen this alternative to the depressing British life. Many of them chose to buy foreign property in Goa. This is a small area on the coast of India and is typically considered the jewel in the Indian crown. It has been a popular holiday destination since the early Sixties but more recently, foreigners have been buying up more and more property in the area in the hope of taking up residence or letting for holiday purposes.

This has caused a knock on effect of pushing up property prices beyond the reach of many locals and is causing a housing dilemma that the authorities are dealing with. However, their methods leave a lot to be desired. Laws have been changed without warning, meaning that many people are now being left with no proof of property ownership.

The particular law in question is the one that determines a legal Goan resident to be one that 'resides in the country for any purpose that would indicate his intention to stay for an uncertain period of time'. The word 'uncertain' meant that many who invested in foreign property in Goa thought they owned the said property. However, the Government are cooling towards the idea of foreigners buying up their property and have now decided the word 'uncertain' does not mean 'uncertain'.

Purchasers who have bought up property in the last five to eight years have found themselves without any legal ownership because they cannot prove legal residency.
On top of this, there have been changes to the Indian Registration Act that dates back 100 years. Home purchase documents presented to the registrar are being turned down, leaving the owners with no proof of ownership.

These changes seem highly unfair to the ex-pat community. Their homes have been purchased in good faith, they have invested in a beautiful country in the hope of seeing out their days and have bought no hardship on the country and yet they stand the risk of losing everything. The Governments claims that with foreigners buying up property, this has pushed up prices for Goan natives is disputed by many and they are left feeling that the Government simply what to get rid of them.

The recent murder of a British teenager on a Goan beach has also cast a cloud over the country and their tourist industry will suffer for a while until the event fades from people's memories. You would think the Government would be more keen to keep up investment in the area at least until this phase passes.
About the Author
Property expert Catherine Harvey looks at the issues for those investing in foreign property in Goa.
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