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40 | AGENT PROFILE WORDS | Sean Lightbown


months as overseas property professionals scour the globe for emerging buyer markets.

Selling to the Swedes M

uch focus has been brought on to the Scandinavian buyer market in recent

And Swedish buyers in particular are becoming an ever-increasing presence in foreign real estate. Last year, for instance, the College of Registrars in Spain reported a 102% increase in the number of property investors from Spain.

And anecdotal evidence from exhibition organiser Fair Media’s managing director Bjorn Simonsson also indicates that traffi c at the shows is rising rapidly. For Andreas Versen, partner and

international account manager of investment company Station Invest, the Swedish market is coming into its element as a number of economic and social factors come together to boost demand.

“I guess there are many reasons why selling overseas property investments in Sweden is a good market to be in,” Versen says. “Swedish people are very positive to foreign investments and there are many reasons why they consider countries other than Sweden.

In Sweden we have not suffered that much from the fi nancial crises around the globe so there is a lot of capital to be invested.” However, Versen is cautious to an extent. “It´s important to remember that the country is still dependent on exports, so if the overall economy is bad in other countries it will certainly affect Sweden.” “But at the same time there are

plenty of people who think that the property market in Sweden will depreciate in the years to come which makes the international market more interesting since it has already collapsed.”

“Scandanavians are getting more aware of the advantages of investing in the property sector”

Station Invest is relatively new to the industry. “My partners and I at Station Invest have done about 400 transactions in the US since 2009, when the opportunity there was obvious,” says Versen. For him and his company, he believes that with prices now relatively low in several investment

hotspots, Swedish buyers are coming to the fore. “My feeling is that people in Scandinavia are getting more and more aware of the advantages of investing in the property sector,” he says. “Even though there are risks

involved in all assets, property is still considered as a safe place to invest their money.”

2012 so far is looking good, also.

“We have experienced a greater income of leads during the fi rst quarter,” Versen says. “At the moment there is a lot of capital transfer from bonds and stocks in Sweden into the property sector, both abroad and national.”

“The market in Florida gives us indicators that we have probably seen the rock-bottom and we therefore expect the home prices to appreciate in the future which gives us more clients.” “The inventory that is interesting for us in Florida is sinking and it’s getting harder for us to identify high- quality properties that still generate an acceptable cap rate.” In particular, adds Versen, Station Invest is “primarily focusing on single-family homes and condos”, as they are selling well. But whereabouts are Swedes buying?

“Tampa, Orlando and Miami. Those are famous for different reasons. Most buyers are more open-minded to places they know rather than invest in places they have never heard of.” Versen is also quietly confi dent regarding the future. “The latest indicator that we received regarding the euro crises has been pretty good and the confi dence is slowly growing again, which we think is good but no one has a crystal ball so it’s very hard to say [what will happen next year].” “Analysts we work with here in

Only way is up | Florida’s market indicates that prices will appreciate, says Versen

Sweden tell us different opinions all the time, so who knows what the future will bring? We have done great last year so we now have a greater marketing budget for this year, so hopefully the improvements will give us more business.”

Andreas Versen, partner and international account director, Station Invest

What media do you use to get

sales leads? (portals, websites, newspapers etc)

At this point we´re only using referrals, our website and some advertisements in the Swedish economic newspaper called Dagens Industri.

Are there any current threats to your business?

There are a number of competitors that have shown up lately which can be good in one way, but the market here is not huge for overseas property buyers so I prefer fewer agents. Other than that I don´t see any obvious threats in this particular business.

What is your typical commission rate? Depends on the deal but the typical commission rate is about 8% to 10%

What major changes can you envisage for the coming year?

In terms of Station Invest’s changes I can ensure you that it will be a challenging 2012. We´ll start promoting more properties in Spain, France and if possible even more in Florida.

Are you looking for partner networks, or new agencies overseas?

We are constantly looking for ways to expand our network in all directions.

Andreas Versen, international account director and partner of overseas property fi rm Station Invest, has noticed a surge in the number of Swedes looking to invest in real estate outside of the country ... as well as a rise in the number of his company’s competitors. OPP asks how and why this trend is occurring.

Agent Profi le

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