property valuations

Pump some Biofuel into your Portfolio for Peak Performance

As successful investors will know the secret to a robust portfolio is diversification, strategically spreading risk between stocks, shares, traditional investments and increasingly, alternative investments. Interest in biofuels as an alternative investment has grown in recent years as Sydney property valuation and savvy investors move to capitalise on the serious situation we face, namely that we are currently using more crude oil that we are finding it and so new sources of renewable energy must be found.

And that clean, renewable energy can in fact be found growing on trees. Demand for biofuel (fuel derived from biomass) has never been greater with projections of a 20% annual increase through 2011 according to the Earth Times. World governments are injecting large sums of money and resources into the development of biofuels or ‘green oil’ in an attempt to reduce dependency on crude oil. Leading energy suppliers Shell are going one step further, strategically moving away from other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar to biofuels as they are more financially viable.

As Steven Worboys, MD of the alternative investment experts at Experience International, comments,

“Biofuels hold many environmental advantages over fossil fuels which are negatively contributing to many issues facing the planet. Biofuels produce fewer carbon emissions than fossil fuels, are a renewable and sustainable alternative, make use of ‘waste’ materials such as corn stalks, they are less toxic due to their biodegradable matter and the production and extraction is less hazardous and invasive than fossil fuels.”

The commercial use of biofuel has been in operation since 2008 where 1.8% of the world’s transport fuel was from this source (UN Environmental Programme “Assessing Biofuels, 2009). Virgin Atlantic has already embraced the ‘green oil’ and airlines KLM and Lufthansa aim to offer biofuel flights from 2011. Many of the world’s largest economies in South East Asia, South America and Africa have biofuel sites in operation with jatropha being the crop of choice.

Cited as one of the best candidates for future biofuel production by Goldman Sachs and touted as a ‘miracle biofuel’, jatropha is a bushy shrub, resistant to drought and pests which grows on marginal land not suitable for food production. The jatropha seed contains up to 40% non-edible vegetable oil which can be used as a biofuel. India is reported to have set aside 100 million acres of land for jatropha and expect the oil produced to account for 20% of its diesel consumption by 2011.

Worboys goes on to comment,

“Such strong commitment should bolster investor confidence in Green Oil Programmes. Through these sound business models, investors can own in effect an ‘oil property’, an area of land with biofuel producing plants producing oil yearly, in turn providing annual revenues of potentially 20% over a 45 year lease term as well as an increasing capital asset value. Investment in these Green Oil Programmes, which are SIPP compliant, starts from as little as £15,000 and offer investors an innovative way to include an alternative investment in their portfolio as well as building long term income.”

For more information on ensuring your portfolio is at peak performance by investing in biofuels then contact the experts at Experience International on + 44 (0) 207 321 5858 or visit

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property valuations

Why I’m tempted by Turkey

A huge land of stunning coastlines, rich ancient culture and vibrant traditions, Turkey is a fast-changing nation that still offers bags of potential.

On the far Eastern fringes of Europe – and one day no doubt, Melbourne property valuers – a member of the EU – this nation is a fascinating fusion of East and West, alien enough to be slightly exotic, yet familiar enough to be accessible.

A 4-hour flight away from the UK, with a higher volume of direct flights than five years ago, it offers a fantastic climate and a rapidly expanding tourism sector.

Tour operators report that many British travellers have preferred it to the overpriced Eurozone, making it our popular package destination, whilst Turkish figures show that tourists increased by 11% during recent months.

What’s more, overseas mortgage providers are saying the same thing: Turkey has been one of our biggest markets in 2010.

It’s easy to see why. Vast swathes of the south-west coastline still offer highly affordable property in relatively unspoilt resorts close to superb beaches and natural beauty spots. Converts also point to the cheap cost of living, hospitable locals and authentic villages.

Whilst property prices have risen steadily during the last decade, it still offers great value when compared with other pieces of the Mediterranean coast and stricter planning laws have generally prevented over-building.

Capital appreciation has been especially healthy in British favourites such as Bodrum, Altinkum and Kusadasi but where you choose really depends on what you are after; Turkey really offers something for everyone.

For those after a well-established holiday resort, Kusadasi is a good choice with family-friendly amenities close to hand. Only an hour from the nearest airport, it’s not surprising that holiday rentals are booming there.

Bodrum is another well-oiled holiday hotspot, but a little more exclusive these days, with prices to reflect that. But, again, there’s a complete spectrum of property options within the one peninsula.

If you seek somewhere a bit smaller and low-key, Didim is a good choice, and its beach area (known as Altinkum) has been a big hit with British buyers in the last five years.

Or, for those seeking somewhere more relaxed and a bit greener, up-and-coming Akbuk has much to offer with its picturesque bay and small ex-pat community.

In coastal areas just beware of any issues relating to land-zoning and title deeds (or TAPU) – do your homework and ask around before taking the plunge.

Finally, for serious investors, there’s one place that’s hard to beat: Istanbul.

Whilst a beguiling city-break destination in its own right, Turkey’s second city, is a rapidly expanding business and residential hub ideally placed between Europe and Asia.

A severe shortage of accommodation to cater for the city’s burgeoning population – it has expanded by 340,000 in just 2 years – means a hugely profitable domestic rentals market is attracting overseas buyers.

Foreign companies are relocating there, top retail brands too, plus a new marina’s just been announced in the 2010 European Capital of Culture.

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