International briefs

Scots’ protest of Trump golf course goes on

Donald Trump’s planned golf course and housing project, about eight miles outside Aberdeen, Scotland, continues to court opposition.

The project has already received preliminary approval, and construction may begin early next year. But environmentalists and residents are still speaking out against the $1.5 billion, 1,400-acre development, the International Herald Tribune reported.

Trump plans to build two golf courses, a 450-room hotel, 950 vacation homes, 500 single-family houses, a conference center and a golf academy. But Michael Forbes, a fisherman and quarry worker whose land is in the middle of Trump’s proposed development, has refused to relocate. And a Scottish architecture Web site and magazine gave the Trump project the Pockmark Award for being the worst planning decision of 2008. Another local resident, Bill Grant, told the International Herald Tribune that the weather makes Trump’s proposed location a poor one for a golf course.

But Trump said he thinks he has chosen the right location for the project. “This is probably the most unique piece of property in the world for what we’re doing,” he said.

Luxury projects in Phuket put on hold or canceled

On Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, the market for high-end properties has flattened as a result of the financial crisis and political problems in the country. Sales are down 50 percent year-over-year, according to the Phuket office of CB Richard Ellis.

While billboards still advertise risk-free real estate deals and luxury homes dot the landscape, several projects have been put on hold or canceled, the International Herald Tribune reported. Construction has paused indefinitely on Shangri-La’s Phuket Resort & Spa, a Lehman Brothers-financed project. The land for another Lehman-backed project, a Four Seasons resort and luxury villas in Rawai, is for sale.

Even at developments that are not officially on hold, such as the east coast projects Jumeirah Private Island and the Philippe Starck-designed Yamu, there have been construction delays of at least six months.

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Uruguay capital lures foreign buyers

Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, is increasingly popular with foreign buyers.

Property developers have descended on Montevideo in droves over the past few years, and the city has made an effort to clean up Montevideo’s Old Town. In 2008, average property values in the Old Town and in Montevideo’s suburbs increased by about 8 percent, according to local agents.

Prices in the Old Town neighborhood are low because of its reputation as a red-light district, the International Herald Tribune reported. A 1,076-square-foot apartment sold just over a year ago for $77,000. In newer developments, such as Apart356, a 29-unit development geared toward young professionals and foreign buyers, apartments are priced between $120 and $150 per square foot.

Purchasing property in Uruguay is a low-risk move for foreign buyers, said Juan Federico Fischer, a real estate attorney who advises people investing in Uruguay. Property is generally bought and sold in U.S. dollars, even if the buyers are Uruguayan, and foreign currency bank accounts are common.

Compiled by Sara Polsky