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A property hotspot that may surprise you

Shoppers on Thistle Street in Edinburgh, Scotland
Lonely Planet | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images
Shoppers on Thistle Street in Edinburgh, Scotland

Property investors looking for the next hot market should turn to some unusual locations, such as Edinburgh, according to property investment company IP Global.

Scotland's capital of Edinburgh may be one of the more surprising hot picks, with chatter on Yahoo Answers saying the city is most famous for being 40 miles from Glasgow. But IP Global noted property markets in the rest of the U.K. are starting to follow the hot lead from London, where industry data show September home prices rose 5.0 percent annually.

(Read more: Singaporeans snap up London homes as local market slows)

While Edinburgh's housing prices have been relatively flat in recent years, they have more than doubled since 2000, while rental levels have consistently risen for the last four years, said Rettie & Co., a property specialist in Scotland, in a September report. It noted rents in some areas have risen as much as 10-18 percent over the past two years.

"The New Town area in the heart of Edinburgh suffers from a significant lack of supply that sees new properties being snapped up very quickly," IP Global said in the report.

But there are some warning signs for the U.K. property market, as the government's "Help to Buy" plan, which includes a lower deposit and government guarantee on higher-risk mortgages, may be behind recent demand, with some warning the program could create a bubble in prices.

(Read more: Bubble trouble? Experts clash over UK housing)

IP Global boosted its ranking for investing in Tokyo property from "fair" in the second quarter, to "bright," saying it's more attractive than it has been in many years.

"With property prices still below half their 1980s peak, there is great potential for returns in the city. The weak yen, strong rental yields and substantial growth projected for the next three years mean confidence is growing," it said. Housing starts rose 8.8 percent from a year earlier in August, while orders from 50 major construction companies rose 21.4 percent on-year, according to government data.

"The Nikkei index went up almost 40 percent after the implementation of Abenomics, which has impressed global markets. Properties are also expected to heat up in the next few years with Tokyo scheduled to host the Olympics," Alex Bellingham, head of IP's Singapore office, said via email.

(Read more: 2020 Olympics should be great for Tokyo)

Another surprising hot pick is Dubai, after the spectacular bursting of its property bubble in 2008-09 made its market notorious globally.

"Dubai seems to be emerging from the crash years and there is now more of a buzz around real estate than we have seen in recent years. The property market is picking up, and private and government-owned developers have unveiled billions of dollars in new projects," Bellingham said.

(Read more: Is Malaysia's property market headed for a Dubai-style crash?)

The company cited Knight Frank data showing that despite an 11.9 percent rise in property prices so far this year, prices remain 30 percent below 2008's peak levels.

But investors should beware: Dubai's government is also worried about just how hot the property market may be getting, with the emirate this month doubling real estate transaction fees from two to four percent. Even IP noted investors should be cautious of a property bubble repeat.

—CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.