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Set your sights on Gambia as next property hot spot

For Britons wanting to invest in property, this relatively little known West African country is the place to look

SIMON WHITE, DIRECTOR, LONDON’S CHARTERED SURVEYORS
SIMON WHITE, DIRECTOR, LONDON’S CHARTERED SURVEYORS

Last year I took my golf clubs for two weeks of R&R in Greece and late one night when I was tired and emotional, I agreed to a day trip to Albania.

On my return to Blighty some of you may recall that I enthused at length about Albania being possibly the next European property hot spot.

Of course, I couldn’t have foreseen the downturn that has brought the property market to a shuddering halt in Spain and Portugal. But I was right about Albania, where the biggest investors over the past 12 months have been the British.

So with my reputation intact and as my devotion to duty knows no bounds, I will now tell you where there is a little bit of paradise that’s almost unknown and will in time be a bigger draw for British overseas investors than any of the countries mentioned.

The country I am referring to is stable and has a virtually crime-free society. Here, £100,000 will buy you a six-bedroom villa in as many acres as you want with a swimming pool and tennis courts. You can purchase with no deposit and pay off the balance over the next five years interest-free.

There is a bit of paradise that’s almost unknown and will be a big draw for investors from Britain

It’s less than a six-hour flight from the UK and the monthly average temperature doesn’t fall below 29°C and never rises above 34°C. The official language is English and every road sign, menu and document is written in English.

There is no time difference and the beaches are empty. The people are hospitable and Muslims and Christians happily inter-marry.
It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?

The place I am referring to is the Republic of The Gambia in West Africa (pictured) where I have just returned from having had a magical holiday.
The Gambia is almost unknown but the government has plans to develop coastal areas for residential investment. The current president and government have been in power for 10 years and are greatly loved by the locals.

OK, not everything works and the infrastructure doesn’t resemble the M4. Some of the niceties of life such as running water you can drink

aren’t available, but this is still a developing third world country.

The will is there to make The Gambia a home from home for northern Europeans.

If I was right about Albania then I’m even more right about The Gambia. It may take 10 years for me to be proven to be correct but I will be – wait and see.

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  • guest23 26th September 2012 at 5:44 am

    I stumbled upon this article after learning that some friends of friends had bought land in Gambia. The above comments from readers seem a lot more honest and detailed than the article extolling the supposed virtues of this place. It’s similar to articles telling Americans to buy land in Mexico or other unstable places in the world. Gambia sounds like a very iffy sort of place, at best, with potential issues of all sorts that will not be good for anyone with a nice home or pool that could be a target when things become volatile as so often happens in Third World countries. Buy in such places with extreme caution!

  • C 27th November 2010 at 12:20 am

    I have to agree with Jack regarding the political and economic climate of The Gambia.

    In two years working in The Gambia, I witnessed a steady chilling of political discourse, as well as discrimination against Gambians who were suspected of being opposed to the government.

    Poverty remains a huge problem, and the president uses the powers of the state to enrichen his cronies and supporters.

    The Gambian people are wonderful, but the country has some serious flaws. Given the president’s low regard for the rule of law, I would not feel comfortable buying property there.

  • C 27th November 2010 at 12:18 am

    I have to agree with Jack regarding the political and economic climate of The Gambia.

    In two years working in The Gambia, I witnessed a steady chilling of political discourse, as well as discrimination against Gambians who were suspected of being opposed to the government.

    Poverty remains a huge problem, and the president uses the powers of the state to enrichen his cronies and supporters.

    The Gambian people are wonderful, but the country has some serious flaws. Given the president’s low regard for the rule of law, I would not feel comfortable buying property there.

  • Jack 23rd November 2010 at 6:11 am

    The temperature never rises above 34 degrees? Actually, it easily rises well over 40.

    Empty beaches? Some of them. And others are covered with bumpsters – the young men from upcountry who sell themselves to middle aged women and fuel a rampant sex tourism industry.

    Muslims and Christians intermarry? This article makes it sound like this is something common. In two years of living in The Gambia I never saw it. Sure, Gambians are very tolerant people, but this is painting a picture that doesn’t exist.

    Speaking of painting a picture that doesn’t exist, Mr. White claimed that the president and government are well loved by the people. The ten-year figure is a little off. President Jammeh, who is piling up titles like the late Idi Amin, has been in power for sixteen and a half years, that is, after he took over the country in a coup. The locals have nothing bad to say in casual conversation because dissenters have a history of disappearing. Just look into the state of journalism in the country, or rather, the lack of it.

    And paradise? Is paradise the kind of place where the age expectancy is around 50 and children die of malaria?

    Sure, you can buy land cheaply and live rather comfortably, but don’t kid yourself. This is no long lost Eden. Queen Victoria called The Gambia a quaint little piece of paradise, too. She never set foot inside it’s borders, and she made the statement shortly after a time when half the missionaries and soldiers who traveled there didn’t return. Mr. White’s question “It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?” has an obvious answer: It is too good to be true.

  • Sheriff 22nd November 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Well said Simon.