AWE Communities is targeting land that lends itself to sustainability and self-sufficiency with a secure supply of water, agriculture and natural resources. As well, AWE Communities is looking to acquire sites with unique and special features such as health & longevity, surf breaks, hot springs and bio-diverse eco-tourism and other various physical and metaphysical attributes. Moreover, AWE is targeting land
in countries whose regulatory environment and leaders are in alignment with mixed-use, regenerative community development and have expedited processes for developing and building our communities.
The collaborative and self-sufficient culture of AWE Communities is highly appealing to conscious Gen Y’ers, young families, retiring expatriates, and active seniors seeking awakened self-sufficient regenerative (beyond sustainable) community lifestyles that integrate beautiful surroundings, wellness programs for optimal health and, longevity, and personal development to expand individual and community abundance, wellness & enlightenment.
Target locations will include (i) abundant pure water supply, (ii) nutrient rich soil, (iii) long growing season, (iv) environment conducive to farming and sustainable energy use, (v) easy access to transportation infrastructure, (vi) within 150 miles of a metropolitan area and/or airport access, and (vii) a supportive government and surrounding community. In addition to the foregoing, AWE Communities will target properties that have unique recreational, health, cultural and/or ecological attributes such as hot springs, surf breaks, mountain sports, water sports, blue zone longevity, and/or proximal bio-diverse rainforest or coral reefs.
AWE Communities are currently concentrating its efforts of land acquisition in for. AWE’s flagship in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Brazil and Chile. There are further opportunities for developments in Hawaii and Fiji being explored.
The first AWE Community project is targeted for Latin America to significantly reduce the time, expense and regulatory hurdles of development and construction. There are 27 million Americans seeking to move or buy offshore with 17.2%, or 4.64 million Americans seeking to move to Central or South America.
AWE Communities is developing its first community for only 1,608 residents (510 community leaseholds, 1098 owned households), To be financially successful, A.W.E Communities only needs to attract a very small percentage of the American population - .006% of the American population seeking to move offshore or .035% of the American population seeking specifically to move to Central or South America. Although AWE is confident that it will be able to easily fill it community with U.S. citizens, AWE will additionally market in Latin America, Canada and will use highly strategic direct marketing in Europe and Asia.
AWE Communities is targeting Latin America for its flagship development with a primary focus in Southern and Northern Coastal Brazil, Northern Coastal Ecuador and Vilcabamba Valley, Ecuador. Developing in Latin America provides the following advantages:
“When sizing up a potential real estate location overseas,” says Ronan McMahon, director of global real estate research firm, Pathfinder, “I always look for one of four strategies that indicate a potential rise in property values:
Brazil is one of Mr. McMahon’s “hottest locations for real estate opportunities right now.” As well, International Living states “Brazil has inexpensive beachfront property...a low cost of living...glorious weather...and the year's hottest investment market. Brazil is the next hot real estate trend.”
According to Goldman Sachs, “Two decades after the Latin American debt crisis, Brazil’s impressive macroeconomic stability has earned its debt investment grade status and made its economy more resilient during the recent global financial crisis. Furthermore, it has laid the foundation for above average economic growth that is being fueled by rapidly increasing consumer demand from a growing middle class, significant infrastructure spending and a generous endowment of natural resources, including oil, metals, wood and land for agricultural production.”
Brazil is the world’s 5th-largest country in the world, both by geographical area and by its population of over 190 million people. Brazil's large territory comprises different ecosystems, such as the Amazon Rainforest, recognized as having the greatest biological diversity in the world.
The topography varies from equatorial rainforests in the Amazon and northern regions; semiarid deserts in the northeast; coniferous forests in the south; and tropical savannah in the center of the country. Rainfall is lowest in the semiarid northeast, receiving less than 31 inches of rain annually. In the far south, the temperate conditions give cool winters, frost, and the occasional snowfall. Brazil’s climate is mostly tropical meaning warm, balmy weather year-round, with temperatures averaging 77 °F, and ocean breezes in coastal areas.
Brazil is a political and economic leader in Latin America. The form of government is that of a democratic republic, with a presidential system. The president is both head of state and head of government of the Union and is elected for a four-year term, with the possibility of re-election for a second successive term. The current president is Dilma Rousseff who was inaugurated on January 1, 2011.
In an effort to attract individual investments in Brazil, Brazil’s National Immigration Council reduced the amount of money a foreign individual is required to invest in Brazil to obtain a permanent residency visa to US$50,000. Another way to get permanent residency in Brazil is to obtain a retiree visa by showing that you are over 50 years of age and have at least US $2,000 per month in income.
Foreigners can own land outright in Brazil and take title in fee simple. Furthermore, title insurance is available in Brazil. There is significant development opportunity in both the northern and southern coasts of Brazil. In the north, Fortaleza is the #1 domestic tourist destination in Brazil. And Fortaleza is getting a major upgrade in its infrastructure. $6 billion is being spent on improving roads, bridges, tourism amenities, ports and airports. This state capital (Fortaleza is the capital of Ceará) is working hard to ensure its infrastructure improvements keep pace with its booming economy. More Brazilians are drawn here than anywhere else in their vast, beautiful country. They come here for the wide, white-sand beaches, blue waters and year round warm, sunny comfortable weather. Brazil is set to grow by 8% this year. Growth in the Fortaleza region continues to outperform the country as a whole. For example, passenger traffic at Fortaleza’s international airport increased 23% year-on-year to the end of August 2010, and cargo traffic rose by 40% in the same period. This increase is on a record previous period. This tells us how quickly economic activity is increasing here.”
In summary, there are 8 primary reasons to invest in Brazil:
Ecuador’s gross domestic product grew an estimated 3.6 percent in 2010, picking up its pace after 0.36 percent growth in 2009, when it was battered by fallout from the global financial crisis. The central bank estimates the economy could expand by up to 5.06 percent in 2011. Unemployment fell to 6.1 percent at the end of 2010 from 7.9 percent at the end of 2009, officials said. We have upwardly revised our economic outlook for Ecuador markedly, forecasting real GDP growth to come in at 4.9% in 2011 (from 2.8% previously) and 4.5% in 2012 (from 2.9%), from 3.6% posted in 2010. We believe higher global oil prices will provide strong support to its recovery, although the majority of growth will stem from activity relating to the non-oil sector. In particular, we are turning increasingly constructive towards Ecuador’s mining industry, as copper and gold output looks set to increase dramatically over the next five years.
The weather is near perfect year round, averaging 75° Fahrenheit inland and slightly wetter and hotter on the coasts. The infrastructure development, including roads, airports, communications and electricity, is rapidly rivaling that of the U.S. The tropical coast of Ecuador is one of International Living’s hotspots for 2010 – According to International Living, “It’s diverse, it’s beautiful, it’s largely undeveloped, and, best of all, it’s overlooked. You can still buy a beachfront home here for $50,000.”
Ecuador tops many lists as a retirement destination (including International Living's Annual Retirement Index). It's gaining popularity with second-home buyers, snowbirds and expats. Yet, with the exception of the Galapagos, it still remains relatively undiscovered as a tourist destination.
The Ecuadorian government is actively engaging in a combination of strategic marketing campaigns, and investment in infrastructure and tourism amenities.
2010 was a good year for tourism in Ecuador, with 1.05 million foreign visitors, an increase of 8.1%. Most visitors came from North America, Colombia, Peru and Spain. Now, Ecuador's government wants to increase tourist numbers and open the country up to new tourist markets.
AWE Communities is seeking land in the Vilcabamba Valley, Ecuador. Known as the “Valley of Longevity,” this is a prime location for community and resort focused on longevity/anti-aging and regenerative medicine. Due to Ecuador’s history of shamanistic culture and medicine, Ecuador is very open to alternative healing modalities and natural medicine. High in the mountains of south-central Ecuador, Vilcabamba is one of top five healthiest places in the world to live, according to an article released by International Living. People from the village of Vilcabamba routinely live healthy and active lives well into their 90s and 100s. Much of the longevity of this region is credited to the pure air, organic locally grown foods, the high quality and mineral rich water and soils, near perfect year round weather, low stress and regular exercise.
While the Galapagos Islands was featured in MSNBC's "10 Purest Places on Earth" and is at the top of must-see tourist destinations, the undeveloped northern coast of Ecuador is free of high-rises, big resorts, and sprawling subdivisions. Beach and ocean-view properties are still ultra-affordable. And today it's easier to get around Ecuador, thanks to some important infrastructure upgrades. The highways are new and air travel rivals that of the U.S.
Ecuador is one of 17 mega-diverse countries in the world according to Conservation International, and it has the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation. Ecuador has 1,600 bird species (15% of the world's known bird species) in the continental area, and 38 more endemic to the Galápagos. In addition to over 16,000 species of plants, the country has 106 endemic reptiles, 138 endemic amphibians, and 6,000 species of butterfly. The Galápagos Islands are well known as a region of distinct fauna, famous as the place of birth of Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Moreover, Ecuador has the first constitution to recognize the rights of nature. The protection of the nation's biodiversity is an explicit national priority.
The 1400 miles of coast features long stretches of beautiful pale-sand beach. Outside of established resorts such as
Salinas and port cities like Manta, the beaches are undiscovered and pristine. Small beach towns and fishing villages offer laid-back charm, surfing, swimming, and a way of life most of us thought no longer existed. Huge forests sweep over emerald hills and mountains down to Pacific Ocean. Some beaches offer calm waters for swimming...others challenge you to surf.
Currently, there is a shortage of accommodation on the coast and the towns in the Andes. The local hotels are small, with little in the way of amenities. This provides AWE with a great opportunity for resort development to capitalize on the health, beauty, longevity and stress free lifestyle of Ecuador.
Foreigners can own property in fee simple in Ecuador and can obtain title insurance. Additionally, there are no restrictions on owning beachfront property as there is in some other countries. There has never been a case of the government "seizing" foreign owned real estate. Permanent residency can be obtained by (I) making an investment in real estate valued at $25,000 or more, or (ii) getting a retirement visa upon proof of income in excess of $900 per month.
8. Buyers’ Market. As a result of the credit and financial collapse in 2008, the real estate market has shifted from a sellers’ market to the best buyers’ market since the Great Depression as of 2010. There is are numerous landowners, real estate developers and banks that are willing to take significant discounts on the sales price of land and unfinished resorts. Moreover, many landowners and developers are willing to engage in creative financing, which often includes partnering for equity.
As of April, 2011, home prices were 5% below that of a year-ago level and continue to keep a median price close to 2002 levels. Mortgage rates reached a new record low of 4.33% on a 30 Year Fixed mortgage in May, 2011 and saw a slight increase to 4.55% in July. Rates are still expected to trend upward as the year progresses if overall economic activity gets back. The currently low interest rates allows AWE the potential to negotiate better terms on its purchases, debt leverage and cost of capital.
Few analysts expect housing prices to rebound anytime soon. But quite a few are predicting that the market is close to the moment when things will stop getting worse, which will be a major improvement all by itself. “By far the bulk of the downturn of housing prices is beyond us,” said Paul Dales of Capital Economics. He expects the market to slip 5 percent further, slightly more than he was expecting a few months ago. “There are some amazingly favorable signs. Housing is the most undervalued it’s been in 35 years,” Mr. Dales said. “At some point, it’s going to do very well.”
At the moment, prices are still dropping. In 20 large cities, prices fell 0.8 percent in March from the previous month, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday. That pushed the closely watched index below its level of two years ago to a new post-bubble low, and put it 33.1 percent under its July 2006 peak.
Based on the foregoing, the timing is just right for AWE to purchase land and/or distressed properties at low prices with low interest rates and by the time, AWE is ready to sell lots, homes and time shares, the economy is anticipated to be rebounding.