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With Florida Enquiries up 300% in 2015, Our Clients Clearly Have a ‘Sunshine State of Mind’

Posted on 16/02/2016 By The Brookes Property Group.

2015 was a fantastic year for Brookes & Co. Along with the launch of some great investment opportunities we experienced many successful completions and were delighted to see clients happy with their investments.

Throughout 2015 we received extraordinarily high numbers of enquiries for our projects and developments, in particular our Florida projects showed themselves to be an extremely attractive prospect. Last year we recorded a 300% increase in enquiries year-on-year into these Florida projects.

These extremely high numbers of interested investors highlight that new opportunities being presented in Central Florida are proving very popular with both seasoned and new investors. Fortunately, as 2016 gets well underway this does not look to be faltering. The window of opportunity is still very much open for those looking to invest in The Sunshine State at great prices. Brookes & Co are helping record numbers of investors to own property in Florida and we continue to help UK buyers to get involved in projects in our Signature Resort Collection.

To see the latest projects available in Florida visit our USA Real Estate Portfolio or contact our knowledgeable team of Investment Consultants on +44 (0)1621 875925 to find our more information.


The new Silicon State: Florida boosted by medical cash injection

Posted on 08/01/2015 By The Brookes Property Group.

  • Visit Florida bringing new $2.5 million grant to state’s medical tourism industry
  • Set to dramatically grow demand for local housing stock for both visitors and workers
  • Brookes & Co’s The Club at Sunset Lake offers chance to capitalise on investment opportunity

Tourism has long-since been Florida’s economic mainstay, with the state – and it’s vacation- epicentre of Orlando – becoming synonymous with Micky Mouse, theme parks, year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches and family holidays. Yet, the Sunshine State is not resting on its laurels, not content just to be the world’s entertainment forerunner, a new money-maker is in town and it is set to shake the region’s tourist industry up.

In an unparalleled move by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism body, a brand new $2.5 million grant programme has been announced to support the growth of the state’s medical tourism industry, setting Florida up as the go-to US destination for medical procedures, including cosmetic surgery. The new grant will be used to greater promote the medical tourism services on offer in Florida, as well as to encourage more medical professionals to make the state the location of choice for their industry meetings, conferences and training courses, in turn boosting the sector considerably in a move that is the first of its kind.

This boost is set to see a dramatic effect on the local economy, bolstering the state’s finances directly through spending but also by expanding the need for housing stock, be it for those visiting or for the increasing number of workers being employed in the medical industry in the vicinity.

Not only looking to attract domestic US medical tourists, the new approach for the Florida tourism industry is also aiming to attract worldwide visitors looking to marry their medical procedures with the confidence of being treated in the US and the relaxed atmosphere and warm climate of the ever- popular Sunshine State. And cosmetic surgery in the US is increasingly big business. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the number of such procedures grew by 6.5% from 2012 to 2013, with Transparency Market Research (TMR) revealing that the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) is due to increase by a staggering 17.9% from 2013 to 2019 globally.

With the South Atlantic Region that includes Florida making up some 19% (310,441) of the country’s total cosmetic procedures in 2013, up 1% on 2012’s figure of 292,579 (according to ASAPS), and the injection of the new grant on the horizon, this is set to expand on a large scale for the new ‘Silicon State’. Philip Button, Managing Director of leading property investment company, Brookes & Co, who have been working in the Florida market for over a decade, explains,

“There is no denying that in today’s body-conscious society, cosmetic surgery is big business and with current estimates stating that $5.2billion is already being spent by 375,000 of the US population on medical tourism in Florida, it is clear that the Sunshine State has more to offer than just the traditional fun-in-the-sun image it has become world-renowned for. And with $2.5 million set to be injected into the market to further develop this potential, the opportunities for growth are immense.”

In the wake of Kim Kardashian’s infamous cover for Paper magazine, with the proud display of her most famous asset re-sparking debate as to whether she has gone under the knife to achieve such plumped proportions, it is in fact the buttock implant that has boosted Florida’s reputation as a top cosmetic surgery destination in recent times, with a greater number of such procedures being undertaken in the South Atlantic region as anywhere else in the US (undertaking 29% of the US’ bottom boosting in both 2013 and 2012.)

Yet the bottom line is that it is not just the size of people’s behinds that are increasing in the state, the medical facilities themselves appear to be growing even greater too. The ground-breaking 650 acre Lake Nona Medical City, being developed in Orlando that is due to be completed in 2017, is not only on track to create 30,000 jobs but also to generate $7.6 billion wealth for the economy, an undeniable impact. The results of this are that not only are there increasingly ample opportunities for investment in the Florida property in market for renting to visiting medical tourists but also for savvy investors to buy into the domestic market set to boom as a result of the growing jobs in the sector.

One such project that illustrates this growth opportunity is Brookes & Co’s Orlando project, The Club at Sunset Lake, whose successful first phase that sold out in record time can in part be attributed to the close proximity to Lake Nona Medical City. Seeing the launch of a highly anticipated phase two of the development, now is the opportune time for buyers to secure their part of this investment project that offers a 5-year rental guarantee with a 6% return after all costs.

The Club at Sunset Lake has been designed to meet the needs of Florida residents who are seeking rental properties of a superior standard, whilst being close to all amenities and boasting facilities of the highest quality. The luxurious facilities, including an exclusive club house and swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, sports courts and cycle paths, as well as a lake-front park and picnic area, ensure that The Club at Sunset Lake makes the most of its beautiful setting. The spacious two, three or four bedroom properties are priced from £96,950, the larger also with garages.

For more information about The Club at Sunset Lake and buying in Florida, contact Brookes & Co on +44 1621 875 925, email or visit


Job Growth Propels Florida Property Investment Market

Posted on 26/11/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

  • Florida unemployment figures at 6%, lowest rate since June 2008 (Department of Economic Opportunity)
  • Strong domestic demand for housing driven by four key factors: Leisure, Transport, Medical, and Agriculture (Philip Button, Brookes & Co)
  • Brookes & Co domestic investment project The Club at Sunset Lake 83% sold in under four weeks

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity has revealed that the state’s unemployment figures now stand at the lowest rate since June 2008, a figure of 6% in September. Not only this but the ADP Regional Employment Report also showed that Florida grew the private sector by 20,050 jobs in October, meaning that 2014 looks as though it will be closing on a positive note for the state’s employment industry.

When considering the fact that just a year ago, Florida’s jobless numbered on average 7.2% in 2013, and a less than giddy figure of 11.3% in 2010, the ‘Sunshine State’ has come a long way in recent times, making firm progress in this important indicator for the country’s wealth. The knock-on effect of the increasing stability in Florida’s job market is that the property market is also, not only stabilising, but growing with optimistic fervour.

This is especially true for the domestic market, an often un-thought-of sector in the shadow of the bright lights and Disney magic of the tourism sector, yet boasting excellent investment prospects, especially within the context of the bolstered regional employment. Launching a new investment project in Orlando on 1st November – The Club at Sunset Lake – the UK’s leading property investment company, Brookes & Co, recognised this opportunity and offered, through the new project, buyers the chance to capitalise on this.

The project presents a brand new gated development to the market, situated in the heart of central Florida and close to all major amenities. With the luxurious facilities, including an exclusive club house and swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, sports courts and cycle paths, as well as a lake- front park and picnic area, The Club at Sunset Lake certainly makes the most of its beautiful setting. 

Offering a 5-year rental guarantee with a 6% return after all costs, from a range of spacious two, three and four bedroom properties priced from £96,950, it is clear to see why the project is the ideal investment opportunity, registering enviable success so far.

And what a success it has been. Within the period of under four weeks since the launch of The Club at Sunset Lake, Brookes & Co have sold 83% of the units available. Demand is high, but what, specifically, is driving the growing domestic market of Florida?

Philip Button, Managing Director of Brookes & Co gives his take,

“It can be said that the increasing levels of employment in the state are driven by four key factors: Leisure, Medical, Transport and Agriculture. Individually, each of these facets are key to the economic workings of Florida, but together these sectors influence not only the success of the Floridian economy but also contribute wholeheartedly to the coffers of the US in general terms.”


The leisure market is the go-to market when thinking of Florida, the abundance of theme parks, Disney World, Universal Studios and the like, have become synonymous with Florida’s Orlando, making the state the country’s top tourist hotspot. Disney are building several new parks over the upcoming year including Avatar Land, with Universal Studios’ ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ already a huge success and visitors soon able to ride the new Hogwarts Express! At Legoland, an expansion at Miniland and a new hotel being built to cater for demand, demonstrates how this market is booming. And with this boom comes expanded job prospects for those developing and building the projects, as well as those staffing them to cater for the record tourist numbers.


Transportation is central to the state’s success, with rail expansion a major arena that is impacting heavily on Florida’s domestic property market. The landmark SunRail project that will revolutionise commuter travel is expected to be finalised by 2017 and is doing wonders for the local and national economy. The project is creating more employment (an independent financial study found Sunrail has the potential to create nearly 260,000 jobs) but it is growing the state’s wealth too, with a predicted impact on the US economy of $8.8billion.With airport growth also in the pipeline, and SunRail predicted to link up to the newly expanded airport, Florida’s transport links are going from strength to strength, helping the domestic market flourish in turn.


In the medical sector, the Lake Nona Medical City is being developed in Orlando, a groundbreaking project of such magnitude that it is set to create 30,000 jobs – an impressive impact by all accounts. In turn, this project is on track to also create $7.6 billion wealth for the economy, leading to more people working locally and therefore more people looking for rental properties. Due to complete in 2017, this makes now the ideal time to purchase a property for the purpose of renting it to the domestic market.


In their latest ‘Fresh from Florida: The Journal of Florida Agriculture’, Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services revealed that the industry was worth a staggering $108 billion to the Sunshine State, with Florida the US top producer of not only oranges but also sugarcane, sweetcorn, watermelon and squash. Florida Naturals, a leading fruit juice producer, who own over 50,000 acres of fine citrus groves in the heart of Central Florida, continue to grow, creating many new jobs in the area too.

All of this collectively has huge economic impact on the Orlando area and, in fact, Forbes recently ranked the city as number one in their report on ‘The Top 10 Cities and States for Job Growth’. In turn, this growth gives rise to significant demand for high- quality rental properties in the area for the workers and their families to live in, as has been proved by Brookes & Co’s The Club at Sunset Lake. The Sun has certainly returned to the Sunshine State!

For more information about The Club at Sunset Lake and buying in Florida, contact Brookes & Co on +44 1621 875 925, email or visit


Fashionable Florida: Sunshine State rated the ‘desirable location’ this winter

Posted on 11/11/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

  • Orlando most popular holiday location for domestic travellers this winter (ASTA)
  • International buyers in Florida property market up 1% in 2014 (NAR)
  • Florida as ‘desirable location’ top reason for buying, with 59% in 2014 claiming so (NAR)

Faux fur. Long boots. Over-sized scarves. Roll-neck jumpers. All key style trends for Autumn/Winter 2014/15. But when it comes to this season’s must-visit destination, where’s hot this wintertime, even as the weather turns cold?

According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Florida’s Orlando is top choice for those looking to the US over the 2014-15 winter season, with more US residents booking to visit the Sunshine State’s most popular hotspots than anywhere else in the country.

Receiving 41% of the recorded bookings, Orlando ranks far ahead of the key tourist destinations of Las Vegas (receiving 13% of bookings) and New York City (with just 6%), and as a state overall, Florida charges ahead of the pack, with 58% of ASTA-recorded bookings, far outweighing second- place Hawaii’s 20%, thus marking Florida, and Orlando specifically, out as the ‘in vogue’ locations for A/W 14/15.

This season Florida, with its much-loved winter sun, is being seen as ‘the’ place to visit, rounding off an outstanding year for the state in which it welcomed 11.2 million overseas visitors in the 2013-14 period, compared to 10.4 million for the previous year. The 7.7% increase year-on-year is substantially contributing to Florida’s economy, adding an additional $4.3 billion to the state’s coffers, an extra 6% according to Visit Florida, taking the 2013-2014 figure to $76.1 billion.

And with more tourists comes more employment. As a tourist destination grows to match demand, more staff are required to construct and staff these new developments, growing the need for additional rental housing within the local market. For this reason Florida is also solidifying its place as a much sought-after location for purchasing property. Whether it is to use as an income stream by renting the property to others, as a long-term investment to capitalise on the state’s expanding property prices, or as a combination of these factors, more and more people are seeing the Sunshine State as a hot property prospect this winter and onwards into 2015 and beyond.

In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has revealed in their ‘Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida 2014’ report that 10% of Florida’s residential market was made up of international sales this year, up 1% on the 2013 figure, and up an estimated $1.54 billion, or 24%, in terms of how much these foreign real estate purchases in Florida were worth in the year up to June 2014.

And the most important factor for influencing someone’s decision to purchase real estate in Florida? According to the NAR report, viewing the state as a ‘desirable location’ and increasingly so.

Philip Button, Managing Director of specialist property investment firm Brookes & Co, who have been working in the Florida market bringing US properties to UK buyers for over a decade, explains more,

“Florida is certainly a stand-out location for those looking to invest in property, offering much potential and opportunity, and it is becoming more and more so. The NAR has shown that 54% of buyers in the state in 2013 saw Florida as a ‘desirable location’ in which to purchase and a year later, in 2014, this had increased to 59% putting this as their top reason to invest.

“Florida’s place as this year’s fashionable Autumn/Winter location for both holidaying and purchasing real estate, has also been backed publically by Floridian Governor Rick Scott who has increased public funding for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism body, by $10.5 million (according to the 2013-2014 Annual Report), taking public funding to a record $74 million for financial year 2014- 2015. For this, and a whole host of reasons, buying in Florida is certainly ‘à la mode’ in 2014 and a wise choice looking forwards.”

Always ‘on trend’ with the projects they bring to market, property investment specialists Brookes & Co have just launched a new project in Florida that allows buyers to capitalise on the location as a hot destination this winter and beyond.

Offering a 5-year rental guarantee with a 6% return after all costs, The Club at Sunset Lake makes the ideal investment opportunity. This brand new gated development in the heart of central Florida, close to all major amenities, boasts luxurious facilities including an exclusive club house and swimming pool, fitness centre and spa, sports courts and cycle paths, and a lake front park and picnic area, making the most of the beautiful location. The two, three and four bedroom properties are spacious, the larger properties also with garages, and priced from £96,950.

With the fashion world already looking ahead to A/W 15/16, it is clear that some things in fact never go out of fashion – and Florida may well be one of those.

For more information about The Club at Sunset Lake and buying in Florida, contact Brookes & Co on +44 1621 875 925, email or visit


A thought leader for the tourism industry – Florida sets itself a challenging target… and delivers!

Posted on 06/11/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

Visit Florida, the body responsible for attracting ever-increasing numbers of visitors to the Sunshine State and encouraging them to exchange their dollars for fun, certainly likes a challenge.

Not content with simply encouraging more visitors to head to the state, Visit Florida has set out to position it as a ‘thought leader for the tourism industry,’ according to President and CEO Will Seccombe.

Now, with the publication of the Visit Florida annual report, it seems that this challenging target has been met. The report covers the success of Visit Florida’s year-round marketing efforts, which range from one to one chats with individual visitors to country-wide marketing drives across the globe.

2013 was a bumper year for Florida. The state welcomed 93.7 million visitors, who between them spent $76.1 billion. The visitors generated 23% of Florida’s entire sales tax revenue over the course of the year and boosted a tourism sector now responsible for employing 1.1 million Floridians. With figures of this scale, it is clear to see why Visit Florida’s role is so important.

Philip Button, Managing Director of specialist property investment firm Brookes & Co, which has been working in the Florida property market for over a decade, comments,

“Domestic and international visitors are the lifeblood of Florida’s economy. They spend on everything, from entertainment to eating out to retail therapy. A growing number of visitors from overseas are also investing in Florida’s real estate sector. Interest in our latest development – The Club at Sunset Lake – has been incredibly quick to take off.”

Brookes & Co’s experience is echoed by official figures from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The data shows that purchases of Floridian properties by non-resident foreigners totalled US$7.97billion in the year to June 2014, an increase of £1.5 billion over the year before. The sales accounted for 10% of the total properties sold in Florida, with international investors picking up bargains ranging from holiday homes to investment properties.

The NAR figures show that approximately 25% of foreign homebuyers in the US turn to Florida as the location for their purchase. The Sunshine State’s signature combination of leisure pursuits, good weather, sandy beaches and world-class sporting facilities ensure that it is the destination of choice for many of those looking to own a second home. At the same time, this combination of factors means that Florida is also the perfect place for investors looking to pick up a property in order to benefit from rental yields, with strong demand from tourists who want the flexibility of staying in a villa for their holidays rather than a hotel.

Brookes & Co’s Philip Button points out that it is not just visitors from other states and overseas who are demanding rental accommodation in Florida. He explains,

“Florida’s tourism sector employs such a huge number of individuals, many of whom prefer to rent rather than buy their accommodation. Many have moved to Orlando from other parts of the state in order to find work, often on a seasonal basis.”

The NAR report recorded 20.1 million in-state travellers during the 2013/14 season, highlighting the importance of this local market.

Whether from overseas, elsewhere in the US or within Florida’s borders, one thing is certain – the Sunshine State’s unique blend of fun, sunshine and vibrant atmosphere is enough to keep the rental sector in strong demand.

To find out more about that latest property investment opportunity in Florida, speak to the Brookes & Co team today.


Florida flying high! New airport expansion set to welcome 45 million travellers and boost rental opportunities

Posted on 08/10/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

  • $1.1 billion Orlando International Airport expansion will welcome up to 45 million visitors
  • State of Florida on track to see record-breaking tourist figures of 100 million by end of 2014
  • Brookes & Co launching new Orlando project for investors looking to capitalise on growth

A major new expansion plan will see Orlando International Airport welcome up to 45 million travellers by 2020, spelling great news for those investing in the growing destination. The $1.1 billion scheme has just been approved by airport officials, in light of the airport having welcomed an additional 4.2% travellers this August, and within the context of the state of Florida aiming for record-breaking visitor numbers of 100 million by the end of 2014.

The announcement of this newly confirmed expansion, is no surprise given Orlando’s reputation as a perennially popular destination for families looking to make the most of all the Sunshine State has to offer, as well as those looking for the ideal leisure break. A place of action-packed days and fun-filled nights, from beautiful beaches to world-famous theme parks, the excitement of the water parks to the plentiful shopping facilities on offer along with world class golf courses, Florida’s magic inspires all who visit from both the US and overseas.

Philip Button, Managing Director of specialist property investment company Brookes & Co, which has been working in the Florida property market for over a decade, gives his reaction to the airport expansion announcement,

“The Orlando International Airport expansion plan is excellent news. Florida’s tourism sector is an important part of the state’s economy and a significant proportion of those tourists access Florida via Orlando. The expansion scheme will ensure that those visiting Florida find the process of getting here a pleasant one, as the airport’s capacity grows in line with demand.”

Due to the nature and size of the airport expansion plan, the project has been divided into manageable sub-projects which include $470 million that will be spent to expand the airport’s people mover system and provide a 3,500-space parking garage, easing movement between flights; $120 million towards a new south terminal; and $114 million to improve the flow of international traffic at Airside 4.

Such ambitious growth plans are appropriate given the fact that at present the airport handles far more passengers than was originally intended, as Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Executive Director Phil Brown observed,

“Orlando International Airport, designed to handle 24 million passengers a year, witnessed a passenger count of 35 million in 2012” making the airport expansion long overdue and a very welcome addition for those travelling regularly through its doors.

Such a development scheme will not only increase visitor numbers and their experience, it is also likely to have an impact on local property prices. This has positive implications for those who have already bought in Florida, such as those previously purchasing at The Fountains at ChampionsGate with Brookes and Co, taking advantage of the healthy rental returns on offer as well as top class golfing facilities, and for those considering buying in the region.

For those interested in taking advantage of the growing opportunities in Florida, Brookes and Co are set to launch a new Florida project to UK investors very soon, enabling them too to benefit from the Orlando International Airport expansion.

For more information about buying in Florida and the new investment opportunities soon to be launched, contact Brookes & Co on +44 1621 875 925, email


The “American Crossrail,” phase 2 of Sunrail set to further impact on Orlando property prices

Posted on 14/09/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

Just as Crossrail in the UK has impacted on property prices along its east-west route, and with HS2 already doing so along its proposed north-south route as well, Florida’s Sunrail commuter rail system is helping to grow the areas along its path.

Philip Button, Managing Director of specialist property investment firm Brookes & Co, which has been operating in the Florida property market for over a decade, comments,

“The opening of Sunrail in the Greater Orlando area on May 1 this year marked an important point in Florida’s history of having a progressive and fit of purpose transport system. As well as its multitude of tourist attractions, Orlando is a key business centre within Florida and having phase 1 of Sunrail open has ensured that commuters from Volusia County and Orange County are able to connect with downtown Orlando quickly and in comfort.”

The second proposed phase of Sunrail would see a further four southward stations added to the existing 12, along with a new northern terminus. The completion date is currently anticipated to be in 2017.

Indeed for those looking to invest in property in Orlando, the second phase of Sunrail is excellent news. As well as area-specific price increases around the proposed new station sites, the development is expected to contribute to a general uplift in property prices as the city grows and expands.

With several successful property investment opportunities already sold out in Florida and an exciting new development just about to be launched, Philip Button certainly sees the value of transportation upgrades such as Sunrail when it comes to property prices. He explains,

“Adding a new commuter transportation system such as Sunrail to a city is about so much more than just moving workers from A to B. It is about ensuring that the city operates as efficiently as possible, making it an attractive destination for families to live and for tourists to visit.

“Orlando has some wonderful attractions for those looking to visit the area, but without being backed up by a decent, modern infrastructure their charms would certainly begin to fade, with visitors spending their time queuing on crowded train platforms or sitting in traffic on congested roads when they should already be through the theme park gates and having fun.”

Investors in Brookes & Co’s new Florida development, which follows the success of The Fountains at ChampionsGate, which was presented to the UK market in partnership with leading Floridian developer Feltrim, will be able to benefit from the anticipated effects of Sunrail’s second phase as work on the expanded transport system contributes to the driving up of property prices across Orlando.

To be the first to find out about Brookes & Co’s new investment opportunity in the Florida property market, speak to the team today.


Does Florida hold the key to a retirement that provides the best of both worlds? Gordon says yes!

Posted on 14/08/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

The retirement dream of days of yore has somewhat lost its muster in recent years.

Perpetual talk of the devaluation of pension pots, ever-increasing working age limits and much-talked about annuity changes are continually moving the goalposts for those on the brink of retirement. Yet one question remains the same: how do you make the most of your retirement? Recently revealed by retirement specialist LV that British retirees need approximately £225,756 in their pension pot to enjoy a typical 17 year retirement to the full, it is no surprise that more and more people are looking outside the box for a solution.

Gordon Turner from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria thinks he might just have the answer to this age- old question. Reaching retirement in March 2017, Gordon already has a plan mapped out to make the very best of this next phase of his life. Having purchased three properties at The Fountains at ChampionsGate in the top tourist destination of Florida through property investment company Brookes & Co, he plans to live in there for 6 months of the year once he retires (on a tourist visa) and to use the properties for rental outside of his own personal usage too.

Gordon explains more about the financial reasons behind his decision,

“I would like to maintain my current lifestyle once I retire and the properties will allow me to do this as they will bring in a monthly rental. There are financial  benefits to living in the US like the cost of living being approximately 25% less than the UK, fuel being significantly cheaper and cars better value, there is no VAT, you are not taxed on your gas and electricity, you pay less capital gains tax too, and the list goes on.”

And Gordon’s purchases make good financial sense in another respect too. Zillow, the largest property website in the US, recently released data that showed an increase of 14.8% in the value of homes in Orlando in 2014, compared to the previous year, with a projected rise of 7.2% predicted for the Orlando Metro area in the coming 12 months.

However, it is not just the financial gains from a retirement in Florida that appeal to Gordon, he is also attracted to the change in lifestyle that a move to the Sunshine State would bring,

“The benefits to health and a more laid back lifestyle are immense.  Just picture listening to the palm trees swaying in the wind and wearing a shirt, shorts and flip flops as you read the morning paper in the garden instead of hearing the rain and wind belting down on your windows before you put on your heavy coat, scarf, gloves and brolly to face the British elements!

“Just imagine being able to sit on your balcony and have breakfast in 22 degrees of sunshine every day and pop in the pool for an early morning swim - that’s a huge benefit, in fact I would say ‘that’s the start of paradise’.”

And Gordon is not alone in looking to US shores for a happy retirement. Specialist annuity provider MGM Advantage recently revealed that the USA was the third most popular country for UK retirees (behind European destinations of Spain and France), with 16% of those surveyed having a preference for a move to the US when they reach their ‘golden years’.

The family man who currently works as an Engineering Product Safety Manager in the UK did not, however, merely purchase the properties for investment and retirement purposes, although the properties are still in the development stage, he is also looking to utilise the finished homes prior to retirement for holidays with his extensive family. And with two children and four grandchildren of his own and his partner having six children, it suddenly becomes clear why he needed three properties!

Purchasing one three-bed and two four-bed villas, Gordon’s family are big fans of Florida already and have visited a staggering 35 times over the past 24 years, making the very most of all that the state has to offer. From beautiful year-round weather, the enduring entertainment options available at the resort parks of Disney World and Universal Studios and the beautiful beaches, it is clear to see why Florida – and Orlando specifically – has become an increasingly popular holiday choice, with an increase of 2% in tourist numbers in the first quarter of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.

Philip Button, Managing Director of Brookes & Co, which has been sourcing property in Florida for UK clients for the past decade, comments,

“Florida has long-since been a hugely popular destination for holidays – I have visited with my family more times than I can remember – as well as for the purchase of holiday homes. It is because of this that it also makes an excellent investment choice, with prices on the increase and a growing property market.

“And what a fantastic place to retire! The US, and Florida specifically, has much to offer, both from a lifestyle perspective and financially and I just know that Gordon will be very happy there. I am proud that Brookes & Co have been able to help him with this important decision and that our practice of due diligence has supported him step by step with his purchase.”

Giving him the best of both worlds, Gordon is optimistic that his Floridian purchases will give him the best of both worlds – the ideal base for the perfect family vacation and a retirement option that offers personal fulfilment whilst making sound financial sense. It is clear to see why he exclaims “I can’t wait until I am out in the sunshine state enjoying my new life!”

For more information about buying in the US as well as about the other investments Brookes & Co offer, contact 01621 875 925 or


From Belfast to Orlando – new Virgin route opens up the Sunshine State to even more visitors amidst tourism boom

Posted on 30/07/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

  • Virgin Atlantic launch new flight route connecting Belfast with Orlando
  • Florida tourism on the up: 3.5% increase in tourist figures in 2013, compared to previous year (Visit Florida)

•   Part of positive US story: real GDP in the US is to rise from 2.1% growth in 2013 to 3.0% in 2014 and then by an   average of 2.8% annually from 2015 to 2017 (Timetric ‘Travel and Tourism in the US to 2017’ report)
•   Florida tourism on the up: 3.5% increase in tourist figures in 2013, compared to previous year (Visit Florida)
•   Part of positive US story: real GDP in the US is to rise from 2.1% growth in 2013 to 3.0% in 2014 and then by an   average of 2.8% annually from 2015 to 2017 (Timetric ‘Travel and Tourism in the US to 2017’ report)

Florida is unquestionably one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, with tourists flocking to its shores for a signature blend of theme parks, championship golf courses, water parks and beaches. And now it is not only this wealth of attributes that are encouraging Northern Ireland holidaymakers to visit the Sunshine State, increased accessibility is today high on the list too.

Major player in the airline industry, Virgin Atlantic, have recently announced a new route that will see flights scheduled between Belfast International Airport and Orlando over June and July, linking Northern Ireland’s largest city with Florida’s top tourist hotspot. A spokesperson for the company also suggested positive ramifications for the establishment of the new route, commenting,

“We keep our flying programme under continuous review and if the new services are a success we could look to continue them in the future.”

And with the seemingly hot tourism market in Florida at the moment, these new routes certainly seem to be on track for recording a great success. Recent figures have shown that Florida’s unending popularity is actually on the increase, with last year a record year for the state’s tourism: Visit Florida reported an increase of 3.5% in tourist numbers in 2013 compared with 2012, bringing the total to 94.7 million visitors. The aim for 2014 is to hit the magical 100 million tourists figure, through the increased access and a whole host of exciting new attractions.

Walt Disney World last month opened its newest attraction, the ‘Seven Dwarfs Mine Train’ in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, a ride that will feature animated figures and music from the popular Disney film in a family-roller coaster, and also has big plans in the pipeline for ‘Pandora: The Land of Avatar’, set to open in 2017 amid much furore.

Universal Orlando Resort has followed suit this month with an expansion of the exceptionally popular ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ from its current home at Islands of Adventure to its sister park of Universal Studios Florida, next door. The second site allows visitors to experience a virtual journey on the Hogwarts Express and an ‘Escape from Gringotts’ ride through darkened bank vaults. The new attraction also offers the chance to visit Diagon Alley and its popular shops that include the iconic Ollivanders Wand Shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and Borgin & Burkes, selling objects of dark magic. There is even be the opportunity to sup on a butter beer or two at the famous Leaky Cauldron!

Sure to be met with overwhelming popularity, the new theme park attractions are set to contribute, not only to Florida’s increasing tourist figures, but also, in turn, to the US’ financial recovery in more general terms. And this is something that is looking increasingly healthy. The Timetric ‘Travel and Tourism in the US to 2017’ report forecasts that real GDP in the country is to rise from 2.1% growth in 2013 to 3.0% in 2014 and thereafter by an average of 2.8% annually from 2015 to 2017.

Florida’s increasing popularity is not only excellent news for flight operators and the country’s coffers, it is also ideal for investors in the state’s property sector. Both holiday accommodation and long-term rental accommodation are much in demand. As well as boasting impressive overnight visitor numbers, Florida is also the fourth most populous state in the US (after California, Texas and New York) according to data from the World Atlas.

Philip Button, Managing Director of specialist property investment firm Brookes & Co, which has been sourcing investment property in Florida for UK clients for the past decade, comments,

“Florida’s huge population means that demand for rental accommodation is consistently strong. The changes to the property market over the past six to eight years have also meant that many people have moved from owner occupied accommodation to private rented sector properties. Clearly this creates plentiful opportunities for overseas investors looking to profit from the US market.”

As with any foreign property investment, knowing what, where and when to buy is essential. Brookes & Co’s knack for obtaining this knowledge and turning it into income for its clients has garnered the company an excellent reputation for its Florida opportunities.

The latest – a boutique offering of just 17 exclusive, fully tenanted condos, available from as little as $69,500 – comes at the optimum time for UK investors looking to put their money to work in property. Managed and maintained, with excellent long-term yields, the condos also benefit from the sterling’s current strength against the dollar, which is at a five year high.

To find out more about the US property market, the tenanted condos and the other investments Brookes & Co can source, contact them on 01621 875 925 or


There’s more to Orlando than meets the eye – take a look beyond the giant mouse

Posted on 14/02/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

When people think of Orlando, chances are they picture a giant mouse and a whole load of neon, but there’s so much more to the bustling Florida city than its headline Disney World attraction.

Located in Central Florida and with a population of nearly ¼ million, Orlando is known as ‘The City Beautiful’ thanks to its extensive wetlands and abundant sunshine. While the theme & water parks and endless pitch and putt golf attractions that line International Drive are responsible for ensuring Orlando regularly ranks in the top five of America’s most visited cities, beyond these the city contains some wonderful oases of peace and tranquillity.

Orlando is also one of America’s most visited cities for conferences, conventions and other business events, as highlighted by Florida’s newly launched ‘Orlando. You don’t know the half of it’ campaign. The campaign aims to boost the non-tourism parts of Orlando’s economy, attracting new businesses to the area to ensure a diversified income for the city.

In tandem with the Orlando campaign, the Florida Department of State’s Viva Florida 500 initiative aims to promote the historical and cultural experiences that are available in the area. Running until the end of 2015, the programme seeks to improve on the $2.55 billion of direct spending that was attributed to heritage and cultural tourism activities in Florida between August 2012 and August 2013.

The Fountains at ChampionsGate, as presented by Florida property investment specialists Brookes & Co, is the perfect example of the dual personality that Orlando has to offer. The exclusive, three and four bedroom luxury villas are located just four miles from the Walt Disney World Resort, making them the perfect holiday accommodation choice for families and groups of friends visiting the theme parks, yet there is so much more to the development than access to Disney.

Oaks and pine trees provide beautiful surroundings and enhance privacy and relaxation throughout the prestigious development, while a resort-style pool provides the perfect antidote to the intense Florida sunshine. The villas feature gourmet kitchens and outdoor terraces and are all within walking distance of the beautiful clubhouse.

ChampionsGate is also perfect for golfers, with 36 holes of championship golf designed by the legendary Greg Norman. The area is also home to the headquarters of the leading David Leadbetter Golf Academy, so is perfect for those looking to hone their skills as well as spending time on the fairways.

The theme at The Fountains is affordable elegance and the resort provides a wonderful escape from the neon lights and constant noise of the theme parks, while still keeping them within easy reach. It also combines property investment with lifestyle benefits, through its blended rental and usage offering. Owners investing in The Fountains (investment is from £46,875 and US mortgages are available) are free to use their property for six weeks without compromising their rental return in any way.

With full service resort management provided by Aston Hotels, owners at The Fountains are free to relax and know their investment is being managed by a world class resort operator. They are also entitled to discounted rates when staying at Aston’s other resorts in Las Vegas, California and Hawaii.

With world class resorts such as The Fountains adding to its attractions, as well as the raft of measures to promote the non-theme park side of visiting Orlando, the city certainly looks set to maintain its position as one of the most visited places in the US.


Buy it like Beckham: why Florida’s newest resident is bang on trend

Posted on 12/02/2014 By The Brookes Property Group.

  • Visitor numbers up 3.4% to record of 72.6 million in first three quarters of 2013 (Visit Florida)
  • Florida house prices up 23% in 12 months (Orlando Regional Realtor Association)
  • Tourist spending up 5.8% to $51.8 billion from January to August 2013 (Visit Florida)

David Beckham has made the headlines thanks to more than just his football skills recently, with the news that he has settled on Florida as the location for his new Major League Soccer team. Sporting reasons aside, Beckham has chosen one of the US’s most dynamic residential property markets for his planned professional move, with Florida seeing prices rise by 23% in just 12 months, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

Florida’s attractions are clear to see. Sunshine in the summer, followed by more sunshine in the winter, give the state a year round tourism season, generating attractive yields for those investing in rental properties. In the summer, rental properties are filled with families visiting Disney World, the high adrenaline water parks and designer shopping malls with which the state abounds. In the winter months, longer term lets are snapped up by those looking for relief from colder climes (particularly the UK and Canada) and attracted by the lure of Florida’s numerous championship golf courses.

Tourism in Florida is big business. According to Brand USA, foreign tourists to the US usually stay for 10-14 nights, spending around $4,500 per person during their stay, and Florida is one of their most chosen destinations – so much so that State Governor Rick Scott dubbed it “the top travel destination across the world,” in a recent statement.

At last count, 2013 was on track to become a record year for Florida’s tourism industry. During the first three quarters of the year, the state welcomed 72.6 million visitors, which was 3.4% more than for the same period in 2012. Visitor spending was up even more, with the $51.8 billion spent between January and August 2013 representing a 5.8% year on year increase, according to Visit Florida. Both figures exceed previous records, making the first three quarters of 2013 the best nine- month period in the history of the state’s tourism industry.

With house prices on the up, it is an enticing time to buy in Florida. The state’s tourism industry, which employs over 1.1 million people, is booming. Will Seccombe, President and CEO of Visit Florida, comments.

“Record visitor numbers equate to record visitor spending. With taxable sales up, occupancy rates up, rental car collections up, bed taxes up and average daily room rates up, Florida’s tourism industry has never been stronger.”

The potential for capital gains as well as rental yield, in light of the market’s movement in recent years, could make now the perfect time to invest in the Sunshine State. Philip Button, Managing Director of Florida property investment specialists Brookes & Co, explains,

“Florida is going through a fantastic period of growth at the moment, both in terms of its already- strong tourism sector and its property market. Buyers are taking advantage of fantastic prices and are particularly attracted to lifestyle investments such as The Fountains at ChampionsGate, where they get to use the property for free for six weeks each year, while achieving NET annual returns in the region of 14.61% on cash invested.”

ChampionsGate epitomises the combination of financial success and lifestyle rewards that Florida is so well-known for providing. With investment from just £46,875 and US mortgages available, the resort offers three and four bedroom luxury freehold villas amidst a carefully crafted oasis of pine and oak trees. It offers a haven of peace and tranquillity, along with a fantastic resort-style pool for cooling down in when the Florida sunshine gets to be too much. At the same time, it is only minutes away from the Walt Disney World Resort, offering visitors the best of both worlds.

Given the bargain price of property in Florida compared with the market peak of 2006/07, since when prices have fallen by an average of 50%, it’s clear that it won’t just be David Beckham who is seeking to be a part of Florida’s exciting property market over the coming months.