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Off-plan Property Investment A Favourite With U.k. Buyers.

Research carried out by The Homebuyer Show found that more than 90 per cent of experienced investors had either purchased property off-plan or were making plans to do so in the future.

While stressing the importance of research and careful decision-making, 70 per cent of these investors "firmly believe that buying off-plan can represent a good investment opportunity in the current market".

One of the key advantages of this kind of property investment is that the value of the property can often rise dramatically before the house or apartment is completed. This means that investors can make considerable gains before the keys are even handed over and it is a prospect that clearly appeals to a large number of shrewd Britons.

It is a scheme that has particular benefits in emerging markets, making investments common in a number of Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria. Agreeing a price for the property in its early stages of development means that by the time the money is handed over, the real value of the site could have soared.

With Bulgaria looking forward to EU accession in the next couple of years, the idea has particular significance in this case as experts predict a property boom once the Treaty is ratified.

According to The Homebuyer Show, many investors are even prepared to buy off-plan in countries they have never visited, although conducting sufficient research is clearly the advisable route in all cases.

Adam Woolley, marketing manager at Property for Life, has added to the findings of this latest study by acknowledging the potential advantages of off-plan in the modern market.

"Buying off-plan has become popular with many investors and for good reason," he said.

"Such investments can often yield large returns in a relatively short time, often without the need for huge sums of money up-front. Even in a slowing market it offers good opportunities.

"Developers still need to sell the properties so are keen to offer incentives in the form of pre-paid stamp duty and inclusive furniture packages. This all helps to ease the pressure and costs faced by the investor," he added.

It is this potential for attractive deals from developers that makes off-plan investment such a popular policy. Like buy-to-let projects, off-plan offers a slightly different avenue to the property market and Nick Clark, managing director of The Homebuyer Show, has suggested it is likely to remain popular with UK investors.