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Alternative investment opportunities you probably hadn’t thought of

Though it’s difficult to say much for certain in the current political climate, times are especially freewheeling with regards to traditional investment markets. In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, commentators expected property prices to plummet, but they held true. After Donald Trump was elected President of the US, stocks around the world fluctuated wildly.

With more uncertainty ahead, you’d be forgiven for wanting to avoid risk and for withdrawing from traditional investment markets. But there are still opportunities out there that may well see huge returns in times to come. Alternative investment refers to opportunities other than shares, bonds, and mainstream property. Beyond these traditional classes of assets is a real variety of unusual investment opportunities, perfect for anyone looking to explore unique investment options. Here’s our pick of the hottest three.

Invest in economic citizenship

It’s not uncommon for a nation to offer second citizenship options in exchange for an investment in a government fund or government-approved real estate. If you’re looking to expand your passport portfolio and enjoy the added benefits of increased freedom of movement, favourable business opportunities and your very own slice of paradise, look no further.

The stunning Caribbean island of Dominica, for example, facilitates investment in real estate projects, including a range of options in the hospitality sector that have been pre-approved by the government. Investors in island real estate can enjoy high returns, given the region’s continued tourism boom. Tourism growth remains a priority in 2017 as well as developing new island experiences and events for travelers.

Investors in Dominican real estate have the added bonus of qualifying for the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme. Economic citizenship programmes exist in destinations around the world, but nowhere are they more popular than in the blissful island nations of the Caribbean. Dominican citizenship can be obtained in exchange for a US$100,000 investment in the country’s Economic Development Fund, which supports projects aimed at strengthening Dominica’s local economy. Real estate purchasers must invest a minimum sum of US$200,000.

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Invest in contemporary art

The usual strategy when it comes to making an investment in art is to choose works by artists who have stood the test of time. Despite this, the contemporary art market has been particularly buoyant in recent years. Sales of postwar and contemporary artworks have ballooned from $260 million in 1995 to $7.8 billion in 2014. Overall, the global index of contemporary art prices has risen by over 70% over the last decade.

Investors in artworks by emerging contemporary artists are therefore sitting pretty with considerable returns. The advice for new investors is to choose artists whose subject matter has growing political, social or cultural significance. Examples include contemporary multimedia artist Owais Husain, who produces works on the themes of migration and identity, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, a portrait artist committed to creating a global black canon of painting, and Sebastian Krϋger, whose work is a benevolent but rather subversive tribute to the superficial rock and pop culture of the sixties.

Potential art investors are warned that knowledge is the key to making smart investments in this specialised market. There is an element of connoisseurship to making a smart investment too: condition, quality, visual impact, and how the work contributes to the narrative of art history all matter in sustaining value over time. For those who get it right, the average investment achieves an annual yield of 5.6%.

Invest in alternative property

Alternative property investment is something of a buzzword on everybody’s lips at the moment. Alternative property refers to a-typical property, such as student accommodation developments, self-storage, and care homes that generate a return on investment through ongoing rental income. Hotels and resorts are also among the most sought-after investments in the alternative property market globally.

Transactions within the alternative property sector accounted for half of all property investment activity last year, having a total value of nearly £4 billion. “This trend”, write international property investment experts Gerald Eve, “is in line with the wider investment market where alternative investment markets accounted for… an impressive 19% in 2016.”

Investors are particularly attracted to property of this type because the sector tends to provide for long leases and indexed rent reviews. These alternative property types also give investors the opportunity to diversify their portfolios, which can help them weather unforeseen market turbulence.

For investors looking to diversify with these alternative investment types, there may be an opportunity to make considerable returns. With the traditional investment market in disarray, investing in economic citizenship, contemporary art, and alternative property might well be the safest bet of all.

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