Press Releases
The latest press releases to come from the overseas property market - read what they have to say about what!

3 2058

Property portal Properazzi.com is today launching property search in the United States, adding more than a half million USA properties for sale and rent to its existing coverage in more than 50 countries. U.S. properties for sale and for rent will be fed to Properazzi.com from Network Communications Inc. (NCI), the leading publisher of printed and online real estate information in North America, and Manhattan firm Halstead Property. This expansion will introduce American agents to Properazzi.com’s monthly audience of one million international property seekers.

“Properazzi.com helps real estate professionals market their properties to hard-to-reach buyers in new markets. We’re already successfully doing this for UK and European agents, and are delighted to extend our services to US agents,” says Properazzi CEO, Yannick Laclau. “International buyers are finding the US real estate market appealing for its long-term stability and increasingly affordable prices, so entering the American market is the next logical step for Properazzi.”

The official launch of The Chicago Spire was on the 26th September at a prestigious event in Millennium Park, Chicago. A specially invited audience heard presentations by the two men who have brought this major new development to Chicago.

Architect Santiago Calatrava provided insights into his inspiration behind the 2000ft spiralling structure that will be home to 1200 condominiums when it opens in 2011. Garrett Kelleher, head of Shelbourne Development Group Inc., the driving force behind the project, gave his vision for a building that has already generated considerable interest across the world.

The planned Guggenheim museum in Abu Dhabi hit the headlines again recently, with New York Magazine’s art columnist Jerry Saltz, suggesting that Thomas Krens, the director of the Guggenheim foundation is “reckless, destructive, myopic, and misguided.”

As part of their drive to convince the rest of the world of their cultural sophistication, the Abu Dhabi authorities are planning a branch of the Guggenheim museum on Saadiyat island. The museum building, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, will dwarf Bilbao’s version, and at a planned 300,000 sq ft, will be the largest Guggenheim museum.

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Korangi road-Karachi Pakistan
Korangi road-Karachi Pakistan [photo credits to hassamq7 via flickr]

With an estimated shortfall in housing construction of 270,000 units, it would seem that Pakistan is ripe for foreign investment in its real estate market.

Problems facing the property sector in Pakistan are very low rental yields, adversetenancy laws, absence of title to property and high property taxes. However, Pakistan’s Securities & Exchange Commission (SECP) has been considering the regulatory framework for Real Estate Investment Trusts since 2005.

The latest news is that the SECP has made public its draft recommendations for the framework. The SECP has now embarked on a consultation exercise with the property sector on the subject but there still doesn’t appear to be a target date for the advent of REITs. Furthermore the draft recommendations do not seem to shed any light on subjects such as foreign and non-resident holdings in REITs and the repatriation of dividends.

The latest Mercer ranking of cities by cost of living places Moscow, London and Seoul in first, second and third place. Mercer’s own analysis of the rankings gives prominence to changes in exchange rates, and particularly, the fall in the value of the dollar, as the chief ‘motor’ for moves up or down the list. However, in the case of London the change from 5th place in 2006 to second this year is also ascribed to higher property rental costs. Of course, transport costs for London residents are another factor helping the city up the scale. Glasgow (up from 60th to 36th) and Birmingham (up from 69th to 41st ) are among those cities to have moved furthest.

For a true appreciation of what changes in rankings mean for people on the ground it’s important to be aware of developments in Mercer’s benchmark city, New York. The benchmark itself does not remain static; New York housing costs are reported to have risen by an average of 6.5% in the course of 2006. In the US, the consumer prices index rose 3.23% in 2006 and the rise in the 12 months to March (when the Mercer survey was conducted) was 2.77%.

These increase in New York costs of living need to be borne in mind when considering Mercer’s cost of living indices for other cities (which are all relative to New York). So far the serious softness in much of the US housing market does not appear to be showing up in Mercer’s figures.

Although a cost of living survey is necessarily a somewhat blunt instrument for accessing real estate in the different cities covered, the Mercer report does throw up some interesting contrasts, nevertheless. Focusing on places covered by Overseas Property Mall in the last few months, it’s interesting that Bratislava is not only more expensive than Prague again, but costs of living there have risen considerably more sharply in the last year.

Berlin continues to be slightly cheaper than Munich or Frankfurt though all three have risen up the table as a result of the increased rate of exchange for the Euro. Sofia is Europe’s least expensive city (ranked 108th). Athens, Barcelona and Madrid, also affected by the Euro’s rise, have all risen a long way up the table in the last year.

Outside Europe, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have both slipped down the table a little. Does this reflect a measure of stability in property prices and rents in the UAE? Interestingly, Dakar in Senegal is higher up at 33rd with a substantial increase in its cost of living index. However, this is probably mainly a reflection of the fixed exchange rate the CFA franc enjoys with the Euro.

Finally, it is worth remembering that Mercer’s methodology is based on the similarities in spending patterns among people in middle and higher income brackets no matter where they originate from. The rankings are of limited value to those relocating themselves, say as a matter of lifestyle choice, who are happy to do as the Romans do when in Rome.

Mercer Human Resource Consulting

Cost of Living Survey – Worldwide Ranking 2007

(including housing)

Top 50

Base City: New York, USA (=100)

Rankings

Cost of Living index

March 2007

March 2006

City

Country

March 2007

March 2006

1

1

MOSCOW

Russia

134.4

123.9

2

5

LONDON

United Kingdom

126.3

110.6

3

2

SEOUL

South Korea

122.4

121.7

4

3

TOKYO

Japan

122.1

119.1

5

4

HONG KONG

Hong Kong

119.4

116.3

6

8

COPENHAGEN

Denmark

110.2

101.1

7

7

GENEVA

Switzerland

109.8

103

8

6

OSAKA

Japan

108.4

108.3

9

9

ZURICH

Switzerland

107.6

100.8

10

10

OSLO

Norway

105.8

100

11

13

MILAN

Italy

104.4

96.9

12

12

ST. PETERSBURG

Russia

103

99.7

13

15

PARIS

France

101.4

93.1

14

17

SINGAPORE

Singapore

100.4

92

15

10

NEW YORK CITY, NY

United States

100

100

16

18

DUBLIN

Ireland

99.6

91.8

17

24

TEL AVIV

Israel

97.7

89.7

18

21

ROME

Italy

97.6

89.8

19

21

VIENNA

Austria

96.9

89.8

20

14

BEIJING

China

95.9

94.9

21

19

SYDNEY

Australia

94.9

91.3

22

25

HELSINKI

Finland

93.3

87.8

23

36

STOCKHOLM

Sweden

93.1

84.8

24

27

DOUALA

Cameroon

92.9

87.6

25

41

AMSTERDAM

Netherlands

92.2

83.4

26

53

MADRID

Spain

92.1

81.6

26

20

SHANGHAI

China

92.1

91.2

28

21

KIEV

Ukraine

91.4

89.8

29

59

ATHENS

Greece

90.6

81.1

30

52

ALMATY

Kazakhstan

89.6

81.9

31

56

BARCELONA

Spain

89.2

81.2

31

48

BRATISLAVA

Slovak Republic

89.2

82.4

33

45

DAKAR

Senegal

89

82.8

34

25

DUBAI

United Arab Emirates

88.8

87.8

35

45

ABIDJAN

Cote d’Ivoire

88.3

82.8

36

60

GLASGOW

United Kingdom

88.1

80.7

37

31

LAGOS

Nigeria

88

85.5

38

15

ISTANBUL

Turkey

87.7

93.1

39

61

MUNICH

Germany

87.6

80.2

40

61

FRANKFURT

Germany

87.4

80.5

41

69

BIRMINGHAM

United Kingdom

87.2

79.7

42

29

LOS ANGELES, CA

United States

87.1

86.7

43

56

LUXEMBOURG

Luxembourg

87

81.2

44

70

BRUSSELS

Belgium

86.5

79.5

45

30

ABU DHABI

United Arab Emirates

85.9

86

45

72

BERLIN

Germany

85.9

79.2

45

62

DUSSELDORF

Germany

85.9

80.4

48

28

TAIPEI

Taiwan

85.8

86.8

49

50

PRAGUE

Czech Republic

85.6

82.1

50

51

ALGIERS

Algeria

85.1

82

The Caribbean is a playground of the rich and famous. It is also seen as business-friendly. Perhaps surprising, then, that some Caribbean countries have strongly restrictive almost socialist-style housing market systems, with strict rent controls, and strong security for tenants.

In a study, the Global Property Guide examines the landlord and tenant systems of 19 Caribbean countries and territories in terms of rent control, security deposits and tenant eviction. With contributions from local law firms, each economy is rated as strongly pro-tenant, pro-tenant, neutral, pro-landlord or strongly pro-landlord.

The study notes that, against popular notions, a ‘pro-tenant’ rental market is actually harmful to tenants in the long run. It discourages landlords from investing in new rental units, leading to less supply. As demand for rental units increases with population growth, shortages develop. Landlords lose the incentive to maintain and upgrade their rental units. The quality of the existing rental housing stock deteriorates.

The most restrictive rent control law in the Caribbean is enforced in the US Virgin Islands. For housing accommodations, the maximum rent ceiling is the rent in force and in effect on July 1, 1947. For buildings created and/or rented after July 1, 1947, the maximum rent allowed is the first rent charged for the unit.

The winners: Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines

Singapore experienced Asia’s highest residential property price increases during 2006, with 9.5% real (inflation-adjusted) house price rises.

There were also 9.3% real house price increases in South Korea, and 9.1% real house price increases in the Philippines. These were seen in the Global Property Guide House Price Indices, the biggest collection of residential property price indices.

Singapore’s strong 2006 GDP growth rate, at 7.9%, pushed up demand for Singapore property. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) private residential property price index rose by 10% (9.5% in real terms) in 2006.

 

 

ANNUAL HOUSE PRICE CHANGE (%)

South Korea also saw a strong rebound in property prices, despite continued efforts by the government to depress the market. The Kookmin Bank’s house price index rose 11.6% in Dec. 2006 (9.3% in real terms) from a year earlier.

In the Philippines, strong economic growth and reduced inflation contributed to the continued recovery of the real estate sector. In addition, demand from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and dual citizens has been strong, pushing prices up. Luxury condominium prices in the Philippines rose 15% (9% in real terms) in 2006, following an 11% nominal price rise in 2005, according to Colliers International.

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The real estate market (particularly luxury apartments and commercial properties) in Shanghai, China has been the fastest growing in the world with annual capital appreciation at 20% in the last 10 years. Property Frontiers’ has just launched a cutting edge website Invest In Shanghai dedicated to information relating to the buying process, economy, steps and issues involved in purchasing investment property in Shanghai, China. It is available on http://www.investinshanghai.co.uk/.