ed_mcmahon_interview.jpgAmerican comedian, game show host and former anchor man on “The Tonight Show”, Ed McMahon is currently on the verge of losing his Beverly Hills mansion due to his inability to make mortgage repayments.

Real estate magnate, Donald Trump is reportedly stepping in to buy Ed McMahon’s mansion in a bid to lease it back to McMahon to ensure he maintains his standard of lush Beverly Hills living.

According to the LA Times, Mr. Trump explained that his -conviction’ for helping Ed McMahon was that, “When I was at the Wharton School of Business … I’d watch him every night. How could this happen?”‘. it ‘would be an honor’ to ‘help’ McMahon

Perhaps the reason for the shrewd buy was due to McMahon slashing the price on his Beverly Hills house by $1.9 million, to $4.6 million.

Photo credits: Alan Light (Flickr)

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queens-world-fair-globe | credit:rikomatic

The latest Knight Frank Global House Price Index 2008 has just been released, revealing some interesting and alarming facts. While the West continues to crumble, new markets have emerged and grow stronger by the minute. The global real estate doom has caused a massive drop in real estate property values from Japan to Ireland and put many investors into a tight corner.

As the report from Knight Frank shows, it isn’t all doom and gloom though. Some new markets are peeking through the clouds giving us hope for a chance to find little pockets of gold that will further property investors portfolios.

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With all the doom and gloom surrounding the property markets, we felt it was about time to take a look at those markets that have remained robust and healthy throughout the current credit crunch. So here are five markets that have consistently performed well, regardless of the ups and downs seen recently.

Manhattan, New York

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Despite exhortations from a variety of pundits pitching Kazakhstan as the next big boom market, the fact is that a growing number of analysts are looking at the market and seeing not boom times, but a potential bust.

The credit shortage is beginning to take it’s toll and there is an ever-growing number of properties doing nothing but sitting in an estate agent’s window gathering dust, as it were.

Kazakhstan, like much of the rest of the world is beginning to come to grips with the fact that a major boom is inevitably followed by a slow down or bust at some point. The country’s economic performance over the last decade has been spectacular – 10% GDP growth year on year until 2007, when it slowed to 8.7%, with predictions of a further slowdown to less than 6% in 2008.

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Price per square foot can be an interesting approach to pricing real estate and we though it would be interesting to compare luxury condominium prices around the world to other types of space for sale. How much space in a luxury condominium would you get for £100,000? These prices are based on Knight Franks annual wealth report 2007 and may have changed slightly since then. These are the top ten contenders.

1. London

London currently tops the list. £100,000 buys you 43.5 square feet. Coincidentally, this is exactly the same footprint as the Ford Escape, an American SUV. So you can rest assured you will be able to park the car at this price.

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Along with many British property investors, the Koreans know a bargain when they see one and the US property market is one of them at the moment. According to a report issued by the Korean Ministry of Finance and Economy, Korea’s overseas real estate buying increased in October from a month earlier due to a higher number of purchases in North America. Korean individuals and companies bought $96 million worth of land and houses in foreign countries last month, up from $86 million the preceding month. That brings the total value of the country’s overseas property buying from January to October to $968 million.

British property investors are taking a long, hard look at the New York property market. With the dollar at a 20-year-low, for British investors with pounds in their pocket, the Big Apple just got a whole lot cheaper. According to the Financial Times, Steven Toumbas, an equities investor from London, has always wanted to own a second home in the US. “America is the engine for the world,” he says. “Everyone wants to have a holiday home in Florida, or an asset in New York. It’s the place to be.”

Mr Toumbas began looking at potential properties in New York City in mid-June 2006, but felt the timing was not quite right. The pound at that point was trading at about $1.84. “I held back because I thought there would be further dollar weakness,” he said.

Record prices are still being achieved in the luxury condominium market all round the world. This is a selection in no particular order. Some have yet to be build and have sold purely on spec.

The Marq, Singapore.

The price of a condo in Singapore crossed the $5,000 per square foot this year when a single unit sold for $31 million. The first phase of the “invitation only” release all sold within a few weeks of release. Condos in The Marq cover an entire floor and include a 15 meter lap pool with every unit. No release date has been set yet for the next phase of the development. The bulk of the purchasers are said to be foreign.

The Time Warner Center, NYC.

In 2003, the Time Warner building in Manhattan broke all existing US records, selling a single condominium for $45 million – unfinished. Time Warner Center is one of the largest, most expensive multi-use developments constructed in New York City. This building houses the world headquarters of a major corporation; 211,00 square feet of additional office space; three jazz performance halls; almost 200 luxury condominiums; a high-end retail mall “The Palladium”; and a 251-room, five star Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Although rumors of an agreed sale of the Pierre’s penthouse at over $50 million may soon dwarf this.

The Irish Independent had an article this Sunday that attracted our attention. With the massive increase in property values in Ireland recently, many Irish home-owners have jumped on the worldwide buy-to-let market abroad. Particular favourites have been the USA, Spain and Bulgaria.

All these markets are taking a beating at the moment, particularly the American market. GE Money Home Lending subsidiary “British Mortgages Abroad” recently pulled out of the Florida market and are not accepting any more mortgage applications on properties in Florida

Plans are proceeding , despite vehement opposition in France, to build a Louvre in Abu Dhabi. The building will, for want of a better word be, “unusual.” A shallow dome that looks rather like an escapee from some low-budget 60’s science fiction movie. With geometric openings causing patterns of light to bounce around the interior, I can almost see the likes of Matisse and Van Gogh turning in their graves.

No doubt, I am not the only one to see the irony of the whole situation, and as I discussed in “Cultural Oases in Abu Dhabi part one,’ the Guggenheim seems to have come to some arrangement whereby none of the works on display in their museum outpost will ‘offend local sensibilities,’ and I wonder if the Louvre has come to the same arrangement. If so, I have the same question to pose:’Dude, like what are you gonna hang on the wall, man?’