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Hong Kong home prices to drop as much as 25pct, Bernstein says

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Hong Kong home prices will fall as much as 25 percent after the government stepped up measures to curb an asset bubble and as banks raised mortgage rates, according to Sanford C. Bernstein H.K. Ltd.
The number of new apartment sales will “remain largely subdued” with developers shifting their focus to cheaper and smaller units to boost sales, analysts led by Kenneth Tsang wrote……………………………………….Full Article: Source

US: Snapping up real estate

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Investing directly in property can be an attractive alternative to low-yielding bonds but isn’t for everyone. Investors should know the real-estate market, be wary of what can go wrong and, because properties can be illiquid, have plenty of cash in reserve, say financial advisers.
For people willing to take the plunge, the U.S. economic recovery and several other factors make real-estate fundamentals relatively favorable now, says Rich Fichtel, a senior financial adviser at Altfest Personal Wealth Management in New York, which manages about $1 billion. For example, leasing is outpacing new construction activity, and vacancy rates are declining, he notes………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Wall Street betting billions on single-family homes in distressed markets

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Big investors are pouring unprecedented amounts of money into real estate hard hit by the housing crash, bringing those moribund markets back to life but raising the prospect of another Wall Street-fueled bubble that won’t be sustainable.
Drawn by the prospect of double-figure profit margins on rents and the resale of homes whose prices plummeted in the crash, hedge funds, Wall Street investors and other institutions are crowding out individual home buyers………………………………………..Full Article: Source

US regulators see mortgage REITs as source of market vulnerability

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

In the latest sign of Washington’s growing concern with market bubbles US financial regulators are setting their eyes on mortgage real estate investment trust companies as a potential risk to the country’s financial system, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Financial Stability Oversight Council is expected to cite mortgage REITs as a point of vulnerability in the real estate market in its annual report next week, according to an inside source quoted by The Journal.
Mortgage REITs (mREITs) are publicly traded companies that borrow funds to invest in real-estate debt. Unlike regular real estate investment trust (firms that invest in physical properties), mREITs buy mortgage securities backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and offer returns to investors of as much as 15 percent………………………………………..Full Article: Source

German cities plan tighter rent controls to curb housing boom

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Germany’s largest cities are preparing to tighten rent regulations as they take advantage of a new federal law aimed at curbing the housing boom.
State governments that oversee housing rules in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and other cities plan to make it illegal to raise rents in those locations by more than 15 percent in 3 years, according to government officials………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Zimbabweans in diaspora drives property boom

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Zimbabweans working outside the country are contributing to a property boom and investors are banking on them purchasing in high-end suburbs. On her desk in a newly furnished office in suburban Harare, realtor Nicolette Ncube lays out the blueprints of an ambitious new property estate just north of Harare.
“Over here will be the lake, and these houses here,” she motions to drawings of a cluster of homes, “these homes will be overlooking the lake; pretty neat.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Abu Dhabi rents slip 3pct in Q1, says CBRE

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

An Abu Dhabi government ruling for its employees to live in the emirate is starting to have an impact on the local property market, CB Richard Ellis has said in a new report.
The real estate firm said the initiative had lifted leasing volumes in the emirate although residential rents still fell by an average of three percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the previous quarter.CBRE said it expected to see further government-led interventions to take place to stimulate the market in the future but did not elaborate on what they might be………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Australia: Investors bolster property markets

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Improved affordability coupled with low interest rates has prompted an investor resurgence in Australia’s housing market, which has experienced its strongest start to the year since 2010.
The mediocre offer by banks on cash deposits has helped the recovery for real estate, according to Australian Property Monitors economist Andrew Wilson, who says this has seen a boom at the bottom and middle end of the market. Sydney is close to record clearance rates, last week hitting 75.6 per cent, up from just 57.8 per cent during the same period last year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

US: Rules of house flipping adapt to rebounding market

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

When the housing market went bust, house flippers went into hibernation. Now, as the recovery creeps along, bargain-hunters are once again looking for homes to fix up and resell for a quick profit.
Just take a look at the numbers. Home values are on the rise, with a year-over-year price increase of 11.6 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. Inventory has cratered to levels not seen since 2005………………………………………Full Article: Source

3 reasons the housing recovery may not last

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The housing market has made a big comeback over the past year; home prices have surged some 8% and homebuyers can’t seem to buy up properties fast enough.
But just as quickly as the market is gaining ground, some industry experts worry it will come crashing back to Earth. Here are three reasons the housing market recovery may not last:……………………………………..Full Article: Source

Safer way to get exposure to U.S. housing market

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

It’s clear the housing market is on the right path, but whether it can continue to be as hot as it has been is uncertain; my feeling is that the easy money has already been made. And what has been impressive has been the housing market’s recovery in spite of the lack of a strong recovery in the jobs market, which continues to struggle along, as demonstrated by the creation of a mere 88,000 new jobs in March and the edging up of the unemployment rate.
Once the jobs situation improves to where we are seeing the consistent creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs monthly, I expect the housing market to follow suit. The housing starts and building permits reports support the housing market recovery. In March, there were an impressive annualized 1.04 million housing starts, which was above the Briefing.com estimate of 935,000 and the upwardly revised 968,000 in February………………………………………Full Article: Source

UK: Who will benefit from the housing market recovery?

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Upbeat assessments of the U.K. economy are few and far between. The latest quarterly report from the influential ITEM Club predicted a modest 0.6% rise in GDP this year and says the housing market is now seeing a “win-win of rising disposable incomes and increasing affordability factors.”
The house price-to-wages ratio is 4.5, down from 2007’s peak of 5.8, and the ITEM Club sees disposable incomes gaining from rises in personal income tax allowance and strong employment levels. Affordability is increased by the government’s “Help to Buy” scheme. The ITEM Club thinks one million families will move house this year, up a quarter from recent levels, driving higher house prices, additional housing-related spending and ultimately construction………………………………………Full Article: Source

Is London’s property market about to grind to a halt?

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

London estate agents do not lose a minute pumping out press releases in reaction to new laws or regulations that appear in some way to threaten their business.
The format for these releases is always the same: when the new law is proposed, the agents cry in agony that it cannot possibly be allowed to happen because it will destroy the property market. Then when it does happen, they put out another set of press releases claiming it really won’t make much difference after all and that the party can go on………………………………………Full Article: Source

Dubai real estate market remains on growth track

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Ample demand for private and commercial properties fuel the real estate sector in the Gulf Arab sheikhdom which benefits from ongoing turmoil in some Arab countries.
Earlier in the week, real estate service provider REIDIN said in a study released last Sunday that property sales prices increased in Dubai (2.5 million inhabitants) on average by 18 percent year on year in the first three months of 2013. This increase was even more an indication for Dubai’s new economic strength, added REIDIN, as during the first quarter 2,200 new objects were added to the market in the sheikhdom………………………………………Full Article: Source

Dubai housing market is seen bouncing back

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Another 40,000 new homes will enter Dubai’s property market over the next two years as developers revive projects stalled after the collapse of the emirate’s real estate market, a report said. The new properties to be built between 2013 and 2015 will represent 11 percent of the current stock of 357,000 units, consultants Jones Lang LaSalle said in a report on Dubai’s real estate market for the first quarter of 2013.
It said that a total of 28,000 dwellings are expected to be completed in 2013. Around 2,200 residential units, mostly apartments, have already been handed over in Q1 of the year, which include the Spirit Tower in Dubai Sports City, Lakeside Tower in JLT, Bay Central in Dubai Marina, as well as the Al-Furjan Villas by developer Nakheel………………………………………Full Article: Source

Kuwait government takes steps to tackle housing shortage

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

As the waiting list for government-subsidised housing in Kuwait has grown to more than 100,000 in 2013, projects aimed at combating the shortage will see a number of new construction projects in the coming years. Sluggish residential real estate growth and restrictive legislation have created difficulties for the sector, but new public-private partnerships (PPPs) and improved credit access could help alleviate Kuwait’s housing problems.
In March 2013 the government revealed plans to build 174,000 new houses and three separate cities by 2020, two near the Iraqi border in the north, and one on the Saudi border in the south. Although no official price tag has been given for the project, estimates put the cost at around $5bn………………………………………Full Article: Source

Widening gap between housing supply and demand

Posted on 19 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

China has a sufficient amount of real estate and construction space to provide housing for 120 million people, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, 21st Century Business Herald reported. According to the data released on April 15, there are 424 million square meters of real estate for sale and 353 million square meters of construction area.
Qin Hong, director of the Department of Housing and Urban Policy Research Center, believes that the biggest problem in housing development is not the imbalance between supply and demand, but housing resources………………………………………Full Article: Source

Signs of life in the UK housing market

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The UK housing market has been at the sharp end of the recession. Prices have fallen by 18% from the August 2007 peak and the number of transactions is running at half the levels seen before the financial crisis. Housebuilding has collapsed. In 2011/12 the number of new homes built fell to the lowest level since 1923.
Yet despite the decline in prices UK housing still looks relatively pricey on a long-term basis. The price of an average house in the UK, at £172,000, is now 4.5 times annual earnings…………………………………..Full Article: Source

German residential unit sales reach 5-year high

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Strong investor demand for German residential property lifted both the volume and number of traded units in the first three months of 2013. Figures published by Savills indicate 68,600 housing units traded in Q1 this year, generating a total volume of just under €3.8 bn and representing 5% growth year-on-year.
The number of units sold rose 3% compared with the first quarter of 2012, marking a five-year-high, according to Savills…………………………………..Full Article: Source

Blackstone takes aim at Asian real estate

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Blackstone Group is upping the ante in Asia, looking to raise the largest real-estate fund ever devoted to the region at a time when economic growth there shows signs of slowing. The private-equity giant, which has become one of the world’s biggest real-estate investors, plans to raise up to a $4 billion real-estate fund exclusively focused on China and other Asian markets, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The target amount for the fund, which will be Blackstone’s first devoted to Asia, is twice what the firm initially indicated it intended to raise. It also would be the largest Asia property fund raised, according to data tracker Preqin…………………………………..Full Article: Source

China local authority debt could be worse than US housing market crash

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

China can face a similar or even bigger financial crisis than the United States if the local Government debt remains out of control for long, says a Senior Chinese auditor Zhang Kew Hoc, who is also the vice chairman of China’s accounting association, report CNBC.
Zhang Ke said that his accounting firm Shine Wing, due to mounting concerns, is not signing off on bond sales by local governments. Zhang said that they audited local government bond issues, which was full of risks. “Most don’t have strong debt servicing abilities. Things could become very serious” he said………………………………….Full Article: Source

Australia: Real estate agents’ confidence soars

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Australian businesses may be doing it tough, but at least real estate agents are feeling pretty good. A survey of property industry sentiment shows confidence has risen to its highest level in 18 months. That goes against the wider trend in business sentiment, which remains stuck at below-average levels.
And there’s good reason for real estate agents feeling positive: house prices are increasing and investors and owner-occupiers are starting to borrow more. Property Council of Australia chief operating officer Ken Morrison says there is a feeling would-be buyers are returning to the market after a tough couple of years…………………………………..Full Article: Source

Forget the housing crash, this market has been booming

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The housing crash of 2007-2008 that spilled into the great financial crisis is not news to any investor. Many are familiar with the devastating effects that collapse of the over-leveraged housing market had on the lives of individuals around the country.
However, despite all of the negativity in the nationwide housing market, one city has been booming in particular. With average capitalization rates form buildings near 20 year lows and new development around the city, this location has been a developers dream city. But this dream may become a nightmare very quickly… Which city is this that is booming so rapidly, that is attracting hot money from big developers all around the country? No, it is not New York or San Francisco, and it’s not some glitzy suburb of silicon valley……………………………………Full Article: Source

UK: Spring bounce for the housing market

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The housing market looks primed for a spring bounce as first-time buyers return in force and increasingly confident sellers start hiking prices. The average UK asking price has just hit £244,706, up £15,717 since the start of the year, according to new figures from Rightmove, with the biggest rises outside London.
First-time buyers are streaming back into the market, with an extra 3 per cent in February alone, the best start to a year since 2008 according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Numbers are up 17 per cent on 12 months ago……………………………………Full Article: Source

Housing prices in Ukraine stable in Q1, market could stir up in autumn 2013, say experts

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

There were no large fluctuations of prices for property in January-March 2013 in Ukraine, and the average housing price on the secondary market in Kyiv at the end of the first quarter of 2013 came to $1,800 per square meter. This information was presented by representatives of the Association of Realtors of Ukraine (ASNU) at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday.
“The prices on the secondary market have not changed for around a year if we take the prices in Ukraine… [and] prices are stable today on the primary market too,” Head of the Information Technologies, Services, Analytics and MLS Committee at the Association of Ukrainian Realtors Eduard Brazas said……………………………………Full Article: Source

Prime Abu Dhabi property prices up 8pct in Q1

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Sale prices of prime Abu Dhabi residential properties rose by 8 percent in the first quarter of 2013, according to a report from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
The real estate services firm’s latest Abu Dhabi Market Overview Report found that average asking prices within investment areas increased to AED12,000 per sq m for villas and AED9,900 sqm for apartments……………………………………Full Article: Source

Delhi-NCR residential housing market still on slow burner: Report

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) residential market seems to be going slow on new launches, with the segment witnessing a 31 per cent dip compared with the second half of fiscal 2012-13.
A report by property portal Knight Frank India says developers are struggling with liquidity crunch due to project delays, while consumer confidence is marred due to higher interest rates, inflation and the current economic outlook……………………………………Full Article: Source

China property prices climb as cities defy government policies to cool housing market

Posted on 17 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

All real estate markets are local, says the industry axiom, one that China’s central government is painfully aware of as its efforts to rein in home prices are undermined by uncooperative municipal authorities.
Former Premier Wen Jiabao, in his final endeavour to make housing affordable, set an April 1 deadline for higher down payments and interest rates for second-home loans in cities with “excessively fast” price gains and ordered stricter enforcement of taxes on sales. Thirty-five provincial-level cities responded with measures insufficient to curb prices that climbed 150% from 2003 to 2012……………………………………Full Article: Source

Canadian home sales edge up in March

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Home sales in Canada rose modestly from February to March, but remained far below levels seen a year ago before regulators tightened lending rules. Seasonally adjusted national home sales rose 2.4 percent from February to March, but were down 15.3 percent from a year ago, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported.
CREA said the Canadian real estate market continues to feel the effects of stricter mortgage rules that introduced by regulators in July of 2012 to cool what some perceived to be an overheating market………………………………………..Full Article: Source

At bank of Canada, all eyes on housing market

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tightened home lending standards last year, Bay Street economists shrugged. It wasn’t the first time Mr. Flaherty had attempted to deflate the housing bubble. Nor was it the second or third. That was enough history to suggest a cycle.
On all previous occasions, sales immediately jumped as buyers rushed to beat the new restrictions. In the next phase, demand cratered when the stricter lending conditions kicked in. Finally, sales popped back up once potential buyers realized that interest rates still were at once-in-a-lifetime levels………………………………………..Full Article: Source

ZipRealty’s new report provides real-time analysis of real estate market

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

According to the debut edition of the ZipRealty Housing Trends Report, median home prices in the cities examined increased 14.6% to $242,519 on a year-over-year basis, with the highest gains in San Francisco, where home prices shot up 38% as of March 15, 2013. Real estate prices in both Las Vegas and Phoenix jumped 31% during the same period.
Total housing inventory in the 24 metropolitan areas declined 34% as of March 15, 2013, as did the level of distressed home sales. The report shows 35% of the homes sold in the 2012 period were either foreclosures, short sales or REOs, compared to only 23% of the homes in 2013, a decline of 12 percentage points in the prevalence of distressed property sales. (Press Release)

UK: First-time buyers at five-year high in best start to any year since the financial crisis

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The number of first-time buyers active in the property market increased by 3 per cent in February, the best start to any year since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, data released today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders has revealed.
The CML, which represents 97 per cent of mortgage lenders, added activity in the first-time buyer sector was 17 per cent stronger in February than the same month a year earlier. But it wasn’t all good news. Lending to homeowners looking to move up the property ladder fell leading to an overall dip in mortgage lending, while the number of those remortgaging also saw a dip………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Italy housing market slumps, sales drop 23pct, mortgages 39pct

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The big impact the recession is having on Italy’s housing market was shown on Monday when Istat said property sales in the third quarter of last year were down by over 23%. It said 134,984 property sales were closed at notaries between July and September last year, 23.1% down on the same three months in the previous year.
The national statistics agency added that the number of mortgages granted in the first nine months of 2012 was 39.5% lower than in the same period of 2011……………………………………….Full Article: Source

China’s cities drag feet on home-price curbs

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

All real estate markets are local, says the industry axiom, one that China’s central government is painfully aware of as its efforts to rein in home prices are undermined by uncooperative municipal authorities.
Former Premier Wen Jiabao, in his final endeavor to make housing affordable, set an April 1 deadline for higher down payments and interest rates for second-home loans in cities with “excessively fast” price gains and ordered stricter enforcement of taxes on sales. Thirty-five provincial-level cities responded with measures insufficient to curb prices that climbed 150 percent from 2003 to 2012………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China home sales surge 69pct in Q1

Posted on 16 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

China’s home sales rose 69 per cent in the first quarter as buyers rushed into the market before local governments implemented property curbs, Bloomberg News reported. The value of homes sold climbed to 1.2 trillion yuan (S$242 billion) from a year earlier, China’s statistics bureau said on Monday, the biggest first-quarter increase in three years. Overall real estate sales, including commercial buildings, rose 61 per cent to 1.4 trillion yuan from last year.
“Quite a lot of buyers bought homes as they expected local governments would issue harsh property curbs,” said Mr Zhao Zhenyi, Shanghai-based analyst at Industrial Securities………………………………………..Full Article: Source

US: Hopes housing data will buck weak March trend

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Housing and manufacturing reports will lead the data parade next week. Economists expect the numbers to buck the recent trend of weaker activity last month. But forecasters have been wrong before about March data. Next week’s factory reports will cover March and April.
The first of two regional Federal Reserve surveys is scheduled to be reported Monday. The New York Fed’s Empire State survey is expected to show continued expansion although at a slightly weaker pace. The business conditions index is forecast to slow to 7.5 in April from 9.24 in March, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UK ‘dependent’ on property market

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The UK will be “heavily dependent” on the property market this year, with one million house transactions set to offset continued eurozone woes. The Ernst & Young Item Club’s spring forecast warns that the UK will have to wait until 2015 before exports start contributing positively to growth.
It expects GDP to expand by just 0.6% this year and that, with the rebalancing of the economy on hold, the UK will again have to rely on the consumer. This year’s forecast 7.5% rise in housing transactions comes as mortgage costs start to fall due to the Government and Bank of England’s Funding for Lending scheme. And in last month’s budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to underwrite £130 billion of mortgages from next year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Abu Dhabi’s property market follows Dubai’s growth path: report

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The gap in rental and sales prices between the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai is narrowing in the first quarter of 2013, reflecting that Abu Dhabi’s property market is following Dubai’s growth path, a report said Sunday.
According to the report released by Dubai-based real estate agency Asteco Property Management, average rental rates in Abu Dhabi rose by 8 percent in the first three months this year, while sales prices in upscale areas soared by 13.5 percent………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China: Experts seek targeted property market policies

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

On March 1, the government rolled out a regulatory plan to tighten control over the sizzling property market, including a new capital gains tax as high as 20 percent on secondhand home sales and higher down payments for second-home buyers.
However, newly released data for China’s property sector in the first quarter of the year demonstrated a confused market, which will make clear-cut policy implementation a tough task, analysts said. Housing costs rose 0.5 percent month on month in March, with rent up 1.2 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Tycoon tests Singapore market with priciest home: Southeast Asia

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Tycoon Cheng Wai Keung’s plan to sell Singapore’s most expensive private property faces the dual challenge of additional government taxes designed to cool the market and restrictions limiting the sale to locals.
Wing Tai Holdings Ltd. (WINGT) Chairman Cheng is seeking a record S$300 million ($242 million) for a home near the Orchard Road shopping belt. The 85,000-square-foot site on an elevated lot at 33 Nassim Road, near the Botanic Gardens, includes a two-story home, swimming pool and tennis court, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., the sole marketing agent………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysian secondary home market to remain slow in H1

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Demand in Malaysia’s secondary property market is expected to remain slow during the first half of this year, a reflection of last year’s trend due to Bank Negara’s lending guidelines, The Star newspaper says.
Quoting Property Hub Sdn Bhd resident manager Wan Choy Heng, the daily said the situation was expected to remain slow as house buyers preferred project launches that come with a developer’s interest bearing scheme (DIBS), in which the developer will bear the interest of the loans until the property is completed………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Allowing foreigners buying houses in VN to rescue property market?

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Vietnam will not be able to rescue the real estate market if it only relies on the domestic resources. The government has been urged to allow foreigners to buy houses in Vietnam to increase the demand.
In 2008, the National Assembly released a resolution on allowing foreign individuals to buy houses in Vietnam in a 5-year trial period. However, to date, only 500 foreigners have bought houses in Vietnam so far. Most of them are original Vietnamese with foreign nationalities. This has been attributed to too many restrictions set up by the current policies………………………………………..Full Article: Source

NZ: Hot property market underpins service expansion

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The service sector, accounting for around 70 per cent of New Zealand activity, is reporting steady expansion, underpinned by rising activity particularly in the banking, financial and legal services industries. The latest BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Services Index (PSI) clocked in at 54.4 in March, one pip down from February. A reading above 50.0 indicates that the service sector is generally expanding, below 50.0 that it is declining.
That made it the strongest month of March in four years. BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said although the recent surge in house prices and sales was potentially unsustainable, “the recent hot spots likely helped the March PSI to its still-strong reading for March, via real estate, legal and financial services.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

U.S. housing regulator extends popular refinance program

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The top U.S. housing regulator on Thursday extended by two years a popular federal refinancing program to allow more borrowers with government-backed loans to lower their monthly mortgage payments.
The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, allows borrowers with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to cut loan payments by refinancing at record low interest rates even if their homes have lost value. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said it would extend the program until the end of 2015. It had been set to expire at the end of this year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Tight U.S. housing market forcing prices up

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The number of homes listed for sale ticked up by 2.4 percent in March from February but remained down 15 percent from a year ago, new data show. The low inventory of homes for sale in many markets is helping drive up prices and is being closely watched as the spring selling season takes hold.
“The newest data shows that the outlook is optimistic for the overall real estate recovery,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, which operates Realtor.com. “Things are slowly picking up steam.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Best places to invest in U.S. real estate

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

In optimizing the relationship of risk and return, many would argue there’s not a better investment right now than U.S. residential real estate, especially in various geographic regions of the country.
Aside from directly investing in U.S. real estate, some other strong investment options are homebuilders such as KB Homes (KBH), Lennar (LEN), Toll Brothers (TOL), and Taylor Morrison (TMHC). Silver Bay (SBY) and Blackstone (BX) have also been extremely active in acquiring distressed real estate in various markets and leasing the properties………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Britain bucks trend as EU house prices fall

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

European house prices fell in the fourth quarter of 2012, but Britain bucked the trend as property values rose, official figures showed on Thursday. The 17-member Eurozone saw a 1.8pc annual decrease in house prices in the final three months of the year, while the 27-nation EU suffered a 1.4pc drop, according to figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office.
Britain went against the trend showing a 2.3pc jump in property prices in the fourth quarter. However, the UK did see a small drop of 0.7pc between October and December, in line with the EU average. Compared with the third quarter of 2012, house prices in Q4 fell 0.5pc in the Eurozone and 0.7pc in the EU as a whole………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UK: One in two people expect house prices to rise in the next 12 months – the highest level in two years

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

The number of people who believe property prices will increase over the next year is at highest level for at least two years, a study has found. Almost half – 45 per cent – expect prices to rise over the next 12 months while just one in eight predict declines, according to the research by Halifax.
The latest findings show the strongest overall sentiment that house prices will increase since the quarterly study began in April 2011, and add to a string of recent reports pointing to signs of optimism creeping back into the market………………………………………..Full Article: Source

U.K. house prices reach five-year high as London’s lead widens

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

London’s property market powered a seventh month of increases in U.K. house prices in March as values reached a five-year high, according to Acadametrics Ltd.
The average cost of a home in England and Wales rose 0.2 percent on the month to reach 230,078 pounds ($354,000), Acadametrics and LSL Property Services Plc (LSL) said in a monthly report published in London today. Excluding the capital, prices fell 0.1 percent on the month………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Asian property: boom or bubble? (Video)

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

Is Asia’s economic growth and large population laying the foundation for a real estate boom or bubble? The surge in property prices is often blamed on speculators.
But Patrick Sumner, from Henderson Global Equities, told the BBC that rising prices are based on real demand, not speculation. People across the region are either looking to buy their first homes, or to trade up. And this is likely to keep prices high despite attempts in many countries to cool the market………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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