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Real Estate Briefing - Archive | January, 2009

New US home sales plunge to record low

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From FT: Sales of new homes in the US plunged to a record low last month as buyers continued to wait for prices to fall further, government figures showed on Thursday. New home sales fell by 14.7 per cent in December to an annual rate of 331,000 from a revised rate of 388,000 in November.

It was the sharpest decline since 1994. December sales were off by 44.8 per cent compared with the same month in the year before, and 482,000 new homes were sold in all of 2008, down from 776,000 in 2007….. Full Article: Source

Investors stick with real estate through the bad times

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Over the past five years the world’s biggest investment management firms have increased allocations to property, propelling the asset class into the mainstream. Now the sector has stumbled, will they desert?

The story of how real estate has emerged from being a so-called alternative investment to become a staple of many investors’ asset allocations, along with fixed income and equities, is one that has been told many times to clients over the past decade….. Full Article: Source

US: Mortgage rates slide in sour housing market

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Mortgage rates fell over the past week, benefiting from the Federal Reserve’s pledge to take all necessary action to stimulate the economy. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 5.48% from 5.59% for the week ended Jan. 28, according

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage slipped to 5.10% from 5.2% and the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate dropped to 7.06% from 7.22%….. Full Article: Source

UK: Government reviewing REIT dividend request

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: The cash-poor community of real estate investment trusts (REITs) could be allowed to offer shareholders stocks instead of regular dividends under proposals currently being considered by government officials.

A spokeswoman for HM Revenues & Customs told Reuters on Wednesday it was evaluating a request from an un-named property company for permission to amend its dividend policy, which could enable REITs to substitute cash dividends for shares….. Full Article: Source

House price falls continue into 2009

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Guardian: House prices fell by 1.3% in January as the deepening recession and turbulence on the financial markets continued to deter would-be buyers, the UK’s biggest building society said today.

Nationwide’s monthly snapshot of the housing market showed the average house price has fallen to £150,501 – down 16.6% or £30,000 since last January….. Full Article: Source

Another fall in UK house prices, IMF knock sterling

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: Sterling weakened broadly on Thursday, hit by the International Monetary Fund’s bleak forecasts for the UK economy and a building society survey showing a record fall in house prices.

The latest blast of poor economic news fuelled profit taking by dealers who had ramped sterling higher this week after it hit its lowest level against the dollar in almost a quarter of a century last Friday….. Full Article: Source

UK Property industry wants radical rental solution to housing crisis

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Leading figures from the property industry met on Tuesday January 27 at the British Property Federation’s (BPF) Annual Residential Conference in London to call for a radical shift to rental.

With repossessions almost doubling and tens of thousands facing negative equity, the BPF believes a professionalised, branded rental sector, where big firms provide long term homes to rent, could be the answer to Britain’s woes….. Full Article: Source

Commercial property mortgages could go to 0%

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Commercial property mortgages could fall as low as zero per cent, the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) has said. Should this happen, bank lending could increase as would lending to individuals for private mortgages.

The base rate could fall further and stay low noted Cebr senior economist Charles Davis….. Full Article: Source

More boom and bust ahead in housing market

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Guardian: There is a huge risk of a further boom and bust in the housing market if the government does not increase the supply of new homes in the next two years, a Guardian conference heard today.

The sharp downturn in house-building due to the recession means that there is likely to be a big lag between a recovery in the economy and the ability to meet the increased demand for homes, warned the chief executive of Shelter, Adam Sampson….. Full Article: Source

Russian buyers snap up prime London property

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Economic chills, including large stock market falls, have severely diminished the once prodigious spending power of the Russian oligarchs, but some can still afford to treat themselves to such British status-symbols as white-stuccoed houses in Belgravia, newspapers and the rest.

The price must be right, however. Alexander Lebedev, below, Russia’s 39th richest man, a tycoon with an intellectual bent, is paying a “very nominal sum” - probably just £1 - for the Evening Standard. …. Full Article: Source

Slovakia: Special real estate funds with special profits

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Among the small number of funds which were profitable last year, there are three special real estate funds. And their earnings were not small. When everything falls, profits of 8 to 10% are considered high. Real estate funds abroad were having problems, so why not these?

The Slovak funds‘ revenues are mostly coming from property leasing and that is why they are relatively stable compared to cash revenues from the growth of property values. But despite the interesting gains investors are not eager to do anything with these funds. The outcome of special real estate funds differ in accordance to strategies….. Full Article: Source

Malta: Property market ‘quiet’ but opportunities exist

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Like all sectors in the local economy, the property market is currently suffering from a slowdown although there are opportunities with prices correcting themselves and some good bargains already available.

Speaking to this newspaper, Trafford Busuttil, chairman of the Malta Federation of Real Estate Agents explained that although the market is quiet, there are a number of opportunities which have presented themselves and which should be snapped up before an inevitable rise in prices….. Full Article: Source

Global slowdown speeds up changes in Italian property market

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Property sale volumes saw a greater drop in Italian provinces than in the provincial capitals, and in the North more than in the South. Florence and Venice were the two best performing cities.

The global economic slowdown is helping to push along some subtle changes in the Italian property market….. Full Article: Source

Investment in Turkish property to surge

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The Turkish property market’s desirable prices and rising tourism figures are set to attract greater foreign property investors, a report has recently suggested. In 2008 alone, Turkey saw more than 23 million tourists visit the country, according to Ertugrul Gunay, the tourism minister. It is being anticipated that 2009 will attract an even greater number of tourists.

In addition to this, the Turkish government is also looking to change one of its regulations in order to introduce tax incentives to attract the growing number of foreign investment funds….. Full Article: Source

USD275bln infrastructure projects to keep real estate market buoyant in Abu Dhabi

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Abu Dhabi is and continues to be an attractive market for real estate as it plans to invest $275 billion (Dh1 trillion) in infrastructure development over the next five years under Economic Vision 2030, a senior executive of a property developer said at the fifth annual Abu Dhabi Real Estate and Investment Show (Ireis) 2009.

Ziad Bushnaq, CEO of Cornerstone, one of the largest real estate solutions companies in the region, said, despite the global economic crisis, the emirate has plans to spend $275bn over the next five years to enhance and develop its infrastructure and real estate projects, and to invest in the petroleum and non-petroleum sectors….. Full Article: Source

Dubai: Protection for off-plan buyers

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The authorities are moving to protect buyers of off-plan properties in Dubai, an important step to strengthen the overall property market in the emirate.

Those looking for homes (end-users) and investors - not speculators - in the Dubai property market need to be confident that the construction of projects to which they have committed their money will be completed if they are to freely buy and sell off-plan properties….. Full Article: Source

Abu Dhabi Developers report steepest profit drop as boom slows

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Bloomberg: Abu Dhabi’s largest property developers posted their steepest profit declines since listing in 2005 as the real-estate boom in the United Arab Emirates, the second-largest economy in the Persian Gulf, slowed amid the global credit crisis.

Sorouh Real Estate PJSC, the biggest developer by market value, had a 91 percent drop in fourth-quarter net income, while Aldar Properties PJSC, the No. 2 in the emirate, recorded an 84 percent plunge in profit. …. Full Article: Source

Abu Dhabi developers feel the heat

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The two biggest property developers in Abu Dhabi, Sorouh Real Estate and Aldar Properties, have seen profits decline notably in the fourth quarter, underscoring that the effects of the global credit crisis have begun to impact on real estate in the emirate.

Since the end of summer, layoffs and delays have become the industry standard in the Dubai property sector, but Abu Dhabi was seen as largely protected from the turmoil. Now, with sales slowing to a near standstill and property prices declining, developers are taking a closer look at their plans and focusing on construction….. Full Article: Source

UAE property ‘will be hit by expat outflows’

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Property market conditions in the United Arab Emirates will remain challenging this year and next with house prices in Dubai expected to fall further as foreign workers leave the emirate, UBS said.

‘In our view expat-led population outflows in Dubai and flattish trends in Abu Dhabi will pressure house prices in the foreseeable future,’ the bank said in a research note. A population decline of 8 percent in 2009 and 2 percent in 2010 may be conservative and accounting for potential payment defaults, would exacerbate Dubai’s housing issues, it said….. Full Article: Source

Libya poised to be full of potential for real estate investment

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Libya is emerging as an exciting prospect for property investors according to the first publicly available official report into residential and commercial real estate.

The report says the country is emerging from years of isolation with an economy that is functioning well now that international sanctions have been removed….. Full Article: Source

Philippines: REITs eyed to boost stock market

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is hoping for the Senate’s approval of the proposed bill on real estate investment trusts (REITs) to expand the investment scope in the local stock market.

“I am hopeful that our Senators will help our cause of developing our stock market through a bill that will introduce new investment opportunities for both our local and foreign markets,” PSE president Francis Lim said in a statement….. Full Article: Source

Australia: Turnbull signals Senate fight over $4b property fund

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The Federal Government’s proposed $4 billion commercial property rescue package is to face tough opposition from the Coalition in the Senate. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has described the Australian Business Investment Partnership - designed to prop up the sector if foreign banks fail to renew loans to local projects - as a “very, very bad idea”.

Mr Turnbull has stopped short of saying whether the Opposition would block legislation for the package in the Senate but he says they will have to evaluate what the Government presents. …. Full Article: Source

Foreign Investors see gold in Austrian Resorts

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From In recent years several of Austria’s provinces have relaxed the rules that historically prevented foreigners from owning property, while other areas, including the Tyrol, still make it all but impossible for a foreign buyer to acquire a holiday home.

But it was those restrictions, real estate industry officials say, that kept prices low in the country’s second-home market. And those prices are now attracting buyers.” target=”_blank”>Source

New Zealand Property developers need urgent help

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From New Zealand Property developers have called for an urgent government bailout, as a considerable fall in construction activity, culminates in the loss of thousands of industry jobs. Some construction companies have slashed up to 30% of their workforce over the past year or so, according to the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA).

Its feared that up to 50,000 more jobs could be cut, says state president Brett Gillan of Queensland and Federal Governments….. Full Article: Source

Japan’s REITs facing bankruptcy

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Financing real estate in Japan has become extremely difficult due to the global financial crisis, which is forcing real estate investment trusts into bankruptcy, as they are unable to refinance their maturing loans.

The key to the survival of Japanese real estate investment trusts, or J-REITs, in 2009 lies in factors related to their ability to obtain financing. This includes their credit rating, the type of properties in their portfolio, and their relationship with major banks that are still actively lending….. Full Article: Source

India: Real estate to witness turnaround after next 2 quarters

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The real estate sector could witness a turnaround in the next two quarters and would see fund flow after that, Kotak Realty Fund CEO S Srinivasan has said.

“It will take at least two quarters before the fund flow to estate developer community begins, and the sector can witness a turnaround,” he said yesterday at a seminar organised by the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries. …. Full Article: Source

India’s third tier cities still good investment

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The investment case for India’s third tier cities is still strong despite the financial turmoil being felt in the country, according to property services firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

India’s economy has suffered amid the global deleveraging with general repricing across real estate markets and predictions the country’s gross domestic product will fall from an average rate 8.9 percent to 6.2 percent for 2008/2009. …. Full Article: Source

Bali’s cash property market keeps prices up

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From IHT: Fueled by rising tourism, the property market on the Indonesian island of Bali has been on a roll in recent years, especially at the high end.

And while the worldwide economic crisis has stalled some of that growth, the cash nature of this Southeast Asian market is offering some protection from the sharp price downturns occurring in the rest of the region….. Full Article: Source

Cambodia’s disappearing capital: The poor pay for a property boom

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From A property boom in the Cambodian capital has brought a whirl of demolition of old buildings, plans for new high-rise developments, and speculative investment in satellite towns.

The victims of this have been Phnom Penh’s poor. Last week police and private security guards roughly evicted 120 families from Dey Krahorm, a slum in the centre of the city, on the orders of Phnom Penh’s governor….. Full Article: Source

Singapore’s private home prices slide 6.1%

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The worsening economic crisis is having an impact on Singapore´s private property market as it registered the steepest price decline since 1998. Private property prices slid by 6.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

This decline is even worse than the URA´s previous flash estimates of 5.7 percent. The fourth quarter price decline is also steeper than the 2.4 percent drop registered in the third quarter of 2008. …. Full Article: Source

Arkansas searches property management

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From IPE: The $8.4bn Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS) it is looking to appoint a real estate manager to manage a $140m (€107m) property portfolio.

The new investment manager of the portfolio, made up primarily of office space in Arkansas, will be responsible for monitoring the performance of each asset, managing and developing annual budgets and business plans and identifying opportunities to sell underperforming assets when market conditions are appropriate. …. Full Article: Source

Aviva investors must sit and wait to get property fund cash

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From FT Last week the life and pensions company announced it had temporarily deferred settlements on the fund, which invests in commercial property, due to the significant tightening of trading conditions in the last year.

Requests from customers to redeem their investments will be held on file and executed up to six months later, according to Aviva….. Full Article: Source

Klepierre to sell EUR 1 bn of property

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From French listed property group Klépierre has unveiled plans to sell off EUR 1 bn worth of properties as it seeks to deleverage its business after posting solid results in 2009. The ‘extensive disposal programme’ will involve both office and shopping centers properties, the group said on Thursday.

The asset sales are expected to have only a minor impact on cash flow, it added, ’since they will contribute to deleveraging.’…. Full Article: Source

Real estate investment managers “struggle to meet demand for information”

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From More than 80 per cent of commercial real estate investment managers say the frequency of demands for reports and information is higher than a year ago, according to a survey by Resolve Technology.

The results show that despite the growing demand for information, companies are struggling to measure many of the key risk parameters in a timely manner. Tenant exposure is one of these parameters which most companies still measure on a quarterly basis or even less frequently….. Full Article: Source

ProLogis European properties appoints Peter Cassells as Chief Executive Officer

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From ProLogis European Properties , Europe’s largest owner of modern distribution facilities, announced today that Peter Cassells, currently chief financial officer, will become chief executive officer on 2 February 2009, succeeding Gordon Keiser. Mr. Keiser, who turns 65 in April, has announced his retirement.

Mr. Cassells, aged 43, has been PEPR’s chief financial officer since IPO in 2006. From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Cassells was first vice president and fund manager for ProLogis in Europe, responsible for managing PEPR, having been with the group since 2000. Mr. Cassells is based in Luxembourg….. Full Article: Source

Economic freeze hits Alaska’s investments

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From IPE: The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation’s (APFC’s) real estate portfolio performed better than other assets but has still contributed to the fund’s $4.2bn (€3.2bn) drop in value in the second quarter of fiscal year 2009.

The US fund blamed the continued losses in the global financial markets for the fall, which brought the fund’s value down to $28.8bn at the end of December 2008 and contributed to a $983m net loss for the fiscal year-to-date….. Full Article: Source

Gross: ‘Stop the asset price decline’

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The government needs to prop up other sectors of the credit markets such as commercial mortgage-backed securities and municipal debt, said Bill Gross, chief investment officer of bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co.

Doing so would help keep solvent borrowers such as shopping malls and office buildings, as well as municipalities, hospitals and universities, Gross said in a commentary on Pimco’s Web site….. Full Article: Source

North Carolina warns on real estate holdings

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From IPE: The North Carolina Retirement System lost $17bn (€12.8bn) in value in 2008 and is bracing itself for a steeper decline in real estate values, the Department of State Treasurer announced on Friday.

The pension fund, which is the 10th largest in the United States, blamed the financial crisis for the fall and said assets now stand at $60bn, down from $77bn on 31 December 2007….. Full Article: Source

Lack of liquidity set to further drive down hotel transactions in 2009, says JLL

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Following an 80 per cent drop in global hotel transaction volume in 2008, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels forecasts that 2009 will exhibit a further decline to levels last seen between 2001 and 2003.

The firm’s Hotel Investment Outlook 2009 report reveals that USD23bn worth of hotels changed ownership in 2008, down from USD113bn in 2007, as the credit crisis and the chilling effects of the global economic slowdown took hold. …. Full Article: Source

International Real Estate Securities Exchange launched as internet-based market

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From International Real Estate Securities Exchange has been launched as a real estate securities and derivatives exchange where bankers can securitize real estate loans and insure against mortgaged property value decline.

Investors can invest in residential and commercial real estate securities and derivatives to benefit from real estate price changes, portfolio diversification and fixed income return….. Full Article: Source

Housing prices keep dropping. And they’re not done yet

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Time: Home prices were down nearly 20% at the end of last year, according to two new reports. But there is plenty of further room to fall, say economists who forecast where the housing market is headed.

The median sales price of existing homes fell to $175,400 in December, down 15.3% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). And the S&P/Case-Shiller index shows that home prices in 20 cities fell 18.2% in November compared with the year before. Both measures make houses about as expensive as they were in 2004….. Full Article: Source

Invest in the housing recovery

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Forbes: The Investor Team discusses recent news in the economic cycle and provides suggestions for investors looking to get into real estate stocks. This week saw signs of health in the housing market as existing-home sales rose 6.5% in December.

As sales have increased, prices have fallen, down 15% to $175,400 for the median home. Home prices are now approaching 2004 levels, which is about a year after the real estate bubble started to form….. Full Article: Source

Builders offer delayed payments, low rates, layoff insurance

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From WSJ: Forget free kitchen upgrades, tropical vacations or complimentary closing costs. The latest marketing efforts from home builders center around financing, with rock-bottom mortgage rates, delayed payments and mortgage insurance for job losses.

It’s the newest batch of offers from an industry limping through the worst downturn in decades and gearing up for what’s set to be an abysmal spring selling season. Builders know cash is essential to pay the bills and survive, so they’re trying anything to make a sale, even if it further stresses margins as cash flow concerns mount….. Full Article: Source

2009 is a year to ‘hang on and stay alive’

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Senior real estate executives are predicting more pain for the industry in 2009, with one professional warning 2009 was a year to “hold on and stay alive”.

The US Real Estate Roundtable, in its latest industry sentiment survey, revealed that a majority of the 130 executives it interviewed expected the first six months of 2009 to be “very painful”, with hospitality and retail particularly hit….. Full Article: Source

Big insurer says it will quit Florida property market

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Rebuffed by regulators in its efforts to raise homeowner rates by nearly 50 percent, Florida’s largest private insurer of property announced Tuesday that it would shutter all its property insurance business in the state.

The decision, by State Farm Florida, a subsidiary of the giant insurer State Farm Mutual, affects more than a million policyholders and is another financial setback to a state with one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates and rising unemployment. …. Full Article: Source

U.K. property prices may drop another 25% in 2009, Moody’s says

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Bloomberg: U.K. commercial property prices may fall as much as 25 percent this year as banks curb lending to investors, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

By the end of the year, valuations in Britain may have dropped as much as 45 percent from their peak before the credit crisis started in 2007, Moody’s said today in a report on European commercial mortgage-backed bonds. French real estate may fall as much as 20 percent, with a 15 percent decline in Germany, the report said….. Full Article: Source

Is the UK property market dead?

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From As the UK property market continues to come under severe pressure and head downwards there are many people suggesting that the market may not recover for anything up to 10 years.

However, these are probably the very same people who believed that the boom times in the UK property market would continue indefinitely and never saw the current recession arriving on the UK shores. So is the UK property market dead?…. Full Article: Source

UK developers ‘starting to raise prices’

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Residential developers are starting to raise prices on distressed housing stock sales in a ‘clear early sign’ that the housing market is reaching the bottom, says property investment company, Assetz.

House prices at auctions also appear to have started to plateau since the New Year, according to the same firm….. Full Article: Source

Foreign property investors lured to London

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From International investors from Asia and continental Europe are taking advantage of declines in property prices and the weak sterling to buy property in London.

Property agents Savills report a sharp increase in international inquiries in recent months, with spikes coming immediately after interest rate cuts….. Full Article: Source

Ireland: Could lower house prices spell good news for market in 2009?

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From House prices across the country are typically down 30% from their peak in 2006, according to figures released by Sherry Fitzgerald estate agents.

They described the change as “a significant correction” and said this increased affordability “bodes well” for for the property market in the year to come….. Full Article: Source

January 2009
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