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Real Estate Briefing - Archive | April, 2009

Some nations make it easier for nonresidents to buy property

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From WSJ: As property markets fall world-wide, one of the few consolations for real-estate investors is that some governments have become more open to nonresident property owners. A growing number of them are considering loosening or temporarily suspending foreign property-ownership restrictions in a bid to stimulate their real-estate markets.

In January, for example, Beijing issued a one-year suspension of a one-year residency requirement for foreign nationals buying a house…….Full Article: Source

Listed property market plunges further than expected

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The global listed property market has fallen further than expected in nearly every region in the current market turmoil, even after taking into account declining earnings and rising capitalisation, according to ING Clarion Real Estate Securities’ valuation models.

The fall has led to global real estate investment trusts (REITs) trading at a 20 per cent discount to net asset value, according to the report…….Full Article: Source

ING favours U.S. real-estate trusts despite crisis

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: U.S. real-estate investment trusts (REITs) enjoy strong investor support, despite the slump in U.S. property markets, because they have moved aggressively to repair their balance sheets, ING Real Estate said on Wednesday.

The U.S. REITs market is among the world’s most favourable for institutional investors, able to raise equity at discounts of only 7-8 percent on current share prices, compared with 40-50 percent discounts in Australia, the UK and Singapore, it said…….Full Article: Source

U.S. mortgage applications drop to mid-March low

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: U.S. home loan applications fell last week to the lowest level since mid-March, driven by a big drop in refinancing demand even as mortgage rates clung to record lows, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association on Wednesday.

Refinance applications fell 21.9 percent in the week ended April 24, overwhelming the 0.6 percent dip in home purchase loan requests to drag the trade group’s total loan index down 18.1 percent…….Full Article: Source

Green card for Brits moving to the USA

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From British solicitor, William Hicks, has opened a branch of his firm in New York, to service the continuing British demand for visas and green cards.

With rising foreclosure levels driving down property prices, Brits are continuing to eye-up USA property for both leisure and investment purposes. In fact, various data shows that the volume of homes sold in the States are currently on the up. Specialising in immigration, Hicks can provide services in all 50 states…….Full Article: Source

Why are the British so obsessed with property prices?

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From It’s a question many have asked, both within these shores and beyond.

Why, they wonder, should Britain be so singularly obsessed with their homes, and specifically with the price of their homes?……Full Article: Source

London housing market benefitting from lack of supply

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From A drastic shortage of stock in Central London is driving quick sales and even some stabilisation of prices, giving sellers an opportunity to make a confident return to the market.

Many potential sellers have been delaying putting their properties on the market for fear of receiving a lower than expected valuation, unaware that there has been some price stabilisation and recovery in activity…….Full Article: Source

UK: Price split in home rental market

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From BBC: Rents for UK homes are cheaper than a year ago, according to a survey, but while flats have come down in price larger houses are bucking the trend.

The average rent stood at £819 a month in April, falling from £827 in March and £873 a year earlier, said website…….Full Article: Source

Increase in property investors struggling to pay mortgages in Spain

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Higher mortgage interest rates in the Eurozone, a fall in the value of the pound and the effects of the recession mean that many Britons who have bought holiday properties in Spain are now struggling to meet their monthly repayments.

According to law firm DWF there has been a rise in the number of people seeking help to renegotiate their Spanish mortgages or advice on alternative options…….Full Article: Source

German buyers interested in prime property

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From German open ended funds have been sniffing around the Irish commercial property market looking for trophy assets which they can pick-up at prices at the bottom of the market.

Their initiatives coincide with deals being inked in recent weeks by high net worth Irish investors willing to undertake sale and leaseback acquisitions for branches of both AIB and Bank of Ireland…….Full Article: Source

Greek central bank to launch real estate price index

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Greece’s central bank will launch a real estate price index to better measure the course of property prices and help cover the need for a credible benchmark, its governor said on Wednesday.

Although property accounts for one fourth of total investment in Greece and 82 percent of household wealth, there is no widely accepted benchmark that systematically monitors real estate price behaviour…….Full Article: Source

Warsaw: It’s a Buyers’ market

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Prices in good projects, such as in the center of Warsaw and in the Upper Mokotów area, have already stabilized. The value of property in worse locations, with poorer transport links with the center, continues to drop.

This is particularly true of areas that were over-saturated during the housing boom of the last few years…….Full Article: Source

UAE cities offer best quality of life

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Cities of the UAE offer the best quality of life in the Middle East, according to a global survey published yesterday.

Mercer, a management consultancy based in the United States, said Dubai ranked at 77, the highest of all cities in the Gulf. The survey cited Dubai’s infrastructure of telecommunications, roads and airports as well as consumer facilities. It is up six places over last year…….Full Article: Source

New law for residency visas for freehold property investors in Dubai

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From A new law that will clarify the rules on issuing residency visas to property buyers in Dubai is being drafted and expected to be released later in the year.

It is likely to be widely welcomed as there has been confusion with property companies boasting that buying in Dubai came with a 99 year visa despite there being no law to back this up…….Full Article: Source

Dubai realty draws bargain hunters

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Dubai’s property market is starting to witness the entry of professional investors, who are now taking active interest in the growing opportunities in the emirate even though house prices fell 41 per cent between fourth quarter of 2008 and first quarter of 2009, according to a property expert.

“The first quarter saw the arrival of the professional investor. They look at real estate returns solely as a means of revenue and, in time, capital appreciation,” John Davis, CEO, Colliers International-Middle East, said…….Full Article: Source

India: Housing prices could fall 25% more

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Property prices have been on a slow but steady decline over the past year-and- a-half. Experts predict that this trend will continue and one can expect a 20-25 per cent further drop in prices in the next year or so.

While interest rate cuts by banks have been comparatively faster in being implemented, largely through the consistent efforts of the Reserve Bank of India, the builder community has been reluctant to follow suit with ready price cuts, even when the uncomfortable truth remains that there is no choice in the matter…….Full Article: Source

Thailand’s property sector sluggish

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Thailand’s property sector, hard-hit by the global recession and political instability since the last quarter of 2008, has yet to witness the kind of fire sales seen in the Asian crisis of 1997, Jones Lang LaSalle (Thailand) said Wednesday.

While the economic slowdown has led to falling office rents in Bangkok, to date there have been few investments in distressed assets largely because owners are not distressed, the international property consultant said in their latest property review…….Full Article: Source

Reviewing Malaysian REITs

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The Malaysian real estate investment trusts (MREITs) were launched in 2005 after REITs in general hit the stock markets in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Within a year 10 REITs were launched, one repackaged with another two oldies remaining, making up 11 REITs.

Before the global financial turmoil in 2008, the MREITs performed predictably well, yielding 6% to 7% dividend returns with marginal growth in share premium…….Full Article: Source

Malaysia: Developers of luxury condo hardest hit

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The impact of the current economic downturn on property companies depends on the sub-segments that they are exposed to, with developers of luxury condominiums likely to take a much bigger hit, say analysts.

Developers also need to boost sales via new launches instead of sustaining on unbilled sales, they said…….Full Article: Source

Franklin awaits distressed property sales

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: U.S. fund manager Franklin Templeton is looking to raise about $700 million for real estate investment this year as it braces for a flood of distressed sales from banks, its European property head told Reuters.

“We are going towards a distressed sales situation, but we’re not there yet … banks are still trying to figure out what to do with their problem assets,” its managing director for European property, Raymond Jacobs, said in an interview…….Full Article: Source

Lazard UK alpha increases exposure to real estate

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Lazard Asset Management is taking a contrarian play on real estate funds and building its position to the sector within its UK alpha fund.

Fund manager Alan Custis believes British Land represents very good medium term value with a strong balance sheet and a good spread of property and segments…….Full Article: Source

Aviva to sell GBP800mln property portfolio

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Aviva Investors is to sell a £800m property portfolio and has instructed DTZ to sell the 47 properties.

Aviva is offering potential buyers debt to buy the portfolio in a bid to attract buyers for the large portfolio. The size of the portfolio is one of the largest put up for sale this year…….Full Article: Source

One-size-fits-all regulation may not work for all EU alternative managers, says KPMG

Posted on 30 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Professional services firm KPMG has warned that the European Commission’s proposals for ‘one-size-fits-all’ regulation of alternative investment managers based within the European Union may not be appropriate for all asset classes covered by the draft Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers.

‘We believe that the regulation must separate out different asset classes in what is a wide and varied industry,’ says UK-based private equity partner Vincent Neate…….Full Article: Source

US housing price falls start to slow

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The rate of decline in US house prices slowed in February and consumer confidence among Americans rose by the greatest amount since 2005 during April, in early signs that the economic recession might be slowly beginning to thaw.
The Standard & Poors/Case-Shiller housing index – which measures house price in 20 major urban areas across America – revealed that house prices were 18.6pc lower than in February 2008, but this was the first time in 16 months that the annual decline did not hit a new record……Full Article: Source

US help for second mortgages

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From FT: The US Treasury on Tuesday unveiled measures to help struggling homeowners get lower payments on their second mortgages, risky home loans that have been a hurdle to reducing foreclosures.

Under the new scheme, which will run in tandem with the government’s existing programme for first mortgages, servicers and borrowers will receive incentive payments for successful modifications of such so-called second liens. The Treasury said it would share with lenders the cost of lowering interest rates on such mortgages to between 1 and 2 per cent……Full Article (Subscription Required): Source

Commercial mortgages at risk

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From FT: The volume of commercial mortgages at risk of default has quintupled since the beginning of 2008 as a deteriorating economy has made it increasingly difficult for shops and businesses to keep up with their payments.

Special servicers, companies that collect payments from borrowers in distress on behalf of mortgage bond investors, reported $23.7bn of mortgages under their care at the end of the first quarter, according to Fitch Ratings……Full Article: Source

Is the US housing market bottoming out?

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From US real estate was where the current economic crisis began. Transactions have been falling since late 2005, prices since early 2007 - and much of the toxic debt that’s poisoning the financial system has its origins in residential property.
But lately, there have been signs of stabilisation. Barack Obama says he sees “glimmers of hope”. Is this wishful thinking, or is the long rot in American property coming to an end?…..Full Article: Source

Is the worst over for the housing market?

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From “There’s no place like home,” is a popular expression that’s become less of a truism for both homeowners and homebuilders over this particular market cycle. Not only have home prices collapsed, but they’ve claimed closely associated victims in the banking, brokerage, and REIT sectors.

According to a published report from Standard & Poor’s, U.S. home prices experienced broad based declines during the month of February. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index fell at an annualized rate of 18.6%. And while February’s numbers were better than January’s, the U.S. housing market remains unhealthy. …..Full Article: Source

The great U.S. housing market depression, America stop thinking about homes as investments

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From You know those guys who are trying to reinflate the housing bubble — Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers — President Obama’s posse of the ethically challenged? They’re not your friends.

They’re taking billions of dollars of your national wealth and transferring the loot to their Wall Street friends on the promise they can make things all better — the way they used to be. America, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. The glory days of the housing bubble aren’t returning. You can wear a faded rose and pine for days gone by all you want, but your life will be much easier and stress-free if you can get the real estate monkey off your back……Full Article: Source

Europe office market revival seen in 2011-report

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From European office property markets are unlikely to see any meaningful recovery until 2011 at the earliest, as faltering economies squeeze occupier demand, a report from Moody’s Investors Service showed.

In its quarterly Red-Yellow-Green report, Moody’s said some continental European office markets had shown clear signs of weakening in the second half of 2008, mirroring declines in projected space take-up and increased vacancy rates first seen in Britain some time earlier…..Full Article: Source

European pooled funds suffer both market and leverage woes, says IPD

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The unprecedented 100 percentage–point spread of performance within the European unlisted real estate property fund market in 2008 reflected the geography of investment returns, the impacts of leverage, and a further penalty for some investors of adverse currency movements, research based on the new IPD European fund indices reveals.

According to the inaugural bi-annual IPD European Pooled Property Fund Indices 2008 (e-PPFI) - reporting the performance of 203 funds with a total NAV of EUR 121 bn - European unlisted pooled funds delivered a local currency time-weighted total return of -7.4%, which translated to a -14.8% return to euro- denominated investors, each of whom suffered the added pain of a major fall in the sterling-euro exchange rates……Full Article: Source

Europe’s banks enter home sales

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From WSJ: In the midst of Spain’s worst housing crisis in decades, house hunters will soon find an unusual location to pick up a new home at a hefty discount.

Grupo Santander SA, one of Europe’s largest banks, is getting ready to launch a Web site on which it will sell as many as 950 new homes to the public at a 20% discount to market prices. That comes after the Spanish bank sold 350 homes to its own employees on the same terms……Full Article: Source

Housing market showing real shoots of recovery

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From FT According to the latest ‘property price tracker’ from Hamptons International, there has been a step-change in the rate of price declines, with a quarterly decrease of only -0.8 per cent in the first quarter this year compared with a quarterly decline of -7.6 per cent in Q4 2008.

Likewise, the lettings sector, where supply far exceeded demand, is now mitigating slightly, with a decline in letting values of -3 per cent in Q1 2009, as opposed to a drop of -6.8 per cent in Q4 2008……Full Article: Source

Cyprus land ruling hits second home-owners

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The European court of justice yesterday awarded a Greek Cypriot refugee the right to win back land he was forced to flee when war partitioned the island in 1974, in a landmark ruling with possible ramifications for thousands of second homeowners in northern Cyprus.

The decision, announced nearly five years after Meletis Apostolides sought recourse through the courts to reclaim property that was subsequently sold to a British couple, is expected to encourage other refugees to seek similar restitution……Full Article: Source

Property in Spain remains severely overpriced

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Property in Spain remains highly overpriced, despite drastic price cuts in the last year or so, according to data compiled and published in The Economist magazine.

The print publication, which looked at property values in a string of developed countries, claims that average prices in Spain need to fall by a further 50% in relation to rents and incomes, just to get back to the long-term average……Full Article: Source

Spanish estate agents offer free divorce with every home

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Spanish estate agents are offering couples ever more unusual deals in a desperate attempt to kick-start the country’s stagnant housing market.
The latest offer from a property company in Huelva province in southwestern Spain promises a free divorce lawyer to couples who buy one of their three bedroom houses for 68,000 euros (£61,000)……Full Article: Source

UAE real estate ‘up to 50% dearer than Europe’

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Real estate in the UAE is up to 50 percent more expensive than in Europe if comparisons are based on median income estimates rather than GDP per capita, Al Mal Capital’s head of equity research has said.

Based on calculations using the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita as a key indicator of wealth, house prices in the UAE are roughly on par with those in Europe……Full Article: Source

Dubai “most expensive” property in emerging world

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Dubai remains the most expensive emerging property market in the world despite the market slowdown and falling prices caused by the global credit crunch, according to Reidin, a consultancy.

In Reidin’s latest report, the city ranked first among 59 cities in 34 emerging markets, with the highest average residential property prices……Full Article: Source

Dubai property prices drop 41% in Q1

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From A new report by Colliers International has found that house prices in Dubai tumbled 41% in the first quarter of 2009.
The report said cash and mortgage-backed transactions dropped sharply, with prices registering a negative year-on-year decline for the first time of 34%.
Colliers said the price drop is due to lack of mortgage availability, poor investor sentiment, job losses among expatriates, and delayed projects……Full Article: Source

In Dubai, defaults hit developers

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From WSJ: Developers here are scrambling to prevent a wave of investor defaults as they struggle to survive this city-state’s real-estate bust.

During a frenzied property boom, many investors bought property on speculation, expecting to be able to quickly flip homes — sometimes entire floors in buildings — before construction was finished. But in recent months, prices have cratered, some falling by more than 50%……Full Article: Source

Qatar property prices fall up to 70%

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Real estate prices in Qatar have tumbled by up to 70% since the peak of the market in September 2008, due to the global financial crisis, according to a survey conducted by of Al Arabiya television.
The report, which used price data supplied by a number of property agents, reveals that the price of land allocated for construction of villas in Doha fell by around 50%, while the actual prices of villas in the capital tumbled by almost 35%. Outrside of the capital, villa prices typically fell by 65% to 70%. …..Full Article: Source

Saudi fund plans mortgage finance

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund said on Tuesday it plans to venture into mortgage financing, in anticipation of a mortgage law expected to come into effect this year.

“I think this is one of the priorities of the public investment fund. We only hope for the mortgage to be issued,” PIF secretary-general Mansour Al-Maiman told an investment conference, in response to a question at a forum……Full Article: Source

Jeddah’s property market offers huge potential

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Jeddah’s residential sector has been marked with growing demand resulting to acceleration of sales and rental prices in the recent past, according to Colliers International’s GCC Real Estate Q2, 2009 Overview released recently.

Rental and sales prices in the city have been reported at an average growth of 30 percent YoY until Q3 of 2008. With sustained demand and weak supply, absorption of housing units has been fast with most projects in Jeddah having 50 percent of their units sold prior to completion of construction……Full Article: Source

Sharjah plans real estate regulatory agency

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The setting up of a real estate regulatory agency is under study in Sharjah to give a boost to the sector and provide robust and reliable services, said a senior official.

Director General of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI), Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, said the new agency is planned to serve as the only destination for all the authoritative and trusted information on real estate sector in the emirate, yet distinguished from similar agencies in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman……Full Article: Source

Shanghai residential property transaction up 30% last week

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From China Knowledge: A total of 516,700 square meters of residential properties in Shanghai were sold during the week starting from Apr. 20, representing a 30% increase from a week earlier, according to market sources.

Last week, the average transaction price for residential properties in the city hit RMB 13,616 per sq m, 1% lower compared with that of a week ago……Full Article: Source

Vietnam: Developers price speculators out of real estate market

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Property speculators are having a bad time in Ho Chi Minh City with buyers choosing to buy apartments directly from developers who are offering low prices, insiders said.

Lam Van Chuc, director of Phuc Duc Real Estate Company, said many new projects have hit the market at lower prices than before. Saigonland Real Estate, for instance, has lowered the prices of its Cantavil Hoan Cau apartments in Binh Thanh District to VND36 million (US$2,025) a square meter from VND50 million ($2,810) earlier……Full Article: Source

Jakarta properties hit by crisis in Q1

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Jakarta’s property market has been hit by the impact of the global financial crisis since the first quarter this year as demand faltered, real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle says.

Demand for office, retail and residential spaces slackened as companies reportedly rescheduled or delayed their expansion plans, and housing loans remained expensive despite the central bank’s aggressive cut, affecting investors’ appetite……Full Article: Source

Industrial property market slowing in Malaysia

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From The industrial property market in Malaysia is performing better than office and residential real estate but is slowing and not yet felt the full impact of the global downturn, according to experts.

Analysts say that the current slowdown in manufacturing orders has not impacted on industrial property as tenancy contracts for the sector are locked in for a longer period of between five and 10 years compared with two to three years for office property……Full Article: Source

Cambodia opens to foreigners

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Foreigners may be able to purchase property in Cambodia for the first time following the proposal of new legislation by the country’s Government - but they will still be limited to apartments, houses and condominiums above the second floor.

Currently, international investors are not allowed to own land or homes in Cambodia - a limitation that is seen by some locals as a good thing, preventing speculation and price volatility……Full Article: Source

REITs circle battered property bond market

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Laxman  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: Some of Britain’s biggest property firms are mulling bond buybacks, following the example set by banks who are trimming debt at the expense of liquidity-starved bondholders.

Flush with cash after massive rights issues, companies like Land Securities and British Land are setting aside funds to buy heavily discounted bonds or commercial mortgage-backed securities, analysts say…..Full Article: Source

April 2009
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