World’s most sustainable building in Dubai



After constructing the world’s tallest tower, Dubai has now earned the distinction of having the “most sustainable” commercial building in the world — The Change Initiative (TCI).

TCI has secured the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rating from the US Green Building Council (GBC), a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting sustainable buildings worldwide, a news report said.

The 4,000-sq-m shop, that provides sustainable solutions in Dubai, achieved 107 points out of 110, making it the most sustainable commercial building in the world.

The record was previously held by Pixel, a four-level building in Australia, with 105 points.

According to the Gulf News, TCI provides environmentally-friendly solutions and incorporates all aspects of green building on its 4,000-sq-m structure from its roofing to energy-efficient lighting to its water system.

TCI has 26 technologies, including solar panels and heat-reflective paint, on its roof that provides 40 per cent of the building’s energy requirements, the report said.

Its outer structure has insulation three times more than that of a normal building; all its windows have heat- reflective films; water in the building is re-used and recycled; and most of the materials used for the building’s interiors are recycled.

This high LEED Platinum rating is not the first in Dubai, which is also home to the Dewa (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) Sustainable Building, the largest government building in the world with 98 out of 110 points. — PTI
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  • Indians among top five countries buying properties in the US

    Indians are among the top five foreign nationals buying real estate in United States, even as there has been a decline in foreigners acquiring properties in the US, a report has said.

    According to the "2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity" for the 12 months period ending March 2013, realtors reported purchases from 68 countries, but five have historically accounted for the bulk of purchases; Canada (23 per cent), China (12 per cent), Mexico (8 per cent), India (5 per cent) and the United Kingdom (5 per cent).

    "These five countries accounted for approximately 53 per cent of transactions, with Canada and China the fastest growing sources over the years," the report said.

    Among the reported destination states for buyers from India, the top states were California, Tennessee, Connecticut and New Jersey.

    According to information from realtor.com as of March 2013, the five markets of greatest interest to potential Indian buyers are Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston.

    Based on data from the survey, the bulk of properties purchased by Indian buyers were in the suburban area.

    Approximately 90 per cent of reported purchases were detached single-family properties and 7 percent were commercial properties or land.

    The median price was USD 300,000, among which approximately 21 per cent of the reported purchases were all-cash, the report said.

    According to the report for the 12 months period ending March 2103 total international sales were USD 68.2 billion, down approximately USD 14 billion from the previous year.

    Released by the National Association of Realtors, the report attributed the decline to a number of temporary factors, including economic slowdowns in a number of major
    foreign economies, tighter US credit standards and unfavorable exchange rates.

    Of total international transactions, USD 34.8 billion (51 per cent) were attributed to foreign buyers with permanent residences outside the US and USD 33.4 billion (49 percent) were attributed to buyers who are recent immigrants or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the US.









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  • Is Dubai’s skyline on "steroids"?

    1 | Is Dubai
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  • Donald Trump announces launch of his first Indian project in Pune

    Washington: America's real estate business tycoon and celebrity Donald Trump has announced his companies' first Indian project, a 22-storied residential twin towers in Pune having 44 luxurious single-floor condominiums.

    "Trump Organisation's first project in India, Trump Towers Pune, will epitomise inspired living and timeless elegance," Donald Trump, said on the micro blogging website Twitter yesterday, to announce his entry into India's booking real estate market.

    "A pair of sleek ultra-modern towers that redefine the Pune skyline, Trump Towers Pune marks the entry of the Trump brand of luxury and elegance in India," the company said on its website.

    As the first Trump project in India, Trump Towers Pune is a blend of modern architecture, cultural richness and an oasis of elite comfort, it added.

    The cost of each condominium has not been announced yet. Expected to be completed by 2015, Trump Towers Pune will also have an exclusive fitness center by Bollywood star John Abraham.

    "All residences will have five bedrooms with an additional home theatre room and host a 360-degree view of Pune cityscape with the surrounding Aga Khan Palace and the lush green Jogger's Park being prominent.

    Trump Towers Pune's location is envious," it said. Trump Tower Pune is being developed by city's leading real-estate developer, Panchshil Realty, located in upscale Kalyani Nagar neighbourhood.








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  • China's Newest Real Estate Investment Craze: Detroit's Housing Crisis

    Downtown Detroit’s housing market was hit hard by the recession, as well the collapse of manufacturing and the long-term exodus of people. Currently one of the nation’s worst housing markets, the prices of homes have plummeted, while foreclosures continue to skyrocket. While the city is struggling to recover, China’s real estate-hungry buyers see an investment opportunity.

    While many people in the United States aren’t looking to purchase homes, a new craze has hit Chinese investors hoping to cash in on Detroit’s woeful housing economy. After announcing that the city filed for bankruptcy on July 18, Detroit property has been a hot topic on China’s social media platform, Weibo. This news, compounded with a television news segment aired on state-run CCTV back in March that said a price of a pair of leather shoes could get you two houses in Detroit, got many people moving their money from the mainland to the Midwest. According to a report by Quartz, Caroline Chen, a real estate broker based in Troy, Mich., has been getting “tons of calls” from mainland Chinese with serious interest in the market.

    In true Chinese fashion, they are looking to buy up in bulk. “I have people calling and saying, ‘I’m serious -- I wanna buy 100, 200 properties,’” Chen said in the report, adding that another colleague had just sold 30 properties to a single Chinese buyer. The report on CCTV received millions of comments. One user joked that on paper, Detroit sounded like an upgrade from China’s increasingly expensive cities. “700,000 people, quiet, clean air, no pollution, democracy -- what are you waiting for?” the commenter said. In reality, however, buyers seem to be only viewing the purchases purely as investment, and don’t plan on moving to Motown anytime soon. Because of this reality, buying real estate from remote China has become relatively easy. “They say, ‘We don’t need to see them , Chen added. "Just pick the good ones.’”

    And the craze has only just started picking up. Wei Kefei, an organizer of a Beijing property fair, told state-run Global Times that Chinese were investing now and expects Detroit's economy to recover with the help of the city’s famed auto industry. “Some people did rush to buy houses in Detroit, betting on the U.S. economic recovery, which they believe will boost development in the auto industry,” Wei said.

    As enthusiastic as Chinese buyers are, snapping up property in multiple lots, as a veteran of the Detroit housing market, Caroline Chen is not necessarily convinced of how quickly the Motor City will rebound. “It’s like buying the lotto,” she said of the chances housing will turn a profit. “But I’ve been in the Detroit area for 35 years. 35 years ago downtown Detroit was like this, and it’s not getting better.”









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  • American Homes 4 Rent Initial Public Offering (IPO) Aims To Raise $750 Million In Test Of Market's Interest In Real Estate Investment Trusts

    American Homes 4 Rent said it plans to raise more than $750 million in an initial public offering on Wednesday that would value the real estate investment trust at $4 billion and make it the largest publicly traded company in the fledgling single-family rental housing business.

    If investors purchase roughly 44.1 million shares being offered in the expected range of $16-$18 per share, the IPO could signal that investor confidence in the U.S. housing market is holding steady. Based on the high end of the range, the company could raise as much as $794 million. Underwriters have an option to purchase an additional 6.6 million shares. The company is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the "AMH" ticker symbol.

    The Agoura Hills, Calif., company, founded in 2011 by self-storage billionaire B. Wayne Hughes, owns or controls more than 19,000 homes and has grown to become the nation's second-largest single-family rental landlord behind Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX). Hughes, 79, founded Public Storage (NYSE:PSA), the third-largest REIT in the U.S.

    Blackstone has spent more than $5.5 billion to acquire 32,000 rental homes since 2011. Other recent IPOs of single-family home-rental REITs include Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp. (NYSE:SBY), which raised $282 million in December, and American Residential Properties Inc. (NYSE:ARPI), which raised $288 million in May. Silver Bay owns about 5,000 homes and American Residential owns 4,000.







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  • US Foreclosure Rate Is Declining But Still More Than Double What It Was Before The Financial Crisis

    US Foreclosure Rate Is Declining But Still More Than Double What It Was Before The Financial Crisis
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  • Reliance Industries forays into Kenya realty market

    With real estate in East Africa fast emerging as a big opportunity, Reliance Industries, in a joint venture with Delta Corp, has purchased land worth Rs 200 crore in Kenya for development of housing and office properties and is already making good profits.

    Out of the ten prime plots purchased by this joint venture, Delta Corp East Africa Limited (in which RIL holds 58.8 per cent stake) has completed construction of at least one low-cost residential complex and one office-block project, the other JV partner Delta Corp has said.

    Jaydev Mody-led Delta Corp, which is present in the businesses of gaming, entertainment, hospitality and real estate in India, Sri Lanka and Kenya, holds a 39.2 per cent stake in Delta Corp East Africa Ltd (DCEAL), which was set up along with RIL to develop real estate assets in Kenya. Mody and RIL Chief Mukesh Ambani are known to be good friends.

    “DCEAL has invested approximately Rs 200 crore to acquire 10 prime plots of land in Nairobi with a planned developable area of approximately 1.2 million square feet of commercial and residential assets,” Delta Corp said in its latest annual report for 2012-13.

    According to RIL’s annual report for the same fiscal, DCEAL had total assets of close to Rs 244 crore as on March 31, 2013, while it recorded a turnover of Rs 148 crore and profit after tax of Rs 29 crore in the financial year 2012-13.

    “DCEAL has already completed construction of Delta Plains, a mid- to low-cost residential complex at Athi river near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. This relatively industrialised area is being considered an upcoming residential hub due to its proximity to both the airport and the city,” Delta Corp said.

    “This makes it ideally placed for a housing complex that will cater to this demographic,” it added.
    Delta Corp, which runs offshore casinos in India and is the only listed entity in the country’s gaming industry, further said DCEAL has developed a gated complex of 4 office-blocks, Delta Riverside, closer to the central business district (CBD) in Nairobi.

    “These are independent, self-sufficient blocks ideal for small to mid-size offices. We have successfully completed and sold these. In addition to the above, DCEAL has successfully completed the sale of the second of the Twin Towers of ‘Delta Corner’ in the CBD of Westlands,” the company said.

    RIL has disclosed ‘loans and advances’ of Rs 65 crore to DCEAL in the financial year 2011-12, but there was no such payments in the latest fiscal, 2012-13.

    Its other subsidiaries in Kenya include Gapco Kenya, Transenergy Kenya, Wave Land Developers and Delta Square. According to the global realty consultancy Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2013, the average property prices in Nairobi’s high-end estates rose by 10 per cent in 2012. Besides, Nairobi’s prime property market rose the highest among Africa cities, and was only followed by Cape Town in South Africa.

    Kenya is the fifth largest economy of all African countries, and the largest economy of East Africa. According to World Bank, it is expected to clock an economic growth rate of 5.7 per cent in 2013 and Delta Corp said it sees ample growth opportunities in Kenya, particularly in the real-estate sector in Nairobi.

    Additionally, Kenya has a vast tourism industry that draws visitors from all over the world to sample its many national wildlife reserves.












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  • Expert committee to create global property standard

    Leading property professionals from around the world have been appointed to create the first global standard for measuring property. This week the International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC) selected 19 real estate experts from around the world to join its Standards Setting Committee to develop a global standard for measuring property.

    The Standards Setting Committee includes experts with first-hand knowledge in 50 countries, across five continents. It will act independently and is tasked with the job of drafting and consulting industry on a global standard measurement methodology.

    Currently, the way property assets – such as office, residential, retail and industrial – are measured can vary considerably from country to country. With so many different methods in use, it makes it difficult for global investors and occupiers to accurately compare space.

    With the implementation of a global property measurement standard, properties will be consistently measured; creating a more transparent marketplace, greater public trust, stronger investor confidence, and increased market stability. The standard will have a significant impact on the way property is measured, leading to improvements in valuation and financial reporting consistency across international markets.

    Standards Setting Committee members include academics, real estate fund and asset managers, residential professionals, valuers, and specialists in development and construction.

    “Property is a global business for international investors, corporate occupiers and their advisers, but floor space measuring practices vary from country to country and even between markets in the same country.

    Encouraged by our first meeting at the World Bank, we intend to create standards of measurement that will not only complement international financial reporting and valuation standards but also enable the collection and use of reliable data across worldwide markets,” said Max Crofts, Chair, Standard Setting Committee.

    “The committee has been set to meet the challenging task of drawing together the intelligence that has gone before us across the world over the past decades and then creating what must be regarded as the World’s Best Practice for the Measurement of Buildings. There are many Standards in existence across the world but this has been largely uncoordinated. There remain inconsistencies in the manner measurements are carried across countries. For example, in India, the concept of super areas have been used to include outdoor swimming pools, stairs, common areas such as pavements; in parts of the Middle East floor areas can include the hypothetical maximum number of floors that could be built on the existing foundations; and in Australia, measurements have included outdoor parking spaces, even when they are not physically adjoined to the property itself. The Committee Members are focussed on ensuring the Standard is World’s Best Practice. We will know that we have succeeded when the new Standard is embraced globally by the Property Industry,” said Allen Crawford, Vice Chair, Standard Setting Committee.

    The Standards Setting Committee will start work on the drafting of the new methodology immediately and aims to have a draft ready for widespread consultation in the early part of 2014.








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  • Misleading buyers a global realty phenomenon?

    It seems misleading realty advertisements and promotions are not just Indian market specific but a global trend. While the Indian developers are being asked to stop misleading ads, misleading news with realty/marketing companies’ employees as potential buyers has been reported in other parts of the world.

    For example, in Vancouver a news report that MAC Marketing had one of its employees pose as a potential homeowner in media interviews led to huge embarrassment for the company. It, however, prompted an apology from owner and former Business in Vancouver Forty under 40 winner Cameron McNeill and accusations from bloggers that this is part of a wider trend.

    MAC Marketing’s manipulation of the media involved employee Amanda Lee along with another woman who said she was Amanda’s sister Chris Lee. Together they told both CBC News and CTV News on the weekend that they were waiting for their wealthy parents from China to come to Vancouver for Chinese New Year and potentially buy them a condo during the stay.

    A blogger who goes by the name @Village Whisper exposed the manipulation and prompted McNeill to apologize.

    “All I can say is that I deeply apologize for having misled the media for being there,” McNeill told media.

    “We were busy and I don’t know if the girls were put up to it, or just put on the spot, or if it happened spontaneously. Regardless, it was wrong and I take full responsibility, on my own shoulders.”

    Such tactics seem to be part of a trend of real-estate marketers manipulating media perception to sell condos.

    In another report by Business in Vancouver it is alleged that VancouverIsAwesome.com editor Bob Kronbauer is being paid by the in-receivership Village on False Creek, formerly the Olympic Village, to promote life in the village, even though nowhere on his website does it make it clear that he is being paid to do so.

    And @Village_Whisper’s blog points to a Global TV story in April 2012 where real-estate marketer The Key was launching what it called “Groupon for condos.”

    The Global TV story by reporter Michelle Miller featured a woman named Tara Fluet, who was listed as an investor in the program to group-buy condos. A woman by the same name has a LinkedIn profile that states that her job is as a sales manager at The Key.

    “The public has a right to know the behind the scenes connections when these stories are presented as ‘news,’” @Village_Whisper noted on the blog Whispers from the Edge of the Rainforest.

    The Indian realtors can smile with such news reports with an assertive moral high ground that at least they don’t stoop to misleading news reports to sell their projects. And media can equally smile that even though paid news is eroding its credibility to a large extent, at least they have not been caught on supporting any with such mischief or news plant. Whether this is honesty or a case of Indian marketers/realtors way behind their global counterparts in misleading the buyers remains debatable.












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  • Myanmar's Elite Eager To Invest In Booming London Real Estate

    While foreign investors have been keeping tabs on Myanmar’s rapidly evolving economy with its skyrocketing real estate market, Myanmar’s richest natives are taking their money out of the country and investing in upmarket properties in London.

    Myanmar buyers accounted for just under 1 percent of all U.K. property sales valued at more than 2 million pounds ($3 million) in the past 12 months, Irrawaddy, a Thailand-based publication covering Southeast Asia, notes. That’s in the same range as buyers from Switzerland and Hong Kong, based on a survey published by PrimeResi, a journal covering the top-end of the U.K. residential property sector.

    The sizeable investment made by wealthy Burmese has alerted British property firms to the potential opportunity. British property adviser LondonDom opened an office in Yangon in July, Irrawaddy reports.

    “Our initial market research shows that there is a roughly 50-50 split in interest between new build and period properties with budgets between £500,000 and £2.5 million,” George Shishkovsky, managing director of LondonDom, said.

    “Some are interested in family houses outside of central London. Education in the U.K. is a big magnet to wealthy Burmese. Lots of them have strong links with Britain since colonial times,” Shishkovsky added.

    In addition, London is considered a safe haven for wealthy Asians in general, according to Andrew Batt, the international editor of Singapore-based property website Property Guru.

    A high-net-worth individual is someone with assets of more than $30 million, according to the London-based global real estate consultancy Knight Frank, which compiled the “Wealth Report.” Myanmar had 39 high-net-worth individuals in 2012, the firm’s latest report said, but that number is projected to grow tenfold to more than 300 people in the next 10 years, Irrawaddy says.

    “Certainly our enquiry levels for advice have increased dramatically from new Burmese clients. In addition to the normal requirements what yield they can achieve, they place great importance on capital preservation,” said Benham and Reeves Residential Lettings in London.

    As much as wealthy Burmese are investing abroad, foreign investors are still pouring more money into the market in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial center. Colliers International, a major property firm, recently established an office in the city to advise foreigners on investing in Myanmar’s property market.

    “We see huge potential in the country with many of our clients seeking new opportunities in what is, arguably, the last major frontier market in the region,” Colliers CEO Piers Brunner said in a statement in July, according to Irrawaddy.








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