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International Realty News & Trends

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  • Re : International Realty News & Trends

    Hong Kong home prices climb to new peaks, but growth pace slows

    An apartment of less than 200 square feet can cost as much as $500,000 in the former British colony, making the prospect of owning a home a distant dream for many residentsReuters | July 31, 2017, 16:00 IST

    By: Venus Wu

    HONG KONG: Hong Kong's red-hot home prices extended their record-breaking run in June, although the pace of growth slowed, underscoring the challenges the city's new leader faces in reining in prices in one of the world's most expensive property markets.

    An apartment of less than 200 square feet can cost as much as $500,000 in the former British colony, making the prospect of owning a home a distant dream for many residents.

    Hong Kong's home prices edged up 0.69 percent in June from May, the smallest rise since December last year, data compiled by the Rating and Valuation Department showed. From a year earlier, prices surged 21.6 percent.

    The record prices come even as Hong Kong's Monetary Authority announced an eighth round of mortgage tightening measures in May to help restrain sky-rocketing prices. Analysts say these curbs could push more people to non-bank lenders, many of them the financing arms of developers.

    Hong Kong's new leader, Carrie Lam, who was sworn in on July 1 has pledged to make home prices more affordable. Prices rose 9.3 percent from January to June this year.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping also voiced concern over the city's property market when he visited on July 1 to swear in Lam and celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong returning to Chinese rule.

    "Housing and other issues that affect the daily life of the people have become more serious," Xi said in a speech.

    Income inequality is at its highest level in over four decades in Hong Kong, stoking discontent in the city that has been rocked by large-scale protests in recent years over calls for more affordable housing and full democracy. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)








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    • Re : International Realty News & Trends

      Australia new homes sales fall sharply in June: Industry

      The Housing Industry Association (HIA) said its survey of large-volume builders showed new home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 6.9 % in JuneReuters | July 31, 2017, 18:00 IST

      SYDNEY: Sales of new homesin Australia fell sharply in June to the lowest since 2013, though conditions were markedly different across states, an industry survey showed on Monday.

      The Housing Industry Association (HIA) said its survey of large-volume builders showed new home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 6.9 % in June, from May, reversing two months of gains.

      Sales of detached houses fell 5.7 percent, while apartment sales dropped 10.7 percent.

      Total sales in June were down 11.9 percent on the same month last year.

      Results by states were mixed, with sales of houses falling in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, but rising in Victoria and Western Australia.

      HIA said the survey captured 9 percent of Australia's new home building sector. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Kim Coghill)









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      • Re : International Realty News & Trends

        Vancouver home sales drop in July, prices continue to rise

        Vancouver, the country's most expensive real estate market, has seen sales slow since the tax was put in place last August amid concern that speculation from overseas buyers was leading to a housing bubbleReuters | August 03, 2017, 18:00 IST


        OTTAWA: Vancouver home sales fell in July from a year ago, while the limited amount of properties being put on the market pushed prices higher nearly a year after the provincial government implemented a foreign buyers tax to rein in the once-hot market.

        Sales fell 8.2 percent last month from July 2016, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said in a report on Wednesday. Compared with the month before, sales were down 24 percent. Sales were slightly higher than the July average over the past 10 years.

        Vancouver, the country's most expensive real estate market, has seen sales slow since the tax was put in place last August amid concern that speculation from overseas buyers was leading to a housing bubble.

        The new provincial government is reviewing whether the tax will remain in place, according to a report by the Canadian Press this week.

        Prices in Vancouver have begun to climb again in recent months, and were up 8.7 percent in July, putting the benchmark price at C$1.02 million ($812,490).

        The demand for housing in the city now varies by property type and location, with some parts of the market still seeing bidding wars, said the real estate board's president, Jill Oudil.

        The number of properties newly listed for sale increased by just 0.3 percent from last year, while the sales-to-active listings ratio is 32.2 percent.

        Home prices often see upward pressure when the ratio is above 20 percent for several months, the report said. ($1 = 1.2554 Canadian dollars) (Editing by Jonathan Oatis)








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        • Re : International Realty News & Trends

          UK house price growth weakest in more than four years: Halifax

          Average house prices in the period were 2.1 % higher than a year earlier, slowing from a 2.6 % increase in June's figures and down from growth of more than 8 % in July last yearReuters | August 07, 2017, 19:00 IST


          LONDON: British house pricesrose at their slowest pace in more than four years in the three months to July as households felt the pinch of inflation which is rising faster than wages, mortgage lender Halifax said on Monday.

          Average house prices in the period were 2.1 % higher than a year earlier, slowing from a 2.6 % increase in June's figures and down from growth of more than 8 % in July last year, Halifax said.

          Economists in a Reuters poll had expected a 2.0 percent rise.

          Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax Community Bank, said the squeeze on spending power, plus the impact of property tax changes in 2016 and affordability concerns, was weighing on demand.

          In July alone, house prices rose by 0.4 percent, partially recovering from a monthly fall of 0.9 percent in June and slightly stronger than a median forecast for growth of 0.2 percent in the Reuters poll.

          Prices fell by 0.2 percent between May and July compared with the previous three months, the fourth successive quarterly fall and marking the longest such decline since November 2012.

          Britain's housing market has slowed sharply since the vote in June 2016 to leave the European Union, when prices were growing by almost 10 percent a year.

          The slowdown has contributed to a fall in consumer confidence. Credit card firm Visa said on Monday that British consumer spending fell for the third month in a row in July in its longest losing streak in over four years. The fall in house prices, on an annual basis, measured by Halifax contrasted with a slight pick-up in prices as measured by rival mortgage lender Nationwide and published last week.

          Both lenders say the growth in prices is not weaker than it already is due to a lack of homes on the market.

          A Reuters poll of economists published in May produced a median forecast for house prices to rise by around 2 percent in 2017, 2018 and 2019, slower than in the previous Reuters poll published in February. (Editing by Alistair Smout and Catherine Evans)













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          • Re : International Realty News & Trends

            Moscow's new high-rise housing plan casts shadow over local homebuilders

            The authorities in Moscow intend to re-house over 1 million citizens living in decrepit Soviet-era apartments, which they plan to demolishReuters | August 19, 2017, 17:30 IST

            By: Olga Sichkar

            MOSCOW: Moscow's local government project to buildhundreds of thousands of new homes threatens to cause a supply glut, forcing private sector developers to cut back on their own projects and depressing apartment prices, real estate analysts and experts say.

            The authorities in Moscow intend to re-house over 1 million citizens living in decrepit Soviet-era apartments, which they plan to demolish, in new high-rise blocks of flats as part of a 15-year programme.

            But officials have said some of the new housing could be built for sale, in a market where developers including PIK Group , Etalon and LSR compete.

            PIK and Etalon declined to comment while a spokeswoman for developer LSR said that while it was not planning to cut the size of its own projects some homebuilders might choose to reduce prices.

            These homebuilders are not expected to have a stake in the municipal project as the authorities have said they only plan to engage them as sub-contractors for the supply of components.

            The authorities have also said that the first flats under the programme are likely to be ready in about three years time with apartments for sale likely to follow in around 2024.

            Julia Gordeyeva, a real estate analyst at Sberbank CIB, estimates that an additional 1.3-1.4 million square metres of housing could be supplied to the market each year once the resettlement project gets going.

            "Taking into account the scarceness of demand, developers will have to reduce their volumes accordingly," Gordeyeva said, adding that the reduction could amount to 30-35 percent.

            Pavel Bryzgalov, director for strategic development at Lider, one of Moscow's biggest real estate companies, expects the city to have around 1.2 million square metres of new residential property to sell each year, or a quarter of all flats built in Moscow.

            As a result he said that for developers building standard apartments it is possible they will have to abandon their own projects in the districts where the new municipal housing is going to be built.

            However, Alexei Shepel, owner of real estate company S.Holding which had been involved in earlier resettlement programmes in Moscow, said the developers might yet be able to go ahead with their own projects but would need to cut prices to compete.

            If a developer's project ends up competing with a municipal one, the company will have to either put its project on hold or carry on but sell flats for a lower price, Artyom Eiramdzhants, a real estate analyst who was formerly in charge of the Moscow market at developer Pioner, said.

            "Imagine the city starts a large-scale renovation in, for example, Izmaylovo (district), builds homes for re-housing and sale. If a developer had planned a major project there, it will most probably have to drop its plans or put it on hold indefinitely," Gordeyeva added. (Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Greg Mahlich)














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            • Re : International Realty News & Trends

              China July new home prices rise 0.4 % m/m, 9.7 % y/y

              Compared with a year ago, new home prices rose 9.7 % in July, slowing from a 10.2 % gain in JuneREUTERS | August 18, 2017, 18:00 IST

              BEIJING: Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 0.4 percent in July from the previous month, slowing from June's 0.7 percent growth as policymakers worked to cool an overheated market.

              Compared with a year ago, new home prices rose 9.7 % in July, slowing from a 10.2 % gain in June, Reuters calculated from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data out on Friday.

              Beijing's new home prices fell by 0.1 percent in July, slowing from June's 0.4 percent decline.

              Shanghai prices stalled while Shenzhen prices fell by 0.2 percent from a month ago.

              Regulators have intensified their crackdown on property speculation since late March, taking tougher measures in at least two dozen cities to curb surging prices and leading to a modest slowdown in the real estate sector.

              Growth in property investment already showed signs of fatigue after it eased to 4.8 percent in July from a year earlier, versus 7.9 percent in June, Reuters calculations based on official data showed.

              Many analysts expect the sector to lose further momentum in the second half of the year in the face of tightening monetary policy and an official financial deleveraging campaign.

              (Reporting by Stella Qiu and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Eric Meijer)










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              • Re : International Realty News & Trends

                China to boost rental housing supply by allowing construction in rural land

                The programs are part of broad efforts to ease a housing supply shortage, the ministry said in a statement on its websiteREUTERS | August 28, 2017, 17:30 IST

                By: Yawen Chen | Se Young Lee

                BEIJING: China will launch pilot programs in 13 major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, to build rental housing in rural land, the land ministry said on Monday.

                The programs are part of broad efforts to ease a housing supply shortage, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

                As soaring property prices have made housing affordability a growing problem for policy makers, Chinese officials have been pushing for more initiatives to increase supply in the hottest markets, even though their effectiveness still remains to be seen. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)








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                • Re : International Realty News & Trends

                  China's home prices to rise 6.8 % this year as small city sales boom

                  Average nationwide home prices were expected to rise a median 6.8 % this year compared with a median expectation of 2 % growth in the last poll in FebruaryREUTERS | August 29, 2017, 19:00 IST

                  By: Yawen Chen | Elias Glenn

                  BEIJING: China's home prices in 2017 are likely to rise more than previously estimated despite a flurry of government curbs to crack down on speculation, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday, soothing fears the economy would slow sharply.

                  Property prices will continue to creep steadily higher amid heavy government intervention helped partly by a shift in demand to the country's smaller cities, according to the poll which surveyed 13 property analysts and economists from Aug. 21-28.

                  Average nationwide home prices were expected to rise a median 6.8 % this year compared with a median expectation of 2 % growth in the last poll in February.

                  Prices of new homes in China grew 12.4 percent in 2016, the fastest rate since 2011.

                  A resilient property market will be good news for China's policymakers, who want to keep the real estate market stable ahead of a once-in-five-years Communist Party congress.

                  The authorities have defences already in place to guard against bubble risks in its hottest markets but the home-buying frenzy has reached the smaller cities, where local governments offer cheap credit and impose next to no restrictions.

                  The majority of the analysts surveyed are convinced current measures, first introduced in late 2016 and since fortified, will remain in place for the next one to two years.

                  Most of them expect policymakers to roll out more long-term measures targeting structural imbalances, such as a property tax, pointing out that current administrative curbs are anti-market in nature and unsustainable.

                  "Usually tightening policies won't last for more than 3 years; it's impossible to always tighten and the effects wane as time goes by," researchers at the Bank of Communications said.

                  "That's exactly why there's more urgency to establish a long-term mechanism to stabilise the housing market," they said in a research report.

                  But authorities have been walking a fine line between curbing excessive price gains and clamping down too hard on a sector which accounts for about 15 percent of the economy.

                  Beijing has tightened monetary conditions this year to tackle its growing debt pile as mortgages soar, but credit is still growing faster than economic output and most China watchers don't expect the central bank to tap too hard on the brakes.

                  As deleveraging continues after the economy clocked 6.9 percent GDP growth for the first two quarters on a surging property market and an infrastructure binge, analysts expect slightly slower economic growth in the coming quarters.

                  "We think the biggest risk facing the housing market is that China's real economy may continue to slow, prompting the government to continue to oversupply credit, which would then flood the property market," wrote Sun Binyi, a researcher with China Real Estate Appraisal.

                  When asked to rate affordability of Chinese housing on a scale of 1 being the cheapest and 10 the most expensive, the median answer was 7. That is in line with what analysts rated in the last poll, though some analysts have pointed out smaller cities are much more affordable than the biggest cities. (Additional Reporting by Jenny Su; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)











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                  • Re : International Realty News & Trends

                    London mayor tackles city's affordable housing crisis with purchase plan

                    The money will be used to buy land to sell to homebuilders, and the proceeds used to purchase additional sites and create a self-replenishing fund, a draft housing strategy said
                    REUTERS | September 07, 2017, 16:00 IST

                    London: The mayor of London plans to spend 250 million pounds ($326 million U.S.) buying land to tackle the city's affordable housing crisis, which he described on Wednesday as the single biggest barrier to prosperity for Londoners.

                    The money will be used to buy land to sell to homebuilders, and the proceeds used to purchase additional sites and create a self-replenishing fund, a draft housing strategy said.

                    "A generation of Londoners are being priced out of our city," London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in the document.

                    "Many cannot afford their rent, live in overcrowded conditions, and see buying their own home as a distant dream," he said.

                    Housing prices in London have risen 90 percent in a decade, beyond the reach of workers making average wages.

                    The fresh funds come on top of 3.15 billion pounds ($4.11 billion U.S.) pledged by the government last year to start building 90,000 new affordable homes over the next four years.

                    An opposition politician dismissed the housing strategy, Khan's first since he took office in May last year.

                    "His pledges to maximise land use is at best vague idealism," Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, a body elected to hold the mayor's office to account, said in a statement.

                    "He has also failed to explain in any detail where he will obtain 250 million pounds to buy up new land."

                    But the strategy was welcomed by g15, which represents London's largest non-profit housing organisations and manages more than 400,000 houses in the city.

                    "City Hall has a crucial role to play in securing the land needed to build the homes, which is the single biggest challenge to increasing supply," Paul Hackett, g15's chairman, said in a statement.

                    He said g15 is building about a quarter of the new homes in London and "if we can secure enough land to build on, and rally the support of our partners, we can build many more."

                    Khan cautioned that solving London's housing crisis will be "a marathon, not a sprint" and said 50,000 new homes are needed each year.

                    After a three-month consultation, the final housing strategy is to be published next year.











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                    • Re : International Realty News & Trends

                      Homeowners' help needed to avert future flood crises, experts say

                      The cost of rebuilding from disasters linked to climate change will grow dramatically if cities do not take action, analysts and a Canadian official saidREUTERS | September 13, 2017, 15:00 IST

                      By: Chris Arsenault

                      TORONTO: Cities should use subsidies and taxes to get homeowners to protect themselves from climate change, experts said, as millions have been displaced by massive storms across swathes of Florida and the Caribbean and rains in India.

                      The cost of rebuilding from disasters linked to climate change will grow dramatically if cities do not take action, analysts and a Canadian official said.

                      "Homeowners are expected to play a part in flood risk management," said Daniel Henstra, a professor studying climate change adaptation at Canada's University of Waterloo.

                      "This is a way of sharing the cost and responsibility."

                      While government infrastructure programmes, like flood barriers, better drainage and wetland preservation, are key, individual actions taken en masse are also crucial, he said.

                      Hurricane Irma caused record flooding in parts of Florida this week after it left a path of deadly destruction on several Caribbean islands.

                      South Asia's most devastating floods in a decade killed more than 1,400 people and focused attention on poor planning and lack of preparedness for annual monsoon rains.

                      Cities can use financial incentives to encourage homeowners to act, said Stephen Tyler, president of Adaptive Resource Management, which advises on urban planning, in Canada's western British Columbia province.

                      "We have to design and build for a future that is unpredictable," Tyler told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

                      "Institutions need to help reduce the risks in the first place."

                      British Columbia, which has been ravaged by forest fires, is one of several Canadian provinces that offer incentives to people to clear brush from around their homes.

                      Changing homeowners' perceptions is crucial as government often doesn't own most of the land in major cities, Henstra said.

                      People sometimes sometimes baulk at the idea of paying extra taxes, he said, citing an unsuccessful attempt by Toronto in May to charge homeowners for the rising costs of storm and flood protection.

                      "One councillor called it a 'roof tax' or just another tax grab," Henstra told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

                      Toronto's chief resilience officer, Elliott Cappell, said homeowners are willing to invest in schemes like flood insurance and better drainage if issues are framed the right way.

                      "I don't think it is as simple as saying 'homeowners do not want to pay," Cappell told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

                      "Where we can work with insurance companies and homeowners themselves to make their properties more resilient, I think there is a lot of buy-in."

                      Toronto is giving homeowners up to 3,400 Canadian dollars ($2,800) per home to install flood protection devices.










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