Archive for the ‘World real estate news’ Category

Want a piece of history? Walt Disney’s US$90-million estate is up for sale!

Friday, March 21st, 2014

A mega-mansion built on the former estate of Walt Disney has hit the market for a mind-numbing US$90 million. The Carolwood Estate rests on four acres in Beverly Hills and includes the tunnel Walt Disney built for his steam engine train.

Built in 2001 and owned by investor Gabriel Brener, the residence is located in the affluent neighbourhood of Beverly Glen in Los Angeles. And even in an area where the median house price is around $1.4 million, this property stands out in a big way.

First of all, it sits on the 3.7-acre estate that was the site of Walt Disney’s last home, which was dismantled in part because of an asbestos problem. The home built in its place is a whopping 35,000 square feet, with eight bedrooms and 17 bathrooms.

According to the listing, the mansion features a wine cellar, a custom movie room, three bars, a library, a gym and two safe rooms. On the home’s carefully manicured grounds, you’ll find a pool with a pool house, a tennis court, and a putting green.

Jay Harris and Mauricio Umansky of The Agency have the listing.

Source: Harris Effron, AOL Real Estate

Which are the world’s most expensive housing markets?

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Economists continue to watch Canada’s housing market. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average house price climbed to $388,553 in January, which is 9.5 per cent higher than it was last year. But how do Canadian cities compare to the rest of the world when it comes to the affordability of housing?

The rankings below are based on a city’s ‘Median Multiple,’ which looks at the median cost of a house compared to the city’s median household income in the third quarter of 2013.

10. London, U.K.

Median multiple: 7.3

International investment in London’s housing market has driven housing prices up and made it less affordable for moderate and low-income households. London’s median multiple puts its housing market into severely unaffordable territory; the median price of a home is 326,000 pounds ($546,310), while median household income is 44,800 pounds ($75,076), as of 2013. The good news is that the city’s median multiple dropped from 7.8 in 2012. London has the most unaffordable real estate market in the United Kingdom. The U.K. has a median multiple of 4.9, which is a slight improvement from last year’s 5.1 rating.

London’s overheated housing market has contributed to rising home prices in the U.K., which is expected to jump by seven per cent this year, according to Reuters.

9. Los Angeles, Calif.

Median multiple: 7.7

Los Angeles’ housing market, along with other cities in California, is causing concern; the median multiple has risen at more than three times the national rate since 2009. In December 2013, Los Angeles’ house prices increased a whopping 20.3 per cent from the year before. A recent study by RealtyTrac found that it would be cheaper to rent rather than buy a three-bedroom property in Los Angeles. According to the Demographia study, Los Angeles’ real estate is considered to be severely unaffordable and the city has made land use regulation more restrictive. The City of Angels is the fourth most unaffordable housing market in the U.S. with a median house price of $448,900 and a median household income of $58,300 in 2013.

8. San Diego, Calif.

Median multiple: 7.9

San Diego is another California city where foreign investment is driving up the city’s real estate prices. The median house price in the latter part of 2013 was $485,000, while the city’s median household income was $61,500. In just one year, from December 2012 to the same month in 2013, the value of San Diego homes increased by 18 per cent. While home supply remains at an historic low, Michael Lea, a real estate professor at San Diego State, expects that house appreciation will slow down to single digit increases in the next few months.

7. Auckland, New Zealand

Median multiple: 8.0

Houses in Auckland were less affordable in 2013 than the year before (its median multiple increased to eight from 2012’s 6.7 score). The city has been ranked severely unaffordable for all 10 years of the Demographia housing survey. The median house price in Auckland is $561,700 AUD ($506,990), with residents earning a median household income of $70,600 AUD ($63,724). Auckland saw a dip in home prices in January, but it’s predicted that the city’s housing market will be active during the first quarter of 2014. High housing prices in the city are also raising prices in the suburbs.

6. Melbourne, Australia

Median multiple: 8.4

Melbourne’s housing affordability has deteriorated — its median multiple increased by 0.9 points from last year. Housing in Melbourne, along with other major markets in Australia, has been severely unaffordable since the Demographia housing survey’s inception. In 2013, Melbourne’s median house price was $595,500 AUD ($537,498), while its median household income was $70,800 AUD ($63,904). Melbourne’s house prices rose by 3.2 per cent in January with the median price of a residential property reaching $553,000 AUD ($493,829), according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It’s expected that there will be a slowdown in Melbourne’s house prices due to higher levels of housing supply and deteriorating affordability.

5. San Jose, Calif.

Median multiple: 8.7

Yet another Californian city where housing affordability has deteriorated from the year before, San Jose’s median multiple was 7.9 in 2012. In the latter half of 2013, the median house price for a property in San Jose was $805,000, with residents in the city earning a median household income of $92,400. San Jose is among 11 California cities that have been deemed unaffordable. San Jose’s housing market will continue to perform well in 2014, according to the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014 survey. It’s expected that increased jobs and wages in this area will contribute to higher demand for property.

4. Sydney, Australia

Median multiple: 9.0

Sydney is home to the most unaffordable housing market in Australia and affordability continues to worsen. The median multiple rose from 8.3 last year to this year’s 9.0. The median price of a home in 2013 was $722,700 AUD ($652,309) with households earning a median income of $80,500 AUD ($72,659). Sydney has been deemed severely unaffordable for the last decade. While an American economist has predicted that Australia’s housing market will see a 50 per cent drop in values, Canada’s recent decision to axe the Immigrant Investor Program could drive more foreign investors to the Land Down Under, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Foreign investors are one of the reasons cited for the rapid rise in housing prices.

3. San Francisco, Calif.

Median multiple: 9.2

San Francisco is considered to be the most unaffordable city in the United States, where an average school teacher is unable to afford property in the city, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. In 2013, the median household price for a home was $705,000 and the median household income was $76,300. Affordability has worsened since last year’s survey when the median multiple was 7.8. Within the last 10 years, 75,000 new people have made San Francisco their home, but only 17,000 new residential units were built, according to The New York Times. Over the next 25 years, 150,000 more people are expected to move into the city. With a large influx of well-paid Silicon Valley workers, the costs of real estate and rent have risen to new heights. And prices are unlikely to drop soon; San Francisco has been voted the top housing market expected to perform well in 2014, according to the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014 survey.

2. Vancouver, B.C.

Median multiple: 10.3

Vancouver’s affordability has worsened over the last year; the city’s median multiple is now in the double digit range, rising from 9.5 last year. This is the sixth year that Vancouver’s housing market has placed within the top three unaffordable housing markets in the world. In 2013, the median price of a house was C$670,300 and the median household income was C$65,000. In February, Vancouver broke a real estate record with the average cost of a detached house climbing to C$1,361,023, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. But some Vancouver real estate agents are expecting housing values to drop with the federal government’s recent decision to scrap the Immigrant Investor Program.

1. Hong Kong

Median multiple: 14.9

Hong Kong has the most unaffordable housing market in the world. Residents of the island buy the smallest houses for the least affordable prices; in 2013, the median price of a home was $4,024,000 HKD ($518,496) and residents earning a median household income of $270,000 HKD ($34,790). This is the fourth year that Hong Kong has claimed the top spot — housing affordability has worsened from last year’s 13.5 median multiple score. Since 2008, the price of real estate in Hong Kong has increased by 120 per cent, according to Reuters. But government policy to double a levy on properties worth more than $2 million HKD may successfully cool the market with prices dropping by 4.5 per cent since last March’s peak price, according to the South China Morning Post. It’s expected that developers will need to undergo steep competition to attract homebuyers this year, which could result in cheaper prices for property shoppers.

Source: Josephine Lim, MSN Money

Where is the world’s top property hotspot?

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The UK and London are still the leading targets for UHNWIs (ultra-high net worth individuals), while property markets in some cities hammered by the global crash are now prospering and prices are generally rising around the world, according to the 2014 Wealth Report, from Knight Frank.

London retains its crown as the world’s leading global city for the world’s richest, followed by New York, and the two are set to remain there for at least a decade, according to the Knight Frank Global Cities Survey, which is part of the Wealth Report.

And at the same time, UHNWIs appear to be getting richer, with the highest optimism about the future among those in Europe and the Middle East.

But the fastest growing luxury residential property market is dominated by Asia Pacific destinations. Jakarta, Indonesia, has the highest annual home prices, rising 38% year-on-year. New Zealand has performed well, taking second place with Auckland, where values are up 29% and Christchurch in fourth at 21%. Bali is in third place, with a 22% increase, according to Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index.

In general, prices are rising, and some locations that suffered most in the global market crash are performing particularly well.

Liam Bailey, Head of Global Research at Knight Frank, says, “Continued global wealth creation, particularly in emerging markets, has been a key driver for prime property markets. This trend looks set to continue with a forecast increase of 28% in the total number of UHNWIs around the world by 2023.

“One of the most significant changes from a year ago is the general trend towards increasing prices. In 2013, values fell in 39% of the locations featured, compared with almost 50% in 2012. Last year there was double-digit growth in 20% of markets. In 2012 this level of price rise occurred in just 15%.

“Cities in Asia-Pacific have, by and large, performed particularly strongly, although government cooling measures have pulled back growth in Singapore and Hong Kong.

“Another trend is the strong rebound of some of the markets like, Dubai (+17%), Madrid (+5%) and Dublin (+17.5%), that were hit hard by the global financial crisis.”

Shifts in wealth distribution contribute to changing fortunes in our Global Cities Survey, which measures the most important cities to the world’s UHNWI community.

Three-quarters of the 600 or so private bankers or wealth advisors representing around 23,000 UHNWI clients across the world questioned for the survey say the net worth of their clients increased in 2013 and around two-thirds (65%) say their clients are positive about their wealth creation prospects in 2014.

On average, 28% of the net worth of an Ultra High Net Worth Individual comes from the person’s main property and the 2.4 second homes they each own, on average.

Just over a fifth of UHNWIs are considering buying another home in 2014, while 15% are thinking about permanently changing their domicile of country of residence. Quality of life was cited as the main reason for wanting to make a move and the UK is the country people are most likely to head to.

Almost a quarter of UHNWI investment portfolios is accounted for by property and it is growing in popularity. Just over 40% of survey respondents say their clients increased their allocation to property in 2013 and 47% expect it to increase further in 2014. Residential property was the most popular area to invest in (54%), followed by commercial premises (34%) and agricultural land and forestry (12%).

Investors are now showing more of an appetite for risk, says the report. The withdrawal of stimulus measures such as quantitative easing may be one catalyst, but so is rising economic confidence, especially in North America and Europe.

“Investment decisions are destined to take on an increasingly adventurous flavour; and recovering European property markets, which were firmly off the radar two years ago, are seen by many as a key opportunity for this year and next.

The top six nations in the 2014 Global Cities Survey are the same as in 2013. The full top 10 list is: 1. London, 2. New York, 3. Singapore, 4. Hong Kong, 5. Geneva, 6. Shanghai, 7. Miami, 8. Dubai, 9. Beijing, 10. Paris.

But Knight Frank also lists the five fastest growing city hotspots, which feature Middle East and Latin American destinations. They are: 1. Sao Paulo, 2. Istanbul, 3. Abu Dhabi, 4. Mumbai and 5. Sydney.

“The number of centamillionaires – those with US$100m in net assets – has risen by 62%, while the tally of billionaires has climbed by 80% to 1,682, according to WealthInsight, a leading wealth intelligence firm, which has supplied data for the report.

Source: Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect

Dubai to Vancouver in 1.5 hours? The super rich may use space travel to expand property portfolios

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

The world’s wealthiest may look at expanding their real estate portfolio as they may use sub-orbital space travel to reduce travel time, believes Knight Frank.

More than 70 wealthy individuals, with a combined wealth of over $200 billion, are investing in space research projects, which includes asteroid mining to sub-orbital space travel, the global real estate consultancy said ahead of the March 5 release of its Wealth Report 2014.

“By travelling outside the Earth’s atmosphere, gravitational forces will allow spacecraft to travel at over 4,000 miles per hour, so breakfast in Mayfair could easily be followed by lunch overlooking Sydney Opera House,” says Knight Frank’s Head of Research Liam Bailey.

The consultancy believes that space travel will have impact on global luxury property markets, with ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) will grow their luxury property portfolio.

Though the Wealth Report’s Global Cities Survey confirms, London currently wins over New York as a global wealth hub because it is more convenient for African, Middle Eastern, Russian and European UHNWIs.

But this convenience premium could be noticeably reduced if Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic succeeds in making his vision for sub-orbital travel a reality.

Transcontinental travel – London to Sydney – a distance of 10,553 miles will be completed in 2.2 hours from the current 21 hours. Dubai to Vancouver, a distance of 7285 miles that currently takes a flight time of 14.5 hours, will be cut short to just 1.5 hours, says Knight Frank.

Talking to The Wealth Report, entrepreneur Richard Branson said: “New commercial space will be one of the most exciting investment sectors in the next 20 years, driven by the initial successes of companies like Virgin Galactic.

“There is already some good evidence that the leading players are receiving high levels of interest from the mainstream investment community and attracting valuations that reflect confidence in future growth and opportunity.”

In 2013, Virgin Galactic spokesperson told Emirates 24|7 that it expects thousands will take the suborbital spaceflight from Abu Dhabi.

“If approved, Virgin Galactic intends for the UAE spaceport to be the first international commercial spaceport, contingent on US regulatory approvals. The UAE spaceport will be a very desirable destination attracting people from all over the world to experience the unique view of earth from above the UAE,” a spokesperson said.

Currently, over 600 people from more than 50 countries have placed reservations. Celebs including Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Ashton Kutcher are among those said to have bought $200,000 tickets.

Ticket price will play a critical role in defining the impact on real estate.

“If this is a technology for billionaires only, then property market disruption might be limited to a wider choice of global lunch options. But if the price drops to allow the merely very wealthy to access sub-orbital flights, then every assumption about current property prices will have to be reconsidered,” Bailey said.

Knight Frank has rated Dubai among the most sought after real estate destination in the world. In 2013, over 140 foreign nationalities, which includes Americans, Canadians and Europeans, invested Dh116 billion in the Dubai real estate market.

Source: Parag Deulgaonkar, Emirates 24/7 News

Millionaires see real estate as top investment for 2014

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

U.S. millionaires see real estate as the top alternative-asset class to own this year, according to Morgan Stanley.

About 77 percent of investors with at least $1 million in assets own real estate, according to a survey released today by the New York-based investment bank’s wealth-management unit. Direct ownership of residential and commercial properties was the No. 1 alternative-investment pick for 2014, with a third of millionaires surveyed saying they plan to buy this year. Twenty-three percent said they expect to invest in real estate investment trusts, the second-most popular choice.

Wealthy investors are turning to a rebounding real estate market as fixed-income yields remain historically low and equities surge. U.S. commercial-property values rose 8 percent in the 12 months ended Jan. 31, and have jumped 71 percent since hitting their post-recession bottom in 2009, research firm Green Street Advisors Inc. reported today. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities is up 24 percent from its 2012 low.

“After a year where the Standard & Poor’s Index rose 30 percent, some millionaires are moving money out of traditional, long-term strategies and turning toward alternatives such as real estate and private equity,” said Gary Kaminsky, a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New York. “Sophisticated, high-net-worth investors are much more concerned about losses.”

Wealthy investors see stocks getting expensive and interest rates staying stable or even declining over the next couple of years, Kaminsky said in an interview at a conference for Tiger 21 investors last week in Scottsdale, Arizona. That’s why they are looking more closely at alternatives including real estate for returns and income, he said.

Source: Margaret Collins and David M. Levitt, Bloomberg

How to make a vacation or investment condo work for you

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

While condo units are often used as primary homes, they can also be investments or vacation spots. This recent article by Marilyn Wilson in the Ottawa Citizen explores the uses for the extra condo, by which I mean a unit that is not your primary residence, but rather one that has a secondary function.

The Custom Condo

Many people move from larger homes to condos as a way of changing their lifestyles. Perhaps they intend to downsize or simply want to forgo shovelling snow. They may even want to travel more often and keep a condo to make this an easier feat.

Buyers shopping in new developments may choose to purchase two units and combine them to expand their square footage. This is a possible custom upgrade when purchasing a condo in a future development — like opting for granite over linoleum, but on a larger scale.

If you are looking at the penthouse, you can also find out if the developer can increase the size vertically in addition to horizontally by increasing your ceiling height. Such are the advantages of purchasing a pre-construction condo.

The Part-Time Condo

A lot of people choose to move or travel more after their children have left the roost. It’s a given that condo living can make travelling easier, as you may have a concierge to check on your unit and retrieve your mail. You will also not have to clear a front path in absentia. For these reasons, condo living is especially useful if you intend to spend winters in a warmer climate. It enables you to keep a low maintenance space where you can leave your things out and ready for your return.

Of course, someone in this situation can also purchase a time share; however, this necessities storing things when out of town, adding expense and hassle.

Another option is to purchase a room in a condo hotel suite. This means owning a hotel room that you yourself can use, usually for a limited time throughout the year. These are not usually offered as primary residences, but have the added advantage of hotel amenities, such as room service.

Keeping a part-time condo can also be especially useful if you plan on returning to a destination again and again. In a sense, it becomes your “cottage” or second dwelling. For example, I have clients who recently moved abroad but are interested in keeping a condo in Ottawa. This is simply because they know they will return often to visit friends here. This is also a popular choice for people who have children or grandchildren in another city.

When determining if you should purchase a condo as a second residence, consider the costs of hotels and — if you plan to rent a car or bring your own — public parking.

The Investment Condo

Perhaps you are interested in downsizing at a later date or simply want an investment with a monthly payout (through rental income). If so, then the investment condo may be a wise decision for you.

If you intend to move to a certain city but have not spent a ton of time living there as a local, you might consider purchasing a second home there rather than going all out with a pricey and disruptive move. To make a decision this big, you may want to spend time living as a local before you plan your move. Day-to-day life in any city is different from visiting as a tourist. To make this more equitable in the short term, you can rent out the unit by week (as a vacation rental) or with a long-term lease. Naturally, you can also do this with a condo unit closer to home.

One of my friends knows she and her husband will ultimately retire to Toronto. They are from there and one of their children is now enrolled at the University of Toronto. As a result, they decided to forgo paying monthly rent for their son by instead purchasing their dream condo now and having him live there.

Their son is therefore living in a well-built condo in a safe neighbourhood, and his parents have a place to stay when they visit. For this family, purchasing their condo was a way of investing in their future.

Whether your condo is your primary residence or a second home, it can bring you into an easier, more convenient way of living or travelling. Map out the condo scene in Canada and beyond using these creative ways of incorporating the condo lifestyle into your life.

Where is the world’s most popular luxury property destination?

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The world’s most sought-after luxury property destination is Côte d’Azur, France, according to a new report.

Prime property in Costa Smeralda, Italy, and St Barts, in the Caribbean, are the next exclusive property hotspots for ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs), says the Candy GPS report.

“For summer sun, the Côte d’Azur is the world’s most expensive, and desirable, luxury leisure enclave. Easily accessible from Nice and Monaco, its exclusivity, as well as the warm climate, ensures that it remains a firm favourite with UHNWIs.

“Properties here are very carefully designed to maximise privacy and sometimes have a private beach. This is increasingly sought after as parts of the wider area become increasingly commercialised and urbanised,” says report author, Yolande Barnes, Director of Savills World Research.

The newly-published report focuses on the global luxury leisure market also lists more “local” leisure enclaves that are driven by domestic wealth and looks at the potential complexities of buying abroad in terms of cultural differences, legal and tax systems and financing.

A typical five-bed home in Côte d’Azur, France, costs around US$28.5million. Costa Smeralda property fetches around US$11.5million on average and St Barts homes are U$14million, the Prime Home Index states.

The Global Prime Sector’s top residential enclaves are ranked by global reach, real estate values, exclusivity and luxury tourism measured by the highest price for a luxury hotel suite.

The top 10 then features Aspen USA (US$13million), Monaco, (US$24million), Barbados (US$23million), St Moritz, Switzerland, (US$8.5million), Seychelles (US$8million) and Maldives (US$6million).

Much of the wealth is driven by Russian wealth, the report states. “The participation of this nationality in additional home buying is an extension of their “dacha” culture back home.

“Rich Muscovites have, over the centuries, owned both a city home and a country house, or dacha. This has been easily translated into the ownership of other status-enhancing properties across the globe.

“Modern Russian wealth flows primarily into the Mediterranean, the South of France, Italy and, increasingly, to emerging destinations in the Eastern Med such as Montenegro. Russian buyers are also particularly active in the United States and Caribbean.” says Yolande Barnes.

Middle Eastern buyers are also prominent group among prime home purchasers in leading leisure destinations. “Not surprisingly, they are already the dominant buyer group in Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s leisure developments, but they are also to be found in the key luxury Mediterranean resorts, and have been high profile investors in Marbella and the Costa Smeralda, or Emerald Coast, of Sardinia.”

Asia buyers play less of a key role. “Asia, in spite of having an UHNWI population of 43,000 individuals, does not have a culture where additional home ownership in leisure destinations is usual.

“The majority of homebuying activity in the Asia-Pacific enclaves such as Phuket and Bali, for example, has been by expats. Sun, sea and sand, for example, are less highly valued and real estate purchases are singularly concentrated in urban centres, rather than the countryside or seaside.

“Many of the newly wealthy in China view the countryside as inferior to urban environments. Some Chinese buyers have discovered the joy of vineyard ownership or skiing, but these remain in a minority compared to those preferring to buy into infrastructure projects, agricultural land or income-producing real estate investments in more rural areas.”

The Candy GPS Report is produced in partnership with Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and with exclusive research from Savills.

Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management adds, “Buying a second home can be a mix of heart and head, prompted by a few fantastic weeks spent immersed in local wine, food, and culture. But alongside the romance there is an often complex reality: cultural nuances, tax systems, due diligence, and financing.”

It points out that investors from the East and the West often have different attitudes about overseas property investment.

“The Côte d’Azur and Alps have been playgrounds of the wealthy for over a century; however, many of the emerging wealthy in Asia and the Middle East have entirely different approaches to leisure time.

“Wealthy individuals in China have often built up their wealth, run operational businesses, and take very few holidays; when they do travel for pleasure their preference is often to explore cultural centres like London or Paris. Sun holidays are often an alien concept to people living in hot climates.

“These cultural differences don’t only impact leisure preferences. There is also a correlation between culture and investment return expectations. Clients buying in traditional holiday destinations are often less concerned with the liquidity of the market and costs associated with ownership.”

Source: OPP News

Where do the world’s millionaires live?

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Some 300,000 people joined Asia’s millionaire ranks last year, according to a world wealth report released Wednesday, which also found that the region slipped behind a rebounding North America.

The report by CapGemini and Royal Bank of Canada is the latest of several recent surveys highlighting the strong rise in the region’s wealthy while also hinting at persistent inequality.

The survey found that the number of Asian millionaires grew 9.4 per cent in 2012 to 3.68 million people, up from 3.37 million the year before, and their combined wealth rose 12.2 per cent to $12 trillion.

Economic growth, strong stock markets, rising property prices and the region’s high savings rates helped boost fortunes.

The report defines wealthy as those with at least $1 million in liquid assets. It covered 10 Asian countries and territories including China, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Asia was surpassed only by North America, where the millionaire population grew 11.5 per cent to 3.73 million with combined wealth rising 9.8 per cent to $12.7 trillion.

Asia’s millionaire population outnumbered Europe’s for the first time in 2009, and in 2011 it edged out North America for top spot, according to previous editions of the report. The report’s authors forecast that Asia would reclaim its crown as soon as 2014.

The superrich, defined as those worth at least $30 million, grew even faster than the millionaire population at large. Their ranks in Asia grew 15.4 per cent last year to 25,000 while combined wealth rose 18 per cent, about double the global average.

Earlier this month, the Hurun Report, which tracks China’s wealthy, said surging stock prices helped mint 64 new billionaires this year, raising the total number to 315, compared with none a decade ago. At about the same time, Wealth-X, which follows the world’s wealthy, said Asia’s superrich population grew 4 per cent to 44,505.

Eric Lascelles, RBC asset management’s chief economist, chalked up some of the rebound in the fortunes of the superrich to more aggressive investments, which tend to get hit harder in downturns and rise more rapidly on the rebound.

“Equally we need to acknowledge that globalization over the past few decades has increased inequality to some extent,” he said. “We have seen rates of poverty decline quite nicely over that period as well but that’s not to say that wealth or incomes have risen as quickly in the lower end as it has in the higher end.”

Source: Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press

Overseas buyers target high-end Canadian properties

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Buyers from China, Russia, the Middle East, India and the United States are expect to be among those looking for high-end homes in major Canadian cities during the fall, says leading agent Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

Over the year to June, sales of luxury homes worth at least CAN $1-million have risen, according to the newly-published Top Tier Report.

Single family homes in the first half of 2013 compared with the same time last year, worth more than CAN $1-million have risen by 10% in Calgary, 6% in Montreal, 5% in Toronto and are down 2% in Vancouver. Most property sold was worth between CAN $1-4-million.

Sales of townhouses worth more than CAN $1-million were up 73% year-on-year in Calgary and 21% in Toronto, but were down 8% in both Vancouver and Montreal.

But year-on-year condo sales were down in all areas, falling 37% in Calgary, 20% in Vancouver and 19% in Toronto and Montreal.

Sotheby’s President and Chief Executive Ross McCredie says, “In examining the performance of the high-end market, we feel confident that Canada’s largest urban centres remain in exceptional positions heading into fall, with healthy market fundamentals from coast to coast.”

Despite the annual fall in condo sales, many overseas buyers are still actively looking to buy.

Elli Davis, a Sales Representative from Royal LePage, Toronto, says many foreigners buy condos for their children to live in while they attend school in Canada.

“I’m seeing a lot of foreign names on showings of all of my listings. More foreign names than not.”

Canadian buyers have lagged a little behind international demand, says the bi-annual report that is claimed to be the only Canadian study that compares data for residential properties with values over CAN $1-million.

“The performance of Canada’s high-end residential real estate market in the first half of 2013 reflected a year of recalibration and overall strength.

“While international demand for luxury real estate in the major urban centres of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal had been consistently strong leading into 2013, Canadian buyers had taken time to adjust to the precautionary lending controls implemented by the Bank of Canada in July 2012.

“By June 30, 2013, sales data for the first half of 2013 reflected positive momentum in key markets compared to the last half of 2012, with variations between condominiums, attached homes and single family homes, as well as between price segments above the $1-million mark.

Mr McCredie says investors of luxury home are unlikely to be put off by short-term market fluctuations. “They’re not first-time homebuyers. They’ve seen cycles before. Most of our clients remember what it was like in the early 80s and the early 90s, when you had major corrections, so they’re not going into these markets blindly.”

In Vancouver, sales are now picking up, the report claims. The city saw 1,239 sales of homes over CAN $1-million in the first six months of the year. “Buyers are beginning to gain more confidence when making big purchase decisions and those who initially put their decision to buy on hold are now coming back on the market.”

Calgary saw 388 sales over $1 million from 1 January to 30 June. “Calgary’s high-end residential real estate market continues to display strong market fundamentals, setting records in the first half of 2013 while experiencing both a steady rise in sales volume for homes over $1-million and a strong decline in days on market for key segments compared to 2012.”

Toronto got off to a faltering first three months, but recovered later and sales of prime homes reached 2,947.

The Montreal market is stable, but there were no sales of single family, attached and condominium properties over CAN $4-million within the first half of 2013, the report admits.

Source: OPP Connect

Which are the world’s most liveable cities?

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Bragging rights are a big deal for the world’s top cities, each trying to edge out one another in any category of prestige. But while Paris may be the world’s most romantic city and New York the most cosmopolitan, where, truly, is the best place to live?

The Economist Intelligence Unit measures the world’s most liveable cities, gauging the top towns by several metrics, including their social stability, healthcare prospects, culture and environment, education system, and physical infrastructure. Which city does the EIU nominate as the most liveable in the world, and which Canadian cities make the list?

In reverse order (to keep the suspense!):

10. Auckland

Liveability score (out of 100): 95.7

Auckland kicks off this top ten with sterling ‘cross the board numbers. The EIU uses five key categories (social stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure) and gives them all scores out of 100 — 100 being ideal, zero being intolerable. Auckland, for its part, doesn’t score less than 92 in any of the five categories, and gets a perfect 100 score for its education system.

9. Perth

Liveability score (out of 100): 95.9

With four cities appearing on this list from Australia, the island nation is, by participation at the top of the EIU’s study, the most liveable country in the world. But Perth, despite finishing last compared to its country mate cities, is no slouch. Perth gets three perfect 100 scores, recognizing the city’s exemplary healthcare system, education system and physical infrastructure.

8. Helsinki

Liveability score (out of 100): 96.0

The Finnish capital is, notably, the only city on this list without a perfect 100 score for its education system. No matter, for a 91.7 education score is still enough to get by, and Helsinki excels in other categories. The EIU awards Helsinki perfect scores for its healthcare system and social stability.

7. Sydney

Liveability score (out of 100): 96.1

Australia’s most prominent city isn’t its most liveable, according to the EIU. Still, there is plenty to like about Sydney, defined most notably by its Opera House along the city’s picturesque harbour. Perhaps that’s a nod to Sydney’s culture and environment, which receives a sterling 94.2 score by the EIU’s study.

5. Adelaide (tie)

Liveability score (out of 100): 96.6

Tied for the fifth-most liveable city in the world is another Australian town, Adelaide. You won’t find any flaws in Adelaide’s portfolio; the EIU awards it a score no less than 94 in each of the five categories it used as a liveability measure. By comparison, Adelaide’s 96.6 overall liveability score means the Australian town is more than twice as liveable as a city like Tehran, which received a liveability score of just 45.8.

5. Calgary (tie)

Liveability score (out of 100): 96.6

Canada’s first entrant to this list comes out west, where Calgary is staking its claim as one of the finest cities in the world. First, the negative: the EIU does not smile kindly on Calgary’s culture and environment, perhaps lambasting the rodeo lifestyle with its 89.1 score in the category — among the worst marks on this list. Still, Calgary has much to boast about, including one of just three perfect scores awarded for the category of social stability.

4. Toronto

Liveability score (out of 100): 97.2

Toronto has long been lampooned for its subpar transportation system and hellish traffic scene, so perhaps many residents of the city understand why the EIU could give the city a poor 89.3 score for the town’s physical infrastructure. Otherwise, though, Toronto is a standout. Across the other four categories used for this study, Toronto scores no less than a sparking 97.

3. Vancouver

Liveability score (out of 100): 97.3

Canada’s most liveable city ekes out Toronto by a tenth of a point in the EIU’s rankings, though such are the razor-thin margins when discussing the best of the best. Vancouver is a star in this study’s scoring system, receiving perfect 100 scores in the categories of healthcare and education. In fact, Vancouver also receives a perfect 100 score in the culture and environment category, the only city on this list to do so.

2. Vienna

Liveability score (out of 100): 97.4

The highest-scoring European city on this list is also just one of two from the continent to appear here. Vienna’s highest honour in this study comes from the city’s infrastructure, which earns a perfect 100 score by the EIU’s measure. Only three other cities — Perth, Sydney and the most liveable city in the world, which you can see on this feature’s next slide — can lay claim to such a rank.

1. Melbourne

Liveability score (out of 100): 97.5

Australia’s most liveable city is also the most desirable in the world, according to the EIU. Melbourne excels in each of the five categories measured by the EIU, especially healthcare, education and infrastructure. Melbourne stands above by comparison. According to the EIU, Melbourne is nearly two-and-a-half times more liveable than Damascus, the Syrian city that is the least liveable town on the planet, by the EIU’s ranks.

Source: MSN


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