Archive for the ‘World real estate news’ Category

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

London’s Walkie-Talkie ‘fryscraper’ melts luxury car

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Motorists may want to think twice about parking in front of the half-built London skyscraper known as the Walkie-Talkie.

That’s because the glare off the skin of the new building is so intense that at least one Jaguar owner says it caused part of his vehicle to melt.

And that’s not all: Locals say the building’s heat also burned a hole in the welcome mat of a nearby barber shop.

“We were working and just saw the smoke coming out of the carpet,” said shop owner Ali Akay. “This is a health and safety issue. They should have looked into this before they built it.”

Similar problems developed in Los Angeles, when neighbours of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall reported heat buildups that required corrective measures.

In a joint statement, developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf said they are taking the complaints seriously and looking into how the building reflects sunlight. The 37-storey tower – one of the most distinctively shaped skyscrapers in London’s financial district – is expected to be completed in 2014.

The apparent problem came to public attention when businessman Martin Lindsay told reporters that his Jaguar’s mirror, panels and hood ornament had all melted from the concentrated sunlight reflected from the building.

“It was parked for a couple hours in the city … and it’s completely warped,” he said. “It’s absolutely ruined.”

The problem lasts about two hours a day and is expected to continue for another two to three weeks, developers said in a statement.

“The phenomenon is caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky,” they explained.

Source: Gregory Katz And Sylvia Hui, The Associated Press

House that follows the sun wins GreenSmart Home of the Year

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

An innovate home design which enables the property to follow the sun has won Australia’s 2013 HIA GreenSmart Home of the Year.

MAG Constructions and DNA Architects, of the ACT/Southern NSW region were awarded GreenSmart Home of the Year, and received the GreenSmart Spec Home Award for their innovative project, “Girasole”, which is Italian for sunflower.

The four-bedroom home is built on a steel-framed motorised turntable and is controlled by a touch screen pad. Supported by 28 wheels and driven by two whisper quiet motors, the home can rotate through 360 degrees and has been designed to literally track the winter sun through the living areas and avoid the harsh Australian sun in summer. It is able to operate at three speeds and represents high tech, environmentally-friendly living at its best.

Continuing on the sustainable living theme, electricity for the home is provide by 24 photovoltaic cells (situated on top of the four-car garage) generating 10,500 kilowatts of power per annum. Beneath the garage is a huge rainwater tank of 120,000L capacity which will allow the new owner of the home to live independently of traditional power and water services.

The award was presented at the national HIA – Stratco GreenSmart Awards ceremony, where builders from around the country were acknowledged for their efforts in environmentally-responsible housing.

What’s happening to house prices around the world?

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Global Property Guide, in its latest house price survey, confirmed the full-scale boom of global housing markets. The basis of that prognosis is the result of the 1st quarter 2013 survey that found 28 of 42 housing markets that have published housing statistics enjoyed increases in house prices.

The guide confirmed observations that the global housing slump has ended, house prices are going up in more countries and momentum trend is upward.

Here is a clearer picture of how the housing markets are performing by region.

US – The seasonally adjusted national home price index of S&P/Case-Shiller grew 8.31% in the last 12 months, ending on Q1 2013. It is the largest year-on-year increase since the first quarter of 2006, resulting in consumer confidence reaching a five-year high, pick up in construction activity and drop in delinquency rates.

Europe – Signs of recovery in many markets. Among those markets that showed large improvements are: Turkey – 8.13%, Denmark – 7.01%, Norway – 4.75%, Estonia – 4.2%, Poland – 3.24%, Sweden – 3.11% and Switzerland – 2.42%.

Asia – The region’s housing market remains buoyant, led by Hong Kong, which logged a 20.14% increase. Other markets that also registered boosts in home prices are in China – 5.92%, Taiwan – 3.24%, Philippines – 2.34%, Japan – 2.12%, Indonesia – 2.04% and Thailand – 1.48%. However, Singapore suffered a 0.58% decline in home prices.

Pacific – New Zealand’s median house prices achieved an impressive 7.23% growth rate while Australia had a slower growth of only 0.11%.

Middle East
– Like the other regions, the Middle East too enjoyed substantial expansion in home prices, led by the United Arab Emirates at 28.02%, followed by Israel at 6.34%.

Africa – Prices of medium-sized apartments in South Africa went up 3.09%.

Global Property Guide pointed out that Europe is a special case, given that the Eurozone had a rough time the past few months because of the currency crisis due to the Greek default, right on the heels of the global financial crisis.

Yet, despite that handicap, of the 25 European housing markets included in the guide’s survey, 14 performed better as against 11 that had poorer performance in Q1 2013 compared to 2012.

The growth was experienced even outside the housing market. For instance, the Turkish economy expanded with a real GDP growth rate of 3%, its 14th consecutive quarter growth.

Some, however, showed only minimal increases in house prices such as Romania – 0.52%, Latvia – 0.3% an Finland 0.29%.

Understandably, Greece remains the weakest market, with home prices declining 11.53%. The contraction is felt in the entire Greek economy, which is dragging due to the prolonged recession, while consumption and investments fall and the government continues to cut corners as part of its IMF-imposed austerity programme.

Source: Vittorio Hernandez, PropertyLife

How overvalued is Canada’s real estate market?

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Ever since the US real estate crash in 2008, there’s been discussion about whether Canada will have a similar experience. We weathered the recession, but rising real estate prices have put Canada’s housing market on the list of one of the most overvalued markets in the world, according a recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report.

The housing market is expected to correct itself and real estate prices will drop, but it’s a question of when that will happen and whether it will be a soft landing or a hard crash.

The OECD uses two measurements to determine whether a housing market is overvalued or undervalued: The price-to-rent ratio, which measures how profitable it is to own a house, and the price-to-income ratio, which measures how affordable it is to own a house. If the ratios are above the long-term average, it means that the housing market is overvalued. Read on to find out which countries have the most overvalued housing markets and where Canada stands.

Using these indicators, OECD countries can be roughly placed into five categories:

1. Where houses appear broadly correctly valued. This category includes the Unites States, where prices have started rising again after a substantial correction; Italy, where prices are falling rapidly; Austria, where prices are rising; and Iceland, Korea and Luxembourg where prices are roughly flat.

2. Where houses appear undervalued and prices are still falling. This category includes European countries hit hard by the crisis – Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – but also Japan.

3. Where houses appear undervalued but prices are rising. This category includes only Germany and Switzerland, two European countries where strong growth in household disposable income and favourable financing conditions have boosted prices (despite macro-prudential measures in Switzerland).

4. Where houses appear overvalued but prices are falling. This category is the largest as it includes many European countries where the post-crisis housing market correction is still ongoing, most notably Spain, but also the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and one non-European country, Australia. While price corrections in these countries are necessary, they are also concerning as they weaken households’ financial health and potentially fragilize banking sectors.

5. Where houses appear overvalued but prices are still rising. This is the case in Canada, Norway, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, Sweden. Economies in this category are most vulnerable to the risk of a price correction – especially if borrowing costs were to rise or income growth were to slow.

Source: OECD and Josephine Lim, MSN Money

Latest condo design has a swimming pool in every balcony

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

The Aquaria Grande is an incredible project by Hong Kong-based architect James Law. Located in Mumbai, India, the homes are equipped with one of the most stunning architectural feats which have transformed standard balconies into swimming pools.

The residential location consists of two 37 story towers which were designed by Wadhwa Group. They boast modern and unique architectural design with several high-end amenities.

With over 200 apartments, each unit features three-sided natural light which also allows for cross-ventilation. There is an indoor club house that includes a gym and sauna, three levels of vehicle parking space, and a sustainable podium garden. Making eco-friendliness a priority of the towers’ modern design, the structures include energy efficient glass facades to reduce energy consumption.

Which is the world’s most expensive city to live as an expat?

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Top 50 most expensive cities worldwide for international assignees

Tokyo, the long-standing costliest place in the world to be an expat, has finally been overtaken by Oslo, due in part to the strength of the Krone and the huge revenues the country brings in from its rich oil reserves.

These were among the findings of the latest cost of living research by ECA International, the world’s leader in providing solutions for the management of international assignments. The survey takes into account inflation, exchange rates, goods that expats typically buy and rental expenses to work out an average cost of living.

At the top of the global list, Oslo is followed by the Angolan capital of Luanda, where the goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates are difficult to access and command a premium. Stavanger (Norway), Juba (South Sudan) and Moscow (Russia) are also now more expensive than Tokyo. These cities make up the top 5 most expensive locations for expatriates globally.

“Tokyo has always been an expensive place for global companies to send staff, and, despite its five-place fall since last year, that remains the case,” said Anna Michielsen, ECA’s General Manager, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific. “The significant depreciation of the Yen against other major currencies in recent months is the primary reason for this drop. It means that for many companies, the cost of maintaining their assignees’ purchasing power while posted there has fallen. But it’s important not to exaggerate the position – Tokyo is still the world’s sixth most expensive city, and the most expensive in Asia.”

Sydney remains the most expensive Australian location surveyed. It is the 17th most costly location for expatriate globally followed by Canberra (23rd), Perth (27th), Melbourne (28th), Adelaide (30th), Darwin (34th) and Brisbane (35th).

Within Europe, the Norwegian capital is followed by Stavanger (3rd globally) and Moscow (5th). The Russian Rouble has weakened between surveys against major currencies but the cost of goods and services in ECA’s basket in Moscow has nevertheless increased more than 10% again this year.

Despite falls in prices and the Swiss Franc weakening against other major currencies over the past year, Swiss locations remain among the top ten most expensive locations for expatriates in the world.

Despite dropping down the ranking, Caracas, ranked 33rd globally, remains the most expensive location in the Americas for international assignees. Manhattan and Vancouver follow, ranking 43rd and 51st respectively.

Indian locations continue to be among the region’s cheapest in terms of cost of living for international assignees. New Delhi, ranked 200th globally is followed by Mumbai (215th). Karachi, ranked 256th globally, is the least expensive Asian location for expatriates.

Source: ECA International. For the full summary, please see World’s most expensive expat cities.

Which countries have seen the highest rise in property prices?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Worldwide residential property prices have risen 6.6% in the year to March, the highest rate for three years, says a new survey.

Hong Kong led the way in the Knight Frank Global House Price Index, with prices rising 28% year-on-year – but it looks set to be knocked-off the top spot in future.

Prices in Beijing and Shanghai, China, rose 23.8% in the last year and 21.1% in Dubai, according to the Knight Frank figures.

This was before the recent government housing market cooling measures took effect and separate data for April and May shows price declines in Hong Kong and falling growth in China, as OPP Connect has reported.

Knight Frank’s Residential Research specialist Kate Everett-Allen says, “Property prices in all world regions, except Europe, increased in the year to March, with the Middle East performing best, rising by 10.6% on average.”

The Knight Frank Global House Price Index rose by 2% in the first quarter and China’s prices rose the most over the three months, by 10.7%.

For the third quarter running, Greece saw the largest annual fall in mainstream prices, declining 11.8%.

It was followed by Hungary, down 9%, and the Netherlands, down 8.3%, in the bottom three rankings this quarter. The Dutch fall was driven down by rising household debt and growing unemployment.

Prices in Ireland fell again, but the 3% decline was much less than previous double-digit losses.

The only countries outside Europe that saw falls were Japan (-2.9% year-on-year) and South Korea (-2.2% year on year.)

Columbia, up 16.6% on year, Brazil and Taiwan, up 12.2%, Turkey, up 11.5%, South Africa, up 11.3% Indonesia, up 11.2% and America, up 10.2% – its best annual performance since 2006 – made up the rest of the top 10 performers.

Thirty five of the 55 housing markets in Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index saw price rises in the year to March. The index now stands 14.7% above its recessional low in the first three months of 2009.

Among the improvers was the UK’s property market, where prices rose by 0.2% in the year to March and are 8.9% above their 2009 low.

South Africa was among the best performers, seeing an increase of 11.3%, boosted by increasingly wealthy middle class who are tapping into the rising confidence of the wider African continent and are keen to get on the property ladder.

Source: OPP Connect

See why “branded homes” are becoming popular with buyers

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

“Branded” properties could become the norm as demand for high standards of design, leisure and labeled property increases among the rich in both established and emerging markets, according to the latest report from property group Knight Frank.

Celebrities and global companies are endorsing properties around the globe with Virgin in Moscow, Versace in Dubai and Bulgari in London’s Knightsbridge just some of the high profile companies that are engaging in “branding” properties.

Global research conducted by Knight Frank shows that developers can increase profits by around a third by building “branded homes,” fully-serviced designer luxury pads that separate them from the rest of the real estate pack and appeal to an aspirational clientele.

“Originally, branded residences were simply residential developments linked to an adjacent hotel. However, the provision of hotel services is now only part of the concept,” Liam Bailey, head of Residential Research at Knight Frank and the author of the report said.

Now, wealthy consumers are demanding designer developments with restaurants, bars and leisure facilities on site – and a well known, “trusted” brand name associated with their property, especially in emerging markets such as Russia and South America where “swathes” of new millionaires have been created, the report says.

The report states that the increase in the number of wealthy people — and the rise in the value of their assets — has coincided with a shift in their investment requirements. The group’s data confirms that several years of chaotic financial markets have convinced many in this group that they ought to invest a greater share of their wealth portfolio in tangible assets, including residential property.

The emerging market partiality to “brands” and luxury goods as trusted names, however, has added a new dimension to branded property development.

“Evidence from the development of the luxury consumer goods market confirms the importance placed on brands in these markets as a means of confirming provenance, security and trust. It seems likely that as global wealth creation expands, the demand for high quality residential development property in key global centers will undoubtedly rise,” Bailey states.

Using globally known designers such as Philippe Starck or celebrities such as Jade Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stones’ singer Mick Jagger, developers operating in the competitive global property marketplace view branded residences as a way to give their developments the edge.

Yoo, a luxury property developer cited in Knight Frank’s report has branded and designed more than 10,000 homes, hotels and commercial projects in 37 cities, working with designers such as Marcel Wanders, Jade Jagger and Anouska Hempel.

Yoo chairman John Hitchcox said a name — and its associations with style — appeals to consumers.

“It lends credibility, endorsement and identification, in that the buyer is identifying with a certain lifestyle and taste. Jade Jagger isn’t a designer in the traditional sense but her bohemian lifestyle and taste are very well recognized and there is an alignment there with people who buy schemes that Jade has been involved with,” Hitchcox notes.

“Just as when you walk into an Apple Store you do so with certain expectations of freedom and service, so people look to premium homes with similarly high expectations,”

“Some areas of the world are becoming overheated [in the property market and having something extra to differentiate oneself from competitors is becoming more and more vital.”

Source: Holly Ellyatt, Assistant News Editor,

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