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Tony Milton MRICS

BSc (Hons) Est Man

Fast Facts

Date : Sunday, 04 October 2009
Category : Global Real Estate

CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER : Scroll to bottom for latest info


120203 – VNN. Global Real Estate - US real house prices to rise 4.8% this year to a median or middle of the range price of USD$165,800 according to the National Ass of Realtors

250603 - SGT The 88 storey 420m high "Two Int Finance Centre (IFC)," HK's tallest building and world 3rd tallest completed its exterior yesterday. It provides 520,243sqm and approximately 200,000sqm of office accommodation.

020703 - SGT. Taiwan's tallest building, a 508m 101 storey building known as Taipei 101 and due to be completed in 2004 will seek certification as the world's tallest building ahead of current No.1 the 452m Petronas Towers.

MIPIM March - Leslie Chua JLL Singapore Research - Japanese companies allocate 14-15sqm per employee compared to 20sqm in US of Europe. Over the next 3 years, Tokyo will have 20 million sqm of new rentable space.

MIPIM March - JLL says overall vacancy rate in Guangzhou was 8.1% at as end Dec02 - up0.1% in 3 mths; Grade A rentals were stable after rising 6.3% in the first 3 Quarters of 2002. In Shanghai take up was 160,000 sqm in 4th Quarter of 2002.

MIPIM March - The av rental in BKK is $10.52 per sq down by around 42% from the peak of 4th Quarter 1997.

MIPIM - Chinese development giant Zhongrong, is speculating on 270,000 sq m of prime office space in Liujiazui, Shanghai's new business district.

MIPIM - Shanghai World Financial Centre - With a total floor area of 377,300 sq m and a height of 492 metres, it will become the world's tallest building. Set for completion in 2007.

MIPIM - Two 143-metre-high office towers of the new Nile City Financial Center in Egypt's capital Cairo have just been topped out with 175,000 sq m.

MIPIM - Sao Paulo : about 116,000 sqm of new space entered the market in 2002, a similar amount to 2000, with 185,000 sqm of speculative Grade A space due to open this year.

080803 - London's West End remains the most expensive place in the world to occupy offices, with space costing USD$149 / sq ft pa inc S/C according to CBRE, despite a fall from USD$151 six months ago. Midtown Manhattan is now 14th at USD$54 / sq ft pa. VNN

080903-A square metre of land with street front, even without running water, on busy commercial areas averages $10,000. The same property rented out would bring in around $150 per square metre per year. Suburban homes are priced between $40,000 and $50,000, or around $400 per square metre, not a small sum in a country where per capita income still hovers around $400 a year. That compares with an average $800 per square metre for an apartment in Bangkok where per capita income is about five times higher. VIR

220903-Construction minister Nguyen Hong Quan said the development of the property market was abnormal and housing and land prices in Vietnam were the most expensive in the world if economic growth rates and average per capita income were taken into account. One square metre of land in Hanoi's Hang Gal street is now reportedly worth $20,000 - almost 10 times higher than four years ago. Land and housing prices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are three to five times higher than five years ago. VIR

220404-Property prices in Shanghai rose nearly 30% in the 1st Quarter over a year earlier. Local officials played the down risks of a price bubble that could collapse. Nationwide, real estate prices rose 7.7% compared with the same period of 2003. Shanghai's 28.3% jump was the fastest rate of increase among 35 major Chinese cities. The highest rates of growth were in the north-eastern city of Shenyang, at 19.5%, and the eastern coastal city of Qingdao, at 16%. Hong Kong authorities have been struggling for years with a collapse of a property price bubble in the late 1990s that left tens of thousands of homeowners saddled with negative equity. Property prices fell by as much as two-thirds in Hong Kong before a slight recent recovery. Critics say the real estate market still plays a disproportionate role in the local economy with Shanghai's average commercial housing price at the end of 2003 was 5,188 yuan per square meter (US$58), up 24.2% over the previous year. VNN

150604-The Asian Venture Captial Journal has estimated private equity funds have invested a total of USD$3.4 billion in South Korea so far this year, although separate estimates for property investment were not available. Japanese officials estimate that nationwide land prices have fallen 48% from their peak around 1990 back to levels seen in 1984. SGT

240604-Actual FDI in China in 2003 was USD$53.5 billion according to government statistics. In the first 5 months of 2004, China drew USD$25.9 billion in FDI - up 11.3%. VIR

0502 - One of the most striking features of the Chinese economy is the huge amount of domestic savings in the economy,averaging about 40 percent of GDP, which compares very favorably, of course, with basically almost all international comparisons. IMF.

290604-US base rates are to rise to 1.25% from 1.0%. Mortgage rates hit a low since 1958 last year. The 30 year fixed rate mortgage now averages 6.25% from 5.24% a year ago. The sale price of an average house has exceeded the overall rate of inflation by more than 40% over the last 8 years. A cooling of the market might be considered healthy in some hot zones such as Manhattan, where prices rose to 43% in one year and a 2-bedroom apartment now costs more than USD$1 million. Nevertheless, fears of a housing implosion are widely discounted by economists, largely becase mortgage rates remain so low by historial comparisions, and are likely to remain so in the near future. Also, interest rates will only rise as the economy gains strength, which in turn should provide support to real estate. VNN

300604- Investment flowing out of the 30 industrialised countries belonging to the OECD rose slightly to $576 billion from $567 billion in 2002 but down from $662 billion in 2001 and $1.2 trillion in 2000. This meant that overall the net amount of investment by OECD countries in the rest of the world rose six fold in 2003 to $192 billion from $31.7 billion in 2002. The OECD commented: "China overtook the United States in 2003 as the biggest recipient of foreign direct investment, attracting $53 billion from OECD countries and elsewhere. "The size of domestic markets in big developing emerging economies, particularly China, is attracting foreign firms. Russia attracted only $1 billion of foreign direct investment in 2003, one quarter of the amount received by India from OECD companies. Conventional thinking argues that the United States must attract substantial amounts of foreign capital to fund its economy and make good a shortfall of domestic savings, and that a substantial fall in the inflow of investment in US business could cause long term problems for policymakers. "In the United States, FDI fell to $40 billion in 2003 from $72 billion in 2002 and $167 billion in 2001. VNN

Asian property still seen as risky : Tokyo a better bet – July 2004 : Western investors remain ner-vous of owning Asian prop¬erty after burning their fingers in the region's financial crisis. Most investors are de¬manding quick, high returns because the 1997-98 economic crisis and property market slide are so fresh in the memory. Deals with "opportunity funds" were common in the aftermath of the crisis. The funds typically refurbished or improved manage¬ment of buildings in the hope of selling quickly at a hefty profit as soon as the property market picked up. "The bulk of money still has the `opportunistic' tag and wants 20% plus returns," Graeme Torre, head of Asia property at Henderson Glo¬bal Investors, told a confer¬ence in Singapore this week. "It's hard to know where to start : convince foreign in¬vestors to take less return or persuade locals to take less for property." The highest rental yields for offices in Asia are in New Delhi, at around 12.7%, against 5.5% in Tokyo and 3.8% in Singapore. "The challenge is to get sticky money, like U.S. pen¬sion funds. We're getting three to five year money, not short term, overnight money. But it's not 10-year." The advent of listed prop¬erty trusts in Asia three years ago has made it easier to value buildings and buy and sell in many markets. This could persuade investors to take a longer-term view of Asia, Torre said. "As we see greater securitisation, so we'll lose the risk tag that goes with Asian property," he said. Henderson has US$250 mil¬lion in direct property invest¬ment in Asia and US$ 100 mil¬lion in property securities. Real estate investment trusts (REITs), which pay most of the rental income on buildings they own as dividends, have taken off in Ja¬pan, Singapore and South Korea, providing a market valuation of buildings and boosting transactions. Hong Kong and Malaysia have also passed laws to allow REITs, and the Philippines and India are working on them. A director at Mitsui Fudosan Investment Advisors said he liked "grade B" offices because their prices had not moved up as fast as some top grade buildings in recent months. "In Tokyo they are very empty and few have professional manage¬ment," he said. "There are lots of opportunities to add value." John So, director of invest-ment at Grosvenor Asia, which has around US$500 million in Asian property, pre¬ferred residential. "There are decent yields of six percent and with the popu¬lation growth in Tokyo, the market's poised," So said. Morgan Stanley said there were still opportu¬nities to buy distressed as¬sets in Japan and sell into the REIT market. But because Morgan Stanley's "eggs were all in one basket", with 70% of its Asia property funds in Japan, Kalsi was also looking harder at China and India-where firms are moving manufacturing and back-office jobs from the West. Analysts say Delhi is con¬sidering easing restrictions on foreign investment in property. "What keeps me up at night is someone might beat us into India." Morgan Stanley said. SGT

290604-US base rates are to rise to 1.25% from 1.0%. Mortgage rates hit a low since 1958 last year. The 30 year fixed rate mortgage now averages 6.25% from 5.24% a year ago. The sale price of an average house has exceeded the overall rate of inflation by more than 40% over the last 8 years. A cooling of the market might be considered healthy in some hot zones such as Manhattan, where prices rose to 43% in one year and a 2-bedroom apartment now costs more than USD$1 million. Nevertheless, fears of a housing implosion are widely discounted by economists, largely becase mortgage rates remain so low by historial comparisions, and are likely to remain so in the near future. Also, interest rates will only rise as the economy gains strength, which in turn should provide support to real estate. VNN

020804- “The average price of the market is to rise 8 per cent in the later half of this year, and another 10 per cent to 15 per cent increase in the next year”, said Victor Lai. managing director of Centaline Surveyors Limited, a leading real estate research company based in Hong Kong. The average price of building unit transactions rose 10 per cent to 1 5 per cent in the first six months this year. For example, prices at Taikoo Shing, one of the most popular estates in Hong Kong, rose by 66 per cent from its low in May 2003, and 23 per cent from the start of this year to HK$4,400 / US$504 per square feet, about 0.09 square metres. VIR

150904-Hong Kong property prices fell some 70% from their peaks in 1997-8 as Hong Kong’s economy faltered through the Asian financial crisis. VNN

281004-China's real estate may be overheated : Soaring prop¬erty prices in China suggest the government's macro ¬control measures are not ad¬equately addressing over¬heating in the real estate sec¬tor, state press said yesterday. "The prices are beyond the reach of many people despite the government's clampdown on credit and the introduction of a raft of measures, including tighter land-planning rules, "Zhang Xueying, a senior economist with the State Information Centre, told the China Daily. "Some bubbles are felt in the real estate sector... if there is no bubble„ who will buy this housing?" he said. Average property prices rose 13 per cent during the first nine months of the year, while prices for residential housing were up 10.9 per cent during the same period, according to official data. Prices for residential housing in Beijing were be¬tween 7,000 yuan (US$843) and 8,000 yuan per square metre, but the average annual income of Beijing residents was only about 10,000 yuan, the news¬paper said. VNN

011104- Krabi now has 24 spas oprating. “More and more tourist are coming here, especially during low season for spa services” Chairman of Krabi Spa Club said. In 2003, Krabi took 1.4 million tourists, a massive jump from 1 million in the previous year. Most come for recreational activities such as cliff climbing, canoeing and diving. Knight Frank

011104-Over the first 9 months, the Government Housing Bank of Thailand extended new loans worth USD$184 million, an increase of almost 48% on last year. There were 142,049 new borrowers and the average loan per individual was USD$12,683. At least 70% of the bank’s clients borrowed up to USD$24,390 and they have net monthly income of around USD$244 per person. KF

271104-An averagely priced house today in UK costs some 6 times average annual earnings whereas the historical multiple is somewhat below 4. VNN

031204-China has agreed to let foreign courier companies operate wholly owned international express mail businesses in the mainland from the end of next year as a condition of its membership in the WTO. “UPS will have the flexibility it needs to expand operations and to invest in facilities, infrastructure, technology and employee development” according to its President. UPS’s export volume in China jumped 129% in the 3rd Quarter of this year compared with the same period of 2003. Exports for the year are up by more than 90% from last year. All the major international shippers have been expanding their China operations. Rival DHL Express is spending USD$215 million on express and logistical infrastructure in China over the next 5 years. VNN.

121204-Global property investors see China as the top pick in Asia after Japan as the potential for fat profits more than compensate for the risk from regulatory uncertainties, most fund managers and bankers agree. Residential developments can yield profits of as much as 40 per cent, making them attractive for investors seeking a risk premium of at least seven percentage points over the return on projects in more devel¬oped countries. "Institutional investors would say they're more afraid of not being in China now," Craig Wallace, associate director at Macquarie Real Estate Asia, told a property conference in Hong Kong. Wallace said Macquarie's priori¬ty markets in Asia were Japan, fol¬lowed by China and South Korea. He thought Singapore property would attract funds in the next cou¬ple of years "by default" as investors pulled out from fierce competition for deals in the other markets. Most prominent foreign property investors in China, such as ING Real Estate, Morgan Stanley and Singapore developer Capital-and Ltd, like the fast cash turnaround from building flats for a middle class empowered by rapid economic growth. Macquarie, for example, has teamed up in a joint venture with fund manager Schroder Asia Proper¬ty to buy land in an open auction in Shanghai for an apartment project. Office and retail buildings often only give single-digit yields and many foreign investors fear they will be difficult to sell in such an immature property market. However John Pattar, managing directory at CLSA Private Equity Property Fund, said corporate restructuring in China gave poten¬tially lucrative opportunities for buying and refurbishing old build¬ings and acquiring half-finished buildings. He said CLSA was looking to team up with a local asset management firm, with the local partner putting in 10-15 per cent of equity. "We're very keen to form a relationship with that kind of group," Pattar said. "We're keener on existing assets." Douglas Morton, a managing director at JP Morgan, said European investors were more keen on Chinese property than their US counterparts, but added that "the Americans are catching up". He said investors typically demanded a 7.5 - 10 per cent risk premium, mostly because of unpredictable decision making by several layers of government. By comparison, real estate investment trusts (REITs) are trad¬ing at around 4 per cent yields in Japan and at 5-6 per cent in Singapore, while Hong Kong's first issue is expected to yield up to 6.8 per cent on its initial public offer (IPO) price. "You're dealing with four or five levels that you have to keep happy," Morton said. "There are a lot of peo¬ple who could make decisions that could have an effect on your IRR (internal rate of return)." Wallace said Macquarie would only consider projects with returns of at least 15-20 per cent. He said a government decision to freeze bank lending for land purchases showed how fast regulations could change, but added this decree had forced I many local developers out of busi¬ness and helped foreign investors. VIR

271204-The Samsung Corporation of South Korea has won the contract to build what will be world's tallest building, the Burj Tower in Dubai. Samsung won the $306 mil¬lion deal to build the tower, part of an $8 billion 500 acre project in the United Arab Emirates. Workers have already started work on clear the ground for the 800 metre high, 160 floor sky¬scraper, which the company expects to be completed by November of 2008. When completed it will be taller than the current holder of the title of world's highest building, Tai¬wan's 509 metre TFC 101 build¬ing. VIR

1205-Global property investors see China as the top pick in Asia after Japan as the potential for fat profits more than compensate for the risk from regulatory uncertainties, most fund managers and bankers agree. Residential developments can yield profits of as much as 40 per cent, making them attractive for investors seeking a risk premium of at least seven percentage points over the return on projects in more devel¬oped countries. "Institutional investors would say they're more afraid of not being in China now," Craig Wallace, associate director at Macquarie Real Estate Asia, told a property conference in Hong Kong. Wallace said Macquarie's priori¬ty markets in Asia were Japan, fol¬lowed by China and South Korea. He thought Singapore property would attract funds in the next cou¬ple of years "by default" as investors pulled out from fierce competition for deals in the other markets. Office and retail buildings often only give single-digit yields and many foreign investors fear they will be difficult to sell in such an immature property market. Investors typically demanded a 7.5 - 10 per cent risk premium, mostly because of unpredictable decision making by several layers of government. By comparison, real estate investment trusts (REITs) are trad¬ing at around 4 per cent yields in Japan and at 5-6 per cent in Singapore, while Hong Kong's first issue is expected to yield up to 6.8 per cent on its initial public offer (IPO) price. "You're dealing with four or five levels that you have to keep happy," Morton said. "There are a lot of peo¬ple who could make decisions that could have an effect on your IRR (internal rate of return)." Wallace said Macquarie would only consider projects with returns of at least 15-20 per cent. He said a government decision to freeze bank lending for land purchases showed how fast regulations could change, but added this decree had forced many local developers out of busi¬ness and helped foreign investors. VIR

230205-Hong Kong property values have climbed 55% since a trough in mid 2003 when a SARS outbreak ravaged the economy, and economists project a further 16% rise this year. SGT

020305-The Nationwide BSoc said the average British home cost 152,857 pounds in February, around 14,000 pounds higher than a year ago. VNN

240305-The tender for the 3.55 hectare waterfront plot – Singapore’s first sale of government land for commercial use in 3 years – fetched an initial offer of up to USD$479 million (ie $13,500/sqm or $135m/hectare!) yesterday from an unidentified developer. SGT

010405-The Nationwide said the average house price stood at 153,876 Pounds in March. VNN

040405-Home prices in the US last year rose 8.3%, the fastest pace in a decade, to a median level of USD$184,100, government figures show. But in some big metropolitan areas including Washington and San Francisco, prices are up about 20%. Home prices have risen 40% since 2000 whlie “the ratio of average yearly rents to house prices has been dropping steadily” according to an economist from the American Eneterprise Institute. VNN

150305-Shanghai: Average housing prices in Shanghai stood at 5,118 yuan ($618) per square meter - China's second-most expensive city, state media reported. But developers have said prices can soar as high as 55,500 / $6,700 per sq meter at the luxury end. VIR

110505-Home prices in mainland China's richest city, Shanghai, have dropped so sharply in the last month that analysts fear government efforts to cool a prop¬erty boom could overshoot, engulf¬ing banks and hurting the wider economy. Property agents say mid range and luxury apartment prices have fallen up to 10 per cent in the last two weeks and few sales have been completed as buyers expect the market to drop more. "We think prices might fall an¬other 20 per cent in the next three months," said Shanghai-based Bondi Mau of Midland Realty, a Hong Kong estate agent. "It's be¬cause in the last two years the mar¬ket has gone up so fast, a bubble formed." The property price slide follows a Shanghai government move early last month to force home owners to pay the balance of existing mort¬gages before they can sell, and the introduction in March of a capital gains tax on flats sold in a year of purchase. The central bank also removed a discount on mortgages in March, effectively raising a five-year rate by 20 basis points. Last year, the central govern¬ment, fearing capital was being di¬verted to property from needy ar¬eas such as energy and transport, restricted bank loans to developers and cut land supply. But those mea¬sures helped lift prices. "There's a concern they might overdo it and prices might col¬lapse," said JP Morgan analyst Raymond Ngai. "So far the mea¬sures have been bit by bit. If they're not effective, they introduce more." Speculation had been rife, espe¬cially in Shanghai. Developers say purchase contracts for some spar¬kling new 100 sq.m apartments doubled in price last year to as much as HK$550,000 / $70,500 before construction even finished. Chinese "investor clubs," pool¬ing cash from friends and relatives, would buy up several floors of a project. Some individuals own four or more flats, even in areas of Pudong where only about a third of the flats are occupied, judging by the number windows with lights on at night. Singapore, Hong Kong and Tai¬wan businessmen poured in, hop¬ing a yuan currency revaluation hikes the dollar value of assets. A revaluation, which many ana¬lysts believe will come this year, could persuade foreigners to cash in on the 50 per cent climb in luxury apartment prices since mid¬2001. Shanghai's rapid economic growth - 13.5 per cent last year - and an influx of roughly 120,000 people a year from other regions, have contributed to demand. But analysts say Shanghai's downturn could spread to other east coast cities, dampen consumer confidence, and burden banks with soured mortgage loans just as they are trying to clean up their books for planned initial public offer¬ings. "You could see local consump¬tion fall, negative equity and unem¬ployment, "Ngai said. "More of a concern is the bank¬ing system - whether banks in China can survive if prices come down 30 or 40 per cent," he said. "With a loan to valuation of 80 per cent, some home buyers might choose just to default. " Reuters – VNN

300505-China is repeating Japan's worst mis¬takes in the asset bubble of the 1980s and could soon come down to earth with a "rude shock", a top Japanese official has warned. Hiroshi Watanabe, head of inter¬national affairs at Japan's finance ministry, said the speculative excesses in China could set off a regional crisis. "We are very worried about the situation. The enormous inflow of funds into China over the last year is creating excess liquidity, which the authorities have so far been unable to sterilise in the domestic markets. We're seeing a bubble simi¬lar to what we had in Japan in the 1980s. Look at property prices in Shanghai. "We have an old Asian proverb: the higher the mountain, the deeper the valley," Watanabe said, predicting an "abrupt adjustment" with serious knock-on effects on South Korea, Thailand and, less directly, Japan. Japan's property and share market bubble peaked with a speculative surge in 1989, when a single square mile of Tokyo was theoretically worth more than many of the world's coun¬tries. More than 15 years later, the Nikkei stock index is 28 per cent of its former value, while the economy faces its eighth year of price deflation. Watanabe said Beijing faced the risk of a peasants' revolt as it prepared to revalue its currency under US pres¬sure. "Let's not forget that China's agri¬culture is very uncompetitive and would risk being driven onto the ropes by imports of foreign food. "Beijing cannot allow a surge in the numbers of unemployed farm workers, especially at a time when coastal industry is absorbing less manpower." Professor Steve Hanke, a leading currency expert at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, said China would be foolish to reval¬ue its currency, even if this meant US trade sanctions before the end of the He warned that revaluation could set off a catastrophic deflation in asset and property prices. "Non-performing loans would just explode. You would have a real crisis on your hands in China. They're aware of this, so I don't think they'll change." Beijing has held its currency down through the massive purchase of US Treasury bonds, keeping the consumer boom alive throughout the US in the process. Meanwhile, Alan Greenspan, head of the US Federal Reserve, distanced himself from US policy over the weekend, saying it was quite unlikely that a Chinese revaluation would improve America's trade deficit, a record $617 billion last year. VIR

140605-The Office of the Deputy PM said the average house price in April stood at 181,832 Pounds compared with 183,346 Pounds in the prior month. The annual rate of house price inflation in London fell to 2.7% in April from 9.8% in March. VNN

140605- Chinese property purchase plans have fallen in the second quarter due to government steps to deter excessive investment in real estate, a central bank survey has shown. The survey of 20,000 urban residents con¬ducted in May by the People's Bank of China found 19.1 per cent of respondents were plan¬ning to buy property in the next three months, 2.9 percentage points lower than the level in the first quarter, the bank said. The government has, since early this year, taken a series of steps to cool down the heated property sector, including raising mortgage rates and down-payment requirements and imposing a capital gains tax on property resold within two years. "The announcement of such measures has created an important impact on the real estate market and led to changes in the psychology and behavior of residents," said the bank in a report. VIR

250605-The way Macau property prices are soaring while rows of new apartment blocks stand nearly empty, investors could be forgiven for thinkinL that the mushrooming casino business is providing the gas for a property bubble. Macau developers can still sell sparkling high-rise blocks in just a couple of weeks. but buyers are taking a big risk. There is hardly any rental market-only around a tenth of new apartments are lived in. "There's a tremendous feelim, of a gold rush town." said Elaine Young. chief executive of Hong Kong serviced apartment firm Shama. which is look-in- to expand into Macau. "The property market has risen outrageously." Apartment prices rose 50 per cent last year. Property agents predict the same in 2005, and analysts at investment bank Merrill Lynch expect the cost of an apartment to double in three years. But the rampant speculation, mostly by people from Hong Kong and the rest of China, is based on economic fundamentals. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 28 per cent last year thanks to a 40 per cent jump in tourists visiting the only place in China where casinos are legal. Per capita GDP for Macau's 465,000 residents has risen to the level of New Zealand's from that of Slovenia in just one year. Officials predict 20 million visitors will pour in this year, a fifth more than in 2004. Investors are betting there will be a bigger boom in 2007, with the opening of the first phase of the Cotai Strip of opulent casinos, plush hotels and shopping malls, being built on about 5sqkm of land reclaimed from the silt¬clogged Pearl River delta. The 60,000-room seven-ca¬sino three-phase project was dreamed up by Las Vegas gamipg tycoon She ldon Adelson. Hoteliers involved include Hilton Group, Marriott International and Four Seasons Hotels Inc. "I don't see a bubble," said Gregory Ku, head of property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle in Macau, who has privately invested in two Macau apartments. "A bubble means there are no good things to support the market. But Macau has many." The number of mainland Chinese approved for residency in Macau nearly trebled last year to 6,883 - each bringing mandatory property investment of US$128,000. A typical 2,000sq.ft, three-bed¬room luxury apartment costs $900,000, but that is still only a tenth of some projects in Hong Kong, an hour away by ferry or 10 minutes by helicopter. Authorities are considering market-cooling measures, such as a cut in bank loans to 70 per cent of a property's value, from 90 per cent, but Merrill Lynch analyst Hillman Wong points out that similar moves in Hong Kong did little to quell speculation there in the 1980s and 90s. – Reuters VNN

010705-UK house prices were rising by 20% a year earlier. Today the average house price is 157,791 Pounds. A recent retail survey show retail sales fell at their fastest pace in a least 22 years this month. VNN

030705-In Shanghai, shopping mall vacancy rates have fallen to about 7% from 15% 2 years ago, allowing landlords to raise rents to an average $4 per sqm from $3 (?!). Rent as a proportion of sales turnover has risen to about 40% from 30% in that period, according to CBRE. VIR

260705-House prices in England and Wales were down 3.74% over the last 12 months, the most marked fall since Hometrack records began in March 2001. At 161,300 Pounds, the average house price was the lowest since November 2003. Hometrack again.revised down its 2005 house price inflation forecast. It now sees a 5% fall, compared to flat prices predicted in June and a 3% rise in May's re¬port. Data last Friday showed Britain’s economy grew by just 1.7% year on year in the 2nd quarter, the slowest pace in 12 years, as manufacturing fell into recession. VNN

050805-On an annual basis, Britain's economy showed its weakest per¬formance for 122 years during the 2nd Quarter, as the manufactur¬ing sector fell into recession, con¬sumers held onto their money and - house prices showed slower growth. VNN

290805-Nationwide, average US house prices are up 50.5% over the past 5 years. VNN

010905-South Korea yesterday announced a package of drastic tax measures aimed at curbing a real estate bubble, declaring that there will be no more speculation in residences and land in this country. The long-awaited package in¬creases capital gains taxes on people who own two homes to 50 per cent from the current rates of between 9 and 36 per cent. The tax rises to 60 per cent for inves¬tors who hold three homes. "Dear people, we hereby de¬clare that there will be no more real estate speculation in this country," Finance and Economy Minister Han Duck-Soo told a press conference. The package, effective from 2007, also targets the rich and people who own large tracts of idle land. Residences worth 600 million won (US$583,200) or higher will be levied ownership taxes amounting to between 1 and 1.5 per cent of their market prices. Han said the measures would rein in capital gains obtained through real estate speculation by using what he called "small-loop dragnets of taxation" through the country's treasury. "Don't deceive yourselves that these measures will be short¬lived. These are very drastic, long¬term steps," he said. The tax package came amid a real estate bubble in Seoul and provincial areas designated for development. Prices of apartments in Bundang, South of Seoul, jumped 24 per cent in the first six months to June this year alone despite an economy which is still struggling with sluggish consumption and slow exports. AFP/VNN

1109-Rising oil prices, concern about a global real estate bubble and the problem of ageing populations will be in focus at this week’s Pacific Rim finance ministers – APEC – forum. The South Korean finance minister said concern was growing that an unprecedented bubble was forming in the global real estate market. If it burst, it would seriously hamper the growth of both local economies and the global economy. SGT

140905-Property loans are on a runa¬way course in new EU mem¬ber states in former commu¬nist east and central Europe, and in EU aspirant countries, a report published at an eco¬nomic forum in Poland by Ita¬ly's UniCredit bank showed Thursday. "The annual increase of property loans was in the re¬gion of 43 per cent in `New Europe' between 2000 and 2004, versus 8 per cent in countries in the eurozone," said Andrea Moneta, head of UniCredit's New Europe di¬vision. "Consumer loans in these countries rose 12 per cent (between 2000 and 2004), against 2 per cent in the eurozone,"Moneta said. The increase in lending volume was expected to continue, especially in the light of the low levels of in¬debtedness of households in the 12 countries studied. According to UniCredit's report, debts carried by households in "New Eu¬rope" rose from 7 per cent of GDP in 2000 to 12 per cent in 2004. In the eurozone, household indebtedness rose from 46 per cent to 50 per cent during the same period. Higher disposable in¬comes in New Europe will also help to fuel the credit boom, which was unlikely to result in "a threat from a mac¬roeconomic point of view," Moneta said. He also ruled out the prospect of the property market peaking in the near future. AFT VNN

210905-Tokyo land prices rose for the first time for 15 years. The average of residential land in Japan as a whole fell 3.8%, declining for a 14th straight year. The average price of commercial property across Japan dropped 5% - also a 14th consecutive fall. VNN

031005-Average condo price in inner BKK is $1,900/sqm – Knight Frank

161005-Singapore’s new Tower 2 of Saill at Marina Bay – to be completed in 2009 – has less than 30 out of 430 units unsold in the Tower 2 where the prices of a 1-bed unit measuring 57-72sqm can set a buyer back at least USD$366,864 / $5,095-$6,436sqm. At least 30% of biyers were from the region, especially China, HK, Indonesia, Taiwan and India according to City Dev Ltd – CDL. VNN

221005-Ac¬cording to figures from the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), monthly office rental for a square metre in 2004 was US$20 in HCM City and $27 in Ha N6i, compared with $6 in Karachi, $6 in Manila, $11 in Bangkok, $22 in Jakarta, $32 in Hong Kong and $33 in Singapore. Although telecom charges have fallen in Viet Nam during the past few years, from $7 in 2002 to $2 in 2004 for a three-minute call from Ha N6i or HCM City to Ja¬pan, the rate was still higher than the average telecom charge of $1.83 for the region. In 2004, power costs for manu¬facturing in Viet Nam were 5.5 cent/kWh compared with 4.2cent/ kWh in Bangkok and 5 cent/kWh in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. VNN

091105-An apartment block billed as Shanghai's "best location" with a record price tag has failed to sell a single unit a week after hitting the market. At an average cost of 100,000 yuan (US$13,500) per square meter, the Tomson Riviera 74 ¬apartment complex, developed by Hong Kong-listed Tomson Group, is the metropolis' most expensive high rise, the China Daily said. "We are confident about the project thanks to its imcomparable location." Shanghai may be cooling af¬ter the nation's biggest city, home to an increasing number of foreign residents, saw prices fall 1.2 per cent in September. A recent report by real estate agency Colliers International said buyers were taking a wait¬ and-see attitude after luxury property prices in the city fell 4.5 per cent. The downturn comes after the government introduced various measures to cool overheating in several sectors of the economy, aiming in particular at the prop¬erty market, which in some cities especially Shanghai, had attracted speculative funds. The measures, which vary from city to city, include a capi¬tal gains tax depending on the length of a buyer's holding pe¬riod, the banning of pre-comple¬tion sales and a tightening of land¬ use rights. - AFP/VNS

151105-Accor SA,will open 13 premium Sofitel hotels in China by the end of 2007, the French hotel group said last week, more than doubling the brand's presence in the country. Accor will launch 5 Sofitel hotels in China in both 2006 and 2007, on top of 3 slated to open their doors this year, the company said in a statement. By the end of 2007, Accor will have 22 Sofitel properties in the world's most populous country, where the travel bug has hit a population whose wealth is increasing. Europe's top hotel operator, which has brands ranging from Novotel to Motel 6, is also build¬ing up its lower tier Ibis brand in China. It wants to operate 50 Ibis ho¬tels in China, up from 1 now, making it one of the first global hoteliers to tap the country's lower-end mass-travel market. The country's growing wealth is attracting global chains, including Shangri-La and Marriott Interna¬tional Inc, which are racing to expand ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. SGT

221105-The average asking price for a home rose to 197,855 pounds from 196,348 last month, pushing the annual rate of increase in house prices to 4% from 1.5% according to property website RightMove survey of nearly 132,000 properties advertised on its website. VNN

121215-British house prices are set to continue ris¬ing in 2006 but gains will be small as buyers struggle to afford new homes after the property market boom of recent years. The Nationwide Build¬ing Society said house prices would at worst stag¬nate and at best rise by 3 per cent over the course of next year, following gains of 2.4 per cent this year so far and 12.7 per cent in 2004. “With rapid price in¬creases over the last nine years it will take some time for affordability to recover, " she said. A year ago, some econo¬mists were saying the UK could be headed for a sharp correction in house prices after an extended period of double-digit inflation and as the Bank of England hiked interest rates five times be¬tween August 2003 and No¬vember 2004. But the market seems to have achieved a soft land¬ing and BoE policymakers are counting on a gentle re¬covery to boost consumer spending which has slowed sharply over the last year. VNN

020106-The national median existing home price in November was USD$215,000 – up 13.2% from a year ago. VNN

060106-Hong Kong office space is Asia ¬Pacific's most expensive, followed by Tokyo and Seoul, a survey released yesterday said. DTZ, a London listed international real estate ad¬visory and consultancy firm, made the findings in its an¬nual global office occu¬pancy costs survey of 117 business districts around the world. The rankings focus on cost per workstation, which DTZ said better reflects the cost of accommodation. "Hong Kong emerged as the most expensive loca¬tion in Asia Pacific with oc¬cupancy costs escalating 61 per cent, the highest per¬centage increase over the past decade and back to the level in 1995, to US$15,000 per workstation per an¬num," DTZ said. The willingness to pay for better-quality offices by multinational companies demonstrated their optimis-tic outlook for the greater China economy, it said. Behind Hong Kong, Tokyo's Central 5 wards-and Seoul ranked as second and third-most expensive office locations, at $11,$70 and $9,870 per workstation per year, it said. Singapore was 12th, up from 17th, with office occu¬pancy costs rising 20 per cent to $4,770 per worksta¬tion, the survey found. It said the higher costs coin¬cide with a continued strengthening of the city¬state's position as a regional business hub. AFP/VNN

100106-Average price of a British home was a seasonally adjusted 171,632 pounds in December….In US Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at said, “2006 is going to be a wake up year for many homeowners in USA. Consumers have been using their house as an ATM. That is going to diminish considerably over the next several years as the housing market slows.” VNN

190106-A report by the Bank for International Settlements – BIS – said household mortgage debt has increased significantly over the last 20 years especially in major industrialised countries, accord¬ing to the report. Data in the report indicated a doubling or trebling of mortgage debt per head between 1994 and 2004 alone, Australia, Britain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. The report underlined gaps in knowledge about the behaviour of housing markets, highlighting the possibility that the credit boom is artificially fuelling a spi¬ral of higher property prices in the short term and ever more lending. Economists have voiced fears about property markets overheat¬ing and the swelling of a house price bubble. AFP-VNN

250106-Beijing's fixed asset investment reached about US$34.9 billion in 2005 with investment in the real estate market still comprising more than half of that. The city's investment in the real estate market accounted for 53.9% of the total fixed asset investment with a growth rate of 3.5%, dropping by 19% compared with the previous year. During f 2001-05 period Beijing registered a fixed¬ asset investment totaling $134.6 billion,, doubling that of the 1996-2000 period. VNN

220206-The value of Singapore’s REITs has grown from zero to S$15bn USD$9.2bn over the past 4 years, making it the largest market in the Asia Pacific region after Japan and Australia. VIR

150306-British property services firm Countrywide plc reported property prices on homes exchanged during the first 2 months of 2006 rose 5.1% while commission rates averaged 1.7% per transaction against 1.6% last year. Countrywide, which is one of the main shareholders of Rightmove, said the flotation of Britain’s biggest property website last week appeared successful as it had already realized a profit of 16.5 million Pounds from initial public offering. VNN

270306-Average home prices in Shanghai dipped about 15% last year, as the government took steps to cool the market after a couple of heady years of 30%-40% rises. A 2 bedroom apartment in central Shaghai, the most expensive city in mainland China. costs about $250.000, roughly a quarter of the average price of a Manhattan apartment. The booming casino city of Macau and Hong Kong, which is flourishing as a financial services hub for China, have also come under spotlight. Private investors and the government have pledged $24 billion worth of investment in Macau for the next decade. Shares in the likes of Shanghai Forte Land Co Ltd and Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd have jumped 42% and 36% respec¬tively so far this year, while Hopson Develop¬ment Holdings Ltd has soared more than 70%. Merrill Lynch analyst Clifford Lam says the stocks are still good value because of their high returns on equity and strong growth prospects. Companies such as Guangzhou R&F and Hopson are "volume players" that can make decent profits even if property prices do not rise much he said. VIR

240406-The amount of unsold real estate in China rose 23.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2006 as investment and prices in the boom¬ing sector continued to climb, state press said yes¬terday. The area of unsold prop¬erty developments reached 123 million square meters (1.32 billion square feet) in the quarter, up 23.8 per cent from the same period in 2005, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the National Bureau of Statistics. From January to March this year, property develop¬ers invested 279.3 billion yuan / US$34.8 billion in construction projects, up 20 per cent, it said. The China Economic Observer, also citing official statistics, last month re¬ported that at the end of Oc¬tober last year, China had 112 million square meters of unsold real estate, 26 per cent of the market. The international alarm rate is 10 per cent, it added. China's real estate mar¬ket was witnessing the "odd" phenomenon of rising prices at the same time that unsold property was grow¬ing, Xinhua said. "In some cities where prices are rising, you cannot say that the reason is be¬cause of supply and demand," Xinhua quoted Yi Xianrong, a real estate ana¬lyst with the China Academy of Social Sciences, as saying. "Presently in the domes¬tic real estate market, devel¬opers have the conditions to be able to push prices up, they have a monopolistic way to set prices," he said referring to the tight relationship between govern¬ment and developers. In Beijing, housing prices rose 19.2 per cent in 2005 but the area of unsold living space rose 31.6 per cent to 13.7 million square meters, according to the Xinhua report. "Statistics show that as the amount of unsold hous¬ing has grown, so has the number of people who can't buy homes, "Xinhua said. At least 70 per cent of Chinese in the prosperous eastern coastal regions were unable to buy homes, based on average annual incomes of 15,000 to 17,000 yuan / $1,870-$2,120 and average housing prices of 4,000 yuan / $499 per square meter. Meanwhile there were 1.03 billion square meters of real estate under construc¬tion in China during the first quarter, up 23.3 per cent over the previous year, the report said. About 52.8 million square meters of real estate construction was completed during the period, up 53.3 per cent, it added. AFP / VNN

060506-Halifax said the average price of a Brit¬ish home at a seasonally ad¬justed 178,992 pounds in April. John Butler, UK econo¬mist at HSBC noted that the 4.5% increase in house prices over the past 3 months on the Halifax mea¬sure translates to an annualised rate of 18%. "At face value that is not stability, that is the type of pace associated with a boom," said Butler, although he noted that other measures of house prices such as build¬ing society the Nationwide did not imply the same kind of strength. Howard Archer, econo¬mist at consultancy Global Insight, shared Butler's concerns, calling the 2% jump in prices in April "a real shock that will heighten con¬cern that prices are gaining excessive upward momentum. VNN

030706-Croatian real estate booms as EU membership looms : With European Union membership looming, Croatia's real estate mar¬ket is booming as Europeans seek an affordable place in the sun and locals seek a fast profit. But with property prices touch¬ing 10,000 euros (US$12,800) per square metre in parts of Dubrovnik, the Adriatic city that is top desti¬nation for property-buying for¬eigners, the country's authorities are facing calls to curb the inva¬sion and ensure locals are not priced out of the market. "If you want to buy any prop¬erty in the Dubrovnik city area, be prepared to pay at least 300,000 euros / USD$384k," is one of the first things Slavica Gavranic tells her clients. That will fetch you an average¬sized flat, possibly inside Dubrovnik's medieval walls, where the price of a square metre ranges from 4,000 to 10,000 eu¬ros / USD$5,125-12,800. Outside the old walls, it varies from 2,500 to 5,000 euros / USD$3,200-6,400. Gavranic runs Dubrovnik Sun, one of several booming estate agencies. "Our clients are mostly English, Irish and Dutch," she said. "We have a lot of foreigners who are making inquiries about what they can buy, saying they can spend up to 200,000 euros / USD$256k. Our. answer is simple - there's virtu¬ally nothing you can buy for that money in the wider Dubrovnik area." At present, citizens from most EU states can freely buy property in Croatia but face a complex bu¬reaucratic procedure which can take two years or more. Croatia has also only recently started to tackle its muddled property rights. In the past decade fewer than 4,000 foreigners have legally bought a house in Croatia, but many have found ways around the law, often by registering token firms in Croatia. Some observers estimate their numbers are actu¬ally 10 times higher. Reuters-VNN

140706-Condominiums located along Bangkok’s skytrain and subway are selling like hot-cakes. Young Thais were searching out lower-middle priced properties with a 30-50sqm unfurnished condo selling at an average of USD$26k-52,250. They’re selling very fast. Probably 40% are sold within the first month of the launch of a new project, and they are usually sold out within a few months. It’s estimated that the prices of city .condos had risen by about 25% since 2003, but the plentiful supply now meant prices were likely to remain steady for the next few years. It may not go up that much in the future but it won’t go down. Office workers who earn about USD$787 a month are the main target. Given rising interest rates and declining consumer purchasing power, we expect a negative growth of 2% of property sales this yea from 67,800 units sold in 2005. VNN

190706-Rightmove said asking prices rose 10.6% yoy – to 217,580 Pounds / USD$400,500. VNN

300706-The City could face a financial meltdown if the debt bubble bursts. The Bank of England has issued a stark warning about the potential damage that a credit crunch and a collapse in asset prices could cause to the economy and financial system. It said that a sudden jump in borrowing rates – potentially caused by a further surge in the oil prices – could cause a 2% fall in economic output and wipe out banks annual profits. In a worse case scenario, a sharp fall in credit conditions worldwide would have devastating consequences for Britain. It could cause a 1.5% contraction of the economy, a 25% fall in house prices and a 35% drop in commercial property prices over 3 years. The Bank also said that the risks of a serious financial problem in the City have risen in the past 6 months and investors would be wrong to assume that, after the market turbulence of past months, the worst was over. Another fear is the chance of a global avian flu pandemic of a human form of avian flu. Weekly Telegraph

300706-People have been capitalising on high UK house prices and cheap travel. Official estimates of the value of property abroad owned by Britons have doubled in 4 years to 23 billion Sterling. But that total is 2 years out of date and subsequent pointers are anecdotal. BUPA International, the market leader for individual expat insurance, has achieved an increase of almost a third in numbers insured in 3 years. It currently has 319,000 members in 190 countries, compared to 247,000 in 2003. “According to the Office of National Statistics, around 200,000 Britons leave every year to live abroad.” Weekly Telegraph

140806-Land prices in Japan rose for the first time in 14 years in 2005, a sign of an end to persistent declines in asset prices that have dragged down the economy since the burst of the "bubble economy" in the early 1990s, a government survey showed. Reflecting a healthy economic recovery, nationwide land prices on 1st January 2006, were up an average 0.9% from a year earlier, the National Tax Agency said. In the previous year, prices had fallen 3.4%. In the capital's fashionable Ginza shopping district a square meter of land is worth 18.7 million yen ($163,000) last year, up from 15 million yen in 2004. It is in its second-longest growth cycle of the postwar era, outlasting the 51-month bubble boom from December 1986 to February 1991, although the pace of growth is slower. The economy is also emerging from more than seven years of deflation, with consumer prices rising steadily. Against such background, the Bank of Japan ended an era of zero rates and raised its key overnight call rate to 0.25% on July. VIR

060906-Buy-to-let property has delivered the strongest returns of all asset classes since the turn of the century, rising by 157% followed by gold. Investors who bought a buy-to-let property with a deposit of 25,000 pounds 6 years ago could expect to see a 39,309 profit today, based on the average rise in property prices, according to specialist buy-to-let bro¬ker Landlord Mortgages. In contrast, the UK stock market has given a return of just 2% with the same investment in the FTSE 100 giving a profit of just 415 pounds. Gold increased 90%. Property let on modern leases returned 8.1% in 2005, down from 9.9% in 2004, under-per¬forming commercial prop¬erty which returned 19.1% and equities, which earned investors 22%. Indeed, it only nar¬rowly outperformed a 7.4% return on govern¬ment bonds. Reuters - VNN

241106-A Korean newspaper survey last month showed that apartment prices in Seoul and adjacent areas have climbed 55% on average since early 2003. “Housing prices have gone crazy” it said. The newspaper said a typical 102sqm middle class apartment in fashionable southern Seoul cost USD$800,500, up from USD$736,350 in October. VNN

231206-USA spending on new home building plunged 18.7%, the biggest quarterly drop since a 21.7% fall in the first quarter of 1991. VNN

281206-US house prices rose at the slowest pace since February 1997 in October. The median sale price dropped to USD$221,000 in October – a decline of 3.5% from a year ago – the biggest decline on record. Meanwhile the inventory of unsold houses reached the second highest level ever recorded. At the current rate, it would take 7.4 months to sell the currently available homes. VNN

090107-Thailand will limit foreign investors to holding no more than 50% of the shares or the voting rights in companies that deal with areas considered important to national security or that have an impact on natural resources or Thai culture under legal changes approved yesterday. Foreign companies have used Thai nationals as proxies as an unofficial basis for overseas investment in companies controlled by foreigners for the last 30 years. Analysts fear the revised law could force foreign companies to sell off huge amounts of stock to Thai investors who might not be able to absorb a large number of shares over a short period. SGT

150107-Standard and Poor’s estimate that people in Britain owend an average 144% of their net annual earnings in respect of housing debt in 2005; 131% in Ireland; 110% in Spain; and 62% in France. In France the prices of homes which were not newly built rose 7.1% in 2006; 10.4% in 2005; and 15.4% in 2004. Precepta institute estimate a 25% drop in prices by 2010. In Spain prices have increased by 114% in 20 years before inflation. The OECD said that prices were at “unsustainable levels.” VNN

220107-A first-time buyer in Australia was paying a median price of USD$296,760 for their home in the December quarter, according to informa¬tion obtained from loans fi¬nanced by the Common¬wealth Bank. VNN

220107-In Malaysia’s KL high ceilings, city and tower views, marble floors, jacuzzis are de rigueur for luxury flats in the area, and new developments are selling from around 700 ringgit / $200 per square foot ie $2,152/sqm. In neighbouring Singapore, by comparison, the price of luxury apart-ments rose by a third last year, pushing the cost of top new developments to more than USD$1,950 per square foot ie $20,982/sqm. Bandar Raya's glass and steel Troika apartments start from 1,000 ringgit per square foot / $285.90 ie $3,076/sqm with units between 1 million ringgit to more than 3 million ringgit / $285,957 - $857,871 - well over the 200,000 to 300,000 - $57,195 - $85,793 ringgit that buys a new three-bedroom flat in a middle-income suburb. "We're seeing in Troika that more than 50% of our buyers arc non-Ma¬laysians," said Cavalicro, adding they included buyers from Hong Kong, Britain, Switzerland, and the US. VNN

270107-Sales of pre¬viously owned US homes slipped 0.8 per cent in December and took their biggest tumble in 17 years for all of 2006. Sales for 2006 were down 8.4 per cent, the biggest annual drop since 14.8 per cent in 1989 when the housing sector was under pres¬sure from a crisis in the nation's savings and loan industry and be¬fore the 1990-91 recession. The median price of homes sold in December was up to $222,000 from $217,000 in November. Another gauge of strain in housing came in a report showing a 42 per cent leap in the number of homes taken back by lenders last year as more people became unable to pay the mortgage. RealtyTrac Inc said more than 1.2 million foreclosures filings were made - about one for every 92 households. VNN

300107-Property consultant Hometrack said house prices rose 6% this month from a year earlier, the fastest annual rate of growth since July 2003. However, gains were concentrated in London and almost 75% of the country showed no rise in house prices at all. “Average prices remained unchanged across 72% of the country in January.” VNN

160207-RICS noted less interest from home buyers. New buyer enquiries in England and Wales fell for the first time in nearly 2 years and the sales to stock ratio, considered by some to be a more reliable indicator of housing market demand, rose from 46.2 in January, the highest since June 2004, when the housing market boom was at its peak. VNN

Craving for life of leisure brings buy-to-let boom – March 2007: The buy-to-let mar¬ket will grow by 40% within the next decade, as more Britons crave "flexible living," a study shows. An increase in positive atti¬tudes towards renting and a de¬sire to be un attached will lead to a 41% increase in the rental market by 2016, accord¬ing to Alliance & Leicester (A&L). Its "Changing UK Household Market" report, carried out with the Centre of Future Studies think-tank, predicted there would be three key drivers for buy-to-let growth:
- A rise in the traditional rental market, especially among students and single people.
- Younger generations pre¬ferring to rent as it becomes more socially acceptable not to own a home.
- Increased use of' rented property by people seeking flex¬ibility and mobility.
Higher demand would lead to a boom in the number of" 'profes¬sional" landlords- those making their living out of the buy-to-let market - the report said. Professional landlords currently account for a fifth of buy¬ to let investors. They are de¬fined as having a portfolio worth at least 1 million pounds, six to 20 properties to their name or having been landlords for at least two years. They tend to be younger than non-professional landlords and secure. annual rental income at least equivalent to the national average wage. Stephen Leonard, director of mortgages at A&L, said: "De¬mand for rented property has been growing steadily in recent years and returns on buy-to-let have increased. "This growth is expected to continue as the number of rent¬ers rises further and buy-to-let becomes even more attractive to both existing and potential land¬lords."- REUTERS/VNN

050307-Direct investment into the REIT market has increased through 2006, especially in Europe, up 39% to about USD$403.4 billion according to JLL. VIR

150307-USA housing market: Losses as the pro¬portion of mortgages in the initial stages of foreclosure rose to the highest rate on record and the chief execu¬tive of a large US home lender said the sub prime in¬dustry- which caters to bor¬rowers with weak credit - was in a "liquidity crisis." VNN

290307-Sales of new homes fell sharply for a 2nd consecutive month in February and sales of new single family homes fell 3.9% to their slowest pace in nearly 7 years. VNN

050407-The cost of an average home in UK stood at 194,362 in March according to HBOS-Halifax house price survey. VNN

270607-British house prices rose 1.1% in June lifting the annual rate to 11.1% - the highest in 2 years according to the Nationwide. A typical house now costs 184,070 Pounds – more than 18,000 more than a year ago or 50 Pounds a day. SGT

170707-Since 1997 average house prices have increased by 155% to UKSterling 200,000 whilst average wages have increased just 18% of 25,000. Woolwich says many new borrowers have suffered a 66% increase in monthly mortgage payments over the past 5 years as house prices and bank rates have soared. Telegraph.

180707-The gap between rich and poor in Britain is the widest for 40 years, with a grow¬ing number of people living below the poverty line, a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said. The report noted a reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty, but the overall numbers living below the poverty line has increased with over 1 in 4 households classed as being "breadline poor" in 2001. In some cities over half of all families arc below the poverty line. The richest people are increasingly clus¬tered on the outskirts and suburbs of major towns and cities, the report said. Rich people own an increasing share of wealth, it noted: in 1991 the wealthiest 1% of the population owned 17% of the nation's wealth, rising to 24% in 2002. VNN

210707-China’s real estate investment soared 28.5^ to USD$130.6 billion in the first half of 2007.The growth was up 1.6% on the first Quarter and 4.3% on last year. The total area of “developed” land in China rose 7.6% to 118 million sqm in the first half. VNN

030807-Average house price in UK is 189,915 Pounds / USD$404k according to Halifax. VNN

210807-Average asking price for houses at 241,474 pounds – Rightmove. VNN

291207-The average house price is down to 182,080 Pounds / USD$361,500 according to Nationwide. “The housing market has weakened significantly in the closing months of 2007 after holding up more strongly than expected in the earlier part of the year.” VNN

020108-Spain’s average rise in house prices for the period 1996-2006 was well over 150%. VNN

140408-The IMF said that British house prices are nearly 30% overvalued after years of double digit growth and many analysts are now predicting sharp price falls this year. House prices have gone up 170% in the last 10 years. VNN

240408-The median price of homes sold in US last month was USD$200,700 – down 7.7% in 12 months. Home prices have already fallen about 15% from their peak in 2006 and may fall further than the 30% drop experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. VNN

030508-British house prices suffered their big¬gest annual fall in 15 years in April according to HBOS. House prices fell 1.3% 189,027 Pounds / USD$375,700 in April, the third monthly decline in a row, leaving prices 3.7% lower than April 2007. That was the biggest an¬nual fall since June 1993, analysts said. HBOS said prices in the 3 months to April were 0.9% lower than a year ago - the weakest reading since 1996. VNN

250508-USA : The median sales price of existing homes plunged 8% from a year ago to USD$202,300. Sales of single family homes, which are less volatile than condos and considered a better market by economists, slipped 16.1% while the median price fell to USD$200,700. Sales of condos fell 27.9% to a median price of USD$214,900. VNN

280608-The NAR said the national median existing home price was USD$208,600 in May down 6.3% from a year ago when it was USD$222,700. The Standard & Poor’s / Case Shiller Home Price Indices reported a record decline of 16.3% in home prices in April from a year ago. VNN

071008-There are about 10,000 buildings with more than 10 floors in Shanghai, of which 80% have been built in the past 10 years, accord¬ing to Emporis, one of the world's leading providers of building information. Shanghai drilled its first deep well on the Bund in 1860 and as industrial de-velopment and ground wa¬ter use accelerated, the city sank 1.76m between 1921 and 1965, or an average of about 4cm a year. VNN

050309-The Government has ap¬proved a US$50 billion plan to develop an economic belt along the country's northern coast until 2020 to spur growth in the northern region and strengthen economic cooperation with China and Southeast Asian countries. T
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