Property Update (9 March 2015)


Another slow year in condo sales expected |

SINGAPORE : New evidence has emerged that condominium sales dived by 60 per cent after mid-2013, when tough home loan restrictions kicked in.

And experts do not expect sales to pick up this year, adding that they might even fall further as buyers hold out for price drops.

An analysis by consultancy JLL found that in the first six months of 2013, condo sales stood at 12,909, based on caveats lodged.

But by the second half of last year, that figure had nosedived 60.3 per cent to just 5,126 sales.

In both six-month periods, buyers with private addresses made up about 54 per cent of the combined sales totals. The rest had Housing Board addresses, so some would have been upgraders.

Buyers with HDB addresses bought 2,336 units in the second half of last year, a 60.8 per cent drop, while buyers with private home addresses bought 2,790, a 59.8 per cent dive, said JLL national research director Ong Teck Hui.

That the decline is roughly equal across both categories of buyers could surprise some, as the formula for the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) applies fairly to both, said Century 21’s chief executive Ku Swee Yong. Read more here >>


Manila rule change lures foreign banks |

At least seven Asian banks are looking to begin lending or open offices in the Philippines, lured by juicy prospects in the region’s second-fastest growing economy as their domestic markets languish, central bank officials said.

The surge in interest comes as steps adopted last year by the Philippines to remove caps on foreign banks take effect.

In a country where only one household in five has a bank account, Manila is keen to develop a comparatively small lending sector, worth 10 trillion pesos (HK$1.76 trillion) in assets, into an engine to drive an economy it expects to boom 7 to 8 per cent this year.

Industry insiders said among those looking to open branches or expand presence were Taiwan’s Cathay United Bank and Taiwan Cooperative Bank, alongside South Korea’s Shinhan International Bank, Woori Bank and Busan Bank. Central bankers declined to identify contenders by name, but said at least seven had expressed interest.

“Foreign banks are coming in. We have approved one, and there are more in the pipeline .… around seven,” central bank governor Amando Tetangco said. Read more here >>


Obama’s nod to China could bring NYC real estate boom |

NEW YORK : It hasn’t gotten as much attention as his other immigration decrees, but President Obama has agreed to let Chinese citizens apply for multiple-entry business and tourist visas that last for 10 years, not just one. Student visas have also been extended to five years from one.

Reaction to the immigration policy, announced Nov. 12, was immediate in China. There was a 68.2% leap in visas issued in December and January, for a total of 351,650. If these numbers continue, an additional 833,000 visas will be issued, bringing the total to 2.1 million in 2015.

The elite hunger to leave China.
Among the nation’s 2.4 million millionaires, 64% plan to leave and 78% want their kids educated abroad, according to a 2014 poll by Hurun, a Chinese research company.
One thing they’re doing right away — buying real estate and driving up prices in New York. Read more here >>


Dubai to ‘benefit from affordable housing quotas’ |

The proposal by Dubai Municipality to introduce mandatory affordable housing quotas for all new residential developments is long overdue and is expected to bring a wide range of benefits to the UAE emirate, while driving further maturity in the market, according to leading international real estate consultants, Cluttons.

With the residential market in Dubai now meandering through the second half of the current property cycle and with values stabilising following the tremendous growth recorded in 2013 and the first half of 2014, the timing for the introduction of such legislation is ideal, it stated.

Steven Morgan, the chief executive of Cluttons Middle East said: “The issue of affordability has been one that has been quietly bubbling away in the background for some time. With the introduction of the federal mortgage caps and the doubling of property registration fees, we saw genuine end-users in the market forced into a holding pattern as they attempted to make the transition from rented accommodation to owner occupation.” Read more here >>


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