Five property stories making global headlines this week:
Australian market shifts to growth
Bloomberg has called the end of Australia’s housing market slump, citing data that show nascent house price growth following almost two years of decline. The CoreLogic benchmark index shows aggregate property prices across five key cities, including Sydney, rose 0.1 per cent in July, the first increase since September 2017.
The shift is attributed to central bank interest rate cuts, less onerous borrowing rules and the re-election of the Liberal government, which backs tax breaks for property investors.
“We feel like the housing market is starting to stabilise and may slightly improve from here,” said Matt Comyn, chief executive of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s biggest mortgage lender.
Tax change sparks prime New York sales boom
Real estate brokers in New York are celebrating their best month for luxury home sales since at least 2003. The Wall Street Journal published figures that show $4.8bn of property changed hands in New York in June, the greatest monthly sum since city records began.
The bumper deal volume came as purchasers rushed to buy before July 1, when a new statewide property transfer tax came into force. The buyer’s tax ranges from 0.25 per cent on $2m homes to 2.9 per cent on sales of $25m and above.
Deals included the $77.1m sale of an Upper East Side mansion by hedge fund manager Philip Falcone. Completing the purchase in June saved the buyer more than $2.2m.
Dubai in the doldrums
There was less cheer for brokers and sellers in Dubai, where prime residential property prices fell 1.9% in the first half of the year, according to estate agent Savills. Prime market prices — the top 5 per cent by value — have fallen almost 20 per cent in the United Arab Emirates city since 2014, reported Reuters. Savills blamed the falls on the oversupply of new homes and global economic uncertainty.
London suffers rental property drought
The number of homes available for let in prime central London is decreasing, the Financial Times reported. Analysis by LonRes showed a 5.3 per cent fall in the number of rental properties offered between April and June compared with the same period in 2018, and a 22 per cent drop compared with the 2016 figure.
Marcus Dixon, head of research at LonRes, said vacant rental stock was becoming scarcer because tenants were remaining in properties for longer and buy-to-let sales were decreasing. Landlord investors have been put off the market by declining capital growth in prime central London, despite marginally increased rental yields.
Meanwhile, fears surrounding falling house prices, the economy and Brexit were fuelling an increase in those opting to rent rather than buy, LonRes said.
Architect has designs on Egyptian “vertical forest”
Egypt’s new administrative capital is to set to be the location of Africa’s first “vertical forest”, according to CNN. As part of plans for the city, Italian architect Stefano Boeri has designed three apartment blocks, whose exteriors will be alive with foliage.
The city is under construction 50km east of the existing capital, Cairo. Together the three buildings, due to be completed in 2022, will sprout an estimated 350 trees and 14,000 shrubs. A similar building by Boeri in his home city of Milan was a finalist in the 2018 Royal Institute of British Architects’ International Prize for the world’s best new building.
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