Five stories making global property headlines:
Hong Kong buyers worst off for affordability
Hong Kong has retained its title as the world’s least affordable housing market. The median property price in the territory rose to 20.9 times the median household income in 2018. Research by urban planning consultancy Demographia, covered by Bloomberg, ranked Hong Kong least affordable for the ninth consecutive year. Vancouver in Canada is the second least affordable market, ahead of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. London, in joint 10th, is the least affordable European city.
Brexit wipes a quarter off prime UK house prices
Brexit has contributed to a 25 per cent fall in house prices in some of the UK’s wealthiest areas in the past year. The Guardian reported that estate agent Your Move found typical price falls in some cases were nearing £500,000. Separate data from property website Rightmove revealed that the average asking price in London fell below £600,000 for the first time since August 2015.
The same day, the FT reported that billionaire hedge fund founder Ken Griffin spent £95m on a Georgian home in London near Buckingham Palace. The house, 3 Carlton Gardens, shares a driveway with the UK foreign secretary’s official residence.
Brussels urges ‘golden visa’ caution
The European Commission has urged EU member states to take steps to protect their ‘golden visas’ from abuse. The FT reported that Brussels has issued advice on how to protect the schemes, through which governments offer residency or citizenship in exchange for investment, warning that they pose a risk of money laundering, corruption and organised crime. The report examines “citizenship for sale” schemes run by Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria, which allow wealthy individuals to buy EU passports.
Dubai broker banks on Chinese
A real estate broker in Dubai is predicting that half its sales in 2019 will come from Chinese investors. Arabian Business reported that fäm Properties’ target of 50 per cent follows the release of data by Dubai Land Department, which showed that 7,013 Chinese investors made 9,640 transactions, worth a combined Dh14.34bn ($3.9bn), between July 2002 and July 2018.
The write move in Calgary
A Canadian woman has found a novel way to sell her country mansion — a letter-writing competition. The BBC reported that, after failing to sell her C$1.7m ($1.3m) home, Alla Wagner has asked people to pay a C$25 ($19) entry fee and answer the question, “Why would moving to this lakefront dream home change your life?”, for a chance to win the property. Features of the 360 square metre house, 40 miles south of Calgary, include views of the Rockies and a wine cellar.
Photographs: Getty Images/iStockphoto; Ben Anders; Jelle van der Wolf; Facebook