Landed Newsletter No. 19 May 2017

Welcome!

Landed Newsletter No. 19 looks at Airbnb for business travelers, Japan's reaction to the North Korean nuclear threat, market-cooling measures in Canada, anti money laundering legislation in Britain and much more.

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The Landed Newsletter highlights news and resources that you can use to make better real estate decisions, whether you are buying, renting or investing. With a focus on Asia and the Pacific Rim, The Landed Newsletter covers trends, legal and environmental developments and technology.

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Market News

Canada

The shares of Home Capital—of one of Canada's largest sub-prime lenders—fell 65% in a single day after the company negotiated a C$2 billion (US$1.5 billion) line of credit to shore up its balance sheet.

On May 9, British Columbia voters will go to the polls. Here is a look at the parties' housing platforms.

Industry insiders are calling for more regulation of Vancouver condo presales, where overseas sales and assignment-based flipping are pricing locals out of the market.

Archeologists in B.C. have discovered the oldest settlement in North America at a First Nations site that dates back 14,000 years. The discovery could play an important role in  First Nations' negotiations over land title and rights.

Ontario introduced a 15% foreign buyers tax as well as rent controls to cool Toronto's residential property market. A government backgrounder is here.

The town of Innisfil, Ontario, will use Uber and a local taxi service instead of a bus line for public transit.

Author Ken McGoogan says that if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, Scotland should leave the U.K. and become a Canadian province.

China

President Xi Jinping sparked a speculative frenzy in Xiong county, Hebei province, when he announced the county would be the site of a special economic zone. Officials responded by banning sales in the poor rural area.

Beijing city officials halted sales of new apartments built on commercially zoned land to individuals. Banks have been instructed not to lend to individuals buying these units, which previously made up 60% of new home sales.

Buyers who cancel their purchase at Country Garden's Forest City development in Malaysia will pay a 10%–30% cancellation fee. Tighter capital controls have made it difficult for Mainland buyers to finance overseas property purchases.

Forty Mainland cities now have buying restrictions that are intended to cool the country's red-hot property market.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Government plugged a loophole that allowed people to buy several homes with a single contract, thereby qualifying as a first-time buyer for all of the purchases and avoiding 15% stamp duty. Buyers soon found illegal work-arounds.

Hong Kong's Development Bureau is facing an uphill battle to obtain HK$20.5 billion (US$2.6 billion) to finance the reclamation of 130 hectares of land off Lantau that will be used to build 40,000 new homes.

Indonesia

French construction company Vinci will invest RP6 trillion (US$450 million) in seven hotels and a motorcycle racing circuit in the Mandalika special economic zone in Central Lombok.

Japan

For the first time, Tokyo Metro shut down nine subway lines after it learned that North Korea was testing a missile. The shutdown, which lasted 10 minutes, took place on the morning of April 29. The threat of a nuclear attack by North Korea is inspiring residents of Japan to buy bomb shelters and air purifiers.

Japan announced plans to claim to 148 inhabited islands and register 273 others as state-owned property in a bid to clarify the scope of its maritime waters.

Vietnam

Protesters in a village near Hanoi released government officials they held hostage for nearly a week after the villagers claimed they were short-changed when government expropriated their land.

Trends and Ideas

Airbnb

Japan's Rakuten is entering the "Airbnb for business travelers" market with a S$4 million (US$2.8 million) investment in Singapore-based MetroResidences. Home-sharing platform Xiaozhu is now offering accommodations for business travelers in 20 cities in China.

The U.S. hotel industry's plan to attack Airbnb by lobbying politicians to reduce the number of Airbnb hosts, financing studies to show hosts are running hotels out of residential buildings and not paying taxes were leaked in a New York Times story. Airbnb is fighting back with a campaign accusing the hotel industry of price gouging.

In California, Airbnb reached a settlement that will allow the state housing authority test hosts for discrimination, after guests claimed they were being rejected on the basis of their race.

Internet of Things

Researchers have discovered "BrickerBots" that search the internet for connected devices with factory-default passwords. The bots then run debilitating commands that wipe the files on the device, corrupt its storage and sever its internet connection, "bricking" the device and making it impossible to repair.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer of internet-connected garage door opener Garadget gained instant notoriety by responding to a negative product review by remotely "bricking" a client's device.

An American man is suing audio equipment manufacturer Bose, claiming the company's headphones track people's musical choices. The suit also accuses Bose of selling the data to third parties.

Money Laundering

Britain passed a law allowing authorities to seize property owned by foreigners who cannot explain how they paid for the home.

Rental Software

Rentberry is a controversial new site in the United States where landlords list a property and prospective tenants bid against each other to rent it.

Robotics

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a robot that "printed" 50-foot-diameter, 12-foot-high dome in less than 14 hours. The robot includes a scoop that can be used to prepare the building surface and acquire local materials.

Landed Newsletter No. 19 was published on May 1, 2017.