Newsletter No. 2 looks at the effect of lower oil prices on Canadian home prices, the continued growth of Airbnb, urban farming in Detroit, an innovative sale in San Francisco, and the importance of understanding local laws before buying property abroad. And the Landed books now have a mobile-friendly website
Stress tests by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)—the government-owned body that sells insurance to residential mortgage lenders—indicate that if oil stayed at US$35 per barrel for five years, Canadian house prices would fall 26%
The CMHC also said that in 2015, foreign ownership of condos had increased to 3.5% in Vancouver from 2.3% in 2014. The figures for Toronto were 3.3% and 2.4%, respectively.
November is usually a quiet month for sales in Vancouver, but this year saw the number of home sales increase 40.1% from November 2014. The average sale price of a detached home in Vancouver reached C$1.6 million (US$1.2 million) in November 2015.
As levels of air pollution soared, Beijing issued its first-ever “red alert,” closing schools, factories and construction sites.
The United States and Cuba began discussions to resolve the outstanding claims from Americans whose property was confiscated when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. Settling the claims is seen as an important first step towards ending the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.
In October, the government index tracking residential property prices in Hong Kong dropped 1.1% month-on-month, ending a 19-month-long rally that peaked in September 2015. The index is up 7.5% in 2015.
The indigenous villagers who were convicted of illegally selling their building rights in November were sentenced to jail in early December. Punishment this stiff is unusual, prompting speculation that the government’s small house policy may finally be reviewed.
The Hong Kong government has cut its annual population growth projection from from 0.6% to 0.2%, because fewer Mainlanders are settling here. In 2014, an average of 111 Mainlanders moved to Hong Kong each day, down from 149 per day in 2012.
Tokyo was again named the world’s dining capital in the annual Michelin guide. The city has 12 three-star, 53 two-star and 161 one-star restaurants. An additional 325 establishments were recognized for offering quality food at affordable prices.
At a Canadian Chamber of Commerce seminar on investing in Toronto and Tokyo property on December 3, I learned that the Japanese government is expected to review and tighten up tax regulations for nonresident property owners. Previously, foreigners owned such as small amount of Japanese property that policing them wasn’t really worth the effort.
Growing tourist numbers and a shortage of hotel beds are driving Airbnb’s business in Japan. Some 525,000 foreign travelers stayed in accommodations booked through the company for the year ended in June 2015. As of November 1, Airbnb claimed to list 21,000 private properties in Japan.
When Japan’s electricity market is deregulated in April 2016, Osaka Gas and NTT Docomo will team up to offer bundled electricity and telecommunications services to residential customers. Tokyo Electric Power has a similar alliance with SoftBank, while Kansai Electric is reportedly working with KDDI.
Trends and ideas
Self-driving vehicles will be widely available within the next 20 years and are expected to have a dramatic effect on everything from pubic transit policies to parking requirements. Urban planners are now looking at the changes that self-driving cars will have on the urban environment, changes that could also affect property prices.
Detroit continues to adjust to a shrinking population and a glut of vacant lots. Activists in the city are now working on a proposal that would let residents raise chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, bees and sheep within the city limits.
Only in San Francisco...
A condo owner concerned about maintaining the character of her neighbourhood sold her home for US$500,000 below market price. But there was one catch: the buyer had to sign a 10-year “cultural promissory note” to provide something of cultural value to the community or the vendor.
Mental health and urban planning
New research from Italy suggests that accessibility to public transport and a dense urban structure, could reduced the risk of depression, especially for women and the elderly.
A Bangkok man could face up to 37 years in jail under Thailand's lèse-majesté laws for insulting the king's dog.
The Landed books have a new website. The new, mobile-friendly site incorporates the updated design of the Landed books and lets you sign up for the newsletters.
Landed Newsletter No. 2. was published on December 14, 2015.