The Landed Newsletter No. 21 July 2017

Welcome!

Landed Newsletter No. 21 looks at new restrictions and taxes on foreign buyers in Australia, slower sales in Toronto, legal Airbnb in Japan 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

Australia

New South Wales increased the foreign buyers' tax from 4% to 8%, and the federal government introduced a regulation that foreigners could only buy 50% of a new apartment block.

Australia increases the withholding tax rate for real estate sales from 10% to 12.5% and reduces the threshold for applicable transactions from A$2 million (US$1.5 million) to $750,000.

Canada

Sales of existing homes in the Greater Toronto Area fell 20%, year-on-year in May, after the Ontario provincial government introduced a series of market-cooling measures.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway will provide a C$2 billion (US$1.5 billion) line of credit to Home Trust, ending the troubled lender's strategic review.

Frances Bula has an interesting analysis of the background of the people buying condos in Vancouver's Chinatown.

Darkhorse Analytics has produced an interactive map of property assessments for Vancouver, Edmonton and San Francisco, complete with annotations explaining the data.

Vice published a savage parody of a Toronto couple who wrote about buying and renovating a rooming house in the city's trendy Parkdale neighborhood.

China

Consulting firm AT Kearney released a "global cities" study that is decidedly downbeat on China, giving a 2017 outlook for Beijing of 45, Hong Kong 54 and Shanghai 61.

The Economist has a detailed look at soil pollution and its effects on China's people and food supply.

Hong Kong

Nan Fung Development paid an eye-watering HK$24.6 billion (US$3.2 billion) for a plot of land at the former Kai Tak Airport site. The record-breaking deal tops Henderson Land's recent HK$23.3 billion purchase of the Murray Road car park.

A Hong Kong man paid a record HK$5.18 million for a car parking space in Sai Ying Pun in the city's Western District.

A scandal involving falsified test data for concrete used in the Hong Kong–Macau–Zhuhai Bridge has grown to nearly 350 samples. Concrete that was tested by government-appointed contractor Jacobs China was used in a tunnel and a children's hospital is also suspect.

Japan

A survey by the Ministry of Justice shows that a quarter of Japan's rural land doesn't have an identified owner. The ministry reached that conclusion because the land hadn't changed ownership for 50 years.

Japan legalized Airbnb-style home-sharing, known as minpaku. Hosts are required to display a sign on the home, keep track of guests' identities and are limited to 180 days per year of rentals. Meanwhile, corporate giants Rakuten and KDDI announced plans to enter the minpaku market.

Japan announced plans to consolidate the property databases operated by the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and the nation's municipalities. The project will use blockchain technology and take place over five years.

Japan Post called off its planned acquisition of Nomura Real Estate, after the two organizations failed to agree on terms of the sale.

Philippines

A quick trip to Manila in June was enlightening:

  • The building boom in the city center continues apace.
  • Internet cafes and trendy pubs and restaurants are springing up in the low-rise neighborhoods around Makati's new towers. The quality and selection of F&B outlets has improved markedly over the past couple of years
  • The maintenance of existing 10- to 20-year-old towers is appalling.

Makati, Manila, the Philippines, June 2017.

Trends and Ideas

Meth Labs

A new study in Oregon shows that methamphetamine labs produce a 6.5% drop in the value of nearby homes.

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Landed Newsletter No. 21 was published on July 1, 2017.