The Landed Newsletter No. 38, December 2018

Welcome!

In Landed Newsletter No. 38,  property market corrections in Australia, Hong Kong and China; tighter lending requirements in Canada and Japan; cannabis-friendly homes in L.A. 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

Home prices in Australia have experienced their sharpest annual decline in more than six years. Sydney and Melbourne fell 7.4% and 4.7%, respectively, in the last year.

Canada

Canada's residential vacancy rate dropped to 2.4%, with a high of 8.3% in Saskatoon and a low of 1% in Vancouver. Montreal was the cheapest city for tenants, while Vancouver was most expensive.

To ensure property flippers pay taxes, Vancouver launched a presale registry for new condominiums.

As the value of Canadian homes increased, many homeowners took out home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Now anyone applying for a mortgage is having the credit limit (not the outstanding balance) of their HELOC included in the mortgage "stress test" calculations, potentially reducing the size of the mortgage for which they can qualify.

Flood Vancouver illustrates how rising sea levels could affect the city of Vancouver. The 3D map lets you adjust the sea level to see which parts of the city would flood at different levels.

The Toronto Star has produced a map showing every homicide in the city over the past 15 years.

China

Bloomberg reports that 22% of China's housing stock, or 50 million apartments, is empty.

China opened weather stations on three of the islands it reclaimed in the South China Sea. The area is claimed by several other countries.

As the economic effects of the trade war with the United States become more pronounced, analysts are predicting a shakeout among China's 100,000 real estate developers. Between 30% and 50% are expected to go bust.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong property prices continue to correct, with "microflats" in the New Territories selling at prices last seen in 2016 and Mainland-based developer Country Garden selling apartments in Hong Kong at a loss. Despite lower prices, the Hong Kong government has no plans to drop its market cooling measures.

An investigative journalist discovered that, for the past six years, Mainland officials had been illegally farming on land that was inside Hong Kong's borders.

A project backed by Filipino businessman Lucio Tan to subdivide large apartments in the up-market Shouson Hill neighborhood has been scrapped by the government. Tan planned to convert 18 apartments into 270 units ranging from 80 to 200 square feet.

The South China Morning Post has a long article analyzing the Hong Kong government's plan to spend HK$500 billion (US$64 billion) reclaiming land and building apartments off Lantau.

Japan

Following the Suruga Bank scandal, 40% of Japan's regional banks say they will tighten screening for property loans.

Osaka will host the 2025 World Expo. As explained in Landed Japan, the city of Osaka plans to build a ¥125 billion  (US$1.1 billion) facility on an artificial island in Osaka Bay.

Philippines

Boracay reopened to tourists after being closed for a six-month long cleanup.

Trends and Ideas

Cannabis

An American developer is building mansions that include separate rooms for cultivating and smoking marijuana. Huntington Estate Properties is building five homes in the Los Angeles area, with prices starting at US$30 million.

Technology

A startup has developed an artificial intelligence–based app to make moving homes easier and cheaper.

The U.S. Green Building Council launched LEED Zero, a program for "net zero" buildings. The council plans to introduce LEED Plus, a program for buildings are generate more energy than they use.

Landed Newsletter No. 38 was published on November 30, 2018.