The Landed Newsletter No. 25 November 2017


In Landed Newsletter No. 25 you can read about Airbnb’s challenges in Canada and China, abandoned land in Japan, more broken records in Hong Kong, new foreign-ownership restrictions in New Zealand, and much more.

This edition is a little short because of travel and conferences. There will be a special announcement in the next edition of the The Landed Newsletter, so stay tuned!

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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


The national government released data from its latest census showing nearly 22% of Canadians were landed immigrants or permanent residents (i.e. not born in Canada), one of the highest levels in the country's history.

In September, Toronto’s home prices fell 15.5% from their April peak, with sales volume declining more than one-third. The average selling price for all home types was C$775,000 ($621,000), down from C$918,000 in April. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, meanwhile, says that Canada's housing market remains overheated.

A residential project comprising 43- and 48-floor towers in Vancouver will built to the high efficiency standards set by Germany’s Passive House Institute. Only seven buildings in Canada—mostly single-family homes and low-rise apartments—currently meet this standard.


More than 120,000 people applied to buy 427 joint-ownership apartments in Beijing. Through this program, successful applicants purchase the deeply discounted homes, in which the government retains a 40% interest.

Hong Kong

A consortium agreed to pay HK$40.2 billion (US$5.15 billion) to purchase The Centre, an office building in Hong Kong's central business district. It was the world's most expensive transaction for a single building.

A study endorsed by Hong Kong's Real Estate Developers Association concludes what has been common knowledge for years: The government's property market cooling measures have not worked. You can download the paper in PDF form here.


The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2017 Safe City Index has again named Tokyo the world's safest city. Singapore, Osaka and Hong Kong also placed in the top 10, while Manila, Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh were among the most dangerous cities.

By 2040, the amount of unclaimed land in Japan will be nearly the size of Hokkaido, resulting in cumulative economic losses of ¥6 trillion ($52.9 billion), mainly from landslides and flooding. The Japan Times' Philip Brasor and Masako Tsubuku look at how unclaimed land can affect local government finances and redevelopment plans.

New Zealand

Newly elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she would introduce legislation to ban foreigners from buying existing homes in New Zealand. Australia has similar restrictions.

Trends and Ideas


A Vancouver strata corporation (owners' corporation) filed a class-action lawsuit against Airbnb, claiming the company rented out homes throughout Canada without the consent of—or paying compensation to—the properties' owners.

The head of Airbnb's operations in China quit after just four months in the job. Meanwhile, after a fund-raising round, China’s largest home-rental site and Airbnb-competitor said its market valuation was more than US$1.5 billion.

Energy Efficiency

Here's another reason to embrace energy efficiency. A study in the United States found owners of energy efficient commercial buildings were less likely to default on their mortgages.


A study of more than 400,000 residents of 22 British cities found that people living in city centers were less likely to be obese and more likely to exercise than those living in the suburbs.

Land Disputes

A new report about land disputes by the Rights and Resources Initiative shows that Southeast Asia is home to some of the world's most intractable conflicts, many of which involve violence and remain unresolved after years.

Smart Homes has an infographic looking at the smart home market in the United States. One key finding: Smart homes were most popular with wealthy men aged 18–34. I remain skeptical about the benefits of smart homes, especially given how easy it is to hack many smart home components.

Landed News

Christopher Dillon at the PERE Investor Forum 2017 in Tokyo

Last month, I hosted a session at the PERE conference in Tokyo. I was also featured in a story in Squarefoot magazine (PDF) about tenants' rights in Hong Kong.

On November 16, I will be moderating a panel discussion at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Hong about investing in Vancouver and Montreal real estate.

I will also be moderating a panel discussion at the MIPIM Asia conference in Hong Kong on November 28 and 29.

Landed Newsletter No. 25 was published on November 4, 2017.