The Landed Newsletter No. 29, March 2018


Landed Newsletter No. 29 covers new taxes in British Columbia, the troubles facing China’s HNA and Anbang, Airbnb’s regulatory battles, driverless cars, the launch of Landed Japan 2.0 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


Corelogic offers an interactive map showing the average house price for every suburb in Australia. The map also explains how prices have changed over the last five years.


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released a 225-page report (PDF, 6MB)—Examining Escalating House Prices in Large Canadian Metropolitan Centersexplaining how prices have changed in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary between 2010 and 2016.

British Columbia’s NDP government introduced a budget with drastic measures to cool the housing market:

  • For homes over C$3 million (US$2.4 million), property-transfer tax will rise to 5% from the current 3%.
  • School taxes will increase on homes, mixed-use properties and vacant land valued over C$3 million.
  • The foreign buyer tax will jump from 15% to 20% and expand to include Kamloops, Kelowna, Greater Victoria and the Fraser Valley.
  • There will be a new 2% speculation tax on buyers who don’t pay income tax in B.C. The tax will be paid annually and will be levied on Canadians living outside the province who own homes in British Columbia.

The budget receive a warm reception from people wanting more affordable housing. However, some believe the budget will cause B.C.’s faltering housing market to crash.

The Globe and Mail published an expose linking B.C. real estate with money laundering and the province's deadly fentanyl epidemic.

Vancouver City Council approved a 20-year plan that will see homes for up to 12,000 people built on 58-hectare site in Northeast False Creek. The plan includes social housing and single-family homes on the waterfront site.

By the third week in February, about 182,000 Vancouver homeowners—or about 98% of the total—had submitted a mandatory declaration of their homes' occupancy status. The original February 2 declaration deadline was extended to March 5. Owners who fail to file, or who file a false declaration, risk heavy fines.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association created an interactive map showing the location of natural gas pipelines. The map shows the pipelines’ location, what they transport, the name of the operator and regulator, and recent incidents.


Overseas asset purchases by Mainland companies have come to a halt. In a surprise move, the Chinese government took control of Anbang Insurance and charged its chairman with fraud. Anbang paid US$1.95 billion for the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York and paid top-dollar for other trophy assets around the world.

New home prices in major Mainland cities softened year-on-year, while prices in secondary and tertiary cities—many of which do not have purchasing restrictions—grew. In January, prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 5%  Y-o-Y and 0.3 percent from December.

Hong Kong

Cash-strapped Chinese conglomerate HNA Group sold two sites near Hong Kong’s former Kai Tak Airport to Henderson Land for HK$16 billion (US$2 billion). In a separate transaction, HNA pledged shares valued at HK$3 billion to a Hong Kong private equity firm as collateral for a loan.


The Japan Times published a critical story from Sentaku about the government's attitude toward land management and foreign ownership of Japanese real estate. Sentaku describes itself as a magazine for Japan's 30,000 leaders in fields ranging from politics and business to medicine and the arts.

Sumitomo Forestry announced plans to build a 70-story wooden tower to mark its 350th anniversary in 2041. To be erected in Tokyo, it will be the world’s tallest wooden building.


The government adjusted the structure of the Buyers Stamp Duty, which all buyers pay when purchasing residential property.

Two men charged with renting their home illegally on Airbnb have pleaded guilty. It was the first case of its kind in Singapore.

South Korea

The organizers of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang did not build permanent facilities for the games. The US$60 million Olympic Stadium will be demolished after the games, which had dismal U.S. viewership ratings. Given the fate of previous Olympic venues, it's probably a smart decision.


The Thai capital has a glut of condominiums, with more supply on the way, according to the Bangkok Post.

I was in Phuket over the Lunar New Year holidays. There are many new condos under construction, particularly in the Bang Tao area, and growing numbers of Mainland tourists. But if you look closely, there are empty commercial and residential buildings and "ghost" projects that were abandoned before completion. It's a good reminder to ensure the developer is financially sound before buying off the plan.

Abandoned Phuket development

Trends and Ideas


Detroit officials reversed a decision that would have banned Airbnb and other short-term rentals in the financially troubled city.

In the first such arrangement in Canada, Airbnb will collect and remit provincial sales tax to the government of British Columbia. Airbnb currently collects taxes for the governments of France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the United States.

Airbnb will invest in new technologies to prevent properties listed on its website from being used as “pop-up brothels” and for other forms of human trafficking.

Airbnb plans new services for high-end travelers, including bookings at hotels, homes that are guaranteed to be clean and comfortable, and bed-and-breakfasts. The new services are intended to help the company grow in the face of an increasingly tough regulations in cities around the world.

Driverless cars

Bloomberg looks at how driverless cars could reshape the real estate industry, from eliminating truck stops to increasing residential prices outside the core areas of cities.


A new report estimates the financial benefits that three U.S. cities could enjoy from the use of environmentally friendly designs, such as green roofs and urban tree cover. Over a 40-year period, the report projects payoff as high as 3-1 in areas ranging from energy savings to lower health care spending.

The most polluted city in the United States is Kotzebue, Alaska. Located inside the Arctic Circle, Kotzebue is home to the Red Dog Mine, which released a staggering 756 million pounds (343,000 tonnes) of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere last year.


Gizmodo writer Kashmir Hill converted her one-bedroom, San Francisco apartment into a smart home. The results are interesting, but not encouraging.

Landed News

The front cover of the book Landed Japan

Landed Japan at the printer

Landed Japan is now at the printer and will soon be available from Amazon. An ebook version will be released shortly.

Book giveaway

Shoichi Muromura was the winner of our Landed Japan book giveaway. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that we've used photo C, not B. While B was the most popular choice, C worked better in print. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Launch events

I will soon be announcing launch events for Landed Japan. Watch this space for details.

On March 8. I'll chair the second day of the PERE Asia Summit in Hong Kong.

Landed Newsletter No. 29 was published on February 27, 2018.