• New homes sales in Australia up by over 3% in January, led by detached properties

    Tuesday, 08 March 2016
    Image New home sales in Australia increased by 3.1% in January with detached properties leading the growth, according to the latest report from the Housing Industry Association.

    Detached house sales were up by 5.8% while the sale of multi-units dropped by the same amount but there was quite considerable regional variation.

    Detached house sales increased by 7.9% in Queensland, by 7.3% in Western Australia, by 5.5% in Victoria, by 4.2% in New South Wales, and by 1.3% in South Australia.

    Meanwhile, the latest data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics shows the number of homes approved fell by 1% in January, continuing a 10 month decline.

    Approvals decreased in January in the Australian Capital Territory by 11.3%, in the Northern Territory by 9.5%, in New South Wales by 3.5%, in Western Australia by 1.8% and in Tasmania by 1.7%. But they increased by 1.3% in Victoria, by 0.3% in South Australia and by 0.1% in Queensland.

    Also in trend terms, approvals for private sector houses rose 0.1% in January, while approvals for private sector dwellings excluding houses fell 2.3%.

    The value of total buildings approved fell 1.8% in January, in trend terms, and has fallen for seven months. The value of residential building fell 2% while non-residential building fell 1.3%.

    According to HIA chief economist Harley Dale once the current pipeline is exhausted, new home construction activity will soften. ‘This year will be another healthy one for detached house and multi-unit construction, but we won’t surpass the heights of 2015,’ he said.

    ‘The new home building sector is crucial to Australia’s economic prospects in 2016 and should continue as a mainstay of domestic economic activity. That is provided policy considerations and debates underway now don’t have adverse consequences for confidence towards housing,’ he added.


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  • Global housing markets saw prices rise in 2015, led by Australasia

    Wednesday, 09 March 2016
    Image The real estate price index covering key property markets around the globe increased by 3% in 2015, up from 2.3% in 2014.

    Concerns over the global economy have failed to dent buyer confidence and instead the lingering low interest rate environment influenced sentiment, the index report from Knight Frank says.

    Some 78% or 43 of the 55 housing markets tracked by the Global House Price Index saw prices rise up from 10 countries or 19% in the aftermath of Lehman’s collapse in the second quarter of 2009.

    Turkey leads the rankings with prices rising 18% during 2015. Increasingly viewed as a safe haven for Middle Eastern investors, Turkey is bridging East and West whilst seeing strong population growth, the report suggests.

    Although Hong Kong’s prices increased in 2015, the rate of growth has slowed significantly from 17% in the year to September to 7% in the 12 months to December 2015. The slower rate of growth is attributable to rising supply as more than 11,200 homes were completed in 2015, as well as china’s financial market volatility and the expectation of increasing interest rates.

    Data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics shows house prices rose marginally in 2015 by 0.4% having reached their peak in the first quarter of 2014 before falling 6% over the next 12 months. Cities such as Shenzhen and Shanghai continue to outperform the national average due in part to favourable government policies and strong demand in first tier cities.

    Australasia was the strongest performing world region in 2015, buoyed by the strong performance of New Zealand and Australia, both of which saw annual price growth in excess of 10%.

    Belgium and New Zealand are currently the world’s least affordable markets when house prices are compared with incomes whilst home ownership is most accessible in South Korea and Japan. Ukraine and Greece were the weakest housing markets in 2015, recording price falls of 12% and 5% respectively.

    ‘Our outlook for 2016 is muted. We expect the index’s overall rate of growth to be weaker in 2016 than 2015. The global economy is experiencing a potentially dangerous cocktail of low oil prices, a strong dollar and a continued slowdown in China,’ said Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research.


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  • Sales prices still rising in Miami at beginning of 2016, latest data shows

    Monday, 14 March 2016
    Image Sales prices in Miami continued to rise in January as existing single family homes and condominiums sold close to list price, according to the latest data from real estate agents.

    The median sales price for single family existing homes rose 13.7% year on year in January from $237,500 to $270,000, according to the figures from the Miami Association of Realtors, but single family home prices remain at 2004 levels despite four years of increases.

    The median sales price for existing condominiums increased 8.8% to $205,000 from $188,500 a year ago. Miami-Dade County existing condo prices have risen in 55 of the last 56 months, a period encompassing more than four and a half years.

    ‘On the heels of a historic 2015 that saw Miami real estate register its most-ever single-family home sales and its third-most total residential transactions, Miami properties remain in high demand,’ said Mark Sadek, 2016 chairman of the association’s board.

    ‘Properties are selling for higher prices and near asking. While total residential sales decreased in January, single family home and condominium sales remain consistent with historic averages,’ he added.

    Total existing Miami-Dade County residential sales, which posted a record year in 2013 and near record years in 2014 and 2015, decreased 12.1% from 2,043 sales in January 2015 to 1,796 last month. January 2016’s total sales are in the range of Miami sales during the past five Januarys.

    Miami-Dade County single family home transactions were 14.4% lower year on year in January, from 963 to 824. Existing condominium sales declined 10% in January 2016, from 1,080 to 972.

    ‘Strong sales are important for a healthy residential real estate market, but it is not sustainable to set a new all-time sales record each year. Miami-Dade County’s five years of record sales have been unique in the US real estate market. It is anticipated Miami will continue in a sales range consistent with a strong market,’ explained Teresa King Kinney, the association’s chief executive officer.

    Miami-Dade has continued to experience a significant year on year decrease in distressed sales. Increased competition from new condominium construction has also played a role in the lower total residential sales. Only 22% of all closed residential sales in Miami were distressed last month, including REO (bank-owned properties) and short sales, compared to 34.9% in January 2015.

    Short sales and REOs accounted for 4.4% and 15.7% respectively, of total Miami sales in January. Short sale transactions dropped 50% year on year while REOs fell 42.2%.

    Single family home sales increased 18.3% year on year in January in the $250,000 to $400,000 sector, growing from 241 to 285. This sector represented about 34.6% of all total single family home sales in January 2016. Existing condos priced at $150,000 to $300,000 range saw a 25.1% rise in January sales, increasing from 299 to 374.

    The median days on the market for all Miami properties increased in January. New mortgage disclosure rules, known as the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID), could be playing a role. The average time to close a loan nationally has grown steadily since TRID went into effect, climbing from 46 days in October to 49 days in November and December and to 50 days in January.

    In Miami, the median number of days on the market for single family homes increased 41.2% to 72 days in January 2016 from 51 days in January 2015. The median number of days on the market for Miami condominiums was 89 days, a 34.8% increase from 66 days in January 2015.

    Statewide closed sales of existing single family homes totalled 16,529 last month, up 2.7% from January 2015, according to Florida Realtors. Florida’s condominium sales totalled 6,942 last month, down 4.8% compared to January 2015.

    The statewide median sales price for single family existing homes last month was $199,000, up 13.7% from the previous year and the statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties was $152,000, up 10.9% over the year ago figure.

    Miami’s cash buyers represent twice the national average. In January 2016, cash transactions comprised 52.6% of Miami’s total closed sales, which is still double the national average. Cash transactions represented 57.3% of total Miami deals in January 2015. Miami’s high percentage of cash sales reflects South Florida’s ability to attract a diverse number of international home buyers, who tend to purchase properties in all cash.

    Condominiums comprise a large portion of Miami’s cash purchases as 65.7% of condo closings were made in cash in January compared to 37.1% of single family home sales.

    At the current sales pace, there is a 5.5 month supply of Miami single family homes, a decrease of 3.9% from January 2015 and continues to be a sellers’ market. There is a 10.2 month supply of condominium inventory, a year on year increase of 16.8% and continues to be a buyers’ market. A balanced market between buyers and sellers offers between six and nine months’ supply of inventory.

    Total active listings at the end of January increased 8.3% year on year, from 18,315 to 19,826. Active listings remain about 60% below 2008 levels when sales bottomed.

    New listings of Miami single-family homes decreased 5.8% from 2,356 in January of last year to 2,220 last month. New listings of condominiums increased 7% to 3,414 last month, compared to 3,190 during the same time period in 2014.




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  • RICS set to play a growing role in growing Brazilian real estate markets

    Monday, 08 September 2014
    Image The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has an important role in the real estate industry in Brazil as growth in the markets continues, it is claimed.

    RICS entered Brazil following in the wake of real estate market growth which has been largely stimulated by foreign investment and has worked mainly within the valuation and facilities management sectors.

    But is now looking to direct its attention towards construction, according to RICS country manager for Brazil Marcia Ferrari.

    She explained that RICS came to Brazil to help stakeholders from abroad who wanted to invest in the country. ‘It is only natural that this type of investor needs valuations carried out in accordance with international standards. When an investor is purchasing portfolios across the world, they need to use a common language,’ she said.

    ‘Whenever RICS opens an office in a new country, there is some give and take, what the organisation can give to the country and vice versa. The professional bodies understand that we are here to contribute,’ she added.

    In Brazil RICS has developed relationships with the Brazilian Institute of Valuations and Building Inspections (Ibape), the Brazilian Association of Facilities (Abrafac), and the São Paulo State Housing Syndicate. Recently RICS moved towards signing memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian Association of Developers (Abrainc).

    Ferrari also explained that a lot has changed in the last decade in the Brazilian market since RICS opened its first office. ‘A great deal of investment came from abroad and, along with it, there was a surge of interest in professionalism and international standards. Both multinationals and local companies seek qualified people for their teams. It is this demand for professionals that spurs the gradual improvement in our market,’ she pointed out.

    ‘I believe that being part of the international market involves learning about international standards and that allows a local professional to respond adequately when an international player wants to do business in Brazil. A common language ensures the transparency needed to make investment decisions,’ she added.

    The trend in the South American country it towards more and more globalisation. Brazil has signed up to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) which will make it easier for a foreign investor to buy a Brazilian company, as they will be able to understand their accounts. The same goes for real estate valuations with the adoption of the Red Book and International Valuation Standards (IVS). On top of this, RICS is working closely with over 30 associations, including Secovi-SP, on International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS).

    Ferrari has identified a number of growing trends. She believes one of the most important is Building Information Modelling and other innovations the relationship of the market with sustainability. ‘RICS awards a certificate called SKA. By the end of the year, we want to have our first SKA pilot project in Brazil. Sustainability is not a fad, it is a necessity,’ she said.

    ‘We always follow market demand. Over the last few years, we have done a lot of work on valuation, through small groups, in order to understand the Red Book and IVS. Now we will direct our attention to construction, probably in a partnership with the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) or with Secovi-SP,’ she added.

    Ferrari is responsible for developing the RICS operation in Brazil, aiming to increase RICS recognition in the region through growing membership, developing training and products, and promoting events and conferences.


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