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Investors eye real estate after tough 2007

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 Asian property and niche sectors are attracting assets (LONDON) Many investors in alternative assets plan to invest more in real estate after poor returns from the sector in 2007, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey showed yesterday. John Forbes, UK real estate leader at PwC, said some investors had been lured […]

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Opportunistic investors recoil from Asia property

Business Times – 11 Mar 2008 They see more scope for picking up cheaper properties in US, Europe; loans in Japan tougher (HONG KONG) Opportunistic investors are pulling back from Asian property because they see more scope for picking up distressed assets in the United States and Europe, and loans are harder to get in […]

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Property investors set sights on market trough in US, Europe

March 11, 2008 HONG KONG – OPPORTUNISTIC investors are pulling back from Asian property because they see more scope for picking up distressed assets in the United States and Europe. Hedge funds have stopped dabbling in property in the region, fund managers say. Although private equity firms will continue to develop property in India and […]

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Property valuations in focus amid Spanish angst

(LONDON) Spanish property developers, having enjoyed what once seemed an unstoppable boom, could face a severe mauling unless they bow to more realistic pricing as the economy slows and banks rein in lending. The true value of real estate is a growing bone of contention as more debt-doped property firms get into trouble, leaving creditors […]

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UK housebuilders face hard times

Fewer houses built as higher interest rates, credit crunch drive away buyers (LONDON) Britain’s housebuilders are building fewer homes in the face of tighter mortgage lending and an uncertain price outlook, but slashing volumes and costs may not be enough to lure back investors to the battered sector. Britain’s major builders completed fewer homes last […]

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London luxury-home prices jump again

1.1% rise in average price of units costing £2.5m or more; overall market unchanged (EDINBURGH) Luxury-home prices in London, the world’s most expensive city for prime real estate, rose at the fastest rate in four months as the overall UK market stagnated, industry reports showed. The average price of houses and apartments costing at least […]

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Banks hold key to City office market

Lenders holding off expansion plans as credit mess lingers (LONDON) The difference between a correction and a major slump in London’s City office market could turn on a few key tenants such as Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan, Knight Frank LLP said on Tuesday. But record rents were likely to hold up in London’s West […]

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British house prices fall in January

(LONDON) UK house prices declined for a third month in January, reviving interest among prospective buyers after a slump in viewings late last year, Rightmove plc said. The average asking price fell 0.8 per cent to £230,428 ($647,908) from December, compared with a 3.2 per cent drop the previous month, Britain’s most-used property website said […]

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UK home mortgages slip in Dec

(LONDON) British customer-owned lenders approved fewer loans for house purchase in December as falling house prices hurt the confidence of prospective buyers, a report by the Building Societies Association said. Mortgage approvals fell 20 per cent from a year earlier to £pounds;4.1 billion (S$11.5 billion), said the BSA, which represents 59 building societies in the […]

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Israeli tycoon moves into record London mansion

LONDON – One of Israel’s wealthiest men has bought the most expensive new house in Britain, a home in north London complete with cinema and nightclub, costing 35 million pounds (S$99.4 million), reports said on Tuesday. Billionaire Lev Leviev, who made his fortune in diamonds, plans to move in to the house in Hampstead with […]

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Spain’s Colonial seeks to sell assets

(MADRID) The Spanish stock market regulator suspended trade in beleaguered Spanish property firm Inmobiliaria Colonial yesterday, as papers reported it was seeking more asset sales to relieve its heavy debt load. The suspension comes on the heels of a turbulent week for Spain’s second- largest real estate company after chairman Luis Portillo quit last Friday […]

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Slumping Spanish market may reverberate through Europe

Banks in Spain are aggressively curbing loans in fallout from US sub-prime woes (MADRID) Julia Gavin sold more than a house a week as the Spanish real-estate boom peaked last year. Now that business is drying up, she’s sharing leads with competitors, reckoning a partial commission is better than none at all. ‘We’re up to […]

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Trouble looms for a third of UK mortgages

Self-employed and those who move house frequently open to risk (LONDON) Up to one in three or 5.5 million mortgage holders in Britain could face serious financial difficulties as a result of the US sub-prime crisis and the tougher lending climate it has created, a study showed. According to a report published by consumer research […]

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Segro buys property worth £400m in H2

(LONDON) British property firm Segro plc cautioned about continued weakness in Britain’s property markets, but it bought £400 million (S$1.19 billion) of property in its second half as it took advantage of good buying opportunities. In a trading update yesterday, the firm said financial market turmoil was taking a toll on the UK property market, […]

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Nakheel to buy UK property, set up Reit

Developer sees value in assets, may sell shares in US$700m trust in S’pore in ’08 (DUBAI) Nakheel PJSC, the Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based developer of the world’s biggest manmade islands, will buy UK real estate investment funds and start a real estate investment trust, or Reit, as it expands into property asset management. ‘UK Reits […]

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UK house prices fall in Nov for second month running

Values down 0.2% from October but housing shortage seen limiting declines (LONDON) UK house prices fell for a second month in November as a jump in credit costs sapped confidence among buyers and sellers, a survey by Hometrack Ltd showed. The average cost of a home in England and Wales fell 0.2 per cent from […]

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World’s most expensive office rentals in London, Mumbai

Singapore rents grew the fastest at 83%, says survey by CB Richard Ellis (SEATTLE) London and Mumbai tenants paid the most for high-quality offices this year, while Singapore rents grew the fastest as economic growth lured international banks to Asia, said CB Richard Ellis Group Inc, the world’s largest commercial real estate broker. London’s West […]

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VastNed rejects IEF Capital bid

(AMSTERDAM) Dutch property group VastNed Retail rejected a 70 euro per share, 1.15 billion euro (S$2.4 billion) intended bid from a group led by IEF Capital, saying that it was well below its real value. VastNed Retail said in a statement that it saw no reason for further talks with IEF Capital about its plans […]

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Gramercy stock sale raises US$100m

(EDINBURGH) Gramercy Capital Corp, a US investment trust that specialises in commercial loans, has raised US$100 million in a share sale to Morgan Stanley’s real estate unit. Gramercy sold 3.81 million shares at US$26.25 to an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Special Situations Fund III, New York-based Gramercy said in a statement yesterday. Gramercy […]

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UK counting cost of housing ills

Run on Northern Rock signals boom may be ending (LONDON) Nick Collins, an independent London real estate broker who has had record profits every year since 2003, took a hit in September – and that may be bad news for a UK economy built on a housing bubble. Five of his 50 buyers pulled out […]

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First decline in British home prices in 2 years

LONDON – BRITISH house prices fell for the first time in two years this month, led by declines in central London, a survey showed. The average cost of a home in England and Wales fell by 0.1 per cent to £176,100 (S$527,400) from September, a poll of 6,000 real estate agents by Hometrack found. Prices […]

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Global property investment expected to fall

Mortgage defaults in US may prompt lenders to tighten credit, says JLL (TOKYO) Global direct real estate investment may fall this year as concerns about defaults on US mortgages prompted lenders to tighten credit, said Jones Lang LaSalle Inc, the world’s second-largest commercial real estate broker. Asia may be the only market to experience an […]

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CDL makes first venture into Russia

Its $92m stake in Amtel unit will allow it to capitalise on acute hotel shortage in Moscow PROPERTY developer City Developments (CDL) is using a joint venture to make its entry into Russia. It will pay US$62.5 million (S$91.7 million) for a 50 per cent stake in Soft Proekt, a company that owns land and […]

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World’s wealthy still eyeing property

They are undeterred by the market turmoil triggered by the US sub-prime crisis (GENEVA) The wealthy have lost none of their appetite for property despite the market turmoil triggered by the sale of risky sub-prime mortgages in the US, according to some of the world’s top private bankers. Clients of wealth managers are, however, on […]

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City office mart seen riding out forecast job cuts

But if redundancies are higher, supply overhang could lead to recession: players (LONDON) The City of London is set to lose enough jobs next year to empty its landmark ‘Gherkin’ skyscraper twice over, putting pressure on the office market in this global financial hub. The industry expects prices and rents to fall, but consistent tenant […]

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UK’s Local Shopping Reit eyes takeovers

It intends to use its tax-efficient status to boost portfolio (LONDON) The Local Shopping Reit, Britain’s first specialist start-up real estate investment trust (Reit), says it is hunting for corporate acquisition opportunities to boost its retail property portfolio. In a trading update yesterday, the company – which buys neighbourhood and convenience retail properties in urban […]

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UK developer confidence down

(LONDON) British commercial development activity experienced a modest increase in September but developer confidence has fallen to its lowest point since May 2003, data showed yesterday. UK property services firm Savills said developers were still struggling to regain optimism in the wake of credit market turmoil, with 20 per cent of respondents predicting a drop […]

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UK house prices fall in September

Concerns raised over outlook for consumer spending (LONDON) House prices in Britain unexpectedly fell for the first time since December last month, according to HBOS plc’s Halifax house price survey last Thursday, in a firm sign that the property market is coming off the boil. Rising interest rates and a global lending squeeze have been […]

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Fresh sub-prime concerns in Europe?

Local session turns more sober with ST Index down 41.9 points and a weak broad market IT’S possible to argue that since the Straits Times Index had rocketed by almost 117 points on Wednesday, it would be reasonable to expect some kind of pullback yesterday. This, indeed, was the case, with the index dropping 41.9 […]

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WORLD HOUSING MARKETS – Bubble trouble

By Robert J. Shiller THE future of the housing boom, together with the possible financial repercussions of a substantial price decline in the coming years, is a matter of mounting concern among governments around the world. I learnt this first-hand while attending this year’s Jackson Hole Symposium in the remote wilderness of Wyoming where, ironically, […]

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US is the No 1 risk to world economy: US prof

Other sources of political threats are China, Iraq and oil prices: US economist (SINGAPORE) By far the greatest risk to the global economy is the United States – not least because some of its foreign policy decisions could well drive oil prices past US$125 a barrel, says an American political economist. Marvin Zonis, a professor […]

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More pain looms for British home owners

(LONDON) Britain faces higher interest rates and inflation, according to an interview published here yesterday. Former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said there are ‘difficulties’ ahead for British home owners as rising interest rates put the brake on house price growth. ‘Can (the boom) last? No, you’re already beginning to see the mortgage rates […]

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UK house prices rise for 8th month in a row: report

August average up 0.4% at £199,700, says lender HBOS (LONDON) UK house prices rose for an eighth month in August, a sign that five interest rate increases have yet to curb demand for property, a report from HBOS plc showed. The average cost of a home climbed 0.4 per cent last month to £199,770 (S$613,000), […]

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Biggest UK property firm mulls break-up

(LONDON) Paul Myners, chairman of Britain’s biggest listed property firm Land Securities, has ordered the group to examine a possible break-up, the Daily Telegraph said yesterday. The move is one of the options being looked at as part of a wider strategic review in response to poor share price performance, the paper said, without citing […]

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Sub-prime rout less severe than in ’98: BIS

Swiss body’s view contrasts with grim outlook of S&P (BASEL, Switzerland) The market fallout from the sub-prime mortgage slump is less severe than in 1998 after Russia’s default and the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM), the Bank for International Settlements said. The assessment from the BIS, which monitors financial markets for central banks and […]

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Accor profit doubles on H1 asset sales

(PARIS) Accor SA, the world’s second-largest hotel company, said first-half profit more than doubled on the sale of properties and higher revenue in Europe at the Sofitel luxury chain. The Paris-based owner of Novotel and Ibis hotels said net income climbed to 596 million euros (S$1.2billion), or 2.66 euros a share, from 241 million euros, […]

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Unibail-Rodamco H1 earnings rise 11%

Market values Europe’s largest property trust at 15.3 billion euros (Edinburgh) Unibail-Rodamco SA, Europe’s largest real estate investment trust, said first-half profit rose 11 per cent as rents and property values increased. Net income rose to 1.1 billion euros (S$2.3 billion), or 24.79 euros a share, from 1.03 billion euros, or 22.46 euros, a year […]

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BNP to reopen frozen funds in sub-prime mess

Paris – FRENCH banking giant BNP Paribas has said it plans to unblock three of its investment funds, whose suspension earlier in the month sparked turmoil on global stock markets. On Aug 7, BNP Paribas suspended the funds, which had made investments linked to risky sub-prime home loans in the United States, because of difficulties […]

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BNPP: Sub-prime risk limited, manageable

(PARIS) France’s biggest listed bank, BNP Paribas (BNPP), said that its exposure to sub-prime risk was limited and manageable as it moved to reassure investors a week after rattling markets by freezing three of its funds. French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde also sought to calm nerves yesterday, saying that the country’s banks were in good […]

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Foreign buyers fuel boom in Swiss property

Top-end homes in and around Zurich surge to record levels (KUESNACHT, Switzerland) While home prices have exploded in cities like London and Madrid in recent years, a quieter but nonetheless significant boom is taking place in the normally staid property market in Switzerland. Foreign buyers are flooding into places like the town of Kuesnacht, just […]

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Netherlands floats new housing idea

Many towns plan to accommodate floating homes in face of climate fears (AMSTERDAM) The Dutch answer to fears over climate change and lack of space is a modern three-storey luxury villa with a roof terrace, large living room, three bedrooms and, crucially … a water-proof hull. Dozens of Dutch municipalities are planning new districts with […]

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Sub-prime mess just a Chicken Little flap

Recent global market tremors are a disturbing commentary on the power of fear THE job of an economist, among many other duties, is to put things into perspective. So, because I am an economist, among other duties, here is a little perspective on the recent turmoil in the stock and bond markets. First, when the […]

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Portfolios take a ‘sub-primal’ beating

HOW quickly investment sentiment can sour. Up till a few weeks ago, punters were still betting on penny stocks like there was no tomorrow. But the turning point came last month when a US bank, Bear Stearns, spooked the markets with news of major losses and accounting difficulties with its investments linked to risky US […]

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Sub-prime domino hits Asia again

Painful pattern takes shape as US ripples exact their toll (SINGAPORE) For the fourth time in two weeks, stock markets in Asia plunged following steep losses in the United States and Europe the previous trading day. As the fallout from rising defaults in US sub-prime mortgages continues to spread, the Straits Times Index fell 53.99 […]

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BNP suspends 3 funds with sub-prime assets

It says US crisis has made it impossible to gauge fairly the value of their assets PARIS – FRENCH bank BNP Paribas has suspended three of its funds as problems in the United States subprime mortgage sector are preventing it from calculating their value. BNP Paribas, France’s second-largest bank, will temporarily suspend the calculation of […]

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