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GLOBAL PROPERTY REVIEW - 18 March 2019

March 18, 2019

CAMBRIDGE

 

 

Purchasing in Cambridge is no casual affair at present. 

 

One can browse the listed options and schedule viewings appointment, but property transactions are presently as swift as a stroke of their coxless four rowers of the historical city’s university.

 

Homes valued at GBP 1 million or above have been sold after an average period of 45 days, data from Hometrack and regional broker feedback found last year. That’s 17 per cent quicker than the national average, outstripping the time that houses change hands in the GBP 1 million-plus market in Hackney in London. Homes of that price nationwide have even risen by an average of five days to 99 days, the data company found.

 

Such demand has helped the city’s prices rise more than 50 per cent since 2008, Hometrack found, a rate only matched by rival Oxford, Bristol and a few others.

 

There are a number of major attributes of Cambridge that have helped this rise. The city is a commuter train ride away from the capital. More substantially, it is a major hub for technology - including the base for employers such as Microsoft and Huawei - and scientific research. The life sciences sector makes map 430 companies alone, with subsequent international investment.

 

As such, it is an attractive option for graduates. 

 

All this demand for prime and suburban property has exacerbated the low levels of ready supply. And it’s not just flats and houses. Savills pointed out that commercial real estate also needed to expand, with prices up to GBP 38 per square foot per annum. 

 

Prices growth might have peaked, for now - Zoopla’s House Price Index shows a fall of 3.8 per cent for house prices in the city last year.

 

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OTTAWA

 

The Canadian capital has an interesting dynamic between existing stock and new build for buyers new and seasoned. 

 

Overall it a mixed picture of sellers seeing higher listing prices yet less to choose from for their next purchase. Demand is high, yet price gains modest.

 

The secondary market saw 17,476 sales for residential and condominiums in 2018, up 2.4 per cent on the previous year. Condos led that charge, up 13 per cent. Sales numbers tailed off towards the end: the month of December was down 13.3 per cent against December 2017.

 

Property listings fell more than 20 per cent last year, according to Ottawa Real Estate Board, leading to expectations of a price spike given the lack of supply, and potentially bidding wars. Yet for 2018 as a whole, residential prices rose just 5.1 per cent to an average CA$446,700, with condos up a miserly 1.3 per cent. 

 

Local brokerages told media that it’s a Catch-22 for sellers looking for that next property rung: if there’s precious little to make an offer on, you won’t list your own house. Neither will those on the rung below… and so it goes.

 

 

The slack is being taken up by new builds. Ottawa has a steady market for construction. The Conference Board ofCanada estimated 7,600 new homes came to market last year in the city vicinity, with the same amount due this year. It compares with the 17,500 residential and condos, meaning more first time buyers are almost as likely to buy a new-build.

 

The capital’s history for conservatism is expected to remain intact this year. Brokers added that even multiple offers for houses rarely went higher than 10 per cent of the listing price.

 

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PHUKET

 

Phuket’s tourist numbers continue to surge following the devastation in the area between 2016-2017. 

 

This international  popularity has swelled the market for condominiums in the area, particularly those beachfront. Chinese tourists have become a growing source of demand> prices are varied -  ThailandProperty highlighted last year that while there is a market for the luxury condos, more modestly priced properties are in greater demand charging median rentals. 

 

Knight Frank Thailand also underlined the growing demand trend and the median price point, citing a mix of Chinese, Australian and Russian buyers. Karon and Kathu are two areas with successful recent developments, full of on-site amenities.

 

The Western Beachfront is a popular area for buyers and investor landlords, with strong rental yields. The issue is supply: the land is pricing out a number of developers, particularly leading to a supply glut. 

 

Away from he beach, the region is diversifying into technology with its Smart City masterplan area to develop its digital industry. 

 

Regulations concerning landlords and their tenants had something of a tidy up last year. A Notification under the Consumer Protection Act ensured that no more than one month’s rent could be take-in the deposit; that utilities can’t be charged at a mark-up to the end-provider’s bill; and that rent can’t be paid more than a month in advance, among other amendments.

 

Not too much of an issue on the surface. Yet some condominiums rented to foreign holiday makers on the basis of long term pre-paid leases might have to return some of that upfront payment. Watch this space if that becomes the norm. 

 

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