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GLOBAL PROPERTY REVIEW - 25 March 2019

March 25, 2019

PORTLAND

 

Buyers and sellers in Portland had to get used to a new normal in 2018 - a property market that can only be described as… normal. 

 

For a city that’s traditionally seen its share of swings of high prices and collapses, last year saw the average price rose again - to $391,400 in November (Regional Multiple Listing Service) - but at a slower rate than the previous year. 

 

More expensive mortgage costs is one factor - The Oregonian and others have pointed out that the 30-year fixed mortgage rose by 1 per cent last year, to just under 5 per cent by November. 

 

Property taxes have also been cited. Last year saw the passing of a $652 million affordable housing bond for the city which saw a rise in annual taxes for most folk, naturally taking some money off the table that might have gone to a deposit for that next place. 

 

The market is expected to slow further this year. This means fewer bidding wars, as buyers who can afford to hold off a little get the upper hand. Solid price rises in the last few years might see a section of the market priced out for now, and it will be noteworthy if potential sellers adjust to this more compromised market. 

 

The requirement to have a Home Energy Score Report before listing your home - a rule that came into force in January 2018 - might also cut down the number of available houses.

 

A lot of change is occurring in the city. The growth of its population is slowing, according to market research by U-Haul. There is an uptick in housing’s tough to find the silver lining in the g demand in the suburbs, and a rise of duplexes.

 

 

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BEIRUT

 

It’s tough for this otherwise-upbeat weekly newsletter to find the silver lining in the Lebanese property market right now, especially as the capital magnifies national issues many times over. 

 

If you’re new to the city, bear in mind it always has to weather some kind of storm, whether they be regional instability, mounting inflation or a currency backed at times by the US dollar. So if the consensus is that it’s heading for a crisis, that’s saying something. 

 

New build projects, fuelled by bank loans, are coming on-line just as property supply is at its most plentiful. Ramco, the real estate broker, told local media that there were at least 3,600 unsold apartments in the city alone act the end of last year.

 

Luxury projects in particular have seen a drop off in demand from the wealthier set, expatriate Lebanese and buyers from the Gulf. That’s if the projects do complete - beach front development bear the scars of developers unable, or unwilling, to pay contractors.

 

The lack of pricing flexibility for existing properties adds to the stagnation. Prime property is still on the market for around $700,000, a relic from a decade ago in which prices could double within a few years. 

 

Transactions were down in 2018 compared to previous years. Outside Beirut, property prices fell around 20 per cent, so it’s not as if buyers are simply looking elsewhere. 

 

Purchasing powers are weakening for the city’s residents suffering higher living costs. The World Bank and GlobalPropertyGuide found that while the average GDP per capita was $14,600, prices per square foot averaged at $3,591, giving a ratio of 24.6 per cent, similar to Argentina and Lebanon’s regional neighbour, Jordan.

 

 

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DOHA

 

Testing times for builders and brokers in the Qatari capital. 

 

The country’s political issues has had an effect on the economy overall, represented by a fall in prices when it comes to property over the last two years, with 2018 continuing the trend.

 

The real estate price index nationally fell more than 16 per cent in the 12 months up to Q2 last year, Qatar Central Bank found. Prices were down 6.8 per cent in that quarter alone. The capital city dominates the national picture, comprising as it does gleaming city centre commercial towers, clusters of residential apartment blocks, townhouses and villas.

 

Analysts and economists estimate that prices are down 10 per cent overall since the 2017 blockade, with rents for companies and people down around 20 per cent.Landmark buildings such as Doha Tower

 

Developers are looking to adjust their prices to entice buyers, particularly those residents on the fence as to whether to be owner-occupiers for the first time. A new draft law last year that granted residency to any foreign buyer is also aimed at boosting interest.

 

Popular areas such as West Bay and the Pearl are now being joined by newer areas such as Lusail.

 

Certain bankers told Reuters that while wealthier cash buyers from the last few years probably have the net worth to survive the period, some payment plans are being restructured from 10 instalments to 20. 

 

The timing couldn’t be worse, nor a greater conundrum. Looking forward to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the country will continue to bring online more property projects, more malls and more infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

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