Confidence in US Builders Rising
The latest Housing Market Index from Wells Fargo and the National Association of Home Builders shows that confidence in American builders is rising. The index measures confidence as reported by builders themselves on a 100-point scale with 50 meaning that a majority of builders view conditions as generally favourable, and the average for the current report stands at 58, four points up from last month. In some US regions where the market is actually underperforming, confidence is rising – the South made 62, well above the national average, while the North East only hit 44 and the West reached 58 after just a one-point rise. The Midwest reported a two-point fall to 57.
Global Price Growth
Price growth is weakening in key cities worldwide, according to a new report from Knight Frank. The real estate firm’s Global Cities Index saw price growth in the world’s major luxury residential markets stumble in the third quarter of 2014, with worldwide prime residential prices rising 4% year on year to the quarter’s end, down from 6% during the same period last year. America saw a rise in the rate of price growth, to 10.5% on average across the country, while Europe saw only 1% price growth in the luxury section of the residential market – below the rate of most EU countries’ economic growth.
Some of the reduction could be due to the Summer holidays’ domination of spending patterns during the third quarter, but there are pointers for the shape of things to come too. On average, Asia has seen better price growth than America, and America better growth than Europe. The luxury market is still outperforming the market as a whole, though – in the five years since the third quarter of 2009, the luxury real estate market has grown by 36%, while the market as a whole has grown by only 14%.
Canadian House Prices Rise
House prices in Canada have continued to rise, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. National home sales rose by 0.7% from September to October, a 7.1% year on year rise, and that’s the sixth consecutive month of stronger resale housing activity. ‘Low interest rates continued to support sales in some of Canada’s more active and expensive urban housing markets,’ says Beth Crosbie, CREA president.
CREA’s chief economist, Gregory Klump, says, ‘sales in a number of BC markets have started to recover from weaker demand over the last couple of years. They have also been improving across Alberta,’ though Ms. Crosbie points out that the picture is patchy: ‘sales did not increase in many local markets in Canada, which shows that national and local housing trends can be very different.’
Welcome to Sharjah
Foreigners are to be allowed to buy property in Sharjah for the first time, after the government passed new legislation enabling expats from anywhere in the world to invest in the country’s property market. Buyers will need a UAE residency visa, but if they have that, they can acquire 100-year leases on Sharjah properties.
Chinese Investors Joy in Australia
Chinese investors are to have almost total access to the Australian property market after the Foreign Investment Review Board changed its rules as part of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Under the terms of the agreement Chinese private investors will be able to buy commercial property up to a value of $1.078bn, a nominal limit in that it far exceeds any actual purchase values to date, and significantly bigger than the current $54m ceiling. This will put Chinese investors on an equal footing with US and New Zealand investors and should have an effect on the residential market, as Chinese professionals and High Net Worth Individuals follow capital flows.
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