September 6, 2013

Harga Rumah Melampau

It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “These days, it has become a trend among the young who enter working life to place priority on owning a car, instead of a home. Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association’s (Rehda) immediate past president Datuk Ng Seing Liong said the trend should be reversed. ‘Buying a property, such as an affordable house, should be the main priority among youngsters and they should not wear out their salary in owning a car,’ he told Bernama. ‘Bear in mind that property prices will always goes up. Take this as an investment and in the meantime, commute via public transportation,’ advised Ng.”

“In 1978, when a Baby Boomer aged 60 would have been 25, the median house price in Brisbane was $29,500. Since then, the median house price has increased to $515,000. In 1978, the average annual wage was $10,869. In 2012, the average annual wage was $69,992. In 1978, the Baby Boomer couples were putting 22 per cent of their (usually just one) wage towards a mortgage. In 2012, Generation Y couples were parting with 56 per cent of their (usually two) incomes to service a mortgage.”

“Property analyst Michael Matusik said the comparison could not be made without looking at cost factors outside the property realm. ‘Today, people generally rely on two incomes to service a loan. Back in 1978, only full-time male earnings were considered. Also, you needed a 30 per cent deposit back in 1978. Today some banks are back to asking for just 5 per cent. ‘And contrary to popular belief, transport costs then were higher than today. Public transport was more expensive and cars were less fuel-efficient.’”

“However, Mr Matusik said property ‘affordability isn’t that much different.’”

“JML Property director Juliet Risdon told Business Daily in an interview that property prices would not fall much, as demand by would-be buyers would increase again and housing would remain in short supply. She said Macau needed to find ways to make homes affordable for the average resident, but warned against too much intervention in the market. Q: Is this a good time to buy property in Macau?”

“A: Maybe you’re looking at paying a little bit more than what you would want to, but down the line you’ll be very happy with your investment. It’s never going to go back, and probably what stops some people buying today is that they look at properties two, three, four, six years ago and, if you’re talking about a property that is 3 million patacas [US$375,554] now, it was probably 790,000 patacas then. Is it really going to go down? I think those days are history. They are a thing of the past.”

“In his latest video blog, San Diego-area real estate guru Jim Klinge, aka ‘Jim the Realtor,’ tours a 1,800-sq-.ft. home in Rancho Santa Fe that in March was bought for $745,000 but whose owners are now trying to sell it for $1.24 million — a 66% increase. The home next door sold for $875,000 last October.”

“That should be setting off huge alarm bells, he says: ‘Buyers are paying crazy prices. We have become detached from the comps — logic, reasoning, all the ways we used to spend a lot of brain power on figuring out the right price, it just doesn’t do you any good. In fact, it’s a detriment to be too smart and try to be a buyer in this market — it’s the least informed buyers making the market, just paying whatever it takes. I know it’s always been like that, but it’s a lot worse than it’s ever been.’”

“In Daytona Beach, Fla., more than 90 percent of the more than 1,000 homes flipped last year were flipped by sellers who only flipped one home, according to RealtyTrac data. Even if housing slows substantially in the next year or so, it’s unlikely that today’s flippers will tank the real estate market. Unlike the go-go days of the last real-estate bubble, it’s still pretty tough to get financing, which means today’s investors are either paying all cash for properties or they have significant skin in the game. That makes it far less likely for them to walk away from a property, even if they have to take a loss.”

“‘Banks just aren’t going to let people get in over their head now,’ says Rich Cosner, president of Prudential California Realty.”

“The California Housing Finance Agency, a self-supported state agency, is making a new, fixed-rate mortgage program available, with zero-interest down payment loans for first-time homebuyers. For a family who takes out a $200,000 mortgage, for instance, one could receive up to $7,000 in down payment assistance. Candidates have the option of paying the interest or the loan off during the life of the mortgage or allow it to sit as a silent-second. Claudia Cappio, executive director of CalFHA, said the agency has focused on helping Californians become homeowners, strengthening communities and neighborhoods. ‘This new program is aimed at bridging that gap.’”

“Sluggish sales and the discounting of prices in the new-home market at the weekend have prompted sellers in the secondary market to cut their asking prices, according to agents. In nearby Yuen Long, new flats hit the market at discounts of up to 10 per cent on Saturday. Midland Realty director Sammy Po Siu-ming said prices in the secondary market had begun falling in anticipation of growing competition for buyers. ‘Owners will come under growing pressure to adjust their asking prices downward if they want to get buyers interested,’ he said.”

“While builders under pressure have started offering discounts, an even better opportunity is emerging in the secondary-resale market where over-leveraged investors who had picked up properties over the last few years are willing to offload their inventory at discounts as high as 30%. The advantage for a home buyer is that several of these apartments that investors are selling in cities like Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Bangalore and others, will be delivered in 2013, so the wait for your dream home could become much shorter.”

“‘Several investors who have stretched themselves too thin are in exit mode and discounts in such cases could range anywhere between 20% and 30%. As the desperation level of the seller increases, so does the discount,’ says Atul Marwaha, principal consultant at Prime Options, a Gurgaon-based real estate brokerage firm.”

“Costs and prices for new housing units have risen so high in Oslo that sales of new units on the drawing board have plummeted and some developers aren’t breaking ground on new projects. One problem is that developers have paid too much for land on which they planned to build. ‘It’s just become too expensive, and prices have topped,’ Kjell Senneset, an economist at consulting firm Prognosesenteret told DN. Developers who paid high prices for their lots ‘can’t rationalize the costs,’ Senneset said. ‘The prices get too high. The banks are also putting the brakes on homebuyers.’ New state regulations call for higher down payments, and the banks also face new capital requirements.”

“Several flats in Oslo that didn’t sell before the summer holidays are now being advertised at lower prices, with some high-end properties asking as much as a million kroner less now than in June. One example was a flat in Oslo’s fashionable Gimle district that’s now being advertised for NOK 9.9 million (USD 1.6 million), down from an initial asking price of NOK 10.9 million. ‘I didn’t think the price was so high, but the market did,’ broker Espen Hordnes told DN.”

“‘Harga Rumah Melampau’ – that’s the desperate cry of the rakyat against skyrocketing house prices as headlined by one of the widely-read Bahasa Malaysia newspapers. In English, it translates to ‘House prices are ridiculous.’”

“The National House Buyers Association (HBA) has consistently called for government intervention to prevent a ‘homeless generation of young adult Malaysians’ from emerging, especially in urban and sub-urban areas, who, if not for wild speculation, would be able to buy their own houses. In time, Malaysia will face a ’social crisis’ with serious political implications if the majority of the lower and middle-income groups do not have affordable houses.”

“In the Government’s drive to home ownership, low stamp duties have been imposed to encourage first-time house buyers to own a house. But speculators have taken advantage of this to accumulate multiple properties and manipulate property prices with conniving cash-strapped housing developers. This is a ‘ticking time bomb’ and immediate government measures are needed. The government needs to take proactive measures to stop the steep rise in property prices due to false demand and excessive speculation fuelled by easy mortgages and the low Real Property Gains Tax.”

“The situation has been getting worse with the self-glorified ‘Investors Club’ mushrooming in the housing market. Seminars like ‘How to become a billionaire’ and ‘Invest in properties without deposits’ will trigger young adults into thinking of shortcuts toward great riches.”

“Urban Well Being, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan recently reiterated: ‘Of greater concern is the fact that income growth has not been keeping in tandem with the increase in house prices.’”

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