December 25, 2014

Everything Is Coming Off The Boil Very Quickly

The Daily Mail reports on the UK. “House prices are falling all over Britain as the property market ends the year with a whimper. The value of the average home fell in nearly a third of UK postcodes in the three months to November, according to property website Hometrack. In London, the worst-affected markets include previously booming Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham – as well as Knightsbridge, home to the rich and famous. The softening of the market follows a clampdown on risky mortgage lending by the Bank of England, and worries that some areas have become overpriced.”

“‘Everything is coming off the boil very quickly,’ said Hometrack’s Richard Donnell. ‘We have had a huge surge of pent-up demand coming into the market from January 2013 onwards, but we are now running out of people who want to move or can afford to move.’”

The Poker News Report. “Macau casinos have seen their collective market value decrease to the tune of $75 billion. Casinos in Macau are heavily reliant on high rollers. Macau is a Chinese territory and the only region in China where casino gambling is allowed. The country’s president, Xi Jinping, is on a mission to wipe out corruption and believes that a number of high rollers may be laundering money through Macau casinos. It is believed that a crackdown will soon be waged by the Chinese government on efforts to move money through Macau — money that was perhaps obtained via ill-gotten means.”

Want China Times. “Gu Liping, the wife of newly disgraced Chinese official Ling Jihua, has an insatiable appetite for money and sex that puts her husband’s alleged corruption to shame, reports our Chinese-language sister paper China Times. Ling, 58, became the latest casualty in President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-graft campaign. In 2003, Gu established Youth Business China (YBC), a non-profit program aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship.”

“YBC is alleged however to be merely a front for Gu to make lucrative land and property investments and is used to conceal exchanges of money for power, with claims that the charity owns property worth at least 3 billion yuan (US$480 million) in the Shanghai area alone. Certain media reports allege that Gu owns two luxury properties in Japan with a combined market value as high as US$500 million, and that her family controls bank accounts in Japan and Singapore which together hold around 37 billion yuan (US$5.9 billion).”

From Asia One. “For €6.95 million (S$11.24 million), you can be the owner of a French Villa with views of the Mediterranean. According to South China Morning Post, the luxurious Cannes home was owned by former Politburo member, Bo Xilai, who has been jailed for bribery, corruption and abuse of power. ‘China had vowed to confiscate the mansion but it was unclear who put it up for sale or whether the government had made any progress in its effort to seize the property,’ Reuters reported.”

Mine Web on Australia. “Australia cut its iron ore price estimate for next year by 33% as surging output in the world’s top exporter outpaces Chinese demand growth, adding to a surplus. China, which buys 67% of global seaborne supply, is set to record its weakest annual growth since 1990. ‘The current market oversupply is expected to prevail through the start of 2015 in response to a likely ongoing cyclical downturn in China’s housing sector,’ the report said.”

The Courier Mail in Australia. “Gold Coast businessman Peter Drake has lost control of all of his assets to a bankruptcy trustee and been forced to hand his passport to a Brisbane court. The LM Managed Performance Fund collapsed in March last year when the directors appointed corporate paramedics. LM attracted investors and sank their money into the development of a $1 billion Gold Coast housing estate with features designed by gardening guru Jamie Durie and surfing champion Kelly Slater. At its peak, LM boasted it managed $3 billion in its nine funds.”

The New Zealand Herald. “A woman who bought an Auckland apartment to get on the property ladder has been left ‘financially strained’ and says the property is now worth about half what she paid for it. Joo Yom bought her three-bedroom apartment for $436,500 in 2007. Although city-wide capital values have risen on average 34 per cent since 2011, with some shooting up more than 50 per cent, the value of Ms Yom’s property has dropped to $425,000 - $11,500 below what she paid.”

“Ms Yom wants to sell her fifth-floor apartment, but has been told by real estate agents this was ‘not a good time.’ Some had told her the apartment could fetch ‘about half’ what she paid seven years ago - about $100,000 less than the $344,000 she borrowed to buy the property. Ms Yom said her foray into buying an apartment had left her suffering from stress, anxiety and insomnia. ‘I have had no overseas holidays since 2007 and have been forced to watch every cent because of all the outgoing costs I have to pay.’”

Bits Bucket for December 25, 2014

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