April 7, 2017

An Unlucky Roll Of The Dice

It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “A Manhattan landlord was busted Thursday for lying on paperwork to score a multimillion-dollar loan for a rental property on the Lower East Side, authorities said. Dean Galasso submitted phony documents to Investors Bank to obtain a $5,025,000 mortgage to finance the purchase of a 10-unit building, according to a statement from state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office. ‘Bad landlords are now on notice: if you attempt to break the law, we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,’ AG Schneiderman said in a statement.”

“Galasso, who owns numerous properties in Manhattan and Queens, faces charges of grand larceny, forgery and other raps. He bought the property for $6.9 million in 2014, real-estate records show.”

“Connecticut home sale prices dipped in February to their lowest point for the month since 2012 amid sluggish winter sales, a new reportshows. Across Connecticut, the median sale price fell in six of eight counties in February and was flat in another. ‘Perhaps a strong spring market will get things back on track, but I don’t see any signs of that yet,’ Timothy J. Warren Jr., chief executive of The Warren Group, said.”

“A little more than 10 years ago, Edythe Russell dropped her hard-earned savings into a pair of $150,000 homes in Arizona, lived in one and rented the other. Just in time for the housing crash. Her renter walked away, her mortgage rate spiked, her income nose-dived and she lost everything. Now she and her two dogs live in a car in Carlsbad. For all her troubles, Russell is not one to grouse or cast blame.”

“‘I shot myself in the foot,’ she said, meaning that the marriages didn’t work out, and her housing bubble investment was an unlucky roll of the dice.”

“In the last decade, Caesarea has absorbed the cream of Israeli high society. Oligarch Valeriy Kogen bought seven huge houses and connected them, forming a single luxury property estimated at hundreds of millions of shekels. Well-known and well-connected businesspeople with a reputation for getting what they want (and throwing their weight around) have chosen the city as their hometown. Caesarea has known better days. Many people talk about a more than 50% decrease in luxury property prices there. While those reports lack factual basis, there is certainly a glut of secondhand properties that make luxury villas a harder sell.”

“The Angolan capital of Luanda is still the world’s second most expensive city for expats after Hong Kong, but rent for office space fell almost 50 percent in the past two years. Rent has fallen for office space and luxury homes in Nairobi, where there’s an oversupply following an exit of expatriates, Business Daily reported. Rent on the high-end Kenyan homes preferred by expats has dropped 13 percent. A four-bedroom executive house rents for $4,100 per month.”

“This will likely hurt high-net-worth investors like pension funds and insurance companies which have spent billions of shillings on office blocks, changing the skyline of areas like Upper Hill in Nairobi, Annie Njanja reported.”

“More questions have been raised about Malaysia’s Forest City project for buyers from China, following Beijing’s introduction of tighter rules to stem the flight of capital from the country. The developer, Country Garden, had reportedly agreed to refund buyers from China caught out by the new capital controls, but a statement from the company late last night appeared to rule that out. ‘In the event of home booking cancellation, we would also like to clarify that cancellation after a sales and purchase agreement has been signed is deemed as a breach of contract,’ Country Garden said in a press statement.”

“Some buyers, already in the process of seeking a refund, have accused Country Garden of dragging its feet or outright denying refunds. ‘I called my sales officer on Tuesday and he could only say that my refund is still on hold,’ said Mr Zhang Guanguang, 27. The teacher from Hefei put a down payment of 110,000 yuan (S$22,300) last year for a 54 sq m apartment. ‘It’s been dragging on for more than a month, and all they can tell me is to wait.’”

“Analysts said even if just a fraction of buyers are after a refund, it may result in a slowdown in the whole development, given fears of a housing oversupply in Iskandar. The Forest City project is the biggest of 60 developments there, and comprises four man-made islands in the Strait of Johor facing Tuas in Singapore. It had RM11.54 billion (S$3.6 billion) in sales last year and sold 15,000 units, with Chinese nationals accounting for 70 per cent of the buyers.”

“There was no question Australia’s property market was in a bubble and apartments, particularly in Brisbane and Melbourne, were on the brink of a ’savage correction,’ Perth deal maker and philanthropist John Poynton warned yesterday. It was easy to get swept up in a deep trough or big bubble, Mr Poynton said. ‘If you go back, whether it’s equity markets or debt markets or property markets, people get hurt by paying crazy prices when there’s not much underlying sustainable justification.’”

“Property developer Nigel Satterley revealed Satterley Property Group had stopped bidding on low-rise sites in Melbourne because it was losing out to foreign buyers. ‘We are very disciplined,’ Mr Satterley said, adding some of the prices paid were simply too high. ‘This is just part of the cycle. I think in Melbourne we are five to 12, we are not far from the top. Sydney, I don’t know enough about … it appears to be very hot. In Asia they know that every capital city in Australia has got a gross oversupply of apartments and there’s likely to be busts.’”