Archive for ‘housing’

03/03/2015

Mumbai House-Hunting Tips: Bring Lots of Cash, Ditch Your Furniture, Buckle Up! – India Real Time – WSJ

There is nothing more precious in Mumbai than a good flat.

With a population density of some 21,000 people per square kilometer, the city’s core is one of the most claustrophobic places on the planet. The air is equally thick with pollutants. There are wonderful things about Mumbai, but after a day outside, one needs a place to relax and reflect on what those things are. A refuge is the difference between happiness and surrender.

“When I first came here I thought I was here in the city’s final stages,” New Yorker Suketu Mehta wrote in “Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found,” his Pulitzer Prize-nominated memoir. “Then I moved to a nicer apartment.”

But as with most precious things, decent apartments and decent prices are rare in Mumbai. Here is a rough guide to prepare for the search.

via Mumbai House-Hunting Tips: Bring Lots of Cash, Ditch Your Furniture, Buckle Up! – India Real Time – WSJ.

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16/02/2015

Li gives residents keys to ‘new life’|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn

The set of keys that Xiao Wenmei received from Premier Li Keqiang opens up not only her new apartment but her future.

Li gives residents keys to 'new life'

Li visited the newly finished Yu’an community in Guiyang, Guizhou province, and helped distribute keys to the new apartments on Saturday.

“Have you seen your new apartment?” Li asked as he handed keys to Xiao. “It is not only the key to your home but also to your new life.”

He then posted a fu character, a traditional Chinese paper cutting for Spring Festival, at the community’s main office.

“A new community is not only about building new houses but also about people’s new lives, so they can live in a comfortable and safe environment,” he said.

Xiao, 32, was still excited as she recalled the moment she received the keys from the premier. She said her family is busy preparing to move into the new apartment before Chinese New Year’s Eve “as a good start of the year”.

She has lived with her husband and kids in a nearby village, where houses leaked and roads became muddy during rainstorms. The local government invested 3 billion yuan ($481 million) in 2009 to build 8,500 apartments for 5,000 households in Xiao’s community.

Xiao’s family was allotted two apartments, about 300 square meters, as were some other families.

“We’ll move into one apartment and rent the other out,” she said. “A new house is like a big dream for my family.”

The Chinese government has counted heavily on the rebuilding of urban shantytowns to drive domestic demand and improve people’s living conditions.

via Li gives residents keys to ‘new life’|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn.

14/02/2015

China surpasses affordable houses targets – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China completed the building of 5.11 million affordable houses in urban areas in 2014, with 2.29 million such projects under way, surpassing the goals set at the beginning of the year, the State Council announced at a press briefing on Friday.

The central government granted 198 billion yuan (32.35 billion U.S. dollars) to fund urban affordable housing projects in 2014, an increase of 25.1 billion yuan from the previous year, according to Qi Ji, deputy head of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development.

Throughout the past four years, more than 20 million affordable houses were completed, with 12 million under construction, and the assistance fund for building the houses has reached 710 billion yuan, according to Qi.

China has set goals to construct 36 million affordable houses, also called state-subsidized housing, public housing, or social housing, between the start of 2011 and the end of 2015.

“This year is the final year of the Twelfth Five-Year plan (2011-2015), and the government will accelerate the affordable housing project with a focus on transforming the shanty towns,” Qi said.

The Chinese government has been rolling out an affordable housing scheme since 2007, in an effort to provide homes to people unable to buy them at market prices. The efforts are also aimed at helping counter the slowdown in the property market in recent years.

via China surpasses affordable houses targets – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

19/12/2014

China to construct 7 mln affordable homes in 2015 – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China will begin construction of seven million apartments under the affordable housing program in 2015, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) announced on Friday.

MOHURD minister Chen Zhenggao revealed the target at a national conference on housing and urban-rural development. He said 4.8 million such homes should be completed next year.

The affordable housing program is aimed at providing cheap homes for eligible low-income earners. China began the construction of over seven million homes and completed 4.8 million in 2014.

Chen said China will also continue to push forward the shanty town renovation program extensively as “it can not only improve people’s livelihood but also spur economic growth“.

via China to construct 7 mln affordable homes in 2015 – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

10/12/2014

Need Financing to Build U.S. Property? Try Chinese Visa Seekers – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The giant trucks pumping concrete in Hudson Yards, New York’s biggest real-estate project in a generation, are being financed by an unlikely source: about 1,200 Chinese families in search of U.S. visas. As the WSJ’s Eliot Brown reports:

Developer Related Cos. says it has raised roughly $600 million from the families to build the foundation for three skyscrapers at the West Side project, a 17-million-square-foot colossus of office, retail and residential space set to open over the next decade.

To finance the concrete-steel platform, Related tapped a little-known and at times controversial federal visa program known as EB-5, which offers green cards to foreign families who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. projects that create at least 10 jobs per investor.

The amount brought in so far, which privately held Related hasn’t previously disclosed, is a record for the cash-for-visa program.

Related’s success shows how the once-obscure federal program has grown in popularity among developers and foreign investors since the recession.

Chinese nationals are the biggest source of EB-5 funds, making up more than 85% of visas approved in the 12 months ended in September. Many are investing for their children rather than for themselves, said Kenneth Li, a Houston real-estate broker who has offered advice to Chinese investing in EB-5 projects.

“For many of them, it’s for the next generation,” he said.

via Need Financing to Build U.S. Property? Try Chinese Visa Seekers – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

19/10/2014

Chinese Home-Buying Binge Transforms California Suburb Arcadia – Businessweek

“Oh, hey! How ya’ doin’?” Raleigh Ornelas hollers, leaning out the window of his spotless white pickup truck. He’s recognized the man across the street, a developer standing in front of a Tuscan-style mansion under construction. “Where have you been hiding at? I call you, you don’t call me.”

Why Are Chinese Millionaires Buying Mansions in an L.A. Suburb?

Ornelas is an informal broker in Arcadia, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb at the foot of the San Gabriel mountains. He’s been keeping an eye out for the builder, an Asian man with a slight comb-over who goes by Mark. Ornelas has found two older homeowners who’ve finally agreed to sell their properties, and he knows that Mark, like all developers here, needs land on which to build mansions for an influx of rich clients from mainland China.

Ornelas rattles off addresses on a nearby street. “Three-eleven, that guy, he’s wack,” he says, shaking his head. “He wants 2.8.” He means million dollars. “And then 354, they want $2 million.”

The lot is 17,000 square feet. “Seventeen for 2 mil?” Mark asks, incredulous.

“I know,” Ornelas says. “They’re going crazy.”

A year ago the property would have gone for $1.3 million, but Arcadia is booming. Residents have become used to postcards offering immediate, all-cash deals for their property and watching as 8,000-square-foot homes go up next door to their modest split levels. For buyers from mainland China, Arcadia offers excellent schools, large lots with lenient building codes, and a place to park their money beyond the reach of the Chinese government.

The city, population 57,600, projects that about 150 older homes—53 percent more than normal—will be torn down this year and replaced with mansions. The deals happen fast and are rarely listed publicly. Often, the first indication that a megahouse is coming next door is when the lawn turns brown. That means the neighbor has stopped watering and green construction netting is about to go up.

via Chinese Home-Buying Binge Transforms California Suburb Arcadia – Businessweek.

29/08/2014

In India, Slum Dwellers Move Into High Rises – Businessweek

Indian developer Babulal Varma’s job requires the human touch. The company he co-founded, Omkar Realtors & Developers, specializes in coaxing Mumbai’s slum dwellers from their hovels, then bulldozing the slum and erecting a mix of luxury condominium towers and free new homes for the slum dwellers on the cleared land. Omkar has completed 12 projects, rehousing 40,000, with 12 more in the works, making it the most successful business in this niche. Mumbai’s slums still house 6.5 million people.

One of Omkar’s luxury high rises, under construction

In one slum several years ago, an old woman wouldn’t leave her home. Omkar was keen to develop the site into a $1 billion complex of six luxury high rises and modern housing nearby for the slum dwellers. As Varma recounts it, he visited her and learned that the woman wanted two free apartments, not one. The woman lived with her two sons and their wives in a 90-square-foot shack. The wives argued constantly. Yet the law regulating slum redevelopment says a family that proves residency since 2000 can get only one new, 269-square-foot home on the same land.

Varma came back with a piece of paper showing a line drawn through the unit they’d be moving into, with a second door cut into the hallway. The wives could live separately, he explained. Agreement came in 45 minutes. “If you can understand their problem, if you can understand their issues, all the issues are very small, like a peanut, but to them this is the biggest thing,” says Varma, who cites karma as his operating philosophy as he sits beside an incense-burning Hindu altar.

By law, Omkar and other developers must secure the consent of 70 percent of a slum’s inhabitants before a project can go forward. Slum dwellers who have lived in the same spot since 2000 hold rights to the land but can sign them over to developers.

Omkar (the long form of the Hindu mantra “om”) contributes to the city’s efforts to get its slum dwellers into the middle class. “There is all-round social upliftment as people move from slums into proper apartments,” says Nirmal Deshmukh, chief executive officer of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), which selects the developers for the slum projects.

Since her marriage to a postal worker 13 years ago, Swarangi Pingle had lived in a 90-square-foot bilevel hut with her in-laws, her husband’s two siblings, and her daughter, now 11. On May 1 she and her family became homeowners in the development where Varma persuaded the old woman to go along. Pingle’s home on the top floor of a 23-story building has plenty of ventilation and sunlight. In the slum, Pingle would wait an hour to fill water jugs at the communal tap and for her turn at the common toilet. “This is much better,” she says as she shows off the private bathroom, kitchen sink, and aqua-painted living room. The new homes allow space for children to study, she says: “I may have married into a slum, but my daughter won’t go back to one.”

via In India, Slum Dwellers Move Into High Rises – Businessweek.

21/05/2014

Is China’s Housing Bubble Beginning to Burst? – Businessweek

Earlier this month, financial analysts from Japan-based Nomura Group (NMR) issued a grim report on China’s housing market: “To us, it is no longer a question of ‘if’ but rather ‘how severe’ the property market correction will be,” the report read.

Residential apartment buildings under construction in Qingzhou city, in east China’s Shandong province

Nomura—which has historically been bearish on China, as the Wall Street Journal observes—predicted that a downturn in the housing market, caused by oversupply and shrinking developer financing, could sharply impact China’s economy, perhaps even driving GDP growth to less than 6 percent in 2014.

China’s economy is vulnerable because property investment accounts for anywhere from 16 percent to 20 percent of gross domestic product, according to varying analyses.

via Is China’s Housing Bubble Beginning to Burst? – Businessweek.

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06/05/2014

China’s Millennials Can’t Afford Homes in Beijing (Without Daddy’s Help) – Businessweek

For many young professionals in Beijing, the dream of owning a home feels increasingly remote. Soaring home prices—driven in large part by the popularity of real estate as an investment vehicle in China—mean that even relatively successful young workers find it hard to climb onto the housing ladder in leading cities.

Potential buyers visit a real estate trade fair on April 5, 2012 in Beijing

According to a recent study by the University of International Business & Economics in Beijing, fewer than a quarter of college-educated, employed professionals in Beijing age 34 and younger are homeowners. Those with relatives in the capital city often reside with family members. Others rent apartments—paying, on average, 37 percent of their monthly income in rent.

Of those young respondents who were homeowners in Beijing, fully three-quarters said they received substantial help from their parents or other family members. And of those, 25 percent said their parents had paid the full price of their home outright in cash.

via China’s Millennials Can’t Afford Homes in Beijing (Without Daddy’s Help) – Businessweek.

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02/05/2014

Leaked Comments From Top Property Developer: China Is Built Out – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Spring hasn’t sprung for China’s chilly housing market and it may not for some time, a high level executive with the country’s largest real-estate developer said in rare remarks leaked online.

A glut of apartments and tightness in the credit market don’t bode well for property developers, said Mao Daqing, vice chairman of China Vanke.

A Chinese flag flies in front of a residential building developed by China Vanke Co., in the Fangshan district of Beijing. Bloomberg News

“Overall, China has reached its capacity limit for new construction of housing projects, only some coastal third- and fourth-tier cities have potential for capacity expansion,” Mr. Mao, who oversees the firm’s Beijing operations, said at a closed door meeting in Beijing on Wednesday (in Chinese). “As to whether there is room for home prices to rise, I don’t see any possibility for a rise in home prices, especially in cities with large housing inventory, unless the government pushes out another few trillion (in stimulus).”

China Vanke Beijing confirmed that Mr. Mao provided an analysis of the housing market in a private event, but added that there were no official transcripts.

Housing sales fell 7.7% in the first quarter this year, and remained sluggish in April, according to private sector estimates.

There is a glut of homes in China’s second-tier cities and some third- and fourth-tier cities due to oversupply of land, Mr. Mao said, highlighting cities like Tangshan, Shenyang and Wuxi. There is insufficient demand as there are not enough new migrants moving into these cities, and with the rich preferring to buy homes in major cities like Beijing.

Any developer who invests in Tangshan, an industrial city east of Beijing, is walking into a trap, he said.

China Vanke, which has a presence in more than 60 Chinese cities, earlier this weak reported a rare year-on-year slide in net profit in its first quarter results.

Mr. Mao also raised some red flags in tier-one cities such as Beijing and Shanghai as well. While demand from end-users is still strong in such cities, he said, land values — seen as a measure of a potential property bubble — are too high. He said land prices were accelerating faster than housing prices in the capital as a result of government efforts to containing prices of new homes there.

He went on to compare land values in Beijing with those in Japan and Hong Kong just before bubbles in those cities burst.  Tokyo’s total land value in 1990, prior to the property bust there, was equal to 63.3% of U.S. GDP in 1990, he said. During the Hong Kong bubble in 1997, land values there reached 66.3% of U.S. GDP

In 2012, the total land value in Beijing was 61.6% of U.S. GDP, “which is a scary number”, Mr Mao said.

via Leaked Comments From Top Property Developer: China Is Built Out – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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