Five stories making global property headlines:
Ban on overseas buyers hits prices in New Zealand resort
New Zealand’s ban on foreign buyers has contributed to the first annual fall since July 2011 in house prices in the resort of Queenstown. Bloomberg reported that prices in the South Island region, popular with buyers from Australia, Asia and the US thanks to its ski areas, dropped 0.1 per cent in June, compared with the previous year. However, Queenstown remains New Zealand’s most expensive market, despite Corelogic data recording a 2.2 per cent fall in prices in the past three months.
Holiday homes fuel foreign ownership in Nova Scotia
The eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia has a higher rate of non-resident property ownership than the larger British Columbia and Ontario, research has found. Nova Scotia has proportionally more holiday homes, while buyers in the other two provinces favour city condos.
Broadcaster CBC reported 2018 data from Statistics Canada, which showed non-residents own about 3.9 per cent of 450,000 residential properties in Nova Scotia compared with 2.2 per cent of 4.8m homes in Ontario and 3.8 per cent of 1.7m properties in British Columbia. The eastern side of Richmond County in Cape Breton Island has the highest level of non-resident ownership, at 14.3 per cent.
The two larger provinces have imposed a tax on foreign buyers in recent years in an attempt to cool the housing market in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.
Sales in UK in double-digit fall
The number of homes sold in the UK fell 16.5 per cent in June compared with the same month last year. Data released by HM Revenue & Customs also revealed a drop in residential property transactions of nearly 10 per cent from the previous month, to 84,490 in June. The Financial Times reported that political uncertainty was affecting confidence among buyers and sellers.
Prices in Saudi cities down as transactions rise
House prices in Saudi Arabia’s main cities continued to fall during the first six months of the year, while the volume of transactions increased. Covering Knight Frank’s latest review of the country’s residential market, The National reported that apartment prices in Riyadh fell 10 per cent year on year in the first quarter and 6 per cent in the following three months. Jeddah experienced an 11 per cent year-on-year drop in the first quarter and 8 per cent decrease in the second.
Meanwhile, transaction volumes in Riyadh grew 66 per cent year on year in the first six months, compared with 56 per cent in Jeddah, thanks to government initiatives to make housing more affordable.
A view to buy for
Residents of a 12-storey loft building in New York’s Chelsea district loved their view of the Empire State Building so much that they clubbed together to offer a developer $11m not to build a tower that would block it.
The New York Times reported that the apartment owners bought the developer’s air rights, usually used to allow the construction of taller buildings, at the neighbouring property at Seventh Avenue and West 17th Street. This prevented the construction of anything higher than the three and four-storey buildings that had been on the site before. The deal took place in 2016 but the newspaper was reporting it for the first time.
Photographs: Bloomberg; Dreamstime