By Kate Youde
Five property stories making global headlines:
New York enjoys prime sales boost
The number of contracts signed for Manhattan homes priced $4m and above was up 22 per cent in the first six weeks of the year compared with the same period in 2019, according to research by residential brokerage Olshan Realty, covered by the website Mansion Global. Over the six-week period, 96 residential contracts were signed, compared with 79 last year. Olshan’s report credited low interest rates, a strong stock market and lowered asking prices — the average reduction was 10 per cent over the first six weeks of this year — for the bounce.
Dubai supply at 12-year high
Research by Knight Frank suggests that 62,500 new homes will be completed in Dubai this year, the largest annual total since 2008, when 70,885 residential units were delivered. Reuters reported that excess supply has already weakened the emirate’s property market, driving prices down by at least 25 per cent since 2014.
Virus causes Chinese sales slump
New figures have laid bare the impact of coronavirus on the Chinese property market. Sales of new apartments in 36 cities were down 90 per cent year on year in the first week of February, according to figures compiled by China Merchants Securities Co. Sales of existing homes fell 91 per cent in eight cities studied, Bloomberg reported. “The sector is bracing for a worse impact than the 2003 SARS pandemic,” said Bai Yanjun, an analyst at property-consulting firm China Index Holdings Ltd.
Call for UK property tax reform
London’s 32 boroughs and 11 regional cities, including Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow, have renewed calls for the British government to reform council tax. The Financial Times reported that the request came ahead of the UK Budget on March 11 and includes a demand for the tax — a levy on homes, which funds local services — be calculated according to today’s property prices. Council tax rates are currently based on 1991 values.
Concerns that drug highs prompt property lows
Residents of the English market town of Melbourne, Derbyshire, are reluctant to report drug-related crime to the police in case it has a negative impact on house prices, according to The Telegraph. The newspaper related that Sergeant Matt Ladd, of Derbyshire Police, told a community meeting: “The other day we had someone call the police and say that they don’t want to call in drug incidents because they think it will make house prices drop. That is completely unacceptable and is not true at all — there is no basis on [sic] fact.”
Photographs: Dreamstime; Alamy