Five property stories making global headlines this week:
Saudi real estate spin-off
Finally free from the confines of Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, where he had been among hundreds of businessmen detained by the Saudi king and his crown prince, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal announced plans to split his considerable Saudi property assets from the rest of his company’s $13bn holdings. As his cousin and former captor Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepared to shake hands with Donald Trump in the White House, Alwaleed told Bloomberg he was considering a real estate investment trust spin-off of his property interests, which include a 1,000-metre tower under development in Jeddah.
Scaling back in Manhattan
Bloomberg also reported that China’s Angbang Insurance Group has cut the number of apartments it plans to create in New York’s famous Waldorf Astoria hotel, which it bought in 2015 for $1.95bn. With high-end sales suffering a downturn in Manhattan, Chinese insurer Angbang has reduced the number of units it will convert from hotel rooms to 352, down from 409.
Hong Kong $1m box living
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a pocket-sized flat achieved a record-busting price, according to the South China Morning Post. The 209-sq ft flat — reportedly “slightly bigger than a standard shipping container” — sold for HK$7.86m ($1m).
UK students band together
The cost of UK student housing may not compare with Hong Kong’s heady prices; nonetheless, the Financial Times reports that British students are copying their North American counterparts and setting up student housing co-operatives in order to enjoy cheaper digs.
Downbeat mood at Mipim
Finally to Mipim, the global property industry’s annual jamboree in the south of France, where mainstream media were on the hunt for property professionals behaving badly in the wake of the FT’s exposé of the Presidents Club. Industry magazine Construction News summed up proceedings by noting a “tame” atmosphere, “sad-looking events” and an industry “genuinely focused on investment rather than entertainment”.
Photographs: AFP/Getty Images; Alamy; Tupungato/Dreamstime; Blake House Filmmakers Co-operative