Uncertainty shrouds the housing market through 2020 #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Uncertainty shrouds the housing market through 2020

Jul 10. 2020Clarksburg Town Center is a planned community of about 1,000 homes in Clarksburg, Md. When the pandemic seized the country, sellers retreated faster and in larger numbers than buyers, prompting the nationwide inventory of homes to dip precipitously. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Benjamin C Tankersley for The Washington Post.Clarksburg Town Center is a planned community of about 1,000 homes in Clarksburg, Md. When the pandemic seized the country, sellers retreated faster and in larger numbers than buyers, prompting the nationwide inventory of homes to dip precipitously. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Benjamin C Tankersley for The Washington Post.

By Special to The Washington Post · Dima Williams · BUSINESS, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS 

Mending from the sudden sharp drop in activity due to the coronavirus crisis, real estate across the United States is heating up, rekindled by growing demand and insufficient supply. 

The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) pending home sales index, a future-looking indicator of completed sales based on signed contracts, posted a staggering comeback in May, the latest month for which data is available. The index spiked 44.3 percent, registering the highest month-over-month increase since its inception in 2001. 

First-time home buyers Stuyve Pierrepont and his wife said they have seen this shift occur almost overnight. 

The Pierreponts, who work in Washington, D.C. and previously rented in Northern Virginia, renewed their 18-month home search in early 2020. Prior to the viral outbreak, the couple looked at roughly a dozen homes. During the pandemic, they only saw four residences in person. But the couple wasn’t ready for the speed with which fellow home shoppers were scooping those houses off the market. 

“It’s a seller’s market,” said Pierrepont, a finance professional who runs a blog about leading an environmentally conscious lifestyle. “We were back and forth on whether timing was right to buy a home, given everything that’s happening. The big surprise was that the markets we were considering didn’t slow down at all.” 

The couple toured a house in Annapolis, Md., for example, which went under contract later the same day. “There were a couple of times when we saw places we really wanted, and they sold before we could act,” Pierrepont said. “We were really discouraged by that fact.” 

Their real estate agent, Shane Hall of the Shane Hall Group, newly associated with Compass and formerly with TTR Sotheby’s, said in late June that Annapolis, which lies less than an hour east of the District of Columbia, had a single month of supply, meaning that if no new listings were to come on the market, all existing stock would be purchased in 30 days. 

“That’s incredibly rare,” Hall said. “We just don’t have a ton of inventory. And we have a lot of demand.” 

– – –

With the country’s economy tentatively reopening and shelter-in-place restrictions easing, housing experts forecast that home sales will rise through the summer. The biggest constraint is the number of listings, which are returning to the market only gingerly compared to the appetite for them. 

The latter is in part whetted by historically low mortgage rates that are now hovering around 3 percent, nearly 2 percentage points below their level about a mere 18 months ago and where they are expected to remain this year. Annualized new mortgage applications have trended up for weeks. 

“Today’s low mortgage rates are a true game changer,” said Ali Wolf, chief economist at Meyers Research, a new-home data and consulting firm. “As the economy reopens, it comes down to four words: Fear of missing out.” 

Home buyers’ vigor has powered the national housing market, despite declines in mostly all economic indicators. For the most part, home showings – enhanced with hand sanitizer and face masks – have continued throughout the pandemic. The various services supporting the industry, from inspections to closings, have shifted to alternative modes such as the Internet, staying operational. And with the start of summer, home shoppers’ desire to make what is probably the largest financial commitment in their lives – in such an uncharted time – hasn’t seemed to slacken. 

“If anything, that seems to be a ray of sunlight: We’re seeing buyers more active than expected,” said George Ratiu, senior economist with listing website Realtor.com. “Looking at our weekly inventory statistics, we’re seeing that total listings are down partly because new listings are down. But [also because] those homes that are on the market are clearly finding buyers quickly and that’s key.” 

For instance, in the Tampa area in Florida, which has seen an influx of buyers from the Northeast because of the pandemic, active upscale inventory through June 23 was 26 percent lower than a year ago, said Jennifer Zales, luxury real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. At the same time, however, completed sales of homes above $1 million totaled 109, or three more than for the whole of June 2019, Zales said. Meanwhile, a little over 230 residences asking $1 million and up, including condos, townhouses and single-family houses, were under contract. 

“We have a lot of pent-up demand from the spring season that did not happen,” Zales said. “I feel like somebody took my regular summer season, which is usually very regular, but dumps the whole spring season on top of the summer season. We’re extremely busy.” 

This appears to be the latest recurring theme across the United States, even if the summer months traditionally are calmer with vacations and family activities stealing the focus from buying or selling a house. Beyond the next couple of months, angst about the fall, when the uncertainty of the presidential election mixes with a still-wobbly economic outlook and fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections, still permeates forecasts. 

– – –

When the pandemic seized the country, sellers retreated faster and in larger numbers than buyers, prompting the nationwide inventory of homes to dip precipitously. After somewhat recovering from an all-time low in April, new listings remained about 22 percent below their level from a year ago in May, according to real estate brokerage Redfin. 

This has not only exacerbated the chronic shortage of homes for sale, it has done so during the months when sellers are typically most engaged. A forecast by Realtor.com indicated the loss of spring inventory would translate to 15 percent fewer sales of existing homes in 2020. 

“I think people are prepared to stay in their houses longer,” said Hall. “That was already a trend that’s been going on for the last five to 10 years.” 

Despite a market tipped in their favor, sellers, especially those who still live in their residences, remain reluctant about letting strangers in. Increasing coronavirus infection rates in some states might strengthen this disinclination. 

Moreover, home sellers are often also shoppers. Those not pressed to move might be loath to search for their next home amid tight inventory and rising competition. “It is now amazing to sell,” said Hall. “It is not amazing to buy.” 

Yet Katie Day, a Houston-based real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, said she expects more homeowners to enter the market later this year to finally chase the housing aesthetics the pandemic has advanced as priorities. 

“Probably toward the latter part of this year and into 2021, we will see more preference changes with people wanting to have a bigger home or wanting additional amenities in their house,” Day said. 

Day’s remarks align with Realtor.com’s projection of a gradual increase of new listings through August before their numbers again hit the “historical trend” from September through December, when fewer homeowners generally decide to sell. 

– – –

Because of the restricted supply of existing homes for sale, some buyers have flocked to new construction, especially single-family houses that, unlike their pre-owned counterparts that have been occupied, pose less risk associated with the coronavirus – and are more customizable. 

Sales of newly built houses rose nearly 13 percent year-over-year in May, growing at a rate for that month not seen in more than a decade, according to the Census Bureau. 

“There are just so few homes on the market today compared to last year, and last year already had historically low inventory levels,” said Wolf. “So, builders have been capturing market share left and right, selling homes at record May levels.” 

This positive dynamic, though, might not alleviate the overall shortage of inventory. For years, builders have strained to build homes fast enough to meet demand. And, Wolf said, many of them have already sold their standing inventory in 2020. The Census Bureau’s data shows that most contracts in May were inked for houses under construction. 

Meanwhile, new permits and housing starts in May continued to lag year-over-year, which could reflect builders’ sustained struggles in filling construction jobs and acquiring materials. 

“The home supply shortage as the economy opens up is going to be even more severe,” Wolf said, “unless we all of a sudden see more existing homeowners put their homes on the market.” 

– – –

The pronounced seller’s market has buoyed home values, contrary to early expectations of deflated prices resulting from a coronavirus-chilled real estate industry. 

“We’re going to have this really surprising situation where, even though demand has certainly been impacted by the much weaker job market, supply has fallen even more,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “Prices, as a result, are going up at the time that we’re in, in this very deep crisis.” 

In May, the median price for all existing home types notched up 2.3 percent to $284,600, marking 99 straight months of yearly gains, the NAR reported. According to Realtor.com, in the third week of June, median asking prices grew at an annual rate of 5.6 percent, surpassing their pre-coronavirus pace. 

“The increase in prices is fairly universal across most markets,” said Ratiu. 

But not all cities have experienced price spikes.

A viral hot spot for months, New York City, for instance, saw the median sale price in its spiffiest borough, Manhattan, decrease about 18 percent in the second quarter, the largest annual slump in a decade, according to a joint report by real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman and real estate appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel.

In fact, median asking prices in May fell in all five boroughs, with the highest drop approximately 5 percent in Manhattan, according to Realtor.com. 

The deflated home values rest on the backdrop of record low sales, which were a mere half of their year-ago number of 2,730. This is the most pronounced decline in 30 years of record-keeping. 

The real estate industry in the city, though, only formally reopened in the second half of June with agents optimistic about a slow but steady recovery and even a silver lining for some home shoppers. 

“For people who have been trying to move to Manhattan for a while and felt it’s so expensive, there’s some opportunity now for them to buy something they can afford,” said broker Lisa Lippman with Brown Harris Stevens. 

– – –

Betsey Rider, who works in luxury goods sales and lives in Annapolis, and her husband, who is retiring this December, readied to sell their four-bedroom house, rebuilt a decade ago, later this year so they could move to a warmer climate. 

But in the early days of the pandemic outbreak, three homes in their neighborhood of about 250 residences came on the market – and didn’t stay long. 

“They sold within days,” Rider said. “I was shocked by that. At first, I found it really interesting that people were still house hunting.” 

To tap the current demand and to evade any uncertainties down the road, the Riders decided to list the property. In early May they met with Hall, the Annapolis-based real estate agent, on a Saturday to discuss selling. The next day, having already tapped his industry network, Hall called to say that there were buyers from Texas interested in the home. That Monday, after a day of cleaning, the Riders showed their still-unlisted residence via a video phone call. 

The offer followed quickly, a little under the $850,000 the Riders were going to ask. They accepted. 

“We were happy with the price and the fact that we never had to list the house and go through all of [that process],” Betsey Rider said. “There were a few things that we were going to do prior to putting the house on the market that we ended up not having to do.” 

The sale was completed in late June, after the Riders had already settled in a temporary rental before moving South. 

According to the NAR, nearly 60 percent of the homes sold in May found new owners in less than a month. While Realtor.com reported slightly longer lead times, the company anticipates those spans to shrink as home buyers pick up the pace of making offers in competitive markets. 

The Pierreponts, the first-time house hunters in the Washington area, experienced that quick tempo first-hand. After several homes they liked vanished to other fast-to-act shoppers, the couple in early June made a successful offer on a house in Deale, Md., about 30 miles east of the District, that had been for sale for a week. Asking $610,000, the residence sits on 1.7 acres and features a chicken coop, enough for the micro garden and farm the couple had dreamed of. The Pierreponts planned to close on the property on Saturday.

“We will still be able to work in Washington, D.C., and follow a career path,” Pierrepont said. “It gave us the best of both worlds in that sense. A longer commute is a small price to pay for having more usable land.” 

– – –

The Pierreponts are among the many buyers who are leaving cities for the suburbs, secondary metropolitan and rural areas. While this exodus underlines Americans’ search for privacy amid the health crisis, it is in large part enabled by the rapid adoption of work-from-home arrangements that a number of companies have said would last beyond the pandemic. 

“I believe that this is a permanent change,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the NAR, about the movement to the suburbs and away from densely populated hubs. 

Redfin found that a record 27 percent of searchers on its website in April and May looked to relocate, mainly to small towns from large cities. 

For instance, New Yorkers have flocked to Florida and Southern California, where properties are generally larger and cheaper. Yet even local buyers in these states are searching for bigger, more remote homes. 

“Even though Los Angeles is not a dense city compared to the vertical city that is New York, our local wealthy people are trying to get out to Laguna, Santa Barbara, Malibu, even Palm Springs,” said Ernie Carswell, luxury real estate agent with Douglas Elliman. “They’re buying beach homes. They’re moving farther from our populated areas.” 

Cities such as Austin, Indianapolis and Des Moines are welcoming out-of-state home shoppers. Even second-home enclaves and resort towns like Aspen, Colo., are experiencing heightened demand. 

“What we are seeing now is a huge uptick [in interest] in properties that are more rural and away from Aspen,” said Raifie Bass, real estate agent with Douglas Elliman. “So a farm or a ranch or a gentleman’s ranch properties that have a little bit more space. That market is stronger than it’s ever been. We’re seeing full-price offers on properties that have been on the market for a long time.” 

Suburban and small-town markets are typically cheaper, but Ratiu said the ballooning interest in them would likely push prices up.

– – –

While the U.S. housing market is entering an invigorated summer season, characterized by low mortgage rates, rising home values and steep competition among home shoppers, uncertainty still shrouds the outlook for late 2020. 

Even if some predictions point to a V-shaped coronavirus recovery, some forecasts, including Realtor.com’s, say the rebound would actually look like a W. Home selling and purchasing naturally slow down during the colder months, but factors such as a rise in new coronavirus cases and prolonged unemployment would exacerbate any seasonal declines – and soften home values. 

“One of my biggest concerns is a second outbreak of the coronavirus and a second lockdown, which will be completely demoralizing, create more economic damage and people will remain unemployed for much longer,” said Yun. 

UK’s Kew Green Hotels expanding to SE Asia with 7 properties in Bangkok #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

UK’s Kew Green Hotels expanding to SE Asia with 7 properties in Bangkok

Jul 09. 2020


Kew Green Hotels, a leading UK hotel management company with over 55 hotels in its portfolio, is expanding to the Southeast Asia market through a joint venture with Siamese Asset.

The new entity, Siamese and Kew Green Management Company Thailand, is launching seven properties in Bangkok, four of which are under the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts brand umbrella.

Kew Green Hotels has also chosen Bangkok as the location for its commercial hub for Southeast Asia.

Confident in Thailand’s position as a world-class tourism destination, Siamese and Kew Green Management Company Thailand will launch four hotels and branded residences in the heart of Bangkok in early 2021: The Wyndham Queen Convention Centre, Wyndham Garden Sukhumvit 42, Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Sukhumvit 48 and Ramada by Wyndham Sukhumvit 87, with an additional three properties in the pipeline.

Meanwhile the commercial hub will integrate proactive and reactive sales, marketing, analytics and revenue management, to support the company’s increasing hotel portfolio in the region, providing a consolidated approach to deliver growth.

 Kew Green Hotels CEO Chris Dexter

Kew Green Hotels CEO Chris Dexter

“As a growing company, this milestone reflects Kew Green Hotels’ broadening expertise in the international hotel market and reputation for operational excellence, strong commercial awareness and industry leading profit delivery,” said Kew Green Hotels CEO Chris Dexter.

Siamese and Kew Green Management Company was founded in February as a joint venture Company between Kew Green Hotels UK and Siamese Asset in Thailand. It is a third-party management company cooperating with IHG, Hilton and other global brand companies under a Brand Franchise Agreement.

Bangkok condo supply in Q2 sees sharp fall of nearly 80 per cent #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Bangkok condo supply in Q2 sees sharp fall of nearly 80 per cent

Jul 04. 2020


There has been a sharp decline in the number of new condominium projects in Bangkok in the second quarter of 2020, according to a Colliers International Thailand survey.

The survey said only five projects were launched in the Bangkok area, offering 1,206 condo units worth Bt2.6 billion, 79.5 per cent lesser than the 4,674 units in the previous quarter. Net supply of condo units in Bangkok in the first six months of 2020 was only 7,086, 61.9 per cent lower than the 11,499 units in the same period last year.

The survey also revealed that the investment value in the condo market in the second quarter also dropped by Bt13.62 billion year on year. It estimated that the total condo supply in 2020 might not exceed 25,000 units, which could be the lowest in the last 10 years.

Colliers International said the reason behind this trend is that major developers are reducing the construction of new condominiums and switching to horizonal projects in rural areas, especially in the Eastern Economic Corridor.

“Many companies also revealed that they will not introduce new projects this year in order to dispose of unsold units in finished condo projects,” said the company.

“Furthermore, the current economic recession due to the impact of Covid-19 outbreak is not a suitable moment to debut a new project.”

Dull debenture market forces property firms to take bank loans, pushing costs up #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Dull debenture market forces property firms to take bank loans, pushing costs up

Jun 26. 2020


Property companies are facing problems in issuing debentures in the second quarter, and are having to take loans from banks, which will push up their costs.

Debentures of six property companies – Ananda Development, Land & Houses, Pruksa Holding, Quality Houses, Sansiri, and Supalai – worth a total of Bt23 billion were due for redemption in the second quarter of this year.

Samanun.Polsomboonchok, Capital Nomura Securities’ senior analyst, informed that new debentures worth a total of Bt8.6 billion were issued to repay the ones due for redemption. Bank loans had to be taken to redeem the balance debentures.

“This shows that the debenture market this time is not in a bright situation,” he added, mentioning that using bank credit this way would increase the companies’ cost. However, the cost this time was not that high as the interest rate has come down.

Samanun said that the debentures of three other companies – AP, LPN Development, and SC Asset Corporation – in addition to the earlier mentioned six companies worth a total of Bt67 billion were due for redemption in 2020.

Long-term debentures total Bt51.2 billion, but companies need to pay back Bt22.5 billion in the second half of this year.

Samanun added that the last quarter was of the most concern for those companies, since assistance from banks would reduce, after numerous companies used their financial credits before.

“However, the government can give the property companies a helping hand by buying the investment-graded debentures,” he said.

The debenture market is expected to recover in the first quarter of next year.

Nevertheless, the current situation was not as severe as in 1997, since the interest rate was low and the companies have spread the risk by joining with foreign companies.

The most concerning ones were small companies, because they did not have the financial capacities of the big ones, he added.

Bangkok’s serviced apartments weathering the storm #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Bangkok’s serviced apartments weathering the storm

Jun 24. 2020Pimpanga Yomchinda, vice president, Investment Sales Asia, JLL Hotels and Hospitality GroupPimpanga Yomchinda, vice president, Investment Sales Asia, JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group


Thailand’s hospitality industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and Bangkok’s serviced apartments are no exception.

However, a recent study by property consultant JLL shows serviced apartments have generally fared better than hotels in current and past crises.

The global property consultant expects the pandemic to boost the growing trend for mixed-use formats offering hotel rooms and serviced apartments in a single development, as well as continuing interest from local and regional developers in developing standalone serviced apartments.

JLL’s study monitored international grade hotels and serviced apartments across Bangkok between January and April 2020. Findings from the study show that over 80 per cent of the city’s serviced apartments remained open at the end of April, with the average occupancy rates declining by 30 per cent year-on-year.

During the same period, most hotels across the city were shut down and those that remained open saw occupancy rates drop by nearly 50 per cent year on year, many into single digits.

“While the ongoing tourism market slump has forced the majority of hotels across Thailand to close their doors in order to lower their fixed costs, most of the Bangkok’s serviced apartments have remained open to serve long-stay guests,” said Pimpanga Yomchinda, vice president, Investment Sales Asia, JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group.

“Tourists or short-stay guests represent a smaller demand source in Bangkok’s serviced apartment sector. Though we have seen serviced apartments shifting their guest acquisition strategies by increasing the portion of short-stay guests in recent years, long-stay guests, most of whom are expatriates, have remained their top source of demand. This explains why the serviced apartment sector has felt relatively smaller impact from the Covis-19 pandemic than hotels that rely more on short-stay demand from tourists,” she explained.

JLL’s study indicates that, historically, the average distribution between short- and long-stay guests in serviced apartments has been 25:75 with a gradual shift in recent years to 40:60.

On the other hand, the majority of hotels do not have long-stay guests. While majority of traditional hotels do not target long-stay guests, there has been a recent trend in hotels expanding into extended-stay market, notably Bangkok Marriott Hotel the Surawong and the upcoming Novotel Living Bangkok Sukhumvit 34.

Alex Sigeda, vice president, Strategic Advisory & Asset Management, said: “With core demand from long-stay customer base, serviced apartments have proven to be more resilient than other hospitality segments in the time of crisis. A similar pattern was witnessed during past events had major effects on Thailand’s tourism industry, such as the great flood in 2011, political unrest in 2013-2014 and the baht appreciation in 2019.”

While the Covid-19 crisis has led to many “new normal” in the hospitality industry, JLL expects the pandemic to also accelerate the emergence of a hybrid accommodation development format that combines hotel and serviced apartments.

“As investment asset classes, serviced apartments and hotels have their respective advantages and disadvantages. The former generally offers a more efficient and stable operation that keeps the operator relatively safe in a down market. The latter generally offers more yielding opportunities during periods of high demand, given a more flexible inventory without long-stay offerings,” said Sigeda.

To help bridge the gap between these two models, regional and global operators have been introducing a number of hybrid options into their brand stables, focusing on short-stay demand, while still reserving a portion of their room inventory for the long-stay segment, according to Pimpanga. “We expect this trend to grow further as operators have realized complementary advantages of the two accommodation types. Among the recent examples in Bangkok are Staybridge Suites Thonglor by IHG and the upcoming Lyf Sukhumvit 8 by Ascott.”

Market snapshot

In the basket of hospitality developments that JLL monitors, there are over 90 serviced apartment developments with more than 9,500 rooms across Bangkok, accounting for 7.5 per cent of the city’s combined stock of serviced apartments and hotel rooms.

While many of these developments are unbranded, a large number are managed by international and domestic operators such as Marriott International, InterContinental Hotel Group, Ascott, Oakwood, Onyx, Chatrium Hotels & Residences, and Jasmine Group.

Wealthy havens lure homebuyers in ‘mad rush’ from San Francisco #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Wealthy havens lure homebuyers in ‘mad rush’ from San Francisco

Jun 09. 2020
The Golden Gate Bridge is seen from the dining room of a 15,000 square-foot custom built home on Belvedere Island in Marin County, Calif., on Dec. 19, 2012. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris.

The Golden Gate Bridge is seen from the dining room of a 15,000 square-foot custom built home on Belvedere Island in Marin County, Calif., on Dec. 19, 2012. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris.
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Sophie Alexander · BUSINESS, PERSONAL-FINANCE, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS 

Katrina Kehl warned her clients not to expect many offers on their $1.7 million home in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. They were, after all, in the middle of a pandemic and economic collapse.

They ended up with 13 bids.

“We took offers at four o’clock and they just started rolling in — now we’re at seven, now we’re at eight,” said Kehl, a real estate agent with Compass. “At 4:15 I got one, at 4:24 I got another.”

Across the San Francisco Bay area — home to some of America’s earliest and strictest shelter-in-place rules — demand for real estate is soaring in outer suburbs and wealthy havens known for their gorgeous landscapes. From affluent Marin County to Napa wine country and south to Monterey’s Carmel Valley, brokers say the coronavirus outbreak is leading to a surge of interest from homebuyers looking to spread out.

“I’ve never seen the demand higher for Marin County real estate than when covid-19 hit,” said Josh Burns, an agent with Sotheby’s International who has been in the business for about 20 years.

Like New York, where Manhattanites fleeing the city have fueled newfound interest in tony suburbs, San Francisco is flush with people with the means to upgrade to more spacious areas. The tech companies that drive the region’s economy are also signaling a long-term acceptance of remote work, raising the prospect that there’s little need to live close to offices.

But the rush to move also shows the growing divides in a region where real estate is already out of reach for many residents, with the median house price in the Bay Area approaching $1 million. Relocating isn’t an option for lower-income people who have been among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus. In San Francisco, expensive neighborhoods have emptied as residents escape during virus shutdowns, while the Tenderloin, an area known for its large homeless population, has hundreds of tents.

“This is an example of another way the most advantaged, the most affluent have isolated themselves from this latest crisis,” said Patrick Sharkey, a sociology professor at Princeton University who focuses on urban inequality. “It’s a very small segment of the population that has another home that they can go take off to.”

After real estate deals initially fell off with shelter-in-place orders, last month saw a resurgence in interest. The suburban and rural areas around the Bay Area had the biggest rebound, while contracts in San Francisco and Oakland’s Alameda County were well below where they were in 2019, according to data collected by Patrick Carlisle, Compass’s chief market analyst for the Bay Area.

In the wine growing regions of Sonoma and Napa Valley, it’s been “an incredibly brisk season,” said Ginger Martin, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s who concentrates on the high end of the market.

“There’s a mad rush to get out of the city,” Martin said. “What I’m really doing well with right now is anything that’s turnkey.”

One of the Napa properties she listed — a $10.85 million, four-acre estate built this year with one acre of planted sauvignon blanc next to the backyard swimming pool and spa — was snapped up within hours of the buyer’s tour of the home.

But there’s also demand among more typical homebuyers. Justin Housman and his wife had been looking to leave San Francisco for Marin County before the virus hit. As they were sheltering in place with their one-year-old, finding a more spacious home took on more urgency. They found the market very different from when they first started their search.

Homes “would have like 12, 13 offers — it’s incredibly competitive,” Housman said of his hunt in the Marin County town of Fairfax. “Our realtors are just like, ‘we’ve never seen this.'”

They ended up turning to the rental market instead, eventually landing a property that had 15 applicants, Housman said.

What’s unclear is if this type of demand is a short-term trend to escape the virus, or a signal of a more pronounced shift from dense cities to the suburbs. In Marin, houses like the one Kehl is selling in Mill Valley are typically primary residences, she said. It varies more at the higher end, where purchasers tend to be second-home buyers.

Ed Glaeser, an urban economist with Harvard University, said he expects cities to be resilient so long as the virus proves to be a short-term aberration. “If this becomes a regular thing, then by all means, having a large suburban home is going to become very attractive relative to having urban space,” he said.

Cities are also now affected by protests roiling the country in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. The unrest may further delay a recovery in the appeal of urban areas, said Deniz Kahramaner, the founder of data-focused real estate brokerage Atlasa.

In the Bay Area, demand may be more about changing work habits. Tech employees who have spent months working from home may continue to do so for the foreseeable future. San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. has said employees can work away from the office forever, while Facebook Inc. expects as much as 50% of its workforce may be remote in 10 years.

Silicon Valley agent Elaine White said homebuyers are expanding beyond the areas close to tech campuses that made the location so convenient in pre-virus times. She has one client looking in the Carmel Valley and Napa and Sonoma areas, and another searching for a second home near Lake Tahoe. On a sales meeting with about 75 Coldwell Banker coworkers, White said brokers were hearing from people that they wanted larger houses with bigger lots.

“Buyers are all putting a larger emphasis on features like distinct home offices, special outdoor spaces, access to open space and if it’s within their budget, things like swimming pools,” said Marin County’s Burns. “Having a far commute to San Francisco is less of an issue right now than I’ve ever seen it before.”

Developer Sansiri raises presales target to Bt35bn after strong performance #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Developer Sansiri raises presales target to Bt35bn after strong performance

Jun 04. 2020
Srettha Thavisin

Srettha Thavisin

Property developer Sansiri Plc has upped its target for presales this year to Bt35 billion, from the originally targeted Bt29 billion, said president Srettha Thavisin.

The new target reflects growth of 67 per cent year on year from presales of Bt21 billion last year.

The revision was triggered by strong presales in the first five months of this year of Bt22 billion, up 168 per cent year on year.

Srettha attributed this strong performance to consumers’ confidence in the Sansiri brand and strong marketing strategies.

Housing developers fret over new tax on unsold units #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Housing developers fret over new tax on unsold units

May 30. 2020

The real estate sector Is worried about the impact of a new tax the government plans to levy from August 1.
Property firms have already suspended the launch of new projects in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.Under the Land and Building Tax Act BE 2019, more taxes will be collected from property projects with unsold units, impacting businesses and the property market.

The act aims to encourage the productive use of land and improve tax collection, as well as control the supply of condominiums and houses.

Developers are worried about the additional cost they will have to bear from unsold units once the new tax is levied.

Vichai Viratkapan, Real Estate information Centre acting director, said that unsold houses and new units were worrying. Unsold units in Bangkok and nearby provinces could increase to around 80,563 in 2020.

According to the act, units which are not sold within three years will be taxed at the rate of Bt3,000 per Bt1 million, or 0.3 per cent, of each unit’s price, he added.

“I will propose to the relevant agencies to delay the tax collection, in order to help those entrepreneurs,” he said.

U.S. new-home sales unexpectedly rose in April to 623,000 rate #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


U.S. new-home sales unexpectedly rose in April to 623,000 rate

May 27. 2020
A contractor stands on lumber scaffolding while working on a home under construction in the Norton Commons subdivision in Louisville, Ky.., on March 23, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett.

A contractor stands on lumber scaffolding while working on a home under construction in the Norton Commons subdivision in Louisville, Ky.., on March 23, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett.
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Prashant Gopal · BUSINESS, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS 

New-home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly increased in April after swooning a month earlier, suggesting the housing market is starting to stabilize.

Purchases of single-family houses climbed 0.6% from March to a 623,000 annualized pace, government data showed Tuesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a drop to a 480,000 rate of sales. The median sale price fell 8.6% from a year earlier to $309,900.

Even with the gain, sales are unlikely to rebound to pre-coronavirus levels, said Alex Barron, an analyst with the Housing Research Center in El Paso, Texas.

“We’re still trying to understand what is the new normal,” Barron said. “Is it sales down 20% from the 2019 level or down 40%?”

Mortgage rates near all-time lows may be starting to put a floor under the housing market, helping explain a recent increase in builder sentiment. At the same time, soaring unemployment and tighter credit standards may limit the strength of the recovery in housing.

Three of four U.S. regions showed stronger home sales in April than a month earlier, reflecting 2.4% gains in the South and Midwest, the Commerce Department’s report showed. Purchases climbed 8.7% in the Northeast and dropped 6.3% in the West.

The government’s data measure signed contracts to buy homes.

Australia housing not the one-way road to riches it once was #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Australia housing not the one-way road to riches it once was

May 24. 2020
Residential properties stand along a street in Brisbane, Australia, on May 7, 2019. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Ian Waldie.

Residential properties stand along a street in Brisbane, Australia, on May 7, 2019. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Ian Waldie.
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Emily Cadman · BUSINESS, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS 

For the past two decades, Australia’s housing market has mostly been a one-way bet on rising prices.

Now, with the effects of coronavirus shutdowns reverberating through the economy and the nation set for its worst recession in 90 years, the concept that owning property is a license to print money is under threat.

While the covid-19 pandemic has upended property markets from Canada to Singapore, Australia is more vulnerable than most to a housing slump. It has one of the world’s highest levels of household debt, the nation’s banks are heavily exposed to mortgage lending, and many mom and pop investors rely on income from rental properties, which are also under pressure.

“Australia’s had an obsession with residential property for a long time,” said Richard Holden, professor of economics at the University of New South Wales. “A lot of people have a lot of their wealth tied up in residential property. I’m pretty worried.”

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s largest home lender, estimates that under a short, sharp economic downturn this year followed by a quick recovery next year, house prices will fall 11% by March 2023. In the worst-case scenario of a prolonged recession, prices could plunge 32%.

That’s a marked reversal from before coronavirus hit, when house prices were back near boom-time peaks, having rebounded rapidly since a 21-month slump bottomed out in June. Longer term, home values have tripled since the turn of the century, propelling Sydney and Melbourne into the ranks of the world’s least-affordable places to buy.

To help avoid a calamitous decline, banks have rolled out a huge assistance package, with almost 430,000 borrowers given a six-month payment holiday. All up, banks have deferred AU$211 billion ($138 billion) of loans, including to businesses. Meantime, around 2.9 million workers are receiving government wage subsidies of AU$1,500 every two weeks.

That has helped avoid a flood of forced sales that could drag down the entire market. Property listings in Sydney are down 27% from a year ago, according to data provider CoreLogic.

Along with would-be buyers vying for a smaller number of properties, there’s other factors helping prop up the market. Interest rates are at a record low, and most of the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost are concentrated among younger people in low-income work like hospitality and retail, who tend not to be homeowners.

And after a brief pause during the height of social-distancing restrictions, open-house inspections and public auctions have restarted.

“The banks, and by extension the housing market, are fairly well firewalled at present, and it would take a lot to outweigh this,” said Tamar Hamlyn, co-founder of fixed-income investor Ardea Investment Management. “The most likely scenario is slowly lower prices in a low-turnover market, as in the absence of any forced selling it’s quite likely that the various buffers in place can prevent a shakeout for the time being.”

Still, even as Australia starts to emerge from the shutdowns, the after-effects will linger for years. The central bank expects unemployment will peak at 10% this quarter, be at 9% at the end of this year, and hold above 6.5% for the next two years.

And while banks are going all out to support existing borrowers, they are tightening the screws on new customers, placing less weight on variable income like bonuses and overtime when assessing borrowing capacity, and being ultra-cautious about people who work in hard-hit industries.

“Banks aren’t going to lend based on a ‘future return to normality,’ they will lend on the now,” said Redom Syed, the founder of mortgage broker Confidence Finance. “A major shock to lending markets is coming.”

Then there’s the sudden drying up of immigration, which has been one of the key drivers of house prices, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne where new arrivals tend to settle.

On a net basis, more than 470,000 immigrants moved to Australia over the past two years. Now, with borders shut and international travel unlikely to resume anytime soon, the government is forecasting immigration will slump 85% in the year starting July 1.

“Migration is going to the biggest feature of what drives housing market dynamics,” said Paul Bloxham, chief economist for Australia at HSBC, and a former central bank official. “We see weaker demand for owner-occupied property, weaker demand for rental property and weaker demand for property for students.”

Landlords are also facing an uncertain future. Unlike in the U.S. and Europe where big firms such as Blackstone Group and Vonovia own thousands of apartments, Australia’s rental market is largely a cottage industry of mom and pop landlords. For many, the monthly rent doesn’t cover their loan payments — and instead they count on tax breaks and price growth to turn a profit.

That leaves them in a precarious position if tenants can’t pay rent. While evictions have been suspended for six months, there is no financial support for renters, and instead the government has urged landlords and tenants to negotiate rent breaks themselves.

Meantime, tens of thousands of international students are stranded overseas, leaving their rental apartments empty, while the shuttering of tourism has seen AirBnB units flood back to the market.

“We are well aware of a surge in short-term accommodation now being advertised for long-term leasing,” said Louis Christopher, managing director at consultancy SQM Research.

Rents in Sydney have fallen about 6% from a year ago, and will decline further if high vacancy rates are sustained, he said. “That’s good news for tenants but a disaster for landlords.”

Then there’s the question of what happens later this year when the government and banks start to unwind the extraordinary level of support propping up the economy. With a household debt-to-income ratio of 187%, Australia is one of the most indebted countries in the developed world.

“That’s the cliff edge,” said Sarah Hunter, chief Australia economist at BIS Oxford Economics. “If the economic recovery isn’t established by then, there is the risk of a big stumble.”