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Real Estate in Africa and Beyond
News about real estate and mortgages in Africa, emerging economies and developed countries
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Madagascar: Services domaniaux - Une rencontre aboutit à une médiation

25 Juillet 2015 | Le ministre d'État Rivo Rakotovao a reçu les syndicats des services des domaines. Une médiation entre les syndicats et la direction générale est convenue. À la recherche d'un apaisement. Une table ronde entre le ministre d'État Rivo Rakotovao et les représentants des syndicats des services des domaines s'est tenue dans les locaux du ministère d'État en charge des projets présidentiels, de l'aménagement du territoire et de l'équipement, hier à Anosy. Le ministre demande aux syndicats des employés des domaines de reprendre leur travail tout en procédant à une négociation. Une demande à laquelle le syndicat semble encore réfléchir. Selon Vonjy Razafitsimba, président du syndicat des contrôleurs du service foncier, « nous ne pouvons pas encore prendre la décision de reprendre le travail sans avoir l'avis des employés sur cette demande du ministre. Nous ne pouvons pas promettre au ministre que nous allons travailler après cette rencontre. Il a avancé le processus de négociation alors nous attendrons l'évolution des négociations entre les syndicats des employés des domaines et de la Direction générale ». Les syndicats des employés du domaine ont reconnu que les autorités ont répondu à une partie de leurs revendications mais demandent au ministre d'arrêter toute sorte d'intimidation qu'ils considèrent comme une entrave aux droits des syndicats. Lettre à revoir Rivo Rakotovao a pourtant précisé que « l'État ne pourra pas satisfaire toutes les demandes des syndicats. » Les syndicats insistent sur le cas de la deuxième lettre de politique foncière stipulant le titre comme seule pièce justifiant la possession d'un terrain, et que l'État, à travers les services domaniaux traite des dossiers concernant les demandes de propriétés privées de l'État dans le but d'assurer une véritable sécurisation foncière pour les ménages. Rivo Rakotovao a expliqué que « cette lettre de politique foncière est évolutive, qu'elle n'est pas une loi » et demande aux syndicats de ne pas trop exiger. Suite à cette rencontre, il a été décidé que les deux entités composées de la direction générale des services des domaines et les techniciens des services des domaines vont réviser la deuxième lettre de politique foncière. De plus, après sa rencontre avec le président Hery Rajaonarimampianina jeudi dernier, le syndicat des employés des services des domaines se dit satisfait, s'étant senti compris par le Président. D'ailleurs, le ministre d'État en charge des projets présidentiels de l'aménagement du territoire et de l'équipement a signalé qu'il enverra lundi un médiateur qui assurera la médiation entre la direction générale et les syndicats des employés du domaine.
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Dubai real estate a worthwhile investment: Merrill Lynch

Dubai real estate a worthwhile investment: Merrill Lynch | Real Estate in Africa and Beyond |
Dubai residential property market, previously envisaged to suffer from supply-demand mismatch, will benefit the most as the population is likely to more than double over the next decade and more jobs are being created, says Bank of America Merrill...


“Diversified economy, continued population growth and superior infrastructure investment will have positive impact on Dubai’s retail, hospitality and residential market,” the bank said in its new medium-term outlook report, “GCC 2020”.


Stating that the real estate sector provides a good exposure to growing consumer spending, mainly led by tourism and sizeable household consumption, the bank said: “We believe the key drivers of the Dubai real estate recovery will be: job creation, improved funding, and good execution of the ongoing diversification strategy away from hydrocarbon-related activities.”


The Dubai Executive Council has recently approved the new 10-year Dubai Urban Development Master Plan-2020. In it, the Dubai government reconsiders its real estate ambitions taking into account all aspects of residential, commercial and industrial infrastructure in the context of slower-than-anticipated population growth.


But prior to 2008, the land committed for mega projects had the capacity to accommodate nine million people by 2020. Officials, the bank said, have now revised this down to 2.9 million. “Dubai’s active population should grow by 6.1 per cent on average over the next eight years, faster than residential supply, which is set to grow by 4.9 per cent over the next two years – this is critical in terms of delivery units,” the report pointed out.


Jones Lang LaSalle said this week that only 3,000 new residential units were added to the market in the second quarter, taking the total inventory to around 344,000 units. Based on the estimates from developers, it said a total of 24,000 additional units are currently scheduled to be delivered in the second half of the year.

Last year, UBS, the biggest Swiss bank, said it estimated housing supply by end of 2011 to be roughly 360,000 with oversupply potentially at 150,000 residential units. But this was not the case as many of the projects were not completed on time or have been put on hold


Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency CEO Marwan bin Ghalitha revealed earlier this year that the emirate will be addition of only 16,000 new residential units in 2012.


Property prices in Dubai have been rising with established communities already witnessing the increase and higher demand.

This website reported before that the total value of real estate transactions rose by almost 22 per cent to Dh27 billion in the first half of 2012 compared to Dh22 billion same period last year. In 2011, Dubai Land Department recorded 35,297 transactions worth Dh143 billion a 20 per cent increase compared to 2010.


Dubai best for business


While the economy is recovering, arguably at a slow pace, Bank of America Merrill Lynch believes that Dubai is “one of the best GCC cities in which to develop business.”


Its relatively small population (2.1 million people) and the ambitious objectives of the major Dubai-based corporates mean job creation should accelerate and support the real estate market.

In March, Dubai Economic Development Department (DED) said it was planning to issue instant trade licences to investors under a new “120 days hassle-free licence” initiative.


The department said the scheme is aimed to give businesses in Dubai a head start and promote the emirate's competitiveness.

The UAE, earlier this year, improved its rank in “Ease of Doing Business” to 33 this year from 35 in 2011, according to the World Bank's annual Doing Business report.


Although the current working population in Dubai stands at 1.3 million, the emirate aims to create 950,000 new jobs by 2020, with retail, tourism and related sectors fueling growth.


Retail sale to grow


Dubai is recovering quickly from the economic downturn. Tourism, sizeable household consumption and ample retail space are boosting the retail sector.


Business Monitor International estimates that UAE retail revenue increased by 5.3 per cent in 2011 to $31 billion and forecasts that it will rise to $32.7 billion this year and $42.7 billion by 2015.

Based on this sales projection, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said it estimates Dubai retail sales growth of five per cent in 2011-20.

“Over the same period, retail supply is projected to grow by only 4.4 per cent, suggesting that retail market penetration will remain stable and positive for retailers,” the report said.


By Parag Deulgaonkar
Published Thursday, July 19, 2012

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China: In Rush to Build, Property Stumbles

China: In Rush to Build, Property Stumbles | Real Estate in Africa and Beyond |
After a spectacular rise, China’s real estate market is weakening, and that pullback is sending tremors through policy makers and analysts as they weigh the effect on the country’s economy.


By BETTINA WASSENER | Published: September 10, 2012

If you have not seen the famous Shanghai skyline recently, look again: You may be in for a surprise.


A new skyscraper has begun to appear on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River, joining the mass of high rises that have sprung up there since the area began to be developed in the 1990s. Once it is finished, in 2014, the Shanghai Tower, a twisting, glass-encased structure 632-meters, or 2,073-feet, tall, will dominate the skyline.


Projects like these have come to epitomize the meteoric rise of China’s economy and the breathtaking pace of the country’s transformation. From Kashgar in the far west to Guangzhou in the southeast, property development has shaped cities and landscapes, creating tens of thousands of high-rise buildings, millions of jobs and many a multimillionaire in the process.

At least 10 percent of China’s gross domestic product comes directly from the construction and real estate sectors — far more when the industries that supply them and the consumption linked to the purchase of homes are taken into account, analysts at GK Dragonomics, a research firm in Beijing, wrote in a recent report.

Internationally, they added, construction in China has accounted for more than 40 percent of the growth in global demand for steel and 10 percent for copper.


No wonder, then, that any signs of weakness in the sector send shivers down the backs of analysts, industry executives and policy makers alike.


“The property sector is a pillar industry for the Chinese economy,” said Li-Gang Liu, an economist in Hong Kong for Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. But now, he added, it is “the weakest link in the Chinese economy.”


The current problems are twofold. Property prices have fallen in many cities since Beijing sought to cool a red-hot market in 2010 by imposing higher down-payment requirements, among other measures. At the same time, many analysts worry that a flood of investment into the sector in recent years could leave some developers holding empty properties, and lenders saddled with bad debts.


Of course, the picture across this vast country is varied, with tight conditions in some places and oversupply in others. In many top mainland cities, places like Beijing or Shanghai, a typical household must pay 15 to 20 times its annual income for an average apartment, said Andy Zhang, managing director for China at Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate services firm. Such multiples, he added, are well above the international average.

An index tracking residential prices in Hong Kong, compiled by the Centaline Property Agency, hit its highest ever level in late August.

Similarly, some of the highest office rents in the world can be found in Beijing and Hong Kong, with Hong Kong’s Central district easily leading the pack, according to research by the real estate services firm CBRE that was published in July.


“In cities such as Beijing and to a slightly lesser extent Shanghai, there is still a shortage of high-quality new supply, as well as strong end-user demand for commercial property,” said Chris Brooke, the China chief executive of CBRE.


What worries some analysts now is the hangover from an investment binge that resulted from Beijing’s efforts to prop up the economy after the 2008 financial crisis.


Lower interest rates, ample bank lending and infrastructure spending helped China to weather the global downturn. But they came with an unpalatable side effect: rising property prices, which put new homes beyond the reach of many ordinary Chinese. That situation is worrying for a government highly sensitive to anything that could fan social discontent.


Moreover, analysts say large amounts of cash flowed into construction projects that were conceived more with an eye to vanity than to financial returns.


Buffeted by changing interest rates, rising supply and a slowing economy, property prices have seesawed over the past two years, and policy makers are engaged in a delicate balancing act aimed at cooling the sector without crushing it.


On the one hand, Beijing wants to forestall another price bubble, and has been resisting the temptation to loosen some of the restrictions it put in place in 2010.


On the other hand, low prices spell trouble for developers that over-invested during the stimulus binge of 2009 and 2010 — often into office blocks and retail spaces in smaller cities such as Urumqi, Guiyang or Ordos, where China’s overall growth is perhaps not yet generating the demand needed to fill the space. “In the near term there is a big risk of oversupply in second- and third-tier cities,” said Mr. Zhang of Cushman & Wakefield.


The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said in a recent report that Chinese real estate developers “headed into 2012 facing record-high debt maturing within 12 months and a liquidity drain.” Sliding sales and tricky refinancing conditions sharpened the pain, putting financially weak players at risk of defaulting, it added.


Moreover, explained Patrick Chovanec, who teaches business at Tsinghua University in Beijing, housing restrictions merely shifted buyers’ attention away from a handful of first-tier cities toward cities in the provinces. Many developers started building luxury condos and villas in the countryside — in other words, properties that do not address the demand for affordable housing.


Such misallocations, Mr. Chovanec said, are hard to fix, and could result in wider problems for the Chinese economy. Real estate is a major driver of the investment and lending that underpin overall growth, he said, so weakness here spells trouble.


Longer term, however, there are some grounds for optimism.

For one thing, “there’s a strong cultural desire in China to own real estate,” said Mr. Brooke of CBRE. “It’s something that you can touch and feel, it feels safe.”


For another, China’s rapid urbanization continues to attract floods of migrant workers from poorer, rural areas, as well as foreign investors, to cities like Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai, creating a seemingly insatiable appetite for affordable housing and prime commercial space. “The urbanization trend will take another 20 to 30 years to play out,” said Mr. Zhang of Cushman & Wakefield. “This helps underpin fundamental confidence in the housing market.”


Standard & Poor’s said it was starting to become “less negative” on the sector’s for 2012. “The overall outlook for the sector is mixed,” the agency said, “but we see some bright spots emerging.”

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Dubai Investment arm may relaunch Mirdiff Hills project

Dubai Investment arm may relaunch Mirdiff Hills project | Real Estate in Africa and Beyond |
DIRC studying plans to build 5-star hotel in Maritime City...


Dubai Investments Real Estate Company (DIRC), a subsidiary of publicly- listed Dubai Investments, is planning to re-launch the Dh2-billion Mirdiff Hills project and develop a five-star hotel in Dubai Maritime City, Emirates 24|7 can reveal. “We are thinking of launching phase one of the Mirdiff Hills project since designs are already approved by the authorities. “We are also studying plans to build a 5-star hotel in Maritime City, where we have do own a plot,” revealed Obaid Mohammed Al Salami, General Manager, DIRC.


However, he refused to give a timeframe on when these projects would start.


Mirdiff Hills, which is registered with the Dubai Land Department, is the only freehold development in Mirdiff. The mixed-use development, comprises 680 apartments, 380 offices and 129 retail outlets.


In July 2009, Khaled Kalban, Managing Director and CEO, Dubai Investments, had told this website that the Mirdiff Hills project was on hold and investors were refunded in full.


In December 2011, Dubai Maritime City had announced that six projects will be carried out by six developers in Dh2.5 billion, 121-hectare business district development, with work expected to begin on sit by the end of 2012.


Of late, recovery in the Dubai realty sphere has driven a number of developers to launch new or re-launch their old, approved projects.

Nakheel and Emaar Properties are leading the bunch, having launched two new projects, while Pacific Venture, as reported by Emirates 24|7 last month, became the first company to acquire two projects in Jumeirah Village under the Dubai Land Department’s Tanmia scheme.


Tanmia is an initiative which aims to restart stalled project though public-private partnership.


Over 100 projects are currently being reviewed under the scheme.

Al Salami believes that the Dubai property market has finally bottomed out and prices are stabilising. “The market volatility is over. The market is stabilising and will gradually go up,” he stated.

DIRC has over 2,250 apartments, 100 warehouses, two office building and more than 3,000 labour-camp rooms under its management.


Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a global property consultancy, said on Sunday that the residential market in Dubai “looks to have bottomed out.”


It said villa prices registered an increase of 21 per cent, while apartments remained flat, year-on-year, while maintaining a buoyant view on the realty market, it added that rents and prices will continue their upward trend during the remaining of 2012.


By Parag Deulgaonkar
Published Monday, July 16, 2012

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