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Posts Tagged ‘London’

[London Calling] ‘Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel’ New Development Edition

June 9, 2014 | 10:41 am |

mikemulliganss

I read Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel nearly every night to my 4 sons when they were younger (probably an unnecessary qualifier). It was also my favorite children’s book as a kid.

As it turns out, this story preempted current London construction methodology (h/t boingboing.net).

So, many of the squares of the capital’s super-prime real estate, from Belgravia and Chelsea to Mayfair and Notting Hill, have been reconfigured house by house. Given that London’s strict planning rules restrict building upwards, digging downwards has been the solution for owners who want to expand their property’s square-footage.

mikemulligandig

This trend reflects the appraisal concept of highest and best use for the equipment despite the inherent wastefulness. Does it make sense to leave the equipment in the basement? With all the concern in the US about below grade empty oil tanks and the environment, I wonder how this practice is allowed, cost effectiveness aside.

Given the exceptional profits of London property development, why bother with the expense and hassle of retrieving a used digger – worth only £5,000 or £6,000 – from the back of a house that would soon be sold for several million? The time and money expended on rescuing a digger were better spent moving on to the next big deal.

You really need to read the book.

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Safety First: Explaining Flood of Asian Investors Into Western Real Estate

March 15, 2014 | 12:50 pm | kflogo |

This is a good interview with Alistair Elliott, senior partner and chairman at Knight Frank by Josh Noble of FT about the buying binge of Asian investors in many major global cities like London, Vancouver, Sydney and New York City…”mature financial cities.”

Institutional investors come first, then developers and then private investors. The phenomenon is at it’s very early stages.

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Luxury Real Estate as the New Global Currency

November 18, 2012 | 5:46 pm | delogo | Articles |


[click to read article]

Over the summer Camilla Papale, Douglas Elliman’s CMO asked me if I would present something about the state of luxury real estate for their Elliman Magazine (and iPad app!). The finished result contained 3 parts:

  • I wrote a brief piece about the influx of international demand as high end consumers were seeking a safe haven from the world’s economic problems. I called the piece: “LUXURY REAL ESTATE AS THE WORLD’S NEW CURRENCY” This post’s title was my working title which I also liked.
  • Plus I did a little research on housing prices across the globe using Knight Frank’s resources and
  • I moderated a discussion on the subject with Dottie Herman, President & CEO of Douglas Elliman, Patrick Dring, Head of International Residential at Knight Frank, and Liam Bailey, Head of Residential Research at Knight Frank. They all provided great insights to the subject.

Here’s the full piece in Elliman Magazine . I’ve inserted a portion of the presentation below in 2 parts:

LUXURY REAL ESTATE AS THE WORLD’S NEW CURRENCY

Since the beginning of the global credit crunch in 2008, luxury real estate has morphed into a new world currency that provides investors with both a tangible asset and a cachet that cannot be found within the financial markets. It’s as if these emboldened investors zoomed out of their local Google Earth view to discover the wider global perspective on luxury real estate.

HOW DID WE GET HERE? The US dollar has weakened in the years following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the onset of the global credit crisis. The S&P downgrade of US debt in August 2011 from its benchmark AAA rating brought a flood of investors into US financial securities. That meant that our currency allowed us to buy less abroad, and the strength of other currencies provided international buyers with large discounts when purchasing property in US dollars. But it went further than that.

THE RISE OF LUXURY REAL ESTATE AS A “SAFE HAVEN.” The volatility of global financial markets and the resulting political fallout shook investor confidence, which in turn spurred a rise in foreign buyers seeking a safe haven to protect their assets. A wave of international buyers from Europe, South America, and Asia entered the US housing market, helping set record prices and revive luxury markets including New York, The Hamptons, and Miami.

SUPPLY-DRIVEN DEMAND. The luxury real estate market has become defined by the supply of available properties. While demand has remained constant and elevated, inventory has become a critical variable, particularly at the very top of the market, where surging international demand for one-of-a-kind properties has surpassed the limited supply. The resultant record-breaking sales of “trophy” properties have enticed more owners of luxury homes to make them available for sale.

THE RISE OF THE “TROPHY PROPERTY.” The trophy property has become a new market category that does not follow the rules and dynamics of the overall marketplace. One stratospheric price record is being set after another, and it is not only the list prices that are defining these record sales; the rarity of location, expanse of the views, quality of amenities, and the sheer size of these unique homes have all played an important part in attracting the interest of foreign buyers.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Driven by the global credit crunch and political instability, the two factors that are expected to remain unchanged for the next several years, the US luxury housing market is expected to remain a “safe haven” for foreign investors for quite some time.

A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE COMMERCE OF GLOBAL LUXURY REAL ESTATE

I sat down with Dottie Herman and our friends across the pond, Patrick Dring, Head of International Residential, and Liam Bailey, Head of Residential Research at Knight Frank, to chat about the state of real estate in the prime markets across the globe and the rise of a foreign investment phenomenon.

JONATHAN MILLER: Douglas Elliman has a broad coverage area that includes some of the most affluent housing markets in the US. Are you seeing any short-term issues that may influence luxury investor decisions over the coming year?

DOTTIE HERMAN: At the end of this year, we may see a repeat of the consumer behavior we saw at the end of 2010 when US capital gains tax rates were expected to rise. Ultimately, the rates did not increase, but many consumers in the luxury market took preventative action before the potential tax increase and raced to close their sales by the end of 2010. Despite the ups and downs in the quarters that followed, the luxury housing market was not adversely impacted in the long-term.

JM: Paddy, according to Knight Frank’s Global Briefing blog, housing prices in central London are up sharply, but the pace of growth appears to be slowing, perhaps because of the new stamp duty (a tax on properties priced at £2M–the equivalent of $3.15M–or more). What does this mean for the luxury market?

PADDY DRING: In short, the £5M ($7.85M) market is up year-on-year. The new stamp duty on property sales above £2M seems to be having an impact only on the band just above the new £2M threshold. Foreign demand remains high and, notably, we have sold to over 62 different nationalities within the last 12 months. They are less affected by the changes in stamp duty, since the rates in London are still in line with many other European countries.

JM: Dottie, your firm has sold a large number of luxury properties this year, despite a lukewarm economy and tight credit conditions. Record sales and listing prices are becoming nearly commonplace and a significant portion of this demand for luxury real estate is coming from abroad. Do you see this developing into a long-term trend?

DH: It’s certainly been a year of records and I do think we are embarking on a period where luxury real estate has the potential to outperform the rest of the housing market. Several of the markets that we cover, Manhattan and Miami in particular, have been firmly established as highly sought-after international destinations. As much as we fret about how slowly our economy is recovering, the US has proven itself as a “safe haven” for many international investors who are concerned about the turmoil of the world economy and political stability. Luxury investors from much of Europe, Russia, Asia and South America have been buying here at the highest pace we have seen since the credit crunch began.

JM: Liam, the US is seeing a higher-than-normal influx of real estate demand from foreign investors who seem to be focusing on the upper end of the housing market. These investors are well represented from Europe, Asia and South America. Are you seeing the same phenomenon when it comes to luxury properties in the UK? What are the primary regions where this demand is coming from?

LIAM BAILEY: The focus of demand continues on London and its easily accessible suburbs. London is facing even higher global demand than New York, with the top end strongly led by Russia, Europe, Canada, and the Middle East, and demand in the new development investment market very much led by Asia.

JM: In the US, access to financing is a key challenge to domestic purchasers, including luxury investors. What are some of the key challenges facing your clients who are looking to purchase real estate outside of their own countries?

PD & LB: Financing remains a consideration for many, although mortgages are more available in many of the markets than people are led to believe. Of course, the property needs to be quality and in a core location and have a more conservative loan-to-value ratio, however, many of our clients purchase in cash, so they are more affected by market sentiment and, of course, liquidity if they need to sell unexpectedly in the future. Factors affecting market sentiment include the usual considerations, such as exchange rate, a stable political base, as well as a sound legal system that guarantees clarity of title and tax considerations. The latter of course is affecting not only the cost of acquisition (stamp duty), but also, in some countries, the cost of holding (wealth tax) and ultimately selling (capital gains tax). Access, infrastructure, and climate (if lifestyle-driven) all remain key, as do low crime rates as people become more aware of their privacy and personal safety.

JM: Since the beginning of the credit crunch, you’ve constantly stressed to your clients that the terms of a sale are just as important as the price of a sale, given the challenges of obtaining financing. How do international buyers fi t into this new world defined by tough lending standards?

DH: Despite mortgage lending in the US remaining tight, luxury markets in the areas we cover have improved quickly. I can only imagine how much stronger the US housing market would be if we saw credit ease to historically normal levels. International buyers tend to pay cash or obtain financing from their native countries, which has given them an advantage over many domestic purchasers. Combine the ability to pay in cash with both the weakness of the US dollar against many of their native currencies and a volatile global economy, and you can begin to understand why we are seeing a strong presence of international buyers in our markets. Like our friends at Knight Frank, these luxury investors are interested in our proven core markets that already have a large concentration of luxury properties. Overall, we continue to be excited about our market’s expanding presence in the global luxury housing market—there are many opportunities out there for this new international investor to explore.



Luxury Real Estate as the World’s New Currency [Miller Samuel (pdf)]
Luxury Real Estate as the World’s New Currency [Douglas Elliman]
Elliman iPad App [iTunes]

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Knight Frank Tall Towers Report Shows London With Similar Manhattan Height Premium

November 6, 2012 | 10:00 am | nymaglogo | Reports |

Knight Frank released their new report exploring the floor level premium in London’s high-rise residential developments with the coolest report name ever: Knight Frank Tall Towers Report 2012

While NYC has a taller residential housing stock than London but the premium per floor is similar. London shows a 1.5% increase in value per floor. My rule of thumb for Manhattan has been 1% to 1.5%, but closer to 1%. However we treat floor level as a different amenity than view and that’s probably the reason for the slightly larger adjustment in London. What’s particularly of interest is how much more the per floor cost of development is for higher floors:

Net to gross area ratios in tower schemes are lower, since the percentage of space taken up by the cores and service provision areas are comparatively high. This means that the effective revenue-generating 43% Uplift in construction costs per sq ft between the 10th and 50th floor.

I’ve explored the subject myself in New York Magazine and The Real Deal Magazine.



Tall Towers Report 2012 [Knight Frank]
Manhattan Values By Floor Level [Matrix/New York Magazine]
The cost of a view [The Real Deal]

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[Knight Frank] Economic Uncertainty Pushes Price of Luxury Bricks and Mortar Higher

November 4, 2012 | 8:00 am | delogo | Reports |


[click to open report]

Our friends across the pond at Knight Frank just released their Q3 2012 Prime Global Cities Index which our firm and Douglas Elliman in NYC and Miami contribute content to.

Miami was #3 after Dubai although that placement was exagerated by the drop in distressed sales in south Florida (and they will rise going forward). Still, Miami has come a long way in 2 years. Manhattan showed decline but most of that was attributable to the shift in mix to entry level sales as mortgage rates continue to fall to new record lows. However it’s quite interesting to look at Manhattan as more mundane a market than the super-luxury segment would suggest. Further proof that the top end is not a proxy for everything else.

Cities such as Dubai, Miami, Nairobi and London are increasingly considered investment hubs for HNWIs in their wider regions. In the wake of the Arab Spring, Dubai has been seen as a relative safe haven for MENA buyers while Venezuelan and Brazilian investors have looked to Miami to limit their exposure to domestic political and economic volatility.

HNWI = High Net Worth Individual

Here’s KF’s top line overview:

-Fifteen of the 26 cities tracked by the Prime Global Cities Index (58%) recorded flat or positive price growth in the year to September, but over the last quarter 20 of the 26 cities (77%) have seen flat or positive growth – indicating an improving scenario.
-The index now stands 18.7% above its financial crisis low in Q2 2009 with Hong Kong, London and Beijing having been the strongest performers over this period, recording price growth of 52.9%, 45.4% and 39.5% respectively.
-Five cities recorded double-digit price growth in the year to September; Jakarta, Dubai, Miami, Nairobi and London – a city from each of the five key world regions.



Q3 2012 Prime Global Cities Index [Knight Frank]
The Elliman Report: 3Q 2012 Manhattan Sales [Prudential Douglas Elliman]
The Elliman Report: 3Q 2012 Miami Sales [Douglas Elliman]

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[NYT Business Day Live] Luxury Real Estate As Art?

September 1, 2012 | 6:00 am | nytlogo |


[click to play]

I enjoyed the interview of James B. Stewart and Alexei Barrionuevo by Louise Story (best last name a reporter could ever have), on the topic of luxury real estate in the New York Times Business Day Live video series. Mr. Stewart (author of Den of Thieves – one of my favorite books of all time) penned “The Market for Real Estate Masterpiecesexploring the idea of high end real estate as art based on Alexei’s high end housing market coverage of the past year, including the $100M listing (including the upset interior designer), the $88M sale and the >$90M contract among others.

Here was my take on the “Art as Real Estate” angle in Mr. Stewart’s column:

“When people refer to their real estate as art, they’re really trying to say it’s unique, that it can’t be replicated.”

He said he’s seen the phenomenon not just in New York, but also Miami, London, Los Angeles and other markets where investors “are looking for safety in a world of turmoil and uncertainty.”

But, he said, “they’re confusing price with art. You’d think that titans of industry would be very individualistic about their acquisitions, but at the very top, there’s a herd mentality. You get one or two very large transactions that grab headlines and then it’s like a light switch goes off. In New York, this happened in the second half of 2010, and since then it’s been very intense. The size of what’s happening is unprecedented. How long can this go on? You see this kind of behavior and you have to wonder.”



New York Times Business Day Live August 31,2012 [New York Times]
Common Sense: The Market for Real Estate Masterpieces [New York Times]
Reaching for $100M [New York Times]
Other Luxury Real Estate articles by Alexei Barrionuevo [New York Times]

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Why “Pull From Air” (P.F.A.) Is An Appraisal Term, Pig v. Sheep Explained

July 23, 2012 | 11:41 am | nytlogo | Public |

This weekend I was quoted in the New York Times article “Shooting for the Moon” by Alexei Barrioneuvo which explored some of the crazy prices being asked at the top of the market. Appraisers come across list prices every day that have no rhyme or reason to them.

In providing this quote, I sort of felt like I was in the movie “Babe” which I saw with my kids years ago (admittedly, I liked that movie) sharing that “secret word” that Babe used to get the sheep to talk to him.

I explained the PFA phenomenon as follows:

Within the appraisal industry there is a term for listings based on loose associations to reality, he said: “P.F.A.,” or “Pulled From Air.” As Mr. Miller explains it, “Take the highest sale you can find and apply some methodology in a very subjective way to talk yourself up to this bigger number.”

At the high end of the market, sometimes this approach is successful, but in reality, it is more often successful in new development than re-sales because of the concentrated marketing effort in place and that it is “new” with no benchmark bias already established.

Another name for it (and I just made this up) could be “unprecedented pricing” or UP. Buildings like 15 CPW and One57 in Manhattan and One Hyde Park in London had no real comparable benchmarks and became their own market.


Shooting for the Moon [NYT Real Estate]
Babe (1995) [IMDB]

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[Interview] The Wealth Report 2010 Knight Frank, Andrew Shirley, Editor + Liam Bailey, Head of Residential Research

March 23, 2010 | 4:55 pm | kflogo | Podcasts |

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A Lot Of Professionals Are Crackpots

April 13, 2009 | 12:01 am | nytlogo | Podcasts |

crackpots

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[The Housing Helix Podcast] A Lot Of Professionals Are Crackpots

April 12, 2009 | 11:59 pm | nytlogo | Podcasts |

This week I reflect on the media explosion over Manhattan’s housing woes (A1 NYT version) and Nightly Business Report and some of the remaining gatekeeper thinking. While London is falling down but not as much, it’s time to revisit the word “recovery.” Bernanke said recovery in 2010. Technically it’s not a recovery when “L” or “J” shaped. I also recommend a great Inman story on non-experts and social networking.

Here’s whats new on The Housing Helix Podcast

A Lot Of Professionals Are Crackpots

You can subscribe in iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my new blog The Housing Helix. Don’t forget to share your suggestions and comments there.


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