Viewing posts from : May 2016

Dangerously Unaffordable Vancouver
May 31 / Property

Dangerously unaffordable Vancouver

If you’re looking for a property investment opportunity, then here’s one you should jump on fast, or maybe wish you’d have invested in a few months back. Vancouver real estate is currently red hot, as property prices rise 20-30% year on year. But read further, and it may be riskier than you first thought.

The bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, Canada’s is the greatest example of a beautiful and lively city. Ethnically diverse, surrounded by mountains, with thriving art, theatre and music scenes, it is no wonder property is rocketing.

But it isn’t all good. The Royal Bank of Canada has gone on record to declare Vancouver as ‘dangerously unaffordable’, and the city has become the least affordable in North America. Great investment opportunities aside, the impact in the long term can actually damage the local economy as residents and young people are pushed out due to high prices.

As foreign investment ploughs into the city, causing pricing to surge and having the aforementioned effect of driving out the local residents, the city is going to see continued bad press and the negative effects continue to gain the spotlight. So, would you still invest, or is the bubble about to burst? Discuss on Twitter, we’re @ElevationComms.

May 27 / Marketing, Property, SEO, Websites

How do online real estate agents work?

Those who have sold a residential property recently may have noticed an alternative to their regular realtor when searching for the best companies to go with. This alternative is the online real estate agency – and that means no physical location or window shopping. Queue mass uncertainty.

We are split in the Elevation office about which is better, online or traditional. And mostly, when working out the pros and cons, it is a little of column A, a little of column B. They both have their benefits. But today, we’ll focus on why online real estate agencies can be beneficial.

Firstly, let’s take their nature into account. For someone to visit a property on an online portal (in the UK this would usually be Rightmove or Zoopla) then they must have some sort of intent already. Whether they are just seeing what is available, or looking to buy, they are one step further than the opportunist at the shop window of a traditional estate agency.

But since traditional agencies can also place a property on these portals, the benefit of using an online agent is lost. So why are people turning to these online companies in droves?

In a word. Fees. Yes, it comes down to money, as always. An online business can break the mould. Not only do they have fewer overheads, but an online business can be set up for very little, experiment with new business models, and pivot at a moment’s notice. This reduces their costs – by improving profit margins and reducing overheads, they can help customers by charging less. See a full list of what they charge on Which?.

Take Purple Bricks, the industry leader in the UK, for example. They charge a flat fee of £798 or £1,158 in central London. Seriously – just £1,158 in central London, for any size property! This is a hell of a saving, and can mean £10,000s in savings for customers. Of course, you are relying solely on online traffic, and forgoing the local knowledge and the customer base of traditional agents, so we’re betting the sales may take longer in less demand driven areas.

In addition, you do not have the benefit of an experienced valuer who visits your home and can give an accurate assessment of market value. Traditional agencies will also take care of the photography and the required EPC ratings. They are also on hand for qualified advice and help with the subsequent negotiation process. In all, that’s a lot to lose.  

But there are companies that merge the two practices. EweMove, for example, is an online agency that uses the traditional percentage fee model, but with a lower fee than most traditional agents charge. For this, you get premium listings in major online portals, as well as local advertising in the area for which the property is sold in.

So, while the benefits are debatable – lower fees, but perhaps less local knowledge, help and qualified advice, we fully expect this industry to continue disrupting the property selling industry. What do you think? Let us know on Twitter @ElevationComms.

May 27 / Marketing, Property

How much of London property is owned by offshore companies?

It will come as no surprise that a lot of property in London is owned by persons and companies not from the UK. As the world’s leading financial city, it is a global entity, and will bring global investment as a result. But have you ever wondered how much of London property is owned by offshore companies, specifically?

Well, now we have the answer. As a result of the heightened interest in offshore companies, and frustration by the UK public of the tax haven benefits they receive, more news is coming out, this time focused on property in London.

Foreign-registered property inforgraphicIn a report by The Guardian, it is revealed that 40,000 properties are now owned by offshore companies. This is a 9% increase, in the last year, and shows no stopping due to the recent negative press. The heart of London, Westminster, is coming out on top, with 10% of property in the area owned by companies set up in tax havens.

This might get you wondering about the rest of the UK. While London is the beating heart of global opportunity, the whole of the UK is a property opportunity for investors. Take a look at this full breakdown of offshore owned property across the UK (infographic by The Guardian).

These are some big figures, and likely to shock a great deal of the general public. It showcases the real need for investors to consider PR not just following investments and for ongoing reputation management, but when choosing which investments to make.

If you need help with PR, reputation or crisis management, get in touch – our PR experts can help.

Real Estate Roundup May
May 25 / Property

State of the Real Estate Market: May 2016

While the worldwide economy is no longer in a big dip, and house prices continue to remain steady or show signs of growth, we still live in fairly uncertain times. The real estate market changes globally every second. So here is our whistlestop tour of this month’s’ news from around the globe.

Let’s take it easy

Good news, real estate prices are increasing. Bad news, very slowly. In Europe in particular, growth is sedate, rather than rushed. But this could be seen as a positive sign. We wouldn’t want to rush into things now, with cheap loans and subprime mortgages would we? No, who would ever want to do that..

In terms of year on year growth, 35 of the world’s most important cities saw an average price increase of 3.6%, according to research by Knight Frank. The stand-out performer was Vancouver, seeing a massive 25% rise, whereas on the opposite end of the scale, Taipei suffered from a 7.6% decline. Whoops.

China really likes the US

Even if it isn’t reciprocal, Chinese investors are in love with the USA right now. A recent report shows that Chinese nationals have become the largest foreign buyers of US property, pumping over $110 billion into the market over the past 5 years. This is set to double over the next 2 years too.

The investment is not just in housing either, with significant interest in commercial property too. Overall, it is estimated that the Chinese investment has significantly helped the US market recover from the crash in 2008.

EU Referendum Looms

No one is quite sure if the UK will exit the EU, or stay put. Whatever your opinion, it is difficult to predict what will happen to UK property prices after the EU Referendum.

International Monetary Fund manager Christine Lagarde has claimed that it was possible the economy would shrink in two consecutive quarters and impact the housing market. The potential for panic amongst investors could see a downward spiral in the property market, it is claimed. This was also echoed by George Osborne.

On the other side of the argument, Evening Standard journalist Simon Jenkins, doesn’t believe it to be true. He states that in London specifically, the housing market is too complex for large macroeconomic factors to have any influence.

Either way, interesting times are ahead!

Trump Called It

A final, small, note. In 2007, Donald Trump predicted the housing market collapse and even looked forward to it. Apparently.

India Property Opportunity
May 25 / Property

The India Real Estate Opportunity

Recent years in the Indian property market have been tough. Faced with slow demand, you would hardly say that the country is an ideal real estate investment opportunity.

However, things look to be on the up. A recent report has found that the struggle looks to be ending. The economy is recovering and the regulatory environment has become less murky. As we stand right now, India is the world’s fastest growing economy.

One unique element of developing in India is the weather and in particular, the monsoon period. If the monsoon is worse than expected, then it has a large impact on productivity. It is much harder to complete a big task, let’s say create a new retail investment when there are 500,000 lightning strikes. It can be extremely dangerous.

On the flip side, a recent lack of rain over the past two years has seen weak agriculture results, leading to a lack of property demand. In 2016, this is set to change. The more rain, the higher demand.

Further backing up the theory that India is the place to invest, more than 40% of expats living in the UAE are buying more property back in India, new research has found. “43% of the respondents opted to invest in Indian real estate so that they could build profit on it”. The southern Indian city of Mangalore fast emerging as a favoured destination. Meanwhile, over in the US, Fremont, Portland and Seattle will be holding their first ever Indian property shows.

Finally, to really hammer home our point, Bain & Company are predicting that demand in India for real estate will growth by 9% each year up until at least 2020. With existing property owners staying in a holding pattern, demand is starting to outstrip supply. The market is sat there, waiting to be taken advantage of. So, when it comes to your next move, don’t forget about India.


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