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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.

May 17 / Property

5 stunning man-made islands

Land always retains its value. That’s because space is limited. But there are property developers who aren’t restrained by these limitations, and think outside the box – by creating land itself. Artificial islands are the result, and they look stunning.

Here we take a look at 5 of the most beautiful man-made islands in the world. In reverse order, we travel the globe looking at new, artificial wonders that prove architecture isn’t just about buildings, but the land they sit upon too.

5. Peberholm

# Peberholm

Peberholm is a small artificial island in the Danish part of the Øresund strait, created as part of the Øresund Bridge connecting Denmark with Sweden.

Interestingly, scientists predicted that nature would colonize the island and flourish on its own, without any human interaction whatsoever. As of June 2007, scientists from the Biological Society of Lund had registered 454 species of plants on the island.

4. Amwaj Islands

# Amwaj Islands

The Amwaj Islands are a group of man-made islands located in the Persian Gulf to the northeast of Bahrain.

The Islands contain residential, commercial,  hotel and retail buildings, as well as a marina. Other facilities include a school, university, hospital, fuel station, theme parks and a dining and café precinct.

3. The Pearl-Qatar

# Pearl Qatar

The Pearl-Qatar in Doha, Qatar, is an artificial island spanning nearly four million square metres. Once fully completed, The Pearl will create over 32 kilometres of new coastline, for use as a residential estate with an expected 18,831 dwellings and 45,000 residents by 2018.

2. Palm Island

# Palm Island

The Palm Islands are artificial islands constructed from sand dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf. For the precise shape of the island, sand is sprayed from dredging ships, guided by GPS, onto the required area.

Unfortunately, construction had a significant impact on the surrounding environment, resulting in changes to area wildlife, coastal erosion, alongshore sediment transport and wave patterns.

1. The World Islands

# World Islands

The World Islands are a set of artificial islands in the rough shape of a world map, located adjacent to Palm Islands.

Construction began in 2003, only to halt due to the 2008 financial crisis. Though 60 percent of the islands had been sold off to private contractors back in 2008, development on most of these islands has failed to continue.

So if you’re looking for a manmade opportunity, this may be the one for you!

May 16 / Design, Property

A look at Dubai’s newest project: the world’s tallest tower

Dubai is, once again, developing the world’s tallest tower. Of course, the Burj Khalifa, also based in Dubai, currently holds this title at 829.8 m (2,722 ft) tall. But the country is nothing but ambitious.

The latest project, Jeddah Tower, will be the first structure ever to reach the one-kilometre-high mark. In fact, it was initially planned to be 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) high, but the geology of the area proved unsuitable.

Jeddah Tower

The building is being created by Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the wealthiest man in the Middle East, and nephew of the late King Abdullah. This is handy, since the project is expected to cost $1.23 billion.

While Dubai continues to build real estate of truly epic proportions, it is interesting to note that, from a value perspective, marketers say prices for the new apartments start at over seven-times less per square foot than in prime central London.

And with this comes the question of investment. The credit agency Standard & Poor’s recently said it expects UAE real estate prices to continue sliding in 2016, highlighting lower oil, a stronger dollar and geopolitical tensions as reasons behind this prediction.

But there is of course no denying, the world’s tallest building, and first to reach a full kilometer, will always hold desire at spectacular proportions.

Best of Ted
May 13 / Design, Property

Best of TED: Magical houses, made of bamboo

Elora Hardy and her team in Bali create the most amazing homes out of Bamboo. A must watch TED Talk, she explains how they made such incredible buildings, incorporating amazing architecture and a process that involves making scale structural models out of the same material used to build the house.

Making serious engineering and art form, simply spend 10 minutes watching the video below and be inspired.

Leeds Kirkgate Market
May 9 / Property

Look up

Over time, things, buildings, and locations become part of the fabric. If you have lived somewhere all your life, or for a long time, it is easy to take things for granted.

I recently realised this when walking around Leeds, West Yorkshire. I focus on the shops, where I am going, trying not to get run over, what I’d like to eat etc. But, the other day, I looked up.

Leeds Kirkgate Market is renowned for a great bargain, excellent fish and small Japanese plants. But it turns out it is a stunning piece of architecture too. I have always been so focussed on what is inside, I have never paid proper attention to the very building the market sits in.

Just look at it. So at odds with the plain, boring, more modern buildings that surround it. Created in the 1800s, it is a truly magnificent building. I could stand there and take pictures of it all day, frankly. Now when I walk by, I tilt my heads upwards and take in the splendor. The building stands as a reminder of the rich history Leeds has to offer. It was the place where a little-known business called Marks & Spencer was founded, with a stall in 1884. It survived German bombs in 1941 and a raging fire in 1975.

In a way, it tells a story. A bland apartment building, does not. We should treasure and make the most of old building like this, not demolish and start again. Neither should they be turned into strange and largely pointless exhibits, but something actually useful that will be enjoyed by all.

Which leads me to the old BBC Television Centre, now converted into 5,000 new flats. Yes, it is nowhere near as old as Leeds Kirkgate Market, nor in my humble opinion, does it strike the same visual cord. But the design is no less dramatic or iconic. I’m very happy to see such a cool design still being renovated and put to good use.

So I urge you, to ‘look up’ the next time you visit any large town. Because whilst eating and shopping is great, there are many old treasures hidden in plain site. You never know, one of them may become your next property development.


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