News Alerts. Oct. 17, 2013. Evening Edition. #RealEstate

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  1. Thailand buyers disappointed as environmental requirements hit condo supply | Property News News Alerts. Oct. 17, 2013. Evening Edition. #RealEstate

    Buying in Thailand? Make sure the developer is likely to get an environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval for his project – or your money will be returned after a delay, at best.

    … of 301 condo projects proposed in 2102, only 98 managed to get EIA approval.

    Source …

  2. IMF cautions Dubai: property prices rising too fast | Property News News Alerts. Oct. 17, 2013. Evening Edition. #RealEstate

    “In the next year or two, we will see a definite correction in prices. Real estate, with all due respect, is a cycle business,” added Lee [Robert Lee, CEO, Bahrain Bay].

    The authorities have already doubled the transaction tax from 2% to 4% to discourage flippers.

    Source …

  3. Higher Down-Payment Requirements Coming in November

    On November 16, Fannie Mae will implement scheduled changes to its automated underwriting system (DU or “Desktop Underwriter”). DU is used by lenders to approve loans, and several of the changes will make it harder for some borrowers to qualify. These include tougher debt calculations for Adjustable rate loans; a complete removal of interest-only options; a maximum loan term of 30yrs (instead of 40), and stricter requirements for down payments, increasing the minimum amount from 3% to 5% of the loan balance.

    Ted Rood goes on to explain the differences with Fannie Mae, which is looking much more competitive as a result of all the tightening at the FHA.

    Source …

  4. Las Vegas property prices are still rising, causing investors to lose interest | Property News News Alerts. Oct. 17, 2013. Evening Edition. #RealEstate

    … the value of Las Vegas homes is outpacing the rest of the country. And most investors have begun to look elsewhere.

    A year ago at least 50 institutional investors were buying houses in Las Vegas, says Steve Hawks, an agent for Platinum Real Estate. Now, he says, there are only three main buyers in the area.

    Along with taper-talk, government shutdowns, high unemployment, and low wages, etc., this is how bubbles are averted, at least for awhile.

    Source …

  5. Hong Kong Home Prices to Fall Up to 25%, Bank of America Says – Bloomberg News Alerts. Oct. 17, 2013. Evening Edition. #RealEstate

    When they pop a real-estate bubble in Hong Kong on purpose, they don’t kid around.

    Hong Kong home prices will fall as much as 25 percent from their peak as housing supply increases and the possibility of rising interest rates grows, according to Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit.

    Prices will drop 5 percent this year and another 15 percent in 2014, Raymond Ngai, a property analyst, told reporters at a briefing in the city today. He declined to give forecasts beyond 2014. UBS AG said yesterday that it expects prices to decline 5 percent in 2013 before dropping 15 percent to 20 percent next year.

    Leung [Leung Chun-ying, Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] doubled the stamp duty on all property transactions above HK$2 million ($257,914) in February. He also has imposed a 15 percent extra tax on non-resident buyers and raised minimum down-payment requirements for some mortgages.

    Source …

  6. COLUMN-Real estate and the new tax landscape | Reuters

    The higher tax could have a larger impact on people who own vacation homes or rental property – they cannot take advantage of the big exclusion for sale of a primary home.

    Owners of investment properties get to reap tax savings by deducting depreciation each year. But when they sell they have to “recapture” the value they wrote off and pay a 25 percent tax on it. For example, a landlord who bought a house for $700,000, wrote off $150,000 in depreciation, and then sold it for $1.3 million would have a total gain of $750,000. But that gain includes two pieces at different rates: $600,000 at the 15 percent capital gains rate, and the $150,000 depreciation recapture at 25 percent, for $127,500 in tax. What about the 3.8 percent tax? If we assume the landlord is single and has $100,000 in other income, he’s now over the threshold by $650,000, meaning an extra $24,700 in tax – as would be the case if the gain came from other investments.

    In addition, those with investment property may be able to postpone paying taxes with what’s known as a like-kind exchange. In such a deal, one piece of real estate is swapped for another “like-kind” one (residential real estate, for example, cannot be swapped for unimproved land). That may let you defer taxes until you sell the final property in the chain.


    An intriguing way for real estate investors to avoid the new 3.8 percent tax is to claim status as a real estate professional.

    Source …