At the end of 2014, there were 7,052,570 U.S. residential properties where the combined loan amount secured by the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property's estimated market value, representing 13 percent of all properties with a mortgage, according to RealtyTrac's newly released U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report for the fourth quarter of 2014.
Australia's residential property market fell below its long-term average on the NAB Residential Property Index in the fourth quarter of 2014. The index dropped seven points to 12 in the December quarter and sentiment weakened in all states. NAB’s chief economist Alan Oster said house prices are predicted to moderate because of rising unemployment, sluggish household income growth and affordability worries.“We are forecasting average house price growth of around 4 per cent over the year to end-2015 and 2 per cent over the year to end-2016,” he said.
Despite house price growth expectations weakening, rental yields were tipped to improve slightly.
An "initial business case" report prepared by consultants for the Department of Finance suggests that one of Sydney's last undeveloped headlands, Malabar headland, should be sold to developers. "The site is both surplus to Commonwealth requirements and ideal for improvement through cooperation with the private sector," the business case said, estimating future development would generate an investment of "up to $1 billion" during the construction phase alone. "The development could be a mix of land uses such as residential, commercial, special aged care, retail, community/government facilities such as childcare centres and libraries," it said. The headland is contaminated and would need to be remediated before being sold, which would cost between $A95 million and $A150 million. Any redevelopment plan would likely face opposition local MPs, Randwick City Council and community groups, who have all called for the headland to be protected. The previous Labor government planned to turn the area into a national park.
Foreign investors could lose interest in Oz in 2015
Credit Suisse researchers have identified a few possible surprises for Aussie investors in 2015, and among them is a decline in Chinese interest in Australian real estate. The bank says it's possible foreign investors will start to lose interest in the local housing market this year as the Chinese government could decide to make it harder for its citizens to get money out of the country, or buyers could simply turn their attention elsewhere.
A $100 million housing project with 550 residential lots averaging 400 square meters in Armstrong Creek, near Geelong, will be launched by Melbourne-based private developer ID_Land in partnership with Frank Costa's Costa Property Group. ID_Land acquired the 40 hectare site, which is located between Geelong's CBD and the Great Ocean Road, in 2010. The project will also feature a 3.5 hectare wetland precinct on the estate.
Research house AllianceBernstein say Australia's hot residential property market is on the cusp of a cooling period in 2015. The upswing phase of Australia's property market, which has seen Sydney house prices climb 30 per cent in two years, is likely to change over the next few months, according to Guy Bruten, Alliance senior economist for the Asia-Pacific region. The group says there's an
obvious impact on the Western Australian housing sector as Perth has already been underperforming, relative to Sydney at least, after outperforming dramatically through the commodity-boom phase.
A Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat report has revealed that there were 97 new buildings around the world in 2014 that measured over 200 meters tall, and the sum of heights across these buildings amounted to 23,333 meters. Both numbers were record-breaking. Australia's inclusions in the list were the Prima Pearl Apartments in Melbourne and Infinity in Brisbane. 74 of the 97 buildings were built in Asia.