Hong Kong banking expats endure relatively austere times in living quarters
Image credit: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg
With dwindling expat packages, foreign bankers in Hong Kong are saying goodbye en masse to marble Jacuzzis and The Peak balconies.
Bloomberg reports that Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has seen a halving in the number of foreign financiers with corporate packages who are seeking residential leasing and relocation services.
According to JLL, 54 percent of their expatriate clients in Hong Kong had monthly rental allowances of less than HKD30,000 (USD3,860) a month for the first quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, only 7 percent of clients benefited from allowances starting at HKD100,000 (USD12,880) a month.
Companies are now wont to pay for quasi-expat packages with a less expensive housing subsidy or salary adjustments instead, Bloomberg reports.
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These upheavals are occurring as Hong Kong grapples with falling housing prices – a level unseen since the deadly SARS epidemic of 2003 – and worsening job cuts.
Real estate agency Executive Homes Hong Kong Ltd observed that its partners now subsisted on cash packages from HKD80,000 (USD10,300) to HKD100,000 (USD12,880), as opposed to previous offers of HKD150,000 (USD ).
On 17 May, a large residential government site in Tai Po, Hong Kong sold for HKD4.02 billion (USD517.54 million ), or just HKD3,620 (USD470) per sqft, the South China Morning Post reports. For comparison, a residential site in Shanghai’s Pudong district overshot expectations and sold for CNY5.45 billion (USD828.45 million) the day after.
Meanwhile, Barclays Plc has eliminated hundreds of Hong Kong-based jobs since January.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Bloomberg reports that international fashion houses and global multinationals are still known to offer expat execs with packages as high as HKD300,000 (USD38,620).
Hong Kong’s average monthly household income is HKD24,800 (USD3,190).
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RISMEDIA, May 16, 2011—Men and women may indulge in the joys of shopping, but when it comes to financing the biggest purchase of their lives, neither is a shop-a-holic. That’s because, according to a new survey from ING DIRECT USA, 56 percent of people buying a home do not use the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) for its original purpose—to shop around and compare mortgage offers.
Despite the federal government’s multiple revisions to the GFE to make it easier to understand and comparison shop for mortgage estimates, 70 percent of homeowners chose a mortgage provider without doing any personal research beforehand, the survey says. The GFE clearly states that consumers should “compare this GFE with other loan offers, so you can find the best loan.”
“The Good Faith Estimate is one of the most crucial documents a homebuyer will receive before making the biggest purchase of their life,” says Arkadi Kuhlmann, President and CEO of ING DIRECT USA, the nation’s largest direct bank. “If it is too complicated and not being used to help homeowners find the right mortgage for them, then the GFE is just a waste of three pieces of paper.”
New Look GFE Still Complicated
The Good Faith Estimate itself could be partly to blame for homeowners’ lack of enthusiasm to comparison shop for a mortgage. Even after the federal government’s attempt to streamline the GFE, more than one in three (36 percent) homeowners described the GFE as being “complicated” or a “waste of time.” Although some homeowners described the GFE as being “simple” or “easy to understand,” 68 percent of homeowners surveyed were unable to correctly identify, for example, the purpose of the Title Services charge on the GFE. Additionally, 53 percent of homeowners spent 30 minutes or less reading and reviewing the GFE. One in ten (11 percent) homeowners never reviewed the document.
Clear up Home Buying Confusion
To bring clarity to the mortgage process and help educate consumers about the value of shopping for a mortgage, today, ING DIRECT introduced Clear Orange —a website and online tool designed to demystify and simplify the Good Faith Estimate.
Clear Orange makes the costs associated with the GFE easier to understand by simplifying technical mortgage jargon, highlighting which mortgage costs are unavoidable and distinguishing between fees based on a home’s purchase price.
Visitors to the site have the option of printing out an easy to understand Good Faith Estimate explanation that they can use while reviewing their own GFE. This document breaks down the technical terms found in the GFE. Additionally, Clear Orange walks users through a step by step tutorial of closing costs that explains why they are charged and who charges for them.
“On average, homeowners ranked buying a home as being more stressful than changing jobs, getting married or having kids,” says Kuhlmann. “Buying a home should be exciting, not stressful. We hope Clear Orange will clear up some of the confusion about buying a home.”
For more information visit www.ingdirect.com.
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Are you working with clients purchasing a short sale or foreclosure? David R. Leopold, Owner of Pillar to Post Home Inspection in Fairfield County, Conn., gives us insight into handling these situations.
Q: What advice should I give clients when purchasing a short sale or foreclosure?
A: Start by telling your clients two things: 1) a professional home inspection is recommended, and 2) don’t rush the process. If the transaction timing doesn’t allow it, move on to the next house.
Buyers get so overwhelmed by the emotional aspect of the purchase that they sometimes check their good sense at the front door, which is why a professional home inspector should be consulted.
Many bank-owned properties force homeowners to view the property without utilities in service, which is a waste of time and money. It’s also incredibly risky for the potential buyer. There are many reasons why showing a dormant house is a bad idea. If the pipes are frozen behind the walls, the buyer will never know it. If the angry former owner drilled pinholes in the supply pipes or put concrete in the drains, the buyer will never know it. With no water, home inspectors can’t tell if the boiler or water heater leak.
With no power, home inspectors can’t see or test anything. It seems obvious, but it’s a point often lost on over-eager buyers who want to rush forward with the inspection before they lose a great deal on a distressed property.
Additionally, a professional home inspector will find costly defects some would consider relatively routine. Take, for example, evidence of a buried underground oil storage tank.
Most potential homeowners also don’t have access to a moisture meter or an infrared camera. Home inspectors know how to find the saturated sheetrock walls in a basement that a desperate short-seller painted over. Beyond simple property damage and unexpected expense to waterproof a leaky basement, there may be threats to the buyer’s health, such as mold.
Home inspectors have the equipment to detect the problem and test the indoor air quality to make sure clients are safe. For example, clients may notice stains on the carpet and walls, but they haven’t been trained to recognize the remains of a drug factory.
Consider the sequence of events that takes place before a property goes into foreclosure or short sale. A buyer pays too much for a house. Like most people, they then want to make some improvements. Many are young and have relatively little home improvement experience or skills. Some are not particularly savvy when it comes to looking at a home as an investment. After over-paying for the property, they compound their mistake by over-paying for improvements. As the reality of their financial situation begins to sink in, they start taking shortcuts. Don’t subject clients to these types of properties. Be sure to recommend a home inspector so they feel safe and confident while making that emotional decision. Make sure the client knows what they are buying.
For more information, visit www.pillartopost.com.
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I love golf. Growing up in the Buffini household, it was almost a religion. Each of us kids was introduced to the game by our dad, George, and every summer we’d receive a handful of balls that were to last us until fall. If you lost one, you’d better find one.
Golf is a game that tests you in so many ways; one minute you’re having the game of your life, and the next, you’re thinking about taking up a different sport. Some days, the harder I try, the worse it gets. And then it happens: I hit one incredible shot and get a glimmer of hope that keeps me coming back. Just like real estate…one good sale and we keep coming back for more.
The Importance of Feedback
Today’s professional golfer is not just a great golfer, but a great athlete, as well. Every top golfer in the world has an entourage of coaches and experts working day and night to help them perform at their highest level.
We all need feedback. We need to know when we’re doing the right things, and when we’re drifting off track.
In 2015, the average real estate agent earned just over $42,000. In 2015, Buffini & Company Coaching members earned over $336,698*—that’s eight times the national average. In fact, last year, a staggering one out of every eight homes sold in the United States was sold by an agent who was coached or trained by Buffini & Company.
What’s the difference between our members and other agents? Are our members luckier? Do they have thousands of friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter?
The difference is, just like great golfers, great real estate agents seek accountability to help them master the fundamentals. Buffini & Company members have this accountability in their coaches who provide the feedback we all need. The challenge in today’s world is that we often look to technology to take the place of the fundamentals we need to be successful.
Mastering the Fundamentals
Golf has made more advances with technology than any other sport. The thing is, the average amateur golfer’s score hasn’t improved in 30 years—it’s still 100 shots.
In real estate, we have all the gadgets and tools we need to succeed: the Internet, social media, smartphones, GPS systems, virtual online tools and more people living here today than 30 years ago. However, the average REALTOR® still only handles about 11 transactions annually. Regardless of the advances in technology, the outcome is the same.
The best golfers in the world say, “I’m working on my grip, my posture, my tempo.” When you talk to a Buffini & Company member, they say, “I’m networking and building relationships, writing my notes, making calls and setting goals—I just work the system.” In both cases, they’re working on the fundamentals.
To improve, you have to know what you need to do—and do it. Technology doesn’t work unless the fundamentals are in place.
If you want to raise your game, we have coaches and staff here to help. Take Peak Producers® to master the fundamentals, or sign up for a great event like Brian Buffini’s Success Tour or MarTech Trends. Whatever you decide, we can help you become the best that you can be.
Here’s to your success, on and off the course. Tee it high and let it fly.
*The only business coaching numbers that are tracked and verifiable
Dermot Buffini is CEO of Buffini & Company, North America’s largest real estate coaching and training company, which has helped over three million sales professionals in 37 different countries improve their business, increase net profit and enhance their quality of life since its founding in 1996.
For more information, visit http://buffiniandco.com.
An outside-the-box company has decided to enter Bangkok’s resilient luxury condominium market
Craft paper maker Panjapol Fibre Container has announced plans to launch a high-end condominium project in Phloenchit worth THB1 billion (USD27.99 million), to be undertaken by its real estate arm Panjapol Property, a company founded in 2014 when Panjapol Fibre Container acquired the land on Phloenchit.
Chotivit Tejavibulya, managing director of Panjapol Property, told media that the company is entering property development because demand in the high-end condos remains strong even with Thailand’s economy struggling. It was also noted that this represents a new opportunity for the business which has had success in other markets.
“We will apply experiences from housing development in the high-end market of Singapore’s Sentosa to develop a residential project in Bangkok,” Chotivit explained. “We will focus on the high-end market and the central business district area.”
Prices in the Ploenchit area have increased dramatically in the past few years. Prices are now THB2 million (USD56,000) per square wah, up from the THB1.5 million (USD42,000) level they were at earlier in the decade.
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Craft Ploenchit will be the company’s first project. The eight-story condo will be constructed on a 387 square wah plot of land on Soi Nai Lert. There will be a total of 90 units and prices will start at THB200,000 (USD5,600) per sqm.
The company’s property business also has two office towers for rent: United Center on Silom Road and the Esso building on Rama IV Road. Panjapol Property has a number of shophouses for rent in Bangkok as well and currently has four properties in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The company’s property business also has two office towers for rent. These are the United Center on Silom Road and the Esso building on Rama IV Road. Panjapol Property has a number of shophouses for rent in Bangkok as well and currently has four properties in Singapore and Hong Kong.
However, paper is where the company made its name. Panjapol Fibre Container is one of the biggest paper makers in Thailand boasting a production capacity of more than one million tonnes each year. Its profits from paper-making allowed it to create a real estate subsidiary and buy the land in Bangkok’s CBD.
This article originally appeared on DDproperty.com on 27 May 2016.
Rising interest rates, damage caused by dodgy tenants, and personal problems that kill your real estate focus are just some of the issues that can derail your property investing success. But being prepared to cope in a crisis can make all the difference, as Sarah Megginson reports