in In The News


Hi, everyone! Today’s In The News section is all about real estate. Read on to find out which country is the world’s most lucrative commercial property investment destination and where Chinese and Middle Eastern investors are putting their money. All of this and more!

  • South Africa’s Commercial Properties Have the Best Returns on Investment

Total returns on South African retail, office and industrial buildings reached a six-year high of 15.3 percent in 2013, making South Africa the most lucrative commercial property investment destination out of 16 countries worldwide that have released results so far, according to a report in BusinessDayLive. The U.S. was the second-best performing real estate market reported so far for 2013. The other 14 countries that have reported results all had less than 8-percent returns. (AFK Insider)

  • Middle Eastern Investors Pour Money into London’s Property Market

Middle Eastern investors are getting more bullish about London’s property market and accounted for 17 percent of total investments in the sector last year, up from 7.5 percent in 2012, property advisor CBRE said in a report. The UK capital recorded around $44.2 billion worth of transactions in 2013, with the Middle East contributing roughly $7.5 billion. Overall, Middle Eastern investors recorded their highest-ever annual total of European real estate investment with nearly $13.7 billion worth of transactions in 2013. (Gulf Business)

  • Latin American E-Commerce Giant to Acquire 2 Real Estate Sites

The Latin American e-commerce giant MercadoLibre has acquired VMK, a holding company that owns two major real estate websites. MercadoLibre, based in Buenos Aires and traded on the Nasdaq, will reportedly pay about $40 million in a cash transaction for 100 percent control of VMK. Often referred to as the eBay of Latin America, MercadoLibre is seeking to maintain its dominant position in e-commerce in the region against a flurry of younger and more specialized companies. The deal will give the company control of two well-established sites: in Chile and in Mexico. (NY Times)

  • Chinese Real Estate Buyers Fan Out To Long Island’s North Shore
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Last Wednesday saw a deal closed that could be the biggest so far this year on Long Island’s North Shore from a Chinese investor—a deal worth a whopping $17 million. Barbara Candee, high-end director at Daniel Gale Sotherby’s International Realtors, is again courting a Chinese buyer. The client from mainland China is eyeing a nine-acre property in Nassau County’s Mill Neck, with an exquisite, 14,000-square-foot house that “looks like a castle.” While Manhattan real estate remains the hottest destination on the East Coast for Chinese cash, Long Island has gained significant traction in the past two years. Kevin Brown, a Sotheby’s broker, says at least 20 of his Chinese clients requested to look at properties on Long Island last year—just a couple years ago, barely anyone had an interest. (Forbes)

  • Phnom Penh Makes Top 5 of Knight Frank Real Estate Index

Phnom Penh has earned one of the top spots in a new report tracking prices of residential and commercial real estate across the region. The Knight Frank Asia Pacific Prime Asia Development Land Index has determined prices of prime residential and commercial (office) development land in 13 major cities across Asia. Knight Frank sees Southeast Asian cities experiencing strong price growth, with Phnom Penh among the leaders of the pack. Southeast Asian markets are seeing the fastest price growth for prime development land, with Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Penh accounting for four of the top five cities in terms of price growth. (The Phnom Penh Post)

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Here are our summaries of noteworthy news events of the week. Today, we turn the spotlight on Japan as the country braces for its first sales tax hike in 17 years. To offset its impact, Japan’s biggest banks have agreed to raise salaries for the first time in 19 years. The world’s third largest economy also anticipates a rise in travel demand when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games in 2020. Find out what its biggest airline is doing to prepare for the big event.