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Source: MINGTIANDI, Oct 29 2016

Author: Cheyenne Hollis

Once again, Dalian Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin is China’s richest man with an estimated net worth of $33 billion. However, among China’s top property barons, it’s the prominent role of baronesses that makes the country’s real estate industry look like an advertisement for equal opportunity.

Of the six women to rank in the top 100 of Forbes’ latest China rich list, four owe their wealth primarily to the country’s real estate industry. The role of property in building fortunes for Chinese women outranks even the major contribution it has made to members of the rich list as a whole, where 19 out of the top 100 Chinese billionaires can cite bricks and mortar as a primary source of their riches.

Read more: http://www.mingtiandi.com/real-estate/agencies-people/girl-power-meet-the-richest-women-in-mainland-real-estate/

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Secondary home deals up

Source: The Standard, Oct 11 2016

The volume of transactions in the secondary housing market surged over the weekend from the previous weekend as endusers and investors showed more confidence in the sector’s prospects, analysts said yesterday.

Sammy Po Siu-ming, residential chief executive at Midland Realty, said 24 deals were transacted on Saturday and Sunday at 10 major housing estates that Midland tracks, more than double from just 11 transactions in the previous weekend.

Another sale and purchase agreement was struck yesterday, bringing the total over the holiday weekend to 25. “As the low interest rate environment is expected to continue for some time, many buyers took advantage of the long weekend to buy flats,” said Po. Centaline Property also recorded 23 transactions over the weekend, a substantial increase from 14 in the previous weekend.

Read more: http://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news.php?id=174995

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Hong Kong’s real problem is not shortage of homes, but affordability of homes

Source: SCMP, Oct 5 2016

Author: Jake Van Der Kamp

I greatly respect Richard Wong’s scholarship in housing matters but sometimes I think he should take a year away from that pristine university environment and become an estate agent in the trenches of the property market.

In my view the housing shortage is a misnomer and he has ignored interest rates, the real driving force of property prices.

First, that housing shortage. There is none. We had one in the 1970s when up to 20 per cent of the population lived in squatter huts. But thanks to public housing and a big private development push these squatter towns are now gone. With only a few scattered exceptions, all holders of permanent ID cards live in formal homes.

Yes, I recognise that some people live in squalid sub-divided flats. I am sorry for them but the large majority are migrants without permanent status. Our social services cannot bear full responsibility for everyone who takes a whim to moving here.

Read more: http://www.scmp.com/business/global-economy/article/2025354/hong-kongs-real-problem-not-shortage-homes-affordability

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Every day, thousands ride Earth’s longest escalator system

Source: BBC, Sep 29 2016

Author: Christopher DeWolf

It’s late on a Friday morning in Hong Kong and the call to prayer rings and drifts out from the century-old gates of the Jamia Mosque, merging with the mechanical click-click of another local landmark: the Central to Mid-Levels Escalator Link. It is the world’s longest outdoor escalator system, which connects Hong Kong’s central business district with the upscale residential streets of the Mid-Levels.

While many think of escalators as department store mainstays, in Hong Kong, they’re a go-to mode of public transport: The sprawling Mid-Levels Escalator Link shuttles over 80,000 commuters per day.

On this Friday morning, one South Asian congregant, dressed in a button-down shirt and slacks, says he takes the escalator to the mosque every week for Friday prayers. “It’s very convenient,” he says, before washing his feet for prayer.

Twelve hours later, it’s a different scene entirely. A roar of music and conversation escapes from the bars of Soho, a once-quiet neighbourhood that morphed into a nightlife zone after the link opened in 1993. People glide up the escalator as if on a carnival ride: pre-clubbing twentysomethings clutching cans of beer, well-coiffed cocktail types, weary office workers looking to forget their long hours of overtime.

The sprawling Mid-Levels Escalator Link shuttles over 80,000 commuters per day.

Hilly cities have always found novel ways to transport their citizens up inhospitable terrain. San Francisco has its cable cars, Lyon its funiculars (cable railways that scale cliffs). In recent years, South American cities like Medellín, Rio de Janeiro and La Paz have built aerial lifts to reach poor neighbourhoods high in the hills.

Hong Kong, however, was the first city to embrace the escalator as a form of public transportation — though its glory days as a transit solution may well be over.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20160929-thousands-ride-worlds-longest-escalator

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Australia’s first flat-packed, off-grid home could help solve housing affordability problem

Source: Domain, Oct 1 2016

Authors: Kate Burke, Nicole Frost

Australians could soon be able to build their own home in just a few days thanks to a flat-packed, off-grid house that could be the solution to housing sustainability and affordability.

The tiny home, which measures 13.75 square metres, arrives on the back of a trailer and can be put together by inexperienced builders using just a hammer and a drill.

Founder and architect Alexander Symes said the portable property, which he has described as “Ikea on steroids”, could act as a transitional housing product that bridges the gap between renting and home ownership.

Australia’s first flat-packed, off-grid tiny home is affordable and rethinks the way people live.

“We’re looking at a transitionary housing product to essentially take people who would always be left renting and give them an affordable property to stay in while saving for their first deposit,” he said.

The modular home, which is priced at $65,000, comes completely fitted out with a living room, bed, running water and bathroom and is completely self-sufficient, with solar panels providing electricity and running water sourced from inbuilt rainwater tanks.

Symes said the biggest challenge in creating a DIY flat-pack home was making sure the panels were light enough for a person to lift, but still structurally sound and weatherproof.

Big World Homes founder and architect Alexander Symes.

The Big World Homes, which are made of plywood and polycarbonate plastic, are designed to be placed on unused development sites or vacant land, where home owners or tenants can come together to create communities.

“We want to engage with councils and property developers to make better use of unused land that might not be going to be developed for years,” Symes said.

“The idea is that we could potentially engage with those land owners to create a temporary caravan park of sorts so that there is governance and procedures and effectively someone might rent a plot within that pop-up community for their tiny home.”

Read more: http://www.domain.com.au/news/australias-first-flatpacked-offgrid-home-could-help-solve-housing-affordability-problem-20160929-grry6h/

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