US: Final International Entrepreneur Parole Regulation Moves Closer to Publication

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has begun to review a final regulation that, as originally proposed, would allow up to five years of temporary stay, on a case-by-case basis, for qualifying foreign entrepreneurs who establish a U.S. start-up entity that has substantial U.S. investment and the potential for rapid growth and job creation.

The long-awaited international entrepreneur regulation was first announced in November 2014 as part of President Obama's planned executive actions to encourage innovation and support U.S. high-skill businesses and workers and was published in proposal form in August 2016.

Egypt plans to build new airport terminal

State-run Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation (Ehcaan) plans to establish a new terminal for Borg El Arab Airport, with a capacity of up to four million passengers a year, said a report.

The $150-million project is being funded by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), reported Amwal Alghad.

The company plans to start work on the new terminal by July next year, it added.

Dubai: Dubai's first 'water homes' feature in new $270m project

A $270 million (AED1 billion) marina development featuring the UAE’s first ‘water homes’ is to be built in Dubai’s Business Bay, it was revealed on Tuesday. Dubai Holding, through its real estate subsidiary Dubai Properties, unveiled plans for Marasi Business Bay, a 12 km waterfront scheme comprising shops, restaurants, a 1,250-berth marina and a park.

Dubai: Are rents in Abu Dhabi falling faster than in Dubai?

The cost of renting apartments appears to have dropped more in Abu Dhabi than it has in Dubai, at least according to the data compiled by one property analyst.

Leasing rates at residential buildings in the UAE capital have registered a 4 per cent decline on average since the beginning of the year until the end of February, according to real estate portal, which has about 1,000 property listings. In comparison, rents in Dubai went up by an average of 4 per cent during the same period, though overall rates remain cheaper compared to last year.

Egypt: Integrated residential project in eastern Cairo

Palm Hills Development Company, a leading real estate company in Egypt, has signed an agreement with the New Urban Communities Authority (Nuca) to develop an integrated residential project in eastern Cairo on a 500-acre area on a revenue sharing system.

The project, being co-developed with Egypt Ministry of Housing, is likely to attract investments worth over E£35 billion ($4.4 billion), reported the Daily News Egypt, citing the housing minister.

UAE: Abu Dhabi residential rents down on weak demand

The Abu Dhabi property market showed signs of fragmentation in the third quarter as average residential rental prices saw a slight quarterly decline with demand levels having weakened, said a report.

The average residential market rentals saw a marginal decline of around one per cent quarter on quarter, whilst maintaining around two to three per cent growth over the past quarters, stated global real estate consultancy firm CBRE in its Q3 2015 Abu Dhabi MarketView.

The emirate's residential market, however, enjoyed an annual growth rate of close to eight per cent during the period, it added.  

UAE: Dubai residential prices on the decline in Q3

The residential prices across Dubai, UAE, continued to decline in the third quarter with a sharp drop in apartment lease and sales rates compared to the previous quarter, said a report.

Additionally, the quantity of announced residential projects in Dubai reached a saturation point in the third quarter, stated property expert Phidar Advisory in its residential research note.

“However, there is no reason to panic because some announced and even launched projects are not viable, so handover is not expected in the stated timeframe,” remarked Jesse Downs, the managing director of Phidar Advisory.

Egypt: Coca-Cola opens new production line for Cairo plant

US drinks giant Coca-Cola opened Thursday 22nda new production line for its bottling plant in Cairo. The plant employs around 12,600 workers.

The inauguration ceremony was in the presence of Egyptian Minister of Manpower Gamal Sorour and Salam El-Hammamy - President and Chief Operating Officer of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt.

Dubai emerges as global hub

In recent years, Dubai has further cemented its position as a regional hub. The growth of logistics, tourism, financial & business services, as well as the emirate’s image as a luxury lifestyle destination, have all been central to this – so much so that others in the region are emulating some of the elements that make it a success. But how does Dubai – and indeed the UAE as a whole – stack up against other global hubs?

House price increases per hour

Latest figures published by NLP Insights show by how much property values increase per hour in the UK (based on data from the last 12 months).

No surprises that London is at the top of the tree at £3.48 per hour.

The East Midlands region sits in the middle at £0.50 per hour.

The North West is bottom of the pile at just £0.03 per hour.


House price increase per hour

Middle East & North Africa news update


"Today marks the beginning of the final stages of the construction of the New Suez Canal," said Admiral Mohab Mameesh, Chairman, Suez Canal Authority. "On August 6, Egypt will present to the world a gift that will not only contribute to global commerce, enriching the services of the Suez Canal, but also improve people's lives by contributing to employment, logistics, trade and more. The New Suez Canal is not only a waterway; it's a symbol of the new Egypt and a catalyst for the Egyptian people."

Today, the world witnessed history, as the first successful double crossing of the canal. One of the ships has net tonnage of 133000. Three ships entered the new canal through the Ismalia entrance at 10am local time, carrying a combined tonnage of 305k. The event marks the first time ships have simultaneously navigated the Suez Canal's waterways since its inception more than a century ago. The transiting of the vessels prior to the official unveiling of the New Suez Canal demonstrates Egypt's capability of realizing its goal of opening the new canal within 12 months of construction.

The first three ships included Apl of Southampton, traveling from Jeddah to Port Said, Maersk Cheerness of Luxembourg, traveling from Singapore to the United States of America, and Mayssan of Bahrain, traveling from Jeddah to Italy.



The General Directorate of Nationality, Borders and Expatriate Affairs (GDNBEA) at the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has started issuing new Residence Cards instead of Residence Permit (RP) stickers in the passports of residents. "The new residence card holds several security features that should not be tampered and cannot be faked as well as it carries data of the card holder," said Brigadier Mohamed Saleh al-Kuwari, head of the Residence Division at GDNBEA. "The advantages of the new system include speedy completion of transactions because passports are not needed for sticker printing," he explained.

The official was of the view that the number of customers visiting the GDNBEA service centers will decrease dramatically as they could renew the RP online and choose the delivery service through Q-Post. "The GDNBEA and Q-Post are working in co-operation to deliver the cards through mail to the customers who renew the RP online," he said.

Captain Abdullah Khalifa al-Mohannadi, from the technical office of the GDNBEA, said the new method was implemented following long-term research.

"A set of services will be delivered through the new card in the near future," he explained.

In case of any damage to the residence card, it should be surrendered for reissue with the same fees. But if the card is lost while the holder is abroad, a lost report should be published, the authority concerned abroad informed and the relevant documents brought to Qatar to issue a new card. The person will be granted a return visa through the request of the employer. If the card is lost inside Qatar, a new card will be issued once the loss is reported to the authority concerned.

Hamad al-Kuwari, head of the Premium Customers Division at Q-Post, said that an agreement has been concluded with the MoI to start the delivery of residence cards to companies and individuals. "Almost 4,000-8,000 cards will be delivered daily to companies and individuals," he said. The agreement is similar to the one Q-Post has with the General Directorate of Traffic to deliver driving licenses and vehicle registration cards processed through Metrash2 service. Q-Post has three types of delivery services. The first is a monthly subscription of QR1,500 for companies having 1,000 to 10,000 workers. The second system is delivery of cards with a fee of QR100 for every 10 cards, while the third is for one to four cards at QR20 per card.

The cards are delivered within 24 hours inside Doha and 48 hours elsewhere in Qatar at present. "We are trying to deliver the cards on the same day," the Q-Post official added.


Other Qatar

Qatar has unveiled plans for the biggest industrial and logistic project in the southern part of the country featuring more than 1,850 plots stretching across 6.3 million sq m of land, a report said.

The project, which will feature assembling units, storage units, showrooms and shops, commercial offices, labour camps, workshops, warehouses , service centres and depots, will be developed in Al Wakra, Birkat Al Awamir and Aba Salil, reported The Peninsula.

An infrastructure network of roads, electricity and water connections, as well as a fire brigade, civil defence, vehicle parking, supermarkets and pharmacies will support the project, the report said.

The annual cost for investors will amount to QR40 ($10.9) per sq m, while the long-term lease contract will be for 30 years and rents will be required to be paid every six months.

About 950 plots ranging from 1,000 sq m to 2,000 sq m will be allotted to small investors, whereas medium investors will be offered plot ranging from over 2,000 sq m to 67,557 sq m.

The project was unveiled yesterday (July 15) by Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, who said the project aims to diversify Qatari economy and encourage the private sector's competitiveness, leading to increased commercial activities.

The government plans to launch several mega projects to boost and diversify the national economy with the help of the private sector to reduce the country's dependence on the hydrocarbons sector, the Prime Minister was quoted as saying in the report.

The project is near Hamad Port, Mesaeed Industrial Area and Orbital Road.

The committee will accept applications for investment from all investors from August 2 to November 9, the report said.



Unused plots of land in some of Bahrain's most congested areas could soon be hired out on a monthly basis for use as car parks, a report said.

The Capital Trustees Board is already compiling a list of empty plots in areas such as Seef and Juffair, prior to negotiating lease rates with landowners, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

It follows numerous complaints from residents and visitors to the governorate about cars parked on the roads or on pavements due to lack of space.

"The car parking situation in some areas, notably Juffair and Seef, needs rectifying as it is leading to access being blocked while encouraging improper parking," board acting chairman Mazen Alumran told the GDN.

"It is very difficult to purchase plots of land due to a limited budget, while asking ministries or government bodies to move things around also takes time.

"But the board could lease plots owned by the government or endowments directorates within days, while we will negotiate with private owners to lease their plots for around BD500 a month.

"Of course, we will be willing to give up the land whenever landowners decide they want to build - hopefully by then we will have found permanent solutions to the congestion."

Meanwhile, Alumran said there were plans to bring in new regulations regarding obligations for developers in relation to car parking.

"We believe that the current parking spaces required from developers is not enough, with just one space required per apartment in residential projects and two per shop in commercial ones," he said.

"More parking spaces should be incorporated into projects - it is no good having services on offer when it is difficult to reach them.

"The issue is under study and could see new regulations introduced regarding the number of car parks that should be provided." - TradeArabia News Service



The United Arab Emirates said it would let domestic fuel prices move more freely in a politically sensitive reform that could save the government billions of dollars and begin reducing the country's love of gas-guzzling cars with big engines.

Gasoline and diesel will be deregulated from August 1 and a new pricing policy linked to global levels will be introduced, state news agency Wam quoted the energy ministry as saying on Wednesday.

"Deregulating fuel prices will help decrease fuel consumption and preserve natural resources for future generations," said energy minister Suhail bin Mohammed Al-Mazroui.

"It will also encourage individuals to adopt fuel-efficient vehicles, including the use of electric and hybrid cars."

Matar Al-Nyadi, undersecretary of the ministry and chairman of its new Gasoline and Diesel Prices Committee, told Reuters that gasoline prices might initially rise slightly because of the reform, while diesel would fall.

At present, state subsidies keep gasoline and diesel in the Arab world's second biggest economy at some of the lowest prices in the world. Motorists pay 47 US cents for a litre of gasoline, less than a third of levels in western Europe.

Cutting subsidies and letting fuel prices rise could boost UAE state finances, which have been weakened by a plunge of oil export revenues since 2014 due to the fall in global crude prices.

The International Monetary Fund projects the UAE will post its first fiscal deficit this year since 2009; it estimates the country spends $7 billion annually on petroleum subsidies.

The ministry's statement did not give details of the new pricing policy, beyond saying the prices committee would announce on the 28th of each month prices for the following month, basing its decision on "average global prices with the addition of operating costs".

The global price of Brent oil is currently around $56 per barrel, not far from six-year lows. But linking UAE prices to global levels could clear the way for substantial hikes in the future, if Brent starts to recover.

Al Mazroui said fuel price changes would not raise the UAE's cost of living significantly, while diesel's expected fall next month would help the economy.

"This will stimulate the economy as a lower diesel price would mean lower operating costs for a wide number of vital sectors like industry, shipping and cargo among many others."

The announcement put the UAE at the front of economic reform among the Gulf oil states. Other governments are grappling with similar financial pressures but have mostly not had the political will to push through major change.

Kuwait raised its domestic diesel and kerosene prices in January but partially reversed the hikes a few weeks later after criticism by some members of parliament.

Abu Dhabi, the biggest emirate in the UAE, hiked electricity and water tariffs in January as part of efforts to cut subsidies. -Reuters


UAE other

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced the completion of connecting all traffic signals in the emirate (408 junctions) with the Traffic Control Center using 3G technology.

The isolated traffic signals have been linked through wireless technology, thus accomplishing the shifting of traffic signals' connectivity in Dubai from cables to wireless systems via this technology, said a senior official.

"The project is part of Dubai Government's initiative to transform the emirate into a smart city. It involves replacing the cables used in linking light signals with the Traffic Control Center in Dubai by a wireless network, besides linking isolated signals with the center using 3G technology," explained Maitha bin Udai, the chief executive of RTA's Traffic and Roads Agency.

"The new system has high usability and efficiency, and is easily maintained. It eliminates the lag in the timing of light signals, and is considered cost-efficient compared to the previous situation, which required an intensive infrastructure in terms of cables, telephone lines to run the service nearby each signal," she stated.

"Thus, the project saves the cost of providing these lines along with the risks of losing connectivity in case of any technical glitches or physical malfunctioning that reflects positively on streamlining the control of light signals through the control center," she added.

According to her, the benefits of the new system include remotely controlling the timing of light signals and managing them to cope with the changes in the traffic flow, which translates into low congestions at junctions.

"Moreover, the system enables diagnosing, managing and synchronization of the timing of the Cableless Linking Facility (CLF) plans to ensure the efficient and optimal functioning of the traffic signals control systems. If there is a need for additional traffic signals, they can be easily and quickly linked with the Control Center at a cost lower than previously incurred when telephone lines were used, she added.-TradeArabia News Service


Other UAE

Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, a community destination and prime residential location in Dubai, UAE, will see the development of a Dh1-billion ($272.2 million) luxury residential project titled 'Jade at the Fields.'

The project, to be developed in the District 11 of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, is being sold and marketed by SPF Realty, a leading real estate broker in the UAE's freehold property sector, said a statement.

'Jade at the Fields', a gated residential community consisting of 360 premium townhouses of contemporary style, is expected to break ground by mid-2016.

G&Co has appointed SPF Realty for Jade at the Fields project as a continuation of their successful association after receiving overwhelming response for its previous two projects - the Dh1.5 billion ($408.39 million) Millennium Estates, and the Dh2.7 billion ($735 million) Grand Views at Millennium Estates, both of which were exclusively marketed and sold by SPF Realty.

Kalpesh Sampat, director of SPF Realty, said: "Jade at the Fields is set to be the first choice for property investors in Dubai market, with demand for premium homes in the city increasing. With this prestigious project, we aim to meet the high demand for a project with all the perfect elements that the market demands.

"The sprawling green gardens and picturesque landscaping of Jade at the Fields community will be home to 360 spacious townhouses of three and four bedrooms. This community is set to offer a community pool and gym, retail space, landscaped garden, parks and kids play area, and other modern amenities."

"The off-plan freehold properties - three- and four-bedroom townhouses - are offered at low prices per sq ft, with a starting price of Dh2.26 million ($615,000), and 35 per cent of the property value is payable easily in half yearly instalments over a period of 30 months," said Sampat.

"The payment plan allows the buyer to book the property at a five per cent down payment (plus four per cent Oqood), and six per cent payment every six months until completion of the project. Payment of the next 15 per cent of the property value is payable on handover of the property, and the remaining 50 per cent is payable in quarterly installments over three years after handover of the property. Ground-breaking of the project will be made in the first half of 2016, and its completion is expected in the third quarter of 2018," he said.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City is a multi-billion-dollar city project, which will include the world's biggest shopping mall, a universal family theme park and a park that is a third bigger than Hyde Park in London, said the statement.

'Jade at the Fields' has a serene setting at the heart of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City, inspired by the greenery and openness of nature infused with a subtle oriental influence, it said.

Investors of any nationality, irrespective of their residency status, can buy properties in Jade at the Fields. The property purchased by an expatriate will be put in his/her name for life, which will allow the buyer to register the property in Dubai Land Department.

The owner will then have full rights to the property, including the right to sell, lease or rent it at his/her own discretion. This property can also be inherited, in line with Dubai Government laws, it added. - TradeArabia News Service


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Haramain High-Speed Railway network has been connected with electricity for its overhead lines and is expected to link King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and Madinah at the end of 2015, said a top official.

The train has been tested on the line with a speed of 300 km per hour, Abdullah Al-Muqbil, Saudi Arabia's Transport Minister and chairman of the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO), was quoted as saying by Arab News.

Tests will continue for a few months until the efficiency of the train is verified, the minister said.

The project includes railway lines with a total length of 450 km between Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah, the report said.

Train stations will be established in central Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh.



Offshore bank Skipton International has extended its UK buy-to-let mortgages to British expats currently living in Kuwait. It's one year since the bank first launched the lending products, which have attracted a lot of interest from the Gulf region.

Obtaining a buy-to-let mortgage as a British expat isn't easy, a need identified by Skipton, which has been serving deposit account customers in more than 100 countries around the world for nearly 20 years.

Director of Lending at the Channel Island bank, Nigel Pascoe, said, 'We pride ourselves on our personal service and work hard to ensure we are offering customers what they need. That's why after a lot of interest from the Gulf region, we decided to open up these mortgages to Kuwaiti based British expats. We have also recently extended these mortgages to retirees as we know people are eager to take advantage of the long-term price inflation seen in the UK housing market, and keen to diversify their portfolios with the potential for further economic uncertainty.'

Skipton has also created a mortgage calculator to help show prospective landlords how much they might be able to borrow on a property ( )


Other Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY: The Public Relations and Security Media Department of Ministry of Interior announced that the General Department for Residency Affairs has decided to reduce the validity of entry visas to one month instead of three months from the date of its issuance. According to a press statement issued by Ministry of Interior, the decision will come into effect from Tuesday, July 14.

With the implementation of this decision, the recipients of the entry visas must enter the country within one month from the date the visa was issued; after one month, the visa will be nullified. The Public Relations and Security Media Department urged citizens and expatriates to note the expiry date of the visas, affirming that such a decision is aimed for the good of the country and the legal procedures applied in this regard.


KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior's Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passports Affairs Major General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah said yesterday that expatriates will only be allowed to issue dependency visas for their wives and children from henceforth. "Expatriates' dependency visas for parents will be stopped.

Dependency visas will be restricted to wife and children," he said. Meanwhile, a new mechanism for family visit visas has been announced.

From now on, the duration of a visit visa issued for a wife or child will be limited to three months only, while visit visas for relatives will be restricted for one month, Jarrah announced yesterday.

Also, a visitor must now enter Kuwait within a month after the issuance of the visit visa - or it will be canceled. Before now, a visit visa would be valid after three months of issuance.

In another development, Jarrah announced that expatriates will no longer be required to leave the country if an absconding case was filed against them, saying that the General Investigations Department will be assigned to examine his appeal and decide whether to allow him to stay in Kuwait.

Jarrah added that Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah is likely to review a study on increasing expats' fees to the parliament during the next parliamentary term.

UK rents rise above £800 for first time on record

  • Record surge in month-on-month increases takes average rent to new peak across England and Wales

  • Rents hit highest levels since 2009 in Yorkshire & the Humber, East and West Midlands, and London

  • Proportion of rent in arrears improves to 8.4% in July, down from 8.6% in June and 7.3% in July last year

  • Landlord gross yields have improved to 5.2%, the first substantial increase seen since March this year

Rents across England and Wales hit yet another record high in July, driven to £804 on the back of the fastest month-on-month price increase seen since 2009, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains.

On a monthly basis, rents across England and Wales rose by 1.9% in July, up from £789 the previous month in the fastest monthly rise seen since records began in 2009.

Compared to July 2014, when the average rent in England and Wales stood at £753, tenants in July 2015 are paying 6.8% more – also the largest annual rise on record.

This record-breaking increase has been driven by higher rents in Yorkshire & the Humber as well consistently strong rises across southern regions.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, comments: “Just when you think the rental market is accelerating at full throttle, it finds a way to shift into a higher gear. We’re seeing rent rises manage to hit record-breaking speeds on both monthly and yearly time-frames as far back as our data can go.

“But rents are just a small part of the larger economic machine. The fact that they’re purring along at higher-than-ever speeds is a sign that the rest of the economy is picking up. An engine can’t use fuel it doesn’t have. These rent rises are a reflection of heavier wage packets being fed back into economy now that the rust from the recession has been cleaned off the cogs.

“But just because a car can break speed limits doesn’t mean it should. We’re faced with a real problem – homes have become a scarce commodity. As house prices and mortgage deposits continue to eat up a larger and larger proportion of wages, appetite for rental properties has begun to outstrip the available stock. This has driven rents up even faster than house prices.

“A clear and concerted effort towards new-build properties is the most sensible way to address this issue. It boils down to supply and demand. However, it’s not the only possible response. The government could also ensure that we’re making the most efficient use of our small supply of homes – for instance by doing more to make it easier for people to downsize their properties when they want to.”


Regional rents: Record-breaking highs for rents in Yorkshire and the Midlands

Four of the ten regions of England and Wales saw record rent peaks in July – London, Yorkshire & the Humber, and the East and West Midlands – while every region saw increases compared to last year.

Stronger than usual improvements in the West Midlands saw rents rise 3.6% over the twelve months to July 2015, bringing the average rent in the region up to £583. It’s a similar story in the East Midlands, with a 2.5% annual increase carrying rents up to £584. Yorkshire & the Humber, by comparison, edged its way to a new record with a 2.0% year-on-year increase to £582 on average.

Rents grew 12.0% on an annual basis in the East of England, to stand at £838 in July. Though it’s second only to London (+12.1%) in terms of the speed of the twelve-month improvement, this is actually the first time in fifteen months that the rate of year-on-year rent increases has not accelerated.

Only two regions saw falling rents on a monthly basis: a 0.1% month-on-month drop in Wales and the East of England. Though rents are at a peak, Yorkshire and the Humber saw a modest 0.3% monthly increase.

London took the lead with a 3.3% month-on-month rental increase. However, surprise surges came from the South East (+3.3%), The North West (+1.4%) and the North East (+1.3%), as the rental market in the north starts to build some of the momentum seen down south.

Adrian Gill explains: “With the East showing accelerating rental growth for well over a year, the area has now paused to let off a little steam. It’s interesting to see that the South East has jumped in to take up the slack, neck and neck with London jostling for pole position in monthly rent rises. It shows the effect that the high-density capital is having on the surrounding areas as people move further out in search of affordable homes.

“The Midlands, too, are starting to show some serious purpose as the workhorse of the East eases back. As investment in the Northern Powerhouse starts to mature, we’re going to see more and more people looking for the flexibility offered by rental accommodation as they move in search of the jobs springing up outside of London – especially in high-growth areas like Yorkshire.”


Rental yields perk up, but annual returns cool

The gross yield on a typical rental property in England and Wales (before taking into account factors such as void periods) rose to 5.2% in July 2015, the first substantial increase seen since March. This compares to 5.1% in June 2015 and 5.0% in July 2014.

However, total annual returns fell in July. On average, landlords in England and Wales have seen returns of 8.7% over the year ending July 2015 – down significantly from 10.0% in June and 12.5% in the year ending July 2014.

This means that the average landlord in England and Wales has seen a return of £15,632 in absolute terms, before deductions such as maintenance and mortgage payments. Of this, the average capital gain contributed £7,188 while rental income made up £8,444 over the twelve months to July.

Adrian Gill continues: “House price growth is easing back – and this has had an effect on total annual returns. However, rental yields are perking up to compensate. The mortgage market has stabilized after a post-election bounce, and the current political stability makes for clear sailing in the buy-to-let market despite the chronic housing shortage. With mortgage repayment rates so low and returns still remarkably enticing, there’s rarely been a better time to invest in rental properties.”


Rent arrears improve in July

Tenant arrears made up 8.4% of all rent payable in July 2015, down from 8.7% in June 2015 but still above 7.3% in July 2014.

Adrian Gill concludes: “July has seen us head back down the path towards greater financial security. It’s true that any rise in arrears is a setback, but the greater trend is clearly towards tenants in better control of their finances.

“The question isn’t if we’re able to improve the proportion of rent that falls into arrears, but how quickly we can improve it.”





The index is based on analysis of approximately 20,000 properties across England and Wales. Rental values refer to the actual values achieved for each property when let. Yield figures are unadjusted, and do not take account of void periods or arrears. Annual returns are based on annual rental property price inflation and void-adjusted yield at the point of purchase. These figures are subject to revision as more data becomes available.

This Buy-to-Let Index has been prepared by The Wriglesworth Consultancy for Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services.  It has been compiled using information extracted from LSL’s management information.  The copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the Buy-to-Let Index belong to LSL.  Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted unless an acknowledgement to LSL as the source is included.  No modification is permitted without LSL’s prior written consent.

Whilst care is taken in the compilation of the Buy-to-Let Index, no representation or assurances are made as to its accuracy or completeness. Your Move, Reeds Rains and LSL reserve the right to vary the methodology and to edit or discontinue the Buy-to-Let Index in whole or in part at any time.

Courtesy of LSL Property Services

China housing market shows signs of recovery

As Chinese policymakers struggle to arrest a slowdown in growth, July home price data looks likely to confirm the housing market as a rare counterpoint to a growing list of grim economic indicators.

Property sales bottomed out in January-June after declining for more than a year, propped up by a barrage of government support measures since last September, including a series of interest rate cuts and lower down-payment requirements.

There are indications that the pace of recovery may be quickening in the housing market, which accounts for about 15 percent of the economy.

On Sunday, the country's biggest property developer, China Vanke Co Ltd , said its half-year core profit climbed 5.5 percent, and trumpeted the "emergence and growth of massive new property demand".

"It'll take time, but it's confirmed that a recovery is ongoing," Vanke's president Yu Liang told reporters on Monday.

Data from researchers at China Real Estate Index System show Vanke is backing that prognosis with cash, spending 30 percent more on land purchases in January-July than in the same year-ago period.

There have been precious few triggers for investment in recent economic data releases.

Exports have tumbled, investment growth has hit repeated lows and the stock market crashed 30 percent in a matter of weeks, keeping policymakers busy with an unprecedented slew of support measures, including a currency devaluation and repeated attempts to increase lending.

Even if China hits its official target this year, economic growth would hit a 25-year low of 7 percent.

Big Cities Lead the Way

In the housing market, which hit the skids after previous heavy-handed efforts to cool a speculative bubble, the support measures appear to be bearing fruit.

"It's the policy that makes it possible to buy my second apartment. Without lower down-payments, I couldn't make the decision this time," said 33-year-old tourism worker Lilian Liu, who bought a second home in the eastern city of Hangzhou last month, helped by money she made in the stock market before the crash.

Though overall real estate investment growth continued to slow in January-July, property sales and housing investment improved, which Li Jiao, senior statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics, said would fuel growth in total property investment in the coming months.

Prices in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen have been leading the recovery.

"I've been watching the housing market for several months," said a Beijing lawyer who gave his surname as Wang. "Upward is surely the direction of home prices in Beijing. A recent recovery in transactions helped me sell my first flat quickly and got the money to buy another one," he said.

Source: Reuters 18th August (Reporting by Xiaoyi Shao and Kevin Yao; Writing by Will Waterman; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

First-time buyers settle for second-best in quest to buy their own home

  • First-time buyers compromising on quality: a fifth (20%) are prepared to purchase a property with no electricity; 19% willing to forgo plumbing & central heating

  • In the quest to save for a home, first-time buyers are making serious cutbacks: a sixth (17%) would sacrifice their pension contributions, and 70% would scrap buying a new car or a holiday

  • Despite these savings & slipping standards, less than a tenth of all tenants (8%) expect to buy by the year’s end – half that of a year ago

  • Completed monthly transactions fall 27% year-on-year in June, as the political after-shocks of the General Election continue to unsettle the housing market

Despite making large compromises on quality, and serious cutbacks to save for a home, the proportion of tenants expecting to buy by the end of the year has halved compared to a year ago to less than 10%, according to the latest First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer from Your Move and Reeds Rains.

In June, only 8% expected to buy before the end of 2015 – down from the 16% who said, in June 2014, that they expected to buy before the end of 2014.

The survey also revealed that almost one-fifth of first-time buyers are willing to go without basic utilities in order to purchase a home. When asked what features they would forgo in their first home, 20% of first-time buyers responded that they were prepared to go without electricity, while 19% were willing to put up with no working plumbing and central heating.

The proportion of buyers willing to compromise increases dramatically when questioned about less essential household features. Dated décor and a sub-par kitchen were acceptable set-backs for owning a first home for 77% and 76% of new buyers respectively, and 71% said the same of an out-of-date bathroom. Only 9% of respondents claimed they were unwilling to make any significant compromise when buying their first home – below the proportion of first-time buyers willing to accept a property with dry rot (12%) or one with a leaking roof (14%). 

The willingness of first-time buyers to compromise on the quality of their new home is confirmed when they were asked what condition of property they were looking to buy. The largest proportion – 45% – conceded that they would accept a property of any condition, so long as it was within their budget, despite only 15% of respondents claiming that they were actively seeking to buy a home which required renovation.

Home-ownership still remains the aim for most people in the UK, with 91% of tenants aspiring to be home-owning at some point in their lives.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, comments: "As demand in the property market remains strong, first-time buyers are willing to accept a home in less-than-perfect condition.

"While the stats seem alarming at first glance, they’re a good sign for the housing market overall. The figures show that most would-be first-time buyers haven’t given up on the dream of property-ownership. Instead, they are sensibly adjusting their expectations and preparing themselves for some of the short-comings that may be present in a first home. Indeed, it may even be the case that some first-time buyers actively select properties with faded décor or faulty kitchens, judging that the reduction they can secure on the asking price is greater than the cost of any required renovation work.  

"First-time buyers are also still taking advantage of Government-backed schemes, such as Help to Buy, while they last. Home-buying incentives are not going to be around forever – especially now the property market is beginning to stand on its own two feet. First-time buyers are more inclined to purchase a home now with support – even if it doesn’t match exactly to their specifications – than hold out for a more ideal property and risk the incentives expiring."



Large numbers of first-time buyers are willing to slash their outgoings to save up for a home. When asked which of their expenses they would be cut in aide of becoming a home-owner, 69% replied that they would give up purchasing a new car, while 67% stated they would curtail their holiday expenditure.

Many first-time buyers were also ready to slash more day-to-day expenses. Almost two-thirds (61%) opted to slash entertainment expenses such as eating out and 56% went so far as to save on consumer purchases such as clothes.

Some were even prepared to put at risk their financial security in retirement, with 17% of respondents claiming they would sacrifice their pension contributions in aide of owning their own home. Only 12% were unwilling to make any form of accommodation to their lifestyle.

The news comes alongside the survey’s findings that immediate cash-concerns are increasingly the biggest factors stopping tenants stepping onto the property ladder. In June 2015, 68% of tenants claimed that they were currently unable to buy a home because they lacked the required funds for a deposit, whereas just 46% gave the same reason in June last year. Not having enough money to make monthly mortgage payments was cited as an impediment to home-owning by a quarter (25%) of respondents this month, compared to only 15% who saw it as a barrier during the same month last year.

Meanwhile, 16% said that concerns about an interest rate hike was stopping them buying their first home – up from 10% in June 2015 and a figure which has been steadily increasing since the turn of the year. The figure’s growth correlates with increasingly strong signals from the Bank of England that an interest rate hike is likely to occur in the near future.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, explains: "First-time buyers are going that extra length to get the capital together to step foot on the housing ladder.

"At a time when wage increases are only just beginning to outstrip inflation and the costs of moving remain stubbornly high, first-time buyers are sadly faced with little option than to make compromises in their lifestyle in order to get the keys to their first home. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The Chancellor’s announcement in his Summer Budget of a National Living Wage is an indicator that the UK’s pay prospects are expected to pick up over the next five years. This should help ease some of the expenditure cuts first-time buyers are having to make. The Budget also contained proposals to use under-utilised public land to build 100,000 new homes – if implemented this policy should take some of the pressure off Britain’s inadequate housing stock. The construction of more affordable housing would leave first-time buyers facing less of a financial hurdle in terms of mortgage and deposit payments."



There were 21,100 first-time buyer completions in June 2015, 7% lower than 22,700 in May and 27.2% lower than a year ago.

Meanwhile, the average purchase price of first-time buyer properties was £154,041 in June, a figure unchanged compared to a year ago and down 0.9% on a three-month basis. First-time buyer deposits averaged £25,926 in June, 1% less than a year before, but 2.8% higher than three months ago and 2.1% higher than last month’s average.

However, the latest Mortgage Monitor from e.surv revealed that the total number of high LTV house purchase approvals has rocketed 18% between May and June of this year and has grown 6% compared to June 2014. This suggests that the number of first-time buyer completions should return to growth over the summer months.

Adrian Gill concludes: "First-time buyer numbers have had a disappointing month, with little sign of the anticipated post-election bounce. Many would-be first-time buyers deferred their decision until after the Chancellor’s Summer Budget, one which essentially laid out the Government’s economic and housing policy for the next few years. However, deposit costs continue to rise – while this may be frustrating for those diligently saving to put a foot on the ladder, it is a positive reflection on the growth of wages and home values. More positively still, the surge in high LTV house purchase approvals should mean a rise in completions in the coming months. It’s a matter of waiting for the emerging signs of growth to filter through the property chain."



The average purchase price paid by first-time buyers in London was £277,871 in Q2 2015, while Northern Ireland was the cheapest region for first-time buyers at an average of £105,405.

* This is the total number of FTBs in Q2 2015. Based on CML regional data (released 20th July 2015) on the number of FTBs in Q1 – grossed up to reflect growth in FTBs recorded by Your Move and Reeds Rains between Q1 2015 and Q2 2015.

Image LSL12.png

Examples of First-Time Buyer Properties**

** Properties on the market with either Reeds Rains or Your Move estate agents at the time of going to press.


Courtesy of LSL.



LSL uses the extensive monthly data from registered first-time buyers in its estate agency brands Your Move and Reeds Rains to update the CML’s first-time buyer data before the CML’s RMS data is published. The term ‘first-time buyer’ is here denoted by the purpose of a buyer’s registration, rather than their LTV. LSL LTV data has been applied to CML price purchase data to calculate deposit and affordability information. Sentiment and salary data are derived from a survey conducted by LSL. The figures are not mix or seasonally adjusted, and are subject to revision as more data becomes available.

This First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer has been prepared by Instinctif Partners for LSL Property Services.  It has been compiled using information extracted from LSL’s management information. The copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer belong to LSL. Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted unless an acknowledgement to LSL as the source is included.  No modification is permitted without LSL’s prior written consent.

Whilst care is taken in the compilation of the First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer, no representation or assurances are made as to its accuracy or completeness. LSL reserves the right to vary the methodology and to edit or discontinue the First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer in whole or in part at any time.

Fastest UK rent rises on record

  • Annual rent rises hit 5.6% across England and Wales – the fastest increase since records began in 2009

  • Rents are now growing faster than house prices on an annual basis, for the first time since July 2013

  • Rent rises decouple from the rate of inflation, with annual CPI standing at 0% in the same month of June

  • Landlords targeted in Summer Budget could pass along the cost, causing rents to accelerate further

  • Proportion of rent in arrears jumps to 8.7%, up from 7.6% in May 2015 and 7.8% in June last year


The average cost of renting a residential property in England and Wales has accelerated, to rise more quickly in June than in any month previously on record, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from Your Move and Reeds Rains.

Rents across England and Wales reached a new record high at £789 in June, standing 1.4% higher than the £778 recorded in May and up 5.6% on an annual basis since June 2014.

This is despite consumer price inflation falling to 0.0% in June, and underscores a new trend since the beginning of 2015 by which rents have risen out of line with the rate of inflation.

This is also the first month since July 2013 where rents are rising more quickly than house prices for comparable properties, with this annual rate of house price growth standing at 4.5% over the twelve months ending June 2015.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Reeds Rains and Your Move, comments: “The pedal is pressed to the metal in the rental market.  Not only have rents hit a new all-time record high – but we have never seen them rise so quickly.

“Growing wage packets and a strengthening economy mean that a greater number of tenants are able to afford higher rents. With such an overall shortage of housing in the UK, rental costs are primarily driven by the amount tenants are capable of paying. Rents have also decoupled from inflation. While record low inflation fueled by falling oil prices might bring clothes or food within the range of tenants’ purchasing power, it doesn’t have much of an effect on the property market in the short term.

“There may be new factors on the horizon too.  In the wake of the Summer Budget’s reduced assistance for landlords, we might see many aim to pass additional costs onto their tenants. If so, rents would receive yet another acceleration.

“In all this, we mustn’t lose sight of the driving force behind rent increases – the mismatch of supply and demand. Expanding our housing stock needs to become a national priority. If anything, competition for homes is only going to get more intense over time. The fierceness of housing competition needs to be met with an equal dedication to homebuilding.”


Regional rents: Accelerating East

Annual rent rises in the East have accelerated at a record pace to a new record high, increasing 13.8% over the twelve months to June 2015 to stand at £839. This is the fifteenth consecutive month of accelerating rent rises seen in the region and goes alongside rapid growth in purchase prices in the East.

London showed the next strongest year-on-year growth in rents, with a 9.6% increase since June 2014, pulling rents in the capital up to an average of £1,241, a new record high. In third place but some distance behind, rental costs increased 2.2% year-on-year in the South East to stand at £778 in June.

Due to a mild slowdown, rents in the South East are still short of record levels. By contrast Yorkshire & the Humber is the third region to have witnessed a new record high in June, with an average monthly rent of £550.

On a monthly basis, London led the way with a 2.8% increase just between May and June, closely followed by the East with 2.4% month-on-month growth and the East Midlands at 1.5%. Over the same monthly period, rents fell in the South East (-0.2%) and the South West (-1.3%).

Adrian Gill explains: “Annual rent rises in the East are nearly half as fast again as in the capital. It seems like we might have a new hotspot on our hands.

“At the heart of the Eastern region, strong property price growth and some of the best job prospects in the UK combine to make Cambridge fertile ground for rental growth. But one city alone can’t account for the record rate of growth experienced across the whole Eastern region. We also have to take into account the wealth of commuter areas for the capital based there. It may be that we’re seeing an unusually high number of Londoners making the move out to Essex and Hertfordshire, while keeping their London salaries, driving up demand for higher end rental property.

“However, aside from any particular hotspot one trend is clear – nine out of ten regions have seen faster annual growth last month than the month before. Across England and Wales rents are going one way for the time being.”


Rental yields steady but total returns cooling

The gross yield on a typical rental property in England and Wales (before taking into account factors such as void periods) stayed steady in June at 5.1%, the same as the month before as well as June last year.

Total annual returns fell again in June, but only slightly. On average, landlords in England and Wales have seen returns of 9.2% over the year ending June 2015 – down slightly from 9.3% in May and 11.9% in the year ending June 2014.

This means that the average landlord in England and Wales has seen a return of £16,216 in absolute terms, before deductions such as mortgage payments and maintenance. Of this, the average capital gain contributed £7,946 while rental income made up £8,270 over the twelve months to June.

Adrian Gill continues: “Resilient yields backed up by rapid rent rises are a boon for landlords in otherwise trying times. Though the Summer Budget threatens to eat into their profits, record rents should provide buy-to-let investors with some comfort: the fundamentals still make being a landlord an attractive proposal.

“The fact that rents have risen faster than house prices should reinforce that the primary source of a buy-to-let investor’s income is rent rather than capital gains – house price growth is a welcome bonus, but not the be-all and end-all of rental property investment. Meanwhile, with mortgage rates so low, there’s rarely been a better time to invest in new property.”


Rent arrears higher in June

Tenant arrears made up 8.7% of all rent payable in June 2015, up from to 7.6% of all rent in May, and 7.8% in June 2014.

Adrian Gill concludes: “While any uptick in the proportion of rent in arrears is a step down the wrong path, this should be seen in context. The overriding trend is still towards lower proportions of rent in arrears – far lower than was seen during the financial crisis.

“A certain degree of variation is to be expected – tenants aren’t robots, and bad months happen. The important thing is to ensure that tenants are able to avoid these situations becoming more serious if arrears build up.

“In the long term, if we want more encouraging trends to continue, there needs to be a greater emphasis on what can be done to help tenants and landlords alike. It’s one thing to slap landlords with a tax and call it a done deal, and quite another to address the issue of housing in a consistent and sustainable way. The cornerstone of progress, as ever, is housebuilding.”

Courtesy of LSL.



The index is based on analysis of approximately 20,000 properties across England and Wales. Rental values refer to the actual values achieved for each property when let. Yield figures are unadjusted, and do not take account of void periods or arrears. Annual returns are based on annual rental property price inflation and void-adjusted yield at the point of purchase. These figures are subject to revision as more data becomes available.

This Buy-to-Let Index has been prepared by The Wriglesworth Consultancy for Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services.  It has been compiled using information extracted from LSL’s management information.  The copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the Buy-to-Let Index belong to LSL.  Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted unless an acknowledgement to LSL as the source is included.  No modification is permitted without LSL’s prior written consent.

Whilst care is taken in the compilation of the Buy-to-Let Index, no representation or assurances are made as to its accuracy or completeness. Your Move, Reeds Rains and LSL reserve the right to vary the methodology and to edit or discontinue the Buy-to-Let Index in whole or in part at any time.

News from Mozambique


Gas for development or just for money?

Mozambique's gas can be used to promote industrialization and rural development, but only if key choices are made now.  Current priorities are for export based mega-projects promising high revenues, but like past mega-projects doing little to create jobs or reduce poverty. Mega-projects costing tens of billions of dollars are essential, but the Council of Ministers can instruct that negotiations give a higher priority to using the gas to create a domestic industry and jobs, even if it reduces short term income.

Continue reading


Mozambique to grow fastest among lusophone countries

The World Bank said in its Global Economic Prospects – released last week – that Mozambique’s gross domestic product is expected to grow by 7.2 percent this year before reaching 7.3 percent expansion annually in the following two years.

Continue reading



Cycle of Italian Cinema

The cycle of Italian cinema has begun on June 16th and will close on June 20th.  Teatro Avenida, Italian school Giovanni Falcone and Instituto de Audiovisuais will be venues to the 2nd edition of this festival.

Continue reading



Mozambique decriminalizes homosexuality from June 29

The previous penal code had been in place, aside from some amendments, since Mozambique was a Portuguese colony, and was written in 1887.  From June 29th the new legislation comes into effect.

Continue reading


Daily living

The school year is almost over in some international schools

In June some international schools are wrapping up their school year and children are preparing for Summer.  Some will continue in Mozambique, some will start their life elsewhere in the world.  It is a very emotional month for expat children as some will stay and some will go.  Some children embrace moving as an opportunity to make new friends and to learn new things; others get anxious or develop behaviour problems.  It may take children and adults months to adjust after a move.  For many children and adolescents, giving up the familiar—friends, favourite places, and routines—can be difficult.  As parents focus on coordinating the moving process, some children react negatively to the decrease in attention. Children may experience anxiety and grief before, during, and after a move.

Continue reading


Courtesy of Maputo Relocation.