Cityscape Dubai 2009

Cityscape Dubai 2009 launched today and I was in attendance. Numbers are vastly down on last year – I would guess about 75% down. Having said that it was still busy, which says a lot about how crazily busy it used to be!

This is the first time in 4 years that we have not had a booth at Cityscape Dubai, primarily because we choose the exhibit at Cityscape Abu Dhabi earlier in the year.

It will no doubt be a more subdued year in terms of visitor numbers and deals done, but I am sure it will come back stronger next year, and we will be there again.

Even though we are not exhibiting at Cityscape this year we are running some great Cityscape specials, so if you are looking to purchase a new software solution for your business, I encourage you to contact us asap.

All your essential property news in the one location

Searching for the most update to date and topical news on the property industry is always hard. That is why we developed This site brings together property news from around the world so that you don’t need to go looking for it. Its nice and simple – but it works.

I know – we built it so we have to like it! But seriously, I use it everyday to find out what is happening in property markets around the world and find it invaluable. Most of the information I reference in this blog, whether they are opinion, articles or market commentary, all comes from

So I suggest you try it out and see what you think.

Which property markets are most susceptible to big price falls

In a post back in April I talked about the forclosure rates in the US and how these were predominently (87%) occuring in a select number of states. It is an interesting paper and well worth a read, but todays post is about another item that really caught my attention in that paper, namely the relationship between foreclosures and the reduction in housing affordability leading up to the crash. So this got me thinking. One would assume a relatively linear link between falling housing affordability and foeclosures. A simple eqaution – when housing affordability falls, an increasing % of the individual or family’s income must go to meeting mortgage payments.

Another report on topic, the 5th Annual Demographis International Housing Affordability Survey said:

“Much of the reduction in prices has occurred in markets that have experienced the greatest loss in housing affordability in the past. The largest house price decreases over the past year occurred in susceptible Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, where housing affordability in nearly all markets had reached “severely unaffordable” (Median Multiple over 5.0). In the United States, the house price declines have been far higher in those markets that had experienced the greatest housing price increases, while markets that experienced much smaller price increases experienced far more modest losses.” For the full report go to

And yet in the University of Virgina report, the writers find the following:

“Restoring balance between house prices and incomes is complicated by imbalances between a shortage in supply of dwellings where people prefer to live and an overabundance of dwellings in other locations. Metropolitan areas vary in the range in their political jurisdictions of house value to family income and in foreclosure rates. San Francisco provides an extreme, but clear, example.

In 2007 the ratio of house values to family incomes was excessive in each jurisdiction. The lowest house value to family income ratio, 5.7 to 1, was in Solano County which also had the highest foreclosure rate, 3.69 percent of housing units. The house value to income ratio suggests that Solano County on the edge of the metropolitan area had more dwellings relative to demand than other jurisdictions. The high foreclosure rate indicated that buyers’ capacity to pay mortgages was fragile, and, perhaps, that an accumulation of foreclosures hampered new sales.

In contrast, the highest house value to income ratios were in central jurisdictions—City of San Francisco, Marin County, and San Mateo County. They had house value to income ratios of 9.7, 8.5, and 8.5 to 1. But their foreclosure rates were the three lowest in the metropolitan area. Perhaps more residents in those jurisdictions had purchased when prices and mortgages were lower. Or, perhaps owners unable to pay mortgage costs were able to sell at acceptable prices because demand was strong (Appendix 1 San Francisco Metropolitan Area).” 

This shows quite clearly that housing affordability alone is not a guide to the success or fail of a specific market.

So what can we use as a guide. This is by no means meant to be a conclusion, as from my readings no one is really sure, but here are my ideas:

1. Housing Affordability. This has to be a factor. A Housing Affordability drops, so must demand.

2. Purchaser Profile. Without doubt foreclosures have been high in markets with high % of first home buyers. These transactions in recent times are characterised by large incentives from governments and very low (or non-existent) deposits (and therefore high mortgages). If we think of a home owners propsensity to work through troubled economic times (lets call it their Home Ownership Price Elasticity – HOPE), it is lowest in these purchasers. Owners who have significant equity in their home and a history of saving, obviously have a greater ability to weather financial difficulties, which reduces foreclosure rates and hence provides stability to prices.

RSS – find out what it means to me….web 2.0 continued

You may have noticed websites popping up with ‘RSS feeds’ on their site. RSS basically allows someone to link not just to a page, but to subscribe to it with a notification every time that page changes. For example, news websites have taken this on board with top news from various organizations feeding into one website.

RSS can push all kinds of information from news articles to blog entries, stock quotes, weather data, photo availability and more.

One such website has been developed by Brightfox, which is called PropertyMash.  It embraces the new ‘mash up’ technology and is applied with a real estate focus. What this means for those in the property industry is the ability to access all real estate news and information in one spot.    Visit it here…

We’ve also created an iframe application, so organizations can have live real estate news from property mash on their website for free.  This has already proved successful for some of our clients as they obtain more visitors to their site and demonstrate the importance of market intelligence to their clients.  Visit the PropertyMash site for more information.

More Web 2.0 information coming shortly…