<![CDATA[My Jewel - My Jewel Blog]]>Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:54:20 +0200Weebly<![CDATA[​Which Road for Britain?]]>Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:27:11 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/which-road-for-britain5052705
By Dr. Mark Bevir

(Dr. Bevir is the Director of the Center for British Studies, empowr advisor and a Professor of Political Science, at the University of California, Berkeley)
The woman on the TV was explaining why she had voted for Britain to leave the EU: “My parents fought the Second World War for our freedom”. Alas, my own parents died when I was younger, so I can’t ask them, but I suspect they would not share this view of the War. I suspect their War was less about British sovereignty than about freeing Europe and the world from fascism, right wing populism, and racism.
European integration was a response to the War. On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman, the French foreign minister, declared that the sharing of resources might make “war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” In 1951 Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany signed the Treaty of Paris, leading to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. In 1957 the same states signed the Treaty of Rome thereby creating the European Economic Community. The UK joined the Community in 1973 along with Denmark and Ireland.
Although European integration sought to prevent war by promoting democratic cooperation, social openness, and international solidarity, the European Union has not always lived up to those ideals. The EU has often let its citizens down. The people who voted for Britain to leave the EU had real grievances. The EU needs to do more to engage its citizens, giving them opportunities for democratic participation. Its leaders and institutions seem remote. Its citizens have few chances to participate beyond elections for a parliament that many of them do not understand. The EU also needs to revive the ideal of a social Europe. Today its principle concern often seems to be to impose austerity. Even if we grant the necessity of austerity – and I for one would not – the EU cannot afford to appear to be pursuing the interests of wealthy financiers at the expense of its citizens. Finally, the EU needs to provide more robust leadership when facing the humanitarian crises that have arisen from Bosnia to Syria. It cannot allow refugees to be presented as welfare-scroungers, terrorists, or beyond our care. It should insist, in word and action, that Europe’s humanist culture is a cosmopolitan one that includes a duty of care for others.
The EU has its problems. These problems should perhaps have been reasons to reform the EU, not to leave it. They certainly should not be reasons to give up the post-War ideals of cooperation, openness, and solidarity, and to return instead to borders, insularity, and fear, especially when the latter are being promoted by right wing populists who are unlikely to address economic inequalities but are guaranteed to pander to racism.
So, what is to be done? Britain now faces a choice about its future at least as important as that of the referendum. On the one hand, Britain might fall prey to right wing populism. Britain might retreat within its own borders, mistaking nationalism and demagoguery for participation and democracy. Britain might become inward-looking, uninterested in the immigrants it blames for growing inequalities. Britain might turn its back on refugees, fearing that people who do not look like us must be out to hurt us.
On the other hand, Britain might reassert its commitment to the ideals of cooperation, openness, and solidarity. For a start, Britain might promote new forms of democratic cooperation. It might experiment with various democratic innovations such as deliberative polls, participatory budgeting, and community governance. It will surely have to develop more devolved (and hopefully more pluralistic) institutions. Perhaps Britain might also work with other states, NGOs, and transnational and international organizations to establish novel forms of public action.
In addition, Britain might introduce more open forms of, and fluid pathways to, citizenship. It will surely have to find ways of accommodating those Europeans who have made their homes on its soil. Perhaps Britain might also come to welcome diverse migrants for the energy, dynamism, and innovation they so often bring to cultures and economies.
Finally, Britain might express solidarity with the victims of conflict, natural disasters, and human rights violations. Its government and its individual citizens will surely continue to provide humanitarian aid to those in need. Perhaps Britain might also do more to welcome and integrate those fleeing persecution and violence.
Britain – like much of the world – is at a crossroads. Economic inequalities have grown, and political institutions are failing. Some people will be tempted to retreat into the false security of a right-wing populism. We should resist this temptation. We should reassert the democratic, social, and international ideals of the post-War era as guides by which to rebuild our economies and our politics.
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<![CDATA[What is causing this poverty, economic inequality and insecurity?]]>Sun, 04 Sep 2016 18:06:53 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/what-is-causing-this-poverty-economic-inequality-and-insecurity
All you need to do, is turn on the news these days, and you’ll be reminded that some big changes are happening in our world – and it’s not clear that it’s for the better.
People everywhere have a growing sense that the world appears to be headed to a very different, and likely much darker place.
In the United States, Donald Trump has shocked the world with his ascendency.
Upon investigation, the reason that large groups of people seem to believe in him, is that they are feeling insecure economically. More on that in a moment.
In Great Britain, last week the people voted to leave the European Union.
Again, just like with the U.S. example, when you dig deeper, the main reason you will uncover is economic.
Like the message from Trump, the fears being expressed were about “outsiders” and “immigrants” stealing their jobs and economic power.
It’s important to note that the United States and the United Kingdom are two of the countries that have recovered fairly decently, relatively speaking, from the 2008 global financial meltdown.
Most other countries have not quite done as well yet, and their economies are doing worst than the U.S. and U.K. economies.
The bottom line is that there are a couple of forces at work…
… and those two forces are, unfortunately, bringing with them significant upheaval, and…
poverty…
… economic inequality…
…  and insecurity about the future.
 
What is causing this poverty, economic inequality and insecurity?
The changes – and widespread poverty – are being caused by two big and unstoppable forces:
1.  Globalization
Globalization is where someone in, say, America or Europe, as an example, who is accustomed to earning $25/hour to $40/hour…
... loses his/her job because it’s now very easy to give that job to someone in China or Vietnam who is willing to do the same job for $1/hour to 2/hour.
In the above example, if you live outside America, you might say, who cares what happens in America? You should care, because it WILL affect you too, as I’ll explain in a moment.
As the jobs move away rapidly, the people losing their jobs hardly have an opportunity to notice what’s happening, and have no time to retool / reeducate themselves.
The changes happen so fast that schools, governments and society have little ability to react, if at all.
Everyone is left feeling overwhelmed. And many are feeling angry.
 
2. Automation
Automation is where jobs are replaced by software, or robots.
This is happening around us very quickly. For example:
When Skype (with only a few hundred employees) is all that’s left of millions of jobs that once supported long distance telephone companies around the world….
Or when Walmart, using smart centralized “big data” wipes out millions of mom and pop shops…
… only to have Amazon do the same to Walmart...
Or when digital music, distributed over the web, decimates the entire global music industry…
… or e-books wipe out bookstores around the world…
… or millions of travel agents have been replaced by a few dozen travel websites…
… you get the picture.  Software and automation are wiping out jobs.
20 years ago, if you predicted these changes would happen this quickly, you would have been laughed out of the room.
But wait. It’s only about to get worse, as the pace accelerates.
The rate of change is increasing.
In the next few years, the effects of automation will be felt in even bigger ways.  Need an example?
Let’s take a look at the #1 most popular job in many countries around the world (the job that more people do than any other type of job)  -- the U.S. included: 
The number one type of job is driving a vehicle.  Truck drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers etc. 
As you probably know, self-driving automated (driver-less) cars are on the way.
Massive competition is underway between all the car companies in addition to the tech giants such as Google, Apple, Uber, etc.
In the next decade, most drivers will be replaced by self-driving vehicles.
In fact, it’s easy to predict that, soon after self-driving cars become the norm, in many/most parts of the world, it will slowly but surely become illegal for humans to drive a car on public roads….
…  because humans, unlike computers, don’t have hundreds or thousands of sensors like computers can have -- noticing every little movement on the road and talking to all other computerized vehicles in the vicinity at the same time.
It will simply be too dangerous to have humans driving on those same roads. 
Did you know that motor vehicle accidents is now the #1 leading cause of death for young people globally. 
Source: The World Health Organization
Road traffic injuries is the number 1 cause of adolescent deaths globally, and the second largest cause of illness and disability for them.
Humans will not be able to compete with the safety that automated cars can provide; so driving on most public roads will likely eventually become illegal around the world, in an attempt to drive down road traffic injuries and death.
If you look at most of the other top type of jobs, it’s getting easier to see the same pattern:
Most other jobs too, will be wiped out by automation.
It takes very little imagination to see that eventually most job, from doctors to waiters to teachers to factory workers….
… will be replaced by more efficient, harder working, cheaper and more effective software applications and robots.
 
Great wealth will be (and IS already being) generated
The companies that bring these technologies to the world will create massive wealth for their founders, major shareholders and a few key employees.
But for everyone else, these technologies will wipe out their jobs; they and their labor will simply no longer be needed.
The result will be unemployment like we have likely never, ever witnessed before – not even in the greatest of depressions.
In the past, when technology replaced workers, the workers eventually found new jobs.
For example, when new technology (such as tractors, fertilizer, etc.) pushed workers out of the farms, those folks moved on to all the new factories that new technology was enabling.
But this time, automation is coming to everything so quickly that the world will hardly be recognizable in just ten or so years.
 
Summary: Globalization and Automation are about to usher in a new era of unemployment, poverty and inequality.


The effects of widespread and sudden poverty
As if poverty wasn’t a big enough problem by itself, it (poverty) creates another massive problem -- a problem even more damaging than widespread poverty -- which we will discuss in an upcoming post.
 
In the meantime, we would all love to hear your thoughts
… on the effects of globalization and automation in your country….
… and related topics.
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<![CDATA[Which Road for Britain?]]>Wed, 31 Aug 2016 02:58:57 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/which-road-for-britain
(Dr. Bevir is the Director of the Center for British Studies, empowr advisor and a Professor of Political Science, at the University of California, Berkeley)

The woman on the TV was explaining why she had voted for Britain to leave the EU: “My parents fought the Second World War for our freedom”. Alas, my own parents died when I was younger, so I can’t ask them, but I suspect they would not share this view of the War. I suspect their War was less about British sovereignty than about freeing Europe and the world from fascism, right wing populism, and racism.
European integration was a response to the War. On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman, the French foreign minister, declared that the sharing of resources might make “war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” In 1951 Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany signed the Treaty of Paris, leading to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. In 1957 the same states signed the Treaty of Rome thereby creating the European Economic Community. The UK joined the Community in 1973 along with Denmark and Ireland.
Although European integration sought to prevent war by promoting democratic cooperation, social openness, and international solidarity, the European Union has not always lived up to those ideals. The EU has often let its citizens down. The people who voted for Britain to leave the EU had real grievances. The EU needs to do more to engage its citizens, giving them opportunities for democratic participation. Its leaders and institutions seem remote. Its citizens have few chances to participate beyond elections for a parliament that many of them do not understand. The EU also needs to revive the ideal of a social Europe. Today its principle concern often seems to be to impose austerity. Even if we grant the necessity of austerity – and I for one would not – the EU cannot afford to appear to be pursuing the interests of wealthy financiers at the expense of its citizens. Finally, the EU needs to provide more robust leadership when facing the humanitarian crises that have arisen from Bosnia to Syria. It cannot allow refugees to be presented as welfare-scroungers, terrorists, or beyond our care. It should insist, in word and action, that Europe’s humanist culture is a cosmopolitan one that includes a duty of care for others.
​The EU has its problems. These problems should perhaps have been reasons to reform the EU, not to leave it. They certainly should not be reasons to give up the post-War ideals of cooperation, openness, and solidarity, and to return instead to borders, insularity, and fear, especially when the latter are being promoted by right wing populists who are unlikely to address economic inequalities but are guaranteed to pander to racism.
So, what is to be done? Britain now faces a choice about its future at least as important as that of the referendum. On the one hand, Britain might fall prey to right wing populism. Britain might retreat within its own borders, mistaking nationalism and demagoguery for participation and democracy. Britain might become inward-looking, uninterested in the immigrants it blames for growing inequalities. Britain might turn its back on refugees, fearing that people who do not look like us must be out to hurt us.
On the other hand, Britain might reassert its commitment to the ideals of cooperation, openness, and solidarity. For a start, Britain might promote new forms of democratic cooperation. It might experiment with various democratic innovations such as deliberative polls, participatory budgeting, and community governance. It will surely have to develop more devolved (and hopefully more pluralistic) institutions. Perhaps Britain might also work with other states, NGOs, and transnational and international organizations to establish novel forms of public action.
In addition, Britain might introduce more open forms of, and fluid pathways to, citizenship. It will surely have to find ways of accommodating those Europeans who have made their homes on its soil. Perhaps Britain might also come to welcome diverse migrants for the energy, dynamism, and innovation they so often bring to cultures and economies.
Finally, Britain might express solidarity with the victims of conflict, natural disasters, and human rights violations. Its government and its individual citizens will surely continue to provide humanitarian aid to those in need. Perhaps Britain might also do more to welcome and integrate those fleeing persecution and violence.
Britain – like much of the world – is at a crossroads. Economic inequalities have grown, and political institutions are failing. Some people will be tempted to retreat into the false security of a right-wing populism. We should resist this temptation. We should reassert the democratic, social, and international ideals of the post-War era as guides by which to rebuild our economies and our politics.

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<![CDATA[U.K. Property Values? They Are Anyone’s Guess]]>Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:26:32 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/uk-property-values-they-are-anyones-guessMost agree commercial real estate is down since Brexit, but estimates differ over how much
An apartment building under construction in London this month. Property brokers estimate that real-estate values have fallen from 2.8% to 5%. PHOTO: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
By 
ART PATNAUDE
Aug. 23, 2016 3:06 p.m. ET
COMMENTS
Two months after U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union, there is consensus that its commercial real estate is now worth less.
How much less? No one can quite agree.
Property broker CBRE estimated that property values across the U.K. fell 3.3% in July.Data-firm MSCI Inc. said values fell 2.8%. Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund said it took 5% off the value of its U.K. property portfolio because of Brexit. Aberdeen Asset Management, which operates a U.K. property fund, at first knocked its value down 17% to reflect rapid sales but more recently said it is off 5%.
One possible cushion for the property market is the British pound, which has fallen about 11% since the vote, causing extra pain for foreign holders of U.K. assets but also offering a hefty discount to potential new foreign buyers.
The valuation problem reflects the difficulty of saying how much things are worth in a market that has just experienced an unusual shock. Many real-estate pros say commercial-property valuations are little more than educated guesswork when the market is stressed. Indeed, the firm that values Norway’s portfolio couldn’t come up with a post-Brexit number; to arrive at its discount, Norway’s fund managers simply took a pre-Brexit figure and knocked off 5%.
It doesn’t help that few transactions are taking place. Since June 24, the day after the referendum, there have been $2.9 billion of deals in the U.K., compared with nearly $9.5 billion in the same period last year, according to real-estate consultancy firm Real Capital Analytics.
Absent actual deals, valuers have had to rely more heavily on sentiment of investors and landlords, said people at property brokerages familiar with the appraisal process.
Another challenge: Discounts on deals post-Brexit have varied widely, with one brokerage seeing deals priced at 2% to 19% less than values before the referendum, said a person with knowledge of the deals.

Fund managers under pressure to sell took bigger hits. Aberdeen sold a central London building to Norway’s oil fund for £124 million ($163 million), nearly 20% less than where the price was before Brexit, brokers close to the deal said.

On the flip side, U.K. property firm British Land PLC sold a building in downtown London with almost no discount for £400 million, different brokers said.
The Brexit referendum had a clear impact on the U.K. real-estate sector. Asset managers, Aberdeen among them, halted trading on their U.K. property funds as investors tried to pull their money out. Share prices of U.K. landlords dropped sharply. Deal making dried up.
Most analysts have expected property values to fall. The uncertain nature of Britain’s relationship with the rest of the EU, and especially the status of London’s giant finance sector, have pushed off business decisions, including whether to rent or buy new office space. Even before Brexit, investors were warning that U.K. commercial real-estate prices would deflate after a multiyear property boom.
Political and economic uncertainty after Brexit has posed a challenge for commercial-property valuers who need to assess the broader market when valuing individual properties, said Fiona Haggett, U.K. valuation director at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
“When you’re valuing in an uncertain market, you must use all the information you’ve got,” Ms. Haggett said. “But bear in mind, much of that information predates the referendum result.”
Given the wide gaps and low volume of sales, people responsible for valuing properties at major real-estate firms, such as CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle and Cushman & Wakefield Inc., have had to rely on opinions of the property owners and investors, who are typically their clients, people familiar with the process said.
Some landlords have been telling valuers that values haven’t changed because, so far, Brexit hasn’t had a visible impact on the economy, while demand has remained robust as investors hunt for yield amid ultralow interest rates.
Other landlords and asset managers have suggested that values did fall but only marginally; property values slipping after Brexit would meet expectations but at the same time suggest the market wasn’t collapsing, one person familiar with the deals said. “This looks good. It shows property as a sector is resilient,” the person said.
Meanwhile, investors on the lookout for bargains are typically after bigger discounts, so valuers have tried to incorporate the likelihood that sellers’ expectations won’t be met, the person said.
Immediately after the referendum, Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund hired Cushman & Wakefield to assess the value of its portfolio. It later made its own assessment, landing on the 5% reduction as “our best estimate of the real value,” said Trond Grande, deputy chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages the fund.
Aberdeen, the only asset manager that reopened trading in its property fund, said in a recent briefing paper that “valuing the properties and the fund is much harder in a stressed market.”
The challenge facing valuation has eased in recent weeks, said Ms. Haggett at RICS. As investors return from summer vacation, analysts expect transaction volumes to pick up, providing a clearer picture of the post-Brexit property market.
“Valuation is one of those funny things, a combination of art and science,” Ms. Haggett said. “It’s all about understanding your market.”

Source

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<![CDATA[Here’s what real estate experts are saying about Brexit]]>Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:49:55 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/heres-what-real-estate-experts-are-saying-about-brexit
Brexit sent British real estate markets reeling, but how it will impact New York is hard to predict.
A poll of leading power players found lots of high expectations, but with a few marked exceptions.
Douglas Elliman chairman Howard M. Lorber forecast, “New York City will move to the No. 1 global city in the world, a spot that London currently holds. In addition, because of Brexit, interest rates have dropped to 30-year lows, causing mortgages to also drop significantly, thus raising the value of both residential and commercial real estate.”
Developer Douglas Durst was most emphatically negative. He said, “The quick-buck types will extol the benefits of the flight of capital to New York, but as long-term players, we know that Brexit is bad for all.”

But Cushman & Wakefield dealmaking whiz Tara Stacom reflected ambivalence shared by many. On the one hand, she said, “New York may experience a bit more negative impact than the rest of the country due to the large concentration of European financial institutions here.”

Yet, she added, “The likelihood of sustained uncertainty in the UK and Europe will tend to push capital to the other markets and New York will definitely benefit.”
Here are edited versions of what some other big names had to say.
Developers and LandlordsAnthony Malkin, chairman and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust: “Brexit was likely good for England at large but very bad for London and the South which has become far more European in character and profited from Europe. London cannot be expected to remain the financial center of Europe outside the EU, and that probably speaks ill for London and well for Frankfurt, New York City, and Paris.”
Larry Silverstein, chairman, Silverstein Properties: “While uncertainty is never a good thing, many foreign buyers and investors are attracted by the stability and long-term potential of real estate in New York City.”
Eric Hadar, chairman, Allied Properties: “Global wealth has been transitioning to safe havens such as ultra-luxury New York real estate for the past 5-7 years. The more important question is the impact [the weakening pound] will have on tourism, a far more significant source of demand for the New York real estate market than flight capital.”
Gary Barnett, founder, Extell: “Brexit would only seem to make the US, and New York City in particular, even more stable and attractive to buyers and investors.”
Marc Holliday, CEO, SL Green: “It’s too soon to tell how the post-vote financial markets
reactions will play out over the longer term. Certainly, after the dust settles, London will still be London, but if a UK exit from the EU further strengthens New York’s already powerful world leadership position, we’ll be ready to take advantage of that.”

Rob Speyer, CEO, Tishman Speyer: “If there is a long-term effect, it will likely be highly positive for New York, as it will make the city even more attractive than it already is to commercial and residential investors. Our public and private sectors have consistently exhibited a determination to accommodate growth by investing to re-create such neighborhoods as the Far West Side, Long Island City and Downtown Brooklyn.”
William Rudin, CEO, Rudin Management: “Our competitive advantages consistently make real estate here an attractive investment. As the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit grows, investors worldwide will continue to turn to New York as a safe haven. However, our economy is inextricably linked to the global economy, and in the long run, we benefit more from global stability than instability.”
Billy Macklowe, CEO, William Macklowe Co.: “New York has shown tremendous resiliency in the face of global volatility and continues to present itself as a safe-haven market. Given the issues around Brexit, additional inflows of capital and investor interest should increase.”
Investment Sale SpecialistsDoug Harmon, Eastdil Secured: “A less competitive London does boost Wall Street and New York real estate, allowing NY to gain a larger share of the investor spotlight, which it has shared with London over the last decade.”
Ron Cohen, JLL Capital Markets: “Equity will keep flowing into the US to seek safety. New York City will further enhance its position as the world’s financial capital despite a potential recession and short-term corrections in the commercial and residential sectors.”
Leasing BrokersStephen B. Siegel, CBRE: “When there is significant uncertainty for the direction of capital, capital seeks a stable investment market and the US and New York in particular represent that stability. The same can be said for corporate expansions. Those considering the UK will focus elsewhere. New York will benefit by the increased investment and absorption resulting in increased values.”
Peter Riguardi, JLL: “Like many events over the last 20 years, the market seemed to make their adjustment [to Brexit] and rebound. Long-term, I think the NY/London markets will see little effect.”
Mary Ann Tighe, CBRE: “In uncertain times the fundamentals always reassert themselves. Capital needs to move, and in a global, low-interest rate environment, capital will move toward safety. I think that a combo of stable currency, barriers to entry, rule of law, and big money deals galore will be the post-Brexit cocktail of choice for deal makers. Sounds like a Manhattan to me.”
Hotel SpecialistsSean Hennessey, CEO, Lodging Advisors: “Brexit has caused a reduction in the value of the pound relative to the dollar and the pound is expected to get weaker still. This will discourage inbound visitation from Great Britain. Since the UK is one of the most important sources for tourist visitation to New York City, it’s a cause of concern.
Ian Schrager, partner in Edition by Marriott Hotels: “It’s too early to tell. There is an uncertainty. I believe it will help the residential market, but for the hotel market, it’s just too soon now and I’ve heard arguments both ways.”

Source

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<![CDATA[Brexit & Real Estate]]>Tue, 12 Jul 2016 09:06:28 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/brexit-real-estateUnited Kingdom Real Estate Funds Have Suspended Fund Redemptions: What Does It Mean For Investors In Singapore?
After the recent vote by the people of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union – what’s commonly known as “Brexit” – investors are starting to question their investments in the UK.
Sterling’s 13% or so decline against the US dollar since the date of the vote has not helped matters.
Large real estate fund managers such as Henderson Global InvestorsCanada Life, andAberdeen Asset Management have recently suspended or deferred investor requests for redemptions. The decisions by these funds signal the huge selling pressure from investors for UK-based assets.
The funds can’t suspend redemptions forever. But given the low liquidity of real estate, it won’t be easy for the real estate funds in question to cough up the cash needed to meet redemptions. If the pressure from their investors become unbearable, the funds may be forced to sell their properties at fire-sale prices in order to raise cash.
What does this development mean for real estate companies or investment trusts in Singapore that have exposure to the UK? Stocks in this category include City Developments Limited (SGX: C09)CDL Hospitality Trusts (SGX: J85)Ascott Residence Trust (SGX: A68U), and CapitaLand Limited (SGX: C31) – the quartet all have assets in the UK.
Fortunately, the four real estate stocks do not have redemption-risks and so, they might be able to take advantage of the situation.
If the aforementioned real estate funds are forced to sell some of the properties in their portfolios, the Singapore-listed trusts and companies may have the opportunity to snap up bargains.
Yes, Brexit might bring about a crisis for the UK and increase the risk for investors in the country. But in every crisis lies opportunities as well. And if there is a run on the property funds in the UK, then companies and REITs with strong balance sheets might be well-positioned to take advantage of any panic-selling.
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<![CDATA[Pay attention!! The Italian real estate market is waking up into a brilliant phase !!]]>Fri, 10 Jun 2016 20:27:48 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/pay-attention-the-italian-real-estate-market-is-waking-up-into-a-brilliant-phase

Unprecedented hike of the housing market: + 20.6% trades in First Quarter 2016

The houses in the major cities
The good performance of the housing market is confirmed by the eight major regional capital, doubling the result of the previous quarter. Leading the ranking is Torino, which increases by 37% the volume of sales over the same quarter of 2015. Following Genoa (+ 27.8%), Milan (+ 26%), Naples (+ 22%), Florence (+ 21.7%) and Bologna (+ 19.3%). Rome also has a good growth, with 12.5% of sales in more

The non-residential sector
In the first three months of 2016, purchases and sales of non-residential areas are on the whole rising sharply. It grows especially the volume of transactions of commercial segment (+ 14.5%) and the production (+ 7%), while the service sector has always a positive factor, but more mild (+ 1.3%). The latter sector was affected by declines in the Center (-1.1%) and the South (-4.5%), while in the North the sales of office recovered 4.5%.
Request more information

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<![CDATA[6 Reasons to Keep Deals Private    (and How to Market Them)]]>Mon, 30 May 2016 18:03:19 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/6-reasons-to-keep-deals-private-and-how-to-market-them

First of all, let’s wrap our minds around the idea of off-market properties. Why, you might ask, would anyone looking to sell something want to keep that fact a secret? In some ways, “off-market” is a misnomer. While these deals may not appear on the local listing service, they are still very much on the market.
For the most part, these deals are high-dollar properties that are not listed on any publicly accessible source.  The listings for off-market deals have traditionally been very difficult for any but the very well–connected to access, usually requiring a contact with inside information.
Once an off-market property has been identified, potential investors often endure a verification process, which can involve signing a confidentiality agreement. Buyers must prove their identity and ability to pay. This is naturally followed by the usual work of due diligence on the property.
So, why would an investor want to jump through these extra hoops to buy an off-market property? Fewer people are aware of these deals, so there’s less competition, and sellers are often highly motivated.

What motivates the seller?

Less competition
There are several reasons why a seller might prefer to make an off-market deal on a given property.  One is to appeal to the very buyers described above: those who don’t want to compete on the open market.
Protecting sensitive informationIn
many cases, both buyers and sellers may prefer to keep the transaction private to prevent speculation as to why they are buying or disposing of an asset. This type of deal often includes a confidentiality agreement, in which the potential investor promises to keep private the details of the deal, including any marketing strategies or development plans that may come to light.
Anonymity
In some cases, properties are sold off –market because the seller and/or buyer want to remain anonymous. This happens frequently with high-profile individuals.
Biding their time
Other times, sellers are willing to wait as long as necessary to get the price they have in mind. Since properties that spend a lot of time on the market tend to lose value, they keep the information private.
Pocket listings
An agent may suggest the off-market strategy in cases where it’s likely that the property can be easily sold without using the MLS. This saves the cost of the commission for a buyer’s agent. This practice can be more common in markets with a tight inventory.
Discretion
Another circumstance that arises in a tight market is the “shopping” of offers. When a well-priced property gets multiple offers, an agent may share information on an existing offer in order to persuade other interested parties to make a better one. This can include details on the down payment amount or escrow stipulations. When a property is sold off-market, this sort of leveraging can be avoided, and privacy maintained.
Source

MyJewel Club 

My Jewel Club provides a valuable solution for those who like to operate in the Off-Market prestigious estate industry.
The relationship that is established with the Client is based on the special mutual confidentiality. In order to join the Club you need to successfully meet a number of criteria that guarantee the reliability and correctness of the applicant. This is because the information that is provided by the Club are very sensitive and confidential.


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<![CDATA[Buffett's annual letter: What you can learn from my real estate investments]]>Sun, 08 May 2016 09:19:47 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/buffetts-annual-letter-what-you-can-learn-from-my-real-estate-investmentsby ​Warren Buffett  FEBRUARY 24, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

In an exclusive excerpt from his upcoming shareholder letter, Warren Buffett looks back at a pair of real estate purchases and the lessons they offer for equity investors.


The author visiting (for just the second time) the 400-acre farm near Tekamah, Neb., that he bought in 1986 for $280,000FORTUNE — “Investment is most intelligent when it is most businesslike.” –Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor
It is fitting to have a Ben Graham quote open this essay because I owe so much of what I know about investing to him. I will talk more about Ben a bit later, and I will even sooner talk about common stocks. But let me first tell you about two small nonstock investments that I made long ago. Though neither changed my net worth by much, they are instructive.
This tale begins in Nebraska. From 1973 to 1981, the Midwest experienced an explosion in farm prices, caused by a widespread belief that runaway inflation was coming and fueled by the lending policies of small rural banks. Then the bubble burst, bringing price declines of 50% or more that devastated both leveraged farmers and their lenders. Five times as many Iowa and Nebraska banks failed in that bubble’s aftermath as in our recent Great Recession.
In 1986, I purchased a 400-acre farm, located 50 miles north of Omaha, from the FDIC. It cost me $280,000, considerably less than what a failed bank had lent against the farm a few years earlier. I knew nothing about operating a farm. But I have a son who loves farming, and I learned from him both how many bushels of corn and soybeans the farm would produce and what the operating expenses would be. From these estimates, I calculated the normalized return from the farm to then be about 10%. I also thought it was likely that productivity would improve over time and that crop prices would move higher as well. Both expectations proved out.
I needed no unusual knowledge or intelligence to conclude that the investment had no downside and potentially had substantial upside. There would, of course, be the occasional bad crop, and prices would sometimes disappoint. But so what? There would be some unusually good years as well, and I would never be under any pressure to sell the property. Now, 28 years later, the farm has tripled its earnings and is worth five times or more what I paid. I still know nothing about farming and recently made just my second visit to the farm.
In 1993, I made another small investment. Larry Silverstein, Salomon’s landlord when I was the company’s CEO, told me about a New York retail property adjacent to New York University that the Resolution Trust Corp. was selling. Again, a bubble had popped — this one involving commercial real estate — and the RTC had been created to dispose of the assets of failed savings institutions whose optimistic lending practices had fueled the folly.
Here, too, the analysis was simple. As had been the case with the farm, the unleveraged current yield from the property was about 10%. But the property had been undermanaged by the RTC, and its income would increase when several vacant stores were leased. Even more important, the largest tenant — who occupied around 20% of the project’s space — was paying rent of about $5 per foot, whereas other tenants averaged $70. The expiration of this bargain lease in nine years was certain to provide a major boost to earnings. The property’s location was also superb: NYU wasn’t going anywhere.

I joined a small group — including Larry and my friend Fred Rose — in purchasing the building. Fred was an experienced, high-grade real estate investor who, with his family, would manage the property. And manage it they did. As old leases expired, earnings tripled. Annual distributions now exceed 35% of our initial equity investment. Moreover, our original mortgage was refinanced in 1996 and again in 1999, moves that allowed several special distributions totaling more than 150% of what we had invested. I’ve yet to view the property.
Income from both the farm and the NYU real estate will probably increase in decades to come. Though the gains won’t be dramatic, the two investments will be solid and satisfactory holdings for my lifetime and, subsequently, for my children and grandchildren.
I tell these tales to illustrate certain fundamentals of investing:
  • You don’t need to be an expert in order to achieve satisfactory investment returns. But if you aren’t, you must recognize your limitations and follow a course certain to work reasonably well. Keep things simple and don’t swing for the fences. When promised quick profits, respond with a quick “no.”
  • Focus on the future productivity of the asset you are considering. If you don’t feel comfortable making a rough estimate of the asset’s future earnings, just forget it and move on. No one has the ability to evaluate every investment possibility. But omniscience isn’t necessary; you only need to understand the actions you undertake.
  • If you instead focus on the prospective price change of a contemplated purchase, you are speculating. There is nothing improper about that. I know, however, that I am unable to speculate successfully, and I am skeptical of those who claim sustained success at doing so. Half of all coin-flippers will win their first toss; none of those winners has an expectation of profit if he continues to play the game. And the fact that a given asset has appreciated in the recent past is never a reason to buy it.
  • With my two small investments, I thought only of what the properties would produce and cared not at all about their daily valuations. Games are won by players who focus on the playing field — not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard. If you can enjoy Saturdays and Sundays without looking at stock prices, give it a try on weekdays.
  • Forming macro opinions or listening to the macro or market predictions of others is a waste of time. Indeed, it is dangerous because it may blur your vision of the facts that are truly important. (When I hear TV commentators glibly opine on what the market will do next, I am reminded of Mickey Mantle’s scathing comment: “You don’t know how easy this game is until you get into that broadcasting booth.”)
My two purchases were made in 1986 and 1993. What the economy, interest rates, or the stock market might do in the years immediately following — 1987 and 1994 — was of no importance to me in determining the success of those investments. I can’t remember what the headlines or pundits were saying at the time. Whatever the chatter, corn would keep growing in Nebraska and students would flock to NYU.
There is one major difference between my two small investments and an investment in stocks. Stocks provide you minute-to-minute valuations for your holdings, whereas I have yet to see a quotation for either my farm or the New York real estate.
It should be an enormous advantage for investors in stocks to have those wildly fluctuating valuations placed on their holdings — and for some investors, it is. After all, if a moody fellow with a farm bordering my property yelled out a price every day to me at which he would either buy my farm or sell me his — and those prices varied widely over short periods of time depending on his mental state — how in the world could I be other than benefited by his erratic behavior? If his daily shout-out was ridiculously low, and I had some spare cash, I would buy his farm. If the number he yelled was absurdly high, I could either sell to him or just go on farming.
Owners of stocks, however, too often let the capricious and irrational behavior of their fellow owners cause them to behave irrationally as well. Because there is so much chatter about markets, the economy, interest rates, price behavior of stocks, etc., some investors believe it is important to listen to pundits — and, worse yet, important to consider acting upon their comments.
Those people who can sit quietly for decades when they own a farm or apartment house too often become frenetic when they are exposed to a stream of stock quotations and accompanying commentators delivering an implied message of “Don’t just sit there — do something.” For these investors, liquidity is transformed from the unqualified benefit it should be to a curse.
A “flash crash” or some other extreme market fluctuation can’t hurt an investor any more than an erratic and mouthy neighbor can hurt my farm investment. Indeed, tumbling markets can be helpful to the true investor if he has cash available when prices get far out of line with values. A climate of fear is your friend when investing; a euphoric world is your enemy.
During the extraordinary financial panic that occurred late in 2008, I never gave a thought to selling my farm or New York real estate, even though a severe recession was clearly brewing. And if I had owned 100% of a solid business with good long-term prospects, it would have been foolish for me to even consider dumping it. So why would I have sold my stocks that were small participations in wonderful businesses? True, any one of them might eventually disappoint, but as a group they were certain to do well. Could anyone really believe the earth was going to swallow up the incredible productive assets and unlimited human ingenuity existing in America?
When Charlie Munger and I buy stocks — which we think of as small portions of businesses — our analysis is very similar to that which we use in buying entire businesses. We first have to decide whether we can sensibly estimate an earnings range for five years out or more. If the answer is yes, we will buy the stock (or business) if it sells at a reasonable price in relation to the bottom boundary of our estimate. If, however, we lack the ability to estimate future earnings — which is usually the case — we simply move on to other prospects. In the 54 years we have worked together, we have never forgone an attractive purchase because of the macro or political environment, or the views of other people. In fact, these subjects never come up when we make decisions.
It’s vital, however, that we recognize the perimeter of our “circle of competence” and stay well inside of it. Even then, we will make some mistakes, both with stocks and businesses. But they will not be the disasters that occur, for example, when a long-rising market induces purchases that are based on anticipated price behavior and a desire to be where the action is.
Most investors, of course, have not made the study of business prospects a priority in their lives. If wise, they will conclude that they do not know enough about specific businesses to predict their future earning power.
I have good news for these nonprofessionals: The typical investor doesn’t need this skill. In aggregate, American business has done wonderfully over time and will continue to do so (though, most assuredly, in unpredictable fits and starts). In the 20th century, the Dow Jones industrial index advanced from 66 to 11,497, paying a rising stream of dividends to boot. The 21st century will witness further gains, almost certain to be substantial. The goal of the nonprofessional should not be to pick winners — neither he nor his “helpers” can do that — but should rather be to own a cross section of businesses that in aggregate are bound to do well. A low-cost S&P 500 index fund will achieve this goal
That’s the “what” of investing for the nonprofessional. The “when” is also important. The main danger is that the timid or beginning investor will enter the market at a time of extreme exuberance and then become disillusioned when paper losses occur. (Remember the late Barton Biggs’s observation: “A bull market is like sex. It feels best just before it ends.”) The antidote to that kind of mistiming is for an investor to accumulate shares over a long period and never sell when the news is bad and stocks are well off their highs. Following those rules, the “know-nothing” investor who both diversifies and keeps his costs minimal is virtually certain to get satisfactory results. Indeed, the unsophisticated investor who is realistic about his shortcomings is likely to obtain better long-term results than the knowledgeable professional who is blind to even a single weakness.
If “investors” frenetically bought and sold farmland to one another, neither the yields nor the prices of their crops would be increased. The only consequence of such behavior would be decreases in the overall earnings realized by the farm-owning population because of the substantial costs it would incur as it sought advice and switched properties.
Nevertheless, both individuals and institutions will constantly be urged to be active by those who profit from giving advice or effecting transactions. The resulting frictional costs can be huge and, for investors in aggregate, devoid of benefit. So ignore the chatter, keep your costs minimal, and invest in stocks as you would in a farm.
My money, I should add, is where my mouth is: What I advise here is essentially identical to certain instructions I’ve laid out in my will. One bequest provides that cash will be delivered to a trustee for my wife’s benefit. (I have to use cash for individual bequests, because all of my Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) shares will be fully distributed to certain philanthropic organizations over the 10 years following the closing of my estate.) My advice to the trustee could not be more simple: Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund. (I suggest Vanguard’s. (VFINX)) I believe the trust’s long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors — whether pension funds, institutions, or individuals — who employ high-fee managers.
And now back to Ben Graham. I learned most of the thoughts in this investment discussion from Ben’s book The Intelligent Investor, which I bought in 1949. My financial life changed with that purchase.
Before reading Ben’s book, I had wandered around the investing landscape, devouring everything written on the subject. Much of what I read fascinated me: I tried my hand at charting and at using market indicia to predict stock movements. I sat in brokerage offices watching the tape roll by, and I listened to commentators. All of this was fun, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t getting anywhere.
In contrast, Ben’s ideas were explained logically in elegant, easy-to-understand prose (without Greek letters or complicated formulas). For me, the key points were laid out in what later editions labeled Chapters 8 and 20. These points guide my investing decisions today.
A couple of interesting sidelights about the book: Later editions included a postscript describing an unnamed investment that was a bonanza for Ben. Ben made the purchase in 1948 when he was writing the first edition and — brace yourself — the mystery company was Geico. If Ben had not recognized the special qualities of Geico when it was still in its infancy, my future and Berkshire’s would have been far different.
The 1949 edition of the book also recommended a railroad stock that was then selling for $17 and earning about $10 per share. (One of the reasons I admired Ben was that he had the guts to use current examples, leaving himself open to sneers if he stumbled.) In part, that low valuation resulted from an accounting rule of the time that required the railroad to exclude from its reported earnings the substantial retained earnings of affiliates.
The recommended stock was Northern Pacific, and its most important affiliate was Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. These railroads are now important parts of BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe), which is today fully owned by Berkshire. When I read the book, Northern Pacific had a market value of about $40 million. Now its successor (having added a great many properties, to be sure) earns that amount every four days.
I can’t remember what I paid for that first copy of The Intelligent Investor. Whatever the cost, it would underscore the truth of Ben’s adage: Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Of all the investments I ever made, buying Ben’s book was the best (except for my purchase of two marriage licenses).
Warren Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. This essay is an edited excerpt from his annual letter to shareholders.
This story is from the March 17, 2014 issue of Fortune.

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<![CDATA[May 08th, 2016]]>Sun, 08 May 2016 07:35:17 GMThttp://myjewel.mobi/my-jewel-blog/may-08th-2016​Amazing Relais for sale on Florence Hills - Off-market
great price opportunity
Given the confidential nature relating to this deal, we can not disclose further information or images. Complete documentation and asking price are available upon REQUEST 
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