International briefs

Vietnam plays host to real estate expo

An exhibition scheduled for this fall aims to give the Vietnamese real estate market a boost, according to news reports.

The International Real Estate Exhibition, scheduled for Sept. 20 and 24 in Ho Chi Minh City, will feature 1,500 international and domestic showcase booths. It is being held by the Vietnam Real Estate Association in conjunction with the Housing Management Department of the Ministry of Construction and the Foreign Investment Agency of the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

CB Richard Ellis recently rated the country’s real estate market as very promising. Ho Chi Minh City is also looking to expand business in the housing, urban development and tourism fields.

This is the first time the exhibition will be held in Vietnam.

Change to foreign land law nixed by Czech Republic

Social Democratic and communist representatives in the Czech Republic voted against an amendment to the foreign exchange law that would allow foreigners to buy real estate for housing purposes without limitations, the Czech News Agency reported.

But imposing limitations on foreigners’ real estate purchases is against the laws of the European Union, which the Czech Republic joined five years ago. Eduard Janota, the Czech Republic Finance minister, said he doesn’t understand why officials refuse to remove the law, which he called a formality.

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When the Czech Republic joined the E.U., an agreement was signed to remove all discriminatory elements from real estate laws. Czech lawmakers opposed the agreement, arguing that wealthy foreigners would offer higher prices for real estate, making housing unaffordable to Czech citizens. Now, the lawmakers are returning to those sentiments.

“The proposal seemed to us to be endangering Czech interests and interests of Czech citizens,” said Pavel Kovacik, chairman of communist deputies.

Others see the removal of the law as a chance to fully revive the Czech real estate market. “Buyers from eastern Europe and Asia would welcome the new conditions,” said Klara Vanourkova of international consulting company Jones Lang LaSalle.

Housing prices stabilizing in some U.K. regions

Home prices and consumer confidence levels are rising in the Conventry and Warwickshire regions of central England, local real estate experts say. The latest Land Registry figures, which include all completed transactions, showed home prices up slightly in the Conventry region and no change in prices in the Warwickshire region for June 2009, according to the Coventry Telegraph.

Regional brokers and analysts for Conventry and Warwickshire are confident in the region’s resilience. Harvey Williams, Coventry and Warwickshire regional spokesman for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said these numbers are proof that Conventry and Warwickshire are faring better than other regions in the U.K. In fact, Peter Hudson, sales manager of Conventry’s Castle Estate Agents in New Union Street, believes demand for homes in these regions will soon outstrip supply. “The main restriction now is the low number of properties coming on to the market and, with few new homes being built, demand will surely surpass supply,” he said.

Compiled by Victoria DeCarmine