International briefs

Ultra-luxury “Aquaminiums” attract buyers

Plans are underway for a second “Aquaminium” complex at Thailand’s Royal Phuket Marina, after the successful first phase. An Aquaminium, a term created by property developer Gulu Lalvani, is an apartment complex on the water with an indoor parking garage for a boat. The idea was inspired by James Bond, who always seems to have a boat nearby for a speedy getaway, Lalvani told the Wall Street Journal. The first complex consists of 15 apartments, two penthouses and five villas, 14 of which are currently occupied.

Prices on remaining units range from about $735,000 to $10.5 million. The complex features a lounge area with a hydrotherapy room, indoor swimming pools, tennis courts and a spa. Thailand’s real estate market, which has continued to grow significantly since 2008, has shown an increased demand for luxury properties. According to Thailand Real Estate Magazine, the Aquaminium project in Phuket is a particular success, driven by foreign real estate investors from Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and India.

Foreclosures continue to increase in Spain

Spain is seeing a rise in foreclosures.

About 1.4 million mortgage holders in Spain are facing potential foreclosure proceedings, according to an estimate from the Adicae, Spain’s consumer protection association. That represents a steep rise in foreclosures in the country, where real estate prices are dropping and unemployment is at 20 percent, one of the highest rates in the European Union, according to the New York Times. Foreclosures totaled over 93,000 in 2009, compared to 26,000 in 2007, and they are expected to be even higher by the end of this year, the courts indicate. The country’s foreclosure laws hold Spaniards personally responsible for paying the full amount of their loans, including penalty interest charges and potentially tens of thousands of euros in court fees. Mortgage debt, which is excluded from bankruptcy, is virtually impossible to eliminate, said Ada Colau, a human-rights lawyer pushing for changes in Spain’s foreclosure laws. Colau told the Times, “Other countries in the European Union also have personal debt mortgages, but you can go to the courts and get relief. Not in Spain.”

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Antilia in Mumbai

Indian man moves into 27-story home

India’s richest man was preparing to move into the world’s largest home last month. The Mumbai residence stands at 27 stories (or 570 feet tall) and took seven years to build. The glass tower, known as Antilia, belongs to Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of oil and retail giant Reliance Industries. Ambani is estimated to be worth $27 billion, ranking him as the fourth-wealthiest man in the world. The home features a six-level parking garage, an air traffic control station on its roof and airborne swimming pools. Inside are nine elevators, a health club, spa, ballroom and theater. Six hundred servants are expected to work inside the tower, while five people will live inside the estimated $1 billion building, including Ambani himself, his wife and his three children. Experts told the Guardian that “there is no other private property of comparable size and prominence in the world.” Real estate prices in Mumbai are among the world’s highest, although 62 percent of the population lives in slums.

Compiled by Lisa Euker