The Real Deal National

The Queen needs Buckingham Palace manager, Bruce Willis sells Turks & Caicos compound: Global property

A roundup for the week of July 29, 2019, of what's been happening in London, Hong Kong and other major real estate hubs
By Mike Seemuth | August 04, 2019 04:00PM

From left: London, Shanghai and Paris

From left: London, Shanghai and Paris

Every week, The Real Deal rounds up the biggest real estate news from around the globe.


Commercial real estate values in the European Union are just too damn high. At least according to European Systemic Risk Board, which warned about potential overvaluation. The problem is the European Central Bank’s monetary stimulus strategy has provoked investors to bum-rush commercial real estate in search of big yield, driving prices higher and higher. And now, the bank is planning for another round of such stimuli. [Reuters]

United Kingdom

Wanted: A property manager for Buckingham Palace. The Queen is on the hunt for an individual to oversee and coordinate work with contractors, events and more at the royal residence. Experience in “historic occupied buildings” is a plus. [HelloMag]

London is in an Empire State of mind with new plans to redevelop an old rail yard. Developers Hammerson and Ballymore will restore derelict railway arches in the East End, decking them out à la New York’s High Line. The Bishopsgate Goodsyard development in Shoreditch originally included 1,350 flats in buildings as high as 46 stories — and no park. Now, there will only be 500 flats in buildings up to 26 stories. [Homes and Property]

“Cycle superhighways” are shifting home prices into high gear. According to brokerage Benham and Reeves, homes in London near these two-wheeler autobahns have been closing at an average of £931,614 — 104 percent more than the average price of £457,471 across the English capital. These homes also command a steep premium compared to other homes in the same boroughs. The average price along Cycle Superhighway 2, for example, is £889,889, 73 percent more than the average price of £513,968 in the burroughs it traverses. [Mortgage Introducer]

A public housing tenant is facing a record fine for subletting his apartment on Airbnb. Amid a crackdown on such illegal subletting, the Westminster City Council took a 37-year-old Toby Harman to court after an investigation showed his flat had been marketed on Airbnb and had accumulated more than 300 reviews since 2013. The judge overseeing the case against Harman ordered him to make a £100,974.94 “unlawful profits” payment. []

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s massive protests are hurting retail, one leading landlord said. Weber Lo, chief executive of Hang Lua Properties, said mass protests in Hong Kong since early June have eroded sales volume at retail stores in the company’s Fashion Walk shopping center in Causeway Bay. Consulting firm Knight Frank predicted that lease rates for premium retail stores in Hong Kong will decline as much as 10 percent next year. [SCMP]


A recent huge buy shows Singapore’s real estate is as hot as “Crazy Rich Asians.” Germany-based Allianz Real Estate and Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital paid S$1.6 billion ($1.17 billion) for Duo Tower, an office high-rise, and an adjacent shopping mall, Duo Galleria, both of which are nearly fully occupied. According to Colliers International, investments in Singapore real estate rose to S$8.2 billion in the second quarter, up 56 percent from the first quarter. [SCMP]


Olivia Newton-John has found the one. The pop star and actress found a buyer for her longtime ranch in Byron Bay. The identity of the buyer and the final price weren’t immediately clear, but the home was shopped around for A$5 million, or $3.42 million USD. [MG]

South Korea

Six-year-old South Korean YouTube star Boram buys a multimillion-dollar building. Well, her eponymous company did. Boram Company, established by her parents, paid 9.5 million won ($7.2 million) for a five-story property in the upscale Gangnam area of Seoul. Boram has more than 30 million subscribers and an estimated income in local currency equivalent to $2.9 million a month. []


Former soccer star Ronaldinho forfeited 57 properties after failing to pay fines and taxes. He was fined 9.5 million reais ($2.5 million) for the illegal construction of a pier at his lakefront home in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and the equivalent of $2 million in unpaid taxes and other obligations. Ronaldinho, who has a personal net worth estimated from $97 million to $121 million, was a forward with the Brazilian team who won the World Cup in 2002 with superstar teammates Rivaldo and Ronaldo. [BBC]

Turks and Caicos

Actor Bruce Willis sold his Turks and Caicos compound at a nearly record-breaking price. The roughly 13,500-square-foot property went for $27 million, the second-highest price ever paid for a home on the islands. Willis, well known for his role as John McClane in the “Die Hard” series, and his wife Emma Hemming-Willis had listed their Parrot Cay home for $33 million in March. The sprawling waterfront property has a five-bedroom main house, two guest houses and a yoga pavilion on 7.37 acres. [WSJ]