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Update 1-s.korea Real Estate Perks Up As Economy Gains Momentum

PwC grows its real estate practice in Denver

PwC grows its real estate practice in Denver But data released on Monday by Kookmin Bank, the country's top mortgage lender, showed house prices rose 0.11 percent in January from December as a combination of low prices and cheap borrowing has begun to draw buyers back. On a yearly basis, prices rose 0.54 percent last month and at the fastest pace since October 2012. "The fact that housing prices hit bottom and that interest rates on mortgages are cheap right now are extra incentives to buy," said Lee Hyeon-woo, a 30-year-old office worker hunting for a home with his fiancee. While property prices elsewhere in Asia boomed, South Korean prices had fallen or stayed flat in each of the 15 months through August, despite three interest rate cuts during that period. The Bank of Korea's policy rate is currently at 2.50 percent, its lowest since January 2011. Kookmin's data showed that house prices rose just 2.3 percent annually between 2008 to 2013, after rising by an annual average of 6.5 percent between 2002 and 2008. According to Real Estate 114, a leading online real estate portal, property prices in late January in Seoul and its surrounding metropolitan area were nearly 11 percent lower than they were at the end of 2007. "Last year, the market reached a trough," said the portal's head analyst Ham Young-jin. "Unless we see another global crisis the market should make a soft landing." Ham said prices are expected to increase steadily this year in the capital and its greater metropolis, where a fifth of the country resides.
For the original version including review any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/02/korea-economy-housing-idUSL3N0L22HI20140202

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looks out at the Swiss Alps during a helicopter ride from Davos to Zurich January 25, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron Hochtief said on Monday that a consortium led by Grove International Partners, which already owns half of Aurelis, would buy 43 percent of Aurelis, giving the private equity firm founded by billionaire George Soros almost full control of the unit. The remaining 7 percent of Aurelis that Hochtief owned are being bought by an independent investor, it said. Hochtief said the sale price for its stake in the German property company was close to the book value as of end-November, without providing a figure. At the end of September, the book value of the stake in Aurelis stood at about 250 million euros ($337 million), according to financial statements. Hochtief said it was still looking at options for its other real estate businesses, HTP and Formart, which had a book value of 800 million and 315 million euros, respectively. The divestments are part of an overhaul aimed at helping Hochtief cut its debt while it focuses on plans to become one of the biggest global infrastructure providers. "This transaction is another significant step in the delivery of our strategy," Hochtief Chief Executive Marcelino Fernandez Verdes said.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/03/hochtief-aurelis-sale-idUSL5N0L811620140203

UPDATE 1-Hochtief sells real estate business Aurelis to Grove

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looks out at the Swiss Alps during a helicopter ride from Davos to Zurich January 25, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron blog PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) has expanded its real estate practice in the Rockies market with the hires of industry veteran Robert Lund and a team of experienced tax professionals. Lund joins PwCs Denver office as a tax managing director and will lead the Rockies real estate tax team. Kathleen Machamer and Jill Kaplan join as tax directors and Beth Kroupa joins as a tax manager, also based in Denver. As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a depth and breadth of services to our clients, we are excited to invest in and expand our real estate practice, now comprised of a strong team with tax, assurance and consulting capabilities, said Katrina Salem , PwCs managing partner for the Rockies market. Our growing team of talented professionals has both the technical capabilities and industry knowledge needed to enhance the value we deliver to our existing clients and the market. Lund comes to PwC with more than 20 years of real estate industry experience, with deep knowledge in the area of REITs (real estate investment trusts), PwC said. He has a bachelors degree in business administration and a masters degree in accounting from the University of Texas at El Paso . Machamer joins PwC as a tax director with more than 10 years of combined public accounting and real estate industry experience. She brings technical insights on corporate real estate tax, specifically in tax positions related to the structuring of real estate and enterprise level transactions.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/finance_etc/2014/01/pwc-grows-its-real-estate-practice-in.html

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