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Chilly forecast for luxury property market post-Panama Papers

By Kathryn Higgins

26 April 2016 at 09:00 BST

The crackdown on offshore financial centres is casting a shadow over the luxury property market, one of the subjects for discussion at next month's Luxury Law Summit in London on 17th May.


The already-struggling luxury property sector may face an even steeper recovery when the post-Panama crackdown on 'dirty money' in property eventually translates into greater transparency requirements for luxury buyers. From new apartments being held back at the Battersea Power Station Development in London to the financial woes engulfing the planned 275-meter Norman Foster-designed tower in Manhattan's Sutton Place, the signs of a flailing luxury property sector are beginning to mount. Between January and March this year, developers held their breath as the number of Manhattan apartments selling for more than $4 million sunk to a four-year low. Now, the growing emphasis on ownership transparency within the sector may be shifting conditions from tough to tougher.

Growing hurdles

According to a recent article in The Guardian, buyers who previously acquired top-tier real estate via offshore shell companies may soon face even larger regulatory hurdles as government authorities seek to block corrupt or criminal agents from using luxury property investments to launder money. New regulations passed in the United States now require all title insurance companies to identify 'natural persons' behind shell companies used to acquire properties valued above $3m in Manhattan and $1m in Miama-Dade County, the two biggest markets for foreign property investment in the US. Planned changes to the EB-5 investor green card program, which offers foreign nationals US green cards in exchange for local investments between $500,000 and $1m, may also throw a spanner in the works for luxury property developments, a popular choice for such investments. US government officials are currently reviewing plans to lift the EB-5 investment threshold to $1.2m. For further information on attending The Luxury Law Summit, email benmartin@globalcitymedia.com.  Source: The Guardian


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