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Brazil
Rents Falling

AIRINC conducted August surveys in many Brazilian cities where expatriate rental markets are softening due to lower demand. After several years of political and economic unrest, many markets are oversupplied, allowing tenants the power to negotiate. In Rio de Janeiro, some tenants can negotiate lower rents or leases that include better furniture or other extras not previously provided. Tenants at the end of a lease may even be able to move to more desirable neighborhoods for a similar rent, depending on the landlord's needs and the length of time a rental property has been empty. A building and buying boom prior to the World Cup and the Olympics has dwindled to very few projects, since supply is already greater than demand. Landlords continue to be open to negotiation in Sao Paulo in the face of low demand, though tenants should not expect large discounts for high-end rentals.

Panama City, Panama
Rents Falling

Panama City’s strong economy allowed investment in large building projects in recent years, and many buildings are now becoming available. The completion of the Panama Canal expansion in 2016 has triggered the departure of many expatriates just when new housing supply is arriving on the market. Both rental and sales markets for apartments and houses are softening due to this oversupply. Expatriates were formerly spread out in many areas at the oceanfront and in the developing downtown area, but the oceanfront area is now coming to the fore as the favorite, especially in Santa Maria and Costa del Este. Because of the excess supply, tenants can negotiate rents more easily than before.

Muscat, Oman
Rents Falling

Rents in Muscat have dropped in the past six to twelve months. Many expatriates are leaving and supply is increasing with several new construction projects ready to be rented out. Since villa rents have dropped over the past year, many assignees are choosing to rent villas over apartments, leaving more apartments available. Because many landlords are only breaking even on their investments, they are increasingly offering incentives such as a month of free rent or the waiver of fees for amenities like parking or pool maintenance.

Harare, Zimbabwe
Rents Falling

With many companies concerned about political stability and the outcome of the 2018 elections, fewer expatriates have been arriving in Zimbabwe over the past six to twelve months and demand for rental properties has dropped significantly. Supply greatly exceeds demand, and more supply is expected as new construction projects are completed across Harare. Some landlords would rather leave properties vacant than lease at lower rents, increasing the vacancy rate even further. Many expatriates are moving from houses into newer apartments with better amenities.

San Francisco CA, U.S.A.
Rents Falling

San Francisco's strong rental market softened over the past six months as more supply entered the market. Many tenants have struggled to afford such expensive rentals, and with the increase in supply some landlords are offering slightly lower rents. Much of the new supply has been in the SOMA area, preferred by more junior executives, while senior executives prefer areas like Presidio, Pacific Heights, and Sea Cliff. More rental supply is expected by the end of the year.  

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AIRINC surveys more than one hundred fifty locations each quarter. Here are some selections.
Q3 Surveyed Locations
Selected cities in North America, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa, and maritime Southeast Asia-Pacific
Atlanta GA, U.S.A.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Panama City, Panama
Paramaribo, Suriname
Doha, Qatar
Conakry, Guinea
Nairobi, Kenya
Casablanca, Morocco
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tunis, Tunisia
Melbourne, Australia
Jakarta, Indonesia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Wellington, New Zealand
Incomplete
Q4 Upcoming Surveys
Selected cities in Europe, Asia, and mainland Southeast Asia
Helsinki, Finland
Hamburg, Germany
Budapest, Hungary
Tel Aviv, Israel
Atyrau, Kazakhstan
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Gothenburg, Sweden
Ankara, Turkey
Aberdeen, U.K.
Shenzhen, China
Chennai, India
Nagoya, Japan
Seoul, South Korea
Taipei, Taiwan
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

In response to market volatility, we will also conduct survey updates in Buenos Aires and Caracas in the fourth quarter.

Venezuela DICOM

The new DICOM auctions that Venezuela introduced on May 31 have been suspended. Approximately $72 million dollars had been auctioned on the DICOM since it was introduced, but that amount was not enough to cover the needs of businesses that import goods. The black market rate has also depreciated significantly in the past few months to its current rate of around 30,000 to the dollar.

When the DICOM auctions resume, it is expected that they will include other foreign currencies. This change comes as Venezuela has also announced that it will be moving away from U.S. dollars as a result of U.S. sanctions targeting Venezuela and the state oil company, PDVSA. The effect this of the change remains to be seen, but it is unprecedented given that almost all transactions in the international oil industry have historically been carried out in dollars.

India GST

Following a major demonetization last year, India’s fiscal and monetary policies stayed in the headlines as the government rolled out a major tax reform this summer. India’s famously complex tax system was replaced on July 1 with a unified indirect tax. This Goods and Services Tax (GST) has five tiers ranging from zero percent (applicable to staple foods such as fresh meat and vegetables) up to 28 percent (for items such as chewing gum, automobiles, and airplanes for personal use). Tax is paid both to the central government and to the state governments on value added at each stage. Tax revenue so far has been below target due to glitches in the IT system and non-compliance by firms. The GST Council, which met in September, extended deadlines to file returns and reclassified the rates for several dozen items in an effort to improve the system and allow more time to comply. For expatriate consumers, the degree at which the consumer prices increase depends on a variety of factors. Some of these include the percent of the market basket impacted by the GST, the amount of competition in a particular market, the price elasticity of demand in the market, and price adjustment costs to name a few. These factors will vary by both product and location as well. AIRINC will be on-site to collect the most up-to-date prices and information in November.

Incomplete
Qatar Inflation

More than a hundred days have passed since the beginning of the Qatar diplomatic crisis, when fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member states Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, along with several other countries, cut diplomatic ties with the nation of Qatar. Initially there were worries that the crisis would spark widespread food shortages or rampant inflation, since Qatar produces only one percent of its food and an estimated eighty percent of the remainder comes from blockading countries. Pictures of empty shelves at grocery stores flooded Qatari social media, but Qatar was quickly able to secure imports from Turkey and Iran and stores were restocked almost immediately.

Our comprehensive survey of Doha in late August showed that despite a steady flow of goods and no significant food shortages, prices for certain foods had been impacted, such as dairy and chicken. While many of Qatar’s food imports simply had to find new transit routes, Saudi Arabia was the source of much of Qatar’s fresh dairy and chicken, and prices for these products increased. They were also more likely to be unfamiliar brands, sometimes labeled with Turkish script that was translated on placards in the store. These products were standouts in the category of grocery items, however, and most food prices did not change. Over 50,000 common food items are subsidized by the government, which has used its sizeable sovereign wealth fund to cover added import costs and control price increases for the past three months. Whole categories saw either negligible changes or price reductions over the six month period between our surveys. Overall inflation was low in Qatar despite the embargo.

Selected 3 month Exchange Rate fluctuations of more than 5%
Country Currency Change vs EUR Change vs USD
Uzbekistan UZS -51.20% -48.10%
Venezuela VEF -38.10% -34.30%
Nigeria NGN -18.20% -12.80%
Democratic Republic of Congo CDF -12.80% -7.20%
Kazakhstan KZT -12.60% -6.80%
Argentina ARS -12.40% -6.60%
Iceland ISK -11.40% -5.70%
Belarus BYN -9.10% -3.00%
Philippines PHP -8.90% -2.90%
South Africa ZAR -8.10% -2.10%
Russia RUB -6.80% -0.70%
United States USD -6.00% 0.00%
Japan JPY -5.90% 0.20%
India INR -5.60% 0.50%
New Zealand NZD -5.50% 0.60%
Switzerland CHF -5.00% 1.10%
Brazil BRL -1.10% 5.10%
Australia AUD -0.70% 5.80%
Euro EUR 0.00% 6.40%
Norway NOK 1.40% 7.90%
Canada CAD 2.20% 8.80%
Sweden SEK 2.50% 9.10%
Serbia RSD 2.80% 9.40%
Selected 3 month Exchange Rate fluctuations of more than 5% Incomplete
Goods and Services Inflation
Selected surveyed locations with inflation higher than 5% for 6 months
Luanda, Angola
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cairo, Egypt
Accra, Ghana
Lagos, Nigeria
Caracas, Venezuela
Goods and Services Inflation Incomplete
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Kazakhstan

The personal allowance has increased in Kazakhstan. The maximum for state pension contribution has also increased. Changes are expected to be enacted relating to the Notional Defined Contribution Pension System and to employee medical insurance contributions in 2018 and 2019.

Complete
Illinois, U.S.A.

The Illinois legislature has overridden the Governor’s veto of a budget bill. The key tax change for individuals included in the state budget is an increase in the tax rate from 3.75% to 4.95%, effective July 1, 2017. The net effect is an increase in tax.

Incomplete
Venezuela

The government has increased the monthly minimum salary by 50% effective July 1, 2017. This change impacts maximum social security contributions. The net effect is an increase in social security for higher incomes. There is no change in income tax. .

Uruguay

Uruguay has enacted tax increases for 2017, with the top marginal tax rate increasing from 30% to 36%. The method for claiming credits has also changed, with a flat rate of 8% of qualifying amounts allowed in most cases to offset the tax. Child tax credit, social security contributions, and income tax brackets are adjusted for inflation based on the Base Benefits and Contributions (BPC) rate, which is set at 3,611 for 2017. The net effect is a small increase in social security for higher incomes and a larger increase in tax for most incomes.

 Data Points Q3-2017