Estonian Foreign Minister Speaks On The Environment

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet recently made a speech in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, urging the necessity of wholesale changes in people’s lifestyles, according to a report by Kristopher Rikken on the Estonian Public Broadcasting English site.

After noting the importance of citizens living within their means, Mr. Paet, formally Estonian Defence Minister, set out Estonia’s contribution to this drive, which will include more environmenally- and socially-friendly initiatives. One concrete example  that Mr. Paet cited is the World Cleanup 2012 project, which aims to deal with 100 million tonnes of illegal waste in around 100 countries, and which has been inspired in part by the similar ‘Let’s Do It’ cleanup drive in Estonia, according to the report.

Mr. Paet stated that by the year 2030, 50 per cent more food and 45 per cent more energy will be amongst the advances need to be made to meet global demand, all at a time when CO2 emmissions have increased by 38 per cent over the last 20 years in addition to other environmental hazards such as overfishing and deforestation.

The original report can be viewed here.

Goodson & Red Tallinn Property Consultancy is a premier residential and commercial property service based in Tallinn, Estonia, with a strong focus on consultancy services for overseas property investors. Our recent media accolades include mentions in both the UK quality newspaper the Daily Telegraph, and the New York Times.

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Q1 2012: Estonia Sees House Price Increase Y-o-Y Whilst Global Trend Is For Fall

According to property investment portal, Global Property Guide, whilst the global trend for house prices has been for an accelerating downturn as of Q1 2012, Estonia has been bucking that trend somewhat, even seeing something of an increase, at least as regards the y-o-y figure.

The Global Property Guide (GPG) stated that, of the 36 countries for which quarterly statistics are available, only 12 saw a y-o-y rise to Q1 2012. When looking at Q1 statistics compared with Q4 2011, the picture is even more stark, with only 10 counties seeing a rise in prices, and 26 seeing a fall, over that period.

These figures regard inflation-adjusted prices; nominal price statistics paint a rosier picture, with 20 countries seeing a y-o-y rise in prices.

Notable inflation-adjusted y-o-y price drops have been seen in Ireland (-18.9 per cent), Greece (-11.68 per cent), Poland (-10.94 per cent) and Portugal (-10.45 per cent), with Spain seeing a drop of -9 per cent y-o-y in line with that country’s economic woes.

Conversely, according to GPG, Estonia saw a rise in prices y-o-y to Q1 2012, of 9.13 per cent, the highest of any European country. Of the countries polled, only India, or more specifically Delhi at 24.41 per cent, and Brazil (São Paulo) at 18.70 per cent, saw a greater rise over the same period, though it has to be said that these increases were quite substantially higher than Estonia’s.

As regards the quarterly change, growth was much more sluggish as noted, and Estonia actually saw fall of -0.41 per cent as compared with Q1 2011, according to the GPG data.

Other countries to see significant y-o-y growth were Austria (8.24 per cent) Switzerland (5.49 per cent), Norway (5.43 per cent), Russia (3.86 per cent) and Iceland (2.25 per cent). Of these, Austria, Switzerland and Norway didn’t experience a house price slump in the first place, whereas Estonia, Russia and Iceland are seeing recovery.

The full report is available here.

Goodson & Red Tallinn Property Consultancy has more than eight years’ experience in comprehensive property brokerage and consultancy services for investors and sellers, long and short term lettings services and a comprehensive professional management service for landlords, and has recently been cited in UK quality newspaper the Daily Telegraph, and the New York Times.

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Estonian Property Prices Rising Despite Most Countries Seeing A Fall

According to a recent  global property report from prestigious real estate company Knight Frank, whilst the general global trend for house prices is for a continuing  fall, Estonia is bucking this trend and seeing rising prices.

Written by Kate Everett-Allen, the report referred to Knight Frank’s own Global House Price Index (GHPI), where Estonia saw the second highest property price rise in the world y-o-y between December 2010 and December 2011 with a 12.3 per cent GHPI rise (only Brazil was higher) and, whilst more recent rises have been more modest, it is still well ahead of many countries, and much of Europe in particular.

The 6 month GHPI figure stood at 4.4 per cent rise (only Germany was higher at 5 per cent, and Ireland saw a drop of -9 per cent over the same period) and the 3 month period GHPI stood at 1.1 per cent (compared with – 1.1 per cent for the UK).

Whilst the slowdown in China and other Asian countries, not to mention North America, has had its effect on the index, Europe stands as the worst affected region with all 12 bottom spots being occupied by European countries, which makes the Estonian ‘blip’ all the more surprising. In addition to Germany, the only other European countries to have seen an increase are Iceland, Norway and Switzerland; naturally the continuing Eurozone crisis has taken its toll.

60 per cent of countries polled saw a drop in prices over the final quarter of 2011. In addition to the Eurozone crisis and other global economic uncertainty, the report also cited stricter mortgage lending requirements and falling consumer confidence.

“If ..[the] .. trend spreads to more locations, the overall GHPI could easily slip into negative territory during 2012, especially if the slowdown in Asia continues”, the report stated.

Knight Frank is a truly global, high quality commercial and residential real estate agent with a presence in 43 countries worldwide. The original report is available here.

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Canadian Real Estate Company Enters the Estonian Market

SNC-Lavalin Homburg Property Management, a company owned by two Canadian capital holding companies, has opened an office in Tallinn. Similar ventures are also being opened in Riga and Vilnius.

The company was founded by one of the biggest engineering, construction management and maintenance companies in the world, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., with more than 100 years’ worth of experience together with the Baltic management and maintenance company Homburg Valda, which belongs to the Homburg group of companies. SNC-Lavalin Group has been developing and operating in the real estate field in Canada, the USA and the Netherlands for more than 40 years already.

According to SNC-Lavalin Homburg Property Management director Algirdas Augustaitis, incentives for the establishment of the joint venture included the existing work experience enjoyed by Homburg Group in the Baltic States, along with market development potential, especially in the field of public-private partnerships.

“Shortage of capital at the creation or improvment of infrastructures are problems not only in developing countries and not only in economically tight times. Public-private partnerships are very common in Canada, and bringing our long-term experience to Estonia should only be beneficial in the long term” said company director Algirdas Augustaitis.

In Algirdas’ opnion, SNC-Lavalin’s team was able to attract the largest possible level of capital even as the market is trying to overcome the most difficult circumstances as it is. For instance in 2010 the McGill group of university health centre clinics was backed with a 732 million US Dollar (approximately 573.6 million Euros at the time of writing) investment, which is currently the largest sum in the history of public-private partnerships in Canada.

With public and private partnerships undertaken in the performance of specific infrastructure projects such as railways, airports, bridges, hospitals and prisons, the parent company is planning to consolidate firms’ human resources.

In terms of offering its services to business enterprises operating in Estonia, SNC-Lavalin Homburg Property Management focuses its activities mainly towards retail, office and logistics centres. The new company’s director stated that the main competitive advantage it offers is a better relationship between price and quality than potential customers are currently offered in the market.

The company opened its Tallinn office on January 17th. The original article (in Estonian) can be viewed here.

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Estonia 26th in World Corruption Index

Estonia ranks in 26th place in the world table of perceived corruption, according to figures released by Transparency International.

With a score of 6.5 (where 10 equals ‘highly clean’ and 0 ‘highly corrupt’) Estonia has moved up the table by one place compared with last year, says a report compiled by Baltic Business News.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is based on public sector corruption, and the results have been drawn from some 13 assessments and surveys published between January 2009 and September 2010. The criterion for a change in rating consists of a movement of at least 0.3 points, and at least half of the available data for the country in question should point towards this change. On this basis, Estonia’s position remains unchanged on last year, although in practice it has moved up one place, simply due to one other country that was present in the list in 2009 having been excluded due to a failure to provide accurate data.

In fact only sixteen countries out of the total 178 saw either an improvement or a deterioration in their score over the last year.

Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore were in joint first place on the list with a score of 9.3, followed by Finland and Sweden jointly tied in second place with 9.2. The UK was in 20th place with a score of 7.5, the US was 22nd (7.1), Lithuania 46th (5.0) and Latvia 59th (4.3). The lowest placed country in 178th position was Somalia with a score of 1.1.

The full report can be downloaded at the Transparency International site.

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