Hong Kong has been subject to ongoing street protests since June 2019. The protests have led to varying degrees of disruptions in daily living for residents, a sharp reduction in tourists visiting the city, and most recently, an economic downturn considered to be the worst since 2008.
Rents increased in Neuquen due to higher demand and low vacancy rates. Real estate agents have clients on waiting lists for apartments, and rentals are not listed for long before being rented. Construction projects are underway for new apartment buildings, which should help increase the number of 2-3-bedroom apartments. However, with growing expatriate demand, rents may increase over the next 6-12 months.
China has implemented measures that generally reduce social security contributions. The reductions are primarily targeting employer contributions to the social insurance programs and are part of a multi-year effort to unify pension systems at the national level. However, the social insurance wage base has increased in Shanghai, resulting in an increase in employee contributions to social security for Shanghai taxpayers. The net effect is a reduction in income tax for Shanghai taxpayers as the increased employee social contributions are deductible.
The United Kingdom and Switzerland have completed a transitional agreement to maintain social security rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The deal also preserves working privileges, residency rights, and freedom of movement between the two countries.
Despite the availability of options, public transportation in Casablanca feels prohibitive. The bus system is not really an option for expats or visitors as the vehicles are old and falling apart. The tram is modern, but stops are limited, and it doesn’t connect with major malls, hotels, or restaurants.
Construction of new apartments and houses over the last four years has created a large rental supply in Santa Cruz. Lower demand for these rentals has resulted in dropping rents. Vacancy rates are high at all but the most popular apartment buildings. Construction continues, with more 2-3-bedroom apartments planned to enter the rental market in the next 6-18 months. However, sources believe rents have likely reached their lowest point.
When I was visiting Cape Town during my recent survey, it was hard to believe that a water crisis had threatened the city so severely in 2017 and 2018 that city residents faced water restrictions as low as fifty liters of water per-person-per-day.
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On August 11th, Argentina held primary elections ahead of the general election scheduled for October 27th. Center-left candidate Alberto Fernandez and running mate former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner defeated center-right President Mauricio Macri. This result created uncertainty about the future of Argentina’s economic policy. Many investors pulled their money out of Argentina, and ratings agencies such as Fitch and Standard & Poor’s downgraded their credit rating. The peso experienced rapid and significant devaluation against the dollar, losing roughly 20% of its value in a matter of days. In an effort to stabilize the peso, Macri re-instituted currency controls that had been eliminated in 2015.
In Cairo, expatriates typically use a driver rather than relying on public transportation options. During my August survey I found that, even though taxis have meters, drivers are frustratingly unwilling to use them when driving expats.