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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Canadian Property Trends | Cartus MarketWatch

“Canada’s economy has performed relatively well during the recent global economic slowdown and our resale housing market remains stable and healthy,” says John Geha, president of Coldwell Banker Canada Operations ULC.

Canada’s stable economy, its reputation as an immigrant-friendly nation, and housing prices that seem like a bargain on an international scale add to the country’s global appeal. The forecast for 2012 and 2013 is that the Canadian real estate market will be stable, favoring neither buyers nor sellers. (Read the full Canadian Property Trends MarketWatch here.)

Canadian Property Market Summary
The average home price in Canada is expected to increase slightly in 2012 and 2013, with sales projected to increase marginally. Canada’s banking system has been rated the   soundest in the world by the World Economic Forum, and the Bank of Canada has continued to hold interest rates at record lows. Demand for housing is also expected to increase  due to a wave of skilled foreign immigrants looking for housing.

Canadian Resale Market Stable
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Canadians can look forward to two more years of stability in the real estate market. Highlights of the CMHC forecast for 2012 and 2013 include:

MLS® sales are expected to remain stable, with more than 457,000 homes trading hands in 2012.
• Home sales are expected to rise slightly in 2013, surpassing 468,000 resale units sold.
• The average MLS® price for 2011 was $363,000. In 2012, the price is expected to edge up to $368,900 with an additional increase in 2013 to $379,000.

Canadian Interest Rates
The Bank of Canada announced it was holding interest rates at near-record lows for 2012. Mortgage rates, particularly short-term and variable, are also expected to remain at near-historic lows. Closed mortgages from major lending institutions are about 5.25% for a five-year mortgage and 3.5% for a two-year term.

For additional information on Canadian property trends, including analysis of local market indicators for 11 major Canadian cities from Vancouver to St. John’s, read the full Canada MarketWatch here.

Managing Expats in “Unsafe” Locations

Twenty years ago, the stereotypical profile of an expat was a Western male in his 40s or 50s, possibly accompanied by his family. The “lucky” expat would have been handsomely rewarded for the perceived inconvenience of an assignment in London, Hong Kong, or Singapore. The expat would have been handled with kid gloves by his employer and provided with a vast array of benefits, including copious home leave and hardship allowances.

As discussed in Cartus’ recent Insights, today, the world is a very different place for the currently burgeoning, globally mobile workforce. Increased globalization and a crippling recession in many Western economies have resulted in most multinational corporations placing strong bets on global emerging markets.

Security Becoming a Leading Concern

Cartus’ 2012 Global Trends Survey found security to be an ongoing concern: 21% found it to be a serious threat to their programs – not surprising, with the expansion in emerging markets locations, documented by Cartus’ 2011 survey on Emerging Markets. Growing numbers of assignees are being sent to potential security hot spots such as India, Nigeria, Ecuador, South Africa, Kenya, or Bahrain.

Organizations seeking to capitalize on business opportunities in these emerging locations try to manage apparently contradictory challenges—chiefly, how to attract the right talent to these challenging and potentially “unsafe” locations, while ensuring their safety and well-being in a cost-effective manner. (more…)

San Antonio and Worldwide ERC® are Calling! See Us at the Cartus Booth!

Cartus is once again a proud sponsor of the Worldwide ERC® in San Antonio, May 9-11. The conference, themed Solutions, Strategies, Success, includes a robust agenda featuring keynote speaker Dr. Peter Diamandis. National Relocation Conference

Stop by the Cartus booth (#312/314) during the conference for a chance to win an Amazon gift card and “toss the ring” to win a media lounger to hold your favorite phone or music device.

If you haven’t registered for the conference, consider taking advantage of Worldwide ERC’s complimentary registration offer for those attending the event for the first time who manage workforce mobility for employees at their own companies.

We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!

Live from New York: It’s the Totally Expat Show!

I recently had the opportunity to co-present with Bill Sheridan from the National Foreign Trade Council at the Forum for Expatriate Management’s (FEM) Totally Expat Show in New York City. We spoke about global relocation patterns, emerging markets, assignee struggles, and challenges corporate clients face when relocating to these regions. We also explored how economy and business needs have impacted policy benefits, flexibility, and variations in move types. These topics came straight from client questions, and were compiled from more than 120 corporate client responses to our 2012 Cartus Global Policy & Practices survey.

Cartus is holding an eLearning on Wednesday, April 18 to present a more in-depth analysis of our 2012 Global Policies & Practices Survey, giving those who couldn’t attend the FEM event or those interested in more information a chance to learn from the valuable insights we’ve gathered. A previous blog post lists the time that this session will be held in each of the three global regions.

FEM was launched just over three years ago with a mission to establish an online and real world community for all global mobility professionals. Members now are in more than 100 countries, with nearly 40 city events worldwide. The second annual New York City event featured 60-plus exhibitors, 14 learning sessions, and hundreds of attendees – both corporate clients and supplier partners. 

Don’t forget our eLearning on Wednesday, April 18!

Emerging Market Relocation Program Trends

What Are Emerging Markets?

Before talking about global emerging markets, it’s important to define emerging markets as a concept. Cartus defines emerging markets as:

“Locations with infrastructure, talent, or administrative difficulties that require targeted strategies to meet their special needs.”

Emerging markets require clients to adjust their existing international assignment programs because a relocation program servicing Western Europe may not be as effective or as well received for transfers to sub-Saharan Africa.

The Top 25 Emerging Markets

Cartus has identified 25 of the top emerging markets in our Mobility Challenges in Emerging Markets Survey. Highlighted by the BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India, and China, we’ve also seen the rise of a number of other emerging markets, particularly in EMEA.

 

Reasons for Growth and Associated Challenges

So what are the reasons for increased growth in emerging markets, and what are the associated challenges? The lack of seasoned local talent in these emerging markets creates a vacuum for companies who can provide local leadership and project-based expertise. Since many start-up operations are relocating employees to emerging markets, many of these workers are focused on other matters more suitable to their expertise. Strong global relocation leaders with a variety of skill sets are essential for success.

The key challenges of emerging markets are:

1) Attracting candidates with the required technical/business skills

2) An employee’s ability to adapt successfully to the location

3) A lack of adequate local business and living infrastructure

     

Case Studies in Emerging Markets | Angola, Brazil and China

In Angola, infrastructure challenges around housing, schooling, and security add to the cost of assignments. Many companies are holding on to good property and including security and cultural briefings in their mobility policies.

In Brazil, cultural challenges create unexpected complexities for assignees. Companies are recognizing the importance of interpersonal relationships, leveraging a destination service provider with knowledge of local cultural nuances and making small changes that go a long way, such as holding face-to-face meetings rather than virtual ones.

In China, where lack of skilled local talent in a Tier 2 location adds to both cost and complexity in a relocation, it’s important to bring seasoned expatriate talent out of retirement specifically to develop local staff and use the “Reverse Expat” model (local high-potential staff members who are sent on assignment to HQ or on rotational assignments that enable them to develop adequate skills and knowledge).

Overall Best Practices in Emerging Markets

Since each emerging market is unique, and relocations can often be complex, it’s important for companies to:

1) Confirm company objectives for market entry. Why are we going to this location, and what are our talent needs?

2) Investigate key challenges ahead such as market conditions, cultural profile, and infrastructure

3) Identify areas requiring additional support or specific expertise and adjust policy and program to provide additional support.

Check out our white paper on managing the challenges emerging markets pose for your global mobility programs. This document presents more important questions and answers on this topic.

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