Recently Chinese billionaire investor Huang Nubo submitted a land purchase proposal to buy the Grimsstadir farm in northeastern Iceland for $8.8 million dollars. The farm stretches across 300 square kilometers (120 square miles) of scenic land near Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, and Myvatn, a volcanic lake.
Since the purchase is for such a large amount of land, approximately 0.3% of Iceland and the fact that Mr. Nubo is not a resident of the European Economic Area the deal would need to be approved by the Icelandic government.
Iceland’s government denied permission to purchase the land, saying such a transfer of property would be "incompatible" with the country’s laws. The Minister of the Interior, Ogmundur Jonasson, explained that Icelandic law "imposes strict conditions on corporations wishing to acquire ownership or the right to utilize Icelandic properties and it’s clear that the company in question doesn’t fulfill any of the requirements."
For residents of the European Economic Area, there are no restrictions on buying property in Iceland. For other foreign nationals, permission from Iceland’s Justice Department is required. There is no formal application; real estate agents handle the process by writing a letter to the department and providing information, such as a signed contract, regarding the deal.
Real estate agent fees (including obtaining a permit, if applicable, as well as registration fees) are about 30,000 to 40,000 ISK ($235 to $313). Stamp duty is 0.4 percent of the property’s appraisal value. There is an additional 1.5 percent stamp duty on the purchase price, though this tax is waived for first-time buyers.
Wealthy foreigners have bought a house in Reykjavik and intend to turn it into a mosque. The chairman of the Icelandic Muslim Association says he has nothing to do with the investors and has reported the men to the police, saying he fears they may be extremists trying to gain a foothold in Iceland.
In order to facilitate cross-border payment transactions, the Central Bank of Iceland has adopted a temporary alternative routing procedure.
The Central Bank of Iceland has adopted a temporary method for international payment intermediation. This method involves routing banking institutions’ payments to and from Iceland through the Central Bank’s own accounts with its foreign counterparties, which generally have no involvement with the operations of Icelandic banks.
BY JAYNE CLARK • USA TODAY • December 14, 2008
REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- The morning after they enjoyed a seven-course meal with wine pairings in a top restaurant, Chicagoans Howard and Jackie Brennan are mentally savoring the repast. There were scallops and roast lamb, ocean perch and Icelandic cheeses.
ShermansTravel Nov. 21, 2008
While Icelanders have seen their currency, the kronur, drop by an alarming 51 percent against the dollar since just last year, the current economic slump has been an unexpected windfall for the country’s tourism industry. We’ve even just featured Iceland on our Top 29 Places to Go in 2009 list.
According to the Icelandic Property Registry, which published its newest figures this morning, a total of 898 of rental agreements were registered last month, which similar to the number in January 2009. Demand for rental housing has been brisk in recent months, with some 44% more rental agreements registered in 2009 than in 2008. The number of registered rental agreements doubled between 2007 and 2009.
The house prices index in Iceland dropped 7.56% (-13. 98% in real terms) over the year to end-Q1 2010, according to Statistics Iceland. However Iceland’s house price falls are moderating (-8.44% fall during the year to Q4 2009, and -12.54% fall y-o-y to Q3 2009). Iceland’s GDP contracted by 6.9% over the year to Q1 2010.
Statistics Iceland releases now a new issue of Statistical Series. This issue presents the Economic forecast 2010-2015. The forecast assumes that the contraction will come to a close during 2010 and a gradual recovery will start. However, 2010 is still going to show a contraction of 2.9% in GDP. Positive growth is expected from 2011 and througout the rest of the forecast period, given that private consumption has stabilized and large scale industrial investments start in earnest in 2011.
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