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SG No drop in overseas property interest

Property Here - Monday, April 22, 2013

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By Andrew Batt:

Last weekend saw a record number of property exhibitions in Singapore, with more than 20 individual events showcasing overseas opportunities to local buyers.

Property developments from Canada to the Philippines, and from Bangkok to Sydney, were exhibited at numerous events throughout the city-state, and the number of overseas exhibitions shows no signs of decreasing.

Although some commentators have suggested that overseas developers are flocking to Singapore to cash in on the current boom in overseas property investments, you only have to read the recent views of Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam to understand why overseas opportunities are attractive in the eyes of Singaporean property investors.

His comment that ‘home prices are moving the right way’ is obviously very good news for the vast majority of Singaporeans, however for many of the growing number of investors who are keen to invest in property there are simply too many potential downside risks in the Singapore property market.

Just as many overseas investors splashed cash on Singapore property over the last four or five years, so Singaporeans are continuing to buy overseas in ever increasing numbers for exactly the same reasons – potential capital appreciation and rental yields which are predicated to outperform those from local property investments.

Su-Zan Teo, Senior Manager of International Projects for DWG, has noticed more buyers looking at her agency’s Malaysian projects. DWG was showcasing The Ruma Hotel and Residences, a freehold investment opportunity in the centre of Kuala Lumpur.

She said: “We are certainly seeing more people now than we were six months ago. With the announcement of the high-speed rail link and other infrastructure developments more people are looking at property investments in Malaysia.”

Perennial favourite property investment destination London was represented by four developments.

CBRE was marketing London Square in Putney and Stephen Ho, Director of International Project Marketing Asia, for CBRE, expects more secondary locations will be exhibited in Singapore.

He said: “We’ve not reached saturation point yet, but it’s got to a point where us as agents have to be very careful about what we choose to market. Buyers are savvier about the locations they want to buy. Overseas developers read about the success stories of sales events in Singapore but they don’t hear about the failures.”

Location was echoed as a key factor by Richard Levene, Director of International Properties for Southeast Asia, Colliers International. His agency was exhibiting Amberley Waterfront in west London.

He said: “Projects in the wrong locations will not sell well here.”

Levene, who has been selling overseas property for more than 15 years, added that the last two years have been the busiest he has witnessed. His company will be bringing more overseas projects to Singapore buyers between now and the end of the year.

“We’re booked most weeks,” he added.

The numerous rounds of property market cooling measures which made buying in Singapore more expensive has made overseas investments more attractive.

Doris Tan, Director of International Project Sales for Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “More Singaporeans have been looking overseas as a direct result of the cooling measures, and the numbers are only increasing. They’re looking around the regions and at even more exotic locations.”

Jones Lang LaSalle was exhibiting One The Thames – a prime central London project on The Stand and close to the banks of the River Thames.

Elsewhere, Putney was also in the spotlight with Knight Frank giving Putney Place, a 148-unit project in the south west of the capital, its world sales launch.

Seb Warner, Regional Director Asia Pacific, International Project Marketing for Knight Frank, said: “There is still a huge shortfall of property in London with very little supply in the pipeline. The number of London exhibitions is not likely to slow down but at the same time we’ll not see things running out of control. The better projects will continue to sell but those in secondary locations will struggle.”

Warner added that Singapore was chosen for the first launch of Putney Place because Singapore is considered to be the strongest market anywhere.

“Hong Kong is up and down, although it’s certainly better now than it was a few months ago,” he said.


Andrew Batt, International Group Editor of PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email