Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Business Times: Australand arm wins Q3 deals worth A$318m

October 27, 2009
Australand arm wins Q3 deals worth A$318m
780 contracts from wholly owned, joint venture projects in Melbourne, Sydney
By KALPANA RASHIWALA

AUSTRALAND Property Group said yesterday that its residential division bagged about 780 contracts worth over A$318 million (S$409 million) in wholly owned and joint-venture projects in Melbourne and Sydney in the third quarter of this year.

As a result, the division exchanged a total of about 1,800 contracts (for land, housing and apartments) with sales revenue of about A$700 million in the first nine months of this year.

As at Sept 30, 2009, the residential division had 14,500 lots in its development pipeline comprising land communities, housing and apartment developments.

'The pipeline is geographically diversified across the capital cities of Australia's eastern seaboard and Perth,' Australand said in a Q3 2009 property update issued yesterday, ahead of its parent CapitaLand's Q3 financial results statement to be released today.

Australand does not issue quarterly financial results; it releases them only at full year and half time.

'First-time home buyer demand is slowing with the winding back of the first home buyers boost at the end of September.

'However, interest from second and third time buyers and investors has significantly improved on the backdrop of improved consumer sentiment and the positive outlook for the Australian economy,' it added.

Between June 1 and Aug 31 this year, median home prices increased in all key capital cities with the strongest growth seen in Melbourne (up 5 per cent), with Sydney posting 2.8 per cent growth, buoyed by strong population growth and continued undersupply of new dewellings. Perth also saw a 4.1 per cent rise in line with the strong sentiment for the resources sector in Western Australia.

Australand's commercial and industrial division has leased 88 per cent of Freshwater 28, Southbank, Melbourne.

The office development was completed late last year.

'In the last quarter, the industrial land markets in Victoria and Queensland have experienced renewed transaction activity and Australand has sold approximately 150,000 sq metres of land,' the group said.

Its investment property division also achieved successful leasing of several key tenancies including Diageo (15,000 sq m) at Erskine Park, Sydney, and CSR (10,000 sq m) at Melbourne Airport Business Park, Tullamarine.

Asset sales totalling A$150 million have been completed in the past 12 months by the division.

'The appetite for investment property is improving with private buyers dominating acquisitions under A$30 million. Whilst institutional interest remains limited at present, there are early signs that institutional demand may re-emerge in 2010,' Australand said.

The group also confirmed its guidance, previously provided at the half year, that the 2009 group operating profit after tax, excluding unrealised gains/losses from property revaluations and impairments, is expected to be about A$120 million.

It expects to pay a further distribution of two Australian cents per stapled security for the second half, resulting in a full-year distribution of five Australian cents for the current financial year.

Team Marshe
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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