Saturday, May 12, 2012

Foreign developers look to Asians to drive sales

Straits Times: Sat, May 12
OVERSEAS property developers are increasingly setting their sights on Asia - including Singapore - to drive their sales to make up for weak demand back home.

They hope that deep-pocketed investors in the region who are frustrated with low bank interest rates will choose to invest in other corners of the globe.

While economies in Europe and the United States are stagnant at best, the Asian growth engine is chugging along steadily, flush with funds drawn from across the world seeking better returns.

That has meant that investors abroad have looked to Asia to diversify their investments, driven away from Europe, for instance, by the euro zone debt crisis.

But a growing number of overseas developers are looking to pull some funds in the other direction, by eyeing buyers in this region when marketing projects.

They have taken their roadshows to economies including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

In fact, some roadshows for property in London are launched in Asia first, said Mr Darien Bradshaw, the executive director of consultancy CBRE's international property marketing arm for Asia.

He said this reflects the perception that Asian buyers have cash to spend.

CBRE is currently marketing Fitzroy Place in London's West End. Mr Bradshaw said that the roadshow here had received a 'good response' with about 40 per cent of the project's investment demand from here. About 30 per cent is from Hong Kong while the remainder is from London itself.

While traditional areas like London, Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur have always been offered as investment alternatives, investors are also being enticed to plonk their savings into less familiar cities such as Chengdu and Houston.

For instance, marketing agent Roof Real Estate Group is holding a property exhibition this weekend seeking investors for homes in Houston.

Hong Kong-based Centaline Property Agency is having a similar exhibition on investing in Chengdu. The firm emphasised the growth potential of the yuan over the next few years and the strength of the Chinese economy compared with the stagnant or slowing growth in European countries...
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