SINGAPORE : Luxury properties continue to see high demand in South East Asia.
With global markets being flushed with cash, experts say more are looking at investing in high-end properties that's worth more than US$5 million.
New luxury homes now come with an added touch of class and developers are introducing even more innovative features in such properties.
Costing an average of about S$3,500(US$2,800) per square foot, luxury property Helios Residences in central Singapore are for the well-heeled.
Over 75 percent of the development has been sold, with remaining units being 3- and 4-bedroom apartments.
Over 60 percent of the buyers are foreigners.
Its developer says Helios is particularly attractive to foreigners and PRs because of its location and investment value.
It has been designed to save energy.
It allows residents to enjoy the outdoors and possibly discourage them from reaching out for the air-conditioning button too often.
Its Sky Terrace at Level Four and buildings are covered with vine plants, allowing dwellers to stay cool without turning on the energy guzzling air-conditioner.
Glass materials made to allow light in while keeping heat out were also used.
Like many building technologies that have become more sophisticated, the glass panels lining the homes in Helios are now becoming more readily available with lower prices.
Architect of the development, Harold S Guida of Guida Moseley Brown Architects, says: "As we have seen the years past, technology has developed in sophisticated ways, particularly relating to the performance of buildings. And these kinds of technologies have become fairly well standardized now and available to developments of many economic levels."
He adds: "What is innovative is that people are finally starting to realise this really wonderful environment...Architects are starting to design buildings that take into account the variations of heat, humidity, sunlight and South East Asians are making (many) good places to live in."
One example is the ensuite sky garage at Hamilton Scotts.
It has a lift to park residents' cars right at their doorstep - a feature its developers boast as a first in South East Asia.
Innovative features are now the new norm in luxury properties and standards are getting higher as well.
This is according to judges of the South East Asia Property Awards, which has received a third more entries this year.
Alex Shlaen, Judge, South East Asia Property Awards 2012, said: "The countries around the region are maturing very nicely. They are becoming more attractive, they are coming up with much more exciting, attractive products - be it in Manila or KL. There are several very nice projects coming up in Bangkok. Of course Jakarta is coming up."
Property investors are also zooming in on luxury brands.
For instance, Asia's first Ritz Carlton Residences in Singapore was sold for S$4,128 (US$3370) per square foot in October.
Analysts say the price is a record high for a branded residence.
Buyers are usually owner-occupiers who want homes that comes with hotel services.
Nicholas Holt, Asia Pacific Research Director, Knight Frank, said: "This huge increase in demand for luxury properties...is pushing developers to innovate...to really grab that premium...that can increase their market share of this increased wealth. This concept of branded residences is now changing. Branded residences are not just about services, but it's about the identity of the building. And these buyers can identify with...the building. And that's why we are seeing this serious premium the developers can tap into in the luxury property market."
And analysts say the premiums can be as high as 30 percent compared to a non-branded property in the same area.
Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)
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