Monday, January 28, 2013

Cooling measures not a concern, says foreign developer of luxury condo


Property firm believes that latest cooling measures will not curb foreign appetite for Singapore properties

The Straits Times
January 28, 2013

THE latest property cooling measures may be targeting foreign buyers, but at least one property firm believes that the steps will not curb foreign appetite for Singapore properties.

China Sonangol Land plans to continue expanding in Singapore and is not too bothered by the latest cooling measures.

Mr Alain Fanaie, chief executive officer of the developer's parent company, China Sonangol Group, said he was "not really concerned" about the impact of the recent cooling measures.

He expects buying activity to return in about six months' time.

The latest cooling measures rolled out on Jan 12 include raising the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) for foreigners from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

At its maiden project TwentyOne Angullia Park, a high-end freehold condominium in Orchard Road, five out of the 54 units have been sold since its soft launch in April last year.

All five buyers are foreigners - mostly Indonesians - and the change in ABSD "doesn't make a substantial difference for them", Mr Fanaie said.

Also, they bought the units to live in, rather than as investments.

"For high-end properties, it's mainly for foreigners and the motivation for them is very different. It's not their main residence and they are coming to Singapore for other reasons."

The appeal of Singapore lies in its strong infrastructure, and foreigners believe property prices will still rise in the long term, he said.

He added that since none of the buyers took out loans to finance their purchases, they were not hit by reductions in loan-to-value (LTV) ratios.

Units at the 36-storey project are priced at between $4,000 and $5,000 per sq ft, and cost at least $4.7 million each. The smallest is a 1,163 sq ft two-bedroom unit and the largest is a 7,718 sq ft penthouse.

The development sits on a 49,113.6 sq ft land plot, the site of the former The Parisian condominium, and was unveiled to the public last Saturday.

Construction is already under way and the project is expected to be completed by June 2014.

China Sonangol Land, set up in 2008, is a unit of China Sonangol Group, which is headquartered in Hong Kong.

It is planning to develop another freehold condominium in East Coast this year, the 109-unit Amber Skye, which it is jointly developing with OKP Holdings.

Amber Skye will be launched in the second half of this year.

Mr Fanaie said Singapore will be a growing part of China Sonangol Land's portfolio, which includes commercial properties in Jakarta.

The developer plans to focus on residential properties in Singapore, but is also considering developing offices.


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