Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Local real estate investors look abroad


Weekend roadshows for London projects attract keen interest
The Straits Times
January 22, 2013

THE cooling measures unveiled this month appear to have made local investors look abroad, with roadshows for overseas projects enjoying keen interest on the weekend.

London property is clearly the flavour of the month although Australian real estate is also proving a strong draw for Singapore buyers looking for an alternative to the increasingly tough local market.

More than 70 homes at average prices of £1,100 (S$2,140) per sq ft (psf) have been sold here since the Thursday launch of the Battersea Power Station project which is being built on the south bank of the Thames.

Mr Rob Tincknell, chief executive of Battersea Power Station Development Company, said the interest from Singapore and the resulting sales "far exceeded expectations".

Fulham Riverside, another London project but on the north bank of the Thames, has also recorded "very healthy sales" here, marketing agent CBRE said. Prices range from £450,000 to £2 million.

"The latest property cooling measures might have heightened interest in overseas property but remains only one factor driving purchases in London," said Mr Stephen Ho, CBRE's director of international project marketing, Asia.

"London remains a top choice for international and domestic investors and prime values are now being achieved across a greater area."

Mr Richard Levene, Colliers International's South-east Asia sales director, noted that demand for The Watermark and The Arc in London were very strong over the weekend.

More than 100 units across the projects were sold in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

Prices for a two-bedroom unit at The Arc near Tower Bridge start from £705,000, while prices for a similar apartment at The Watermark in East London start from £410,000.

"These developments are very popular with buyers from Singapore - with approximately 70 per cent of the buyers purchasing for investment," Mr Levene said.

"Some 30 per cent are also families buying apartments for their children attending universities in London to stay in."

Investors seem to be looking more at overseas property opportunities since the cooling measures were announced, particularly in London, he noted, adding that attendance at Colliers' exhibitions has reached more than 100 people, double the level at December's launches.

CBRE's Mr Ho noted that there remains a very strong pipeline of overseas property launches, particularly from London and Australia.

Asia, including Singapore and Hong Kong, continues to be a key market for London and Australian developers, he added. Lucia in Melbourne, for instance, was also marketed here over the weekend with prices starting from A$737 (S$954) psf.

Knight Frank will put 83 units at London's One Tower Bridge on sale here this weekend, the third time the project has been promoted in Singapore. Prices begin at £1,300 psf with apartments starting from £900,000.

Interest in overseas properties is expected to rise as the seventh and most extensive round of cooling measures take effect.

Experts say that the steps - which include tighter loan limits, additional stamp duties and the need to stump up more cash upfront for certain buyers - will likely divert liquidity abroad as investors look for alternative investments to park their cash.


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