Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ho Bee leases out luxury units to ride out property troughs

The Straits Times  |  MARCH 22, 2013

The lacklustre market for high-end homes has prompted developer Ho Bee Group to lease out units at its completed projects.

Ho Bee has developed several pricey projects in Sentosa Cove, including Seascape and Turquoise, but sales have been hit by several rounds of cooling measures and a slowing economy.

The firm has responded by leasing out apartments, with 70 per cent of its unsold units in Sentosa already tenanted.

Ho Bee chairman Chua Thian Poh told The Straits Times: "We hope by the time the market (is all right again), we can put the apartments on the market for sale again. Especially for Sentosa, land is in limited supply. When the market (picks up), the demand for homes will definitely be there."

He noted that the firm's focus has been on growing its recurring income stream while looking to lessen its dependence on any one particular market by investing in overseas projects.

Ho Bee has developments in China and Australia, and is eyeing London again.

Mr Chua said the firm made good revenue and profit from investing in London developments during the Asian financial crisis.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the topping-out ceremony for Ho Bee's commercial project The Metropolis in Buona Vista yesterday.

The two-tower Grade A office project, which also has a retail component, has a net lettable area of about 1.1 million sq ft.

The firm said about 60 per cent has been pre-committed at rates averaging $6 per sq ft for offices and between $8 and $15 psf for retail. Key tenants include Procter & Gamble, Shell, Neptune Orient Lines and the Singapore Exchange.

Mr Chua said he expects The Metropolis to hit full occupancy by the end of this year.

He added: "We don't rule out (the possibility of putting our commercial properties into a real estate investment trust). When the project hits full occupancy, we will look out for all possible opportunities at that point."

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

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