Foreign developers out to woo Singapore buyers

Global management firm JLL, which is partnering Extell to market One Manhattan Square (above, left), says that in the US, Asian investment in the residential property market has doubled since 2010. Johns&Co, which specialises in London property, says
Global management firm JLL is partnering Extell to market One Manhattan Square (above).PHOTO: COURTESY OF JLL
Global management firm JLL, which is partnering Extell to market One Manhattan Square (above, left), says that in the US, Asian investment in the residential property market has doubled since 2010. Johns&Co, which specialises in London property, says
Providence Tower in London, which is priced at between £330,000 and £1.7 million, saw 75 out of its 360 units sold to Singaporeans.PHOTO: JOHNS&CO

In the second of a two-part series on investing in property overseas, The Sunday Times asks experts about the potential rewards of investing in global cities such as London, New York and Perth.

With so much wealth being created in Asia, it is no wonder foreign property launches are gathering pace in this part of the world.

Some developers are even starting their campaigns in this region first, as New York firm Extell Development Company did last month.

It began selling its 80-storey condominium One Manhattan Square in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia before launching it in the United States. The units were priced at between US$1 million and US$3 million (S$1.4 million and S$2.1 million).

Property cooling measures continue to weigh down on Singapore's residential sector, with apartment prices falling 4.3 per cent year on year in September.

Meanwhile, prices of property in Australia, Britain and the US have been rising over the years, according to the Knight Frank Global House Price Index for the third quarter of this year.

 

Australia recorded an annual price growth of 9.8 per cent in the 12 months to Sept 30. In the US, the rise was 4.9 per cent, and in Britain, it was 3.7 per cent.

 

The index is compiled quarterly with official statistics where available and weighted by gross domestic product.

London real estate firm Strawberry Star Group's chairman Santhosh Gowda said: "The London property market offers higher returns than any city as of now. Many prestigious developers are unveiling their projects in London, Singapore and Hong Kong as all these locations are very important from the investors' point of view."

Strawberry Star set up an office in Singapore this year - an indication of how important Singaporeans' investment in London's property market is -to provide sales, lettings and management services to foreign investors, added Mr Gowda.

Global management firm JLL, which is partnering Extell to market One Manhattan Square, said that in the US, Asian investment in the residential property market has doubled since 2010, making up 35 per cent of foreign purchasers.

Mr Gowda said that at least half of property investors in London are foreigners, many of whom are from the Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore. He pointed out that the first six months of this year saw foreign investors acquiring properties worth £1.8 billion (S$3.8 billion) in Central London alone.

Johns&Co, which specialises in London property, said 25 per cent of luxury new builds in London are purchased by Singaporeans. One of its projects, Providence Tower, which is priced at between £330,000 and £1.7 million, saw 75 out of its 360 units sold to Singaporeans. That amounted to nearly $60 million of investments, said client relationship manager Duncan Peacock, who is based in Singapore.

 

Analysts said the lure of property overseas for Singaporean investors is driven partly by the declining prospects for real estate here. According to a Colliers International survey, Singapore is the top investor from Asia investing in Britain and Australia.

Mr Gowda who expects British prices to keep rising next year, said: "We estimate the growth rate of housing in 2016 to be between 6 and 7 per cent as more buy-to-let investors purchase new homes before a revision of the stamp duty takes place next April."

He noted that "Asian investors look for off-plan new-built residential developments", adding that areas of London that are undergoing regeneration have seen new schemes launched every month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2015, with the headline 'Foreign developers out to woo Singapore buyers'. Print Edition | Subscribe