MLN, Apac Realty deal to target Chinese property buyers

Apac Realty, which owns ERA Realty Network in Singapore, yesterday signed an agreement with Chinese overseas real estate company MLN Overseas (Singapore) to help the latter's Chinese clients manage their properties in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Under the agreement, MLN will refer its Chinese clients looking to buy Singapore properties to ERA, which will see them through the entire process, including after-sale services.

In Malaysia and Thailand, ERA will help MLN clients with after-sale services such as leasing and resale.

Mr Jack Chua, executive director and chief executive officer of Apac Realty, said that the interest from well-heeled Chinese customers in Singapore would be primarily in high-end properties in prime areas.

These customers would likely not be deterred by the 15 per cent Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty and would want to capitalise on the decline in high-end property prices over the last few years.

MLN said that it has sold about 1,600 units in Malaysia, Thailand and other South-east Asian countries to Chinese customers in the past two years. Its president and executive director Juliet Zhu said: "Chinese property buyers are concerned about after-sale services as they are unable to manage their overseas properties in person.

"With Apac Realty's strong brand presence and stellar track record, we can assure our clients that overseas investments are carefully managed."

MLN, which has seven branches in South-east Asia, is seizing on a surge in interest from Chinese property buyers in investing overseas.

According to a recent report by Hurun, Chinese buyers spent over US$100 billion (S$131 billion) on overseas properties last year.

Many of MLN's overseas clients often have business dealings and investments outside of China, thanks to the Belt and Road initiative, and their ability to buy property is therefore likely not be affected by currency controls, Ms Zhu said.

ERA has close to 17,500 professional real estate sales agents across nine countries in South-east Asia, including Singapore.

Mr Chua said Apac Realty is also looking to expand in China via acquisition.

Apac Realty shares yesterday ended 1.6 per cent higher at $1.25.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2018, with the headline 'MLN, Apac Realty deal to target Chinese property buyers'. Subscribe