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S’pore property seen as top buy in Asia-Pac

Sentiment strongest in rental apartment, office, hotel/resort, retail sectors: survey

SHANGHAI, Singapore and Tokyo have emerged as the top three most promising Asia-Pacific cities for real estate investment prospects, according to a report from the US-based Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

‘Sentiment was strong among survey participants to either buy or hold all types of properties in Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo, rather than sell properties, illustrating the cities’ strong popularity with the investment community,’ a news release by PwC and ULI said.

For Singapore, the strongest sentiment for buying property was in the rental apartment sector, followed by the office, hotel/ resort, retail and indus- trial/distribution property.

The report, Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2008, is the second annual investor survey from ULI and PwC. It shows that Singapore has jumped from fourth to second placing for investment prospect rankings, and from ninth to third spot for development rankings. Singapore is ranked first for city risk ratings.

One respondent in the survey said Singapore was ‘certainly one of the markets in the area that provides a very stable legal and tax environment, and property rights that are beyond question. And it therefore is certainly one of the markets where many, especially Westerners, are very comfortable.’

The report was based on interviews and surveys with more than 190 professionals, including investors, developers, property company representatives, lenders, brokers and consultants.

The survey covered 20 cities. Shanghai was in the top position in the latest 2008 investment prospect ranking, up from second spot in the earlier ranking. Tokyo maintained its third position, while Osaka, which was first in the 2007 ranking, moved down to fourth position. Hong Kong was ranked fifth in the latest survey, moving up six positions.

While Singapore moved from fourth to second spot in investment prospect, sell recommendations increased for office, retail, and hotel/resort from 0 per cent in the 2007 report issued last year to 19 per cent, 13 per cent and 13 per cent respectively in the latest 2008 report.

Buy recommendations for industrial/distribution property increased from 35 per cent to 44 per cent.

The 2008 survey also shows that the growing Asia-Pacific real estate market still offers opportunities for investors and developers next year. Asia-Pac real estate executives’ response remains strong on overall economic and market fundamentals, regardless of interest rate increases.

High levels of equity capital continue to pour into the Asia-Pacific property pool. For 2008, the hotels sector tops the list of real estate performance prospects, followed by the office sector.

PwC’s tax partner in Singapore, David Sandison, said: ‘It’s expected that even greater amounts of capital will be flooding Asia Pacific real estate markets in 2008. The real challenge for investors will lie in finding the right assets against the backdrop of yield compression and scrutiny by regional governments and tax authorities.’

The strongest sentiment for buying in Singapore was for rental apartments, with about 53 per cent of respondents recommending a buy, 34 per cent hold and 13 per cent sell.

For office space, 52 per cent advised buying, 29 per cent hold and 19 per cent sell.

The survey also showed that 48.5 per cent recommended buying hotel & resort property, 38 per cent advised holding, and 13 per cent, selling. For retail property, 45 per cent advised buying, 41 per cent holding and 13 per cent selling.

In the industrial/distri- bution sector, about 44 per cent of respondents recommended buying, 42 per cent holding and 14 per cent, selling.

ULI is a global education and research institute championing responsible leadership in land use to enhance the total environment.


Source: Business Times 28 Sept 07

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