THERE is little danger that Singapore’s high-end property prices will affect its cost competitiveness, said a panel promoting the country’s real estate prospects.
Mr Daryl Ng, the executive director of Sino Group, one of Hong Kong’s largest developers, said it was healthy that prices of top-end homes in Singapore have finally caught up with those in other global cities such as New York and London.
‘There is good value in Singapore…where prices were a laggard compared with those in other international cities,’ he said yesterday at Mipim Asia, a major property conference and exhibition being held in Hong Kong this year.
Mr Ng is the son of Sino Group chairman Robert Ng and the grandson of group founder Ng Teng Fong.
The panel was addressing a question from an audience member on whether Singapore’s costly homes would price the city out, especially as some Orchard Road flats now cost twice as much as apartments near New York’s Times Square.
The head of property firm Savills Singapore, Mr Michael Ng, noted that while Singapore homes might be getting pricey, they are still nowhere near the world’s costliest residences.
There is still some way to go before they hit prices such as $15,000 per sq ft (psf), fetched recently in London, he said.
Mr Richard Johnson, who heads the Istithmar Real Estate fund, added that high prices are simply part of a market cycle. ‘We’re at the top of the cycle in Singapore. It’s just tough luck.’
An official from Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) noted that while high-end homes have exceeded $5,000 psf, there are still ‘good quality, suburban homes available for $500 to $600 psf’.
‘What we are seeing now is market segmentation,’ said Mr Marc Boey, a deputy director at the Singapore agency.
‘Compared with the 1990s, we are now seeing demand not just from Indonesians and Malaysians but also from people in Monaco, London and the Middle East.’
Mr Boey also told The Straits Times that the URA and the Singapore Tourism Board were in Hong Kong to woo hotel developers that have little or no presence in Singapore, ahead of a revised Government Land Sales programme due out in two weeks.
The programme opens sites to developers for bidding.
Many companies have expressed keen interest in building hotels, ranging from smallish ones of about 300 rooms to those with about 500 rooms, said Mr Boey.
Source : Straits Times - 30 Nov 2007