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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Berkeley aims London homes at Asian investors

LONDON-BASED Berkeley Homes is targeting investors in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong for the sale of its projects in central London.

The high-rise properties comprising 292 apartments are collectively known as City Quarters.

“These are 125-year leasehold properties,” Berkeley group managing director Piers Clanford tells StarBizWeek.

“In City Quarters, there are four blocks of buildings known as Times Square and two buildings known as the Sugar House and Hoopers Yard.”

In the past two months, the London property market has attracted much attention from overseas investors, according to Clanford.

“This is because property prices have dropped between 15% and 20% since 2007. The interest rate for housing loan has also come down to 0.5% while the rental yield is about 5% annually.

“Furthermore, the pound has weakened by about 25% compared with a year ago,” he says.

So far, eight Malaysian investors have paid deposits for the properties in City Quarters, Clanford says, adding that Berkeley has sold about 70% of the properties.

The apartments are priced between £345,000 for a one-bedroom 500-sq-ft unit to £1.8mil for a three-bedroom 1,850-sq-ft unit.

There are also 1,150-sq-ft duplexes with two bedrooms priced at £850,000.

The properties, which are gated, come with concierge and night porter services, landscaped water gardens, courtyards and underground car parking bays.

The Times Square buildings, comprising 205 apartments, and the 45-unit Hoopers Yard building are completed.

The Sugar House is a 19th century Victorian building currently being refurbished by Berkeley Homes.

The 42-unit Sugar House is a 19th century Victorian building that is being refurbished for completion in August.

“The Sugar House will have high ceilings and a grand entrance staircase,” Clanford says.

Berkeley Homes will be at the G-Hotel in George Town to promote City Quarters today and tomorrow.

By The Star (by David Tan)

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