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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Far East upbeat on property sales

FAR East Organisation, a private developer with an annual revenue of S$5.5 billion (RM13.4 billion), expects investors from Southeast Asia to continue buying its properties despite the global turmoil.

The diversified group is targeting property buyers from Malaysia, China and Indonesia, said its chief operating officer Chia Boon Kuah.

This is because they accounted for a majority of property sales to foreigners last year.

According to a report by Savills Singapore, about 9,300 of the 15,904 properties sold last year were acquired by foreigners, and Malaysia took 20 per cent of the share.

Chia said for properties launched by Far East, Malaysians bought mainly in Woodlands, Bukit Batok and the Thompson area, each worth between S$1 million (RM2.45 million) and S$3 million (RM7.3 million).

"The buyers were mostly from Johor, followed by Penang and Kedah. Malaysia is an important market to us. It is the second biggest market after Indonesia," Chia said in an interview recently.

He said the group will continue to attract investors from Southeast Asia who want to be part of Singapore's growth story.

"Demand for property is there because wealth is growing. There is enough liquidity and foreigners continue to find Singapore attractive despite cooling measures by the government to curb speculative buy," Chia said.

But Far East is launching three to four projects less this year, compared with 14 in 2011. It is also targeting to achieve S$3 billion (RM7.3 billion) in property sales this year, lower than the S$4 billion (RM9.8 billion) achieved last year.

"We had the highest market share of 25 per cent last year in terms of property sales. We are lowering our sales target because demand for properties is expected to slow down in the second half of this year," Chia said.

Far East had launched five projects since early this year and achieved sales of S$1.8 billion (RM4.4 billion).

Some of the group's recent projects which had attracted Malaysians included Alba, Boulevard Avenue, Orchard Scotts, The Scotts Tower, Woodhaven and Watertown.

"We hope to maintain our 2011 revenue of S$5.5 billion this year but it would be challenging. We are bullish on the hospitality market and room sales have been holding strong so far," Chia said.

Far East, founded in 1960, owns and operates the largest corporate leasing and hospitality portfolio in Singapore, including eight hotels and 11 serviced residences.

By Business Times

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