Capitaland expects latest cooling measures to hold back buyers for 6 months

The latest property cooling measures may hold back buyers for another five to six months.

This is the view of CapitaLand’s President and CEO Liew Mun Leong after reporting the company’s net profit, which shrank by 26 percent.

In Singapore, the property giant raked in a whopping S$1.35 billion in total sales last year.

This is for the sale of 844 units of private homes – slightly more than the previous year’s sale of 800 units.

But the developer expects lower sales of residential units in the short-term after the government introduced Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) in December to further cool the property market.

Mr Liew says: “Developers are more sceptical – they are not launching so many projects. But the statistics show that buyers themselves have gone down 53 percent in terms of volume. Even secondary market has gone down 21 percent so the first two months demonstrate a drastic effect on buyer confidence.”

He adds that it will take at least another five to six months before buyers adjust their expectations and accept the new ABSD as the norm.

Still, CapitaLand is confident of riding through the cooling measures possibly unscathed.

While the recent cooling measures have affected home sales, CapitaLand said the prices may be reduced by just a small percentage, but there will not be any drastic reduction simply to move the inventory.

CaptaLand adds that the prices of the upcoming Sky Habitat will only be determined a few days before launch.

The largest property developer in Southeast Asia by market capitalisation posted a 20 percent decline in net profit to S$476.6 million for its fourth quarter from a restated S$596 million in the previous year.

Meanwhile, annual net profit fell 26 percent to S$1.06 billion from the previous year.

But that is slightly above analysts’ expectations, after factoring in the impact of new accounting rules, lower residential sales and increased asset sales.

Lock Mun Yee, Property Analyst, DBS Vickers, says: “CapitaLand is a well-diversified company across the Asia Pacific region, as well as across the various sub property sectors which would give them better balance. The group has planted a lot of seedlings, having committed S$11 billion worth of new investments last year, and this should bear fruit over the next few years.”

With some S$6 billion in cash in its coffers, CapitaLand has proposed a first and final dividend of 6 cents per share and a special dividend of 2 cents per share for the financial year 2011.

This is an increase of 30 percent over the previous year.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 14 Feb 2012

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