Cheung Kong Holdings keen on Singapore

Mr Li Ka Shing’s Cheung Kong Holdings, Asia’s second-largest developer by market value, said it is keen to invest in Hong Kong, China and Singapore as the region’s property market is undergoes a “small consolidation”.

Prime offices and industrial parks offer investment opportunities because of economic “fundamentals” in the region, Cheung Kong’s Executive Director Justin Chiu said at a property conference in Singapore yesterday. He said he doesn’t expect “significant” price declines in the next 18 months.

Added Mr Chiu: “We’re just at the low tide of the economic cycle. When we clear the sub-prime issues, I’m fairly confident Asia will come back.”

Property developers are seeking more investments to meet rising demand in China and India, the two fastest-growing major economies in the world. China’s economy is forecast by the World Bank to expand by 9.8 per cent this year, even though gains in home prices slowed.

“Across all three markets in the world – America, Europe and Asia – the best prospects, in my view, are for Asia right now,” said Mr Sameer Nayar, head of real estate finance at Credit Suisse. “It is just because you are talking about half the world’s population and most of the world’s growth in gross domestic product is coming from Asia.”

Mr Chiu said that residential developments may be riskier because they are more dependent on the domestic economy. Home prices in Singapore are easing after rising to record highs last year as a global credit squeeze damped demand, while Hong Kong’s home sales fell for a second month as prices cooled.

Sales by value of residential units in Hong Kong slumped 31.1 per cent in May from a year earlier to HK$26.3 billion($4.6 billion), the biggest drop in 19 months, after falling 30.1 per cent in April.

China’s home prices rose 9.2 per cent in May, the slowest gain since September 2007. New home prices increased 10.2 per cent last month from a year earlier. – Bloomberg

Source : Today – 25 Jun 2008

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