Macquarie still optimistic over real estate

Even as some market observers are saying that the Singapore property market is weakening, Macquarie Global Property Advisers (MGPA) is still optimistic and sees value in the office, retail and residential sectors.

“There are still some good bargains around, and in the next 6 to 9 months, there might be better pricing value,” said MGPA’s chief executive (Asia investments) Simon Treacy at the signing of the building agreement for the second land parcel at Marina View. The private equity real estate firm won the tender for both Marina View sites last year.

“When completed in 2012, MGPA’s Marina View development will yield about 200,000 sq m of office facilities,” said Ms Grace Fu, Minister of State for National Development. “It will add to the critical mass of prime office space in our CBD and offer more location choices for business and financial services which want to grow their operations.” MGPA said that the development (picture) will include about 250 five-star hotel rooms, and is now in talks with some hotels for a tie-up.

“It will be the first office complex in Marina Bay to be integrated with a luxury hotel,” said Ms Fu. Investors find Singapore attractive, with foreign direct investments to Singapore increasing to $14 billion last year from $6.7 billion in 2006, she added.

“There’s still a lot of latent demand for office space, and there’s limited supply in the next couple of years,” said Mr Treacy, adding that Singapore would follow Hong Kong’s pace where new office building space is taken up very quickly.

He expects office rents in Singapore to rise 10 to 25 per cent this year.

“This reflects strong regional growth in Asia and solid demand for international grade office space. So we’re comfortable and we still see growth in the medium term in Singapore,” said Mr Treacy.

Source : Today – 19 Mar 2008

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