Singaporeans are major buyers of London properties: consultant

Real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle says it is seeing an increase in the number of Singapore investors buying properties in London.

And demand out of Singapore has already eclipsed that of Hong Kong last year.

In 2012, buyers from overseas purchased 54 percent of all newly built apartments sold in London, with Singaporeans making up the largest percentage of Asian buyers.

The Singapore residential property market has enjoyed healthy sales in recent years.

But with new loan curbs put in place towards the end of June this year, analysts say many investors have now turned their attention to properties overseas, including London.

Doris Tan, Head of Residential International Project Sales, Singapore, Jones Lang LaSalle, says: “The main factor is the sterling pounds, depreciation of sterling is making it so attractive. For the lower range, we start from 250,000 pounds to half a million. This range is very comfortable…for younger buyers trying to invest overseas or diversify their portfolio. But for people who really want a trophy property, there are properties ranging from 2 million to 3 million pounds – these are for high net worth individuals.”

Jones Lang LaSalle says last year Asian buyers accounted for 40 percent of overseas demand for London properties with the majority of them from Singapore.

The property consultancy will be marketing eleven new London residential projects in Singapore from now till year-end.

Among them is a riverside mixed development called City Island to be built at an estimated cost of some 250 million to 300 million pounds.

Its developer, The Ballymore Group, says the average price for apartments at City Island will be under 1,000 pounds per square foot with prices for a 450-square-foot one-bedroom apartment starting from 220,000 pounds.

City Island will comprise 1,700 units of apartments, 4,502 square metres of office space and 1,852 square metres of retail space.

The Ballymore Group says the average price of the apartments located in City Island will be under 1,000 pounds per square foot.

The first two residential buildings at City Island will be completed around early 2016.

Richard Oakes, Sales and Marketing Director, The Ballymore Group, says: “There is not a lot of availability in London right now for that (price) bracket and we think that we can use that opportunity to bring buyers from Singapore into it. Normally…from our Asian client base, we expect Singapore to take easily above 40 percent of that market.”

Jones Lang LaSalle projects residential prices in London to appreciate by an average of 5.2 to 5.5 percent a year from 2013 to 2017.

Some market watchers say investors are also getting a little bit more optimistic about growth in the US and Europe.

And that has helped to spur demand for properties in gateway cities like London and New York.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 18 Sep 2013