Singapore's CapitaLand wants to speed up China construction

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 November, 2013, 4:28am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 November, 2013, 4:28am

CapitaLand, Southeast Asia's biggest builder, aims to speed up construction of apartments in China to boost returns.

"For residential projects, the pace of our development is not fast enough," Jason Leow, chief executive of CapitaLand's mainland unit, said at a briefing in Shenzhen.

Singapore-based CapitaLand is expanding in China to take advantage of its growing urbanisation. The company has mixed-use projects under its Raffles City brand name in eight cities and also owns The Ascott, the mainland's biggest serviced apartment operator.

The company had sold almost 2,400 homes on the mainland in the first nine months of this year, compared with about 2,000 homes in the same period last year, Leow said.

More than 90 per cent of the company's residential projects in China were targeted at first-time buyers and the mass market, he said.

New home prices jumped last month in all but one of the 70 cities that were tracked, adding pressure on local governments to tighten property policies as they seek to meet annual housing price targets.

CapitaLand's operations in China have felt little impact from tighter lending by banks because the company was "in a very comfortable position financially", group chief executive Lim Ming Yan said at the briefing.

Separately, the developer was still positive about the long-term prospects of Singapore's property market, Lim said.

Singapore's home prices fell 1.2 per cent last month from September as evidence builds that the government's efforts to cool the property market are working. Home sales have fallen for the past four months after the Singaporean government imposed new rules in June governing how financial institutions grant property loans to individuals.

"In the short term there may be some headwinds because of the measures," Lim said. "But as long as Asia continues to grow, Singapore will be well positioned for growth over the next five, 10, 15 to 20 years."