Singapore property market heads for bottom faster than Hong Kong, says fund manager

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2016, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2016, 7:01pm

Arch Capital Management, a boutique property private equity management firm based in Hong Kong, is targeting Singapore as its next investment target rather than Hong Kong where a property correction is just beginning.

“Between Singapore and Hong Kong, I think Singapore has more price downward adjustment. So, we like it and we are keeping an eye on there,” said Richard Yue, chief executive at Arch Capital.

In contrast, Hong Kong property is still expensive and it is expected that home prices in the New Territories – where new supply is heavy – could face more consolidation than those in urban areas.

“I do not have a crystal ball,” he said referring to when the Hong Kong correction will end.

LaSalle Investment Management last week said Singapore’s property market may be closer to a bottom than Hong Kong.

A turning point in the city state’s property cycle “is probably closer and more advanced than Hong Kong, so we feel the market is bottoming out”, LaSalle said.

Arch Capital will launch its resort project, MontAzure, in Phuket in Hong Kong next week.

MontAzure, to be built on a 73-hectare site in Kamala, about 20 minutes drive from Phuket airport, will require a total investment of about HK$35 billion.

“We are the largest mixed-use project under development in Phuket right now,” said Jonathan Umail, director of asset management at Arch Capital.

About 50 per cent of the 75 beachfront condominiums had been sold since its first launch in November last year, Umail said.

The project, co-developed with Narai group of Thailand and Philean Capital of Singapore, will generate about 2.2 billion baht if all the condominiums are sold, he said.

Yue said that so far the biggest group of buyers have been Thais.

“We have foreign buyers from Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia and a few Europeans,” he said.

The one- to two-bderoom condominiums, ranging in size from 780 square feet to more than 2,000 sq ft, are priced from HK$2.7 million to HK$10 million.

“It is very rare to find beach front condominiums in the island,” Yue said. “We are offering them in Hong Kong because people see Phuket as a favourable holiday destination.”

Completion of the condominiums is expected in 2018.

MontAzure also comprises a luxury hotel – to be managed by InterContinental Hotels and Resorts – as well as a beach club and a lifestyle retail mall. Besides the beachfront condos, the project will also include 10 luxury villas each covering 10,000 sq ft.

Yue said the fund bought the land from a Thai family 10 years ago after it invested in five property projects in Bangkok.

“It is a big piece of land. The development will cover less than 50 per cent of the site while the remainder will contain landscaping and greenery,” he said.

After buying the site, the group spent three years developing the infrastructure such as widening the roads, and installing sewage and drainage systems.

“We are different from other funds which mainly financially oriented. We have the DNA of a developer as we have been involved in building various large residential projects, such as One Oasis in Macau,” Yue said.