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13 December 2009

Singapore tops markets in property survey

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For real-estate investment next year, Singapore is among the top five markets in the Asia-Pacific,, citing Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report.

According to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2010 survey, residential properties look set to give the most promising returns, thanks to Singapore's transparent market.

Shanghai is the top investment choice, with retail, industrial and rental apartments offering the most lucrative returns.

Hong Kong is the secondmost- favoured city, with retail being the most buoyant sector.

Beijing came in third, up from last year's 12th spot. The capital city's residential and manufacturing sectors garnered positive reviews. Seoul was fourth and Singapore came in fifth.

Choo Eng Beng, PwC assurance real-estpate leader for Singapore, said: "The findings show that, despite issues with oversupply, we are still recognised as a property-investment hub."

However, he urged investors to tread cautiously as "there are concerns about the city's development prospects across most asset classes".

While real estate remains in the pink of health - the Global Property Guide reported that housing prices here jumped an all-time record 14.3 percent in the third quarter - some say that demand in the next few quarters is likely to cool.

Donald Han, managing director of real-estate brokers Cushman & Wakefield, said: "Q3 prices have gone up too fast in too short a time. The steep V-shaped recovery cannot be sustained. The market needs a breather."

Mass-market prices are also already hovering at their peak.

That is why PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail expects housing demand and price increases to continue "in a subdued manner" of 2 to 3 percent in the next two quarters.

But top-tier properties priced above $2,200 psf are expected to do well, with prices climbing 25 percent, said Han.

Still, ULI chief executive Patrick Phillips said that the real-estate rebound will remain fragile.

"It is important to keep the outlook for growth in perspective.

"Spending by Western consumers is no longer acting as the primary engine of global economic growth, so a new driver is needed to boost the world's economy and, in turn, the global realestate industry," he added.

The annual report is the fourth Asia-Pacific edition, which polled more than 270 international real-estate investors, developers, company representatives, lenders, brokers and consultants across the world.

The bullish outlook is repeated across other Asia-Pacific countries.


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