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Thread: S'poreans flocking to overseas property launches held here

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    Default S'poreans flocking to overseas property launches held here

    March 16, 2008

    S'poreans flocking to overseas property launches held here

    By Fiona Chan, Property Reporter


    THE CHICAGO SPIRE is the world's tallest condominium at 150 storeys, and the one- and two-bedroom apartments sell for an average of S$1.38 million. -- PHOTOS: COURTESY OF EASTWEST PR

    IT IS the world's tallest condominium, a spiral-shaped architectural feat that soars 150 storeys into the Chicago sky.

    The best part: An apartment in this iconic building in the United States will cost you less than a unit at The Sail @ Marina Bay here.

    Little wonder, then, that more than 800 people turned up at the launch of the much-vaunted Chicago Spire (below left) in Singapore's Four Seasons Hotel last week.

    'Both the turnout and the sales were overwhelming and way beyond expectations,' said Mr Michael Ng, managing director of Savills Singapore, which is marketing the project worldwide.

    'Everyone was a bit uncertain about how the market would take to it, given the United States' economic issues. But I think the strength was that the Singapore dollar was at a record high and the interest came pouring in,' he said.

    Savills could not disclose official sale figures, but sources said about 30 units were sold, mostly one- and two-bedroom flats that averaged US$1 million (S$1.38 million) each.

    About half the buyers are said to be Singaporeans or permanent residents and the rest, expatriates.

    The response to the Chicago Spire - where units cost about US$1,000 per sq ft, 60 per cent less than The Sail - mirrors the growing demand in Singapore for overseas properties, said marketing agents.

    'Interest has definitely increased as Singapore becomes more open and more receptive to overseas investments,' said Mrs Doris Tan, managing director of DST International Property Services, which markets foreign properties in Singapore and South-east Asia.

    Her company brings in developments both in established markets such as Britain and the United States, as well as emerging ones, including Bulgaria, Bali and Dubai.

    Mrs Tan's clients, mainly Singaporeans or permanent residents, are 'sophisticated investors who know what's going on in property markets around the world'.

    In recent years, the exhibitions she holds have seen bigger crowds and better sales. A popular property now attracts up to 100 people over two days.

    'Of course, the prices in Singapore have gone up a lot, so these provide an alternative,' she added.

    But large crowds do not always translate into many buyers, warned an agent who declined to be named.

    'You can get fantastic turnouts, but sales usually amount to only about 5 per cent of the crowd,' he said.

    Generally, the most seasoned investors buy homes in markets they know well.

    Civil engineer Peter Rudland, 58, now owns six homes in London, where he worked before coming to Singapore, and one in Manchester, where he was born.

    The British-born permanent resident has also resold a number of London investment properties for a profit of at least 20 per cent.

    'London is very safe financially,' he said. 'Singapore has too many speculators. I wouldn't want to speculate here.'

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    Default Re: S'poreans flocking to overseas property launches held here

    'Singapore has too many speculators. I wouldn't want to speculate here.'

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