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Thread: Crossroads for real estate investment opportunities

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    Default Crossroads for real estate investment opportunities

    Cityscape Asia

    Published April 15, 2008

    Crossroads for real estate investment opportunities

    Cityscape Asia is drawing a great deal of interest from major western developers


    THE global real estate sector is going through big changes and this could not be more apparent at this year's Cityscape Asia 2008.

    While Cityscape Asia is an Asia-focused real estate exhibition and conference, several major western developers are offering developments to Asian investors seeking to take advantage of favourable exchange rates to buy US real estate.

    And MGM Mirage's CityCenter being developed on the Las Vegas strip will be difficult to miss.

    Costing over US$7.8 billion, CityCenter is a mega hotel, casino and condo development. It is the largest privately financed development in the US and is now on show in Asia too.

    Rohan Marwaha, managing director of Cityscape, said: 'Two months ago, we found that many real estate players were watching global events unfold with a sense of unreality. Now they are already moving on with their plans and actively looking at the new opportunities to emerge since the upheaval, with deal-making strongly back in the frame.'

    The importance of identifying the latest trends in real estate, architecture, urban planning and design from around the world is underscored by the state of flux in many property markets today.

    Kwek Leng Beng, executive chairman of Singapore-based City Developments Ltd, which is exhibiting as part of the Green Pavilion at Cityscape Asia 2008, said: 'Today, the mood is not one of panic, unlike the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

    'We are not in recession today, but rather we are the victims of our own success. Because we did not anticipate that our economy would be firing on all cylinders, we have a shortage of almost every type of property today.'

    Dubai International Capital's announcement that it intends to invest US$5 billion in Asia over the next three to four years gives clear indication of where the action would be in the future.

    Emerging markets

    Cityscape Asia 2008 exhibitions director Theresa Gan expects interest to focus on emerging regional markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

    'There will be a thorough debate of 'where to next' for the mature but still dynamic Singapore market where the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Building and Construction Authority will spearhead a strong government sector contingent educating the market,' Ms Gan said.

    Real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis recently reported strong demand in all sectors of the Vietnam real estate market and estimates that around US$5 billion - much of it from foreign direct investment - was invested in Vietnam property in 2007.

    Graham Wood, Cityscape Asia exhibition director and organiser, added that Middle Eastern investors will continue to make their presence felt, both in offering major Middle Eastern developments to Asian investors, and investing their own capital to increase their own portfolios across Asia in 2008.

    'This year's Cityscape Asia will effectively provide a crossroads for these inter-regional investment trends to play out.'

    Over three days, Cityscape Asia will give an insight into both the emerging and mature property markets in Asia by being the only international property event in Asia to combine a conference and exhibition that maximises both learning and networking opportunities with more than 6,000 international and regional real estate professionals.

    It will feature more than 50 speakers including CEOs, managing directors and government officials, and will examine the opportunities in Asia including real estate investment trusts, derivatives and even an Asian investment property databank.

    Leaders in their fields will also deliver presentations on clusters and hubs for financial institutions, and investment opportunities in airport cities.

    Closer to home, the impact of integrated resorts on the Singapore market will be examined.

    Building on the success of the inaugural Cityscape Asia 2007 that saw more than 100 exhibitors from 35 countries sell out 6,000 square metres of exhibition space, Cityscape Asia is a showcase of opportunities and iconic architecture from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan and the surrounding Pacific region.

    But this year, the notion of 'the sustainable city' is set to be a key theme for discourse.

    Going green

    Apart from the Green Pavilion, Cityscape Asia will host the World Architecture Congress where techniques to reduce the ecological footprint of modern buildings and cities in Asia will be introduced.

    In addition to this, there is a Building Green Seminar where key exhibitors will share their vision of a sustainable future.

    Mr Wood highlighted that a recent Jones Lang LaSalle survey of 414 companies revealed that 12 per cent in Asia said that they were willing to pay premiums of over 10 per cent for 'sustainable' buildings, compared to just 3 per cent in North America and Europe.

    'Asian countries, led by Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and India, are introducing green building ratings along the lines of systems operating in Britain and the United States and the concept is catching on,' added Mr Wood.

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    Default Re: Crossroads for real estate investment opportunities

    Published April 16, 2008

    Global property firms showcase projects here

    M'sian developers making their presence felt at Cityscape Asia 2008

    By ARTHUR SIM


    IN a light moment at the Cityscape Asia 2008 conference yesterday, Urban Redevelopment Authority chief executive Cheong Koon Hean said: 'For those interested, I still have land to sell.'

    Ms Cheong, who gave the keynote address at the conference, was referring to the redevelopment of Tanjong Rhu, a former shipyard area, and how urban planning can help enhance value and 'bring about real estate opportunities'.

    She was also priming the audience for much larger real estate opportunities at Marina Bay, revealing that so far it has attracted $16.5 billion of investments.

    Malaysia's UEM Land, which is behind the 24,000 acre integrated development at Nusajaya in the Iskandar Development Region of Johor, is also looking for investors at Cityscape Asia 2008.

    Interestingly, while much was made of a memorandum of collaboration that UEM Land signed with US giant General Electric International (GE) in September last year on safety, security, infrastructure and the environment, UEM Land managing director Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said there was no discussion on 'buying and selling of land to GE'.

    GE is a 'facilitator and project manager' whose services were offered gratis, he explained.

    UEM Land does want to sell property, and Mr Wan Abdullah said that at its latest Horizon Hills development, 50 per cent of the 465 units sold so far have gone to Singaporeans or foreigners working in Singapore.

    While Cityscape Asia is very much a platform for the real estate industry to market its projects and services, the only Singapore developer exhibiting this year is City Developments Ltd (CDL).

    It is part of the 'Singapore: Building Green Pavilion' supported by the Building and Construction Authority.

    Nevertheless, CDL said it is proud to be participating.

    Major companies with representation at Cityscape Asia 2008 were from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Brunei, Italy and the US.

    Malaysian developers, however, are making their presence felt, with UEM Land and SP Setia taking up large exhibition spaces.

    Also making their mark are developers from the Middle East, including Dubai World's real estate unit Limitless.

    Since opening its South-east Asian headquarters in Singapore in December, Limitless has been increasing its investments in Asia.

    At Cityscape Asia 2008, it will showcase three South-east Asian projects - Malaysia International Halal Park, Puteri Harbour in Malaysia and Halong Star in Vietnam - representing some 1,285 hectares of land to be developed and an investment of some US$100 billion.

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