http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/...-here-20141129

Country Garden upbeat about Iskandar, opens sales gallery here

Published on Nov 29, 2014 1:11 AM

By Jacqueline Woo


HONG Kong-listed developer Country Garden is upbeat about the prospects for real estate in the Iskandar region despite demand cooling at some projects recently.

Mr Kayson Yuen, its regional president of the Malaysian project, said the upcoming high-speed rail between Malaysia and Singapore will drive inter-city travel as well as cross-border investments.

"Investment in the region has been growing," he added in Mandarin.

Mr Yuen was speaking at the opening of the firm's sales gallery in Cecil Street where its latest development, Bay Laurel at Danga Bay, was launched.

The region logged RM9.72 billion (S$3.8 billion) in new investments in the second quarter of this year - more than double that of the first three months of the year, according to the Iskandar Regional Development Authority.

While sales took a slight knock after Malaysia's property cooling measures kicked in earlier this year, Mr Zhen Yu Liu, regional general manager of sales and marketing at Country Garden, noted that the market is "sensitive" to such policy changes. Foreign buyers face capital gains taxes as well as minimum purchase amounts and stamp duties.

"But there will be as many ups as there will be downs," he said, adding that he believes more Singaporeans will be drawn to the region as it develops.

Country Garden has set up a sales gallery here as an "important base" for its projects to draw investors from across the world, it said in a statement yesterday.

"Singapore, as everyone knows, is an international hub," said Mr Rodrick Loh, its sales and marketing director.

"Having our sales gallery here would allow us to capture a huge number of foreign investors," he said, adding that the projects would allow Singaporean buyers to have a "second option in real estate investment", given the tight property regulations here.

About 6,000 of the 9,400 units at the firm's Danga Bay project have been sold at average prices starting from RM720 psf since the first phase was launched last August.

The Bay Laurel development, which comprises seafront units, is on part of the 57-acre project.

Around 30 units at Bay Laurel were sold at its launch yesterday, where Singaporean buyers were offered discounted rates.

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