Property market picking up: CDL’s Kwek

In recent weeks, property veteran Kwek Leng Beng has seen positive signs in the property market.

They have come in the form of text messages about rising unit sales from City Developments (CDL) group general manager Chia Ngiang Hong.

Mr Kwek, CDL executive chairman, said: “It shows that the market is moving. Every week, Mr Chia sends messages where I see sales move up from five to 10 to 30, 50 units. It’s a good indication. I’ve also noticed the high-end sales have been moving quite steadily, and at the low-end showrooms, people have been crowding around.”

Despite his growing confidence in the Singapore market, he noted that developers are constrained by Qualifying Certificate penalties for unsold homes, “especially foreign developers, and even developers listed on the stock exchange with only one foreign shareholder”.

Mr Kwek said: “Such penalties are heavy and erode all profit. I hope the Government reviews them again to steady the rate of growth in terms of price increase.

“If not, you can see every bid (for land) now is higher and higher than ever. Land is akin to raw material for a factory, and if we don’t have that, the factory will be doing nothing. Therefore, there’s no choice but to bid for the land. If you put in a cheaper bid because you think it’s the right price, you’ll get nothing.”

He noted CDL managed only one successful bid in Singapore last year and urged for a closer look at rules to prevent a bubble.

Adapted from: The Straits Times, 12 August 2017

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