Seeking new avenues for growth, dynamic property developers in Malaysia and Singapore are establishing a sustainable presence in Australia to build diversified and balanced real estate portfolios.
S P Setia – Taking the Lead in Melbourne
Awarded the world’s most liveable city four years in a row from 2011 to 2014 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Melbourne offers a world class standard of living. It was the chosen city for S P Setia’s first foray into the Australian market. According to Choong Kai Wai, CEO of S P Setia Melbourne, the driving force behind the decision includes a growing appetite for CBD apartments as investments and for owner occupation, as well as a growing local economy boosted by new overseas residents. The latter includes a high volume of tertiary students – Melbourne is regarded as Australia’s education capital.
S P Setia’s first Australian development in 2011, Fulton Lane, is sold out and satisfied purchasers are now moving in. The property puts S P Setia on the map as the first international developer in Melbourne to undertake a large scale residential project in the northern precinct of the city’s CBD. S P Setia’s second project in Melbourne, Parque Melbourne, was launched in 2013 and also sold out fully in record time. Construction of Parque Melbourne commenced in early 2015 and residents can expect to move into their new homes in early 2017.
S P Setia is continuously searching for development opportunities in Melbourne, especially in the CBD or highly sought after inner ring suburbs. Other Australian capital cities are also on its radar. “A key part of our project evaluation process includes seeking out select city locations which are in close proximity to tertiary institutions. The demand for these apartments continues to be firm, especially among investors,” says Choong. “Over the next few years, growing and diversifying the brand will be a key part of our agenda, especially in the mixed-use sector.”
SKS Group – Unearthing Perth’s Potential
Double Tree by Hilton Perth Waterfront
Malaysia-based MB Group boasts a 30-year track record in real estate development in its home country. When the firm identified a shortage of quality hotels in Perth, it made a strategic decision to venture into hotel development there. The brunt of this challenge was undertaken by SKS Group, the Perth-based overseas investment arm of MB Group Malaysia.
SKS Group has successfully launched three hotel developments, which will be managed by Hilton. The first, DoubleTree by Hilton Northbridge, commenced construction in mid this year while DoubleTree by Hilton Perth, a waterfront property located by Swan River at Elizabeth Quay will commence construction next month. SKS Group expects these two hotels to be operational in early 2017. The last, DoubleTree by Hilton Perth, Fremantle, comprising both residential and commercial use, will be tendered next month with construction commencing in the first quarter of next year.
Windi Sim, Managing Director at SKS Group says: “Hotels are long term investments and the prospects for strong recurrent income growth are good. The proximity of Perth to Asia would be the key to our property development growth in Perth.”
On top of world class hotels, SKS Group’s portfolio also includes residential properties. Its two apartment developments are Washington Residence and Armagh Residence. The former, located in Victoria Park just two minutes from the CBD, has already received its occupants. The latter, also located in Victoria Park, has just commenced construction.
Sim reveals: “Perth’s residential market has been stagnant for the past two years and sales have been slow. Buyers are becoming more selective. However, SKS is confident that the residential market has great potential for growth in the mid to long term as there is a perpetual demand for affordable homes.”
Far East Organization – The All-rounder
The Westin Sydney
Far East Organization has invested AUD 1.8 billion in acquisitions and joint ventures since 2013, growing its portfolio of quality investment properties and development sites in prime locations across Australia. The organization looks to establish a sustainable presence in markets that operate on a different economic cycle from the rest of Asia and Australia presents an attractive environment for earnings diversification and growth.
Scheduled to launch next year is St Helena Woods, a site in Melbourne that has been under the ownership of Far East Organisation for more than 30 years. During conceptualisation, the firm held community consultations and market research so that the 18-hectare development is built with the community in mind and fulfills the needs of the local economy. It will feature about 260 dwellings with different configurations to suit everyone with 25% of the development dedicated to parkland – five times the standard for a residential community of this type.
“Besides Melbourne, Sydney and Perth are also mature economies with high yields and strong demand and they are our focus areas for business growth. In May 2015, Far East Organization and its Hong Kong-based sister company Sino Land jointly acquired The Westin Sydney and its adjoining Heritage Retail podium. The Westin Sydney is part of the redevelopment of Sydney’s historic General Post Office with over 100 metres of prime frontage to Martin Place, Sydney’s renowned thoroughfare,” reveals Ai Lian Fang, Chairman of the Australian Executive Committee at Far East Organization.
“Far East Organization has a long-term interest in the Australian market. As a business, we support an environment where there is sustainable measured growth in the market. We applaud policies and frameworks that support local economic prosperity for the future.”
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