S'poreans eye waterfront homes abroad

HOUSES ON STILTS: Located on an isle near Batam, Funtasy Island is touted to be the world's largest eco-theme park. About 250 villas have already been sold, with 70 per cent of the buyers from Singapore.
S'poreans eye waterfront homes abroad

MIXED DEVELOPMENT: The Heritage Bintan is a condotel project, comprising a hotel, suites and serviced residences. The project has already sold about 80 per cent of its 218 units to Singaporeans.


    Sep 20, 2013

    S'poreans eye waterfront homes abroad

    WITH a premium tagged to waterfront properties in Singapore, local investors appear to be looking at affordable developments on nearby islands instead.

    This was according to property experts My Paper spoke to, who said that these projects include those in Bintan and Batam, both in Indonesia.

    The Heritage Bintan on Bintan Island is an upcoming condotel project - comprising a hotel, suites and serviced residences - developed by Indonesia-based firm PT. Stareast Sejahtera Group.

    The project has already sold about 80 per cent of its 218 units to Singaporeans, even though it will be officially launched here only next month, said Mr Edwin Ng, chief executive and president of Stareast.

    Other buyers were from Indonesia, South Korea, China and Russia, he said.

    Located in the heart of integrated-resort destination Lagoi Bay, the 176,194 sq ft project comes with guaranteed rental returns of 9 per cent per annum for five consecutive years.

    Studio apartments, the smallest units at 435.9 sq ft, are priced from S$180,000, while executive suites - the biggest and most expensive units - at 1,306.7 sq ft start from S$440,000.

    Speaking to My Paper, Mr Ng said that Bintan, as a renowned tourist destination, has "good investment potential".

    "Most investors are attracted to our project because of its strategic location and its value as a great investment product," he explained.

    Mr Ng added that with a new international airport currently being built, the number of visitors to Bintan Resorts is expected to increase from 500,000 per year to over a million by 2015.

    Another offshore island development that has gained traction among Singaporeans is Funtasy Island, located on a small isle near Batam.

    Touted as the world's largest eco-theme park, about 250 waterfront villas there have already been sold, with 70 per cent of buyers hailing from Singapore, said a report by The Straits Times on April 20.

    Jones Lang LaSalle's director of international property services, Ms Doris Tan, told My Paper that such offshore island projects are "much cheaper in comparison" to waterfront properties here.

    She was referring to properties in Sentosa Cove, which have been known to fetch as high as S$36 million for a 14,983 sq ft waterfront bungalow home.

    Ms Tan said: "Asians love the water, and it's also good fengshui, so people like to live with water views in front of their apartments.

    "Singaporeans buy (these waterfront properties on nearby offshore islands) in anticipation of price increases in the future."

    International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong feels that there is "no real trend in the segment".

    He said: "People who invest in these projects are mainly those who fell in love with holidaying there, and have the extra cash to buy a property."

    Still, investors should "be careful" as they could lose all the deposits they have paid should the projects be abandoned, said Mr Ku.

    He added that it is also important for developers to "stay around in the long term to promote your investment such that the value will increase".

    Similarly, Ms Tan sounded a word of caution, explaining that an Indonesian property has a total lease period of only 60 years, which must be topped up when it expires.

    "(Buyers) should check carefully the terms regarding the right of ownership, tenure of lease, the yield that they can expect to receive, who the tenants will be, and who will be providing the rental guarantee, if it is included," she said.