Property players vanishing from market

With hardly any new projects or land bids in recent years, some developers have disappeared from the scene due to financial woes and tougher competition, media reports revealed.

These boutique developers, such as Raffles Medical Group’s Esquire Land and Indonesia-oriented Sinarmas Land, were active in the 1980s and 90s, when freehold land costs less than $100 million and profit margins exceeded 20 percent, said Chesterton Singapore’s Managing Director Donald Han.

Another example is Waterbank Properties, former transport group DelGro Corp’s property division, which left the property industry in September 1998.

On the other hand, some property players are only active when the market hits rock-bottom, such as Ho Bee Land and Lippo Group. “These are the early movers who read the market well, tend to take risks and generate the highest returns,” Han explained. “When the market nears its peak, these developers and consortiums then drop off, and are replaced by the more gung-ho ones.”

NTUC Choice Homes went into a hiatus after it submitted a losing bid of $97.4 million for an HDB housing site at Pasir Ris Central in May 2011.

“In the past few years, land prices in Singapore have not moderated much,” said its spokesman. As a result, opportunities to develop affordable and quality houses were scarce.

Since its founding in 1995, the company has built 15 projects with 6,944 units, including the Dakota Residences and Trevista. Its new development, the 315-unit Belysa is expected to be completed by October.

Nevertheless, NTUC Choice Homes has a moderate risk profile, meaning it could start acquiring landbanks when prices fall, noted Han.

In contrast, some developers are active all year round such as CapitaLand, UOL Group, Keppel Land, Singapore Land, City Developments, Frasers Centrepoint and Far East Organization.

Ku Swee Yong, Chief Executive at Century 21, added, “Some developers who are listed must show a steady flow of projects, otherwise there will be certain quarters when they report revenue plunges or zero profits.”

Source : PropertyGuru

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