Land and Condominium Investment in Asia Attracts Foreigners

The condominium market in Asia is going through an extremely profitable phase. In the one hand, some property brokers go through hiccups in selling new condominium projects.

On the other hand, developers are not willing to break the development of new condominiums in Asia, at least for the next 1-2 years. The government allows foreigners the right to use land only, nothing more. In fact, their interest in the Asian property, particularly condominiums, is very strong, not to think about the prices that are fairly less than other countries.

Strong consumer purchasing power for condominiums has lead to surge in the national property loans. During the first semester of 2007 bank loans for the property sector progressed by 26.96%. Bank Indonesia reported that in June 2007 loans directed to the sector arrived at Rp130.9 trillion, compared to Rp103.1 trillion in June 2006.

The property loans as of June 2007 are split up into construction loans of Rp31 trillion, real estate loans of Rp17.4 trillion, as well as house and apartment ownership loans of Rp82.5 trillion. This has lead to the consumption loans during the first semester of 2007 rising by 18.4% to Rp249.4 trillion, compared to the first semester of 2006 of Rp208 trillion.

A reason behind the moderate response in the condominium market net take-up in Asia can be attributed to several factors, including the battle between condominiums and lavish houses in high-class locations with more competitive prices and privacy. On the other side, reduction in house ownership loan rates have urged customers to invest in landed houses, expecting large fixed capital gains.

Consumer purchasing power for condominiums is still strong. The trend of apartment ownership loan-directing in the first quarter of 2007 gives the signal that consumer purchasing power is solid. However, in general several factors such as supply and demand, huge fresh supply from delayed projects in 2006 have resulted in the condominium market reaching the alarming territory.

By 2007 end, fresh condominium supply is expected to reach 4,000 units, not to think about the alive and unsold 3,155 condominium units in the first and second quarters of 2007. Considering lower estimated sales rates of 20% in the third and fourth quarters of 2007, it is predicted that unsold supply of condominiums that are alive will increase rapidly in 2008 and 2009

This year’s drop of bank interest rates means 2007 is the year to buy property. Flooded supply in the market will result in the decrease in prices of new condominium. The trend of tenants moving from old-style condominiums to the new ones is expected to meet the wish of buyers who buy to lease. However, buyers aiming to lease condominiums should look at the trend of expatriates’ shrinking interest in renting condominiums.

Taking into account the alarming level, the condominium developers should rethink about their projects. Understanding market’s needs, including the supply and demand calculation for certain locations should be performed for the developers to sustain themselves in coming years. Too much attention in the momentum and constant development of new condominium projects without far sighted thinking will lead to the condominium market getting overheated.

Construction loans in the property sector reached Rp31 trillion in June 2007. Unnecessary fight in the property market will inevitably result in flourishing non-performing loans. The market data points to the fact that middle and upper-middle segments of condominiums are favored. It is important to understand that locations outside the central business districts or other high-class premises, where land prices are comparatively low, are prospects for the low-end condominium market. If you take care of state of the market and other related requirements you should be able to invest successfully in Asia.

Gregory S. is an independent author providing assessment and comments on leading International Property Consultants in Asia and Greater China, especially CB Richard Ellis.

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