Fund sees record rentals for Macau luxury flats

MACAU: The Macau Property Opportunities Fund has achieved record rentals for units in The Waterside, a luxury residential block in Macau that it bought from Hongkong Land and Shun Tak Group in 2006.

The British-listed fund bought block six in the seven-block complex, One Central, for HK$673 million (RM280 million) or HK$4,550 psf and if it chose to sell the 59 units in the block, it could reap a windfall profit of more than 30%, based on prevailing property prices that have risen to more than HK$6,000 psf.

"But the property is well-located in the city centre, enjoys views over the Nam Van Lake and was built by developers with good reputation. You can't find a similar project in the city," said Cello Chan, associate director at Sniper Capital, the management company of the Macau Property Opportunities Fund. "We are also optimistic on the luxury residential market. So we rather release it for lease only."

The Waterside's 59 apartments range from 2,265 to 4,741 sqft.

The Macau fund spent less than HK$1 million on furnishings to each standard flat in the block and HK$5 million each on the simplex and duplex units after the project was completed last year.

More than 10 flats have been leased since the project was launched last month and the average rental achieved is HK$20 per square foot - a record high for residential rents in Macau.

"One Central Residences is the most luxurious residential project in the city. There has not been a similar project in Macau before and the rents for high-end leasing properties were previously HK$10 to HK$15 per square foot," Chan said. Most of the tenants at The Waterside are senior managers with multinational companies engaged in the gaming and hotel-related businesses.

"The demand for world-class luxury residential units is strong but the supply is tight," Chan said.

Jacky Shek, district manager at Centaline Property Agency in Macau, said the demand in the luxury residential leasing market was driven by new construction in the city. "Most of the local people own properties already. The leasing market relies on demand from foreigners," he said.

With the construction under way on the Cotai Strip developments, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the light rail transit system, he believed more expatriates would move to Macau. "A lot of construction work was put on hold after the global financial crisis. But it is now resuming and this will bring new demand for residential leases," he said.
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