MELBOURNE: S P Setia Bhd plans to continue investing in Australia and London, in line with its policy to have half of its sales coming from overseas projects.
According to S P Setia president and CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, the company expects 40% of its sales to come from its international properties this year.
“Five years ago, I adopted this policy in S P Setia that we should have 50% of our sales from overseas. If Malaysia slows down, then overseas (sales) will drive us, so that policy is coming true.
“We are looking for more sites in Melbourne but it is not easy to find a good site in a good location... about 300 to 400 units will be perfect,” he told reporters on Monday after the groundbreaking ceremony of its second project in Melbourne called Parque.
Also present at the ceremony were Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and Ryan Smith, Minister of Youth Affairs and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Victoria.
Liew said all units of Parque were taken up within eight weeks of its launch. The project, which has a gross development value (GDV) of RM800 million, comprises two towers with a total of 332 apartment units, with built-ups ranging from 538 sq ft (one bedroom) to almost 2,800 sq ft (penthouse). Prices are from A$390,000 (RM1.18 million) to A$3.6 million.
“These are really big units. About 60% of the units were sold to the locals here and the remaining we sold in Malaysia. The design is stunning and it really blends in with the environment. The 150-year-old elm trees within the project really add to the character of the site. Twelve out of the total of 15 elm trees will be preserved.
“It shows that our conservation and caring of the environment is not only in Malaysia... we totally engage the government and the local community and they have been very supportive, along with the commitment of the team in S P Setia and those around us. We are truly a homegrown company that has gone overseas,” he said.
Located in St Kilda Road, Parque is just 10 minutes away from the central business district (CBD) of Melbourne and minutes away from Albert Park Lake, which also includes a public golf course. Parque is designed by award-winning architect Karl Fender of Fender Katsalidis Architects.
S P Setia’s first project in Melbourne, Fulton Lane, was launched two years ago and it is currently under construction. It is conveniently located in the CBD and is minutes away from the Queen Victoria Market and close to RMIT University, La Trobe University and Melbourne University.
Besides Melbourne, the developer is looking for suitable sites in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth for niche developments.
Commenting on the measures introduced under Budget 2014 to tighten the property market, Liew said property prices would continue to rise.
“For the real property gains tax [RPGT], I think if you make money, then it’s okay to give the government 30%. But I hope the government does not overkill the industry, as it is an important part of the GDP. Even with the RPGT to curb speculation, the introduction of the goods and services tax and the withdrawal of the developer interest bearings scheme, I believe property prices will not drop.
“The key issue of property prices in Malaysia is demand and supply. Demand exceeds supply and the government needs to resolve this issue by increasing the supply and lowering the cost of construction. It is so expensive to build today. The same house we built two years ago, we can’t build them at the same cost today,” he said.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 06, 2013.
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