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Singapore building costs most expensive in Asia

SINGAPORE: Singapore is Asia's most expensive country in which to build, followed by Hong Kong, an international construction cost report says.

The price of construction in the city state is nearly 7% higher than in Britain, according to the survey conducted by EC Harris, an international consultancy for the real estate, infrastructure and construction sectors.

The survey benchmarks the cost of building in each country against Britain, where EC Harris is based. It was conducted in the past few months and collates cost per square metre for a range of building types, said Richard Warburton, the consultancy's head of cost and commercial management in Asia.

Singapore was ranked 10th among 50 countries surveyed worldwide. Switzerland topped the list.

Hong Kong prices run at 93% of those in Britain and were ranked 21st worldwide. China came in fifth among the Asian countries, behind South Korea and Thailand. Sri Lanka was globally the cheapest place to build with costs at 27% those in Britain, where costs fell almost 20% from their peak in the previous year.

"The Singapore market appears to be recovering on the back of sustained demand and strong economic growth in that country. We are also seeing localised 'hot' markets, such as the substantial amount of new office building fit-out activity that is under way," Warburton said.

"General tender price growth over the coming year could be 3% to 5%, although one of the key factors impacting this will be by how much commodity prices continue to rise."

In Hong Kong, construction workloads and tender prices rose steadily throughout last year, driven largely by government spending on infrastructure, and were well ahead of the rest of China, the report said.

"There is a sense that a period of readjustment is on the way, but... My view is we are likely to see around 9 to 11% for general construction works," Warburton said.

The report found that China experienced significantly less cost growth than the top four in Asia despite the injection of more than US$500 billion (RM1.59 trillion) into the economy to counter the financial crisis and stimulate construction growth. Tender prices remained largely unchanged and growth is expected to be 3% this year and 5% next year.

Costs in China are running at 48% of those in Britain, the report said. — South China Morning Post
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