Tropicana woos foreign investors for Iskandar Malaysia projects

JOHOR BARU: Amid a challenging domestic environment, Tropicana Corp Bhd is courting more foreign investors to take up units in its luxury projects at Iskandar Malaysia, Johor.

The group is seeing pent-up demand from cash-rich investors in the region, particularly from Singapore, Indonesia, China and Hong Kong.

“Unlike buyers here who expect at least a 70% loan, foreign buyers are comfortable with a lower margin. This is in addition to some who are cash buyers,” said Tropicana executive director of marketing and sales Pam Loh at a media briefing here yesterday.

Tropicana southern region managing director Lee Han Ming also noted that the weakening of the ringgit coupled with the stronger Singapore dollar and renminbi will help sway Singaporeans and the Chinese towards Malaysian real estate, which is already competitively priced in the region.

“HDB flats in Singapore are already selling at S$500 (RM1,307) psf. For over RM1,000 psf here, you can live in a luxury development,” he pointed out.

To reach out to regional buyers, Tropicana may open sales galleries in Beijing and Shenzhen.

“Based on my earlier trips, there is interest but it is a cost and benefit issue ... I have to gauge what kind of volume we can get and what is the purpose of the sales gallery,” said Lee.

Tropicana will also reach out to buyers in Surabaya, Jakarta and Medan as there is growing regional interest. It already has a sales gallery in Singapore.   

The group will officially launch its second series of residences in the mixed-use Tropicana Danga Bay tomorrow.

Named Bora Residences after the famous Bora Bora island in French Polynesia, this phase comprises two towers of serviced apartments.

Tropicana will launch the first tower, which is a 42-storey with 396 units.

“A group of some 40 businessmen from Xiamen will attend the launch tomorrow, as well as another group from Singapore. I think if you were to travel from China, you’d be a serious buyer,” said Loh.

Typical units range from 694 sq ft to over 1,500 sq ft and feature four layouts — three-bedroom,  two-bedroom, studio apartment and a 1-bedroom duplex. There are also two penthouses with built-ups of 3,443 sq ft that come with their own swimming pools.

The units will be partly furnished with air conditioning units and kitchen cabinets, among others.

Prices range from RM1,100 to RM1,300 psf, with units overlooking the waterfront commanding a premium over units facing the city.

Since its soft launch at the end of last year, Tropicana has sold over 100 units of Bora Residences’ first tower, said Loh.

Tropicana aims to launch in July the next tower that includes dual-key units, said Lee.

Tropicana has an estimated RM30 billion worth of projects in Johor that will be developed over 10 to 15 years, he added.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 21, 2014.

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