Editor: Cheyenne Hollis
Dot Property Blog April 2020
Property professionals across Southeast Asia are anxious to get back to business as normal. When exactly that will be is still uncertain, but we can look to China to see what a potential property market recovery in the region would look like. Across the mainland, malls and offices have reopened as life resumes. Property sales offices have reported an uptick of action as property buyers look to take advantage of discounts or finalize transactions that began before or during the country’s lockdown. The early returns are promising for those hoping to see a rapid property market recovery in Southeast Asia. According to the Straits Times, Singapore-based CapitaLand recorded residential sales of CNY1.3 billion (USD 184.5 million) in March. The firm’s Chinese arm began reopening sales offices throughout the month and is now operating at full capacity. The March sales total was 5.5 times greater than the home builder’s sales in January and February combined. The developer, which is also active in Vietnam in addition to China and its home base of Singapore, has resumed work on nearly all of its unfinished projects and is now focused on meeting annual sales and handover targets. CapitaLand believes demand from residential real estate didn’t change due to COVID-19 and this will power the property market through 2020 and beyond.CapitaLand Group China President Lucas Loh told the newspaper the main change between the start of the COVID-19 shutdown and now is that Chinese property buyers are more discerning. He also noted that transactions at the company’s projects in China have been healthy since the reopening of sales offices. This shows a sustained underlying demand for new homes. At the end of March, CapitaLand sold all 288 units at a township in Xi’an within four days of the project’s launch. The total gross sales value was CNY 405 million (USD 64 million). There were also strong sales at projects in Shanghai and Guangzhou with the company expecting more property buyers in the coming months. For property professionals in Southeast Asia, this could be an indication of what to expect in areas where demand was strong prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. At the moment, those working in real estate should remain in contact with clients waiting for the situation to pass and prepare themselves for an influx of business once the situation has improved.