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Issue 353

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CONTENTS FROM THE

p2 5 Lessons from Hong Kong’s Property


EDITOR
Welcome to the 353th edition of the
Singapore Property Weekly.
Godfather After 40 Years in the Market
Hope you like it!
p10 Resale Property Transactions
Mr. Propwise
(March 25 – March 29)

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

5 Lessons from Hong Kong‟s Property Godfather


After 40 Years in the Market
By Property Soul(guest contributor)

Not for the property agents. Some agency


branches even opened on the first day of
Chinese New Year. One of them
was Centaline Property Agency (中原地產), a
top real estate brokerage firm in Hong Kong.

Its founder Shih Wing-ching (施永青) is


known as the Godfather of the Hong Kong
property market. Besides being an
entrepreneur, Shih is also a philosopher, a
philanthropist and a writer. He runs free
I was in Hong Kong during Chinese New
newspaper AM730 and writes in his daily
Year. With 92 percent of the population being
column about properties, finance, economy,
Chinese, everyone was taking a break during
politics, current affairs and life values.
the public holiday.

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

What I admire most is his honesty and Disillusioned after the Cultural Revolution, he
bravery to speak his mind. He dares to admit joined a large property firm as an intern. Two
that property prices are too high, criticize the years later in 1978, he used HK$5,000
Hong Kong and China government, and (S$640) of his savings to set up Centaline
expose the truths and problems of society. Property Agency with a partner.

His humble beginnings His journey: from a “pimp” to a business


empire
Shih came to Hong Kong from Shanghai
when he was two. The family of six squeezed I watched Shih‟s recent TV interview when he
in a small workers quarters. To supplement talked about how bad it was being a property
family income, he started working after school agent in the 1970s.
at the age of eight.
He felt miserable every time his friends
While in Secondary Four, he believed in the mocked him, saying that property agents are
Marxist-Leninist doctrine and was kicked out no different from pimps. Even today, there are
of school for being a student activist. When still many people who look down on property
he finally finished Secondary Five (after going agents.
through three primary schools and two
Shih said, “To look at it on the bright side,
secondary schools), he worked as a teacher
there is less competition because no one
in a leftist school for eight years.
wants to build a business out of it.

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

The difference between me and my in a competitive service industry.


competitors is: They all want to make money.
His 5 lessons after 40 years in the market
I just want to build a systematic big
corporation for property agents.” Below are five learnings from Shih after four
decades in the real estate industry.
“The younger generation only spends time on
making money. But we must know the world Lesson #1 – Property is all about cycles
to be rich,” advised by Shih. The property industry is cyclical. To survive,
Today Centaline Group is one of the largest one must be able to stomach market volatility.
real estate agencies in the region with close The golden days of Hong Kong‟s property
to 60,000 employees and 2,600 offices market is from 1985 to 1997; end of 2003 to
worldwide. For many years, Centaline was 2007 before the subprime crisis; and from
the market leader in China, Hong Kong and 2009 onwards. In between are the bad days.
Macau. China now accounts for more than 80
percent of the Group‟s total revenue and He advised property agencies not to worry
workforce. too much about the bear market.

Shih is famous for deriving his management “You may be forced to shrink your operation.
style from his favorite philosophy of Lao But the industry is fair to all the players. You
Tze (老子) – which is “doing nothing” by can still do better than competitors in a soft
delegating power to all the branch managers market.”

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

Lesson #2 – Gaining the trust of others by commissions from property agents by


serving them well marketing properties on their own.”

In the past, no developer would outsource Lesson #3 – Having a good project is more
marketing of their projects to property important than having buyers
agencies. Property agents could only sell
“Most of the time, having a property project is
resale properties. It was only when the
more important. We don‟t have to worry about
market turned bad that developers started
no takers if you have a good project or a good
seeking help from agencies.
unit on hand.”
This continued when the market picked up
However, during the period of 1998 and 2003,
again because: 1) Developers had a pleasant
it was difficult to find buyers in the market. So
experience working with agencies. 2)
property agents had no choice but to focus on
Developers became dependent on agencies
leasing instead of selling.
and even closed their in-house sales
department. Lesson #4 – Don’t bother marketing
foreign properties
“If someone else has a well-trained army
ready to serve you, why do you still need to Shih believed that properties must serve the
keep a fighting force of your own? The same purpose of fulfilling the housing needs of the
applies to small landlords who used to save locals.

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

“Never take properties from one country to from real estate brokerage is just peanuts.
sell in another country. Also, don‟t use They are eyeing at businesses from the
manpower in your country to market whole ecosystem such as asset management
properties of another country. How many and financing. They develop Big Data to offer
foreign properties can you sell in your local developers solutions on cost, pricing, project
market?” designs and customer needs.

Lesson #5 – Have a big vision for the “With a grand vision to grow a thousand
future billion-dollar business, they can attract lots of
funding and talents from top universities
Centaline entered the China market in 1992.
which is a completely different breed from
They brought with them rich experiences in
Centaline‟s property agents. For the last few
marketing properties. Centaline used to be
years, Centaline has been „battered‟ by
the market leader in China for many years.
competitors. To survive, we have to increase
But the new local players have a bigger our investment in IT.”
vision. Many are proud of being an agency
His views of the current property market
rather than a developer.
Unlike Singapore, Hong Kong property prices
For instance, the vision of Lianjia (链家),
keep setting new record highs. From 2009,
Centaline‟s biggest competitor, is to build an
prices have increased over 220 percent.
O2O property platform. To them, revenue

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

“When market prices surge like that, of Personally, he follows the 4-3-2-1 rule in his
course it is abnormal. There is too much investment portfolio: 40 percent in properties;
liquidity because of money printing. 30 percent in shares; 20 percent in bonds;
and 10 percent in gold. If he sees the value of
But this is only the rich man‟s game in the
any asset increases a lot, he will sell it to
international market. For the common people,
compensate potential loss in other assets. By
how can they compete with the suddenly
do so, he can avoid big losses during crises.
rich? Even if property prices drop 60 to 70
percent, they can‟t afford to buy. But if that His reasons for not leaving money behind
really happens, owners in Hong Kong will all
When asked how he manages his wealth,
end up with a negative asset. Hong Kong‟s
Shih said he doesn‟t have much left, just
financial system will collapse.”
enough for his living. In 2008, on his 60th
To solve the housing problem, Shih said the birthday, he donated all his company shares
government should allocate enough land to to set up a charity fund called Shih Wing
build housing for first-time buyers. For Ching Foundation. He gave away over 80
upgraders to the private market, this group of percent of his total wealth.
people can wait.
He is not planning to leave anything to his
When asked how to stay intact through ups three children, not even his company to any
and downs in the market, Shih said one of them.“This is to prevent them from
diversification is very important. fighting over my fortune.

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

Also, I hope they can rely on themselves and Some final thoughts
work hard for a living.”
By donating his wealth to those in need, Shih
He mentioned the same in his previous Wing-ching has finally fulfilled the ultimate
interviews. goal of Communism to achieve common
ownership and re-distribute resources evenly
“Reliance on family deprives the next
in the society.
generation the chance for hard work and self-
discovery, leading to an unfulfilled life.” Do you notice the Chinese calligraphy behind
Shih in the picture? If you can read Chinese,
“Having too much money will make you lose
know Chinese history and understand China‟s
the motivation to work.”
political scene, this Chinese poem clearly
“There is no point having too much money. explains why Shih spends his lifetime in
You can only use the first few in a big stack of business instead of politics.
banknotes.”
You can‟t change the world. But you can go
“When you have fulfilled all your financial with the flow to see what you can make out of
needs, you have to show your worth by doing it.
good deeds that benefit others. Money should
be used where it is most useful.”

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

Now you should see why the highly-respected


property godfather in Hong Kong is not Li Ka-
shing, but Shih Wing-ching.

By guest contributor Property Soul, a


successful property investor, blogger, and
author of the No B.S. Guide to Property
Investment.

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

Non-Landed Residential Resale Property Transactions for the Week of Mar 25 – Mar 29

Postal Area Transacted Price Postal Area Transacted Price


Project Name Tenure Project Name Tenure
District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf) District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf)
1 ONE SHENTON 1,098 1,850,000 1,685 99 9 THE REGALIA 1,216 2,180,000 1,792 FH
2 SKYSUITES@ANSON 958 2,262,000 2,361 99 9 WATERMARK ROBERTSON QUAY 1,324 2,350,000 1,775 FH
3 ECHELON 861 1,500,000 1,742 99 9 ORCHARD TOWERS 1,970 2,480,000 1,259 FH
3 QUEENS 1,195 1,500,000 1,255 99 10 TOMLINSON HEIGHTS 4,047 11,736,300 2,900 FH
3 QUEENS 1,184 1,430,000 1,208 99 10 LIBERTE 743 1,788,000 2,407 FH
4 CARIBBEAN AT KEPPEL BAY 2,099 3,630,000 1,729 99 10 VALLEY PARK 1,216 2,050,000 1,685 999
4 THE INTERLACE 807 1,200,000 1,486 99 10 HOLLAND HILL PARK 1,432 2,100,000 1,467 FH
4 REFLECTIONS AT KEPPEL BAY 1,012 1,500,000 1,482 99 10 SIXTH AVENUE VILLE 2,540 3,650,000 1,437 FH
4 THE INTERLACE 2,056 2,600,000 1,265 99 11 THE LINCOLN RESIDENCES 1,841 3,480,000 1,891 FH
5 ONE-NORTH RESIDENCES 1,324 1,980,000 1,495 99 11 KELLETT COURT 1,012 1,508,888 1,491 FH
5 HUNDRED TREES 915 1,250,000 1,366 956 11 THE SHELFORD 2,411 3,375,500 1,400 FH
5 CARABELLE 1,259 1,630,000 1,294 956 11 KHEAM HOCK GARDENS 1,938 2,450,000 1,265 FH
5 BANYAN CONDOMINIUM 1,582 1,900,000 1,201 FH 11 THE ARCADIA 4,672 3,560,000 762 99
5 BOTANNIA 1,550 1,850,000 1,194 956 12 PINNACLE 16 581 890,000 1,531 FH
5 MONTEREY PARK CONDOMINIUM 1,313 1,550,000 1,180 999 12 THE VIRIDIAN 506 720,000 1,423 FH
5 KENTVIEW PARK 1,313 1,500,000 1,142 FH 12 THE ARTE 1,873 2,270,000 1,212 FH
5 VARSITY PARK CONDOMINIUM 1,798 2,000,000 1,113 99 12 THE ELYSIA 818 906,000 1,107 999
5 REGENT PARK 958 900,000 939 99 12 PUBLIC MANSION 1,884 1,620,000 860 FH
9 THE CLAYMORE 3,348 8,398,000 2,509 FH 13 R MAISON 1,636 2,123,528 1,298 FH
9 STARLIGHT SUITES 775 1,780,660 2,298 FH 14 CENTRA HEIGHTS 431 660,000 1,533 FH
9 ESPADA 657 1,488,000 2,266 FH 14 PALMERA EAST 560 790,000 1,411 FH
9 SCOTTS 28 1,636 3,380,000 2,066 FH 14 D'GALLERY 527 730,000 1,384 FH
9 PARC EMILY 904 1,660,000 1,836 FH 14 GUILLEMARD EDGE 624 860,000 1,378 FH
9 WATERSCAPE AT CAVENAGH 581 1,058,888 1,822 FH 14 EUHABITAT 527 660,000 1,251 99

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

Postal Area Transacted Price Postal Area Transacted Price


Project Name Tenure Project Name Tenure
District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf) District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf)
14 TROPIKA EAST 1,152 1,400,888 1,216 FH 16 THE CLEARWATER 1,195 1,070,000 896 99
14 EAST SHINE 980 1,118,000 1,141 FH 17 HEDGES PARK CONDOMINIUM 872 765,000 877 99
14 EAST SHINE 1,055 1,120,000 1,062 FH 17 ESTELLA GARDENS 1,141 998,000 875 FH
14 CASCATA 980 938,000 958 FH 17 HEDGES PARK CONDOMINIUM 1,184 1,025,000 866 99
15 THE SEA VIEW 560 1,070,000 1,912 FH 17 FERRARIA PARK CONDOMINIUM 980 820,000 837 FH
15 ONE AMBER 1,270 2,390,000 1,882 FH 17 AVILA GARDENS 1,302 1,055,000 810 FH
15 PEBBLE BAY 1,894 3,000,000 1,584 99 17 AZALEA PARK CONDOMINIUM 1,507 1,210,000 803 999
15 FLAMINGO VALLEY 1,593 2,300,000 1,444 FH 17 BALLOTA PARK CONDOMINIUM 1,830 1,300,000 710 FH
15 COTE D'AZUR 1,313 1,880,000 1,432 99 18 WATERVIEW 1,130 1,260,000 1,115 99
15 PARC ELEGANCE 398 545,000 1,368 FH 18 RIPPLE BAY 775 808,000 1,043 99
15 HAIG COURT 1,076 1,430,000 1,329 FH 18 SAVANNAH CONDOPARK 1,453 1,280,000 881 99
15 WATER PLACE 1,561 2,050,000 1,313 99 18 SAVANNAH CONDOPARK 1,227 988,000 805 99
15 WATER PLACE 1,216 1,558,000 1,281 99 18 LIVIA 1,324 1,048,000 792 99
15 MANDARIN GARDENS 732 888,000 1,213 99 19 PARC CENTROS 463 650,000 1,404 99
15 CENTRINA 753 910,000 1,208 FH 19 BARTLEY RESIDENCES 1,066 1,480,000 1,389 99
15 THE AZZURO 861 990,000 1,150 FH 19 BLISS@KOVAN 1,163 1,600,000 1,376 FH
15 MOUNTBATTEN SUITES 1,044 1,200,000 1,149 FH 19 A TREASURE TROVE 1,206 1,328,000 1,102 99
15 SPRING GARDENS 1,270 1,450,000 1,142 FH 19 BOATHOUSE RESIDENCES 840 885,000 1,054 99
15 SPRINGVALE 915 1,030,000 1,126 FH 19 BOATHOUSE RESIDENCES 710 740,000 1,042 99
15 TANJONG RIA CONDOMINIUM 807 875,000 1,084 99 19 TERRASSE 1,647 1,700,000 1,032 99
15 BLU CORAL 2,088 2,050,000 982 FH 19 WEMBLY RESIDENCES 1,561 1,558,000 998 FH
15 VILLA MARINA 2,314 1,800,000 778 99 19 FLO RESIDENCE 1,044 990,000 948 99
16 BEDOK RESIDENCES 1,076 1,660,000 1,542 99 19 KJ MANSION 1,539 1,450,000 942 999
16 RIVIERA RESIDENCES 1,238 1,723,000 1,392 FH 20 CENTRO RESIDENCES 926 1,400,000 1,512 99
16 ARCHIPELAGO 1,184 1,525,000 1,288 99 20 MARYMOUNT VIEW 893 1,200,000 1,343 FH
16 CASA MERAH 1,335 1,480,000 1,109 99 20 BRADDELL VIEW 1,701 1,600,000 941 102
16 CHANGI GREEN 1,033 980,000 948 FH 21 THE BEVERLY 1,389 1,720,000 1,239 FH

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SINGAPORE PROPERTY WEEKLY Issue 353

Postal Area Transacted Price Postal Area Transacted Price


Project Name Tenure Project Name Tenure
District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf) District (sqft) Price ($) ($ psf)
21 THE HILLFORD 506 599,000 1,184 60 26 BULLION PARK 1,238 1,268,888 1,025 FH
21 SIGNATURE PARK 1,055 1,235,000 1,171 FH 26 THE CALROSE 2,217 2,100,000 947 FH
21 SPRINGDALE CONDOMINIUM 926 1,060,000 1,145 999 26 CASTLE GREEN 1,173 1,022,000 871 99
21 CLEMENTI PARK 1,625 1,780,000 1,095 FH 26 CASTLE GREEN 1,216 990,000 814 99
21 SYMPHONY HEIGHTS 1,281 1,360,000 1,062 FH 27 CANBERRA RESIDENCES 614 683,000 1,113 99
21 PARC PALAIS 1,238 1,290,000 1,042 FH 27 THE ESTUARY 926 858,000 927 99
21 THE HILLSIDE 1,572 1,550,000 986 FH 27 ORCHID PARK CONDOMINIUM 958 708,000 739 99
22 J GATEWAY 527 865,000 1,640 99 28 H2O RESIDENCES 850 860,000 1,011 99
22 J GATEWAY 947 1,435,000 1,515 99
22 LAKEHOLMZ 1,496 1,385,000 926 99
22 LAKEHOLMZ 1,033 928,000 898 99 NOTE: This data only covers non-landed residential resale property
23 FORESQUE RESIDENCES 1,270 1,680,000 1,323 99 transactions with caveats lodged with the Singapore Land Authority.
23 ECO SANCTUARY 667 880,000 1,319 99 Typically, caveats are lodged at least 2-3 weeks after a purchaser
23 HILLSTA 570 668,000 1,171 99 signs an OTP, hence the lagged nature of the data.
23 HILLVIEW HEIGHTS 958 1,070,000 1,117 FH
23 THE JADE 1,012 1,070,000 1,058 99
23 TREE HOUSE 1,249 1,250,000 1,001 99
23 MONTROSA 1,206 1,050,000 871 999
23 THE WARREN 1,216 1,050,000 863 99
23 PARKVIEW APARTMENTS 980 728,000 743 99
23 REGENT GROVE 1,195 745,000 624 99
25 PARC ROSEWOOD 517 553,000 1,070 99
26 THE BROOKS I 710 953,175 1,342 FH
26 BULLION PARK 807 915,000 1,133 FH

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