Prop­erty bro­kers eye off­shore condo sales

The Myanmar Times - - Business - TIN YADANAR TUN ZAY YAR LINN

LO­CAL prop­erty agents are ex­pand­ing fur­ther into Sin­ga­pore’s con­do­minium mar­ket, tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity pre­sented by a change in visa reg­u­la­tions, con­tained prices and a friendly reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment.

How­ever, de­mand for pur­chas­ing prop­erty over­seas is still lag­ging.

Myan­mar in­vestors cur­rently rep­re­sent less than 1 per­cent of the for­eign­ers buy­ing into the Sin­ga­pore prop­erty mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Sin­ga­pore Real Es­tate Ex­change.

CEO of KAE Al­liance real es­tate agency U Kyaw Min says prop­erty pur­chases by Myan­mar ci­ti­zens have tra­di­tion­ally been rare across most foreign mar­kets.

“Very few Myan­mar buy­ers have bought homes in Euro­pean coun­tries or Aus­tralia, the US or the UK,” he said.

Since 2013 foreign real es­tate agents from around Asia, as well as the US and Europe, have sought to sell prop­erty to the Myan­mar mar­ket. They have typ­i­cally tar­geted Myan­mar’s wealthy.

The US govern­ment’s EB-5 Im­mi­grant In­vestor pro­gram has paved the way for Myan­mar’s rich to get US green cards and per­ma­nent res­i­dency through in­vest­ing real es­tate sec­tor.

The Myan­mar Real Es­tate Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion’s gen­eral secretary Daw Moh Moh Aung says there has been a slight in­crease in Malaysia, Thai­land and Sin­ga­pore in re­cent times. How­ever, this has largely been from longer-term res­i­dents and work­ers.

“The rate of buy­ing hous­ing in those coun­tries is ris­ing within [the last] two years. Some Myan­mar peo­ple who al­ready have per­ma­nent residence are buy­ing units with bank in­stall­ments,” she said.

U Kyaw Min Zin says condo prices have dipped on pre­vi­ous years, and reg­u­la­tory changes make now the time to buy.

His firm has units in three lux­ury con­do­mini­ums set to go on sale to Myan­mar in­vestors this week.

While the visa waiver pro­gram will make things eas­ier for those trav­el­ling reg­u­larly be­tween the two coun­tries, U Kyaw Zin Min says it will also al­low greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses and education.

“Myan­mar and Sin­ga­pore will be visa-free [by] De­cem­ber,” he said. “Go­ing by the laws of Sin­ga­pore, in­vestors in the real es­tate mar­ket or the buy­ers of condo units do not get per­ma­nent residence ... But [af­ter the visa reg­u­la­tion changes, it will be] eas­ier to stay in Sin­ga­pore for education or to open com­pa­nies.”

For­eign­ers have been per­mit­ted to buy con­dos in Sin­ga­pore since the condo law was en­acted in 1995. In 2013, a new law was en­acted that for­bids for­eign­ers from of­fload­ing their units within four years of pur­chase. U Kyaw Zin Min says this has kept mar­ket prices in check.

The condo law states that for for­eign­ers buy­ing com­pleted units, the full price is due within two months. If the unit is un­der con­struc­tion at the time the deal is struck, 85 pc must be paid up front with the re­main­der to be paid af­ter eight months.

For Kyaw Zin Min, the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment be­ing con­ducive to off­shore sales is but one of the is­land na­tion’s charms.

“Sin­ga­pore is one of the best coun­tries at Asia and also the world for all sec­tors [in­clud­ing] eco­nomic, education, religious and transportation,” he said. “And its real es­tate mar­ket is good to in­vest be­cause it has a de­tailed con­do­minium law for for­eign­ers.”

U Nay Min Thu, CEO of iMyan­ said there is still po­ten­tial in get­ting lo­cal buy­ers to look over­seas.

“Some in­vestors buy units in foreign coun­tries to in­vest in the real es­tate mar­ket, but some buy for con­ve­nience like for their chil­dren to live when they at­tend univer­sity abroad or work,” he said.

‘Very few Myan­mar buy­ers have bought homes in Euro­pean coun­tries.’ U Kyaw Min KAE Al­liance real es­tate

Photo: Staff

A prop­erty sales­per­son shows a po­ten­tial buyer the plans for a condo de­vel­op­ment.

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