Dubai splashes billions on mega projects ahead of Expo 2020

Dubai has the world’s busiest international airport. (AFP)
Updated 08 April 2018

Dubai splashes billions on mega projects ahead of Expo 2020

Dubai: Dubai is splashing tens of billions of dollars on infrastructure and hospitality projects related to the international trade fair Expo 2020, Dubai-based BNC Network said in a report published Sunday.
The value of Expo-related projects under way hit $42.5 billion in March, according to the Construction Intelligence Report.
It said that $17.4 billion was invested in infrastructure and transport projects, $13.2 billion on housing and $11 billion for hotels and theme parks.
The projects include an $8 billion expansion of Al-Maktoum International Airport — located at the southern pole of the city and tipped to complement Dubai International Airport to the north.
Dubai airport was the world’s busiest for international travel in 2017, handling more than 88 million travelers.
Al-Maktoum, when complete, will have the capacity to handle 160 million travelers per year.
The emirate is spending $2.9 billion to develop a new metro line that will link its main transport hubs to the Expo site.
The new line will also link the $13.4 billion Dubai South Villages and Dubai Exhibition City, projects currently under way.
Authorities expect Expo 2020 to boost the real estate market and the hospitality sector, creating up to 300,000 new jobs and energising the economy.
The six-month event, the first World Expo to be staged in the Middle East, is expected to attract up to 300,000 visitors per day, half of them from abroad, when it opens in October 2020, according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Dubai, a city state which has established itself as a regional business hub and tourism destination, has the Gulf’s most diversified economy that is not dependent on oil.
The economy of Dubai, where the population of three million people is comprised mainly of foreigners, is based on finance, property, tourism and leisure.
Over 21 percent of this year’s public spending of $15.5 billion is earmarked for infrastructure projects.

Singapore luxury apartment sales surge to 11-year high

Updated 20 September 2019

Singapore luxury apartment sales surge to 11-year high

  • Sales of such apartments also exceeded the numbers racked up for each full year from 2011 to 2018, the consultants’ analysis of transaction data shows

SINGAPORE: Sales of Singapore apartments worth at least S$10 million ($7.3 million) have hit an 11-year high, fueled by increased demand from Chinese millionaires seeking safe-haven assets, say property consultants OrangeTee & Tie.

Investors have long viewed Singapore as an island of stability that attracts the super-rich from its less developed Southeast Asian neighbors, as well as multimillionaires from mainland China.

In the first eight months of 2019, 68 condominium units in the wealthy Asian city-state were sold for S$10 million and more, the highest tally since the corresponding period of 2008.

Sales of such apartments also exceeded the numbers racked up for each full year from 2011 to 2018, the consultants’ analysis of transaction data shows.

Some buyers may have sought an alternative to rival financial hub Hong Kong, hit by protests, while others may have shifted funds from China after its yuan currency was devalued in a trade war with the US, an OrangeTee expert said.

“This may explain why we have observed more foreign buyers, especially mainland Chinese, coming into Singapore lately,” said Christine Sun, its head of research and consultancy.

Mainland Chinese are the biggest group of foreign buyers of Singapore luxury homes.

In Singapore’s prime districts, Chinese citizens bought 76 apartments worth more than S$5 million from January to August, versus 75 purchases by Singaporeans, data until Sept. 19 show.

Expensive apartments in premium neighborhoods are mainly bought by foreigners, because at such high prices Singaporeans have the option to buy landed property, such as bungalows and mansions.

Singapore does not allow foreigners to buy landed homes, except for those on the resort island of Sentosa.

“We do see that even though the stamp duties have increased .... we are still seeing people putting big money on these apartments, predominantly it is more for stability than anything else,” said Boon Hoe Leong, chief operating officer of high-end realtor List Sotheby’s International Realty.

He was referring to measures Singapore adopted last year to cool its real estate market, such as hiking additional stamp duties for foreign buyers to 20 percent from 15 percent.

“They are parking their money here — they know that the Sing dollar won’t depreciate overnight,” he added.