Thursday, June 29, 2017
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Myanmar property investors look overseas

Wealthy Myanmar property investors are showing more appetite for foreign purchases, according to KAE Alliance real estate, which has sold 20 foreign properties to local buyers this year.

Construction crane-topped buildings dominate the Singapore skyline. Photo: EPAConstruction crane-topped buildings dominate the Singapore skyline. Photo: EPA

U Kyaw Min Zin, director of KAE Alliance, said that his firm had sold two Singaporean and 18 Malaysian properties so far this year, with investors clearly preferring international real estate to local luxury housing.

The most recent sales came from the Forest City development in Malaysia, which KAE Alliance started offering two weeks ago.

“We’ve already sold three units in the first few weeks after launching sales in Myanmar,” he said. “Some customers also want to go and look at the construction site before buying units, so we plan to visit Malaysia with two potential buyers in December and another three in 2017.”

Forest City is a mixed-use project on 1386 hectares of land across four man-made islands in Malaysia’s Iskandar region. Hong Kong-listed property developer Country Garden Holdings and Johor-based firm Esplanade Danga 88 are the developers.

Caleb Loh, business development director of Forest City, said construction had begun in 2015 and units in the first phase of the first island will be finished late next year. The first island is due for completion in the next five to eight years, he added.

The first island will have detached properties as well as apartments in 30 to 35 storey buildings. The apartments, including the ones KAE Alliance sold to Myanmar buyers, are priced at K200 million per 550 square feet, he said.

KAE Alliance has sold 15 apartments across two other Malaysian developments – Paradiso Medini and Grand Medini – this year, and two apartments in the Singaporean development Sims Urban Oasis, said U Kyaw Min Zin.

He said that interest in international property among wealthy Myanmar citizens had started to pick up in late 2015. Investing in property abroad – particularly in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore – had been common before the first civilian government took power in 2011, he added.

The end of military rule sparked a renewed interest in the domestic real estate market, but the local property market started to falter in 2014. That downturn, combined with start of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of 2015 and improved transport links, has prompted investors to look overseas again, U Kyaw Min Zin said.

“Transportation is very good now. We can take daily direct flights from Myanmar to Malaysia and Singapore,” he said. “There’s also visa-free agreement with some countries. There’s more and more links with other nations, so I hope sales continue to rise. We are planning to start sell the units from EU countries and Australia in the first quarter of 2017.”