Tue, Feb 21, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Exhibit for London luxury housing comes to Taipei

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Recent strong demand from affluent Asians, including Taiwanese, for luxury real estate lured British real-estate brokers to Taipei on a traveling exhibition yesterday for a new upscale housing project in London.

Overseas funds have flowed into newly built London properties because the range of services and amenities offered at high-end and branded residential projects appeals to the global billionaire lifestyle, said Simon Capp, assistant sales manager at Native Land and Grosvenor, a British developer.

The UK company partnered with real-estate consultancy Savills Taiwan Ltd (第一太平戴維斯) to pitch apartments in a 24-floor tower in London’s South Bank area priced at between NT$90 million (US$3.05 million) and NT$160 million a unit.

That translates to between NT$2 million and NT$2.5 million per ping (3.3m2), on a par with luxury homes in Taipei’s Xinyi (信義) and Da-an (大安) districts.

The floor space for apartments in the London tower varies from 23 ping to 58 ping a unit, compared with more than 80 ping a unit in Taipei to qualify as luxury housing.

Capp said UK buyers assign more importance to central locations and quality of buildings when weighing purchasing decisions due to the scarcity of land.

The same reason limits all property transactions in the British capital to leasehold — meaning virtual ownership of the land for 999 years in this case, which began in December 2007, Capp said.

Construction of the pavilion is underway and is slated to finish ahead of the Olympic Games this summer, Capp said, adding that 40 percent of units in the building have already been sold.

Savills Taiwan managing director Cynthia Chu (朱幸兒) said 15 potential Taiwanese buyers voiced investment interest in the project and were to meet with Capp and other colleagues yesterday and today.

For buyers from emerging or newly industrialized economies, putting money overseas — particularly in property in London — is gaining importance as a means of diversifying their investments, Savills said in a report.

Foreign funds accounted for more than 60 percent of new housing transactions in London last year with Chinese and Asia-Pacific buyers making up 33 percent, up from only 4 percent in 2009, the report said.

Chu linked the pickup in part to a weaker pound sterling against major Asian currencies during the same period that saw the yuan strengthen 35 percent and the New Taiwan dollar rising 30 percent.

Investment in the new London housing project may generate a modest rental return at 4 to 5 percent, Chu said.

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