Why expensive Singapore property is driving investors overseas, including Canada

by ADRIAN BISHOP, www.opp.today


With Singapore property experts fearing falls in the Singapore stock market will have an effect on the real estate sector, it could be another tough year for the domestic market.
Instead, Singaporean property investors are turning to foreign property and preliminary data from analytics company Real Capital Analytics (RCA) shows they invested a record US$26.31billion in international real estate in 2015, half as much again as spent in 2014.

Excell Chua, Business Development Director at Singapore-based real estate media group, PropertyGuru, tells OPP.Today there are three main factors contributing to Singaporeans strong interest in overseas property investments:

  1. One in 35 Singaporeans is a millionaire – According to a WealthInsight Report in 2015, the number of Singapore millionaires increased by 17% over the past five years. Singapore now has 154,000 HNWIs, collectively holding US$806.3 billion in net wealth. Singaporeans are savvy investors and one of their successful formulas on expanding their wealth is through property investments (locally or globally).
  2. Singapore property is deemed “expensive” – since land is scarce in our city-state (Singapore’s total land area is 714 square kilometres – that’s about 15% of the size of London), the average price of non-landed freehold homes is SG$ 1,500 PSF and leasehold units would average SG$ 1,000 per square foot. A one-bedroom private condominium in a central part of Singapore would cost at least SGD 1million (approximately US$ 720,000). This local investor is then faced with options of investing his US$ 720,000 in one local property, two Melbourne properties, three Malaysian properties, eight UK properties or even 10 US properties. The huge price difference between local and overseas properties is what’s tempting many local investors to take a bit of risk and invest in foreign properties.
  3. ‘Low’ rental yield environment – our gross rental yield from residential properties in Singapore would range from 2 to 3% while commercial properties average 5%. Residential apartments in Manchester UK and Chicago offer at least 7% rental yields. Other overseas property investment opportunities that are launched in Singapore offered at least 10% guaranteed net yields.

Even if home market cooling measures are lessened, Ms Chua doubts that Singaporean international investment will decline.

“From my view point, Singaporeans’ interest in overseas property investments will continue even if home market cooling measures are lessened because of the three factors described above that are driving the capital outflow.”

The top 10 countries, based from the number of sales enquiries made by Singaporean investors under the overseas section of PropertyGuru’s website in the last quarter of 2015 is:

  1. UK
  2. Malaysia
  3. Australia
  4. Thailand
  5. Cambodia‎
  6. Philippines
  7. Japan
  8. United States
  9. Indonesia
  10. Canada

“Singaporeans’ love affair in foreign real estate will continue as long as the overseas investment offer attractive capital growth, rental yields and clear exit strategies – at least the overseas investments have to be significantly better than what our local market has to offer,” Ms Chua concludes.

RCA says the record spend was boosted by big-ticket purchases by heavyweights such as GIC and Global Logistic Properties (GLP); however, mid-sized and smaller property purchases were also made by Singapore developers and family offices increasingly turning overseas in the face of a dour outlook for real estate at home, with the imposition of property cooling measures, the AsiaOneBusiness website reports.

Worldwide, Singapore ranked as the fourth-largest cross-border property investor in 2015, the same as in 2014.

US buyers came top on US$58.74billion, followed by investors from Canada (US$32.17billion), Hong Kong (US$31.44billion) and China at US$23.35billion.

The inflow of foreign capital into the Singapore property market was stable at US$3.51billion in 2015, led by Chinese investors at US$1.03billion.

Source: www.opp.today, Main picture by Sergio Sanchez www.freeimages.com

The One Grows Even Taller as Design Continues to Evolve

Already set to become Canada’s tallest building, the ongoing evolution of Mizrahi DevelopmentsThe One has seen the height of Toronto tower increased to 340.6 metres/1,117 feet, up from the 329.5 metre height previously proposed. Now planned as an 84-storey building—an increase of four floors—new renderings also show the tower’s podium levels have been aesthetically re-imagined, with an intricate diamond-pattern exterior replacing a comparatively plainer previous proposal.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core Architects

The new design, looking east along Bloor, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

While the project’s the Foster + Partners design (developed in association with Toronto-based Core Architects) has already undergone several changes since the development was first announced last March, the latest design changes see some of the building’s features significantly revised. The most conspicuous changes are seen along the tower’s exterior, with the current podium—facing south and now two storeys shorter than was initially proposed—presenting a particularly striking aesthetic departure from previous designs.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core Architects

Looking southeast at the new podium along Yonge, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

In a more subtle aesthetic change, the tower’s exterior is now predominantly characterized by a ‘champagne’ tone with bronze accents. New renderings of the podium levels highlight the revised colour palette, with transparent glass commercial elevators—housed behind a perforated metal screen—also a new highlight of the design.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core Architects

The western elevator core may prove to be a highlight of the new design, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

Three elevator lobbies—one for retail levels, one for restaurant levels, and one for residents— will be accessible off an open passageway leading from a 12 metre-deep public plaza on Bloor Street. Above, passageways on each level will allow people to transfer from the elevators into the main levels of the tower.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core Architects

The public retail concourse along Bloor leads to the elevators, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

Meanwhile, the project’s Yonge Street setback will allow for an expanded sidewalk and public piaza along the east elevation. The latest rendering of the ground level at Yonge Street also shows impressively high windows for what is certain to be one of the premier retail spaces in the city.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core Architects

Looking south along Yonge Street, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

In addition, the layout of the tower’s mechanical floors has also been revised, with five mechanical areas (each nine metres high and covered by louvers) now spaced out more evenly above the podium at 18-storey intervals. Compared to the earlier iterations, the new design conveys greater visual balance.

Cladding types at The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners

Cladding types: diamond pattern on commercial floors, metal screen elevators, louvered mechanical levels, glass & steel condos.

The exoskeletal tower—which was previously redesigned from a rectangular to a square floorplate due to separation concerns with a neighbouring tower—is also set to be topped by a glass-walled, double-height outdoor amenity space. The wind-shielded treed terrace—over 1,000 feet above ground—will feature landscaping by The Planning Partnership and include space for residents to enjoy al fresco dining.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core Architects

A close-up of the revised exoskeleton design, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

Inside, the 416-unit tower (initially proposed as a 544-unit project before the floorplate was reconfigured) also features updated layouts and amenity configurations. With the podium slightly reduced in height and saleable retail space, the bulk of interior amenities have been moved to the south side of the podium roof, with premium retail space now planned for the first four floors, as well as the underground concourse level. The remainder of the podium will be given over to three floors (5-7) of restaurant space, plus a potential cultural facility on the eighth floor, which will be topped by residential amenities.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core Architects

A rendering of a suite interior, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

Above, the tower’s residential area will feature 8 units per storey up to the 48th floor, followed by an additional 36 storeys—interspersed with mechanical sections—featuring 4 units each. Finally, the tower’s residential space will be topped with four storeys (81-84) each housing only two large and luxurious penthouse units per floor. The extra height of the building has been determined to not have increased shadowing impacts on nearby parks.

Below grade, a reduction in parking space sees the number of underground parking levels reduced from eight to four, bringing the total number of parking spots down from 607 to 305. The reduction in below-grade infrastructure means that the development can maintain an accelerated construction timeline, with an early 2018 opening targeted for the ground-level retail.

The One, Toronto, by Mizrahi Developments, Foster + Partners, Core Architects

760/762 Yonge, image retrieved via Google Maps

In recent months, Mizrahi Developments have also been in the process acquired the nearby property at 760/762 Yonge Street, located to the south of the project (above). The low-rise property (currently home to fast food outlets) could be demolished to provide an additional vehicular access point to The One if needed, though precise details of these plans have yet to take form.

PATH Connection from The One to 2 Bloor West, Toronto

PATH Connection from The One to 2 Bloor West and the Holt Renfrew Centre, image courtesy of Mizrahi Developments

According to the latest architectural plans, the project would feature one point of immediate underground access to the PATH system, with a passageway planned directly to the tower’s north (meeting the existing pathway below 2 Bloor West at the Holt Renfrew Centre). Two knockout panels are also planned to facilitate future connections to the Manulife Centre to the west and the Hudson’s Bay complex to the northeast.

What do you think of the updated design for Toronto’s tallest building? Make sure to check out our dataBase file for more information and additional new renderings. Leave a comment on this page, or join in on the discussion in our associated Forum thread, linked below.

Source: Urban Toronto