94 PROPTECH AND THE PANDEMIC
BLUETOWN’S DESIGNS ON CHINA 60
86 SINGAPORE STARTS TO SWING
SKI RESORTS HALT SLIDE 102
78 CEBU’S SMART PINNACLE
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HUA HIN FOR THE WIN 76
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ISSUE 167 Publisher Jules Kay Editor Duncan Forgan Deputy Editor Al Gerard de la Cruz Senior Editor Richard Allan Aquino Digital Editor Gynen Kyra Toriano Media Relations & Martketing Services Manager Thaddeus Siu Senior Media Relations Executive Tanattha Saengmorakot Media Relations & Marketing Services Executive Piyachanok Raungpaka Product Lifecycle Marketing Manager Marco Dulyachinda Editorial Contributors Liam Aran Barnes, Bill Bredesen, Diana Hubbell, Steve Finch, George Styllis, Jonathan Evans Head of Creative Ausanee Dejtanasoontorn Senior Graphic Designer Poramin Leelasatjarana Sales Director Udomluk Suwan Regional Manager of Awards Sponsorship Kanittha Srithongsuk Business Development Executive, Sponsor Partnership Priyamani Srimokla (Priya) Amonlapa Somtaveesilp (Mickey) Regional Solutions Manager Orathai Chirapornchai Solutions Manager (Australia) Watcharaphon Chaisuk (Jeff) Solutions Manager (Cambodia) Phumet Puttasimma Solutions Manager (India and Sri Lanka) Monika Singh Solutions Manager (Indonesia) Amanda Michelle Wulan Putri Solutions Manager (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau) Huiqing Xia (Summer) Kai Lok Solutions Executive (Malaysia) Samuel Poon Solutions Manager (Myanmar) Nyan Zaw Aung (Jordan) Solutions Manager (Philippines) Marylourd Pique Maria Elena Sta. Maria Business Development Manager, Corporate Sales (Singapore) Alicia Loh Solutions Manager (Thailand) Kritchaorn Rattanapan Rattanarat Srisangsuk Solutions Manager (Vietnam) Quan Nguyen Distribution Manager Rattanaphorn Pongprasert Editorial Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Enquiries email@example.com Distribution Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org PropertyGuru Property Report is published six times a year by
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CONTENTS | Issue 167
Smarter versions of home essentials are launching into orbit
Soak up these waterproof, weather-resistant products during monsoon season
The pandemic period is leaving a legacy of handy, individualistic inventions
Neighbourhood Watch: Hua Hin
Destination: The Philippines
The famous Thai beach town is adding some alluring new strings to its bow
Lockdown disruption, evolving work conditions, and an exodus by offshore gaming operators has sent the office space sector into freefall
A percolating post-pandemic boom looks set to send the Lion City’s residential sector into overdrive
Project Confidential: Youth movement
Interview: Gift from above
Design Focus: Blues in the blood
Special Feature: Tech takes hold
Dispatch: Winter sports markets
A storied Filipino family has forged an exceptionally smart, green office tower in Cebu
SOURCE Global is tapping the heavens to supply drinking water to residential communities and commercial properties in Asia
Hangzhou-based Bluetown Architects aims to design properties that are as functional as they are striking
After years of flirting with innovation, the real estate industry has been forced into a more meaningful embrace
The pandemic has steered investment in key ski destinations back on-piste
Poor access to financing, low confidence and oversupply means a bleak real estate outlook as the army seeks to entrench rule
EDITOR’S NOTE Issue 167
The end of the pandemic can’t come soon enough for most of us.
Some souls have relished curbs on social interaction, endless Zoom meetings, and opportunities to mine Netflix’s more obscure corners. Others can’t wait to see the entire tragic waste of time and life fade away in the rear-view mirror.
Some things are too huge to be easily discounted, no matter how much many would like to. And the COVID-19 era certainly counts as one of the world’s more seismic upheavals.
No sphere has been left unaffected. The pandemic has certainly been transformational for the real estate sector where a cagey flirtation with technology has been nudged towards a full-blown embrace. From hybrid workplaces to digital financing solutions and XR-powered walkthroughs, existing technology is being harnessed to ease adjustment to a more socially distanced future. Our special feature this month looks at some of the most meaningful ways the pandemic has facilitated the rise of proptech. Elsewhere in our tech issue we investigate other innovations, notably the work of SOURCE Global, which is tapping into the sky to solve the world’s drinking water problems. In China, meanwhile, a fusion of modernity and tradition is the raison d’etre of Bluetown Architect, one of the country’s most compelling practices. On a more traditional tack we examine the markets in the Philippines and Singapore, run the rule over Hua Hin — Thailand’s most venerable beach enclave — and get an insight to the property scene in post-coup Yangon.
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NATURE MEETS URBANITY Eco-friendly, meticulously landscaped habitats rise to ascendancy in the urban jungle that is Metro Manila
AMENITY AREA FLOATING LOUNGE, ARTIST’S PERSPECTIVE
A sea change in consumer behaviour has come over the globe amid the pandemic.
character. The development teems with open areas and green spaces, 64% of which is allotted to residents.
Around 76% of consumers now prefer brands that source services and materials ethically, while 65% are attracted to doing business with environment-friendly brands, according to a recent survey by Accenture. Some 71% of consumers also believe that companies should prioritise health considerations in its operations.
Nature truly shines in Belt Collins’ work on Mint Residences’ amenity area on the fifth floor. Here, Jingco used the power of lines to achieve continuity of different spaces. For example, straight lines run through the pool deck, which slopes down to the swimming pool, while a linear pattern brings a sense of order to stepping stones in the lawn area.
In the sphere of real estate, eco-friendly habitats have gained immense currency, especially in the Philippines, a nation ranked among the three most vulnerable to climate change. “One importance of investing in sustainable homes is that it aims to provide a built environment with less impact on climate change because of the reduction in energy consumption,” says Carol E. Jingco, landscape designer with Hawaii-based planning, design and consulting firm Belt Collins. “Sustainable homes are efficient in that sense.” Jingco led the landscape design for Mint Residences, the new nature-inspired condominium tower by developer SMDC in Makati, the country’s financial capital. With SMDC Mint Residences, Belt Collins creatively manipulated linear patterns to design a contemporary landscape that is easy to maintain and exudes a distinct
The fifth-floor amenity deck is a painterly scene with lush landscapes, verdant hedges, a lap pool, calming water features, wood finishes, and pathways of river stones. Top-notch play equipment is provided for children, with multi-coloured matte flooring for safety. Warm colours complement the blue of the swimming pool and the different shades of green in the lawns and plantings. “SMDC Mint Residences’ unique characteristic is its best use of spaces,” says Jingco. The landscape design took inspiration from the structure itself, architected by award-winning firm ASYA Design. As the name of the project suggests, the façade of the Mint Residences evokes a giant mint leaf. ASYA Design even envisioned the two central columns on ground level as stalks, rising to the pinnacle of the building, with “veins” on either side.
“What usually constitutes the most of any residential development is how strong the character of the building is,” says Jingco. “And from there landscape will embellish any part that needs to be emphasised.” Other shades of green can be found in the minimalist yet elegant, hotel-like lobby, which is interlaced with wood, marble and concrete. Vertical gardens with water walls also greet residents, and a serene reflection room that doubles as a library. The interiors, designed by MConcept, mixes accents of the colour mint with light and dark stones and wood, as well as sculptures, art pieces and bespoke furniture. The flora blends harmoniously with the smooth curvature of the interiors. “Now more than ever, we have proven that people feel more comfortable and at peace somehow when surrounded with plants,” says Jingco. “The much-needed foliage in a home improves air quality and provides cooler atmosphere. But aside from the technical importance of adding value to a property, a garden setting in a home will help to inspire healthy living and wellbeing in a sense that we feel closer to nature even in a manicured setting.” Available in diverse sizes and layouts, from studios to deluxe two-bedroom condos with balconies, the units provide liveable space that maximises natural light and ventilation.
This is energy efficiency at its finest, contributing to a reduction of the urban heat island effect. “If you consider climate change, this is another impact that will contribute to the need for more of this kind of development,” says Jingco. Investing in properties like SMDC Mint Residences is commendable, according to Jingco. Located in Chino Roces and easily accessible from the NAIA and SLEX, Mint Residences is at the crossroads of such infrastructure projects as the North-South Railway Project (NSRP), Skyway Stage 3, Makati City Subway Project, Mega Manila Subway, and the 10-Year Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and Zoning Plan. According to Colliers Philippines, properties near infrastructure projects will appreciate by as much as threefold. Living in SMDC Mint Residences is also an investment of a different kind. “Where we live and the air we breathe matter significantly,” says Jingco. “Our overall health is affected by our surroundings. That is why investing in properties that provides a holistic approach in the residential environment is one of the keys to achieving a healthy lifestyle.”
DETAILS | Trends
FUT URE FURNIT URE
Sci-fi no longer has Monopoly on touchscreen furniture. The Infinity Game Table by Arcade1Up lets you play Hasbro board games on up to a 32inch touchscreen display. Its legs are removable, so you can take the device everywhere or lay it on a flat surface.
From $499, arcade1up.com
From ergonomic chairs to touch-paneled tables, smarter versions of home essentials are launching into orbit
ACTIVE DUTY Many workers literally sit themselves to death, whether at home or in the office. The height-adjustable Steelcase Flex Desk remedies this sedentary life. Rising and falling at the touch of an app, the desk compels you to change postures and sit and stand throughout the working day.
From £847, steelcase.com GOT YOUR BACK
LAZY DAY With Philippe Starck, Italian furniture maker Cassina built the MyWorld Couch, which can be customised with a plethora of outlets, plugs, USB ports, charging tools, screens and side tables. This designer living room system works equally well lined up or backed into a corner.
From €5,127, cassina.com
An office chair that massages its occupants? It’s a dream come true for employees in the work-from-home era. The highly ergonomic X-HMT range of seats by XChair offer four massage settings and a heating function, in addition to signature lumbar support technology.
From $919.99, xchair.com
ZERO GRAVITY Dedicated massage chairs belong to your home, too. Those in the market for one should consider the Osaki 4D Escape, which runs on 4-D roller technology. Shrouded in a “space capsule” hood, the futuristic chair features settings that give you a sensation of weightlessness. . From $6,999, osakimassagechair.com
DETAILS | Style
DOWNPOUR TAST E
TAKE BY STORM The Aqua Quest White Water duffel bag not only has the requisite DWR coating but also some tough welded seams, preventing contents from getting waterlogged. It is made with TPU lamination and Oxford 420D Ripstop fabric, making it a truly weather- and abrasion-resistant bag.
Survive the monsoon season in style by soaking up these waterproof, weather-resistant products
SOMEONE’S PARADE Turn the wet streets into your personal runway with the Italian-made Koio Chelsea Charcoal Boots. Constructed from suede and lined with soft leather, these weatherresistant, waterproof shoes are quite lightweight and have double stitching along the seams, great for heavyduty strutting.
RAIN CLOSET Patagonia’s Torrentshell 3L rain jacket has three layers of H2No Performance Standard shell, coated with durable water repellent (DWR), keeping you dry even in a torrential downpour. Protected by flaps and watertight zippers, its pockets can be counted on to protect your gadgets, too.
Your odds of getting drenched with the Davek Elite umbrella, with its 50-inch canopy of 210-thread count fabric, is cloudy at best. Made of steel, fibreglass, zinc alloy and aluminium, this modern cane umbrella won’t easily flip in a gust of wind, thanks to a wind-tension frame system.
GREASED LIGHTNING Rainy days can turn scary quickly. Stay ready for any emergency with a pack of GearLight LED tactical flashlights. These batterypowered, military-grade flashlights are powerful, able to illuminate objects from 1,000 feet away, survive a 10foot drop, and even immerse (briefly) in water.
DETAILS | Gadgets
PANDEMIC POSIT IVES
GOING STAG With bars and clubs still shuttered, robotic bartenders are the way to go. At the touch of a button, the Barsys 2.0 will concoct something out of five preloaded spirits and three mixers of your picking, even moving your glass left to right.
The global crisis has caused unprecedented pain, but its extraordinary nature has seen it spawn a legacy of handy, individualistic inventions
SWEET ESCAPE See the world with the Oculus Quest 2 VR goggles, powered by the super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform. Its four in-headset cameras use fullmotion six degrees of freedom (6DoF) tracking, which, with sophisticated controllers, helps you navigate a realistic, high-resolution virtual world.
From $299, oculus.com DISTANTLY SOCIAL
LOVE SET The Rebo Wall offers a great way to practice ball sports solo these days. Tennis figureheads Leon Smith and Judy Murray swear by this astroturf and rebound wall, which boasts a specialised sound deadening core and can take more than 2,000 shots an hour.
From £2,295, rebowall.com
Facebook lets loved ones bridge the social distance through Portal, an Alexa-responsive smart display that complements messaging and video conferencing apps well. Thanks to its 15.6-inch display and HD camera, it makes for a clearer, more fun convo than your typical laptop.
PANDEMIC CHIC Be safe and look stylish with the R-Pur Nano masks, made with five layers of nanofilter and connected to a mobile app that alerts you to replace the filter. Fashionistas, rejoice: The French company now offers a limited range designed by Marine Serre.
YOUTH MOVEMENT Young members of a storied family shift property development in Cebu forward with a smart, green commercial tower, rising tall above an heirloom estate BY AL GERARD DE LA CRUZ
ONE OF THE PIONEERING GREEN BUILDINGS IN CEBU, JEG TOWER @ ONE ACACIA TOPPED OUT IN 2019 AND WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED TO OPEN IN 2020
or more than 140 years, the Garcias and the Escaños have influenced trade and commerce in Cebu, with diversified interests in sectors ranging from electricity to interisland shipping. Now a new generation has propelled the patrician clan to the vanguard of property development. JEG Tower @ One Acacia is the debut high-rise venture of JEG Development Corporation (JDC), the real estate enterprise by the descendants of business powerhouse Jose Escaño Garcia. Pre-certified LEED Silver for core and shell, the grade A building represents a technological, sustainable leap for built spaces outside Manila. The 22-storey tower, designed by Casas Architects, recalls the Flatiron Building with its svelte profile, but with a diagonally slanting, tapered corner. When Marko Sarmiento, Jose’s grandson and chief operating officer of JDC, performed strategic planning for the tower in 2015, vertical green building had not truly taken hold in Cebu yet. “We wanted to be known as the local developer that went green ahead of everybody else,” he says. But the family has had quite the headstart, businesswise. Founding patriarch Don Fernando Escaño established in 1879 the enterprise Viuda y Hijos de F. Escaño Incorporada, which would later subsume the power distribution utility Visayas Electric Company (VECO). JEG Tower @ One Acacia was built “with the Cebuano in mind,” says Ayla Gomez, Sarmiento’s cousin and brand manager at JDC. “We are mindful of our impact on the environment and to the future generations of Cebuanos.” While JDC would not construct its first real estate project until 2004, the family has accumulated significant land holdings over the decades, including the tower site. The 1,697-square-metre lot at the corner of Archbishop Reyes Avenue and Acacia Street was sold to the family for around PHP10,000 (preinflation) in the early 1950s. “My grandmother loves telling this story,” says Sarmiento of his forebear, Rosa Maria Garcia. “She and my great-grandmother (Señora Teresa Escaño Garcia) purchased it back then, and they had to pay in cash. She keeps saying that she was so scared at that time.” What had been “worth nothing” became a prime location close to Cebu Business Park. Enlisting Casas Architects, JDC developed onsite a low-rise strip mall,
One Acacia Place, in the mid-2000s, with plans for vertical development in the next 10 years or so. “We wanted to learn the industry first,” says Sarmiento. The North Carolina-educated executive presumed an intelligent, eco-conscious building would not pass muster with his elders at the JDC board. “We weren’t sure how they would react to it because going green is a more modern idea,” he says. “But they were very receptive to it because they knew we had to differentiate our product.” JDC invested in “a lot of resources to build the best workspace” in Cebu, according to Stefan Garcia, estate and business development manager of JDC. With an estimated development value of $28m, JEG Tower @ One Acacia automates operations through a building management system (BMS), enabling landlords to control BMScompatible equipment and fixtures from a computerised command centre.
JEG Tower @ One Acacia has Mitsubishi destinationoriented allocation system (DOAS) elevators, cutting the wait in the lobby to under a minute. DOAS interfaces with the turnstiles, telling passengers which lifts to use upon keyin and eliminating the need to push buttons. JDC installed a fresh air ventilation system, too, preventing stale air from recirculating in the 17,935-sqm building. Operable windows let more clean air into the building. Claiming energy savings of at least 12%, the tower meets a bulk of its power requirements through Vivant Corporation, JDC’s largest subsidiary. JDC also purchases power from Prism Energy, a joint venture between Vivant and leading renewable energy provider AboitizPower. Supplementing its reliance on the grid, JEG Tower @ One Acacia will be generating clean energy through rooftop photovoltaic panels from Vivant. “We feel that the solar aspect brings in a different dimension of power supply to the building,” Sarmiento says.
WE WEREN’T SURE HOW OUR ELDERS WOULD REACT TO IT BECAUSE GOING GREEN IS A MORE MODERN IDEA. BUT THEY WERE VERY RECEPTIVE TO IT BECAUSE THEY KNEW WE HAD TO DIFFERENTIATE OUR PRODUCT
JDC’S MARKO SARMIENTO, AYLA GOMEZ AND STEFAN GARCIA (LEFT TO RIGHT) HELP SPEARHEAD THE NEXT GENERATION OF SMART, SUSTAINABLE PROPERTIES IN THE PHILIPPINES
THE TOWER MAXIMISES OCCUPANCY WITH A CENTRAL CORE HOUSING DOAS ELEVATORS AND GIVES OCCUPANTS A HEALTHFUL EXPERIENCE, THANKS TO A FRESH AIR VENTILATION SYSTEM INTEGRATED WITH VRV AC SYSTEMS
Rather than climate-control an entire floor, JDC cools multiple tenants at different rates through a flexible variable refrigerant volume (VRV) air-conditioning system. While “not the cheapest” supplier of VRV ACs, Daikin, the originator of this technology, surpassed the energy ratings of competitors in JDC’s technical evaluations. “Whatever savings we had, we were able to reallocate these to procure other technologies and equipment that we deemed would help the building be more up-to-date,” Sarmiento says. Making a stronger LEED case for the US Green Building Council (USGBC), JDC used recycled scrapped rebars, concrete with recycled ash, and bamboo veneers. The tower façade features a unitised curtain wall system, achieving 90% daylight views for occupants. Where it had to import materials, JDC opted for sustainably sourced options, like doors made of forest-certified timber from Malaysia. “I guess more thought went into what materials we had to use,” says Sarmiento. 48
“There is flexibility on where you can outsource your materials.” Twenty percent of the development makes way for foliage, including a 284-sqm rooftop garden garlanded with native plants and wraparound wood decking. Tenants may rent the roof deck instead of a boardroom or just drink in 360-degree views of the strait and mountains. To reach such heights, the tower required a strong, deep foundation secured with bored piles—the site’s soil composition was too soft. “The bored pile foundation took a bite into our budget and schedule,” says Sarmiento. “But when we presented it to our board, they didn’t bat a lid. They said, ‘We’re going to have to spend more, but safety outweighs everything else.’” Guided by the lot’s trapezoidal shape, Casas Architects designed a centre core for the structure, housing the elevator shafts and stairways, instead of a side core. Occupants get a 92% efficiency ratio, for a net leasable area of 14,359 sqm, including four retail spots. 49
ADHERING TO LEED REQUIREMENTS, THE DEVELOPER ENSURED THAT INSTALLATIONS ARE SUSTAINABLY SOURCED OR LOCALLY AVAILABLE DURING THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS AND TECHNICAL CLARIFICATIONS
FUTURE OF WORK Teleconferencing, working from home—these phenomena have undoubtedly been game-changing paradigm shifts for grade-A commercial property development in the Philippines. In metropolitan Cebu alone, office vacancy hit 19.2% in the first quarter of 2021, up from 17% in 2020, according to the consultancy KMC Savills. “Zoom gets us by but nothing can replace face-to-face meetings,” says Marko Sarmiento, COO of JEG Development Corporation, the firm behind the LEED-precertified high-rise JEG Tower in Cebu City. “Meeting with your teams and collaborating—those will never be lost no matter what.” Sarmiento predicts that the work-from-home setup and traditional commercial space will result in a hybridised workplace at some point. “You’re going to see fewer individual offices and more collaboration areas. The office may not be an everyday, nine-to-five routine anymore, but it won’t be gone. “It’s something we’re excited about. It’s a new element,” he adds. A turnaround may be in the offing for Cebu as its vaccination drive gathers steam. The local government is now inoculating the A4 priority group, which consists of workers who report to the office. Leasing activity may rebound in response, according to officials, with Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Steven Yu hoping that the vaccination of A4s will inspire a change of heart in Filipino anti-vaxxers. “People still want to be with their colleagues,” says Sarmiento. “It’s just a matter of how to design your office space to fit that need that I think would be quite challenging.”
With a typical floor plate of 1,100 sqm, equal to nine bare shell units, the tower optimises usable space. “The site was a bit challenging since it’s a trapezoidal lot in shape and a corner lot as well, including incremental setback requirements by the local government unit,” says Carmelo Casas, founder of Casas Architects. “We took advantage of this prominent corner to highlight a ‘tapering’ shape as our design feature.” One Acacia Place shut down in December 2016 in preparation for the tower construction. Some neighbours offered their properties as staging areas and temporary offices for JDC. Dakay Construction, the Cebu-based builder behind One Acacia Place and another JDC strip mall, The Gallery, assumed contractor duties, and the project broke ground in February 2018. Sy² + Associates, Inc, which engineered such skyscrapers as the PBCom Tower and Trump Tower in Manila, then accounted for the rising building’s seismic, wind and live loads, ensuring structural integrity in a typhoon- and earthquakeprone country.
The tower topped off in 2019, but the pandemic prevented it from coming online in late 2020, deferring completion to 2021. “The biggest factor in the delay was getting the manpower during Covid,” says Sarmiento. “Some workers had to go home to their provinces and convincing them to come back was very difficult.”
THE TOWER SITE HAS TRANSFORMED INTO A PRIME LOCATION SINCE THE 1950S AND AFFORDS WORKERS SOME EYE-CATCHING VISTAS OF 21ST-CENTURY CEBU
JDC itself will be headquartered in the tower. Along with his demographic cohorts, Sarmiento has pipelined more socio-environmentally aware, innovative projects ahead, further infusing young blood into a kindred business empire. For all its space-age trimmings, the tower toasts to the past. “We made sure our grandmother was there during the groundbreaking,” Sarmiento says. “She didn’t make it to the top because our elevators weren’t ready yet. But she was there. “For her to see her husband’s name on that building, it means a lot to her and, of course, the family.”
Gift from above SOURCE Global is tapping into a renewable source— the sky—to supply drinking water to residential communities and commercial properties in Asia BY BILL BREDESEN
The company’s customers range from individual households to corporate offices and factories, and then more rural, isolated, government-sponsored projects where the primary hurdle is lack of access to a centralised source. “Throughout our core markets in Asia, people typically have water they can use for toilets, showers and irrigation, but then they buy higher-quality packaged drinking water,” says Robert Bartrop, SOURCE’s chief revenue officer who leads the company’s global business development activities. “Our residential systems are replacing that drinking water component in a dramatically more cost-effective, sustainable and resilient way.” Bartrop previously spent a decade working for First Solar, a US-based photovoltaics (PV) developer, and recalls having similar discussions then with companies that wanted to move away from coal and gas to renewable sources to generate power in a more sustainable and accessible way. “I’m taking what I learned working on renewable energy and applying it to renewable water, which in my view is an even bigger problem with a less developed set of solutions,” he says. “The future is very large. The future is scale: the ability to go from being one-tenth the cost of bottled water to one-hundredth. Like all great problems, there will need to be a set of technologies and an arsenal of different approaches to create a holistic solution. We have a very important role to play in that.” How does SOURCE’s technology work?
lobally, more than 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water at home. Even in major cities throughout Asia, tap water is often not safe to consume—and so people turn to bottled water instead. Half a trillion single-use plastic bottles are sold each year around the world. SOURCE Global, a US-based company, is working to address these challenges with 54
a unique technology that produces clean drinking water from sunlight and air. This renewable, decentralised form of high-quality drinking water leapfrogs infrastructure, allowing people to make clean water wherever they are, without the need to haul it long distances through pipes or in plastic bottles.
SOURCE GLOBAL’S SOLAR PANEL TECHNOLOGY CAN PRODUCE DRINKING WATER FROM SUNLIGHT AND AIR
Throughout our core markets in Asia, people buy higher-quality packaged drinking water. Our residential systems are replacing that component in a dramatically more cost-effective, sustainable and resilient way
There are two core concepts. One is material science. We’ve developed an advanced material that’s effective at absorbing water from air. Then we use solar thermal energy— heat from the sun—to condense the water. That’s a very efficient process that requires no electricity. This mix of material science and solar thermal energy technology enables us to make water in a renewable way anywhere on the planet.
THE COMPANY’S CUSTOMERS RANGE FROM URBAN DWELLERS TO PEOPLE IN MORE RURAL, ISOLATED PLACES IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
How much water does it produce? It depends. We can have one or two panels in a residential installation or a whole field of panels for a community. At my house, I have two panels, which I would say is fairly typical for a residential installation. That provides about 300 litres per month, which is the equivalent of a 20-pack of bottled water per day. That’s typically in line with standard household drinking water consumption. How many people can larger-scale projects serve? It’s completely scalable. Last year we installed at more than 1,000 homes in Australia through the Aboriginal Housing Office, which covers a vast geographic region. We’ve done similar-scale projects in the US with the Navajo Nation, an indigenous population. Tens of thousands of people consuming water is a regular-sized project for us. People don’t have to be living in one building. They can be dispersed in villages, on islands, or farms. How much physical size do these projects require? On an acre of land, we can make about 2 million litres of water per year. And that is going to be enough drinking water for 5,000-plus people. That can help unlock the usefulness of other existing bodies of water for toilets, showers, irrigation, and things like that—which is helpful for non-drinking purposes. We deal with drinking water stress. Does the technology work everywhere? I live in Arizona, where it’s about 10% humidity and we get really good performance. We are well proven over a wide range of climates. We work in freezing conditions, but the water is harder to pump and store. So we avoid places that have deep freezes throughout winter, like Scandinavia and those types of places. We focus close to the equator. The majority of the world’s water problems are in high-temperature locations. What are some examples of how this technology is changing people’s lives? There are huge health issues with water. Hospital beds globally are filled with people 56
WITH HOSPITAL BEDS GLOBALLY FILLED WITH PEOPLE WITH WATERBORNE ILLNESSES, ACCESS TO CLEAN DRINKING WATER IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST PRESSING ISSUES
with waterborne illnesses. But I think maybe a less discussed outcome is the number of hours spent by women and girls fetching water. When you look at basic development statistics like education, income, and life expectancy, we see a much bigger gap in rural, remote populations versus what we see in cities. A lot of that comes from their lifestyles, where water is the most important thing they need to secure every day, versus being able to stay in school or go to work. And so less than the absolute cost, the opportunity cost of those women and children in remote communities, I think, is the greatest value creation we bring. What are some challenges in scaling the business? One challenge is that the water industry has less familiarity with innovation relative to energy or telecommunications. With water, it’s very much a Roman-era mentality where you have to get it from 58
a pipeline. That’s one of the reasons water is lowcost and safe in big cities, and then not available in smaller villages, farms, and places like that. I think the ecosystem of regulators and governments haven’t considered the sky—the abundant reservoir of drinking water in the sky—as a place where you can harness drinking water locally. We’re spending time with various levels of government to help them update their regulations to contemplate a decentralised, non-traditional drinking water solution, which is not being met with resistance but is not an area where there has been a lot of innovation in the past. That increases the timelines involved in larger government projects. What is the company’s split between its urban and rural business? Our private sector is predominantly urban. We do a lot of work in hospitality, real estate, and then
GLOBAL WARMING IS CONTRIBUTING TO A DRYING OF THE WATER SUPPLY. TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES A POSSIBLE SALVE FOR THIS SEEMINGLY INTRACTABLE SITUATION
some more remote urban places, like big mining companies, islands, and things like that. Our government work is predominantly rural—so you look at water challenges in the developing world. These are decentralised locations that don’t have centralised water infrastructure: islands, villages, and farms—places that are difficult to access from a construction standpoint. What impact is climate change having on the water issue? It’s huge. I’d say it’s an existential impact. Water access is traditionally about pipes. If you have a pipe, you have water. If you don’t, you don’t. What we’re saying now is even places that have pipes may not have water, because pipes are only as good as the amount of water flowing through them. We’re seeing in major cities—the most recent being Chennai, before that Cape Town—an existential issue where they are running out of water. Aquifers are being
sucked dry. It’s also an issue in the southwest of the US. And in places like Timor-Leste, the dry season is increasing. Islands might depopulate for some time until the rain comes. It’s an enormous challenge—not just an infrastructure challenge but also a resource challenge. Do you have a sense of how many panels you’ve installed globally? In the last four years, we’ve gone from dozens of projects to hundreds of projects and now literally thousands of projects every year. Some projects are residential homes. Some are thousands of panels in a field. There’s a mix between those two markets. Hundreds of thousands of people are drinking our water every day, which is great. But hundreds of millions need it. We’re still in the early stages of the type of impact we’re looking to make.
Blues in the blood
As China’s cities explode, its built heritage is often neglected. Hangzhou-based Bluetown Architects aims to redress that balance through its striking but functional work BY DIANA HUBBELL
hen it comes to architecture, few countries are as wildly dynamic right now as China. Travel + Leisure once dubbed the nation’s flurry of development as the “biggest building boom in human history, surpassing the creation of the Pyramids and the Great Wall.” Over the last decade, the blistering pace of development has seldom slowed, as vertiginous skyscrapers rise across mega-cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai, while second-tier cities race to catch up. For many older people, the skylines of today bear virtually no resemblance to the ones of their childhoods. All the rush for progress and hyper-modernisation, however, has not been without its growing pains. As its cities have swelled, China’s divide between urban and rural lifestyles has widened to a chasm. Into this void, the country risks losing ties to cultural traditions and design styles with thousands of years of history behind them. Bluetown Architects, based in the serene lakeside city of Hangzhou, has proven itself an advocate for forging China’s future while maintaining an eye on its past. Founded in 2014 by Song Weiping, the firm has a more holistic approach to architecture than many of its contemporaries. While most architecture firms are eager to secure their legacies with flashy, attentiongrabbing edifices in metropolitan areas, Weiping prefers to create spaces that are genuinely comfortable for the people who call them home. “In the future, Chinese cities should be shaped by the residents living in them. Architects are too often divorced from reality in their quest to create buildings,” Weiping says. “We dispense with personal heroism and take measures according to local conditions to make life better for residents.”
Architects are too often divorced from reality in their quest to create buildings. We dispense with personal heroism and take measures according to local conditions to make life better for residents
SONG WEIPING, THE FOUNDER OF BLUETOWN ARCHITECTS, BELIEVES THAT CHINESE CITIES SHOULD BE TAILORED HOLISTICALLY TO RESIDENTS OF ALL STRIPES
A desire to shape the future of society for the better was what drew Weiping to architecture in the first place. When he was in high school, he remembers watching a film about an architect’s personal quest to make a positive impact. The concept was so powerful to him that he chose to pursue the field himself at the University of New South Wales in Australia. When he returned to China, he had a clear vision of the kind of mark he wanted to leave on his country. “I think creativity is incredibly important. Architectural firms must be able to face the challenges of the era with innovative solutions,” Weiping says. “We also must find ways to create more of a balance between China’s cities and its countryside. Finally, I believe that we must remember to pay respect to both the local culture and the local environment.” For Weiping, that translates to using local materials wherever possible. Part of this has to do with sustainability and cost—transporting pricey imported stone and wood around the world drastically impacts a project’s carbon footprint. It also helps ground each project with a solid sense of place. While many of the luxury developments cropping up around Asia Pacific have a certain generic sameness to them, Bluetown Architects’ designs feel connected to their surroundings. “We want the countryside materials to be based out of local materials wherever
possible, both for cost control and so that it mirrors the surrounding ecology,” Weiping says. “We believe that the natural environment and the local culture should be maintained as much as possible.” Opting for regionally sourced materials and incorporating subtle aesthetic nods to China’s rich history results in striking buildings. Bluetown Architects has plenty of prestigious projects under its belt. Yet Weiping believes that the firm’s accolades are not what will cement its legacy. His vision for China’s future places just as much value on the lives of ordinary citizens as it does on the urban elite. As China’s population ages, he hopes to create community-oriented spaces for the elderly that will help families live happier, more harmonious lives. “We hope to create healthier, more comfortable living environments. We also help ageing people have a better life,” says Weiping. “You know in China, a large family of maybe three generations lives together in the countryside. In China, in the spring festival, each family comes together, so the homes we design need to be able to accommodate grandparents and relatives.” One thing is certain: The decisions that Bluetown Architects makes today will have a lasting effect on generations to come. The future of China is still unfurling, allowing those with a vision to manifest it in profound ways.
Song-Zhang-Kou New Rural Housing “We incorporate local cultural symbols to let the culture endure in this area,” says Weiping. One of the critical aspects of this project was that it needed to provide affordable, visually appealing homes for roughly 600 tenants. The resulting houses draw on traditional Northern Jiangsu architectural motifs including dark roof tiles and white gable walls while creating plenty of opportunities for community life to flourish. All the houses fall into a cluster design reminiscent of a historic village, complete with common outdoor spaces for vegetable gardens and social activities with friends, family, and neighbours.
Peach Blossom Future Villa I “The design philosophy for this project was to have the buildings hidden in the natural mountain surroundings,” Weiping says. With such scenery, it only seemed appropriate to let nature take centre stage. “So, it was a challenge to achieve these goals for the local landscape and to use the materials so that the buildings looked almost like birds flying through the mountains.” Although the clean linear forms draw on traditional Chinese architectural tropes, the floorto-ceiling windows and geometric silhouettes give the villas a modern, minimalist feel. Spacious terraces overlooking the dazzling scenery add to the ambience.
Peach Blossom Future Villa Ⅱ “They’re modern villas, but the lines between the buildings and the use of light reference traditional local architectural styles,” Weiping says. As with the other Peach Blossom Future Villas, this project serves to spotlight its surroundings through the use of glass, light, and the reflective properties of water. With infinity pools, statement water fixtures, and palatial interiors, these villas are a luxe marriage of both the past and present of Chinese architecture. The result is simple yet undeniably stunning. The clean, geometric forms give the villas a timeless quality that only serves to enhance the richly textured local materials.
The Community Centre of Guanyun in Deqing “In this community facility, we have a direct connection with the hospitals, so that elderly individuals have immediate access to high-quality medical care,” says Weiping. Ensuring that doctors can quickly reach residents in case of an emergency allows for greater peace of mind for everyone in the community. In addition, Weiping says he wanted to provide locals with everything they needed to stay healthy without medical intervention. Top-notch fitness facilities onsite help encourage elderly individuals to stay physically fit, while group tai chi and other activities help stave off loneliness. The concept of the project was to help China’s ageing population not just live but live well.
Fenghe Jiuli Project “This is inspired by the design of a traditional Chinesestyle villa,” Weiping says. “We wanted to help foster the relationships between different people living there.” In historic Chinese villages and homes, central gathering areas helped organically build a sense of community between residents. By allowing for chance encounters throughout the day, these common spaces can have a subtle, yet powerful impact on the quality of life of those who inhabit them. “We’re designing streets in the old Chinese style,” he says. “Our goal is to create spaces where people can all have conversations together.”
The villa of Guanyun in Deqing “In southern China, the traditional villa style is quite different than in the northern regions of the country,” Weiping says. Because Bluetown Architects aims for specificity in their designs whenever possible, he wanted to reflect the distinction. “In the south of China, the buildings are historically centred around the courtyards. So we built three levels of Chinese villas and wanted to reference this.” The triple-tiered approach adds a contemporary note to the classic design while still paying homage to the past. “These spaces formed the heart of community life,” he says. “It would be where people would meet one another or grow vegetables in communal gardens.”
It’s in Hua Hin BY JONATHAN EVANS
Lying two-and-a-half hours southwest of Bangkok, Hua Hin has long-standing regal connections, seaside-resort allure and upstanding character that have given the town a lofty reputation among weekending capital dwellers and overseas visitors. In the latter half of the last decade, the popularity of Thailand’s first-ever beach getaway further soared as arrivals rose by 6% annually despite a bomb attack in 2016, and will be reinforced by the promise of high-speed rail links and flight connections serving Hua Hin’s modest airport.
A long-time favorite of Thai royalty and weekenders travelling from Bangkok, the famous beach town is adding some alluring new strings to its bow
Once a mere fishing village, the town’s historical appeal, balmy year-round climate, and solid range of amenities (healthcare, sporting and retail) continue to attract property developers both in the beachside area and the hillside hinterland. And the latest condominium openings only serve to bolster the resort’s chichi credentials.
InterContinental Residences Hua Hin
Hua Hin Railway Station
The’ Tea House
Centara Grand Beach Resort Hotel & Villas
Set apart from its namesake resort hotel, this 238-unit collection of holiday homes edges onto a private stretch of beachfront but also lies within walking distance of malls, hospitals and markets. An unfailingly plush address marked by “colonial settings with a modern twist” —white, brown and black tones dominate the design, with the building wrapped around a central pool— outdoor perks including a yoga lawn, chess lawn and maze garden. The first luxury residential address in Thailand under the InterContinental brand, the Residences— the latest coup for Bangkok’s Proud Real Estate developers—are due for completion in December next year.
A prized residential development among Hua Hin residents of a certain age, the eighthectare, Scandinavian-owned Falcon Hill— lauded for its quality of workmanship and property-management care—ticks many boxes. But its location is where it truly excels. Its luxury villas are situated in the town’s southern reaches, yet still command sea views, and remain only minutes away from such conveniences as a shopping centre and the highly regarded Banyan Golf Club. There are four villa types to choose from, all flaunting a tropically appropriate palette of light tones while some also contain a private pool. There’s a custom-design option too.
The town’s principal transport nexus and photo-op hotspot was instrumental in transforming Hua Hin from obscure settlement into elite travel destination. It was Prince Chakrabongse, son of King Rama V, who first anticipated the whitesand beach’s pulling power. His father’s successor then commissioned the first royal summer residence outside Bangkok along with the station. A stream of moneyed visitors with summer villas followed, along with resort hotels and a golf course, and the town’s reputation was sealed. The original station of 1910 was rebuilt in 1926 by Prince Purachatra Jayakara into the ornate wooden eye-candy of today.
This one-of-a-kind curio, set within the FN (Fly Now) Factory Outlet store, is a cross between a Versailles parlour and a botanical garden. Attention-grabbing interior design features, some reclaimed from a nearby antiques museum, include a wooden arch from India and eccentric mural decorations. Don’t miss the recherché tea selection, including Mariage Frères, and the afternoontea set with gâteaux.
This heritage landmark, opened as a 14room guesthouse in 1922, was a filming location for The Killing Fields (1984). Despite significant expansion, the stylish resort retains its polish, with manicured gardens and direct beachfront access. It holds Suan Bua, a poolside eatery serving aromatic curries and classic Thai dishes, and Railway, a colonial-style courtyard affair purveying authentic fried rice.
The Hua Hin branch remains the principal showroom of the fabric and garment maker, which began with a workshop established by Prince Bavoradej and Princess Pajongrachit Kritakara in 1948. Khomapastr has created over 1,000 designs since, including its signature pha kiao (gold hand print), which originated in the 15th-century royal court. Offshoot products include fashion accessories and home décor.
WAVE OF MUTILATION
Lockdown disruption, evolving working conditions and an exodus by offshore gaming operators have sent the vital office space sector in the Philippines into freefall BY GEORGE STYLLIS
t seemed like the property market in the Philippines would get off to a good start this year. Despite ongoing sluggishness in the sector and a Covid-19 case tally of around half a million—the second-worst in Asia—transactions were beginning to increase as life returned to normal. But as infections spiked in March, the government responded by imposing a second lockdown, limiting the mobility of millions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and sending the property market back into its shell.
PRIME TRACTS OF METRO MANILA LIKE MAKATI HAVE BENEFITED FROM THE COMPLETION OF MAJOR OFFICE BUILDING PROJECTS DURING THE PANDEMIC
“The wave impacted the decisionmaking process for companies looking to take up office space. So they delayed their occupancy plans and rethought their requirements,” says Joey Bondoc, associate director for research at Colliers Philippines. In the Philippines, where demand for office space is closely linked to the demand for housing, the second wave of infections has sparked questions over when, if ever, people will be back in the office. In the first quarter of 2021, Colliers saw the completion of 199,900 square metres of new office space, with the Makati CBD and Bay Area (prime tracts of Metro Manila) accounting for 75% of new supply. Among the biggest projects launched were Ayala Triangle Gardens 2, a 40-storey office building by Ayala Land Inc., and the Armstrong Corporate Center, a 10-storey building comprising co-working spaces and private offices, both in Makati. As the year got started, transactions in Metro Manila had reached their highest level since the pandemic started, driven by demand for office space among e-commerce, outsourcing and data companies, according to research by Colliers. But those gains ended abruptly with leases cancelled and renewals deferred as millions of people were urged to stay at home. The sudden reversal of fortunes came as net take-up of office space remained negative for a fourth consecutive quarter. Some of the biggest losses came from business process outsourcing companies. 80
What is shaping the market now are the POGO pullouts. POGOs have been among the biggest drivers of demand for office space in the past couple of years: comparable to the BPOs, which have been the main bread and butter of the office sector
CHANNEL SHOPPING Online shopping has thrown a lifeline to many businesses during the pandemic and made staying at home that little bit easier. Filipinos look set to continue buying at the touch of a button long after the pandemic is over. According to data from NielsonIQ, the country showed the most dramatic increase in online shopping in Asia, soaring 325%. The market research firm found that 67% of Filipinos who made online purchases plan to continue buying online even after quarantine restrictions are removed. “This signals a more permanent transition towards a brick-and-click shopping behavior where both formats influence
the final purchase decision,” says Pauline Jill UyYu, NielsenIQ’s head for consumer intelligence in the Philippines. One company that is hoping the trend will continue is MerryMart Grocery Centres, which signed an agreement with FoodPanda last year to bring the first “dark grocery” stores (fulfilment centres for online grocery shopping) to the country. Aiming to deliver products in as little as 15 minutes, which would be a first for the country, the “concept is a real game-changer in the online grocery space,” says MerryMart Chairman Edgar “Injap” Sia II. 81
BPOs—as they are more commonly called—provide support services to third-party companies in IT, data, and customer care. They account for around 50% of Metro Manila’s office market and contribute 11% to the GDP. The disruption to this vast industry, as many of its 1.2 million workers transitioned to working from home, followed already huge losses to the office market caused by an exodus of offshore gaming operators. Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), which provide online gambling services to customers outside the country, generate around $1.9 billion annually for the economy and have been a boon for Manila’s property, transport and entertainment industries.
But desperate to claw back revenue amid widening debt and a ravaged economy, the government announced last year POGOs would need to start paying more tax: 5% on gross gaming revenue as opposed to 5% on net income. This prompted many to take flight. According to Leechiu Property Consultants, POGOs abandoned around 277,000 sqm of office space in 2020, translating to losses of around PHP1.4 bn ($29m) in rent and 127,000 jobs. “What is shaping the market at the moment are the POGO pullouts,” says Janlo de los Reyes, head of research at JLL Philippines. “POGOs have been among the biggest drivers of demand for office space in the past couple of years: comparable
to the demand take-up of the BPOs, which have been the main bread and butter of the office sector for the longest time.” De los Reyes and other analysts say the loss of both POGOs and BPOs has had a big impact on residential markets. With POGOs employing many foreign workers, particularly Chinese, their departure has left many properties geared towards expats empty. “On the luxury side, it’s tied to the expat population,” says De los Reyes, adding that those who are still there are not enjoying the perks they once did.
REIT OF WAY They were slow to take off, but real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the Philippines are now becoming hot property, with one of the latest offerings due to be the biggest as MegaWorld enters the fray. Megaworld Corporation, the country’s largest office lessor, is planning to raise to PHP27.3 billion ($567 million) through a real estate investment trust, which if successful would be the biggest to date. “We are going to launch the largest REIT in the country. Our goal is not just to be the largest REIT by portfolio size in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia,” MREIT president and CEO Kevin Tan says. MREIT plans to offer secondary shares of up to 1.24 billion shares at an offer price of up to 22 pesos per share and will consist of a vast portfolio of assets that include 1800 Eastwood Avenue, 1880 Eastwood Avenue, and E-Commerce Plaza.
MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS ARE LIKELY TO INCREASE DEMAND FOR OFFICE AND RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY ON CEBU
Two REIT companies have so far listed on the PSE— Ayala Land’s AREIT Inc. and Double Dragon’s DDMP REIT. REITs have long been viewed with skepticism in the Philippines due to their high friction costs. But since the government passed a law in February last year relaxing restrictions and taxes, they have become more appealing to investors.
BPOS, THE BREAD AND BUTTER OF THE OFFICE PROPERTY MARKET IN THE PHILIPPINES, HAVE BEEN SLAMMED BY THE PANDEMIC WITH MANY EMPLOYEES TRANSITIONED TO WFH
GOING WITH THE FLOW It is one of the most traffic-choked cities in the world, but motorists in Manila might soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief amid efforts to address congestion on the roads. Following pledges by the government to reduce the capital’s notorious traffic, President Rodrigo Duterte said in June that traffic jams along Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfare have since been reduced. “EDSA traffic is no longer an issue. Early on in my administration, it was a crisis,” he said. Manila was ranked the fourth most congested city in the world last year by travel tech firm TomTom, with daily
journey times extended by 53% as a result. According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Philippines loses around PHP3.5 billion ($72 million) a day to traffic congestion in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, the ADB said in June it would give $15 billion towards improving roads, railways, buses and other infrastructure. The biggest portion of the loan will be allocated for the $4.25-billion South Commuter Railway Project or the Clark–Calamba Railway. “This is an integrated approach to address traffic issues and also promote development outside of the Metro Manila area,” says ADB country director Kelly Bird.
METRO MANILA’S NOTORIOUS TRAFFIC CONGESTION MAY BE ON THE VERGE OF EASING THANKS TO INVESTMENT IN ROADS
“We’re seeing stricter company budgets for expats and no longer a housing allowance. So that’s driven the slowdown in leasing activity at least for the upscale and luxury markets.” For BPOs and other companies that employ mainly locals, the shift away from offices has sparked greater demand for housing outside the city centre, particularly at the mid-end, he adds. “For the mid-end, it’s really a mix of end-users, while leasing demand is coming from young professionals in Makati. We’re also seeing less take-up of the halfway homes that were popular with people who lived outside the city but wanted to be closer to avoid traffic congestion.” Luis Enrique Mangosing, a real estate expert with 35 years of experience in the industry, believes this drift toward the city’s suburbs reflects the “resilience” of “horizontal housing developments on the fringes of Metro Manila.” But while the industry adapts to shifting trends in the short term, the question remains whether the 70% of BPO employees currently working from home will return to the office after the pandemic is over.
local media last year that much will depend on whether companies can address issues around productivity caused by low internet speeds and poor home setups. “There’s no cookie-cutter answer. It varies from company to company,” he observes. Some BPOs like Singapore-based outsourcing company Everise have already committed to letting some of their staff work from home indefinitely. Others like Teleperformance Philippines are allowing homework for lighter projects. Yet many observers feel that how things will fare for the industry as a whole will depend on whether the country can meet its target of vaccinating the majority of the population by the end of the year. As of June 20, just over 4% of the population had received at least one dose of a vaccine. With the arrival of tens of millions of vaccines in the coming months, the country is hoping to rapidly scale up. “The industry’s recovery will be tied to the vaccine rollout,” said De los Reyes. “But there is optimism. It has yet to reflect in terms of activity, but there is optimism.”
Rey Untal, CEO of the Philippines’ Information Technology and Business Process Association, said in an interview with 84
SING APORE SWINGS Generous stimulus has saved the Lion City’s economy from disaster, and a percolating postpandemic boom looks set to send the residential sector into overdrive BY AL GERARD DE LA CRUZ
PRESTIGE HOUSING ESTATES LIKE TIONG BAHRU (PICTURED) AND BUKIT TIMAH HAVE BECOME SOUGHT-AFTER LOCATIONS FOR RESALE HDB HOUSING
TRAVEL TRIBULATIONS One of the world’s most visited cities, Singapore suffered great losses in tourism during the pandemic. To remedy the damage, the city-state is establishing bilateral travel corridors this year with countries that exhibit low infection rates. But restoring the average 15 million people that visit the city annually will be tricky, with Keith Tan, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), acknowledging that mass international travel is “unlikely to resume in a major way” this year. The city has also encountered delays and hiccups in its proposed travel bubbles with the likes of Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Hospitality properties as well as workspaces across the city have found ways to create new streams of revenues. Hotels have been repurposed as government quarantine facilities, swab isolation facilities and stayhome notice dedicated facilities (SDFs). “We have seen hotels becoming very creative, diversifying their revenue streams beyond just staycations,” says Kristin Thorsteins, head of partnerships for Southeast Asia at IWG plc. “Hotel rooms and meeting areas are being sold as office space; hotels are hosting perfume-making ateliers and offering home delivery of high-tea. It’s not going to be an easy transition, but this is something that we foresee we’ll see more and more of.”
onfidence in a broad-based economic recovery this year is becoming infectious. Spurred on by the global inoculation drive and fiscal stimuli, atrophying property markets worldwide have been energised by the prospect of a return to normalcy. In Singapore, an explosion of pent-up demand has sent residential values to pre-pandemic rates. In the first quarter of 2021, prices of private homes in the city-state soared by 3.3%, the steepest quarterly rise since 2018, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) shows. Singapore residents have raised their station during the pandemic. Excluding foreign domestic workers, the 88
first quarter of 2021 saw employment figures arrest four consecutive quarters of decline. Last year, the country staved off doom by releasing S$100bn ($74bn) in stimulus, equivalent to 20% of its GDP. “In a way, the economic stimulus package preserved the income-generating capabilities of most households despite the recession in 2020,” says Leonard Tay, head of research at Knight Frank Singapore. After a historic contraction in 2020, Southeast Asia’s only developed economy will likely grow by 4% to 6% this year. “If it continues, then it’s quite likely that you will see people being more comfortable to buy bigger homes or commit
to a purchase,” says Christine Sun, senior vice president of research firm OrangeTee & Tie. Adding fuel to fire, credit will likely remain easy in the foreseeable future. The Federal Reserve, which influences the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (SIBOR), has vowed to keep interest rates near zero until 2023. “Many people may see that the window of opportunity to buy is actually closing soon,” says Sun. “The probability of property prices rising is actually higher than for it to fall this year or even next year.”
While the resumption of leisure travel is inevitable, Thorsteins expressed her concern over the pandemic’s legacy to business travel. “Now that people have been accustomed to using video conferencing, there’s a certain level of business travel that might never return.” In one of many pandemic-induced initiatives, STB has introduced SG Clean, a mark of excellence for properties that can demonstrate high standards of hygiene and sanitation. STB issued more than 1,390 of the certificates as of January.
IN SINGAPORE’S CORE CENTRAL REGION (CCR), A HAVEN FOR OPULENT RESIDENTIAL HOUSING, RESALE PRICES ROSE IN Q1 OF 2021
Many people see that the future is favourable and will probably strongly consider an investment in the months to come
Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat values have climbed since Singapore exited its “circuit breakers” last year. Fifty-three HDB resale flats sold for at least S$1 million in Q1 2021—the highest quarterly sales on record. Mature estates like Bishan and Bukit Timah became bidding war theatres for the resale flats, coveted by soon-to-be-wed couples, families with schoolchildren, and senior citizens. Conversely, flat applicants brooked no patience for HDB’s build-to-order (BTO) units, many delayed by recurring coronavirus outbreaks in cramped construction worker dormitories. “We definitely have seen quite a few who wanted to apply for BTO but decided not to,” says Sun.
Singapore’s ultra-high net worth individual (UHNWI) populace, which grew 10.2% despite the pandemic, sought penthouse resales as well as landed homes, Knight Frank reports. A Good Class Bungalow (GCB) along Nassim Road sold recently for S$128.8 million. “With landed home supply not likely to increase significantly in the foreseeable future, landed homes have become the new blue chip,” Tay says.
Around 24,163 HDB flats had reached the five-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) in 2020: freeing their owners to climb higher rungs of the property ladder. “The proceeds and profits from the sale of these HDB flats have enabled many a family to make that transition into the private residential market,” says Tay.
Retirees and empty nesters, especially beneficiaries of the en bloc sale boom of 2017 and 2018, form a “ready pool of sellers” of landed homes, according to Tay. “Retiree couples are choosing to cash in on healthy prices offered by upgraders in exchange for perhaps a smaller, more easily maintained home.
“It’s just that many of them are actually buying in the private resale market because there is not much stock in the mass market,” adds Sun.
“In a society with an ageing population, the volume created by downgraders can be substantial.”
Private home sales, excluding executive condominiums (EC), in April touched 1,262 units, up a record 355.6% from 2020, according to the URA. A total of 8,100 private homes were sold in Q1 2021, with resales accounting for 4,519 of the transactions. Resale non-landed home prices grew by 3.5% and 2.3% quarterly in the city fringe 90
(Rest of Central Region or RCR) and mass market areas (Outside Central Region or OCR), respectively. Prices sank for new properties, in contrast. In the Core Central Region (CCR), a haven for opulent flats, resale prices rose 3.9%, compared with a 0.5% climb for new homes.
Around 1,469 luxury homes were sold in Q1 2021, the highest quarterly sales since 2012, URA data shows. Foreigners—led by the Chinese, Malaysians, Indians and Americans, in that order—augmented local demand for non-landed homes with sizes of 3,000 square feet or more. Non-permanent residents bought 281 non-landed homes in Q1, a new peak since 2019.
OUT OF OFFICE As seen in many countries, the prevalence of the work-from-home phenomenon has triggered more decentralisation in home buying across Singapore. “People are definitely prepared to look at areas now where MRT might not be preexisting or where the location is a bit farther out,” says Kristin Thorsteins, head of partnerships for Southeast Asia at IWG plc.
Under 1.5 million square feet of new office supply will complete in Singapore in the last nine months of 2021, Knight Frank Singapore predicts. Chinese technology giants like TikTok and Futu have entered or expanded their business in the city-state recently. Meanwhile, the wealth management industry is seen as a future driver of office space demand.
Still, the office is the best place for collaborative work. “There is a certain serendipity that can only happen via face-to-face interaction,” says Thorsteins. “But do you really need to commute across town to sit in an office to crunch number or do focused work? I don’t think so.”
Rents could scrape the bottom this year, with recovery set for 2022, predicts Leonard Tay, head of research for Knight Frank Singapore. “Office rents would take time to stabilise, and it remains to be seen whether the recovery in office space will be steady or patchy throughout the rest of 2021.”
Employers need to think about the right strategy then to make people want to be in traditional workplaces again. “There is an opportunity for landlords and owners to make the office more relevant and attract people back into the office,” says Thorsteins.
LANDED PROPERTY, A PRECIOUS COMMODITY IN LAND-SCARCE SINGAPORE, REMAINS AN ESPECIALLY COVETED NICHE FOR MONIED INVESTORS
HARD LANDING The unsold stock of private residential units in Singapore is decreasing rapidly, from a high of 36,839 units in Q1 2019 to 21,602 units in Q1 2021, according to URA statistics. As inventories dwindle, development companies are putting forward some fierce, headline-making bids to replenish their landbanks. Apparently, government land sales (GLS), as well as en bloc or collective sales, were “practically negligible” in the year of the pandemic, says Leonard Tay, head of research for Knight Frank Singapore. “These factors have combined to create a compression point where the appetite for development land has led to competition heating up among developers to secure launched land parcels from the GLS lists.” In May, a 99-year leasehold residential site at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 drew 15 bids in a state tender. A consortium between UOL Group, Singapore Land Group and Kheong Leong Company ultimately bid S$381.38 million for the GLS site, the latest for the Ang Mo Kio estate in the last seven years. “I think the ‘exodus’ of expats is probably slightly exaggerated,” says Kristin Thorsteins, the Singapore-based head of partnerships for Southeast Asia at IWG plc. “There are people leaving, but there are also people coming in. There are a lot of companies establishing their presence in Singapore, not only tech companies but also more traditional industries such as manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.” Long-term visit pass holders, work pass holders, and students have returned, driving the occupancy rate of private homes to almost 94% early this year. “Some of them do not have a permanent home in Singapore,” says Sun. “It makes sense for them to just rent temporarily.” Those already in Singapore stayed put. As Singapore’s green lane arrangements froze, Malaysian workers renewed their leases, saving them the daily commute along the causeway. 92
HDB flat resellers propped up leasing demand, too. “So many of them want to capitalise on the fast-increasing prices,” says Sun. “They want to quickly sell and then just find a temporary home somewhere.” Despite frothy prices, many Singaporeans bristle at the thought of more real estate curbs. In a recent poll by leading real estate portal PropertyGuru, 64% of Singaporeans called for an ease in the Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) while 61% wanted reductions to Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD). “Property price growth may not necessarily mean a dip in affordability,” said Dr. Tan Tee Khoon, country manager of PropertyGuru Singapore, in a recent roundtable discussion. “It is possible that the most recent rise in property prices is disproportionately due to demand for bigger units.”
If cooling measures do not come to pass, private homes could end up being pricier by 6% to 9% in 2021, based on URA data. Also, with 25,530 homes hitting MOP this year, HDB resales could reach 29,000 units, breaking 2019 records, OrangeTee & Tie predicts. Singapore hopes to finish inoculating its 5.7-million-strong populace by the end of 2021 (and even open a PfizerBioNTech vaccine manufacturing facility by 2023). As the need for economic stimuli evanesces with herd immunity, the market primes itself for self-correction. A great momentum towards immunisation foreshadows a “very bright” tomorrow for Singapore, suggests Thorsteins. “Many people see that the future is favourable and will probably strongly consider an investment in the months to come.”
“We know that over the last two to three years there have been quite a number of projects that have been demolished because of en bloc sales,” says Christine Sun, senior vice president of research firm OrangeTee. “It’s something like a double whammy. On one hand, a lot of our stock has been removed. Then the new one is not coming out as fast as expected now. “Having new supply is important,” she adds.
or decades, the real estate industry remained stubbornly jejune.
As other sectors embraced innovation, tech companies played at the edges of one of the largest industries in the world. But proptech has stepped out of the shadows to enhance efficiency and human experience within the sector. While the pandemic has had a devastating effect on real estate in the short term, it is now proving to be a catalyst for the adoption of tech.
TECH TAKES HOLD
The last 18 months have been an inflexion point. Even though many companies are preparing to return to their offices, the working landscape will likely transform forever as workforces shift towards hybrid models. The pandemic has created a demand for products that previously serviced primarily niche markets like digital home financing services. Other tech solutions experiencing a surge include virtual and augmented reality to meet the virtual walkthrough needs of homebuyers and agents. Few will remember the pandemic period with much fondness. But it might well be recalled as the era when the property sector’s relationship with tech finally came of age.
The pandemic has forced the real estate industry into a more meaningful embrace with technology after years of flirting with innovation BY LIAM ARAN BARNES
OFFICES OF TOMORROW The future of the workplace is likely to be a hybrid model geared towards better work-life balance
WHILE OFFICE CULTURE IS LIKELY TO REMAIN INTACT POSTPANDEMIC, THERE ARE MAJOR QUESTIONS AS TO WHAT FORM IT WILL TAKE IN THE FUTURE
The pandemic has hastened the realisation that work is not somewhere you go, but something you do. And it is the workforce—empowered by technology and demanding improved sustainability and individual well-being—that is driving change. This shift in mindset has not appeared overnight. Companies have been adapting to suit the needs of a modern workforce for years. “Younger generations were already rejecting their parents’ generation’s symbols of success,” says Alison White, co-founder of UK-based workplace designers and advisors PLACEmaking. “With less emphasis on securing a mortgage, they are better placed to take career risks and more focused on work-life balance.”
Work-life balance is now the number one workforce priority ahead of salary, according to a recent JLL survey of 1,500 employees across Asia Pacific. Remote working may have largely succeeded over the last 18 months, but that does not necessarily make it the preferred choice of businesses and employees moving forward. Homeworking fatigue is growing, and productivity levels are dropping. Almost 70% of respondents said that three days in the office and two days of remote work is an ideal arrangement. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to adapting offices for hybrid working. Instead, employers need to consider how the built environment adds value, according to Ben Hamley, JLL Asia Pacific’s future of work lead.
New technologies will help occupiers better design spaces, ways of working and employee engagement programs to support focus, reduce distraction, and stress , and drive greater mental wellbeing
THE ADVENT OF WFH DURING THE PANDEMIC IS LIKELY TO SEE AN ONGOING SHIFT TOWARDS FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS
“Having come through the fatiguing haze of remote work, we are seeing much more interest in the neuroscience of workplace design,” he says. “New technologies will help occupiers better design spaces, ways of working and employee engagement programs to support focus, reduce distraction and stress and drive greater mental wellbeing.” Still, questions remain about what a permanent and wide-reaching transformation in working and living patterns means for the office. Many organisations are expected to adopt a hybrid workplace model, with physical space dedicated to socialisation, collaboration, in-person meetings and people management.
employees need to be rewarded for the effort of going there,” says White. The use of technology plays a fundamental role in facilitating new ways of working. Employers will demand integrated workplace applications to give them seamless access, for instance, to automatic room scheduling, building services and employee amenities as part of the hybrid experience. “The opportunity to shape the future of work has never been stronger,” says Hamley. “Companies should be exploring all solutions that fit and flex with their organisation—particularly the hybrid work model combined with a digital-first approach.”
“The design of the central office workspace needs to be transformed into a ‘centre of excellence’ and 97
PAYING IT FORWARD A variety of transaction solutions are making property purchases a much less stressful process than before
SPECIALISED SOFTWARE AND ALGORITHMS CAN HELP COMPANIES AND CONSUMERS BETTER MANAGE THEIR FINANCIAL OPERATIONS
It is often said that the only thing in life more stressful than getting divorced or losing a family member is buying a home. From finding the right property to unpredictable mortgage applications to delays and even disputes with sellers: the hurdles are manifold. A recent survey by HSBC found that 37% of homebuyers felt uncomfortable during periods of forced communication with agents, lawyers and salespeople, while almost 30% said that price negotiations were “exhausting”. What is surprising then is the limited impact modern technological advancements have had on the transaction process. “Ultimately, we are an industry resistant to change,” says Kosta Ligris, a real estate entrepreneur and lecturer in technological innovation at MIT Sloan School of Management. “We love to throw around terms like, ‘This is how it’s always done’, and when it comes to all of the services and products necessary for a real estate transaction, there’s always a select group of players that dominate the market share nationally, regionally or locally.” 98
The pandemic has structurally opened people’s mind to new service models and changed consumers’ behaviours structurally: they are more comfortable making important transactions online
WHILE MANY HOMEBUYERS CHERISH IN-PERSON DEALINGS, OTHERS FIND THEM TIME-CONSUMING AND STRESSFUL
At its core, fintech is utilised to help companies, business owners and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes and lives, using specialised software and algorithms. Governed by lucrative avenues such as online payment systems, online exchanges, and crowdfunding equity and debt platforms, the technology seemingly provides the ideal foundation for real estate to thrive.
lending markets. Both have traditionally been social businesses: from the time a property is listed for sale, through the selling and purchasing process and, in most cases, the mortgage banking and lending activities. Property transaction professionals have therefore had to re-learn how to do business over the last 18 months, with fintech playing a major role in this evolution.
“People have learned that many of the services they used to receive in-person can also be consumed digitally. In real estate finance, those service needs are especially around the uncertainty of securing loans and the lack of knowledge around what bank or mortgage product to select,” says Bjorn Sprengers, chief marketing officer and head of fintech at PropertyGuru.
Global investment in real estate fintech startups has soared from $2.2 billion to $31.3 billion. And it looks like the pandemic will be the catalyst for fintech to disrupt the industry in a meaningful fashion.
Modern-day technologies and online platforms are providing potential homeowners with the opportunity to conclude deals by simplifying the process of acquiring and selling real estate. Asiabased PropertyGuru Group, which started life as an online listings site, is one such platform that has gravitated towards the tech sphere in recent years. In 2019, the Group launched a dedicated fintech arm, PropertyGuru Finance, offering digital home financing services, such as instant in-principal approval, instant offers, and refinance checks, enabling property buyers to access such services online.
“The pandemic has structurally opened people’s mind to new service models and changed consumers’ behaviours more structurally: They are more comfortable making important transactions online.”
“The pandemic drove technologies into each part of the mortgage lending process with urgency and with measurable commitment,” says Andy Crisenbery, senior vice-president of eLending solutions at Black Knight, a software, data, and analytics provider for the mortgage industry. Indeed, the pandemic has had a profound effect on almost all business lines in the real estate and
The company aims to facilitate Singapore’s first digital straight-through mortgage application by 2022 and the first fully digital property transaction by 2025. Fintech will inevitably continue to cut out the middleman—potentially democratising the industry and reducing the stress factor of buying real estate.
A NEW REALITY With movement limited, XR technologies have taken hold, offering myriad possibilities for areas ranging from remote design to virtual tours
The tools that we’re allowing our customers to see their project through enables them to make the correct decisions at a much earlier stage, which automatically reduces waste
XR HAS POTENTIAL FOR MULTIPLE USES IN REAL ESTATE INCLUDING VIRTUAL WALKTHROUGHS AND REMOTE DESIGN
The advent of extended reality (XR) technologies has revolutionised real estate. And advanced applications of immersive augmented and virtual reality look set to become more valuable than ever. Prior to the pandemic, most applications for VR revolved around property showings. With VR headsets, agents can give potential buyers tours without having to go to the property itself. But inperson tours and showings remained the industry standard, either out of tradition or costs. And, as of 2019, gaming and entertainment still dominated the VR market. “Some sellers may have previously erred on the side of caution, preferring to shun virtual tours in favour of human interaction, perhaps doubting a buyer’s seriousness if they were not willing to view in person,” says Edward Parry-Jones, a data director with global consultancy JLL. “That’s no longer the case as the industry adapts out of necessity.”
That spells good news for companies specialising in the technology. Bangkok-based HubLearn, a social enterprise that educates companies across various industries on how to incorporate XR technology into their business, works with real estate firms to develop virtual tours using 360-degree images mapped to a sphere. Founder Adam Dollner appreciates that the pandemic has spurred the development of VR real estate products. But he believes a reluctance remains within the industry to embrace the opportunities presented by extended reality. “Even over the last 18 months or so when there’s been a considerable demand for remote, innovative solutions, I’ve been surprised by how little progress has been made in terms of adopting VR,” he says. “I think that many in the industry are still unaware of what can actually be achieved with the technology. Many larger developers and agencies during the pandemic are still relying on photos and shaky videos taken on phones to sell properties.”
OTHER XR TOOLS THAT SUPPLY INVESTORS WITH INSIGHTS HAVE COME TO THE FORE DURING THE PANDEMIC
Other XR tools, that supply investors and occupiers with insights into the potential design, layout, and construction of future projects, meanwhile, came to the fore during the global lockdowns. The use of augmented reality (AR) apps such as One to One Displays—which allows clients to explore life-size versions of future properties via phone or tablet— looks set to be a game-changer for the industry. One to One Displays tweaked plans for a new virtual walkthrough app in the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak to cater directly to end-users. The app was initially developed as a professionally guided experience for use in the construction sector, explains the Melbourne-based company’s co-founder and head of technology Stefan Rafael. But when travel restrictions became widespread in early 2020, the virtual platform was reinterpreted to be used by anyone, anywhere. A major implication for the widespread adoption of XR is the significant contribution towards waste
reduction—vital in an industry that accounts for almost 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. “The environmental benefits are going to be one of the biggest success stories for us— and hopefully the industry at large,” says Rafael. “The tools that we’re allowing our customers to see their project through enables them to make the correct decisions at a much earlier stage, which automatically reduces waste.” Still, not everyone in the industry is convinced that it will flood the real estate mainstream any time soon. “I can’t see wholesale changes taking effect in the industry until the dinosaurs with conservative mindsets are out of the picture,” says Dollner. “Eventually the generation that has grown up with this technology will take their place, but until then it is most likely to be business as usual.”
THE COMBINATION OF FRESH AIR, OPEN SPACE, RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES, GOOD HEALTHCARE AND RELIABLE WIFI MAKES ALPINE LIVING AN OBVIOUS CHOICE FOR THOSE SEEKING SHELTER FROM THE PANDEMIC been depleted,” she says. “But this may also be the year when the health benefits of mountain living are brought into focus. The combination of fresh air, open space, recreational activities, good healthcare, and reliable WiFi makes alpine living an obvious choice for those seeking shelter from the pandemic. We are seeing the birth of a new trend—the blurring of the lines between primary and secondary residences.”
Natural highs With people seeking safe ways of re-engaging with the outside world, the pandemic has steered investment in key ski markets back on-piste By Liam Aran Barnes
torm clouds have been gathering above the peaks of established winter resort markets for some time, even pre-pandemic. Waning skiing numbers were partially blamed on shifts in weather patterns, with unseasonably mild winters and low snowfall robbing Alpine and North American slopes of their allure. Millennials, meanwhile, have been slow to replace the baby boomers that fuelled the industry for decades. Fears were stoked in 2019 when leading global winter-sports industry researcher
JAPAN’S LEGENDARY SKI ENCLAVE, NISEKO, IS RIDING HIGH ON A WAVE OF INTEREST FROM PROPERTY INVESTORS
and consultant Laurent Vanat revealed that Alpine visitor numbers for the 201819 season had dropped by 12 million to 164 million since 2008-09. Given the prior decline, it was inevitable that many in the industry viewed the global pandemic as a death knell. That, however, has not necessarily been the case, according to Kate Everett-Allen, Knight Frank’s head of international residential research. “Homeowners are revaluating their lifestyles and working patterns, holiday plans are being upended and rental incomes have
Wellness has held a small but growingposition in the real estate industry over the last decade, with homes, offices and communities increasingly being designed and built to include an emphasis on natural materials, eco-friendly solutions, and new technologies that aim to support longer, healthier, and more balanced lives. The trend has inevitably been accelerated by the pandemic. Knight Frank’s recent Attitudes Survey reveals that 26% of ultra-high net worth individuals plan to purchase a new home in 2021, with the biggest driver the desire to upgrade main residences. In Switzerland, the repercussions could be significant for the luxury resort market. With many employees in Geneva, Lausanne or Montreux no longer office-bound, there has been a rush to relocate to the mountains since the outbreak. According to Russell Collins, head of real estate at Andermatt Swiss Alps, the property firm’s sales hit CHF76.6m ($83.5m) in 2020, a 25% yearon-year increase. Its latest development, the 34-unit, Japanese-inspired KOYA, sold out within two weeks of launching earlier this year, with foreign investors accounting for about 20% of total sales.
“The country’s popularity has been on the ascendance for several years amongst wealthy overseas buyers, particularly from Asia,” he says. “This trend has been supercharged by the pandemic, with more Asian investors now searching for a lifestyle property in the Swiss Alps for both utility and investment purposes.” Andermatt has gained popularity as a place for year-round residency, partly owing to a highly appealing lump-sum tax residency scheme offered by the local municipality of Uri. It is also one of the only regions in Switzerland where foreigners have the same rights to owning and holding a freehold property as Swiss residents. There is no stamp duty on property, meanwhile, and the buying cost is only 0.3%, which covers the notary public fees and land title deed registration fees. “Differing from other major global winter resort destinations like Aspen or Niseko in Japan, Switzerland is an appealing country for Asian investors due to currency stability, the country’s high standard of living, excellent international schools, and proximity to several major European cities,” adds Collins. Niseko may lack Andermatt’s global connectivity and top-class international education institutes, as well as permanent residency opportunities—Japan’s immigration laws are notoriously strict—but it does of course offer easier accessibility to Asian investors in search of a convenient bolthole in the snow. More consistent snowfall than its European and North American counterparts and the emergence of increasingly upscale communities have
Dispatch healthy long-term trend for the market, foreign investment will only continue to increase in the coming years, with Niseko competing and potentially surpassing the old dames of Europe and North America’s newer hotspots as the world’s top winter resort property destination.
also contributed towards Niseko’s evolution from undiscovered to Asia’s undisputed premier ski resort in little over a decade. Asia-based investors have been the driving force behind the town’s real estate growth, starting with wealthy Hong Kong professionals and gradually shifting towards Southeast Asian and mainland Chinese buyers in recent years. For a destination that relies heavily on converting international tourism into property transactions, however, the pandemic has forced Niseko’s developers and agents to look closer to home. “Given the immigration and travel restrictions, we have not seen significant demand from overseas investors,” says Eddie Guillemette, CEO of property management company Midori no Ki. “Japanese buyers and long-stay guests, meanwhile, have been rediscovering Niseko, buoyed by the combination of remote working opportunities, world-class amenities and the natural environment.” Most of this demand, according to Guillemette, is focused on land around the periphery of Niseko’s high-end hub Hirafu, which is often up to 500% cheaper than comparable plots closer to the slopes. Still, most Niseko-based observers agree that while an uptick in local interest is a
ANDERMATT’S LUMP-SUM TAX RESIDENCY SCHEME HAS MADE IT A FAVOURITE FOR FOREIGN BUYERS
“We’re the new kid on the block so the investment runway is long and there will be years of growth ahead,” explains Paul Butkovich, head of sales at property and project management company H2 Real Estate. “Niseko also undoubtedly offers the most consistent and best quality powder snow experience year on year and is known for delivering that consistently in a world where global warming is affecting ski resorts and snowpack. And finally, it’s hard to believe but property is still cheap here, especially compared to the established markets.” With its abundance of year-round lifestyle options, including world-class restaurants, retail outlets and outdoor pursuits, in addition to a growing focus on health and wellness, it’s little wonder that Niseko’s popularity has yet to peak. Indeed, resort markets in Europe and Niseko offer freedom, space, fresh air, nature, exercise, adventures with family and friends, escapism—all the things that lockdown did not provide, so it is perhaps not surprising that winter resort destinations are resonating more than ever with homeowners boasting the financial means to hit the slopes. “The last 18 months have just positively reinforced and confirmed what the market was already thinking before the pandemic: Cities are polluted, kids are addicted to their iPhones, and families are busier than ever before and communicate less,” Butkovich adds. “Therefore, buying a home in Hokkaido makes perfect sense for people that actually want to invest in their families’ wellbeing and the long-term lifestyle goals of getting back to nature and unplugging from the rat race.”
Little joy soldiers Real estate sales offices are reopening in Yangon, but banking problems, low confidence and oversupply mean a bleak outlook as the army seeks to entrench rule By Steve Finch
hen Myanmar began registering an uptick in Covid-19 cases a year ago, real estate agents and developers in Yangon began virtual sales events on Facebook and Zoom to sell homes and apartments. Following a decade of democratic and economic reforms, internet usage had soared from just 0.3% of the population becoming commonplace everywhere. With faster internet speeds expediating these online events, it looked as though the residential sector had a solid lifeline to cling to. In the weeks following February’s coup, the military routinely cut internet access
STREET PROTESTS, NOT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT, HAVE BEEN THE MOST PROMINENT FEATURE OF YANGON LIFE DURING 2021
across the whole country to stem organized dissent. But economic activity had all but ground to a halt in Yangon anyway. Most shops were shuttered for weeks amid street protests and a violent military crackdown. Strikes spread across different sectors and cities, and construction sites lay dormant as realtors ceased sales. “If you look around the city, normal life is returning. Many shops have reopened,” says Karlo Pobre, managing director of Colliers International Myanmar in Yangon. “But many sales galleries remain closed.” Following the military takeover, Myanmar’s economic problems have multiplied with major knock-on effects for real estate. The
THERE IS SOME [PROPERTY] SALES ACTIVITY, BUT I THINK IT MIGHT BEST BE DESCRIBED AS PANIC BUYING. MOSTLY IT’S PEOPLE WHO HAVE MONEY IN THE BANK WHO NO LONGER TRUST THE BANK AND WANT A HARD ASSET World Bank and Asian Development Bank forecast a 10% retraction in economic activity in Myanmar for 2021, the direst projections on record for the country and by far the worst in East Asia for this year. Dire news indeed, but it’s a figure deemed optimistic by many independent analysts who have projected the GDP to plummet as much as 20%. The recent coup would “irreparably tarnish” Myanmar’s oncepromising growth path, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Western governments have piled economic sanctions on the new regime. Some Asian companies have found their ties to Myanmar’s military cause difficulties. A few weeks after the coup, Singapore’s stock exchange suspended shares in developer Emerging Towns and Cities (ETC) over its Golden City commercial and residential development in Yangon which is built on army land. Anti-military protesters have targeted property developments linked to Myanmar’s military rulers, including the construction site of 68 Residence, a luxury condominium in Yangon, which suffered a bomb attack in June claimed by the Yangon Urban Guerilla Group. No one was hurt in the attack, not least because construction sites in Myanmar have been largely deserted since the military takeover, causing the loss of half a million labourer jobs in the sector, according to the Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association. Jobs in Myanmar have been obliterated as companies have shuttered and growing numbers of foreign businesspeople have
boarded planes and left. A recent survey of hundreds of companies operating in Myanmar by 10 foreign embassies with Japan Valuers Myanmar—a property surveying company based in Yangon—found that 57% of large companies suspended activity in the weeks after the coup. And more than 12% of Western companies have since terminated their operations altogether. The most significant problem facing developers and realtors hoping to sell units remains an enduring banking crisis in Myanmar amid restrictions placed on withdrawals by the new military government. The local currency, the kyat, has lost about 20% of its value since the coup. ATMs have emptied of cash and customers have had to queue to make an appointment with their bank managers to find out when they might be able to withdraw savings. “It’s quite unclear when the banking issues will be sorted out, and this will need to be the first step before any kind of normality can return to the sector,” says Shah Suraj Bharat, a senior analyst at Frontier Myanmar Research in Yangon, which publishes Myanmar Real Estate and Construction Monitor. As confidence in the kyat and local banks have failed, ordinary people in Myanmar have instead placed their trust in gold, cars, the US dollar and, where possible, real estate. These were the same trusted assets from when the military previously ruled Myanmar over half a century before recent reform, says Stuart Deed, executive director of Picon-Deed Property Consultants in Yangon.
“There is some [property] sales activity taking place, but I think it might be best described as panic buying,” adds Deed. “Mostly it’s people who have money in the bank who no longer trust the bank and want a hard asset.” Residential prices have become difficult to track amid the sharp decline of activity. Analysts say that Yangon was already suffering oversupply and depressed prices before Covid-19 and the ongoing political crisis. The top end of the market saw prices drop about 10.5% in less than four months after the coup, says Shah of Frontier Myanmar Research. According to Japan Valuers Myanmar, tenpercent discounts have become standard as sales activity has resumed in Yangon. But developers are asking for premiums of 10 or 15% on sales prices to cover risks associated with receiving large bank transfers, which can’t be withdrawn. Therefore, real prices paid by desperate buyers keen to convert cash assets to property have increased— and security now comes at a premium.
CONSTRUCTION SITES AROUND MYANMAR’S LARGEST CITY HAVE BEEN LARGELY DESERTED SINCE THE COUP IN FEBRUARY
“Condominiums located in safer areas with a 24-hour security service are the most important criteria among active buyers,” say the Yangon team at Japan Valuers Myanmar. The path ahead for Yangon’s notoriously turbulent real estate sector now appears more uncertain than ever. Investors and developers from China, Japan and South Korea are likely to return more quickly than those from the west because they face fewer economic sanctions and are less risk-averse, said Pobre of Colliers. He says that before the coup Asian companies still far outnumbered those from the West. But, according to the analyst, there are few other causes for optimism. “When I speak to people on the ground— to businesspeople—all of the projections are that it will take two or three years for recovery,” adds Pobre. “Covid-19 has been tough, but business leaders were hopeful because they saw it as temporary. The military coup is entirely different: It has changed the business environment nearly 360 degrees overnight.”
1. JINDI MINGTING IN MEILUO HOMELAND WINS BEST AFFORDABLE CONDO DEVELOPMENT (MAINLAND CHINA) 2.THE BEST MIXED USE DEVELOPER (MAINLAND CHINA) AWARD GOES TO SHIMAO GROUP SUHU BRANCH, WITH CEO JIANG LIFENG ACCEPTING 3. NANJING·JXYJF IS AWARDED BEST HIGH END CONDO DEVELOPMENT (MAINLAND CHINA) 4. SHANGHAI RUIHONG XINCHENG CO., LTD GARNERS THE BEST LUXURY LIFESTYLE DEVELOPER (MAINLAND CHINA) TITLE 5. XI’AN QUJIANG XINSU REAL ESTATE CO. LTD BAGS THE BEST LUXURY CONDO DEVELOPMENT (MAINLAND CHINA) TITLE 6. SHANGHAI PANLONG TIANDI IS NAMED BEST CONDO DEVELOPMENT (CHINA), A TOP ACCOLADE 7. PHOENIX PROPERTY INVESTORS FROM HONG KONG EARNS THE BEST ASSET ENHANCEMENT INITIATIVE AWARD 8. OOOTOPIA TAI KOK TSUI WINS THE BEST COLIVING SPACE TITLE IN HONG KONG
The 2020 PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau), presented in association with Anjuke, part of leading Chinese online marketplace 58.com, were held 2 December—the first time the exclusive affair was staged as a virtual gala event and awards ceremony. It aired worldwide via AsiaPropertyAwards.com and partner channels YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as Anjuke. com in China. Financial Street (Beijing) Real Estate Co., Ltd won the coveted award of Best Developer (Mainland China) while Henderson Land Group dominated this year’s Hong Kong and Macau categories. The prestigious real estate awards programme was expanded this year to include best-of China accolades, awarded to Huafa Industrial Share Co., Ltd. Zhuhai, last year’s Best Developer (Greater Bay Area) titleholder, and Shanghai Panlong Tiandi Co., Ltd. Other new titles included the Best Partner Award for Real Estate Enterprises and Best Professional Home Brand Award, presented to OCEANO and DAIKIN, respectively.
CHAIRPERSON (MAINLAND CHINA) Sun Yigong Chairman, Tospur Real Estate Consulting Co., Ltd. Andrea Destefanis Co-Founder and Principal Architect, Kokaistudios Coco Lin Principal/Project Director, B+H Architects Dirk R. Zschunke General Manager | Dipl. Ing. Architec, Ippolito Fleitz Group, Identity Architects Feng Wei Mo Founder/Design Director, MOD-DESIGN Kay Kuo Founder & Design Director, Maxk Design Shih Nanchiao Taiwan architect & Founder of Shanghai Gaudi Architectural Engineering Design Co., Ltd Xu Jun MRICS, MAI, MHKIS, China Senior Real Estate Appraiser, China Senior Land Appraiser, Senior Engineer Zhang Li Founder & Design Director, Shanghai Face Decoration Design Engineering Co., Ltd CHAIRPERSON (HONG KONG AND MACAU) Paul Tse President, Board of Directors, Macao Association of Building Contractors and Developers Bernie Devine Regional Director, Asia, Yardi Systems, Inc. Gregory Ku Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle Macau & Zhuhai Jimmy Wardhana Co-Founder and Principal of JWCC Architecture Co. Ltd. Vincent Cheung Managing Director, Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal Limited Sr Yew Yat-ming, Edmond Chairman, Planning and Development Division Member, Surveyor Registration Board Member, Disciplinary Panel, The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors Yu Kam Hung Past President, The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors
THE WINNERS PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Mainland China) 2020 DEVELOPER AWARDS Best Developer (Mainland China) Winner: Financial Street (Beijing) Real Estate Co., Ltd Best Luxury Lifestyle Developer (Mainland China) Winner: Shanghai Ruihong Xincheng Co., Ltd Best Lifestyle Developer (Mainland China) Winner: Yango Group Hunan Branch Co., Ltd Best Mixed Use Developer (Mainland China) Winner: Shimao Group Suhu Branch
Best High End Housing Development (Mainland China) Winner: Huafa Central Park by Huafa Industrial Share Co., Ltd. Zhuhai Best Asset Enhancement Initiative (Mainland China) Winner: Grand Gateway 66 Renovation by Shanghai Kong Hui Property Development Co., Ltd. DESIGN AWARDS Best Ultra Luxury Condo Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: Jinmao: Long Hua Jinmao Palace by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. Best Luxury Condo Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: COB: Mansion of Renaissance by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd.
DEVELOPMENT AWARDS Best Luxury Condo Development (Mainland China) Winner: Glorious City by Xi’an Qujiang Xinsu Real Estate Co. Ltd Best High End Condo Development (Mainland China) Winner: Nanjing·JXYJF by Dowell Group & Huayu Group & LVDU Best Affordable Condo Development (Mainland China) Winner: Jindi MINGTING in Meiluo Homeland by CIMC City Gomdale Properties & lnvestment Best Premium Condo Development (Mainland China) Winner: Poly Top River Villa by Guangxi Tietou Daling Investment Co. Ltd Best Boutique Condo Development (Mainland China) Winner: The Sky One by Nanjing Baoneng City Development Co., Ltd Best Lifestyle Condo Development (Mainland China) Winner: Shanghai Panlong Tiandi by Shanghai Panlong Tiandi Co., Ltd
Best High End Condo Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: CIFI Group: Park Mansion by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. Highly Commended: • Aoyuan: Mansion On Cloud by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. • Yango · Sunye Group: The Peninsula by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd.
• Times · Longfor: Dream Land by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. Best Mixed Use Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: Hongyuan Ginkgo Garden by Henan Hongfeng Real Estate Co., Ltd Best Retail Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: MixC Shenzhen Bay by Lead8 Highly Commended: • The Loch Mansion Art Center by TONTSEN Architecture Design Co., Ltd. • Timeless City by Lead8 Best Hotel Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: Excellence: Royal Valley by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. Best Educational Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: Tiantai Laixi Sales House by MOD Architectural Design (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. Highly Commended: Yango: River Land by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. Best High End Condo Interior Design (Mainland China) Winner: Jintai · Tang 618 by Shanxi Jintai Hengye Qinglong Real Estate Co., Ltd
Best Boutique Condo Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: CIFI Lake Mansion In Wuxi by Wuxi Xingzhuo Real Estate Co. Ltd
Best Serviced Apartment Interior Design (Mainland China) Winner: Somerset IOC Hangzhou by ShenZhen Trinity Interior Design
Best Boutique Housing Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: Peach Blossom Future Villa (Phase 2) by Bluetown Architects Highly Commended: • Aoyuan: Island Mansion by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. • DaFa Xi Yue Courtyard by TONTSEN Architecture Design Co., Ltd. • Peach Blossom Future Villa (Phase 1) by Bluetown Architects
Best Retail Interior Design (Mainland China) Winner: Yorkville – The Ring by Lead8 Highly Commended: MixC Shenzhen Bay by Lead8
Best Luxury Mixed Use Architectural Design (Mainland China) Winner: CIFI Group: Grand World by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. Highly Commended: • Guangzhou Fengsheng 101 by GWP Architects
Best Clubhouse Interior Design (Mainland China) Winner: Zhangtai Haitang Bay by ShenZhen Trinity Interior Design
Best Mixed Use Interior Design (Mainland China) Winner: Beijing Daxing International Airport (Commercial Landside Terminal) by Lead8
Best Entertainment Facility Design (Mainland China) Winner: MixC IMAX Flagship – Shenzhen Bay by Lead8 BEST OF CHINA AWARDS Best Condo Development (China) Winner: Shanghai Panlong Tiandi by Shanghai Panlong Tiandi Co., Ltd Best Housing Development (China) Winner: Huafa Central Park by Huafa Industrial Share Co., Ltd. Zhuhai
Highly Commended: Novum Point by Henderson Land Group Best Mixed Use Development Winner: Aquila · Square Mile by Henderson Land Group
WITH THANKS TO:
Best Asset Enhancement Initiative Winner: O’South Coast (Monterey Place, Savannah Place, Capri Place) by Phoenix Property Investors Highly Commended: Tower 535 by Phoenix Property Investors
• Associate partner: Anjuke, part of leading Chinese online marketplace 58.com
ANJUKE HOME FURNISHING & DECORATION AWARDS
Best Co-Living Space Winner: Oootopia Tai Kok Tsui | 活託邦 大角咀 by Everlux Limited & Oootopia Hospitality Management Limited
Best Partner Award for Real Estate Enterprises Winner: OCEANO
Best Professional Home Brand Award Winner: DAIKIN PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (China – Hong Kong and Macau) 2020 DEVELOPMENT AWARDS Best Condo Development (Hong Kong) Winner: The Consonance by Henderson Land Group
Best Office Architectural Design Winner: 2 Murray Road by Henderson Land Group Best Office Interior Design Winner: 2 Murray Road by Henderson Land Group
• Supporting association: Design Epoch • Official magazine: PropertyGuru Property Report • Official supervisor:
BDO Mainland China supervisors: • Tom Lin, Senior Partner,
BDO China SHU LUN Certified Public Accountants LLP
• Jimmy Zhang, Director, Partner, BDO China SHU LUN Certified Public Accountants LLP
• Dongjun Qu, Senior Marketing
Manager, BDO China SHU LUN
Certified Public Accountants LLP BDO Mainland Hong Kong & Macau supervisors:
• Clement Chan, Managing Director, BDO Limited Hong Kong
• Sala Lo, Senior Marketing Manager, BDO in Hong Kong
• Wendy Fong, Director, BDO in Hong Kong
• Heidi Lau, Marketing Manager, BDO in Hong Kong
1 1. DW ARCHITECTS AND INTERIORS DOMINATES THE DESIGN CATEGORIES IN THE AWARDS’ AUSTRALIAN EDITION 2. TEMAK TREEHOUSE KK WINS BEST BOUTIQUE DEVELOPER AT THE AWARDS’ GREATER NISEKO EDITION 3. NISEKO ALPINE DEVELOPMENTS CO LTD. IS NAMED BEST DEVELOPER AT THE GREATER NISEKO AWARDS 4. BALFOUR GROUP WINS BEST BOUTIQUE DEVELOPER AT THE AUSTRALIAN EDITION OF THE AWARDS 5. THIRDI GROUP DOMINATES THE BEST OF AUSTRALIA CATEGORIES 6. BROOKFIELD PROPERTIES IS BEST BREAKTHROUGH DEVELOPER AT THE FIRST INDIAN EDITION OF THE AWARDS 7. THE TRUEVINE CORFIELD PROJECT IS HIGHLY COMMENDED FOR BEST HOUSING DEVELOPMENT (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) 8. WESTON PROPERTY DEVELOPMENTS’ CORINTHIAN LIVING RIVERTON WINS BEST HOUSING DEVELOPMENT (WESTERN AUSTRALIA)
WITH THANKS TO: • Official portal partner: PropertyGuru
• Official magazine: PropertyGuru Property Report • Official supervisor:
6 BDO Australia supervisors: • Sebastian Stevens
Partner in Charge, Advisory, Corporate Finance
• Helen Mach
In 2020, the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards series broadcast its Japanese and Indian editions, attesting to the programme’s resilience amid a time of uncertainty. The first editions of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (India) and PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Greater Niseko) aired in a virtual gala event and awards ceremony on 4 December, preceding the virtual broadcast of the 15th PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Grand Final. Niseko Alpine Developments Co Ltd. and Temak Treehouse KK were honoured as Best Developer and Best Boutique Developer, respectively, in the inaugural PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Greater Niseko), and Brookfield Properties won Best Breakthrough Developer at the inaugural PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (India). Meanwhile, the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Australia) programme celebrated its third year, accolading the finest apartment, townhouse and housing developments in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. Balfour Group won the Best Boutique Developer title, the first time the honour was given at the programme.
CHAIRPERSON (AUSTRALIA) Lui Violanti (Perth) Regional Manager - Western Australia, Inhabit Group Benson Zhou (Melbourne) Director, CBD and Metropolitan Sales, Savills Australia Leonie Klaric (Sydney) CEO & Founder, The Property Expert International CHAIRPERSON (GREATER NISEKO) Kristian Lund Managing Editor, Powder Life Andrew Craig General Manager - Japan, Elite Havens Bill Barnett Founder and Managing Director, C9 Hotelworks CHAIRPERSON (INDIA) Amit Khanna CEO, InterGlobe Real Estate Ventures Ajai A Kapoor CEO, 360 degrees - Real Estate Services Avinash Khater Founder Chairman of The Real Estate Kings (TREK) Jitender Girdhar FRICS, FAIQS Co-Founder & Director at Qonqests Technical Solutions and VDC Technologies Madhav Raman Co-Founder, Anagram Architects Mallika Desai Thakker Co-Founder & Creative Head at Vibe Design Lab Shradha Mithal Managing Director, Resettle Destination Services
• Andres Reith
Partner-in-Charge – Business Services / National Leader – Real Estate & Construction
THE WINNERS PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Australia) 2020 DEVELOPER AWARDS Best Boutique Developer Winner: Balfour Group DEVELOPMENT AWARDS Best Apartment Development (New South Wales) Winner: Kurraba Residences by Thirdi Group & Phoenix Property Investors Best Apartment Development (Victoria) Winner: One Adams Street South Yarra 3141 by Balfour Group Best Housing Development (Western Australia) Winner: Corinthian Living Riverton by Weston Property Developments Highly Commended: TrueVine Corfield by TrueVine Global Pty Ltd
Best Townhouse Development (New South Wales) Winner: Paragon of Pyrmont by THIRDi Group Highly Commended: Mount Street Residences by THIRDi Group DESIGN AWARDS Best Apartment Architectural Design Winner: Dublin by DW Architects and Interiors Best Townhouse Architectural Design Winner: 227 – 229 Cecil St, South Melbourne by DW Architects and Interiors Highly Commended: 15 Thomas St, Hampton by DW Architects and Interiors BEST OF AUSTRALIA AWARDS Best Apartment Development (Australia) Winner: Kurraba Residences by Thirdi Group & Phoenix Property Investors Best Housing Development (Australia) Winner: Paragon of Pyrmont by THIRDi Group
PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (India) 2020 Best Breakthrough Developer Winner: Brookfield Properties Best Office Development Winner: Candor TechSpace, Sector 21, Gurugram by Brookfield Properties Best Green Development Winner: Candor TechSpace, Sector 21, Gurugram by Brookfield Properties PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Greater Niseko) 2020 Best Developer Winner: Niseko Alpine Developments Co Ltd. Best Boutique Developer Winner: Temak Treehouse KK Best Hotel Development Winner: The Vale Rusutsu by Niseko Alpine Developments Co Ltd.
1. CHENG HSING YAO OF GUOCOLAND ACCEPTS THE BEST DEVELOPER (ASIA) AWARD FROM SINGAPORE 2. THAILAND’S THIPPAPORN AHRIYAVRAROMP (CHEARAVANONT) IS THE FIRST WOMAN TO RECEIVE THE PROPERTYGURU ICON AWARD 3. SETYONO DJUANDI DARMONO ACCEPTS THE BEST INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPER (ASIA) AWARD FOR INDONESIA’S PT JABABEKA TBK 4. SINGAPORE’S MICHELLE JIEYI YONG SPEAKS FOR BEST BOUTIQUE DEVELOPER (ASIA) WINNER AURUM LAND (PRIVATE) LIMITED 5. WING TAI ASIA, THE SINGAPOREAN WINNER OF BEST LIFESTYLE DEVELOPER (ASIA), IS REPRESENTED BY STACEY OW YEONG 6. PT URBAN JAKARTA PROPERTINDO, TBK FROM INDONESIA WINS BEST BREAKTHROUGH DEVELOPER (ASIA), WITH FIRDAUS FAHMI ACCEPTING 7. THE BEST SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPER (ASIA) TITLE IS ACCEPTED BY OPAS SRIPAYAK OF L.P.N. DEVELOPMENT PCL. FROM THAILAND 8. INVEST ISLANDS WINS BEST HOSPITALITY DEVELOPMENT (ASIA) FOR TOROK HILL RESORT IN INDONESIA
THE JUDGES The PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Grand Final made history several times over with the airing of its 2020 edition. As well as being the first virtual gala event and awards ceremony of the Grand Final, the special broadcast on 4 December marked the 15th edition of the long-running real estate awards programme. The 15th PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Grand Final laurelled developers and projects from 14 property markets—elevating them above their peers as the “best in Asia”. Around 87 companies, representing distinguished country winners of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards series in 2020, competed for 35 accolades, including neverbefore-presented regional Developer titles. With nine regional titles, Singapore emerged as the most awarded country, followed by Indonesia which garnered eight regional titles and Thailand, accumulating five regional wins. The PropertyGuru Icon Award was given for the first time to a female recipient: Thippaporn Ahriyavraromp (Chearavanont), who chairs the Thai companies DTGO, MQDC, and Buddharaksa Foundation.
CHAIRPERSON Thien Duong | Vietnam Managing Director, Transform Architecture Lui Violanti | Australia Regional Manager - Western Australia, Inhabit Group Sorn Seap | Cambodia Founder/Director, Key Real Estate Co., Ltd. Kristian Lund | Greater Niseko Managing Editor, Powder Life Paul Tse | Hong Kong and Macau President, Board of Directors, Macao Association of Building Contractors and Developers Amit Khanna | India CEO, InterGlobe Real Estate Ventures Doddy A. Tjahjadi | Indonesia Managing Director, PTI Architects Sun Yigong | Mainland China Chairman, Tospur Real Estate Consulting Co., Ltd. Prem Kumar | Malaysia Deputy Managing Director, Jones Lang Wootton Richard Emerson | Myanmar Managing Director, Emerson Real Estate Christophe Vicic | Philippines Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle Philippines, Inc. Wenhui Lim | Singapore Partner, SPARK Architects Dr. Nirmal De Silva | Sri Lanka Director/CEO, Paramount Realty Suphin Mechuchep | Thailand Managing Director, JLL Thailand
THE WINNERS DEVELOPER AWARDS Best Developer (Asia) • Capital Development Ltd. — Myanmar • Financial Street (Beijing) Real Estate Co., Ltd — Mainland China • Gamuda Land Vietnam — Vietnam • GuocoLand — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) • Niseko Alpine Developments Co Ltd. — Greater Niseko • Origin Property Public Company Limited — Thailand • Sinar Mas Land — Indonesia • SM Development Corporation (SMDC) — Philippines • Tropicana Corporation Berhad — Malaysia Best Boutique Developer (Asia) • Aurum Land (Private) Limited — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) • Balfour Group — Australia • Damosa Land, Inc. — Philippines • Fieldman Construction Sdn Bhd — Malaysia • Habitat Group — Thailand • Tanrise Property — Indonesia • Temak Treehouse KK — Greater Niseko Best Mixed Use Developer (Asia) • Capital Development Ltd. — Myanmar • Ecopark Corporation Joint Stock Company — Vietnam • GuocoLand — Singapore • Lippo Group — Indonesia • Shimao Group Suhu Branch — Mainland China (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Industrial Developer (Asia) • AME Development Sdn. Bhd. — Malaysia • Dagon International Limited — Myanmar • PT Jababeka Tbk — Indonesia (REGIONAL WINNER) • Soilbuild Group Holdings Ltd — Singapore
Best Lifestyle Developer (Asia) • Elite World Trading Co., Ltd — Myanmar • Kien A Corporation — Vietnam • Mah Sing Group Berhad — Malaysia • Peng Huoth Group — Cambodia • Shanghai Ruihong Xincheng Co., Ltd — Mainland China • SM Development Corporation (SMDC) — Philippines • Wing Tai Asia — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) • Yango Group Hunan Branch Co., Ltd — Mainland China Best Sustainable Developer (Asia) • Dagon International Limited — Myanmar • L.P.N. Development PCL. — Thailand (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Commercial Developer (Asia) • Capital Development Ltd. — Myanmar (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Breakthrough Developer (Asia) • Brookfield Properties — India • Macly Group — Singapore • PT Urban Jakarta Propertindo, Tbk — Indonesia (REGIONAL WINNER) • Real Estate Engineering Samui Co., Ltd — Thailand • SCW Development Group Ltd. — Myanmar • Urban Hub (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • Wee Community Developers, Inc. — Philippines DEVELOPMENT AWARDS Best Condo Development (Asia) • Glorious City by Xi’an Qujiang Xinsu Real Estate Co. Ltd — Mainland China • InterContinental Residences Hua Hin by Proud Real Estate Public Company Limited — Thailand • Kurraba Residences by Thirdi Group & Phoenix Property Investors — Australia • Orange County by Lippo Group — Indonesia • Poly Top River Villa by Guangxi Tietou Daling Investment Co. Ltd — Mainland China • Portico by Alveo Land — Philippines
• Shanghai Panlong Tiandi by Shanghai Panlong Tiandi Co., Ltd — Mainland China • Skysuites by SCW Development Group Ltd. — Myanmar • The Consonance by Henderson Land Group — China – Hong Kong • The Sky One by Nanjing Baoneng City Development Co., Ltd — Mainland China • Tropicana Grandhill by Tropicana Corporation Berhad — Malaysia • Urban Village and Factory Phnom Penh by Urban Hub (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • Wallich Residence by GuocoLand — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Housing Development (Asia) • Anantara Desaru Coast Residences by Minor International and Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels — Malaysia • Caelus at Greenwich Park BSD City by Sinar Mas Land — Indonesia • Falcon Hill by Falcon Hill Development Limited — Thailand • Gyogone Housing Redevelopment by Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Company Limited — Myanmar • Huafa Central Park by Huafa Industrial Share Co., Ltd. Zhuhai — Mainland China • Lavila Island by Kien A Corporation — Vietnam • Luxus Hills Contemporary Collection by Bukit Sembawang Estates Limited — Singapore • Paragon of Pyrmont by THIRDi Group — Australia (REGIONAL WINNER) • Star Platinum Eco Collection Phase I by Peng Huoth Group — Cambodia • The Diamond Heights by Wee Community Developers, Inc. — Philippines Best Township Development (Asia) • Agriya by Damosa Land, Inc. — Philippines • Bakong Village by Bakong Village Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • Bandar Sri Sendayan by Matrix Concepts Group — Malaysia • Ecopark Tourism and Trade Urban Area by Ecopark Corporation Joint Stock Company — Vietnam (REGIONAL WINNER)
• Lippo Village by PT Lippo Karawaci Tbk — Indonesia • Pathein Industrial City by Ayeyarwaddy Development Public Co., Ltd. — Myanmar • Sierra Heights by Kemajuan Tong Tor Sdn Bhd — Malaysia • Star Platinum Eco Collection Phase I by Peng Huoth Group — Cambodia
• Damosa Diamond Tower by Damosa Land, Inc. — Philippines • Mandalay Financial Center by Capital Development Ltd. — Myanmar • Morgan Tower by Morganford Investment (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • The PARQ by Kasemsubsiri Co., Ltd. — Thailand (REGIONAL WINNER)
Best Mixed Use Development (Asia) • Aquila · Square Mile by Henderson Land Group — China – Hong Kong • Guoco Midtown by GuocoLand — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) • Pakuwon Mall Superblock by PT Pakuwon Permai (Pakuwon Group) — Indonesia • TK Central by Parbury Investments Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • Tropicana Gardens by Tropicana Corporation Berhad — Malaysia • Yoma Central by Meeyahta Development Limited — Myanmar
Best Hospitality Development (Asia) • Courtyard by Marriott, Penang @ Tropicana 218 Macalister by Tropicana Corporation Berhad — Malaysia • The Vale Rusutsu by Niseko Alpine Developments Co Ltd. — Greater Niseko • Torok Hill Resort by Invest Islands — Indonesia (REGIONAL WINNER)
Best Industrial Development (Asia) • Solaris @ Tai Seng by Soilbuild Group Holdings Ltd — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Industrial Estate Development (Asia) • Anflo Industrial Estate by Anflo Industrial Estate Corporation — Philippines • i-Park @ Senai Airport City by IPARK DEVELOPMENT SDN. BHD. — Malaysia (REGIONAL WINNER) • Jababeka Industrial Estate by PT Jababeka Tbk — Indonesia • New East Dagon Industrial Estate by Dagon International Limited — Myanmar Best Retail Development (Asia) • Mal Ciputra Tangerang by Ciputra Group — Indonesia • UNO @ Bukit Raja by Rivertree Signatures — Malaysia • Yoma Central by Meeyahta Development Limited — Myanmar (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Office Development (Asia) • Candor TechSpace, Sector 21, Gurugram by Brookfield Properties — India
Best Commercial Green Development (Asia) • Candor TechSpace, Sector 21, Gurugram by Brookfield Properties — India • JEG Tower @ One Acacia by JEG Development Corp. — Philippines • Solaris @ Tai Seng by Soilbuild Group Holdings Ltd — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) • The PARQ by Kasemsubsiri Co., Ltd. — Thailand Best Residential Green Development (Asia) • Agriya by Damosa Land, Inc. — Philippines (REGIONAL WINNER) DESIGN AWARDS Best High Rise Condo Architectural Design (Asia) • ARC100 by Tanrise Property — Indonesia • Avenue South Residence by UOL Group Limited, UIC Limited and Kheng Leong Company — Singapore • Clavon by UOL Group Limited and UIC Limited — Singapore • COB: Mansion of Renaissance by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. — Mainland China • Jinmao: Long Hua Jinmao Palace by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. — Mainland China • Lumière Riverside by Masterise Homes – a member of Masterise
Group — Vietnam • Morgan EnMaison by Morganford Investment (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • Novo Ampang by Alfranko Development Sdn Bhd — Malaysia • Pullman Residences, Newton by EL Development (Horizon) Pte Ltd — Singapore • Sail Residences by SM Development Corporation (SMDC) — Philippines • The Hyde by Aurum Land (Private) Limited — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Low Rise Condo Architectural Design (Asia) • CIFI Group: Park Mansion by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. — Mainland China • CIFI Lake Mansion In Wuxi by Wuxi Xingzhuo Real Estate Co. Ltd — Mainland China • Dublin by DW Architects and Interiors — Australia • Walden Thonglor 8 by Habitat Group — Thailand (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Housing Architectural Design (Asia) • 227 – 229 Cecil St, South Melbourne by DW Architects and Interiors — Australia • Aestier by Ametus Development Co., Ltd — Thailand • Bakong Village by Bakong Village Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • D’ Art 18 Collection lll by PH World — Malaysia • Daisan by SwanCity and Mitsubishi Estate Residence — Indonesia • Hof Udomsuk by Uni-Living Co., Ltd. — Thailand • Lavila Island by Kien A Corporation — Vietnam • Peach Blossom Future Villa (Phase 2) by Bluetown Architects — Mainland China (REGIONAL WINNER) • Sky Home at AKR Gallery West Residences by PT AKR Land Development — Indonesia • The Diamond Heights by Wee Community Developers, Inc. — Philippines
THE WINNERS Best Mixed Use Architectural Design (Asia) • CIFI Group: Grand World by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. — Mainland China • Hongyuan Ginkgo Garden by Henan Hongfeng Real Estate Co., Ltd — Mainland China • Sahid Kuta Lifestyle Resort by PT Indonesian Paradise Property Tbk — Indonesia (REGIONAL WINNER) • TNR Grand Palace- Phu Yen by TNR Holdings Vietnam — Vietnam Best Retail Architectural Design (Asia) • MixC Shenzhen Bay by Lead8 — Mainland China • PH Eco Mall by Peng Huoth Group — Cambodia (REGIONAL WINNER) • Senayan Park by Ariobimo Laguna Perkasa — Indonesia Best Office Architectural Design (Asia) • 2 Murray Road by Henderson Land Group — China – Hong Kong (REGIONAL WINNER) • Morgan Tower by Morganford Investment (Cambodia) Co., Ltd. — Cambodia Best Hospitality Architectural Design (Asia) • Alila Bai Om by Kien A Corporation — Vietnam (REGIONAL WINNER) • Excellence: Royal Valley by HZS Design (Shanghai), Ltd. — Mainland China • The Westin Surabaya by PT Pakuwon Permai (Pakuwon Group) — Indonesia Best Condo Interior Design (Asia) • 31 Sudirman Suites by PT Indonesian Paradise Property Tbk — Indonesia • Jintai · Tang 618 by Shanxi Jintai Hengye Qinglong Real Estate Co., Ltd — Mainland China • Lumière Riverside by Masterise Homes – a member of Masterise Group — Vietnam • Portico by Alveo Land — Philippines • Pullman Residences, Newton by EL Development (Horizon) Pte Ltd — Singapore • The M @ Middle Road by Wing Tai Asia — Singapore • The Riviera Monaco by The Riviera Group — Thailand • Walden Thonglor 8 by Habitat Group — Thailand (REGIONAL WINNER) 118
Best Housing Interior Design (Asia) • Istani Villas by Idea Development — Thailand (REGIONAL WINNER) • Waterfront Estates by PT Lippo Cikarang Tbk — Indonesia Best Hotel Interior Design (Asia) • HARRIS Suites Puri Mansion by Agung Sedayu Group — Indonesia (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Township Masterplan Design (Asia) • Celadon City by Gamuda Land (HCMC) Joint Stock Company — Vietnam • Meikarta by PT. Mahkota Sentosa Utama — Indonesia • PIK 2 Sedayu Indo City by Agung Sedayu Group & Salim Group — Indonesia (REGIONAL WINNER) Best High Rise Condo Landscape Architectural Design (Asia) • Diamond Centery by Gamuda Land HCMC JSC. — Vietnam (REGIONAL WINNER) • Leedon Heights by The Leedonheights Condominium Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • Pullman Residences, Newton by EL Development (Horizon) Pte Ltd — Singapore • QuayWest Residence by Asia Green Group — Malaysia • Sail Residences by SM Development Corporation (SMDC) — Philippines Best Low Rise Condo Landscape Architectural Design (Asia) • Forett at Bukit Timah by Qingjian Perennial (Bukit Timah) Pte Ltd — Singapore (REGIONAL WINNER) • InterContinental Residences Hua Hin by Proud Real Estate Public Company Limited — Thailand • Wyndham Garden Irin Bangsaray Pattaya by Irin Property Co., Ltd — Thailand Best Housing Landscape Architectural Design (Asia) • Daisan by SwanCity and Mitsubishi Estate Residence — Indonesia (REGIONAL WINNER) • One Atelier Private Residence Phaholyothin by Grand Trinity Development — Thailand
• Star Mera Garden by Peng Huoth Group — Cambodia Best Commercial Landscape Architectural Design (Asia) • AIA East Gateway by AIA Company Limited — Thailand • Meikarta by PT. Mahkota Sentosa Utama — Indonesia • Rose Apple Square by Urban Living Solutions Co., Ltd. — Cambodia • Senayan Park by Ariobimo Laguna Perkasa — Indonesia (REGIONAL WINNER) Best Co-Working Space (Asia) • Urban Village and Factory Phnom Penh by Urban Hub (Cambodia) Co., Ltd — Cambodia (REGIONAL WINNER) PUBLISHER’S CHOICE PropertyGuru Icon Award • WINNER: Thippaporn Ahriyavraromp (Chearavanont), Chairman of Executive Committee, DTGO, Chairman of Executive Committee, MQDC, Chairman of Buddharaksa Foundation
WITH THANKS TO: • Platinum Sponsor: Kohler • Official airline partner: Thai Airways • Official portal partner: PropertyGuru • Official magazine: PropertyGuru Property Report • Official PR partner: Artemis Associates • Media partners: Archibazaar, Bliss Saigon, Business Today, Construction & Property, Deluxe Magazine, HOT Magazine, Inquirer.net, Kopi and Property, Locanation, Luxury Society Asia, Myanmar Times, PropertyInvestSG, REm Thailand, The Grid Asia, and Vietnam Heritage • Official charity partner: Right to Play • Official ESG partner: Baan Dek Foundation • Supporting association: Green Building Consulting & Engineering • Official supervisor:
• Paul Ashburn, Co-Managing Partner
Tabebuya, Indonesia Impresahaus is a 1.4-hectare landed house project by Sinar Mas Land in Tabebuya. The development is designed by architect Deny Gondo with the Double Living Concept in mind: Every room or spa in the development serves a “double function for everything.” Occupants can easily use the space for two or more different functions. The residences at Impresahaus are equipped with the 4 “s”: Smart Function, Smart Furniture, Smart Tech, and Smart Healthy. Impresahaus is part of the Tabebuya BSD City area, Sinar Mas Land’s 10.3-hectare flagship development opposite Lake Vanya Park. The roads and housing clusters of the Tabebuya development are landscaped with tabebuya or Indonesian cherry trees, lending the area a Japanese feel. The project also features a great clubhouse for Impresahaus residents.
BEST DEVELOPER (INDONESIA)
Sinar Mas Land
Developer: Sinar Mas Land Product type: Rumah landed Architect: Deny Gondo Launch date: Oktober 2020 (impresa) Total land area: 1.4 ha Number of units: 128 (impresa) Average unit size: LT 60 LB 88 Price range: IDR1.8-2bn Monthly maintenance fees: From IDR700,000 Facilities: Tabebuya clubhouse Sales contact details Tel: +62 21 53159000 Website: www.sinarmasland.com
Part of the resort-like residential development Greenwich Park, Caelus features a six-kilometre-long connectivity path, plus pockets of greenery for pedestrians away from the main road. This means residents have plenty of opportunities for healthy outdoor activities without disruption from vehicles. Caelus offers spacious detached homes with comfortable living rooms, complete with balconies, as well as multifunctional attic rooms that can be transformed into luxury spaces. The units also have the option of smart home systems and are protected by 24-hour security control.
In sum, Caelus offers a chance for property seekers to bask in sunshine, breathe clean air, take in the evening sky, and appreciate nature in Tangerang.
Caelus is a development of landed homes on the western side of BSD City. This prime residential cluster, whose name translates to the “sky” in Latin, blends a luxurious five-star concept with tropical contemporary architecture.
BEST HIGH END HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
BEST HOUSING DEVELOPMENT (INDONESIA)
Caelus at Greenwich Park BSD City by Sinar Mas Land
Caelus at Greenwich Park BSD City by Sinar Mas Land
Developer: Sinar Mas Land Product type: Landed house Architect: Denny Gondo Launch date: November 2018 Total land area: 70,375 sqm Number of units: 218 Average unit size: 144-177 sqm Price range: IDR4.6bn Monthly maintenance fees: IDR6,600 per sqm tanah Facilities: Lagoon pools, clubhouses, double security system Sales contact details: Tel: +62 21 53159000 Website: www.sinarmasland.com
In keeping with the resort feel of the project, Caelus features thematic lagoon pools set within three clubhouses, dubbed Bora Bora, Phi Phi and Barbuda.
The Vale Rusutsu The Vale Rusutsu is a ski-in, ski-out development, allowing you to step outside the property, right onto the slopes, and begin skiing. It is one of Hokkaido’s leading destinations for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, from beginners to intermediate and advanced snow riders. Located at the base of the West Mountain of Rusutsu resort, The Vale Rusutsu gives residents and guests expansive panoramic views of Mt. Shiribetsu and both sides of the Resort. This part of Hokkaido is world-famous for its consistent dry, light powder snow that is sought year after year by skiers worldwide. A true multi-season destination, The Vale Rusutsu is just as impressive in
the summer as winter—Rusutsu is perfectly positioned to easily access an abundance of outdoor activities. The development is within walking distance to an onsen, restaurants, bars, conference centre, and various other resort facilities. Located right next to the largest amusement and water park in Hokkaido and within minutes to four world-class golf courses, The Vale Rusutsu provides on-site reception, a spacious lobby, concierge desk, café, and personal ski lockers. With its remarkable outdoor views, gourmet local food, clement weather, and lush, refreshing ambiance, The Vale Rusutsu is ideal for recreation and sightseeing.
WINNER BEST HOTEL DEVELOPMENT
The Vale Rusutsu by Niseko Alpine Developments Co Ltd.
Developer: Niseko Alpine Developments (NISADE) Product type: Condominiums, apartments Architect: Peter Hahn Associates Ltd. Launch date: Winter 2017/2018 Completion date: December 2020 Building area: 18,720 sqm Number of units: 144 Average unit size: 51.57-271.83 sqm Facilities: Ski-in, ski-out access, on-site reception, daily café, ski lockers, etc. Price range: JPY61-570m Sales office contact: Tel: +81(0)9070 517 859 Email: email@example.com Address: 166-9 Aza-Yamada Kutchan-Cho, Hokkaido, Japan 044-0081
Beachwalk Residence Kuta, Bali
The development is situated right in the center of many entertainment, leisure and recreation amenities in Kuta, a world-famous surfing spot close to the Ngurah Rai International Airport. The open profile of the development is designed to meet modern and sophisticated constructs, exposing Bali’s natural surroundings from its long sandy beach to the ocean breeze. Designed by Envirotec, Beachwalk Residence knits impressive landscape and environmental architecture while harmonising sustainability, modern design and intimate layout. Residents and guests will feel a traditional Balienese atmosphere through the incorporation of local elements throughout the complex. Set along a bustling beach side street, Beachwalk Residence is fully integrated into Beachwalk Shopping Center, which has recently expanded. With direct access to this iconic landmark, the development offers occupants an exclusive perspective of the modern Bali social scene.
Beachwalk Residence is within proximity to shops, restaurants, bars, and cafés along the coastline. Residents may go for a run at the only Skyloop jogging track in Bali, work out at the private and well-equipped gym, or simply enjoy a slow day by the pool.
Placed in the heart of modern Bali, Beachwalk Residence is one’s home away from home .
BEST MIXED USE ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
BEST MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT
Sahid Kuta Lifestyle Resort by PT Indonesian Paradise Property Tbk
Sahid Kuta Lifestyle Resort by PT Indonesian Paradise Property Tbk
Developer: PT Indonesian Paradise Island Product type: Apartment Architect: Enviro-Tec Launch date: 2017 Completion date: 2021 Total land area: 3,972.87 sqm Number of units: 36 Average unit size: 88-138 sqm Price range: IDR4-7bn Monthly maintenance fees: IDR55,000 per sqm (incl. ppn) Facilities: Gym, thematic swimming pool, child pool, Skyloop jogging track, courtyard with retail oasis view, spacious balcony, 24hour security Sales contact details: Tel: +62 811-8481-223 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: Jl. Pantai Kuta, Gg. Wina, Badung, Kuta – Bali 80361
Paragon of Pyrmont The collection of townhouses and apartments, located at 108 The development offers a unique opportunity to reside within Miller Street in the heart of Pyrmont, represents the pinnacle of proximity to the Sydney CBD. The site is only a stone’s throw away from some of Australia’s most iconic destinations, including the luxury living in Australia. Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. Set over four private levels, with internal lift access to each, the recently completed townhouse is a bespoke residential property Paragon of Pyrmont is a versatile property that works equally that melds sophisticated and meticulous design with state-of- well as a family home, consolidated home, city sanctuary, pieda-terre, or the ultimate entertainer’s residence. the-art appliances and home automation. The exquisite home offers property seekers the ultimate in city fringe living. Exclusive to the townhouse is an entertainers’ rooftop with views of the Sydney skyline, complete with a gas barbeque. The property also has an oversize lock-up garage, accessible with an internal lift, as well as a private wine cellar. Other remarkable features include an upper-level, sun-drenched living area with oak timber floors; a Gaggenau-fitted kitchen; and touch-activated, custom cabinetry and integrated joinery. The kitchen and the bathrooms, which feature circular baths, are finished in Italian Carrara marble.
BEST TOWNHOUSE DEVELOPMENT (NEW SOUTH WALES)
BEST HOUSING DEVELOPMENT (AUSTRALIA)
Paragon Of Pyrmont by THIRDi Group
Paragon Of Pyrmont by THIRDi Group
Developer: Thirdi Group Product type: Townhouses and apartments Architect: SJB Launch date: 2016 Completion date: Q1 2021 Number of units: 31 Average unit size: 213.15 sqm Facilities: Private rooftop, private lifts, home automation, private lock-up garage, wine cellar Monthly maintenance fees: Approx. A$2,597 p/q (strata) Price range: A$4-4.99m Sales office contact: Tel: +61 2 9409 7216 Email: email@example.com Address: 343 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, Australia
THE DIGITAL LIGHT CANVAS AT THE SHOPPES IN MARINA BAY SANDS IN SINGAPORE CONVERTS A FORMER SKATING RINK INTO A DYNAMIC FLOOR WITH 7.7 MILLION INDIVIDUALLY CONTROLLED LEDS, CREATING ART IN CONSTANT MOTION. THE CIRCULAR FLOOR COMES ALIVE WITH COMPUTER GRAPHICS, DEPICTING EVERYTHING FROM FISHES TO CALLIGRAPHIC STROKES, THAT REACT IN REAL TIME TO VISITORS’ STEPS AND MOVEMENT. TOOYKRUB/SHUTTERSTOCK