(Oct 9): Donald Han, a veteran property consultant and managing director of Hospitality Strategies Asia Pacific, has been watching lots of “old and smart money” pouring into prime property in Districts 9 and 10 recently. These buyers include entities linked to legendary banker Wee Cho Yaw as well as property developers Simon Cheong and Douglas Ong. It also includes foreigners such as Pansy Ho, daughter of billionaire Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho, and even fund manager Angelo Gordon.

For Han, who has worked for firms such as Cushman & Wakefield and Chestertons, this suggests a growing expectation that property prices in Singapore have hit bottom after 15 straight quarters of decline. Indeed, the recent surge in collective sales deals indicates a growing realisation that the market could be about to turn. And, the initial uptick could be very strong. By Han’s reckoning, there are 10 to 12 developers at any given time that can raise more than $1 billion each to pursue development sites.

Yet, if you are in a collective sale committee, your window of opportunity might not extend much beyond the middle of next year, according to Han. By then, more sellers are likely to have come into the market and potential buyers would have more choices. Also, most of the property cooling measure are still in place, restricting buyers from leveraging themselves and flipping properties the way they could a decade ago. Moreover, the number of government land sales is on the rise, and there is also nothing to stop additional cooling measures from being implemented, Han points out.

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