Pan Pacific London-branded The Sky Residences will debut through UOL Group in Singapore

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Altura by Qingjian

After selling out the majority of the homes in the residential developments which were launched in Singapore this year property huge UOL Group hopes to achieve the same feat in the flagship Pan Pacific Residences that are hotel-branded, The Sky Residences, located in the London’s One Bishopsgate Plaza.

Altura by Qingjian Realty and Santarli Construction, are the official developers of the much-awaited Altura EC residence.

Sky Residences Sky Residences has just 160 exclusive residences that span the 21st-41st floors of 42-storey glass and bronze skyscraper built by PLP Architecture, a London-based firm. PLP Architecture (the same architecture firm that designed Shun Tak Holdings’ 54-unit ultra-luxury Park Nova in Singapore).

UOL Group will showcase The Sky Residences in Singapore during Saturday, March 25 and 26, comprising the 33 two and one bedroom apartments in”the “Opulent Collection”. These apartments span from the 21st-29th levels of the tower.

Prices start at GBP1.11 million ($1.81 million depending on an exchange rate between GBP1 1 $1.63 on the 15th of March) or GBP1,800 per sq ft ($2,934 per sq. ft.) for a one-bedroom apartment. Two-bedroom units start at GBP1.69 million (GBP1,846 per square foot).

“This will be the very first time we’re hosting a sales show to promote the Sky Residences in Singapore,” says Anson Lim, UOL general manager (residential marketing).

In contrast to the majority of UK developers who select international companies to manage the marketing and sales for their London projects abroad, UOL Group has appointed the three largest local real estate agents -three of them – PropNex Realty, ERA Realty Network and Huttons Asia to handle the marketing and sales of The Sky Residences in Singapore.

But, Savills (UK) and Knight Frank LLP are the exclusive joint marketing agents to The Sky Residences in the UK and non-exclusive agencies in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Lim says. Lim.

Residences that are hotel-branded and private
UOL Group and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pan Pacific Hotels Group have completed the mixed-use project, One Bishopsgate Plaza, in the month of May 2021. Although The Sky Residences occupies the upper half of the tower of One Bishopsgate Plaza, the five-star Pan Pacific London hotel sits on the bottom which extends from the basement up to the 19th level. The hotel’s 237 rooms opened its opening in the month of September and since it’s been open, occupancy has increased to 75% and the average hotel rates for February being GBP368 per night.

The hotel’s private residences located at One Bishopsgate Plaza bear the emblems of the world-renowned company for design, New York- and Toronto-based Yabu Pushelberg.

Residents of The Sky Residences have a dedicated wellness area with an exercise room, spa and an indoor lap pool with a 24/7 concierge service, library and lounge as well as meeting rooms, a Sky terrace and games room. In addition, they have access Pan Pacific London’s facilities and services, which include an infinity pool heated fitness center, a gymnasium, and spa areas. “A la carte amenities such as room service/dining in-home, cleaning laundry, butler and laundry services are provided through Pan Pacific London,” Lim adds. Lim.

The five-storey, 144-year-old Devonshire Row, situated alongside the brand new building in One Bishopsgate Plaza, was preserved by PLP. It has designer shops cafes, restaurants and eateries on the lower two levels; Silverleaf, a trendy drink bar that is owned by famous artist Tom Dixon, on the third floor and offices on the top floors. Each of Devonshire Row and the 42-storey tower are framed by a green public square in Bishopsgate. The opposite side is Liverpool Street Station, one of London’s main transport hubs that connects to the city’s entire population Lim says. Lim.

More than 40% sold
Based on Lim, there are more than 40% from the units of the leasehold with 999 years of lease The Sky Residences have sold for prices that range from GBP1,700 up to GBP2,550 psf which is the equivalent of GBP 2,190 per sq ft. It is estimated that the developer has sold more than 50% of its three-bedroom and one-bedroom units, as well as close to 30% of the two-bedroom units% in the 2-bedroom apartments.

Lim observes a nice mix of investors and owner-occupiers in the buyers of The Sky Residences. Of the buyers 60% are international that include China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Switzerland and the remaining 40% are UK buyers.

“We have witnessed a significant increase in buying interest from Asian buyers interested in The Sky Residences” claims Lim. “They recognize and appreciate the strength of the brand UOL Group and Pan Pacific Hotels Group.”

Lim believes there is “pent-up demand for luxurious residential properties in central London” in the wake of the resumption of international travel and opening the mainland of China on January 1st. Lim has his eye on The Sky Residences capitalising on the growth in rental rates throughout London’s City of London, with buyers gaining “almost instant rental returns”.

Gross yields are higher.
in Prime Central London (PCL) the average rent increased by 18.5% in the year until January, while Prime Outside London (POL) average rents jumped 16.4% over the same 12 months, according to Knight Frank in a Jan 30 report. The average rental value of PCL have also been 24% more than their levels prior to the outbreak. The equivalent increase of POL stands at 22% and highlights the severity of the increases that tenants have experienced.

“As the result of rising rents and prices that are slow to rise the average gross yield has been increasing,” says Tom Bill who is the director of UK residential research at Knight Frank. “The number of 3.8% across both PCL and POL in January. This was the highest yield in PCL for 14 years , and an all-time high of nine years of 3.8% in POL.”

Based on UOL’s Lim the investor can anticipate gross yields approximately 4% up to% for The Sky Residences. One-bedroom apartments recently earned rentals of GBP1,000 and GBP1,200 for a week.

In PCL, Sky Residences is similar to a luxurious condo in the prestigious Districts 9 and 10 of Singapore According to Ismail Gafoor, CEO of Prop-Nex. He believes that Sky Residences will appeal to the same audience as well-educated investors and wealthy people who are looking for portfolio diversification.

0ffshore risks
In the midst of numerous rounds of property cool measures Singapore people are facing significant stamp duty additional to the buyer (ABSD) for their third and second residential property purchases, according to Gafoor. For example the purchase of a $1.5 million property will be subject to ABSD 17,17% ($255,000) when the property is second property or 25% ($375,000) when it’s an additional property. When the prospective buyer is a non-native then the ABSD will be thirty% which is $450,000 in the case of the case of a $1.5 million property.

A plan for exit is vital when it comes to investors looking to purchase overseas properties according to Gafoor. “You can purchase a cheap property in many areas of the globe, however what is the demand for it when you decide to leave?” he says. “London is unique as a real estate market because of its openness, which allows foreigners to get in and out without any hassles.”

After the end of border control from 2022, interest in foreign properties has increased in Singaporeans according to Mark Yip, CEO of Huttons Asia. He says that buyers are profiting from the attractive rates of exchange between Singapore dollars (SGD) as well as the sterling pound (GBP) to buy property within London.

However, prospective buyers should be aware they are subject to the UK have also increased the levies on foreigners who purchase residential property in the past few years. For instance, residents are required to pay the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) in the amount of% on residential properties that range from GBP1.5 million up to GBP10 million.

Foreigners who aren’t residents who purchase a residential property within this price range are required to be responsible for paying 14% and up to% in the case of owning residence property elsewhere. Additionally, there is tax on income from net rents as well as capital gains tax upon disposition (28%) and inheritance tax (40%). Companies that purchase residential property are required to pay 15% SDLT, and an annual fee on homes that are enveloped (residential property above GBP500,000). Businesses are also subject to the corporation tax (capital gains tax) of 19% to 25% on the disposal of assets.

Even though there are some risks associated with currency, Doris Ong, deputy director at ERA Singapore, believes it is somewhat lessened because of that historically-low exchange rates between GBP and SGD currently. Three years ago rates of exchange between GBP and SGD was hovering around 1.87 as per XE.com. On the 15th of March, the rate of exchange of GBP as well as SGD was 1.63 and was lower than 12.8%.

Making cash-buyers count
“Some of the investors are looking to purchase property located in the UK for their children attending university there and others are considering it from an investment perspective,” Ong reckons. “Most of these investors will pay in cash, so the increased interest rates won’t play a role in their purchase decision.”

The reduction in borrowing costs has protected the more costly London markets from the affordability concerns due to rising mortgage rates, claims Frances McDonald, associate director of residential research at Savills in a January 25 report. She cites Prime Central and North West London which experienced the lowest price declines in the range of 0.6% and 0.2% for 4Q2022 respectively.

An unprecedented number of sales exceeding GBP5 million in London in 2022 provides further proof of this, says Savills. With 606 transactions surpassing the threshold in 2018 and total sales of GBP6.57 billion, which is 13% more than 2021, which was the previous highest level.

As per Knight Frank the average prices in PCL are currently 15% below their highest point in August of 2015. The decline in prices and an weakened pound translate to greater discounts. “No surprise that central London apartment buildings are in high demand,” writes Knight Frank in its report from February 13.

From the viewpoint for Singaporean investors, branding and track record of the developer is also crucial, according to ERA’s Ong. “UOL Group is an established blue-chip developer in addition, The Sky Residences boasts top interior designers and architects,” she adds. “The aspect that it’s located in a an ideal spot located in London’s City of London is an added benefit.”

Its Sky Residences’ location directly in front of Liverpool Street Station is another attraction, according to Huttons Yip. “Top universities like Imperial College, London School of Economics and King’s College are within a 30 minute train ride,” Yip says. “Being located in London’s City of London, investors can be assured that there’s a large tenant pool that is sourced from the financial center and the numerous multinational companies that are based in the area.”

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