Property Report Congress in Singapore!

What is the Property Report Congress 2015? A dedicated forum for industry leaders, VIPs and Southeast Asia Property Awards winners and judges focusing on how to continue driving growth and excellence in the world’s most dynamic real estate markets.

After a brief introduction by Terry Blackburn, Ensign Media’s managing director, the Property Report Congress opened in Singapore last month with it two special keynote speakers.

First, Mark L. Clifford, executive director, Asia Business Council, addressed the topic, ‘How to Make Green Development Pay.’ Clifford previously served as editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post; publisher and editor-in-chief of The Standard, and regional editor of Business Week.PROPERTY-REPORT-CONGRESS-CLAYTON

He authored ‘The Greening of Asia’ (2015), co-authored ‘Through the Eyes of Tiger Cubs: Views of Asia’s Next Generation’ (2012) and wrote the Council’s book ‘Building Energy Efficiency: Why Green Buildings Are Key to Asia’s Future’ (2007).

Clifford was followed by Nicholas Holt, head of Knight Frank’s research platform in the Asia-Pacific since 2012, who spoke to ‘The Outlook for Asian Real Estate in 2015.’ He is responsible for tracking market performance, producing specialist research reports and providing regional commentary on property markets. Holt’s international experience extends across the UK, mainland Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Next on the agenda was the The Leaders Forum which featured insights from industry leaders on the burgeoning success of real estate companies in Southeast Asia and the challenges and opportunities of ASEAN integration.

Featured speakers were from the following countries:

Malaysia Dato Colin is managing director of the Tan Group, part of the Hatten Group of Companies. He has led the way for the Hatten Group to become one of the top 10 property developers in Malaysia.

Indonesia Candra Ciputra, CEO, Ciputra Group, who for more than 20 years has demonstrated commitment to Indonesia’s real estate industry, leading the company’s PT Ciputra Property Tbk as president director, and PT Ciputra Residence and PT Ciputra Surya as director since the early 1990s, among other subsidiaries.

Vietnam  Nguyen Hoang Tuan, chairman and founder, SonKim Holdings Investment, who with more than two decades of successful leadership experience to his name, is an MBA graduate from the Southern California University’s international programme in Vietnam. He has helped SonKim Group pioneer unique lifestyle-cum-business ideas in real estate, fashion, retail and media in Vietnam, building highly successful partnerships with government, local and international firms.

Philippines  Ramon D. Rufino, executive vice-president, The Net Group, a young and dynamic leader with a passion for green building and sustainability. In 2013 he was elected chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Green Building Council, a national non-stock profit organization he co-incorporated in 2007 that promotes the BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) certification.

Myanmar  Dr. Stephen Suen, founding chairman,  Marga Group, whose vision and leadership helped turn the region’s attention to Myanmar’s fledging property sector, mainly through the much-talked about Dagon City 1 project. He had hoped the project would help contribute to the pace and quality of Yangon’s urbanization process.

Next on the agenda was Country Focused Opportunity Sessions hosted and moderated by the heads of the Asia Property Awards Judges Panels.

The theme of the Break Out Session was the widespread oversupply, political instability, the unstoppable US dollar, China’s woes…and the big question: Will the ASEAN markets be walking dead in 2016?

Some key points of the day:

How the implementation of the AEC will affect cross-border transactions and investment:

– With the AEC’s long-awaited introduction only a couple of months away, what should we be wary of and what should we welcome?

– The potential fall of China and what that means for ASEAN markets: How big a shadow will the uncertainty regarding China’s economy cast over the region and can Europe and the US, if necessary, fill the void?

– The significance of political and economic stability in attracting overseas buyers: Although often cited as two key factors that encourage foreign investment in real estate, markets that have faced instability, such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, over the past year have not witnessed a significant decline. Are they really that important?

– What the strengthening USD dollar and fall of regional currencies mean for the ASEAN property markets: The return of the greenback is good news for the US economy but what impact will it have here in Asia?

These country-by-country focused opportunity sessions generated some interesting points of view and engaging looks into the property industry for each of the involved countries which included panels for Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

I moderated the Thailand panel, and asked participants: ‘With Russian buyers retreating, sluggish investment from the rest of Europe and the US, and the predicted influx of Chinese investors yet to arrive, what now for Thailand’s major resort markets such as Phuket and Pattaya’?

After a positive reaction to this rather negative and challenging query, the final question was even gloomier–although it, too, brought a resounding and positive response: ‘Teflon Thailand, as it’s tritely dubbed, is well-known for its resilience, but with poor yields outside of its luxury segment, is it fair to say that Bangkok’s market is consistently one of the region’s least desirable capital cities for investment’?

When the Thailand panel’s time was up, it was quite clear to all that Thailand’s top professionals within the panel had strong and clear voices envisaging a positive and strong future for the nation’s real estate sector.

All said and done, it was apparent to everyone that Amazing Thailand–The Comeback Kid–was still as amazing as ever!PROPERTY-REPORT-CONGRESS-A

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