Malaysian Billionaire Brothers’ IOI To Launch $1.8 Billion Residential Tower In Singapore’s Marina Bay

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IOI Properties Group—controlled by Malaysian billionaire brothers Lee Yeow Chor and Lee Yeow Seng—is preparing to launch the sales of a prime residential tower in Singapore’s Marina Bay financial district, betting on resilient housing demand in the city-state despite rising interest rates.

The Marina View Residences, comprising 683 condominium units with a gross development value of 8.56 billion of Malaysian ringgit ($1.8 billion), will be launched for sale in its current financial year ending June 30, 2024, the Malaysian company said in a regulatory filing this week. The company is building the tower on a 7,817-square-meter site it bought from a government auction in 2021 for S$1.51 billion ($1.1 billion).

The project “is expected to attract resilient demand from Singaporean buyers who have strong spending and purchasing power, underpinned by Singapore’s robust economy,” the company said.

IOI Properties is proceeding with the launch even as home prices in the Lion City started to moderate in the second quarter, the first decline in two years, after the government doubled the stamp duty on most foreign buyers to cool home prices that have continued to rise despite soaring interest rates. “There’s still demand for luxury homes among wealthy Singaporean buyers and permanent residents,” Christine Sun, senior vice president for research at property consultant OrangeTee & Tie, said.

The company has been stepping up its investments in Singapore in recent years. Besides the Marina View Residences project, which will also have a hotel component, IOI Properties is set to complete the construction of the IOI Central Boulevard office towers by the end of this year. It has already secured leases from major tenants including Amazon and Morgan Stanley, according to local media reports.

IOI Properties also has interests in other Singapore assets such as the South Beach Development, a mixed use office and hotel complex across Marina Bay that’s jointly developed with billionaire Kwek Leng Beng’s City Developments, as well as Cape Royale, a luxury residential condominium project built on Sentosa Island in partnership with tycoon Chua Thian Poh’s Ho Bee Land.

Fair value gains from the South Beach office tower and sales from Cape Royale, along with increased contributions from the group’s hotels, helped boost IOI Properties earnings last year, with net profit surging to a record of 1.39 billion ringgit in the year ended June 30, 2023 from 686.7 million ringgit the previous year, the company said this week.

IOI Properties CEO Lee Yeow Seng and his brother Yeow Chor inherited the palm oil and property empire of their father, Lee Shin Cheng, who died in June 2019. With a net worth of $4.6 billion, the brothers ranked No. 6 on the list of Malaysia’s 50 Richest that was published in May this year. Their father—who grew up poor on a rubber plantation—built palm oil giant IOI Corporation and developer IOI Properties. The two companies are commonly referred to together as the IOI group.

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