Property Guru, Photo Credit to Property Guru
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First Group of Forest City Home Buyers Can Move in by End-2017

With the construction of the project "on track as planned”, Forest City developer Country Garden PacificView (CGPV) revealed that the first group of home buyers can move in by end-2017 as the first-phase residential project will be ready by then.

In fact, the project's Commercial Street, "with its retail and food-and-beverage outlets, as well as (the four-star) Phoenix Hotel”, already began operations last December on the first island, said Dr Yu Runze, chief strategy officer at CGPV.

This comes even as the "first island is still undergoing reclamation works”.

Dr Yu noted that CGPV plans to open showrooms in India, Thailand and Vietnam as well as the Middle East, after China - whose nationals account for 70 percent of Forest City buyers - introduced capital controls to prevent funds from moving out of the country.

While the capital controls will affect Forest City, Dr Yu said it provided an "opportunity to shift our sales strategy to be more international”.

"We have been talking to multinational companies such as retail and hospitality brands, investors, and property companies to drive the eight economic pillars in Forest City, including education, e-commerce, foreign investment, tourism … and financial services" shared Dr Yu.

"So far, we have seen encouraging response from the property roadshows, industry conferences and networking sessions that we have organised in the Middle East and Asean regions.”

Describing the new strategy a logical one, Colin Tan, research consultancy director at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, believes going international may be "the only way to save the project”.

However, the company will have to do a lot more work convincing people to be interested as "it does not have a reputation amongst foreign buyers”.

Nonetheless, analysts reckon it is still too early to determine the severity of the impact China's capital controls will have on the Forest City project.

"At this juncture, it is hard to predict if the project will stall because the developer may have approved lines of credit that they can tap to carry on with construction" said Alan Cheong, Savills Singapore's senior director of research and consultancy.

"One thing's for sure: Never underestimate the resolve of a new China. There are so many permutations on how this project can move ahead that it's unwise to write it off prematurely" he added.

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