Saturday, July 15, 2017

Guest Post by CK - Insight Into The Real Estate Industry - Part 2

This is a continuation post from our guest writer CK, who has kindly contribute on some of the insights from his real estate experience. If you missed the first part, you can view them here.

Here we go.

Doing a follow up post on the first post as B rightfully asked how does Oxley managed to sell more properties than others. Some background was provided on my first post whereby the floor area for Suites@Bradell ranged from 387 to 893 sqft.

I would say Oxley earned their first buck for being able to react to market demand for shoebox apartment which is a trend that began around when Oxley’s founder started the property development business in 2006. Some interesting snippets below:

“Mr Ching left the police force in 1993 after completing his study bond because the job did not pay very well, he recalls. He tried his hand in business, going from being a subcontractor doing sewerage washing and water tank cleaning for HDB, to a turfing contractor for football fields, a tour agent, a coffee shop mixed-vegetable rice seller, an otah supplier, a construction builder, and eventually a property developer in 2006.

His break came in 2007 when his bet on "shoebox" condominiums (units smaller than 500 square feet) paid off, starting with the 48-unit Tyrwhitt 139 project which sold within three hours.

But it was not a road without potholes. He took out a mortgage on his home to buy the plot of land, and the night before the launch, the anxiety of losing everything if the project flopped caused him to wake up in the middle of the night and throw up.”

History: In 2008, having been in the property and construction industry for more than 10 years, Oxley's founder Mr Ching Chiat Kwong observed a growing demand for affordable private residential properties amongst young working adults, who desired a modern and vibrant lifestyle. By then, he had successfully developed and launched more than 13 property development projects in Singapore, all of which were fully sold within three months of their respective launches. In mid-2009, Mr Ching, together with current Deputy CEO , Mr Eric Low See Ching and substantial shareholder Mr Tee Wee Sien, decided to jointly-develop properties. This would allow them to take advantage of the economies of scale in undertaking property development businesses, and to share financial resources and expertise.” Source: 

“Oxley Holdings Chief Ching Chiat Kwong has defended shoebox apartments, following a comment by CapitaLand’s CEO Liew Mun Leong that such units are ‘almost inhuman’.

“Tell me what is more inhuman? Giving a young person an opportunity to buy an affordable first apartment in a good location, or making people cough up S$1,700 psf for a 99-year leasehold residential unit in the suburbs or HDB townships?"


As evident above, Oxley’s founder rise is nothing short of amazing, from a policeman to entrepreneurs of all trades and finally hitting his gold mine at property development. As his 13 property developments were all fully sold within 3 months of launch, one could only imagine the returns generated. But this cannot be achieved without a foresight to see the “shoebox” trend and also the guts to even mortgage his house to buy land for development.

As we can see the comments made by former Capitaland CEO is reflective of the advantage of being a small developer as Oxley is able to venture into a niche market whereby the big boys are shunning. 

The last point I would like to highlight is that from 2006 to about 2014 saw a ‘bull run’ in Singapore property price index, not forgetting 2009 which saw a ‘V shape recovery’. Being in the property development business in a bull cycle obviously benefits the developer as by the time the property is ready for launch the land price would have already appreciated in value.

Somehow, Oxley did not seem to suffer from any ramification on a slowing property market in Singapore which plagued several developers over the last 2 to 3 years as they made their last land acquisition in Singapore at around 2012.

Interestingly, after about 5 years of absence from the local property scene, Oxley is back in recent months with 2 land acquisition at Pasir Panjang and East Coast. Seems like the Oxley is betting on a housing recovery for Singapore.

Thanks for reading.

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