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CapitaLand Plans to Accelerate Residential Developments in China

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Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- CapitaLand Ltd., Southeast Asia’s biggest builder, aims to speed up construction of apartments in China to boost returns.

“For residential projects, the pace of our development is not fast enough,” Jason Leow, chief executive officer of CapitaLand’s China unit, said at a briefing in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Singapore-based CapitaLand is expanding in China to take advantage of the country’s growing urbanization. The company has mixed-use projects under its Raffles City brand name in eight cities and also owns The Ascott, the country’s biggest serviced apartment operator.

The company has sold almost 2,400 homes in the nine months through September, compared with about 2,000 homes in the same period a year earlier, Leow said. More than 90 percent of the company’s residential projects in China are targeted at first-time buyers and the mass market, he said.

New home prices in October jumped in all but one of the 70 Chinese cities tracked, adding pressure on local governments to tighten property policies as they seek to meet annual housing price targets.

CapitaLand’s operations in China have had little impact from tighter lending by banks because the company is “in a very comfortable position financially,” group Chief Executive Officer Lim Ming Yan said at the briefing.

Separately, the developer is still positive about the long-term prospects of Singapore’s property market, Lim said.

Singapore’s home prices fell 1.2 percent in October from the previous month as evidence builds that the government’s efforts to cool the property market are working. Home sales have been falling in the past four months after the government imposed new rules in June governing how financial institutions grant property loans to individuals.

“In the short term there may be some headwinds because of the measures,” he said. “But as long as Asia continues to grow, Singapore will be well positioned for growth over the next five, 10, 15 to 20 years.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelvin Wong in Hong Kong at kwong40@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net