Best of the Best
Situated along the coastline of Island South, Villa Bel-Air is the crown jewel of the development. Ranging from 5,500 to 10,000 square feet, the 29 houses of Villa Bel-Air are characterized by floor-to-ceiling windows and broad balconies that open onto a magnificent panoramic sea view. The 13-footplus-high ceilings of the living room, spacious master bedroom, well-equipped kitchen and bathroom have all made Villa Bel-Air the ideal home to a discerning few. Some large houses also have their own private lifts, outdoor terraces and swimming pools to enhance the elegance of an enchanted lifestyle. And to complement the sophisticated tastes of the residents of Villa Bel-Air, PCPD will present them with a set of fine tableware from Hermès, adorned with the words "Hermès for Villa Bel-Air" — the ultimate in exclusivity.
Bel-Air: Ultimate Global Luxury
Pacific Century Premium Developments (PCPD) is committed to making Bel-Air its signature project.
"Embracing a premier location on the greenest part of Hong Kong Island, as well as being the prestigious residential development of Cyberport project, have all contributed to our positioning of Bel-Air as an ultimate luxury home in Hong Kong that boasts an international flair," notes Wendy Gan, Executive Director of PCPD.
Indeed, international ambience abounds in Bel-Air, from its unique ocean views evoking the image of the French Riviera in every apartment to its contemporary architecture created by world-famous names to its 140,000-square-foot Club Bel-Air.
"Hong Kong people are so busy that they don't always have time to travel around," says Gan. "Therefore, we have sourced the best from around the globe to treat our residents to the finest things in life, all under one roof at our Club, which offers a plethora of innovative services, including the world's first residential fine arts and sky clubs."
The success of Bel-Air is reflected by the enthusiastic feedback it has received in Hong Kong ever since its first launch in 2003. Its status as an international luxury landmark was best recognized when a leading financial institution from Korea became its anchor purchaser, buying a whole tower of Bel-Air No. 8 in October 2007.
"With no doubt, the uniqueness and quality of Bel-Air is comparable to any luxury residential property in other world capitals like New York and London," says Gan. "From an investor's point of view, its superb quality, its rental yield of around 5% and a very good chance of capital appreciation all contribute to the charisma of Bel-Air for longterm investment."
Gan notes that the supply of new apartments in Hong Kong in 2009 will be less than 12,000 units — a historical low compared to an average of 24,000 units per year in the last ten years, with luxury homes representing only about 2.5% of total supply. "Given the demand spurred by a growing local and expatriate population and the scarcity of new developments, the capital appreciation of Hong Kong's luxury apartments still holds up very well, even under the present economic outlook," she says.
It is therefore PCPD's sales strategy to offer Villa Bel-Air, 29 world-class luxury houses in the last phase of the Bel-Air development. "In Hong Kong, prices of houses always lead the market," says Gan. "And with these sleek, modern houses meticulously crafted, we are foreseeing very positive response again."
Now eyeing lucrative investment opportunities outside Hong Kong, PCPD is moving full steam ahead with its high-end residential development in Beijing's Chaoyang district and its world-class, all-season luxury resorts in Hokkaido, Japan, and Phang-nga in southern Thailand.
A Bright Future
Irrespective of short-term financial turmoil, the long-term outlook for Asian real estate is positive.
Times are uncertain. The financial markets are in turmoil and banks are reluctant to lend. A global recession is, perhaps, inevitable. But times have been hard before — and Asian real estate has always bounced back. In the depths of the Asian Financial Crisis in the late '90s, major developments were cancelled or put on hold. In the early part of this decade, the dot-com crash, terrorism attacks in the U.S. and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) wreaked havoc on property sentiment. Yet property has always proved resilient. While the outlook for the short term is anyone's guess, the wise investor takes the long-term view.
As Tay Kah Poh, head of research at Pacific Star, pointed out in this special section, demographics are on Asia's side with the rise of India and China — a trend that is driving the investment of serviced-apartment firm Oakwood International in the region. What's more, unlike during the Asian Economic Crisis, there is a great deal of liquidity waiting to be invested in the form of sovereign wealth funds and oil money from the Middle East. In Hong Kong, Pacific Century Premium Development's Bel-Air project will benefit from Hong Kong's major role in China's development.
As for Southeast Asia, there is also much to be optimistic about. Singapore will become increasingly international with its annual Formula 1 motor race and its two new casinos. Its landscape is also changing, with major new developments that promise to make the Singapore waterfront among the most beautiful urban landscapes in the world. Already the world's most globalized city by many measures, this city-state is well on its way to becoming even more international and cosmopolitan. Far East Organization's super-luxurious Boulevard Vue is the right development at the right time for this trend.
The Kuala Lumpur 2020 City Plan will help KL evolve into a world-class city by 2020. The Plan will oversee the next 12 years of this well-connected and vibrant city's development. Located in one of the Plan's four designated international zones, Bangsar-Damansara, KH Land's 88-acre Kenny Heights will play a major role in bringing the Plan's vision to reality by creating a major commercial and residential hub just five kilometers from the center of KL. Kenny Heights will be a city in itself with offices, homes, schools and medical facilities that will cater to the booming medical tourism industry.
In the Philippines, leading developer Megaworld will continue benefiting from business process outsourcing. It currently has 229,000 square meters of office space, an area that is projected to grow to 330,000 by the end of 2009. The Department of Tourism in the Philippines is also set to revolutionize travel to the Philippines with its campaign to promote tourist sites as investment destinations for vacation homes.
In written Chinese, the characters for "opportunity" and "danger" are the same. While the world's economy may be reeling from crises today, there could well be opportunities for those who are positive about Asia's long-term prospects. Despite Asia's vast size, land is scarce in its cities — and it will only get scarcer.