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Property boom drives investment companies to set up office in Macau PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 July 2008

by Sara Farr

Local entrepreneurs have formed Prime Capital Group Ltd, an investment plan that is planned to ride re-valued price of the units and sell down before completion.
All partnership funds are deposited into an “escrow account” in trust with local lawyer, Porfirio Gomes has been in Macau for over 30 years and is “well-trusted”, according to the company's CEO, Paul Bond.
Mr Bond yesterday spoke with the Macau Daily Times about the company's plans.

Q: Tell us a bit about the company's background. Where is it from?
It's a new start up. My background is real estate and property development in South East Asia and Australiasia. I have 30 years experience in that regard, I was dealing with the Singapore unit market last year, and previously to that, experience in the real estate business.

Q: Which countries and regions are considered “hot” markets?
Singapore, last year, certainly the first half of last year, was a very hot market. And Hong Kong up until recently was very hot.

Q: With choosing Macau, it's because you see some potential in the SAR's real estate market…?
Yes, in Australia we hear a lot about Macau, over the past 12 months, because over here we now have James Packer, and our press in Australia is covering what he's doing.
Until around 18 months ago [Macau] was very low key and not very well known, and now it's more exposed through the James Packer connection. Basically I kept hearing about Macau, and my associates in Hong Kong said we have to get busy and do something in Macau. I came in March to do my research. I am a valuer as well as real estate agent.

Q: What will be the company's aim in Macau?
To try and get investors, not just in Macau but around the region, to invest into our Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is managed by the Prime Capital Group. And then the SPV purchases units off the plan. [Investors] are not investing in the property, but in the vehicle that is managed by Prime Capital Group.

Q: And how do you see Macau's property market in the future?
Property prices will continue to go up driven by construction cost. There are two things that drive property prices, one is construction costs, the other is inflation. And when you got construction costs going up to the extent to what they are here compared to the rest of the world, inflation will continue and pushes the price up, providing you got the demand side able to be financed.

Q: Do you think, in Macau, there is that demand?
Yes, definitely. Driven by China and the very competitive market rates compared to the rest of the world.

Q: Do you fear that something will go wrong in terms of investment, since Macau is very much driven by gambling?
That's a tricky question. On the gambling side of things, Chinese like to gamble, so as long as the economy continues as it has been, they will continue to come here to gamble. As far as the real estate market here is concerned, I don't believe it's being killed or muted by the construction that is going on with the new casinos. So you've got the economy that is being driven by construction industry and by the Chinese gambling community.
Also new staff at hotels will also want. There are 30,000 hotel rooms under construction or built, and there will be a big number of staff demand to service those many rooms, and they can't be on site, so there needs to be a continuing supply of quality apartments.

Q: Do you think it will be easy to find partners in Macau?
So far the response has been very encouraging. The managing company is managed by competent people. We are going to continue to role through the market. As far as the investment and the partners are concerned, the funds go into a lawyers trust account. It doesn't go to us.

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