Norwegian sovereign wealth fund appears to have no confidence in investing in Singapore properties

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By: Jenny Lee/

In an interview with Financial Times (FT), Norway’s sovereign wealth fund – which is derived mainly from oil export – indicated that they are shunning property investments in Singapore.

The fund has been scouring Asia since 2015 for property investments but only concluded its first deal on Thursday, 7 Dec 2017. It invested some US$823 million in five buildings in some of Tokyo’s biggest shopping districts and is looking for more property deals there.

The fund has become one of the world’s biggest property investors in just seven years, building a portfolio of US$25bn in big European and US cities. However, despite having an office in Singapore, the Norwegian fund is less inclined to invest in Singapore’s properties.

Karsten Kallevig, head of the fund’s property business, told FT that they had found it harder in Singapore due to “different dynamics”. He said that rents were very volatile in Singapore.

“With pricing and opportunities . . . we have not been able to conclude on anything that for us provides the confidence to start investing there (Singapore),” he added.

Mr Kallevig categorised his country’s SWF as a long-term investor that is looking to buy the highest quality assets. “We go into this assuming that everything we buy we will own forever,” he said.

Obviously, he didn’t consider Singapore properties as “highest quality assets”.

“We should only invest if we are convinced it is a good investment according to our strategy, good for the fund in the long time, not being caught doing deals for the sake of doing deals,” Mr Kallevig added.

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31 comments

  1. WZ Toh says:

    I agree that property is now seen as a speculative asset and already the mall building frenzy has seen disastrous effects coupled with the shift towards e-commerce. But you have also cherry picked quotes from the FT to make your own point.

    Mr Kallevig said the fund had found it harder in Singapore due to “different dynamics” but was persisting there.

    He added that it was harder to go into other Asian cities because the distances between them were often very large, ruling out the use of Tokyo or Singapore as regional hubs.
    The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has been scouring the region since 2015 for property but concluded its first deal only on Thursday.

    In other words, the Norwegian fund is a very picky investor. Which might be a good thing, given our own fund’s very mixed record.

    But journalism should be honest nonetheless.

  2. Why from an advanced country? It only shows the other people can see our lack of transparency in how our “Present” Govt. practices & laws that our own people (70%) are either blind or brain washed so cannot see this.

  3. sg property is not for real investment. It is more for money laundering. You buy $100m worth of properties using unclean money. You lose $30m but you can gain $70m of clean and usable money.

  4. Debts to too high and inflation is uncontrollable at this rate. When all can’t repay their loan due to high cost and unemployment everything will go crumbling down and crime rate will increase. See signs already.

  5. Only the greedy sinkies idiots are doing the bitcoin on the properties here. All you need is for them to do an smrt on their nuclear plant and you get an instant Fukushima

  6. All property investors should shun investment in Spore, there are plenty more country that can provide lucrative ROI then spore who even prosecute 2 person because of their own lousy policy on airbnb

    1. Andrew Koh says:

      The reasons our property market is shaky are, IMO : 1) high unemployment rate especially PMEs, about 70,000 have degrees/diplomas. They are the upgraders to private property 2) 15,000 unsold private homes with another 20,000 in 2 years or about 3 years stocks at current rates 3) New generation no longer assured of full time jobs in a gig economy. Buying a property requires steady income over 20-30 years 4) HDB re-sale prices dropping, fewer upgraders 5) high cost of living 6) high bids for enbloc sales mostly Chinese money where they do not really need to make money 7) few can afford the new and higher prices esp with depressed salaries 8) Singapore’s economy is stuck with low growth due to high costs, low productivity, not competitive any more. Many MNCs moving out. And yes, property prices will nose dive, next 2-3 years. Btw, I failed Economics, so take this with a grain of salt

  7. “doing deals for the sake of doing deals”… yep! That’s how we dress things up. Make it look like we produced something so unique and special but turns out to be an empty vessel.

  8. Do not fall for all the razzle dazzle painted by the MSM RE ENBLOC SALE GALORE!!!! Be cautious!!! The musical chair will end soon!!! Just not sustainable!!! We are not Hong Kong folks!!!!

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