Singaporean investors show growing interest in Irish property

Interest in Ireland boosted after €111 million North Wall Quay development

Construction on Dublin’s northside docklands. Interest in Irish property is running high in Singapore  after Oxley Holdings Ltd last year acquired the North Wall Quay site in Dublin’s docklands. Photograph: Sara Freund/The Irish Times

Construction on Dublin’s northside docklands. Interest in Irish property is running high in Singapore after Oxley Holdings Ltd last year acquired the North Wall Quay site in Dublin’s docklands. Photograph: Sara Freund/The Irish Times

 

Leading Singaporean private investors, real estate developers, asset managers and private equity firms gathered in Singapore for a forum aimed at tapping growing interest in buying into Irish property.

Interest in Irish property is running high in Singapore after Oxley Holdings Ltd last year acquired the North Wall Quay site in Dublin’s docklands. A €111 million commercial development, it was dubbed Project Wave by the National Asset Management Agency.

A team of developers from the Singapore-based Oxley Holdings Ltd attended the event in the Conrad Centennial Hotel and speakers included John Moran, CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle, Tom Berrigan, director of Davy Investment Fund Services and the IDA’s local representative Gerard Whitty.

“There is an appetite in Singapore for medium- to longer-term returns on property, and Ireland is poised to deliver that … Rather than seeking quick, opportunistic investment returns, this is a medium term opportunity to build business, and bring patient Asian capital and real estate skills to Ireland,” said Colin MacDonald, CEO of Fine Grain Property, who was involved with the Irish Chamber of Commerce in organising the event.

Shopping centres, both regional and in Dublin, proved popular among the 70 attendees at the event, although investors were keen to find out about all sectors, including industrial, logistics, and business park space.

Mr MacDonald said the Irish Chamber of Commerce, the Embassy and the IDA had all done much to raise Ireland’s profile as an investment destination.

“This is paying off, in terms of business relationships and investment in both directions,” he said. “We are still at the very early stages, though, and there is huge potential to build further awareness.”

Among issues discussed were questions about political stability after the general election, and also about how a possible Brexit from the European Union might impact on investment opportunities in Ireland.

“There was also discussion on the tax structures for property investment which were extremely appealing to the attendees and evident in conversations post event,” said Lorna Cronnelly, executive director of the Irish Chamber of Commerce.

Legal issues were also discussed, and there were questions about how similar investing in Ireland was to investing in the UK - many of the potential Asian investors have invested in the London market.

“The Irish market offers a well-regulated legal environment for fund-based investment and overseas investors take great comfort in that,” said Philip O’Connor, partner at Kennedy’s Law.