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Property Prices Rebounding in Singapore's Millionaire Row?

Located on the eastern coast of Singapore's Sentosa island, Sentosa Cove is billed as the city state's most exclusive marina residential area.

The Sentosa Golf Club overlooking one of the world's busiest ports in Singapore
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The Sentosa Golf Club overlooking one of the world's busiest ports in Singapore

House prices here start at around $12 million (S$ 15 million) and it's the only site of so-called "landed properties" that foreigners who aren't permanent residents can actually buy a house without special permission from the government. Foreigners in the country are generally only allowed to buy apartments, part of the government's measure to contain prices.

But the man-made watery paradise has had a shaky start to 2011. Sales registered a fall in the first quarter, as government moves to curb runaway property prices took hold.

Only 8 non-landed homes were sold in the first two months of the year, down from 17 transactions in the last quarter of 2010 and well under the 71 recorded in the second quarter of last year.

But Tan Kok Keong, Head of Research and Consultancy at the real estate broker OrangeTee says there are signs of a recovery in the city-state's property market because prices are rebounding from the January and February lows as buyers digest the government measures and focus instead on Singapore's impressive economic growth story.

"Market sentiment has been affected by the cooling measures that were announced by the government so I think the market has digested the news and because economic growth is still very good, occupancy on the island is good so it's prompted buyers back into the market."

Government data backs up his claims. Private home sales rose 29 percent in April from a month earlier leading many to predict further property curbing measures on the horizon.

But according to Kemmy Tan, Director, International Real Estate at YTL Singapore, the city-state's high-end property market may have gotten a boost by more stringent government property price clampdowns in neighboring Asian countries.

"We have good holding power and in fact tightening measures in Hong Kong and China have sent investors looking to Singapore as a continued choice for investment location."

Sentosa Cove is billed as a tropical paradise, but like any aspect of living in one of the world's most densely populated countries, people are never far away.

So are the views worthy of the sky high prices? After all, your million dollar balcony either faces one of the world's busiest ports or one of the world's most congested shipping lanes.

Ku Swee Yong, Founder of International Property Advisor, thinks it is. "Fifteen years from today [the port]...area will probably be cleaned up and the Marina Bay Financial Centre will expand into the wharf area."

But that's a long time to wait, especially if you are a property investor and you are used to doubling your money every 2 to 3 years.

So if you have the cash and are willing to wait, there's only one thing to do; sit back, relax and watch some of the world's biggest supertankers sail effortlessly by your living room window.

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