High rise apartment in Xiamen

I reported on how I had a very happy delivery of my apartment near Xiamen recently.

Many of you had written back to me very quickly. Thank you very much for the congratulatory notes and many of you had questions for me as well.

Instead of replying one by one, I am going to answer them together on this page so that everyone can share my experience and your questions together.

(All the photos you see here are physically taken by me and not copied from a website or brochure)

Pix Left: Looking down from my apartment


Palyground

Playground/Mini-mart/Gym

Gym

The Gym

Clubhouse

The Cafe

Your questions; my answers.

Yummy cafe food
Yummy food at the cafe

Is this development in Xiamen itself?

No. This development is in Changtai, a provincial county about a 45 minutes drive from Xiamen. The drive there is partly highway and partly through small towns and villages. A new highway to be ready in one year's time will cut travelling time down to 20 minutes.

I have been using Xiamen as a reference point because it is a city many people are familiar with.

The sales office for this development is in Xiamen. You will also land in Xiamen if you are flying in to visit this development.

Why not invest in Xiamen itself?

Xiamen is one of the nicest city in China but I did not choose to invest in Xiamen itself because:

  1. Most apartments in Xiamen do not have common facilities ie swimming pool, tennis courts, gyms. If they do, they are mostly very up-market and expensive projects
  2. Xiamen properties are very expensive relative to the one I bought in Changtai. I did not want to risk too much in my first investment in China.
  3. Xiamen properties do not come renovated nor furnished. I did not want to spend time flying back and forth arranging and supervising renovations and furniture fitting.
  4. I was looking for a healthy and green living environment with plenty of fresh air, running water, hiking trails, farms and back-to-nature activities. Nice as Xiamen is, it cannot offer what I want.

Great View

I bought for the sake of waking up to this view every morning!

 

Are there any more units for sale?

This is the most common question I am getting! The answer is yes, there are plenty more units for sales.

The original development was a villa development as you can see from my earlier photographs. My apartment block was started as a test development to see if people wanted to buy high-rise units out in the countryside.

The answer was overwhelming and following my block, there were another 4 new similar blocks and two other blocks which were what they call, villa condominiums - hugh double-storey 600sqm units.

Landed villas also continue to be built. So, there are various development phases going on all the time. I am pondering on investing in another 105sqm penthouse unit.

You will need to check with the developer if there are new units at your point of interest.

Large holiday home community in Xiamen

Look at the size of the development. Yes, there are still units for sales

 

How much is it now?

I really don't know. I bought mine at about RMB3500psqm fully furnished but I understand that prices now start at RMB4500. This is still very low compared to Xiamen itself (RMB9000-12000psqm without furnishing). As an example, I paid US$45K for a fully-furnished 81sqm apartment but do expect new units to be of a higher price now.

If you are genuinely interested, I can get my salesperson to get in touch with you or I can pass her contact to you if you are ever in Xiamen.

Can I get a housing loan?

I did not get a loan because at that time of my purchase, interest rate was pretty high at 8-10%. At my recent trip, I understand that rates has dropped to about 6%.

You can buy properties in China as a foreigner. You cannot get a housing loan as a foreigner unless you have a business presence or income evidence in China. Due to this developer good banking relationship, you can get a housing loan if you can arrange to get a local Chinese payslip as a loan formality. (This is not a guarantor; just a application formality).

In my case, I arranged to pay half upfront and half upon certification that the building has been completed externally. (They call it Feng-Ding or Roof Topping).

Is there a risk in investing in China properties?

There is risk in everything in life. By pioneering the way, I had taken the risk for you.

In the 80s and 90s, many overseas Chinese and foreigners lost large amount of money in Chinese properties due to dis-honest developers, unclear laws and shoddy workmanship.

I posed this question to one of my local friends in China. He laughed and said, look, if China can send man to space and back and build tallest bridges in the world, do you think there is shoddy workmanship nowadays?

Secondly, he said that the housing and loan development rules in China has now been tightend and applied nation-wide, so chances of rogue developers had gone down significantly.

Thirdly, I had chosen a very large development that many rich and well-to-do Xiamen people had chosen to invest in. The thumb of rule is that foreigners may be easily cheated but by choosing to invest in where most locals would choose to invest, I had reduced that risk significantly.

Will I take a drastic drop in living standard? Isn't China run-down, dirty and shoddy?

If this is still your opinion, WAKE UP!

China is no longer the China that Western movies or media would like to portray. People are no longer poor, streets are not dirty, daily commodities are easily available. Wal-mart, Carrefour, Primtemps are available in Xiamen and Xiamen is certainly one of the nicest, cleanest and crime-free city in China.

I have travelled to many parts of China and I agree that some places are still not too great. However, be assured that good medical care, education, daily commodities and even luxuries such as confectioneries, drugstore, bookshops, CD/DVD shops, coffree cafes, fine dining, spa, gyms, beauty salons are easily available in Xiamen.

Are there business opportunities by choosing to live or retire here?

This is a subject close to my heart because this is exactly what I plan - semi-retire and work on business opportunities here in a couple of years.

I have many ideas in mind and you may write to me in private to discuss further.

One of the easiest idea is for a group of foreign investors to buy, sell or lease out the properties together as a joint project. There is a no demand for long term lease but there is hugh demand for short term rentals of 3-5 days as it is a popular holiday destination for the locals due to the temples, farms, rivers and rapids, mountains trails, leisure resorts around this region.

In investment terms, short but regular rentals will fetch better returns than long term lease.

For despairing Singaporeans!

This section is for my fellow Singaporeans from Singapore.

We know how hard it is to survive in Singapore nowadays. High cost of living, congested roads, packed public transport, late hours at work, competition from FTs, pressurised healthcare, ever changing CPF policies...

There is no way I am going to retire at 82. The government has 300billion in reserves but they keep raising retirement and CPF withdrawal age. They can go suck eggs for all that I care!

Have the courage to move out! Rent out your HDB flat at age 40-50, come buy a house here and live life as it should be lived! Smell some roses, hear the birds and breathe plenty of fresh air! Flying home to Singapore is just a mere 4 hours if you need.

Do contact me if you want to know more!

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Why did I buy this apartment?
I pioneer a group of Singaporeans looking at the feasibility of having a holiday or retirement home in Xiamen, China.

Singapore is an island state located in South East Asia. The pace if life here is hectic and cost of living is high. There is also no social or medical security when we retire.

Hence, many of us are looking towards a slower, healthier pace of life after retirement and where cost of living is also lower so as to stretch our savings. Many have chosen to go to Australia or Thailand.

Most Singaporeans are Chinese by ancestry and some of us can even trace our ancestry to Fujian, the province where Xiamen is located.

If you have similar plans, or wish to live in China with English speaking Singaporeans, we welcome you to join our group!

Chronology of Events:
How I discovered this apartment
Organising a group
Organising a visit
Progressive visit
Taking delivery of apartment
Latest Developments

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