Special Feature

Servicing the high-net-worth: Deep market knowledge is key

Ch’ng: Before I take on a client, I will have a conversation with them about their motivations and objectives about investing in a property in Singapore (Photo: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
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For Kelvin Ch’ng, property is opportunity. And in the luxury property segment, the opportunities are growing for buyers and sellers alike. He cites how condo properties that were purchased in the pre-pandemic and pandemic era have risen between 20% and 30% since, and landed properties have risen even faster.
“There is a shortage of supply, especially in the Core Central Region and Orchard Road districts. If you’re looking for units with big floor plates in these areas, a lot of them have been snapped up, whether it’s old estates or new ones,” he adds.
Ch’ng points out that the country’s financial resilience and stability throughout the last few years have drawn the attention and confidence of investors and high-net-worth individuals. That is one reason for the above-mentioned increase in demand. He also believes that this demand will persist in the foreseeable future.

Developing a data-driven process

An Associate Division Director at PropNex, the young and dynamic agent stepped fully into the luxury property segment around four years ago, and he notes that the segment has been steadily growing.
The property industry started as an opportunity for him to strike out on his own and achieve his career goals. But in the early part of his career, he quickly realised that it was also an opportunity for people to own their own homes and accumulate wealth. Today, he sees it as an opportunity for high-net-worth individuals to expand on their portfolios, build a life and find their place on our Little Red Dot.
He takes a very rigorous and meticulous approach to help his clients find their ideal properties. In his mind, it is akin to solving a mathematical formula or equation with the right inputs and values. His process starts with diligent research to understand his clients’ requirements.
“Knowing what they need smoothens the property journey. But it is not just physical and technical specifications. There are other intangible factors that we need to consider when it comes to acquiring a property,” he explains over a coffee while on the way to inspect some units for his clients at a recently completed condo complex.
Once he has understood the needs of his clients, he spends time researching data to highlight pricing strategies that make sense, whether they are buyers or sellers. He presents his results to them and explains the data points before recommending the next steps.
Ch’ng has consistently achieved outstanding results within PropNex (Photo: Kelvin Ch'ng)
His data-driven methodology has had proven results. Ch’ng has transacted well over $200 million of properties over the last 2 years. That is an impressive personal achievement by a single agent. His clients have repeatedly returned to him, trusting him to facilitate their next property acquisition, both in the commercial and residential space. He adds that clients from the earlier parts of his career have referred him or asked him to represent them as they upgrade their property assets.
On a personal front, he has consistently achieved outstanding results within PropNex. Last year, he clinched second out of more than 11,000 agents in PropNex’s Top Producer award at the company’s annual convention, an accolade he’s incredibly grateful for and proud of.

More than just square footage

Ch’ng points out that when it comes to property, especially luxury properties, buyers today have very specific needs and desires. That’s why he takes a very personalised process for each client. “It is not just about the square footage or land space, or the price per square foot. I like to start with some fact-finding, so before I take on a client, I will have a conversation with them about their motivations and objectives about investing in a property in Singapore,” he says.
Some of his clients have bought property in Singapore because they want their kids to grow up and study here. Others consider it a portfolio diversification or expansion to mitigate risk. He adds, “Or they just want to park their money in a safe place. Singapore is a financial fortress, which makes buying property here a sound decision.”
In his experience, what seals the deal is not just an attractive price tag but details about the property. These include the layout and design of the estate and the privacy it affords them. “For some clients, privacy is a priority, so they pay attention even to the location of surrounding buildings or properties,” he points out.
To ensure that his clients land in the right neighbourhoods for their needs, especially foreigners who are new to Singapore, he often takes them on tours around the area. Along the way, he points out lifestyle facilities and amenities or other relevant highlights that would be of interest to them.
Ch’ng even helps high-net-worth clients who want to relocate to and assimilate in Singapore (Photo: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
While this is above and beyond what a typical agent would do, he sees it as part and parcel of his work. “We are not just selling them an apartment or piece of land,” he opines. “We are helping our clients build a way of life, and beyond that, it also helps me to understand them better. This makes narrowing down the kind of properties they would be interested in easier when we get to that stage.”
With high-net-worth clients who are relocating to Singapore, Ch’ng even has his own black book of contacts to help them set up and assimilate into the country. “Whether it is someone who is setting up a family office here or a family that wants to settle down in Singapore, they may need advice or information about tax planning or for example, the EDB’s Global Investor Programme,” he nods.
He spends his own time acquiring relevant knowledge on these issues and developing connections with relevant professionals in these sectors. “It is important as we are sometimes the first point of contact for our clients and while Singapore is well-known, it has a lot of regulations that they may not be familiar with,” he explains. “Being able to help them is an added value to my clients, and that’s important to me.”

Exciting opportunities ahead

With over 13 years of experience in the industry, Ch’ng has seen a lot of evolving trends in the business. One important change he’s observed has been how clients today demand more discretion, especially with regard to high-value transactions. “Many of the deals I have closed come with non-disclosure agreements and are done very quietly. Customers today prefer to keep things very discreet, and many of these deals have different moving parts, so it’s really important to keep on top of everything and know who to talk to at different points in a transaction.”
One property asset class that interests Ch’ng and his clients is commercial shophouses. “We are seeing a lot of wealthy families set up family offices here and investing in property. Many of them started off investing in residential properties and are now expanding into other asset classes. I’m helping them to look for good opportunities in properties such as prime shophouses,” he explains.
As a seasoned professional with a proven track record, Ch'ng provides clients with a competitive edge in securing shophouses and other property assets (Photo: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Commercial shophouses are attractive proposition foreigners are not allowed to own land in Singapore except in Sentosa. Commercial shophouses are the exception, and there’s no Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) for them. They are also freehold, which is a bonus.
Structuring such deals for his clients is a new challenge that Ch’ng has embraced wholeheartedly. “These deals are interesting because there are many different moving parts and entail multiple departments. It requires you to have knowledge of everything from tax planning and more,” he adds. “It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to handle these record deals.
He has also started to expand his team of agents within his division. Currently, he has around 30 agents who consult him for advice on their transactions and he plans to grow that by a sizeable number. “Back when I started as an agent, we did not have so many mentors, training programmes or advisors to help me. I want to be able to pass on my knowledge and how I’ve developed my own business today with others,” he points out. “I want to find agents who see property as the same kind of opportunity for their clients as I do, and to ensure they have the right market knowledge to provide added value to their clients.”
For more information:
Contact Kelvin Ch’ng | 81381050
Associate Division Director (R008108Z)
PropNex Realty Pte. Ltd

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