The truth about buying off plan at Property Exhibitions

Property Exhibition - Hong Kong

Every year their are literally thousands of new build property investments promoted every year in wealthy cities across Asia. Where property agents large and small promote residential property developments from all over the world. But do investors really stop and consider the costs?

The reality is buying off plan at a property exhibition adds on average USD 30,000 to the cost of each property sold, which doesn’t impact the agent selling it, but has a huge impact on your investment return.

What is a Property Exhibition?

We think of a property exhibition as being different to a property expo. Let me explain the difference.

  • Property Expo – a property expo is a large event generally held in an exhibition centre, which hundreds of different developers promote new build developments. The fundamental difference is that the costs of the event is shared across hundreds of different promoters making the cost to attend negligible.
  • Property Exhibition – a property exhibition is a promotion sales event for a new build investment property, where it is the only property featured at the event. Therefore, the cots of the entire event is borne by one single development.

Where are Property Exhibitions held?

Property Exhibitions are held most weekends across many Asian capital cities from Singapore to Shanghai. Generally they are held in 5 Star hotels in city centre locations with the Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental and Singapore’s Regent Hotel being a popular location selected by many property agents.

Hong Kong Skyline - hundreds of international property exhibitions are held in Hong Kong each year
Singapore Skyline - international property exhibitions are popular in Singapore

How many Property Exhibitions are there?

It is hard to put an exact estimate on how many property exhibitions are held every year? However, the number likely go in to the tens of thousands every year!

YearN# of Property ExhibitionsN# of Projects PromotedN# of CitiesN# of CountriesN# of Agents
Hong Kong Exhibitions 2019 & 2020

How much Does it Cost to Do a Property Exhibition?

By the time you add up the cost of a property exhibitions, including the preparation of sales and marketing materials, event set up, the costs of travel and logistics, hiring the event space and promoting it, the average cost of an exhibition is generally more than USD 300,000 per event.

Putting that in to context for Hong Kong alone, more than USD 270m spent in 2020 in Hong Kong alone on property exhibitions!

Interested to see the detail? Read our recent post which outlines the actual costs involved in a property exhibition.

What do Property Exhibitions actually Achieve?

Well, these property exhibitions have now become a regular fixture not only for mainstream agents, but for smaller agents too. In 2020, more than 128 property agencies in Hong Kong were involved in international property exhibitions.

At USD 300,000 a pop you may well expect these events yield some serious sales results. Well, you may be surprised. The sheer volume of events means that now most exhibitions would be lucky to achieve close to 10 sales over a three-day event.

Buying off Plan at a Property Exhibition – Why should I Care?

Property exhibitions are expensive, I get it. But so what? It’s a great way for you to see a development and buy a property It’s very convenient, so why should you care? I can tell you why. Guess who pays for the cost of the property exhibition? YOU the investor. Let me show you the economics.

N# of SalesCost Per Sale – InvestorsCost Per Sale – DeveloperCost Per Sale – AgentAgency Fees
Costs are in USD

It is little wonder that property agents love these events so much. The reality is that of all the participants in these events (the investor, the developer and the agents) they have the most to gain and the least to lose!

Buying off plan is commonplace for investors inAsia

How do I know so much about Property Exhibitions?

I have spent a lot of time in property exhibitions, in fact I set up one of Asia’s largest property exhibition businesses in Asia at Colliers International. Living in Hong Kong and travelling between offices and sales teams I set up in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and India. The team I set up undertook on average 100 property events a year in each of those countries over ten years. Yep that’s more than 6,000 property exhibitions across Asia this is me.

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