Condo buyers undeterred by Hungry Ghost month

Strong demand for units as prices matter more to younger buyers

Published on Sep 04, 2012

By Amanda Tan

BUYERS have not let the traditionally inauspicious Hungry Ghost Festival deter them from snapping up units at several projects in recent weeks.

Price - not superstition - is the prevailing view among many buyers it seems, particularly younger ones.

City centre condo V on Shenton has sold 27 units in the past week, bringing total sales to 217. The 510-unit project was launched at the end of July and is selling for an average of $2,200 per sq ft (psf).

Mr Michael Ng, group general manager of developer UIC, said the condo benefited from the announcement of the upcoming Thomson MRT line, which will be ready in phases from 2019. The Shenton Way station will be built just behind the condo, which will be ready by 2017.

Wee Hur Holdings sold 15 units last week at Parc Centros, which was launched in July. The Punggol condo has sold 525 out of the 618 available units with prices between $800 and over $1,000 psf.

The Koh Brothers' Parc Olympia in Upper Changi sold 319 units, with 15 snapped up in the past week. The 486-unit sports-themed condo, launched in July, is being sold at about $840 psf on average.

And Far East Organization sold 34 homes across various projects in the past week, with Hillsta located at Choa Chu Kang being its top performer.

Knight Frank's head of research Png Poh Soon said there is still strong demand, with prices mattering more to buyers than any traditional festival.

"For the younger and more affluent buyers, their concern is really the affordability and investment opportunity (of the property)," he said.

"In the past, the earlier generations placed more emphasis on such superstitions so the Hungry Ghost Festival impact could have been more significant." The seventh month started on Aug 17 and runs till Sept 15.

Lawyer Angela Yap bought a studio unit at V on Shenton last week for over $1 million as she liked the mixed-use concept, as well as the design and facilities there. Ms Yap, who is in her 40s, said: "Whether it's the Hungry Ghost Festival or not does not matter... I look at the price and location."

The buying sentiment has also spilt into the industrial sector, with strata-titled units at recent launches like M38 and Apex @ Henderson facing strong demand.

M38 at Jalan Pemimpin is 80 per cent sold, with prices averaging $850 psf.

Apex @ Henderson has sold out with the exception of the canteen, at prices ranging from $750 to $850 psf. Units average less than $2 million.

It has a good location, top-grade furnishing and amenities, said Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.

EL Development also sold two units at an older launch, Eldix, last week, bringing the the tally to 159. The 169-unit industrial property in Mandai was put on the market in January and sold for an average of $475 psf.

Mr Cheong said the keen interest was due to the lack of launches in the industrial market, given that there were not that many sites offered under the Government Land Sales programme last year.

More sites have been made available this year. "Rents keep rising each year... so to avoid subjecting themselves to such uncertainty, buyers would rather take a loan and get a unit of their own," he said.

[email protected]