June 10, 2007

Credo no longer new kid on the 'en bloc'

From an unknown, the firm has risen to clinch possibly the largest collective sale deal here

By Melissa Sim

MR KARAMJIT SINGH, THE MAN BEHIND CREDO, beat three big players to clinch the brokering of the $1.5 billion sale of Farrer Court. It would be the most expensive residential collective sale here, if the deal goes through, and stands to earn the company between $3 million and $22.5 million. -- WANG HUI FEN

WHEN Mr Karamjit Singh started his property business, he went door to door at old condominiums with collective sale potential to make his sales pitch.

The 36-year-old and his partner did everything from start to finish - analysis, presentations and even canvassing for signatures.

But they lost jobs because their company, Credo, was considered an unknown in the industry.

Five years on, Credo has become so synonymous with collective sales that the managing director gets invited to market properties.

Now, Mr Singh is brokering possibly the largest collective sale here - the $1.5 billion sale of Farrer Court.

The 618-unit condominium, sprawled across a 838,488 sq ft plot, is asking for the highest price ever in a collective sale here. It is also the company's largest project to date.

Beating three big players to the deal was, as Mr Singh put it, 'shiok'.

If the sale goes through, it will top the current record held by nearby Leedon Heights, sold in April by DTZ Debenham Tie Leung for $835 million.

Credo stands to earn between $3 million and $22.5 million for closing the deal, assuming an agent's fee of between 0.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent of the purchase price.

As for the prospect of being labelled a 'home-wrecker', he said: 'I think people generally welcome en bloc sales, as long as you provide a sound proposal.'

This approach has earned his 12-man team $954 million in property sales in just the past year and a half, or 6.07 per cent, of the market share.

The amount puts Credo in fifth place, after far larger groups, according to collective sale records from CB Richard Ellis for the period of January last year to this June. During this period, sales totalled $15.7 billion.

DTZ, in first place, commands 21.25 per cent of the market; second-placed CBRE has 20.28 per cent; Knight Frank, in third place, has 7.27 per cent; and fourth-placed Savills has 7.57 per cent.

Mr Singh has placed eight advertisements in The Straits Times and Business Times totalling $45,000 to market Farrer Court.

No doubt his mother was right when she suggested he strike out on his own after nine years at property firms Colliers International and JLL.

Since it sold its first property, Carlisle Lodge at Novena, Credo can count among its successes The Esquire in Mount Elizabeth, Duchess Court in Duchess Walk and Emerald Mansion in Emerald Hill Road.

Today, the father of three lives with his wife, parents and three elder brothers - and their families - in a 5,000 sq ft penthouse on the East Coast.

But not for long.

His own condo is up for a collective sale, though this time, he is chairing the sales committee. Oddly enough, he pointed out: 'I wasn't the one who suggested it.'

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