Hougang EC sells out within hours of launch

Jul 24, 2017

Strong response raises hopes of pickup in market, but analysts urge caution

Dennis Chan

The surprisingly red-hot reception to an executive condominium (EC) that sold out within seven hours of its launch last Saturday may be the latest sign in recent months that the property market is getting back into its stride.

All 531 units of Hundred Palms Residences by Hoi Hup Realty in Yio Chu Kang Road were snapped up on the day of the launch, with the turnout so strong that buyers and visitors spilled out from the show-flat onto the pedestrian walkway and grass verge beside the road. The units were sold at an average price of $836 per sq ft.

This may be the first time that an EC has been sold out within a day, which may surprise some property analysts, given that the economy is still recovering and there has been no roll-back of property cooling measures.

However, sentiment in the property market appears to be positive. Over in Bukit Batok, the show-flat of Le Quest, a mixed-used development by Qingjian, also drew a strong turnout on the first weekend of the preview.

So far, the property market has been giving off mixed signals. While a number of recent bids for government land sale sites have been extremely bullish, the resale market for private homes remains tepid, while the occupancy rate and rental market have also been subdued.

However, in recent months, there have been a number of collective sale sites sold, indicating a resurgence in confidence by property developers.

Latest numbers from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and research by PropNex show that private homes sold in the first half of this year (including ECs) jumped to 8,641, up 52 per cent from the 5,683 sold in the same period last year.

In the first half of this year, developers moved 2,064 executive condo units, higher than the 1,867 units in the same period last year.

But property analysts caution against reading too much into the health of the property market from this latest result.

The overwhelming response to Hundred Palms Residences could be due to factors such as its location in the mature estate of Hougang. One key factor in the project's success could also be that it is within 1km of the popular Rosyth School.

Speculative interest usually does not come into play with ECs as there is a minimum occupation period.

Still, CBRE analyst Desmond Sim said the sell-out of Hundred Palms Residences is not surprising, adding: "We have also seen encouraging signs in the volumes transacted in the private residential market and this demand has flowed over to the EC market."

According to ERA Realty, the buyer addresses were diverse, with most concentrated in the nearby housing estates of Hougang, Serangoon, Sengkang and Punggol.