Published September 12, 2008

High-end home market going off the boil

Developers are testing the market to see if their projects will sell


MOST developers are still holding off launching luxury condominiums, but a few projects are slowly being put on the market.

Frasers Centrepoint has launched and sold about 30 units at its 302-unit Martin Place Residences, with apartments going for about $1,800 per square foot (psf) on average.

Martin Place Residences is in the River Valley neighbourhood in District 9.

And nearby, SC Global Developments said last week it had released and sold 30 apartments in its Martin No 38, which has 91 units in total.

The average price fetched was $2,130 psf, with sales coming at $1,881-$2,494 psf.

Developers are pushing out luxury condo projects cautiously, with most releasing them in small phases.

Many are also trying to test the market to see if their high-end homes will sell and gauge how much buyers will be willing to pay.

Yesterday, the en-bloc purchasers of Lincoln Lodge said they will be launching the new development on the site - Lincoln Suites - by early next year.

But the developers - Koh Brothers, Heeton Holdings, KSH Holdings and Lian Beng Group, which each have an equal stake in the project - will only release some of the project's 175 units in the first phase.

And current residents of Lincoln Lodge will probably be allowed to stay in their homes well into next year.

'We are not going to launch all the units at one go,' said Francis Koh, chief executive of Koh Brothers. 'The price will be determined by buyers' willingness to buy.'

Prices will be similar to or 'even lower than' comparable projects nearby, Mr Koh said.

Units in the newly-built nearby development, Park Infinia at Wee Nam, are going for $1,300-$1,600, property consultants said.

The consortium bought Lincoln Lodge for $243 million, or $1,449 psf per plot ratio, including an estimated development charge of $413,000, in June last year at the height of the en bloc frenzy.

They then decided to hold off tearing down the existing project, and have instead allowed occupants to keep renting apartments for at least six months from the sale completion date in July this year.

Now, the showflat for Lincoln Suites will be built with Lincoln Lodge still standing.

Depending on the market response, the leases of the tenants could be extended past January next year.