Published January 4, 2007

Developers rush to launch projects in Q1
Up to 16 properties with over 4,000 units to come on the market: CBRE


WITH property prices on their way up - at least at the top end of the market - developers are rushing to launch their projects to ride on the buoyant sentiment.

Stylish: Keppel Land's Reflections at Keppel Bay, designed by reknowned architect Daniel Libeskind (above), will have 1,160 luxury homes and its units could be launched at $1,500 to over $2,000 psf by March or April

As many as 16 projects, with more than 4,000 units, are expected to make their way on to the market this quarter, as shown in research by property consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) and BT.

'Everyone will want to catch the first wave,' says Knight Frank executive director Peter Ow. 'Most developers will want to move their projects. Once the momentum slows down, it is hard to pick it up again.'

And momentum is indeed strong at the moment. Flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority released yesterday shows that private residential property prices climbed 10 per cent over 2006. Just in the fourth quarter, prices rose 3.7 per cent.

While prices will no doubt continue climbing in 2007, developers will have to gauge carefully when to launch their showpieces, as the rate of price increase could moderate some time this year, market watchers say.

Launches over the next three months will offer potential buyers a good mix of options in terms of location, and therefore potential price. However, the mix still seems to favour luxury projects.

Of the estimated 16 developments, more than half are in the traditional prime Districts of 9, 10 and 11, or in the increasingly popular areas of Marina Bay (District 1) and Sentosa Cove/Harbourfront (District 4).

The biggest of these will be phase 2 of Keppel Land's Keppel Bay. The 99-year leasehold Reflections at Keppel Bay will house 1,160 luxury homes along the shoreline, each of which will enjoy views of the waterfront.

Keppel Land yesterday said that units could be launched at 'between $1,500 to over $2,000' per square foot (psf) by March or April. The development is designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.

Another hotly anticipated launch is City Developments' 341-unit One Shenton on Shenton Way, located in the heart of the financial district.

The project will be launched 'very soon', say sources. Prices are expected to be high - Marina Bay Residences, another 99-year leasehold development just across the street, saw a unit fetch as much as $3,400 psf just last month.

But there will also be launches of mass-market projects aimed at HDB upgraders.

Allgreen Properties will launch its suburban freehold condominium Blossoms @ Woodleigh in Potong Pasir this weekend.

The 240-unit project will be one of the first targeting upgraders to be launched in 2007, and the price of $650 psf is expected to be appealing to upgraders from Hougang, Serangoon and Potong Pasir.

In addition to condominium developments, the next three months might also see a small mumber of new landed properties being offered.

Top of many investors' lists will be Ho Bee Investments' Paradise Island, a collection of 29 bungalows on Sentosa. Boutique developer Manston Land Pte Ltd will also soft launch 3BHC, a collection of 10 semi-detached houses and one bungalow in the prime Thomson area.

Developers will also be looking to hold on to some units in the hope of even higher prices further down the road.

At Blossoms @ Woodleigh, an initial 150 units out of a possible 240 will be offered at $650 psf, but 'the second phase could be higher', says Knight Frank, which is marketing the project.

Other developments, such as Reflections at Keppel Bay, will also be launching its units in phases, with an expected price increase for each successive round.