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Thread: Buoyant property launches defy poor economy

  1. #1
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    Default Buoyant property launches defy poor economy,00.html?

    Published February 16, 2009

    Buoyant property launches defy poor economy

    New developments Caspian and Alexis report brisk sales, add buzz to market


    (SINGAPORE) Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (FCL) has delivered much needed positive news by reporting that its 712-unit Caspian condominium near Jurong Lake is now 65 per cent sold with 460 units snapped up to date.

    Crowd puller: Alexis, a freehold development marketed by Huttons Asia at around $1,000 psf, is a 'unique product' with small units, says PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail -- ARTHUR LEE

    Over at Alexandra, the 293-unit Alexis @ Alexandra by joint venture partners Yi Kai Group and Fission Group is said to be fully sold.

    Both developments were launched this month and together, total sales of 753 units have already topped new developer sales for the whole quarter of Q1 2008.

    The demand for these two developments have taken many by surprise.

    Mohamed Ismail, chief executive of PropNex, which is also the marketing agent for the 99-year leasehold Caspian, said that the sales target had initially been only 250 units for its first phase.

    However, after these were sold out quickly at an average price of $580 psf, more units were released at the higher price of $600 psf.

    It is understood that FCL will continue selling units as long as there are buyers and that it is comfortable with the pace of sales.

    Giving his take on the Caspian's success, Mr Ismail said: 'The strategy in a down market is to look at the size of the units, reach out to buyers in the same area, and keep prices low.'

    Alexis, a freehold development marketed by Huttons Asia was more expensive at around $1,000 psf. However, Mr Ismail noted that Alexis is a 'unique product' with small units. He added: 'It doesn't really matter what the per square foot price is these days. If the quantum is below $1 million, there will be many takers.'

    While these sales figures are encouraging, Cushman and Wakefield managing director Donald Han said that the demand could be very 'project specific' with pent-up demand quickly satisfied.

    A case in point could be City Developments Ltd's (CDL) 724-unit Livia condominium project in Pasir Ris. Livia was launched in July last year and 338 units have been sold as at end December at an average price of $650 psf. Over the weekend, CDL launched 30 units at an average of $620 per sq ft but the atmosphere at the showflat is said to be relatively subdued.

    Still, the launch of Caspian and Alexis has added some buzz to an otherwise quiet market.

    Some developers have noted that there are buyers waiting to move.

    And Teo Hong Lim, chief executive of Roxy-Pacific, the parent company of Roxy Homes, has noticed that the sale of a few units can trigger a rash of buying because those waiting on the sidelines do not want to 'miss the boat'.

    Mr Teo says that Roxy Homes sees about 70-100 visitors at its showflats a day.

    East Coast Properties managing director Alvin Ng says he has also noticed an increase in visitors at its showflats with sales also picking up. Asked what is driving this in light of the poor economy, Mr Ng said: 'It's really anyone's guess.'

  2. #2
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    In the face of the economic crunch...

    Condos still hot property

    By Elysa Chen

    February 16, 2009

    DESPITE the recession, demand for condominiums is still high, going by two recent launches.

    At Caspian, next to Lakeside MRT station in Jurong, condo units were selling fast.

    Within the first two hours of the public launch yesterday, 38 of the 712 units there were sold.

    At 8am, there were already six couples queuing outside the showroom.

    When The New Paper on Sunday visited the show flat at 4pm, it was so crowded, it was difficult to move around. Visitors had streamed in from 9.30am.

    At another development, Alexis on Alexandra Road, at least half the 293 units were sold during preview sales which started on Thursday. Prices range from $850 per square foot (psf) to $1,100 psf.

    Despite the recession, Mr Cheang Kok Kheong, chief operating officer of development and property at Frasers Centrepoint, the developer of Caspian, expects demand for condominiums to increase.

    He said: 'Financial difficulties would be most felt by those in the upper echelons of society, who would have investments worldwide. This is why the high-end property market in Singapore has been hit very hard.

    'However, many HDB upgraders are less exposed, and would still be interested in buying property now.'

    An estimated 2,400 people visited the show flat during the first day of its public launch yesterday, most of them HDB upgraders, and, of the 550 units that have been released, 430 have been sold.

    Although the launch of the 99-year-lease condominium came as property prices seemed to be heading south, Mr Cheang said the demand wasn't unexpected.

    Based on surveys among residents in Jurong, Frasers Centrepoint had found that there was pent-up demand for condominiums in the area, he explained. 'People would buy a condominium here if the price was right.'

    More affordable for HDB upgraders

    Mr Cheang said they had catered to that demand by making some units 'more affordable for HDB upgraders'.

    During preview sales held last week, all 350 units released were sold, at an average of $580 psf.

    Yesterday, some three bedroom units were selling between $700,000 and $800,000, around $620 psf.

    Other reasons he cited for the launch's success were the proximity of the condominium to the MRT and the development of the Jurong Lake District.

    With Jurong being touted as the second largest commercial space outside of the central business district, with hotels and a new science park, Mr Cheang estimates some 60,000 jobs will be created in the area.

    He said: 'People who work in the area may want to establish their homes here as well. When we bought the piece of land, we saw the potential of the Lakeside area. The Chinese and Japanese gardens will be refurbished, and this area is a green lung - an asset that's rare in Singapore.'

    Mr Cheang said that although the area was earmarked for several new developments, 80 per cent of it is still an 'attractive green space'.

    Mr Yip, 45, an engineer who had visited the showroom with his wife and daughter, said: 'It's an interesting project. From some of the units, you can even see the Jurong lake. I'm an HDB upgrader, and I find the price very reasonable.'

    Design director Chin Ser Jong, 45, also liked the design and quality of the units, adding that it was 'rare' for condominiums targeted at HDB upgraders to have bathrooms with marble tiles.

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