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Thread: Property players look beyond black January

  1. #1
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    Default Private home sales down in January but more units launched

    Private home sales down in January but more units launched

    By Wong Siew Ying/ Ng Baoying, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 16 February 2009 1635 hrs

    SINGAPORE: Private home sales further slowed in January, according to the latest Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) figures. Some 107 deals were completed last month, compared to 131 in December.

    Property agents said this was the lowest level recorded in the last two years - even lower than last October when global stock markets slumped.

    Even so, developers placed more projects on the market, with 204 units released in January. This was slightly higher than the 157 private homes released a month earlier, which had been the lowest level since June 2007.

    Despite these gloomy numbers, real estate agency Propnex Realty expects a brighter February. The firm said this is because there has been good take-up from some recent launches this month.

    For instance, the new developments Alexis and Caspian had enjoyed strong take-up with over 750 units sold.

    CEO of PropNex Realty, Mohamed Ismail, said: "February has been a good month and is likely to post a record number of transactions, far exceeding the peak of last year - close to 800 over units." This will be about eight times the number sold in January.

    According to property consultant Colliers, potential buyers would have been waiting for the Budget announcement before making any purchase, and were also occupied with preparing for the Lunar New Year.

    But while sales were seen picking up, analysts said one trend would likely persist throughout the year.

    Director of consultancy and research at Knight Frank, Nicholas Mak, said: "Most units launched and sold by developers last month were in the suburban areas. Launch and sales activities by developers in the prime district almost came to a halt. Less than 10 units were transacted."

    Mohamed Ismail said: "The appetite for many consumers today is when the property price, the overall quantum is less than S$800,000. There are many people willing to buy.

    "Not only from the perspective of consumers, even financial institutions and the banks are very comfortable to lend to people for property that are below a million because the risk and spread for the bank is so much better."

    Thus analysts expect most upcoming launches to fall under this category. They said developers may ride the new wave of sales and launch more units in the second half of February.

    They said as many as 1,000 units may be launched next month, a level not seen since July 2008.

    And to support sales, analysts said that going forward, developers are likely to work with banks on financing schemes. For example, two recent developments launched - Alexis and Caspian - have interest-absorption schemes.

    - CNA/yt

  2. #2
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    Feb 16, 2009

    Home sales at new low

    By Joyce Tan

    JANUARY was another quiet month for sales of new private homes.

    Data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Monday showed that developers sold only 107 units of new homes last month, down from 131 units in December.

    The figure is the lowest since monthly data was made public in June 2007. The second lowest monthly sales data was registered last October, when 118 units were sold.

    In January, developers launched 204 new private homes for sale, up from 157 units last December.

    There were only a few new launches in January.

    One of them - Nova 88 - launched 40 units and sold 16 units at a median price of $947 per square foot, making it the top-selling project last month.

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    Default Property players look beyond black January,00.html?

    Published February 17, 2009

    Property players look beyond black January

    Some see light at end of tunnel for home sales volume if pricing is right


    (SINGAPORE) As they say, it is always darkest before the dawn. So it may be with the 107 private homes that developers sold last month.

    The number is the lowest since the government started making available monthly home sales data in June 2007, and could mark the nadir in sales volume, property industry players reckon.

    House-hunting season has just begun for the year, and buyers are expected to scoop up units in projects with appealing locations, as developers continue to price projects attractively, especially in the mass-market segment. Interest absorption schemes being offered by developers will help ease home purchases in the months to come, property consultants say.

    In the first two weeks of this month alone, developers are estimated to have sold around 800 to 850 private homes, mostly from the newly launched Caspian and Alexis condos; even assuming there are no other major new launches for the rest of February, the full month's tally is expected to reach around 1,000 units. This would be the highest monthly sales figure since August 2007, notes Colliers International director Tay Huey Ying.

    Home buyers can expect more offerings soon. UOL Group is said to be readying for launch next month its Double Bay condo in Simei; Far East Organization and Frasers Centrepoint, too, are expected to release a new batch of units at Waterfront Waves in Bedok in March. The latest units, which will mostly have pool views, are expected to be priced in the low-$600 per square foot (psf) range and be more appealing price-wise than the average $750 psf for reservoir-facing units released last year.

    The number of 204 private homes that developers launched last month was higher than the December 2008 figure of 157 units.

    'Going forward, there'll be periodic bursts of launch activities as there would be some buyers willing to commit to a purchase if they believe the price is affordable,' says Knight Frank director Nicholas Mak.

    DTZ senior director (research) Chua Chor Hoon predicts developers will launch 5,500 to 6,500 private homes this year, mainly in the mass-market segment. Primary market home sales could come in at about 5,000 to 6,000 units - higher than last year's 4,264 units.

    DTZ forecasts that prices in the mass-market segment could slip about 10-15 per cent this year, after a 10.5 per cent fall last year. It is predicting bigger price drops of 15 to 20 per cent for the prime districts and about 30 per cent in the luxury segment this year.

    Colliers' Ms Tay says: 'Pent-up demand is expected to surface in the coming months, albeit buyers' cautious stance amid the grim economic outlook will contain demand to properties worth below $800,000 as evidenced by the good take-up for the 712-unit Caspian (in Jurong Lake District) and the 293-unit Alexis at Alexandra Road.'

    Frasers Centrepoint Homes chief operating officer Cheang Kok Kheong, who estimates developers could sell 5,000-odd private homes this year, says: 'The three key factors that will affect home sales in 2009 will be interest rates on housing loans, jobs and pricing.'

    Knight Frank executive director Peter Ow says there's probably more leeway for developers to price new projects attractively than to chop prices of a project already on the market as they will face pressure from earlier buyers

    In any case, chopping prices is not always a cut-and-dry affair for a developer, as a property consultant points out: 'It's a delicate balance. If you cut prices just a little, people may not buy; but if you cut too much, you may frighten off potential buyers.'

    Urban Redevelopment Authority's data yesterday on developers' launches and sales showed that overall median prices for most private residential projects continued to ease in January over the preceding month 'as developers were more realistic in their pricing in the hope of maintaining demand', according to Jones Lang LaSalle's head of research (SE Asia) Chua Yang Liang. For example, the median price for The Aristo @ Amber eased 1.2 per cent month on month to $990 psf in January. Nova 88 in the Balestier area too saw its median price soften 4.2 per cent to $947 psf, while Rosewood Suites in Woodlands recorded a 16.7 per cent contraction in median price to $545 psf in January.

    'This analysis doesn't factor in price differentiation as a result of differences in the unit's orientation, floor level, size, etc,' Dr Chua adds.

    Property consultants were not surprised by January's weak homes sales, attributing it to the Chinese New Year festivities and potential buyers being further drawn to the sidelines with their eyes glued to the Singapore Budget announcement.

    Only 13 units were sold in the Core Central Region last month; Rest of Central Region and Outside Central Region had similar shares, at 49 and 45 units respectively.

  4. #4
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    February 17, 2009 Tuesday

    Private home sales at new monthly low

    Only 107 units sold last month, but sales for February good so far

    By Joyce Teo, Property Correspondent


    THE property market continues its downward spiral with only 107 new private units sold last month - the lowest monthly total since data was made available in 2007.

    A lack of launches from developers was partly behind the anaemic figure, which was well under the 131 sales in December and the previous low of 118 sales in October.

    About 204 units were launched last month, up from 157 in December, but lower than the 12-month average of 518 units. No new prime projects were launched last month.

    'An ominous pall of uncertainty is hanging over the industry,' said Knight Frank director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak.

    'The diminishing number of units sold in the market not only reflects a heightened sense of prudence, but also an increased anticipation for prices to fall, thus causing potential buyers to stay on the sidelines.'

    Last month's top sellers included Nova 88 in Balestier and The Aristo @ Amber, which sold 16 units and 14 units respectively.

    The stronger demand for these projects could be down to their improved affordability, with median prices having eased slightly, said Jones Lang LaSalle's head of research for South-east Asia, Mr Chua Yang Liang.

    But while last month was something of a dead loss, sales this month are already looking up, thanks to two successful launches.

    The 712-unit Caspian - a short walk from Lakeside MRT station in Jurong - has racked up sales of 470 units since its release earlier this month. Prices at the 99-year leasehold condo started at $580 per sq ft (psf), and are now at $600 psf.

    The 293-unit Alexis @ Alexandra, released for sale last week, is said to have been 100 per cent sold by last Saturday.

    It was priced at $850 to $1,100 psf, but most of the units were small, and so came with a relatively low absolute price.

    Prices ranged from $450,000 for one-bedroom units to nearly $1.8 million for the penthouses.

    'Certainly, there is renewed confidence in the market for properties that are priced right, as many HDB upgraders and investors are able to pick up such units at a lower quantum,' said Mr Mohd Ismail, chief executive of PropNex, which co-marketed Caspian with ERA.

    CBRE Research executive director Li Hiaw Ho said the success of the two projects could be attributed to their good locations, competitive prices and a creative mix of units.

    The tie-up between banks and developers to offer the interest absorption scheme also helped stimulate sales, he said.

    Some property consultants expect February to register the highest number of monthly transactions since late 2007.

    But this performance is likely to be a one-off for now, said Mr Mak, who added that sales could begin to slow to a more sustainable pace.

    Mr Li said: 'While the Singapore economy remains in recession, the continued moderation of prices should encourage potential buyers to come forward.'

    That could drive first-quarter sales to 1,000 to 1,200 units, he said. Last year, developers sold just 4,287 new homes, down from a record 14,811 in 2007.

    [email protected]

  5. #5
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    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    Mid-tier glows, luxe fizzles out

    A bad month for home sales could be followed by upturn

    Tan Hui Leng

    [email protected]

    JANUARY was a ghastly month for the private home market. Sales hit a two-year low, as the prime downtown areas saw zero launches and just about half of all units launched that month ended up finding buyers, according to official statistics released yesterday.

    But even though the overall market has kicked off 2009 on a whimper, the mass-market segment may still hold up in the months including February.

    According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), 107 private residential units were sold last month out of a total of 204 units launched by developers. This sale number is the lowest recorded in the last two years, said PropNex, a real estate agency.

    And for the first time, there were no units launched in the Core Central Region, which comprises districts 9, 10 and 11 as well as Marina Bay and Sentosa, said Knight Frank consultancy and research director Nicholas Mak.

    “This is unsurprising given that present market conditions have prompted a wait-and-see attitude, and thus resulted in the primary market activity for this sector coming to a near-halt,” said Mr Mak.

    It was in the non-prime districts that demand was relatively rosy. Mid-tier and mass-market projects saw their January take-ups rise 50 and 30 per cent respectively from December, Mr Mak said.

    “Close to 90 per cent of all the transactions that took place were at below $1,000 psf,” noted PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail. “This goes to show that there are still buyers for projects in the outer areas ... as long as the quantum value is reasonable, probably not exceeding the $800,000 mark.”

    Analysts expect pent-up demand for mid-tier projects to pick up from this month,particularly from HDB upgraders as the resale market for public housing is still healthy.

    Two developments have already seen good take-up. Alexis near Queenstown MRT was launched last Thursday and within three days, sold all of its 293 units at an average price of $850 to $1,150 psf. Over in Jurong West, the Caspian condominium has sold 470 out of 712 units at an average of $600 psf.

    This means that the sales volume for this month is likely to reach 1,000 units if developers continue to offer the “right product at the right price”, said Colliers International’s research and advisory director, Tay Huey Ying. That would be “a level not seen since August 2007 when developers sold some 1,723 new units”, she said.

    “More developers may be encouraged to ride on this buying wave and launch their projects in the second half of the month,”Ms Tay added.

    Pricing, however, will be an influential factor. Jones Lang LaSalle’s research head in South-east Asia, Dr Chua Yang Liang, said projects that enjoyed stronger demand in January could have been given a boost by the easing of median prices.

    For example, The [email protected] in the Katong area sold at $990 psf last month – down 1.2 per cent from $1,002 in December. Nova 88’s median pricing also softened 4.2 per cent from $988 to $947 psf. Both enjoyed good sales: At The [email protected], all 10 units launched last month sold out and another four unsold units from previous months were also taken up, while Nova 88 in the Balestier area sold 16 units out of the 40 units launched.

    “There is no doubt that there is an economic downturn but despite this, projects like Caspian and Alexis are faring well in the subdued market, showing that there is cash out there,” said Mr Donald Han, managing director of consultancy Cushman and Wakefield.

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