July 5, 2009


Developers rush to catch buying wave

More condo launches are due this month but market-watchers say price recovery will not last

By Joyce Teo

The Gale, located in Flora Road, is one of the many condominium projects that are slated to be launched this month. -- PHOTO: HONG LEONG HOLDINGS

The stream of new property projects being launched continues to be strong. Another mass-market development, [email protected], has officially hit the market, after a quiet round of sales.

The 388-unit condominium near Pasir Ris beach was launched yesterday after it sold 71 units - or half of the units previewed - at $670 per sq ft on average at last week's preview.

CB Richard Ellis, which is marketing the condo, said units with a sea view were popular. Some 80 per cent of the buyers were HDB upgraders. The units are fairly large, ranging in size from 947 sq ft to 2,659 sq ft.

Generally, developers are rushing new launches to capitalise on the strong buying wave, particularly for affordably priced mass-market developments.

Releases in the past three weeks include Vista Residences in Jalan Datoh, Residences @ Killiney and the already sold-out [email protected] Woodleigh.

Developments that are available for sale this month include Ascentia Sky, next to Metropolitan condominium in Alexandra Road, Silversea in Amber Road, The Gale in Loyang and Sophia Residence on the former Sophia Court site near Selegie Road. An 85-unit development in Balmoral Road is also coming to market soon.

The 373-unit, 99-year leasehold Ascentia Sky is expected to hold a public preview in the middle of the month, said a Wing Tai spokesman. The indicative price before the preview discount is $1,300 psf to $1,500 psf, he said.

Wing Tai and Greatearth Developments had bought the Ascentia Sky site for a bullish $639 per sq ft per plot ratio in late 2007. Property analysts had said then that the land price would translate into an estimated breakeven price of $1,000 psf to $1,100 psf for the future condo, and the units there should sell for at least $1,100 psf to $1,200 psf.

Projects such as Ascentia Sky, Silversea and Sophia Residence have been lined up for launch for some time now.

In late 2007, developer GuocoLand had said it hoped to push out the 272-unit Sophia Residence in the third quarter of last year. But that did not happen.

As for the 383-unit Silversea, there was already talk as early as late 2007 that it would be launched soon. It did go out to market for a while last September, selling several units at a median price of $1,400 psf and three at a median level of $1,242 psf in October. Because of the poor market conditions, sales were then stopped.

Developers are a bit more upbeat now that buyers, including speculators, have been coming out in droves, though they remain fairly cautious and price-sensitive.

Still, buyers should exercise prudence in the light of market uncertainty, advised property experts. Ms Chua Chor Hoon, head of DTZ South-east Asia research, said in a report last Thursday that the rise in prices in the second quarter is likely a 'temporary blip' as it is largely due to the fear among buyers of missing out on the bottom, pent-up demand and low interest rates.

Average resale prices have fallen by only 10 per cent to 35 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of this year, compared with a larger fall of 35 per cent to 45 per cent during the Asian financial crisis, she said.

'Without a clear recovery in sight for the United States and Singapore economies, the price recovery in the second quarter is not sustainable and sales volume would be affected if prices continue to rise,' said Ms Chua.

[email protected]


# Ascentia Sky

Where: Alexandra Road next to Metropolitan condominium

How big: 373 units

How much: Indicative pricing, before a preview discount, is from $1,300 psf to $1,500 psf.

# Sophia Residence

Where: Adis Road near Parklane Shopping Mall

How big: 272 units

How much: Indicative pricing said to be $1,500 psf to $2,000 psf.

# Silversea

Where: Amber Road on the former Amberville site

How big: 383 units

How much: Preview prices said to start from $1,300 psf

# The Gale

Where: Flora Road

How big: 329 units

How much: Indicative pricing said to be $650 psf to $700 psf