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Thread: Steady sales at The Interlace condo despite ban on IAS

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    Default Steady sales at The Interlace condo despite ban on IAS,00.html?

    Published September 22, 2009

    Steady sales at The Interlace condo despite ban on IAS


    THE government's move to ban the interest absorption scheme (IAS) and the rowdy start of The Interlace development's preview last Tuesday have done little to dampen sales of the CapitaLand and Hotel Properties project.

    Of the 360 units released for sale, 233 units or 65 per cent were sold as of Sunday.

    'We didn't expect the scrapping of the IAS to affect us very much, because a very small percentage of buyers opt for it in general, about 5 to 7 per cent,' said Patricia Chia, chief executive officer of CapitaLand Residential Singapore, at The Interlace's sales briefing yesterday.

    The Wharf Residence, CapitaLand's other development, saw less than 5 per cent of buyers taking up the IAS. The scheme was abolished by the government last week as a precaution to prevent the overheating of the property market.

    The Interlace is located at the former Gillman Heights site on Depot Road. The $1.4 billion project's first-day preview saw 153 units being offered to former Gillman Heights residents.

    The preview took a dramatic turn when a shouting session ensued, fuelled by former residents who had previously been unhappy about the en bloc deal, and claimed that a poor choice of units had been offered by the developer at the preview.

    CapitaLand maintained, however, that a mix of units ranging from 800 square feet (sq ft) to 5,800 sq ft in size, facing the pool, sea and HortPark had been on offer.

    Since then, the two and three-bedroom units have been the best-selling among the 233 units sold. Prices range from $850 per sq ft and top out at $1,150 per sq ft.

    To date, about five penthouse units out of the 18 units released have been sold. The largest penthouse stands at 5,877 sq ft and is priced at about $5 million.

    The 99-year leasehold project will receive its temporary occupation permit in 2015.

    This 1,040-unit project, located on an eight-hectare site, will also be the first one of its scale to be managed by CapitaLand itself.

    'We felt that our condominium management would be able to offer a value-add to the development,' said Ms Chia.

    As part of the management plan, residents will be offered a free shuttle bus service to the nearest MRT station for the first five years.

    The 31-block project, is made distinctive by the unique stacking of apartment blocks in a hexagonal arrangement. The sale process had been fraught with tension over the last two years as minority owners opposed the $548 million deal at every turn.

    The Court of Appeal dismissed a final attempt by minority owners to overturn the sale in February this year.

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    Sep 22, 2009 Tuesday

    Private homes still seeing high demand

    Cooling-off measures had little impact on weekend's sales

    By Jessica Cheam

    DEMAND for private homes remained strong over the weekend despite measures announced by the Government last week to take the froth off the market.

    Property developers CapitaLand and Hotel Properties said yesterday that 233 units - or 65 per cent - of 360 units launched at The Interlace project, at the former Gillman Heights site in Alexandra Road, were sold in the past week.

    A wide range of units from two-roomers to penthouses were sold at a price range of $850 per sq ft (psf) to $1,150 psf.

    Guocoland, which held a preview launch of its freehold 119-unit Elliot At The East Coast project over the weekend, sold 45 - or 75 per cent - of 60 units launched at an average price of $970 psf.

    At the upper-mid segment of the market, buyers snapped up another 5 per cent, or 14 units, at Singapore Land's 289-unit Trizon At Mount Sinai over the weekend.

    The project, at the site of the former Himiko Court, is now 70 per cent sold at a price range of $1,300 to $1,500 psf.

    The long weekend's sales seem to indicate that buying interest has not been dampened by the Government's moves to cool the market, which include scrapping the interest absorption scheme (IAS) and restarting confirmed list land sales in the first half of next year. The IAS allowed buyers to put a down payment and defer the bulk of the purchase payment until the project was completed.

    Guocoland's spokesman told The Straits Times that fewer than 10 per cent of its buyers, four out of 45, took up the IAS, which adds another 2 per cent premium to the sale price. Elliot at the East Coast was approved for the IAS before the Government banned the scheme.

    'Feedback from buyers indicates that they are not overly concerned with the Government's cooling-down measures, and are confident of the long-term capital appreciation potential for well-designed properties in ideal locations,' said the spokesman.

    At The Interlace, however, CapitaLand decided not to offer the IAS despite having approval for the scheme.

    Still, even without the scheme, 'home buyers have shown such strong support for The Interlace', said CapitaLand Residential chief executive Patricia Chia. The project's design by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture was a compelling draw for many buyers, she added.

    The 1,040-unit project, which offers 807 to 5,877 sq ft units, saw a steady stream of visitors at its temporary River Valley Road sales office over the weekend, said CapitaLand.

    At Trizon, it was a similar scenario with sales momentum continuing over the weekend as the IAS was never offered for this project, said a Singapore Land spokesman. Prices for all three projects were as indicated by developers before the Government's move.

    Industry observers note that buying interest could have been boosted by buyers who emerged after the Hungry Ghost Festival ended prior to the weekend.

    The property market typically goes into a lull during this period as many Chinese consider it inauspicious to make housing commitments at this time.

    Ngee Ann Polytechnic real estate lecturer Nicholas Mak said he was not surprised by the weekend's turnout, adding that buyers supporting the market now are owner occupiers or long-term investors. As a premium is added to the sale price for the IAS, it was not very popular to begin with, so the government move has not had such a big impact, he noted.

    'Of course, pure speculators would have been weeded out now, so sales numbers for this month might be lower because of the measures,' he said.

    Home buyer J. Soh, 35, who visited The Interlace sales office yesterday, said the recent measures have not affected his buying appetite. 'I'm looking for a home to live in, and was drawn to the project's creative design. If I find a unit I like, I'll buy it regardless of the new rules,' he said.

    Another buyer, Ms Sarah Tan, a 39-year-old marketing executive, said she was interested in buying a private property, but that 'prices have shot up a bit too high in recent months'.

    'I fully support the Government's cooling-off measures. I hope that they deter speculators from pushing up prices so people like me can still afford a home,' she said.

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    A quick sales tally

    # THE INTERLACE at the former Gillman Heights site

    In the past week, 233 units, or 65 per cent, of 360 units launched were sold.


    Over the weekend, 45, or 75 per cent, of 60 units launched were sold.


    Another 14 units were sold over the weekend, and the project is now 70 per cent sold.

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    Default Immigrant Influx And The Property Market

    Immigrant influx and the property market
    Friday, 25 September 2009

    In the middle of debates regarding the condition of Singapore’s property market, a survey was conducted to shed light on why the city’s real estate industry bounced back much quicker than most analysts expected.

    The said survey was accredited and commissioned by the feedback unit of the Singaporean Government, Reach. The unit polled 360 respondents comprising people who have just acquired permanent residency and citizenship in Singapore. During the course of the survey, the respondents were asked several questions regarding the city they just recently adopted as their own.

    Some of the major findings are: 95% would recommend living in Singapore to other people; 93.3% feel that their overall Singaporean experience has exceeded expectations; 87.5% transitioned smoothly and did not encounter any problems with the political system; and 80.6% consider the cost of living in Singapore as manageable.

    Taking the survey at its face value, the results may be seen as resounding endorsements to move to Singapore and live here. Yes, the positive findings may not be surprising at all because the sample was taken from people who attended ceremonies for the bestowal of their citizenship certificates. “They wouldn't be new citizens if they don't enjoy living in Singapore,” remarked Terence Chong, a sociologist at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

    However, informal conversations with permanent residents and expats also generally yield somewhat similar reactions: Singapore is a really “easy-to-live-in” city.

    With the city’s status as an attractive city to live in and the government’s liberality with regard to immigration policies, it comes as no surprise that the population of residents in Singapore has been ballooning steadily in the past few years. Consequentially, the demand for homes has also been growing. To some degree, this explicates why property rental and selling prices have remained firm.

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement that immigrant inflow will slow down, but the tap will not be turned off. He also reiterated that Singapore will definitely “need new immigrants for the indefinite future.” Wooing foreigners to relocate here thus remains a major policy, even though the number of immigrants to be taken in is calibrated every once in a while. The current larger population base and the continuous influx of immigrants will guarantee a minimum level of new housing demand on a yearly basis.

    In the meantime, Singapore has survived the economic downturn virtually unscathed and has emerged as an oasis or haven of stability, aside from being recognised as a booming “hub city” in the fastest developing region in the world. As such, analysts forecast that the city will remain as an immigrant and financial capital magnet. In a way, owning a property here may be equated to owning a stake in a Singapore government-run firm. Very much similar to bluechip stocks, it’s not unimaginable that liveable cities and well-managed nations should also enjoy premiums.

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