Published January 7, 2010

Sales of luxury homes still brisk

Outlook for this segment positive as it still has room to move up


LUXURY homes continued to sell well right to the end of 2009, updates from two developers show.

Malaysia-based YTL Corporation has sold six of the 13 villas at its Kasara project at Sentosa Cove, at prices ranging from $14 million to $22 million. This works out to about $1,600 per sq ft on average.

And on the mainland, CapitaLand has sold 60 apartments in the 165-unit Urban Suites condominium in the Cairnhill area, at prices ranging from $2,400 to $2,700 psf.

YTL sold the six villas in November and December through private previews. It will officially launch the remaining seven villas tomorrow.

CapitaLand started preview sales in Singapore for phase one of Urban Suites - on the former Char Yong Gardens site in Hullet Road - just before Christmas. Sixty units were released in phase one and sold to buyers prepared to purchase more than one.

CapitaLand, which is developing the project with Wachovia Development Corporation, plans to launch the second phase, comprising about 50 units, in Jakarta next week.

Both CapitaLand and YTL say the brisk sales indicate the luxury market is picking up.

'The successful launch of Urban Suites is testament to buyers' confidence in the fundamentals of the Singapore economy and the growth potential of the high-end property segment,' said Patricia Chia, chief executive of CapitaLand's residential arm.

YTL Singapore director Kemmy Tan said: 'The mass market segment was the key driver last year, so the luxury segment still has room to move up. We are very positive on the outlook for 2010.'

At Kasara, selling prices will be bumped up slightly with the official launch. The villas, which range from 9,000 sq ft to more than 14,000 sq ft, will now be sold for an average $1,700 psf.

They were designed by DP Architects and aim to combine Asian architectural style with European interiors and fittings.

YTL said the six homes sold so far have been bought by Singaporeans and foreigners from the Asia-Pacific and Europe. Sentosa Cove is the only place in Singapore where foreigners can own landed property without special permission.

Over at Urban Suites, about two-thirds of the buyers are foreigners from countries including China, Australia and Canada. Most buyers bought two units, CapitaLand said.

It gave a one per cent discount to buyers who picked up more than one unit. Buyers have a choice of two, three and four-bedroom apartments as well as duplex and triplex penthouses. The units range from 1,044 sq ft to 4,715 sq ft.

Analysts say CapitaLand can be expected to raise prices for subsequent phases.

In a note yesterday, DBS Group Research analyst Adrian Chua said the prices achieved for the 60 units transacted so far exceed his expectation of $2,400 psf. 'We continue to advocate going for the high-end property developers,' he said.