Published February 2, 2010

Developers brimming with new launches

Far East said to be top seller in January; Lippo and MCL may release some units


EVEN as developers have gotten off to a good start this year, selling well over 1,000 private homes in January, their launch machinery remains well oiled for more roll-outs in the near future.

On the rise: The average price for Centennia Suites is being touted at $2,000 per square foot or even higher, beating prices in secondary market for nearby projects

Lippo Group is expected to preview Centennia Suites on the former Kim Seng Plaza site, diagonally opposite Great World City, later this week. The average price for the District 9 freehold project is being touted at $2,000 per square foot or even higher.

This is higher than recently achieved prices in the secondary market for nearby projects such as The Trillium and The Cosmopolitan but Lippo is probably banking on the exclusivity factor to market its latest offering. The 36-storey freehold Centennia Tower comprises a single tower with just 97 units, comprising two, three and four-bedroom apartments and two penthouses.

The two bedders are relatively large at slightly over 1,200 sq ft. Three bedders come in five variations but all around 1,800 sq ft; four-bedroom apartments also have five variations of roughly 2,250 sq ft. Centennia's two penthouses are around 3,300 sq ft and 4,400 sq ft. BT understands that the project is being marketed by CB Richard Ellis and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Agents are also busy gathering interest for MCL Land's The Estuary, a 608-unit condo at Yishun Ave 1/2. Some market watchers say that they would not be surprised if MCL releases some units before the Chinese New Year break.

For the month of January, Far East Organization is believed to have been the top seller, with sales of close to 300 units. Its bestseller was The Shore Residences, a 103-year-old condominium project on the former Rose Garden site in Katong. Far East is understood to have sold over 140 units in the project last month.

City Developments sold 243 units in January, the bulk of which were in Cube 8 at Thomson Road (167 units) and Livia in Pasir Ris (59 units), a CDL spokeswoman said.

Fellow property giant CapitaLand also did brisk sales. Its 165-unit Urban Suites condo in the Cairnhill area is said to be left with fewer than 30 units.

Frasers Centrepoint sold a total 102 units last month, including 43 units at its Residences Botanique in the Yio Chu Kang/Sirat roads area.

Frasers Centrepoint's and Far East's sales numbers are inclusive of about 35 units sold at their two joint-venture condominium projects along Bedok Reservoir, Waterfront Waves and Waterfront Keys.

Allgreen Properties is also believed to have sold a total 62 units from its preview of Holland Residences last week. The average price is $1,625 psf.

CB Richard Ellis executive director (residential) Joseph Tan says: 'Generally, buyers are showing more interest and there's acceptance that prices have bottomed out with a strong likelihood of growth. Developers in their pricing policy should also leave room for capital appreciation for investors.'

A Morgan Stanley report dated Jan 27, on a survey of the Singapore private residential sector involving Singapore-based respondents, concluded that, generally, respondents are expecting prices to trend upwards gradually in the medium term rather than spiking in the next 12 months.

As for developers, DTZ executive director Ong Choon Fah says: 'When there's a window of opportunity like what we're seeing now, developers want to capitalise on it and try to push out projects as soon as possible; they can always restock land at government tenders.

'After all, most economists are still calling for a note of caution on the sustainability of the global economic economy - for instance, if interest rates rise and as governments withdraw their stimulus measures.'