May 30, 2010
New launches aplenty amid uncertainty
Analysts believe demand likely to be healthy despite market volatility
By Jessica Cheam
New residential projects have been launched for the long weekend as Singapore celebrates Vesak Day. But with the recent uncertainty in the financial market, will property investors bite?
Property experts whom The Sunday Times spoke to said the jury is still out on whether April's bumper sales of 2,207 new units - the second-highest monthly sales achieved - can be sustained this month.
This figure was up from 1,761 in March and 1,202 in February.
But recent turmoil stemming from the sovereign debt crisis in Greece and other European countries, coupled with stock market volatility, may have a cooling effect on the market in the short term, experts said.
Last week, the Government also released the largest amount of state land for private homes in response to surging demand.
It put 18 residential or residential/commercial sites on the programme for confirmed sale in the second half of the year, and 13 sites for residential use on the reserve list.
Together, the plots could yield 13,905 new homes - a figure that has experts speculating about a possible supply glut in the future.
The big question on the minds of property hunters on the prowl this weekend: Is this the right time to buy?
Ngee Ann Polytechnic real estate lecturer Nicholas Mak said that investors will now have to consider that there may be cheaper projects on the horizon.
'With the bumper crop of land sales, bids will be less aggressive and this could translate to lower launch prices,' he said.
Chesterton Suntec International research and consultancy director Colin Tan said the uncertainty of the global economic outlook could also be a reason for investors to stay away.
Mr Tan did not think, however, that the Government's recent land release would have a big impact on demand as there are still genuine buyers in the market.
But both experts agreed there is a healthy level of demand that will still move sales this weekend.
Major projects launched this weekend include Kheng Leong group's The Minton in Lorong Ah Soo/Hougang Street 11, which officially opened to the public yesterday.
The 99-year leasehold development offers a range of one- to four-bedroom apartments and is due for completion around 2014. Units were sold during the soft launch at an average price of $880 psf.
Another project launched last Friday was Frasers Centrepoint's Flamingo Valley in Siglap.
About 40 of 120 units released during the previews have been sold at an average price of $1,200 psf, said Frasers.
The freehold development offers a range of units from studios to four-bedders and penthouses.
Another recent launch: the freehold Cascadia condo in Bukit Timah Road.
More than 50 of 90 released units have been sold, said its developer Allgreen Properties. Units sold at between $1,300psf and $1,600psf, with average transacted prices close to $1,400 psf, it said.
For buyers on the lookout for completed properties, Melodies Limited's freehold 72-unit Cassia View in Guillemard Road offers three-bedroom units and penthouses. Prices range from $900 psf to $1,100 psf.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic's Mr Mak said that despite market uncertainty, some projects - especially those attractively priced - will still do well.
Chesterton's Mr Tan said that the recent bidding by developers for land at bullish prices reflects developers' positive outlook on demand for homes.
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang