Thursday, September 15, 2011

New income ceiling for ECs extended to all projects: MND

THE revised income ceiling of $12,000 to purchase executive condominiums (EC) will now apply across the board regardless of the project's launch date.
The Ministry of National Development's (MND) latest move follows last month's decision to raise the monthly income ceiling to purchase new EC units from $10,000 to $12,000 for those projects which were launched for public sale from Aug 15, 2011 onwards.

But since then, it has received many appeals to apply the revised income ceiling of $12,000 to all EC projects.

Yesterday, MND said it has 'reviewed the public feedback and agreed that the suggestion was sound'. With immediate effect, the revised income ceiling of $12,000 will apply to all EC projects.

At the moment, five EC projects which were launched before Aug 15, 2011, still hold about 600 unsold units.

Developers BT spoke to welcomed MND's announcement and said it will benefit the intended wider pool of potential homebuyers by giving them more projects to choose from.

'We received similar requests from this group of potential buyers prior to the announcement and look forward to continued strong sales for Blossom Residences in the near future,' said Chia Ngiang Hong, group general manager of City Developments.

CityDev's 602-unit Blossom Residences at Segar Road, which was launched in July 2011, will benefit from the policy change. To date, more than 380 units, or over 60 per cent of the units, have been sold.

A spokesman for United Engineers similarly said the move will benefit both homebuyers and developers.

'Homebuyers get to enjoy a wider selection of EC projects and all developers of EC projects also get to market their units to a new pool of EC homebuyers with combined household income below $12,000,' the spokesman said.

United Engineers' 540-unit Austville Residences, which was launched in January 2011, is more than 60 per cent sold.

The three other EC projects with unsold units that were launched before Aug 15, 2011, are: Esparina Residences and The Canopy (which were both launched in Oct 2010), and RiverParc Residence (launched in July 2011).

As of end-July 2011, RiverParc Residence had 182 unsold units, The Canopy had 51, and Esparina Residences had three.

But some analysts were unsure if the policy change will have a large impact on the sales of current EC projects.

'Though it is a welcome move for everyone, the timing of this change is not likely to have a large impact on the EC sales of current projects,' said ERA Realty's key executive officer Eugene Lim.

'In light of the changing economic environment, this group of buyers are hoping for price adjustments in the mass market condominium market and are evaluating their options.'

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