By KALPANA RASHIWALA
DEVELOPERS and property agents reported slower home sales last week following National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s cautionary remarks on his blog.
Global Property Strategic Alliance CEO Jeffrey Hong, whose company is marketing several condo projects for developers, said: ‘Primary market sales (units sold by developers) softened a little bit last week due to the June school holiday season and official comments on the property market made last week, which may have caused some potential buyers to temporarily put their purchases on hold as they wait for clearer market direction.
‘But sellers – whether in the primary or secondary market – are remaining firm on pricing.’
Some property consultants estimate that developers’ private home sales in May – the official number from Urban Redevelopment Authority will be released tomorrow – may come in close to the level in April, when they sold 1,788 private homes excluding executive condos.
‘Sales will probably be slower in June but are likely to start picking up again in July and August as many of the house hunters now are end-users looking for a home for their own occupation; so they can’t hold off making a purchase for too long,’ said Mr Hong.
Terrasse in Hougang, which has been on the market since May 21, is said to have seen sales in the single-digit last week, compared with about 20 units in each of the preceding two weeks.
The five-storey, 99-year leasehold project is priced at about $950 psf on average, with about 210 of the total 414 units now taken up, BT understands.
A developer told BT: ‘Generally, the market seems to be slower, especially last weekend. My guess is the minister’s comments do not help. He has been cautioning people; and people are speculating there will be more (cooling) measures coming up. The broad supply figure he mentioned, that there will be some 53,000 private homes looking for buyers in the next few years, also seems quite scary.’
Among other things, Mr Khaw said on his blog last Thursday that ‘sharp property price increases cannot go on forever’ and that ‘rapid price increase brings with it enormous risks’ and ‘I think it is my duty to sound an alert . . . that things can go very wrong suddenly’.
Meanwhile, developers continue to roll out new projects. Far East Organization is said to have sold over 80 units at its Woodhaven condo project in Woodlands. The average price is said to be over $900 psf.
The 99-year leasehold project has three components – regular apartments; Soho-style apartments with greater floor-to-ceiling height; and townhouses.
Over in the Newton area, BT understands that City Developments Ltd (CDL) has sold 17 out of 25 units released at its 64-unit Buckley Classique between Friday and Sunday. The early-bird average price for the private preview, which began on Friday, was $1,950 psf.
Lump-sum unit prices are said to range from $2.27 million for a 1,098 sq ft, two-bedroom apartment on the second storey to $7.1 million for a 4,359 sq ft penthouse with five bedrooms and a family area.
The freehold development comprises two blocks (five and six storeys) on the site of the former Buckley Mansion at No 11 Buckley Road and will incorporate a conservation bungalow next door (No 9 Buckley Road) for use as a clubhouse for the project.
A property agent described the take-up for Buckley Classique as being ‘in-line with current market conditions, given that things are less buoyant now’.
Analysts noted that in late October last year, CDL subsidiary Millennium & Copthorne Hotels sold 112 units at its 150-unit freehold Glyndebourne condo in Dunearn Road over a three-day period.
However, the five-storey freehold project – which was released at an average price of about $2,100 psf – includes one-bedroom- plus-study units (small units typically sell faster). Buckley Classique does not have any one-bedders.
Another project that is said to be garnering strong interest is Far East’s and Frasers Centrepoint’s Seastrand condo in Pasir Ris.
The average price is said to be about $850 psf and sales could begin as early as later this week if all the requisite approvals are secured in time. The 473-unit project will have one to four-bedroom units.