Cooling moves stop prices going north

Published 22 February 2011
The Straits Times
By Esther Teo

Crowds still showing up at condo launches, but sales not quite hopping

THE property cooling measures certainly did not deter crowds from visiting a number of launches over the weekend.

Cooling moves stop prices going northShowrooms for new condo launches were bustling. Many projects, including My Manhattan and d’Leedon, saw a steady stream of visitors, although the number of sales was not quite enough to nudge prices north.

If the first phase of a launch is successful, developers could be tempted to raise prices to cash in – but that sort of buyer enthusiasm was missing over the weekend.

Property analysts note that while significant price reductions are unlikely, developers will be wary of pushing values up in case they provoke yet another round of cooling measures.

CapitaLand’s 1,715-unit d’Leedon released 150 units over the weekend, with some 1,500 people visiting the show gallery at the former Farrer Court estate.

Various unit types were sold – including a garden house for more than $4 million – said a spokesman, with the average price remaining at $1,680 per sq ft (psf). This is unchanged from prices during its public launch last December.

There were around 10 sales at Nin Residences near Potong Pasir MRT station over the weekend. This brought total sales to more than 100 of the 144 units launched. Prices at the 219-unit project have also held steady, at about $1,250 psf, since its launch.

Far East Organization said it sold 45 units over the past week, bringing total sales to 315 out of 444 units released at the 561-unit Waterfront Isle at Bedok Reservoir Road. Average prices have inched up to $940 psf, from the $936 psf for 270 units sold a week earlier.

Frasers Centrepoint’s Flamingo Valley in Siglap moved 12 units over the weekend; the average price was $1,200 psf.

The Straits Times understands that the project has also been re-adjusted and resized to include smaller units for buyers looking for more affordable overall prices.

Almost half the 150 units launched at the 301-unit My Manhattan near Simei MRT station have also found buyers.

Chip Eng Seng chief executive Raymond Chia said that while the turn-out at the showflat has been encouraging, take-up rates have slowed and prices have stabilised.

‘This is well within our expectations, especially since there are so many project launches and re- launches at the same time. Plus, Chinese New Year is just over, buyers will need time to get themselves in tune with the market again,’ he added.

When The Straits Times visited the showflat on Sunday, a 560-sq ft apartment was priced at $774,000 – or $1,382 psf – while a three-bedroom unit of 1,076 sq ft had a price tag of $1.26 million or $1,171 psf.

Potential buyers at showflats say the cooling measures have served as a dampener, and that they are spending more time doing their sums before committing to a purchase.

Lawyer Desmond Tan, who bought a one-bedroom-plus-study unit at d’Leedon for $1,560 psf, said the good location was key to his decision.

He will settle the outstanding loan on his Housing Board flat in order to qualify for an 80 per cent loan.

‘The measures definitely prompted a rethink, they were a dampener… but we didn’t foresee much of a dip in prices but more of a gradual increase and a cap on the stratospheric price climb instead, and so decided to buy now,’ he added.

Analysts say that the good response to recent launches means that developers are unlikely to drop prices.

Dennis Wee Group director Chris Koh expects prices to hold steady for the next couple of weeks as developers watch one another and monitor the market.

‘Response is still good; there’s no necessity to raise prices and risk a standoff for now. Buyers find that prices are still attractive so it’s a win-win situation for both,’ he added.

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