Buyers return after waiting on the curb

By
Feily Sofian
,
Esther Hoon
/ The Edge Property
|
May 5, 2016 10:44 AM SGT
The residential market has stirred again as developers step up marketing efforts ahead of the June school holidays. In addition to the brisk sales at recent launches, existing projects witnessed a spike in sales in March and April. Sales also received a boost from pent-up demand as the government reiterated its stance against tweaking the cooling measures.
Executive condominiums led the rebound in sales momentum. Excluding new launches, the five bestselling EC projects in March and April sold 50 to 70 units each. In the same period last year, the top-selling EC project sold just 44 units.
Graphic by Kim SY.
The Terrace EC in Punggol sold 37 units in March and at least another 37 units in April, or a total of 74 units over both months. The total sales volume could be higher as the caveats in the last week of April have yet to be published.
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Developer Kheng Leong is understood to have offered cash vouchers for The Terrace units under its buyer referral scheme. The scheme entitles both buyer and referrer to a $10,000 cash voucher when a unit is successfully sold.
The disbursement of the cash vouchers was reflected in URA caveats. About three quarters of the caveats lodged since February showed net prices that were $10,000 lower than the transacted price.
Several other projects also witnessed brisk sales in the past two months. The Amore, The Vales and The Brownstone moved at least 69, 62 and 58 units respectively in March and April. Caveats lodged indicated no discounts, although some projects are offering star buy units. However, a combination of factors could be spurring sales.
The Amore, along with The Terrace, The Vales, The Brownstone, Bellewaters and Bellewoods, are among the few remaining EC projects where buyers are exempted from paying a resale levy as the sites were launched before Dec 9, 2013.
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ECs are also known to attract buyers seeking large units because of their affordable price quantum. At The Amore, buyers paid less than $1 million on average for 1,227 sq ft four-bedroom units, which accounted for nearly 40% of sales in March and April. Recently, buyers also snapped up all 82 four-bedroom units at Wandervale EC in Choa Chu Kang. Separately, The Vales is located within walking distance of Sengkang MRT station while The Brownstone is situated next to the upcoming Canberra MRT station.
Small units dominate sales in private projects
In the private residential segment, the five bestselling existing projects moved between 40 and 90 units each over March and April. In the same period last year, sales volume for the five bestselling existing projects generally hovered in the 40 to 50 unit region each. One- and two-bedroom units dominated sales activity, which came as no surprise given the punitive nature of the ABSD and lending regulations on pricier units.
Among the existing launches, The Poiz Residences topped the sales chart in March and April with at least 91 units sold. About half were one-bedroom units between 420 sq ft and 538 sq ft in size, with prices averaging $683,000, or $1,513 psf.
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Kingsford.Hillview Peak trailed closely behind with at least 79 units sold. Close to 60% of the caveats were for one-bedroom units. Anecdotal evidence based on caveats lodged shows the developer is offering a discount rate at varying percentages depending on the unit size and location. In June 2014, a 517 sq ft unit on the fifth floor was sold at $1,447 psf. However, a unit directly above with the same size and orientation was transacted for $1,345 psf in March this year. Separately, a 786 sq ft unit on the 10th floor fetched $1,301 psf in April, a discount to the $1,434 psf fetched by a comparable unit located two floors below in August 2013.
Kingsford.Hillview Peak could attract ABSD on land price if it fails to sell all its units by early next year. With the latest sales, the number of unsold units in the project fell to around 150. The developer would need to sell only 15 units per month on average over the next 10 months to avoid incurring ABSD charges.
At Botanique at Bartley, UOL sold at least 74 units in March and April. One- and two-bedrooms accounted for 80% of the caveats lodged in both months. Elsewhere, Kingsford Waterbay, Lakeville, Sims Urban Oasis, Sky Vue, Symphony Suites, The Glades and The Trilinq moved 30 to 40 units each over March and April.
At new launches, Qingjian Realty is understood to have sold more than 160 units at The Visionaire. The EC project was launched in April and positioned as the next-generation smart home. Sim Lian Group has sold over 300 units at its Wandervale EC, which was launched in March. Buyers also snapped up 122 of the 305 units in Sturdee Residences at its VIP preview on April 23 weekend.
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On April 13, Wheelock Properties started offering buyers a 15% discount and a 15% ABSD rebate at Ardmore Three under the “ABSD assistance package” to offset the additional buyer’s stamp duty. OUE has also offered two alternative schemes to buyers of its 462-unit OUE Twin Peaks on Leonie Hill Road: a straight 15% discount for selected units with prices starting from $2,300 psf, or the option of purchasing with a deferred payment scheme, with units starting from $2,700 psf.
There were eight caveats lodged for OUE Twin Peaks in March and April with prices ranging from $2,300 to $2,918 psf. Meanwhile, two caveats were lodged for Ardmore Three in April at an average price of $3,113 psf.