Coronavirus fears fail to keep potential buyers away from Parc Canberra’s preview

/ EdgeProp Singapore
February 7, 2020 1:18 PM SGT
About 5,781 people visited the sales gallery of Parc Canberra executive condo over the three days from Jan 31 to Feb 2 (Credit: Albert Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - As the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus which was first reported in Wuhan city, China, spiked globally over the past week, some developers with new residential projects ready for launch after the Lunar New Year, might have had second thoughts. Not Hoi Hup Realty and Malaysia’s Sunway Developments, though. The joint venture partners went ahead with the preview of Parc Canberra and its e-application on Jan 31.
“We were debating whether we should hold off our preview, but we felt that we shouldn’t overreact,” says Koon Wai Leong, general manager of Hoi Hup. “Life still has to go on with as little disruption as possible but with all the precautions necessary to protect everybody.”
The JV partners opened the sales gallery of the 496-unit executive condominium project that same day, and by end of the evening, about 1,500 people had visited the sales gallery.
Koon of Hoi Hup: We were debating whether we should hold off our preview, but we felt that we shouldn’t overreact. Life still has to go on with as little disruption as possible but with all the precautions necessary to protect everybody (Credit: Albert Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
On Feb 1, the sales gallery opened one hour earlier at 10am instead of the original scheduled 11am due to “popular demand”. By 9pm, it had seen 2,200 visitors pass through the sales gallery. And by the end of Sunday evening, it had attracted a total of 5,781 visitors for the three days from Jan 31 to Feb 2.
According to Koon, potential buyers who had initially pulled out of the viewing, changed their minds after they saw the crowd and the precautions taken by the developer. “They then quickly rushed over,” adds Koon.
The penthouse units at Parc Canberra come with 4.5m ceiling height (Credit: Albert Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Safety precautions first

To be sure, precautionary measures were taken by the developer. All visitors had to register before entering the sales gallery. They also had to have their temperatures taken by one of the staff and fill up a contact-tracing declaration form. This had been implemented during the SARS outbreak 17 years ago. Besides contact details, visitors had to declare whether they visited China in the last two weeks or had visitors from China living with them. Those who had contact were not allowed to enter the sales gallery.
To raise the hygiene level at the sales gallery and showflats, the developer also increased the number of cleaners and the frequency of cleaning.
When The Edge Singapore visited the showflat on Saturday, the number of viewers not wearing face masks outnumbered those wearing one by about 10 to one. Given that this is an EC project, the buyers should all be Singaporeans, notes Koon.
Each homeowner at Parc Canberra will also be given a Nespresso coffee machine in their unit. Kitchen appliances are from Bosch, while sanitaryware and fittings are Duravit and Hansgrohe (Credit: Albert Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Pent-up demand for ECs

Hoi Hup and Sunway Developments believe there is still pent-up demand for ECs. “There was only one EC project launched last year,” says Koon. “Parc Canberra is the first EC launch in the North for the last four years and it happens to be one of the few ECs located within walking distance of an MRT station.”
Located at Canberra Link, just off Sembawang Road, Parc Canberra is located just 300m from Canberra MRT station on the North-South Line.
This is not the first EC project developed by Hoi Hup and Sunway. The last EC project launched by the JV partners was the 628-unit Rivercove Residences in Sengkang, which was fully sold and expected to obtain Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) later this year.
In 2017, the joint venture also launched the 531-unit Hundred Palms on Yio Chu Kang Road. All the units in the EC project were fully sold within seven hours of its launch. “We learnt a lot from each project that we did,” says Koon. “We put in a lot of effort into the design of units to make them very appealing for upgraders and young families, which is something that they appreciate. We design our projects with functionality for families in mind.”
Koon points to the “efficient use of space” at Parc Canberra. For instance, the entrance of each unit does not have a long corridor. In addition, about 80% of the units at Parc Canberra comes with a utility area, and the master bedrooms are big enough for a king-sized bed. “While the units are compact, we make sure that we provide a utility area, a yard, comfortable living and dining area and all the bedrooms can at least fit a queen-sized bed,” he adds.
The café culture continues in the interior of the sales gallery (Credit: Albert Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Inspired by café culture

At Parc Canberra, Hoi Hup and Sunway Developments have also focused on the design and amenities of the development. Taking inspiration from the hipster cafes in Melbourne, Australia, the sales gallery and the future clubhouse of Parc Canberra will have a loft-style ceiling.
Dubbed “The Barn”, the clubhouse will have a function room and a separate children’s party room, a library and a media room for screening movies. The developer has also incorporated spaces at the clubhouse for people to relax with a good book or a cup of coffee. “The clubhouse is not exclusive to those who have booked the function room or the party room, but for all residents who just want to enjoy the space,” says Koon.
Each homeowner at Parc Canberra will also be given a Nespresso coffee machine. They will also get kitchen appliances from Bosch and sanitaryware and fittings from Duravit and Hansgrohe.

‘A good start’

Parc Canberra features 10 blocks sitting on a 194,204 sq ft, 99-year leasehold site. Six are 11-storey blocks while the other four blocks have 13 storeys each. The units are a mix of three- to five-bedroom apartments including penthouses.
Prices range from $855,000 for a three-bedroom unit to $1.568 million for a five-bedroom unit with utility and yard. The average price is about $1,080 psf. E-application will close on Feb 10, with booking of units to start on Feb 15.
The turnout at Parc Canberra will provide some assurance to other developers who have adopted a waiting-and-see attitude before deciding whether to go ahead with their own project launches during a virus outbreak.
“I’m truly encouraged by the crowd,” says Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty. “It’s a good start. And it’s a demonstration for other developers who are thinking of whether to go ahead with their own launches or not. It shows that if developers put the right processes in place, homebuyers and visitors will be assured.”
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