Edmund Tie’s auction team rakes in $10 mil in sales during circuit breaker

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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June 12, 2020 5:50 AM SGT
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE -  In Phase One of Singapore’s reopening after the circuit breaker period, property agents are still disallowed from participating in face-to-face activities (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
In Phase One of Singapore’s reopening after the circuit breaker period, property agents are still disallowed from participating in face-to-face activities (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Although property viewings have halted throughout Singapore’s “circuit breaker” period, Edmund Tie’s auction team managed to close deals exceeding $10 million in total across seven properties.
In Phase One of Singapore’s reopening, the restrictions put in place during the circuit breaker continue for the real estate industry: property agents are still disallowed from participating in face-to-face activities, which include physical viewings, door-to-door solicitation, or marketing activities in public spaces and related events, an advisory by Singapore’s Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) highlights.
During the circuit breaker, instead of physical viewings, the team relied on virtual walkthroughs featuring videos of the properties’ interior. “We ensured that our videos cover most parts of the units in order to allow buyers a clearer view of the properties,” says Joy Tan, head of auction and sales at Edmund Tie.
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The properties were marketed under private treaties, as an alternative to holding auctions. The buyers were a mix of investors and owner-occupiers, says Tan, although most of the interest still came from the former looking for units with investment potential.
Most of the potential buyers were those who had cash on hand, says Tan, such as those who had cashed out on en bloc transactions in the last two years, and had been waiting for a good opportunity to buy their dream property at their ideal price.
She explains that investors are the ones who are likely to purchase properties without physically viewing them, since they intend to rent out the units: “For investors, they are looking more at the dollars and cents, and recent transactions versus rental yield returns.”
In contrast, owner-occupiers tend to be more particular about whether their family will come to enjoy the property in the long term, says Tan. “The vibe of the property and the direction it faces, for example, play a big part, and thus, these buyers would typically need to view the property, often more than once, before committing,” she adds.
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In such a climate, Tan’s team has had to be more proactive in providing more information such as pricing data to potential buyers. This would allow them to be “more confident to commit to a purchase, as compared to face-to-face sales which are more efficient and convincing”, shares Tan.
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - Among the units sold during the period was a two-bedroom unit on the 15th floor of Marina Bay Residences (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
Among the units sold during the period was a two-bedroom unit on the 15th floor of Marina Bay Residences (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Properties snapped up during circuit breaker

Among the units sold by the Edmund Tie team during the period was a two-bedroom unit at Marina Bay Residences. Spanning 1,065 sq ft, the 15th-floor unit was placed on the market with a guide price of $2.05 million ($1,925 psf).
Completed in 2010, Marina Bay Residences comprises a mix of one- to four-bedroom apartments and six penthouses, which include a 11,000 sq ft, triplex penthouse. Facilities in the development include a gym, function room, barbecue area, a lap pool and jacuzzi.
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The most recent transaction at Marina Bay Residences was for a 732 sq ft unit on the 48th floor that changed hands at $1.55 million ($2,118 psf) on Jan 8 this year. Prior to that, a 1,055 sq ft unit on the 40th floor was sold for $2.5 million ($2,400 psf) in December 2019.
Another property sold by the team over the circuit breaker period was a freehold duplex unit with a private swimming pool at Palmera Residence. The 1,496 sq ft unit, along Lorong N Telok Kurau, was on the market with a guide price of $1.38 million ($922 psf). The buyer intended this purchase to be an investment, says Tan.
The ground-floor unit has a family area, enclosed kitchen, utility room, and common bedroom — which opens out to the private pool — on the first level. On the second level, there is a living area and an en suite bedroom.
Palmera Residence is close to top schools such as Tao Nan School, CHIJ (Katong) Primary and Ngee Ann Primary School. It is a six-minute walk away to the upcoming Marine Terrace MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line, slated for completion in 2023.
When asked, Edmund Tie declined to reveal the sale prices of the units at Marina Bay Residences and Palmera Residence as the buyers might find it sensitive.
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - A 1,324 sq ft ,three-bedroom unit on the second floor at Livia was on the market with a guide price of $1.06 million, but was sold for $950,000. The buyer purchased it for his own stay (Credit: Edmund Tie)
A 1,324 sq ft ,three-bedroom unit on the second floor at Livia was on the market with a guide price of $1.06 million, but was sold for $950,000. The buyer purchased it for his own stay (Credit: Edmund Tie)

Online auctions? Maybe not

Edmund Tie originally wanted to shift its auction sessions online, but realised that was not ideal for a number of reasons. First, the team is wary that there would be dummy bidders — people “who are just trying their luck [to bid for properties as] there will be no implications for themselves since their identity is not shared”, Tan says. This is “unlike in a physical event where we are able to see them”, she explains.
Auctions are also time-sensitive. “With technology, there might be a lag with video calls or even comments, especially with large groups. We have had cases in physical auctions that even a second counts when receiving and accepting a bid before the gavel falls,” Tan says.
Another concern is the gap between the time the successful online bids are placed, and the collection of cheques. “During this downtime, buyers may have post-purchase dissonance and withdraw their offers,” says Tan. However, in a physical auction, the process is swift: Tan’s team would approach the buyers to collect the cheques right after the gavel falls.
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - Another unit sold during the period was a freehold duplex unit of 1,496 sq ft, with a private swimming pool, at Palmera Residence (Credit: Edmund Tie)
Another unit sold during the period was a freehold duplex unit of 1,496 sq ft, with a private swimming pool, at Palmera Residence (Credit: Edmund Tie)
As with shifting any process online, there is the concern of a lack of personal touch, says Tan. There could also be online bidders who are not aware of the eligibility and requirements to purchase certain properties, such as for foreigners purchasing landed properties, she adds.
However, one thing is for sure: the real estate industry, and Tan’s auction team in particular, are relying heavily on technology to navigate safe distancing measures. “Post-Covid-19, our team will continue to prepare video walkthroughs of our properties, and will hold virtual viewings for prospects if requested,” she says. “We foresee that this might be the new norm.”
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