Homebuyers’ market

Developers are now recalibrating pricing strategies and planning their product and unit mix. They are reaching out to a market made up of predominantly first-time homebuyers whose affordability has been crimped by the latest property cooling measures.
Singaporean entrepreneur and real estate investor Eugene Loh and his wife purchased a 635 sq ft, two-bedroom unit at The Tre Ver on Potong Pasir Avenue 1 last weekend. The newly married couple paid $1.02 million ($1,606 psf) for the unit. According to Loh, they like the unit because it is located in one of the low-rise blocks that have “dual views” of the Kallang River and landscaped garden as well as swimming pool. They also like the fact that the project was designed by renowned architect WOHA.
“The timing was right, as we were looking for a new home,” says Loh. He and his wife are currently staying with his parents-in-law in Bishan. “Potong Pasir is quite a short driving distance from Bishan,” he points out.
Buyers at The Tre Ver on launch day on Aug 4 (Credit: UOL Group)
His only concern initially was the reduction in the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio from 80% to 75% since the property cooling measures were introduced. “That was a bit of a stretch, as that means we had to come up with more cash and CPF,” he says. “But since my wife and I are both working, we redid our sums and found that, based on the purchase price, it was a comfortable amount.”
Loh was one of the buyers at The Tre Ver on Aug 4, when 141 units were sold within three hours by balloting. The 729-unit private condominium was the second project to be launched post-property cooling measures on July 6.
The sales buoyed market sentiment, as they reflect “strong underlying demand, especially from Singaporean first-time homebuyers”, says Liam Wee Sin, deputy group CEO of Singapore-listed UOL Group, joint developer of The Tre Ver with its subsidiary, United Industrial Corp (UIC). Following the launch of the first phase of 200 units last weekend, the developer says it has released the second phase of units for sale.
Crowd at the balloting tent on the morning of the launch of The Tre Ver on Aug 4 (Credit: UOL Group)