Pickup in sales of new luxury condos

By Tan Chee Yuen / The Edge Property | February 11, 2017 8:30 AM SGT
Sales of luxury condominiums in the prime districts have picked up over the past month, a continuation of a trend that started towards the second half of 2016. “Buyers perceive that prices have come off and that it’s the right time to buy,” says Benson Koh, managing partner of Singapore Realtors Inc (SRI).
A project that has spurred keen interest among both local and foreign homebuyers is City Developments’ (CDL) Gramercy Park. The 174-unit freehold development was completed last year and opened for preview. It sold more than 50 units then, with the majority being two-bedroom units from 1,184 sq ft and three-bedroom units of 2,207 sq ft on the low floors. Prices ranged from $2.98 million ($2,517 psf) to $5.9 million ($2,680 psf).
In January, the handful of units sold were three- and four-bedders on the mid floors. These ranged from $5.47 million ($2,516 psf) for a 2,174 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the 10th floor to $7.27 million ($2,756 psf) for a 2,637 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the 19th floor, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis.
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Aerial view of the grounds and swimming pool of Gramercy Park on Grange Road
At GuocoLand’s mixed-use Tanjong Pagar Centre, a 646 sq ft, one-bedder on the 42nd floor of the soon-to-be-completed Wallich Residence was sold for close to $1.92 million ($2,970 psf) according to a caveat lodged on Jan 25. This brings the total number of units sold in the 181-unit development to 17. The project has yet to be launched. Prior to this January transaction, a 1,625 sq ft unit on the 51st floor was sold for $5.26 million ($3,238 psf) in March 2015.
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More bulk sales ahead?
On the back of improved buyer sentiment and buoyed by continued sales, developers are more sanguine about prospects in the residential sector. Developers with projects facing Qualifying Certificate (QC) or Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) charges are therefore exploring more “non-price strategies” such as deferred payment schemes and bulk deals, says Credit Suisse in a report on Feb 7.
Credit Suisse estimates that QC and ABSD charges on developers in 2017 are likely to be lower — about $800 million as at end-2016 — than the $1.3 billion reported earlier.
At Leedon Heights, the freehold 381-unit Leedon Residence was completed in 3Q2015. Developed by GuocoLand, the project saw strong sales after it received its Temporary Occupation Permit. The two most recent caveats lodged in January were for two-bedroom units of 1,044 sq ft: The one on the seventh floor fetched $2.43 million ($2,327 psf), while that on the10th floor was sold for $2.48 million ($2,375 psf).
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Leedon Residence has seen a significant increase in sales, and word on the street is that there could be several parties looking at a bulk purchase of the remaining units
More units at Leedon Residence were snapped up recently, but have yet to be reflected in the caveats, says SRI’s Koh. A week ago, he brokered the sale of two large units in the project. One was a 2,648 sq ft, four-bedder that sold for $5.56 million, while the other was a 4,074 sq ft, five-bedroom duplex that fetched $8.8 million. The largest unit at Leedon Residence is the 8,051 sq ft, five-bedroom garden suite. It was recently sold for $12.5 million in a deal brokered by Bruce Lye, SRI’s other managing partner.
The three units at Leedon Residence recently brokered by SRI were bought by Singaporeans. These high-net-worth individuals live in the Good Class Bungalow estate of the neighbouring Leedon Park and are buying units at Leedon Residence for their children, says Koh. “They are attracted by the exclusivity of the project and its lush sprawling 5ha site, which is one of the largest freehold sites in prime District 10.”
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To date, about 290 units have been sold. According to sources, the developer is in negotiations with several private funds that are interested in buying the remaining 91 units in Leedon Residence. It has to sell all the remaining units by end-June to avoid QC penalty charges.
At TwentyOne Angullia Park, CS Land (formerly known as China Sonangol) is also said to be looking for a bulk buyer for the remaining 38 units in the luxury condo tower. The 54-unit project was completed in 2014. A 3,154 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the 30th floor of the 36-storey tower was sold for $11.99 million ($3,800 psf), according to a caveat lodged on Jan 26.
An adjacent unit of a similar size went for a much higher price of $14.84 million ($4,704 psf) at the peak of the market about 3½ years ago, according to a caveat lodged in August 2013.
In 2016, two low-floor units at TwentyOne Angullia Park were sold at prices below $3,000 psf last month. A 2,777 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the second floor fetched $8.3 million ($2,989 psf) in July, while a 2,314 sq ft, three-bedroom-plus-study on the 11th floor fetched $6.93 million ($2,995 psf) in November.
Deferred payment schemes, discounts
At Ardmore Three in the prestigious Ardmore Park neighbourhood, Wheelock Properties has been offering a 15% discount and a 15% ABSD assistance package to buyers since last April. Close to 60 units were sold in 2016. The developer still has over 20 units available for sale within the 84-unit, freehold project that was completed in 2014.
In late January, Wheelock Properties launched a deferred payment scheme under which buyers pay a 1% booking fee, followed by 4% a fortnight later. Another 15% has to be paid only four weeks later, and the remaining 80% is due only two years later from the date of signing the option to purchase. However, those who opt for the DPS will be entitled to 12% ABSD rebate instead of 15% under the normal payment scheme.
Recently, a 1,787 sq f, three-bedroom unit at Ardmore Three was sold for $6.29 million ($3,518 psf), according to a caveat lodged on Jan 25. This marks the first transaction at Ardmore Three since the DPS was launched.
This article appeared in The Edge Property Pullout, Issue 766 (Feb 13, 2017) of The Edge Singapore