SingHaiyi’s online pivot

By Charlene Chin
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
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As Singapore’s “circuit breaker” kept most physical workplaces and venues shut, businesses were devising creative ways to push sales and remain afloat. Not exempt from such an effort is Singapore-listed property developer SingHaiyi Group, which began turning to online means to ramp up their marketing efforts. “The closure of showflats was really a challenge to all the developers, including ourselves,” recalls Gregory Sim, deputy chief executive officer at SingHaiyi Group.
The group’s endeavour to shift online was made even before the city-state ordered property showflats to close. As a result, the show galleries of its three projects — Parc Clematis, The Lilium and The Gazania — were featured in virtual tours and posted online. With the click of a button, the public could instantaneously be transported to the showroom.
Before the pandemic, the property landscape was accustomed to conducting transactions offline. Buying homes without first paying a visit to show galleries was not as commonplace as it is today. But this all changed when Covid-19 turned the tables on the way things had to be carried out.
The communal kitchen space at Parc Clematis, where residents can gather to create their culinary dishes (Credit: SingHaiyi)
Parc Clematis’ draw
SingHaiyi’s ventures online proved successful. In 2Q2020, Parc Clematis was one of the top-selling private residential projects in Singapore: the public snapped up 154 units of the project over the period. Sim reveals that even during the closure of its showflat, the firm sold 115 units, and 70% of the buyers’ decisions were made based purely on taking a virtual tour of the show gallery. “This is something that as a developer, I had never thought would make such a great impact,” says Sim.
Parc Clematis, along Jalan Lempeng, is home to Clementi’s mature estate. It comprises 1,450 units across nine 24-storey residential tower blocks, six units of two-storey strata bungalows, and 12 units of two-storey strata terrace homes. Altogether, there are 64 different layouts that would cater to all lifestyle needs, says Sim.
The Lilium comprises 80 freehold units on How Sun Road (Credit: SingHaiyi)
Sim attributes Parc Clematis’ popularity to its “extremely good location in the west”, within close proximity to Jurong East, which the government has touted as Singapore’s second CBD. In three decades, the Jurong Lake District, spanning 360ha, is expected to hire 100,000 more people, house 20,000 more homes and become a key tourist destination.
From Clementi, the development is nine MRT stops to Shenton Way, and it is convenient for those who work in the CBD, says Sim. Educational institutions such as Nan Hua Primary School, NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, Singapore Polytechnic and National University of Singapore are also nearby.
So far, the project has sold 833 units, according to URA data as at Aug 3.
The Gazania comprises 250 freehold units along How Sun Drive (Credit: SingHaiyi)
Future residents of Parc Clematis will be able to enjoy recreational amenities within the development. For those who love to cook up a storm, there is a communal kitchen space where residents can gather to create their culinary dishes. There is also a multi-
purpose entertainment room, which residents can use for gaming or movies. Opening a sliding door can transform the entire room into an expansive mini theatre.
Venture into 9 Penang Road
Apart from residential projects, SingHaiyi has made its first foray into commercial property redevelopment at 9 Penang Road. Sim shares that the building reminds him of a pair of wings that are spreading out, “ready to take off and fly”.
As a testament to the strategic location in the city centre, all of its Grade-A office space will be occupied by UBS Bank by end-2020, housing some 4,000 staff across 381,000 sq ft of net lettable area, which spans eight levels across two towers. With the move, UBS will house, under one roof, its employees now working from One Raffles Quay and Suntec City.
There will also be a range of retail and F&B options on the ground floor of the development, taking up some 15,000 sq ft of space.
The main pool at Parc Clematis (Credit: SingHaiyi)
Future horizon
Looking ahead, Sim believes that virtual tours of properties will complement physical viewings, but the latter would no doubt help give users a better idea of the property they are buying. “I think if people have a choice, they will still want to take a look at the physical unit, particularly for home occupiers,” he says. “If you’re an investor, maybe you would be less concerned about the feel of the space.”
Nonetheless, the developer would still be focusing on curating its virtual tours, which Sim sees as a future trend in the industry. “There may be a certain group of customers who are more attuned to acquiring properties based on online viewings,” says Sim. “The capital expenditure involved in rolling out such tours is also much less compared to building a physical showflat.”
If there are any lessons to be learned from the pandemic, Sim believes that “staying relevant” is crucial. Departments cannot function within silos, he says, and it is also equally important to understand how technology can complement business productivity. Ultimately, “technology is always a double-edged sword — you have to find a way to make it work for you, lest you be a slave to it”, says Sim.

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