Why did recent launches see such strong sales?

By Michael Lim / The Edge Property | March 21, 2016 9:00 AM SGT
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Two private condominium projects launched over the weekend of March 12 and 13 saw strong sales. CapitaLand’s Cairnhill Nine, located off Orchard Road in prime District 9, is 50% sold, with 134 of the 268 units snapped up at an average price of $2,500 per sq ft. Meanwhile, in Yishun, The Wisteria saw 53% of its 216 units sold at $1,030 to $1,050 psf. It was a similar story for Wandervale EC (executive condo) in Choa Chu Kang, where 50% of its 534 units were sold on the first weekend of launch earlier this month at an average price of $755 psf.
“To have 50% of total units sold during the first weekend is above the norm in the current market,” says Alan Cheong, Savills Singapore’s head of research. “Since the introduction of the TDSR [total debt servicing ratio] in June 2013, transactions in the first weekend of launch are typically 20% to 30% of total units.”
The strong sales could be due to pent-up demand, as there has been a dearth of new launches over the past three months. Moreover, the projects are priced attractively, Cheong says. Another attraction of Cairnhill Nine and The Wisteria is that both are mixed-use projects, says Ong Teck Hui, national director of JLL Research. “There is always keen demand for residential units in mixeduse developments owing to convenience as well as possible advantages in leasing,” he adds.
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According to CapitaLand, about 50% of the buyers at Cairnhill Nine are Singaporeans. The remaining buyers are Indonesians, Malaysians and mainland Chinese. The one-bedroom- plus-guest-room units, which range from 732 to 969 sq ft and are priced from $1.6 million to $2.1 million, were the most popular.
Donald Han, managing director of Chestertons, reckons that 90% of the buyers at Cairnhill Nine are investors, as the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. Residents will also be able to enjoy concierge, laundry and housekeeping services offered by The Ascott Singapore in the neighbouring block.
The crowd at the launch of the 268-unit Cairnhill Nine, where 50% of the units were sold at an average price of $2,500 psf.
For more information about Cairnhill Nine, please click here

Source: CapitaLand

While the overall leasing market may be weak, demand for one-bedroom units remains strong, notes Han. Demand is mainly from expatriates who are in Singapore on short-term work contracts of six to 12 months, he adds. They prefer to rent fully furnished one-bedroom apartments with some services in the prime Orchard Road or Marina Bay area, where rents are half of those charged by full-fledged serviced apartments, he says.
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For example, at Scotts Square, fully furnished one-bedroom units with some services such as general housekeeping are being leased at $8 to $10 psf a month. This compares with Pan Pacific at Somerset, where the rent is $18 to $20 psf a month, as it comes with full services such as concierge, housekeeping, grocery shopping and laundry, says Han.
At The Wisteria, buying interest was strong owing to the future amenities provided by the two-storey Wisteria Mall, which will be managed by Keppel Land Retail Management. To date, anchor tenants that have signed up at the mall include Fairprice Finest and Kopitiam, which are taking up 40% of the net lettable area.
All 54 one- and two-bedroom units in the development have been sold, says Andrew Tan, CEO of BBR Holdings, one of the consortium partners as well as the main contractor of The Wisteria. The remaining units are the larger three- and four-bedroom apartments priced from $850,000 to $960,000.
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About half of the buyers at The Wisteria are said to be HDB upgraders from the northern reaches of Yishun, Sembawang and Woodlands. However, Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research for Singapore and Southeast Asia, reckons that there are some investors who are banking on future demand from those working in Seletar Aerospace.
The strong sales over the weekend have boosted sentiment and could encourage more developers to launch their projects. “However, if there are too many launches, buyers will be spoilt for choice and this could dilute demand,” says Han. “Response will still depend very much on the product, location and pricing.”
This article appeared in the City & Country of Issue 720 (March 21, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.

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