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Mass-market sector rebounded in ’06: CBRE

Non-landed projects in non-prime areas turn in strong sales volume

MASS-MARKET property sales actually staged a recovery last year, earlier than widely believed, said property consultant CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) yesterday.

In a study of the take-up rates of new non-landed projects in non-prime areas, CBRE found that the mid-tier and mass-market projects turned in strong sales volume in 2006, although prices for these segments only began rising this year.

‘Until now, the market had perceived that these segments trailed the luxury segment in their recovery, and had begun to recover only in early-2007, in terms of volume and price,’ it said.

An analysis of the new units launched last year and the corresponding take-up volumes ‘shows otherwise’, it said.

It found that 68 per cent of the new projects launched last year in the West Coast, in districts 5 and 21, were taken up. Similarly, take-up rates for projects in districts 15 and 16 were about 90 per cent – ‘not far’ from the take-up rates of 74 per cent for projects in the prime districts 9 and 10 and 96 per cent for those in the downtown and Sentosa Cove areas.

‘Of course, in terms of pricing, the mass market and mid-tier projects have only begun to inch up in the previous two quarters of 2007,’ said Joseph Tan, executive director for residential property at CBRE.

‘But the strong sales of non-prime projects since a year ago show the return of buying power for upgraders and private homeowners, who, at that time, saw good investment value in the projects, while anticipating the upside in prices later on.’

Since then, the number of projects on the market has increased dramatically.

The number of new units launched in the west has tripled from a year ago, with the launch of One-north Residences, One Rochester, Botannia and The Parc Condominium, it said.

Meanwhile, the number of new units launched in the Newton/Novena area has doubled from 578 units in 2006 to 1,351 units so far this year. Take-up rates have been ‘very healthy’ at 90 per cent, said CBRE.

In districts 15 and 16 in the east, the take-up rate so far this year has been ‘equally strong’ at 85 per cent.

Residential rents have also risen sharply ‘due to the shortage of apartments for lease following the slew of collective sales of existing developments in the past two years’, said CBRE.

After rising 18.7 per cent on average in the first half, rents are expected to increase by another 8-10 per cent in the third quarter.

Rents in the popular areas of Tanjong Rhu, Meyer Road, East Coast, Dunman, Joo Chiat and Siglap have gone up 40.9 per cent since the fourth quarter of 2006, with median rents now at $2.62 per square foot per month.

The next biggest increase in rents were for apartments in the Orchard Road, Grange Road, Tanglin and Bukit Timah areas, where rents have gone up by 37.5 per cent to $3.74 per square foot per month on average.

The residential market is likely to remain active in the final quarter of this year, amid strong growth in the economy, CBRE said.


Source: Business Times 29 Sept 07


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