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New launches to slow till next year

With a still uncertain market, quiet times in property sector may continue till after Chinese New Year

THE frantic property market is taking a breather, as buyers adopt a wait-and-see approach.

Property launches have been scarce in the past month, and that will continue now that the holiday season is here.

If you are one of the few home hunters still keen on checking out show-flats, you may have to wait till the new year – or even later. ‘Most show-flats are expected to close during this festive season until early January 2008,’ said a DTZ spokesman.

Traditionally, December is a relatively quiet month, but not so in the past three years.

Last December, buyers jostling to buy a unit at Marina Bay Residences formed long queues and crowded into its show-flat.

A year earlier, the launch of the second tower of The Sail @ Marina Bay sparked strong interest. Back in 2004, the launch of the very first condominiums in both Marina Bay and Sentosa Cove caused excitement.

Things are different this year, though. There is the added pressure of an uncertain market, largely caused by the United States sub-prime mortgage crisis. Private home sales in the fourth quarter could add up to just $4.5 billion, well down from about $15 billion in the third quarter, according to an industry observer.

‘Most buyers are adopting a wait-and-see attitude to see which way the market is heading,’ said the DTZ spokesman.

While some developers may want to launch their properties in the short January window, consultants say the quiet times are likely to continue until the Chinese New Year celebrations in early February are over.

Developers have a pipeline of new properties set for launch. But, given the weak market sentiment now, most developers will still postpone the official launch of their properties, said Knight Frank executive director Peter Ow.

‘If the stock market improves, they are likely to launch after the Chinese New Year.’

Possible launches in the first quarter include the 77-unit Shelford Suites off Dunearn Road, the 428-unit Marina Bay Suites in the Marina Bay area, the 405-unit Waterfront Waves on part of the former Waterfront View site in Bedok Reservoir and the 302-unit Martin Place Residences in Kim Yam Road.

Industry sources say Far East Organization could soon launch Silversea on the site of the former Amberville on Amber Road.

The developer, they say, is hoping for prices of at least $1,700 to more than $2,000 per sq ft (psf), relatively high for the Amber Road area.

If you can’t wait, projects that have started sales in the past two to three weeks ago include Allgeen Properties’ D’Lotus project and Hayden Properties’ ritzy 58-unit Ritz Carlton Residences.

Asking prices for the top floors of the 36-storey Ritz Carlton Residences are said to have crossed $5,500 psf, nearly a record property price in Singapore. Sales at Far East Organization’s 99-year leasehold, 140-unit Jardine in Dunearn Road were also said to have started.

Allgreen Properties has also sold 186 out of 536 units at The Cascadia in Bukit Timah Road at a median price of $1,618 psf. The bulk of the freehold property, which has been launched in Hong Kong, or 162 units, were sold to an overseas fund at a median price of $1,527 psf.

If a spectacular view of the sea is what you are after, there is one newly-available, high-end project – Lippo Group’s 124-unit Marina Collection – in the high-profile Sentosa Cove residential enclave.

It was opened to invited guests earlier this month, and Lippo off-loaded about 40 units of the 64 units it released for the preview.

Sale prices were at an average of around $2,800 psf, according to the group.


Source: The Sunday Times 16 Dec 07


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