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Some small property launches but most still hold back

Developers selling projects abroad first before launching them in Singapore

PROPERTY developers are starting to gingerly test the volatile market with a few launches now that the festive season is behind them.

Those dipping their toes into the choppy waters, however, are mostly offering smaller projects away from the prime areas, said property agents.

Home seekers may have to wait a bit longer for major launches, with the earliest set for next month or April.

Meanwhile, developers waiting for the market to regain momentum are selling Singapore projects overseas before launching them locally, said Mr Ku

Swee Yong, director of business development and marketing at Savills Singapore.

‘Developers are still waiting for the stock market here to settle down,’ said Mr Ku.

Savills is dispatching a large sales team to Dubai next week to market Skypark at St Thomas Walk, CapitaLand’s condo on the Silver Tower site in Cairnhill, and the units Kuwait Finance House bought in Reflections at Keppel Bay and Goodwood Residences last year.

For local buyers, one project likely to be launched within weeks is the 47-unit Cosmo at Guillemard Lane.

Prices could be $1,100 to $1,200 per sq ft (psf), said Mr Patrick Oei, associate group director for Huttons Real Estate, which is marketing the project.

Another upcoming launch is that of the 108-unit Verve Residences near Jalan Rajah, with prices likely to range from $900 to $1,100 psf.

These prices are similar to recent transactions in each area, showing that levels are still holding steady.

Homebuyers also picked up a few units in three freehold boutique projects launched in Telok Kurau recently.

One is the 28-unit Costa Este, which is selling at $663 to $980 psf. The others are Palm Galleria and Espira Spring, launched during the Chinese New Year weekend with average prices of $850 to $870 psf.

Generally, smaller projects have done well, even in shaky market conditions, said Mr Oei, citing Casa Fortuna in Balestier and Wilkie 80 in Wilkie Road. Both were sold out within three days of their launches late last year.

The 106-unit Casa Fortuna sold at about $1,000 psf, while Wilkie 80’s 50 units were taken up at $1,500 to almost $1,800 psf, Mr Oei said.

As for bigger projects, the first phase of Waterfront Waves at Bedok Reservoir will be officially launched this weekend. Prices for the 60-odd units still unsold will rise marginally from the current average of $750 psf, said Ms Kellie Liew, a project director at HSR Property Group.

The next brand-new launch may be Frasers Centrepoint’s Martin Place Residences in Kim Yam Road, due next month. Staff previews for the 302-unit condo started last month, at $1,800 to $2,300 psf.

Other launches to look out for include the delayed Marina Bay Suites and Ho Bee’s project at Dakota Crescent.

Not all industry players, though, have high hopes for upcoming launches. ‘The market is really quiet,’ said one agent. ‘Showflat crowds have thinned out to five or 10 people at a time. We’re still placing advertisements, but no telephone calls are coming in.’


Source: The Straits Times 13 Feb 08


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