New private home sales up 55%

New private home sales up 55% 

 

Highest monthly figure so far this year follows softening of prices, surge in total units launched

By Joyce Teo, Property Correspondent 

 

SINGAPORE‘S private residential property market has started showing some signs of life after several months in the doldrums, thanks in part to an easing of prices.

Last month, developers sold 441 new homes, excluding executive condominiums, a sharp 55 per cent jump on the figure for April – albeit a low base – of 284 home sales.

 

That made May the best month so far this year, according to the monthly sales figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

 

The improved sales came on the back of 474 new homes launched by developers – a 75 per cent surge over April – though many of the units sold were from earlier launches.

 

Still, consultants caution against reading too much into the latest figures. They say the market is generally still taking a breather, as many buyers prefer to stay on the sidelines.

 

Sales have improved from a very low base but they remained 32 per cent below the 12-month average, said Knight Frank’s director of research and consultancy, Mr Nicholas Mak.

 

The figures ‘do not necessarily imply that the private residential market has overcome the protracted lull sparked off by global economic woes’, he said.

 

‘The market is still at a plateau. Going forward, we will still see range- bound prices and volume of between 300 and 600 units a month. Sentiment is still very cautious,’ he said.

 

Jones Lang LaSalle’s head of research for South-east Asia, Dr Chua Yang Liang, said median prices have eased.

 

The chief executive of PropNex, Mr Mohamed Ismail, said that most May sales were done at a median price of below $1,000 per sq ft (psf), a stark contrast to the end of last year when the median price of almost two-thirds of all sales was over $1,000 psf.

 

‘Upon closer scrutiny, we can see that less than 50 per cent of the units launched were actually sold.’

 

Also, slightly over half the sales were from earlier launches, he said.

 

Still, there are a few bright spots. While some are struggling to sell, developer Macly Group sold 72 out of 102 units of Vutton in the Novena area at $1,057 psf to $1,416 psf.

 

In the luxury market, the 100-unit Nassim Park Residences is the star performer, logging in sales of over 50 units since its soft launch at end-May.

 

As these are large apartments, prices range from about $10 million to a whopping $19.5 million, sources said.

 

The prime Nassim Road project – being developed by UOL Group, Kheng Leong and Orix Corp – has already hit a high of $3,800 psf – far better than its low of $2,318 psf.

 

One buyer is Mr Wee Ee Cheong, son of UOL chairman Wee Cho Yaw, who bought a penthouse for $18.33 million.

 

Just over 30 per cent of the buyers are foreigners. The project has already been launched in Jakarta and Hong Kong, said UOL.

 

Another luxury development Scotts Square in the Orchard area registered sales of four units at a median price of $3,818 psf last month.

 

The relatively strong sales in central Singapore were the result of ‘latent demand spurred on by softening prices’, said Dr Chua.

 

‘Going forward, we reckon that developers are likely to keep prices competitive to keep the market demand stable,’ he said. As long as prices remain affordable, price-sensitive buyers will return, he added.

 

Savills Singapore’s director of business development and marketing, Mr Ku Swee Yong, said the level of transactions and price levels seen last month are sustainable.

 

Source: Straits Times

Nassim Park Residences: Wee family goes condo-shopping

Nassim Park Residences: Wee family goes condo-shopping

 

Its members pick up three units in Nassim Park Residences for $40m

 

MEMBERS of the Wee family have bought three units at Nassim Park Residences near Botanic Gardens for a total of nearly $40 million, a filing by UOL Group to Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Wednesday shows.

 

Wee Ee Cheong, CEO of United Overseas Bank and son of UOL chairman and controlling shareholder Wee Cho Yaw, picked up a penthouse for $18.33 million or $2,670 per square foot (psf).

 

Two of his siblings bought a sky unit each in the five-storey freehold condo at about $10.6 million each. Wee Ee Chao, who sits on the UOL board, bought a unit with his wife Jennifer for $3,308 psf, while his sister Wei Chi snapped up a unit for herself for $3,293 psf.

 

The SGX filing also showed that UOL director Alan Choe’s son Jonathan, through his company Montgomery Hills, bought a ground-floor unit, that comes with its own pool, for nearly $11.5 million or $2,513 psf.

 

Buyers of the four units received a special 2 per cent discount. More than 40 units have been sold in the development, which has a total 100 units, since its preview began the week of Vesak Day.

 

The average price achieved is said to be somewhere in the $3,000-$3,200 psf band, although analysts expect the developer to raise prices slightly when the project is officially launched next week. The project is being marketed by CB Richard Ellis and Savills.

 

The units in the development are priced at $10 million and above, with each having at least four bedrooms.

 

Nassim Park Residences has drawn a good mix of local and foreign buyers, and market watchers attribute its encouraging take-up to its ‘reasonable pricing’.

 

‘Had this project been launched a year ago, it could have been priced in the mid to high-$3,000 psf range, on average,’ a market watcher said.

 

UOL is developing Nassim Park Residences jointly with Kheng Leong group (a privately owned vehicle of the Wee family) and Japan’s Orix Corporation, on the former Nassim Park condo site that UOL bought in August 2006 for $380 million.

 

Its land cost worked out to about $1,131 psf of potential gross floor area inclusive of an estimated development charge of $8 million at the time. The breakeven cost then for a new development on the site was estimated at $1,600-1,700 psf.

 

UOL has also sold over 40 units of its 88-unit Breeze by the East condo along Upper East Coast Road near The Bayshore since it began selling the project around mid-April.

 

The five-storey freehold project was initially priced at about $950 psf on average, but this has since been raised to $980 psf, BT understands.

 

Even so, the pricing is considered attractive compared with the $1,600-$1,700 psf average price that Tiong Aik picked for its 20-storey freehold Parc Seabreeze in the Marine Parade/Joo Chiat area in early May.

 

Tiong Aik has since withdrawn the project from the market.

 

Source : Business Times