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More private property launches expected in Sep and Oct

Property observers predict more launches in the private residential market following the Hungry Ghost Month, and executive condominiums are also expected to make a comeback after a hiatus of almost one year.


A model of the 500-unit Highline Residences at Tiong Bahru. (Photo: Eileen Poh)

SINGAPORE: Property observers are expecting more new launches in the private residential market in September and October. They said August was a slow month as it coincided with the Hungry Ghost Month, which is seen by some to be an inauspicious time to buy homes.

One private residential development soon to be launched is the 500-unit Highline Residences at Tiong Bahru. A private preview for the development will be held this weekend following one held one last week, which saw a turnout of more than 2,000 people. Developer Keppel Land said prices have not been finalised but S$2,000 per square foot (psf) is the quote given to interested buyers.

To sweeten the deal, the developer is also offering personalised concierge services to buyers such as limousine and housekeeping services, as well as membership at a golf club in Bintan.

Keppel Land said there are currently no plans for an official launch. It will instead sell units at private previews - a similar approach it took for its luxury project Marina Bay Suites in 2009.

Mr Albert Foo, Keppel Land's general manager of marketing, said: "This being another flagship project, we do not want to do it the run-of-the-mill way. It is going to be done very exclusively."


Highline Residences is just one of the several private residential projects that will be launched this quarter. Another major development entering the market soon is luxury project Marina One Residences, located at Marina South.

The showflat for the mixed-use development by M+S Pte Ltd - a joint venture between Temasek Holdings and Khazanah Nasional - is likely to open on Sep 13. Indicative prices average S$2,600 psf.

Observers said there are typically more new launches after the Hungry Ghost Month. According to Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty, the peak periods for property sales take place after Chinese New Year and after the Hungry Ghost Month, and "most developers will capitalise on this second peak window to clear as many units as they can before this year-end lull".

Recent Government announcements may also bring forth some launches. DTZ's head of research for Southeast Asia, Ms Lee Lay Keng, gave the examples of Jurong Lake District and new plans for the Thomson-East Coast MRT Line. She said: "These generate a little bit more interest. And so some developers with projects nearby could possibly tap this interest and launch their projects in the next few months."


Executive condominiums (ECs) are also expected to make a comeback after a hiatus of almost one year. Since January last year, developers have only been allowed to launch projects 15 months after purchasing the land, or after the physical completion of foundation works, whichever is earlier.

Developers of two ECs at Woodlands Avenue 5 and Anchorvale Crescent in Punggol can begin launching their projects. Construction for the EC at Woodlands Avenue 5 has begun and online applications will commence at the end of month. Prices are expected to range from S$750 to S$820 psf.

In November, developers of three more ECs in Punggol and Jurong West will also be able to launch their projects. Altogether, these projects will yield about 2,900 units.

Observers said these ECs will likely be popular with those who plan to buy private homes. ERA's Mr Lim said: "Basically, you are buying a similar product except that it comes with a five-year restriction on the minimum occupation period. After five years, the EC is as good as a private condo. And you are buying something that is cheaper at a new launch if you compare a comparable (private) project at the same location."

However, observers said developers will still have to price these projects competitively. "There are still around 700 unsold EC units from projects that were previously launched. As well as the new Mortgage Servicing Ratio rules that have come into place since last December. Basically now, the amount borrowers can borrow is capped at 30 per cent of their monthly income so this will impact on the affordability," said DTZ's Ms Lee.

Developers and marketing agents of existing projects are also making moves to woo buyers, and some have revived tactics used in the previous lull, such as offering guaranteed rental returns (GRR) or waiving maintenance fees to do so.

A GRR scheme is one where developers promise a guaranteed sum for a specific period to buyers. Often, these buyers will have to hand the units back to the developer to be leased out.

- CNA/by

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