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Property News of the Day

RESIDENTIAL MARKET
New private home sales drop 31.8% in May from April's high
 NEW private home sales in May fell to its lowest since the beginning of this year, breaking developers' three-month long streak of over 2,000 units sold monthly, since February.
 This is despite private residential launches picking up 2.4 per cent month-on-month, supported by an 85.4 per cent jump in the rest of central region (RCR).
 According to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) figures, developers sold 1,702 private homes, excluding executive condominiums (ECs) in May, a drop of 31.8 per cent from April's record 2,496 units.
 Most consultants concur that the lower sale numbers can be attributed to there being no major launches of commercial-residential projects.
 "One reason for the slowdown in launches was that developers were taking time to adapt to the new requirements by the government on more transparency in the disclosure of information in project sales," said Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty Network.
 The 530-unit Flo Residence in Punggol was the only large project launched in the region, of which a total of 226 units out of the 338 released found buyers. The 60-unit Vibes@Serangoon was fully launched, with 44 units sold; Shiro, a 16-unit landed housing project in Telok Kurau was half sold; and the fully launched 10-unit Shoreline Residences sold four units.
 Notably, developers have stepped up launches in the Core Central Region (CCR) and the Rest of the Central Region (RCR).
 In the CCR, the total number of launches increased by 36.7 per cent month-on-month to 309 units. Sales activity fell however, down 30.1 per cent to 135 units.
 It is possible that CCR sales will see an improvement in H2 2012 since developers are stepping up efforts to dispose of unsold units from completed projects and those that are nearing completion.
 The onset of a price decline for non-landed houses in the RCR, albeit slightly by 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2012 could have prompted potential buyers to hold back for further price corrections, particularly amid the recent renewed concerns over the sovereign debt issues in the Eurozone.
 Preliminary data has also shown that resale has picked up significantly in the RCR.
 New projects that were favoured by buyers include Flo Residences (266 units sold at a median price of $863 psf), Seahill (200 units at $1,383 psf) and Eight Riversuites (192 units at $1,340 psf).
 Island-wide, the combined effect of increased launches and slower sales pushed take-up rate down to 69.5 per cent, from 104.4 per cent last month.
 About 35.1 per cent of the 1,702 private homes sold by developers in May were priced at $1,000psf or less; 49.3 per cent were priced above $1,000psf and at/less than $1,500psf.
 On the executive condominium (EC) front, sales ballooned to 355 units, mainly due to the launch of 1 Canberra. The 665-unit EC project was the only one launched in May; 209 units were sold at a median price of $711.
Source: Business Times – 16 June 2012
'Sky Habitat effect' lifts sales in other estates
 INCREASING numbers of buyers are turning their interest back to some housing projects that seemed to have run out of puff, thanks to what some agents are calling the Sky Habitat effect.
 Sky Habitat is the CapitaLand's 509-unit project in Bishan Central that grabbed headlines in mid-April with record high prices of about $1,700 per sq ft (psf).
 City fringe and city centre projects with comparable or lower prices now look increasingly attractive while similar suburban estates have also gathered more attention.
 While new home sales were buoyant in March and nearly hit a three-year high in April, consultants do say that if a new project is launched at a record price it often creates a ripple effect which lifts both new sales and resales in neighbouring developments.
 Though only about 12 units in Rochelle were sold in all of last year, more than 20 were sold in March and April alone at average prices of $1,400 psf - well-below Sky Habitat's pricing.
 Similarly, 301-unit My Manhattan, quiet on the sales front for a while, moved about 45 units in the past two months.
 Even projects launched shortly after 99-year leasehold Sky Habitat was previewed have recorded robust buyer interest.
 For instance, UOL's 244-unit Katong Regency in Paya Lebar, priced at an average of $1,500 to $1,600 psf, was sold out within a few days. It launched four days after Sky Habitat. The mixed-use project built on top of a shopping mall, with its freehold status and city fringe location, looked very attractive in comparison with Sky, experts said.
Source: The Straits Times – 16 June 2012
Sharp fall in Sentosa Cove home sales
 ONCE a hot spot for well-heeled home hunters, Sentosa Cove seems to have lost a bit of its lustre amid sluggish sales and a general slowdown in the luxury home sector.
 Property consultants attribute the change in mood to the lack of new launches on Sentosa, attractive deals elsewhere and foreign buyers being deterred by the additional buyer's stamp duty.
 Since the start of last year, there have been about 30 transactions for landed homes on Sentosa, compared with 62 in 2010 alone.
 Including non-landed homes, there have been 101 transactions since last year, which pales in comparison with the 203 in 2010.
 Potential buyers may also have been distracted by good deals in prime districts 9, 10 and 11.
 For instance, the 99-year- leasehold D'Leedon in Farrer Road is selling at an average $1,450 per sq ft to $1,600 psf, compared with Sentosa Cove condominiums which fetch more than $2,000 psf.
 According to first-quarter property data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, 1,559 uncompleted high-end private homes had been sold since last year. In 2010 alone, 3,946 units were sold.
 In the next couple of years, about 2,500 upscale private homes are expected to be ready in the area.
 But there are still unsold units at various projects. For instance, Seven Palms Sentosa Cove has more than 30 unsold units.
 The Green Collection, a 20- unit strata-landed development, has not been launched.
 Slow sales aside, prices at Sentosa Cove have held up, even though they dipped briefly during the 2009 recession.
Source: The Straits Times – 16 June 2012
Far East woos buyers with 'special discounts'
 HOME buyers considering properties by Far East Organization might get to enjoy a small discount as the developer celebrates its solid sales record this year.
 It said it is offering celebratory discounts ranging from 1 to 3 per cent for several projects, including euHabitat, this month.
 Setting a new sales record of 2,200 units in the first five months of the year gave the company something to cheer about.
 Far East sold about 1,500 units in the corresponding period last year and 750 the year before.
 New home sales figures for last month released yesterday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed that SeaHill, an upcoming project by Far East, was among the top-selling condos.
 Prices there ranged from $1,170 to $1,759 per sq ft (psf).
 A check on other Far East properties showed healthy take-up rates as well. For instance, euHabitat at Eunos has sold 681 units, out of the 733 released. The project has 748 units in total. Those sold went for a median price of $1,288 last month.
 The Clift, a higher-end project in McCallum Street, has sold 253 units of the 312 available. Units at the condo, completed in 2010, were sold for a median price of $2,720 psf last month.
 Property consultants and agents interviewed said property developers have given out such discounts before.
 ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said Far East 'probably exceeded its targets' and wanted to build on the momentum to generate more sales.
 'They give the discount as a deal sweetener,' he said, noting that even though the firm has a lot of stock left, it 'did very well'.
 He said developers are also conscious of the increased supply that is set to hit the market.
 'Most will want to clear their stock before that. There's no need to cut prices because the economy is still doing okay, so they offer incentives instead,' he said.
Source: The Straits Times – 16 June 2012

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Ann Kwa 柯采妘
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ERA REALTY NETWORK PTE LTD
bestpproperty@gmail.com
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