Friday, November 2, 2007

UIC Ltd is launching its 192-unit Park Natura development across from Bukit Batok Nature Park

UIC Ltd is launching its 192-unit Park Natura development across from Bukit Batok Nature Park, and market watchers will be eager to see how sales will be affected by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis or by the withdrawal of the deferred payment scheme (DPS).

So far, sales look good. Priced at the higher end for a suburban condominium at an average of $1,000 psf, more than 100 units have already been sold at the private soft launch. UIC group general manager Vito Koh said: ‘The demand shows that the pricing is right.’

Mr Koh said he did not have a breakdown of the profile of buyers but added that Park Natura was not the type of development to attract speculators.

UIC received approval to offer deferred payment to buyers before the end of the DPS, but whether this alone is attracting buyers is hard to say.

Still, Mr Koh said that the withdrawal of DPS from future developments could affect buyers’ confidence, especially for HDB upgraders hoping to enter the private property market.

Mr Koh also pointed out that the withdrawal of the DPS has come at a time when prices in the high-end segment appeared to have levelled off. ‘Market prices have already adjusted themselves so withdrawing DPS is not necessary,’ he said.

Another development that was recently launched is the CGH Group’s 72-unit Esta Ruby in the Katong area. Already, 25 per cent of the units have been sold at an average price of $1,160 psf.

CGH sales director Alex Chng said that recent events have affected the property market, with some potential buyers changing their minds. ‘But our feeling is that the buyers are still there.’ The good news seems to be that more foreigners and Singapore permanent residents appear to be buying units in suburban developments.

At Esta Ruby, Mr Chng estimated that 30 to 40 per cent of the buyers were non-Singaporean. ‘What is interesting is that the buyers are mainly from China, Indonesia and even Vietnam,’ he added. The remaining buyers are mainly those displaced by en-bloc sales, with 20 to 30 per cent of buyers being HDB upgraders.

Another development that has been selling through private previews is the 196-unit Aalto in the East Coast by Hong Leong Holdings. Units there are also selling fast with about 60 per cent - about 120 units - sold so far.

A spokesman for Hong Leong also said that transacted prices ranged from $1,500 to more than $2,500, or roughly the transacted prices for new developments in the area even before the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Source : Business Times - 1 Nov 2007

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