A late night property ballot … is this a sign of the times?

The showflat was only due to open today.

But on Monday, some, mostly property agents, were already lining up for units at the Optima condominium at Tanah Merah. They went home after developer TID made it clear the queue would not be recognised.

However, this did not stop hundreds from turning up early yesterday – leading to a massive queue and the occasional ugly spat over queue-jumping. The result? TID decided, at about 8pm, to open the showflat doors and, unusually, kick off open balloting.

The process began after 11pm last night and carried on well into the wee hours of the morning. Successful applicants paid the 5-per-cent deposit on the spot.

This came just a day after National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan had warned the Government would take action should property market speculation get excessive. Yet, it was apparent many aiming for a unit at the 99-year leasehold project yesterday were buying for investment.

For instance, a 62-year-old woman, who beat six other bids to snag a unit, told Today she was likely to rent it out.

Other buyers and property agents also said they or their clients were looking at a good investment, as the development was near the Changi Business Park, next to an MRT station, likely near the future fourth university, and was affordable – prices averaged $790 per square foot.

In all, 120 units were allocated yesterday, including some in the morning at a preview for staff and guests. Today understands that another 100 will be released today.

Asked why TID – a tie-up between Japan’s Mitsui Fudosan and Hong Leong Group – did not simply stick to the original launch today, Mr Gerry de Silva, spokesman for Hong Leong, said the big crowd was a factor, as was feedback from agents that they had “very interested” buyers with cheques ready.

“If we stick to our word, it may be good, but is it practical?” he told Today.

And the balloting, he said, was to “differentiate the genuine buyers” from the browsers. TID had earlier been pondering alternatives to the first-come-first-served system, he added.

Source : Today – 31 Jul 2009

Join The Discussion

Compare listings