All in line for a full house: Property price index could grow 15% to 18% this year (Analyst)

He may not have the money to buy an apartment yet, but 21-year-old Jasper Ong is already a beneficiary of Singapore’s booming property market.Mr Ong, who is fresh out of National Service, and three of his friends are being paid $100 each every 24 hours to stay in the queue of people waiting to buy – or representing those who want to buy – The Seafront @ Meyer units at Meyer Road in District 15.The 24-storey freehold condominium project by CapitaLand, which has yet to be built, will only be launched to the public on Friday.

Mr Ong and his friends were hired by an ERA property agent and have been holding onto their “30-something” positions since 10pm on Monday.

They have spent their time sprawled on a mat, playing cards and reading newspapers.

Armed with four sets of clothing, loaves of bread and soft drinks, each of the group has taken turns to make three trips a day to a nearby workers’ quarters to bathe because of the heat.

“It’s very boring here, but since there’s money, why not?” Mr Ong reasoned.

As of last night, there were about 80 people in the queue. The line – reminiscent of the good old days when investing in property was deemed a surefire way to make mega profits – is yet another indication that
Singapore’s property market is heading north.

Several other property launches in recent days have also attracted high buyer interest.

One of these is CapitaLand’s Orchard Residences, where all 98 units in Phase 1 of the luxury condominium have been snapped up.

According to the developer, the units sold for an average $3,213 per square foot (psf).

City Developments Limited’s The Solitaire, a boutique 59-unit development nestled in Balmoral Park in District 10, is now 100-per-cent sold, just one week after its soft launch.

The units sold at an average price of more than $2,000 psf, CDL reported in a press release yesterday. This works out to about $2.3 million for a two-bedroom unit to more than $7.4 million for a penthouse.

“The prices achieved represent a new benchmark for the Balmoral Park vicinity,” CDL said.

Buyers’ love affair with condos with a waterfront view helped Keppel Land get such a good response on the first day of the soft launch of its Reflections at Keppel development at Keppel Bay Drive, which the developer decided to increase the number of units on offer from 80 to 150. A total of 1,129 units, including 35 penthouses, will be on offer for between $1,900 and $1,950 psf. The highest-priced unit at yesterday’s launch, which was reserved for Keppel staff, directors and associates, was $2,400 psf for a villa unit.

Keppel Land’s Singapore residential director Augustine Tan said that with these prices, the company believes “we have set a benchmark” for the Keppel Bay/Sentosa area.

These encouraging responses to the launches is in line with analysts’ predictions that the property market will continue to do well this year, thanks to factors such as a healthy economy and strong foreign investor interest.

According to flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority released on Monday, the property price index rose from 130.2 points in the previous quarter to 136.2 points in the first three months of this year – the highest increase in seven years.

“The overall residential property price index could chalk up growth between 15 per cent and 18 per cent for the entire year of 2007,” said Ms Tay Huey Ying, director for research and consultancy at Colliers International.  

Source: Today, 04 April 2007

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