Demand for luxury homes still upbeat despite economic uncertainty

Demand for luxury private and public homes in Singapore is still upbeat despite a gloomy economic outlook.

The first weekend of the new year saw crowds made up of mostly first-time buyers and families looking to upgrade flocking to several property launches.

Market watchers say the recent cooling measures have also affected demand from foreigners.

It is a busy first day of sales for Riversound Residence which is located off Sengkang East Drive.

Its private condominiums cost between S$453,000 and S$1.8 million.

By 2pm on Saturday, four penthouse units costing some S$1.5 million each were taken up – three by Singaporeans and the other by a foreigner.

The developer said this trend is not surprising as the recent cooling measures requiring foreigners to pay an extra 10 per cent in stamp duty have dampened demand from foreigners.

Despite a slowing economy, the overall take up rate is projected to be healthy with 60 to 70 per cent of the 250 units released in the first phase likely to be snapped up before the Lunar New Year.

Qingjian Realty’s deputy General Manager Li Jun said: “Judging from the response today, there are still many people visiting the showroom. They are mostly locals. The development is also targeting those in the Punggol-Hougang area.”

Homebuyer Mr Loh Beng Huat said that the time may be right for an upgrade.

He said: “This launch is quite good so I think I’m keen. That’s why I am now looking at the financial area and see whether I can afford and upgrade. I have stayed in HDB for a number of years already so I think it is a good time for me to look into a new investment in a private condominium.”

Near by at Parkland Residences – a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project – crowds doubled on the second day of its launch.

Mr Lee Yoon Moi, who is the Chief Operating Officer at Low Keng Huat – the company behind the development, said: “Generally, there are a lot of young couples and also families. The more popular ones are the four and five rooms units.”

Parkland Residences is the only DBSS project within the Hougang & Punggol area and the first of only two DBSS projects this year after the government halted land sales for such developments last year.

Analysts say this is keeping demand up with flats here costing between S$359,000 and S$706,000.

“Most of it is done up so you don’t need to pay much for renovation,” said one potential buyer.

“The prices here are relatively cheap compared to the other DBSS projects,” said another.

Agents believe Parkland Residences will see a strong take-up rate when bookings begin on January 11.

The final DBSS project will be launched at Pasir Ris in March or April 2012.

The Executive Condominium (EC) at The Rainforest, near Choa Chu Kang MRT station, is also proving to be a hit with young couples.

“The EC is kind of like the in-thing now these days and we think it is a good opportunity for us to pick up a first-time house,” said one couple.

“We are in our 20s so we are looking at projects like this that are appealing to us. I think it is very good that the government is releasing projects in the mature estates instead of just Punggol and Sengkang,” another couple said.

The last EC that was launched near Choa Chu Kang is now about 80 per cent sold.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 7 Jan 2012

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