EC sales on the rise after Khaw hints at changes in scheme

Some executive condominium developers said they have seen an increase in sales since National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan hinted at changes to the scheme in April.

Developers of the Watercolours EC project in Pasir Ris have sold 21 units in the last two weeks alone — it sold only 29 units in the whole of April. The project was launched in June 2012.

As for One Canberra in Yishun, its sales for the last fortnight has already exceeded what was sold in April. It sold 47 units in the last two weeks, compared to 44 units for the whole of April.

Mr Khaw had said at a housing dialogue in April that the EC scheme could not carry on in its current form. In particular, he said there was a sense of inequity that EC owners receive government subsidies, even though they make large profits from selling their unit.

One developer Channel NewsAsia spoke to said possible tweaks could be one reason why sales have gone up. However, there are other reasons as well.

Jeffrey Hong, CEO of GPS Alliance Holdings, said: “We see more first timers. That’s the reason why I feel there’s panic buying, fearing that the subsidies might be removed, so they better buy now. But of course that’s not the main reason also. The reason is also because there are not many launches over this year, compared to last year.”

There are six executive condominium launches expected this year. The first was launched in Woodlands earlier in April.

Mr Hong added that for next year, there will not be any launches expected till the last quarter of 2014. This is due to the new restrictions imposed on developers as part of the January property cooling measures. Developers have to wait a 15-month period after winning the bid before putting their project up for sale.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 19 May 2013

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