Ecopolitan units for sale; first project affected by new EC guidelines

Prospective home buyers can apply for a unit at Ecopolitan, a new executive condominium (EC) project in Punggol from June 28.

But don’t expect to see any private roof terraces or super-sized units.

The 512-unit development is the first project that’s affected by new EC guidelines introduced by the government in January this year.

China-based property developer Qingjian Realty is set to roll out the EC project in Punggol.

Ecopolitan is its third EC project there, after Waterbay and RiverParc Residence.

But unlike those projects, Ecopolitan is subjected to new guidelines.

For example, private enclosed spaces (PES) or private roof terraces will be counted as gross floor area and be subjected to payment of charges.

And so these will not be offered at Ecopolitan.

Qingjian Realty says its penthouse units will not have any private roof terrace and large PES will also not be provided for ground floor units.

There are also just 32 dual-key units, compared to 90 units at RiverParc Residence.

This is because the pool of buyers is likely to shrink, after the government limited the sale of such units to multi-generation families only.

Qingjian Realty, the builder of suburban homes, says it has come up with innovative ideas to woo buyers.

Mr Donald Ng, Senior Marketing Manager of Qingjian Realty Group, said: “One of them is a CoSpace idea that we have come up with, that is the combination of the utility and study area. Buyers have the options of removing the wall and combine into a huge space. ECs cannot be offered as plain vanilla in terms of no-frills or nothing extra.”

Qingjian Realty says the average selling price at Ecopolitan ranges between S$750 and S$800 per square foot.

A 3-bedroom unit at 893 square feet will cost about S$700,000, while a 1,141 square-foot 4-bedroom unit will go for S$900,000.

The largest unit size offered at Ecopolitan is the 1,711 square-foot 5-bedroom CoSpace units. And that’s within the maximum size of 160 square metre or 1,722 square feet rule set by the government.

Generally, some analysts say the new restrictions on EC could potentially push prices up slightly.

Mr Mohd Ismail, CEO of Propnex, said: “In the past, developers could use the private enclosed space to sell and beef up their margin of profit… now with this restriction, developers having to sell the real built-up area with reduced sizes, and also today construction costs have moved up. Therefore, overall for us to look at EC prices inching its way up, though I must say rather marginal, about 3-5 per cent gone up. In the past you would see EC in the range of $700 to $750 psf across the board.”

Looking ahead, analysts say EC projects will continue to see strong demand as they present good value, selling at about 25 per cent cheaper than private condominiums in the same area.

Following the launch of Ecopolitan, Qingjian Realty says it will continue to look for opportunities to build up its land bank.

Mr Ng said the company will evaluate the new slate of sites under the government’s land sales programme for the second half of the year. In particular, it will be looking closely at the EC plot at Anchorvale Crescent.

In May 2013, Qingjian Realty secured two EC sites located at Woodlands Avenue 5 and Anchorvale Crescent. These two development are likely to be launched for sale only in the second half of 2014.

Under the new guidelines, EC developers can only launch units for sale 15 months from the date of award of the sites or after the physical completion of foundation works, whichever is earlier.

With regards to its initial public listing plans, Qingjian Realty says it is still in the midst of preparation. Earlier reports said that the Chinese developer is considering an IPO by the beginning of 2014, which could raise up to $500 million.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 27 June 2013