Private residential launches on the up …

… as prices of high-end private properties move down

PRIVATE home launches and sales were up last month after a dismal October. The number of private residential units launched more than doubled from October’s 159 to 382, and units sold increased from 118 to 192, according to the data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday.

Analysts said the jump in units launched reflects developers clearing stock and testing sentiment.

“I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the holding power of developers is beginning to wane,” said Mr Karamjit Singh, managing director of Credo Real Estate. “We have to recognise that it was a very turbulent month in October.”

Given that financial markets were less volatile last month, he said developers could be launching units to “test the waters”, and to see how receptive the buyers are right now.

DTZ executive director, Ms Ong Choon Fah, said some developers could have re-priced their projects and relaunched their units. “It could also be the balance of the previous unsold units of the project and now they are being launched for sale,” she added.

Prices at the top end of the market continued to trend downwards. Four units of Orchard Scotts were sold at about $2,407 per square foot (psf) in October. Last month, one unit was sold at $2,006 psf. At the Floridian along Bukit Timah Road, three units fetched a median price of $1,331 psf last month, compared with the October median of $1,388 psf.

In the suburbs, developers are also chopping prices. Mr Li Hiaw Ho, executive director at CBRE Research, noted that prices for units in Evania at Upper Paya Lebar Road, which is being developed by Novelty Amber, had been reduced from above $800 psf when it was first launched on March to $610-$650 psf in November.

Looking ahead, experts said that activity in the market could be subdued because of uncertainty and the festive season.

“In the next three to four months, if banks are more eager to lend and developers lower their prices psf, this combination could spur the buyers back into the market,” said Mr Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development from Savills Singapore. “December will be rather quiet because banks might want to end their year positively and not hand out more loans which will increase their risks. It is also the end of the year, when buyers usually go for holidays.”

Source : Today – 16 Dec 2008

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