Property agents’ views on proposed changes by URA

Some real estate agents are expecting slower home sales over the short-term, if developers are required to publish property prices two days before they put up their units for sale.

This is one of the changes the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) wants to bring about to make the property market in Singapore more transparent.

Agents said their clients will take their time to compare property prices, lengthening the sale process.

Homebuyers currently have to wait until the day of a property’s launch to get the exact price for its units.

But if a price list is available in advance, it will mean a more streamlined process for both agents and homebuyers.

This will separate the serious buyers from the not-so serious ones.

On the day of the launch, only those customers who both want to buy a flat and are able to afford it will be left in the market.

Mohamed Ismail, chief executive officer of PropNex Realty, said: “Developers having to publish the price list will allow the agents to effectively communicate with the investors, even work out the commitment and liabilities, and the buyers will have time to float over a day before wanting to purchase a unit. This will give fair play and greater prudence among investors.”

Most agents said they welcome the proposed change, which is awaiting public feedback.

According to the URA, developers must publish the price list of units in a project at least two days before they go on sale.

This rule will apply to private previews and the first phase of selling.

For subsequent phases, the price list of the units must be made available on the day of their sale.

But some agents believe this will slow down the buyer’s decision-making process.

Jeffrey Hong, chief executive officer of GPS Alliance, said: “Consumers will take some time to scout around and the comparison is very transparent right now. This will probably result in slower sales and then with that, maybe certain developers may throw in sweeteners to sweeten the deal.”

And to make up for lost time, agents said they will have to improve their sales pitch, and they will be able to reassure clients that they are purchasing the best home their money can buy.

Mr Hong said: “The price is very transparent right now. There is nothing much to hide. And as an agent, I think he or she must improve on their product knowledge.”

Market watchers add that the pricing for a large mass-market project can be confusing for some property agents.

Agents believe it will take one to two months to make selling a house a smooth process once again.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 18 Mar 2011

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