Ready to welcome the crowds again

Hungry Ghost Festival is over and buyers are set to return, say analysts

DESPITE Monday’s announcement by the Government to cool the hot property market, observers expect private property showrooms to continue to be packed with eager homebuyers and investors this weekend.

Some property agents whom Weekend Today spoke to said that enquiries over the past week have been brisk, with some asking about early bird discounts and some even booking units without viewing the showflat.

“Since this weekend is the first weekend after Hungry Ghost Festival, enquiries about a few developments have increased, my confirmed appointments for showroom-viewing this weekend alone is about eight to nine customers.

“During the Hungry Ghost Festival, I saw only about three to four customers during the weekends,” said property agent Melinda Koh.

Market watchers also said developers or marketing agents do not need to resort to any unusual gimmicks to draw visitors to showrooms.

“Gimmicks will only be used in a down market. For now, the volume of the market is still alright,” said ERA’s associate director of Asia-Pacific Eugene Lim.

Still, Ngee Ann Polytechnic real estate lecturer Nicholas Mak said some developers will employ some sales tactics such as “early-bird” discounts.

“They can give you one price this weekend, and another price the next weekend,” he said.

There have been relatively few property launches during the Hungry Ghost Festival, which ended on Friday. Some see the month as inauspicious to be buying property.

“It has been about one or two weeks without property launches and recently some developments, have been marketed quite well. Consumers visiting showflats could be slightly subdued after the Government initiatives but we should not see empty or quiet showrooms. Demand is still strong out there,” said Mr Mak.

On Monday, the Government announced measures to rein in the red-hot residential property market by abolishing interest absorption scheme (IAS) and interest only housing loans (IOL), which have been popular options offered by developers to woo buyers.

The removal of these two schemes will not dissuade property hunters, as the bulk of home buyers so far do not use these schemes, commented Mr Lim. He said he expects reasonably-good activity at showflats this weekend.

He told Weekend Today: “From the launches we have seen so far this year, about 70 to 80 per cent of the buyers do not use IAS. Basically, the recent (Government) measures are used to target those speculators that are over-geared. There will still be genuine home buyers and upgraders going to showrooms.”

He also expects developers to put out new properties in the market in the coming weeks.

Developer GuocoLand has already got the ball rolling – previewing its freehold Elliot development at East Coast this weekend and Oxley is launching its Bliss Loft at Kim Keat Close.

However, Mr Mak warned: “Consumers should look at one’s financial capabilities and affordability before committing to buy a property.

“They must know why are they buying the property and bear in mind that property prices are not always on the uptrend.”

Source : Today – 19 Sep 2009

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