Strong demand for Esparina exec condo

The first executive condominium (EC) development launched in over five years has received strong response in the market.

Applications for the Esparina have been oversubscribed by at least two times, according to developer Frasers Centrepoint who is unable to give exact figures.

Executive condos are a hybrid of public and private housing. New units have the same restrictions as public housing, but these expire after ten years.

Experts say they are not surprised by the strong response and believe there is pent-up demand for such housing.

The show flats of the Esparina have been packing in crowds over the weekend.

Among the reasons for the popularity of the EC is its proximity to Buangkok MRT Station.

The temporary occupancy permit is expected in the first quarter of 2014.

The Esparina also has a unique selling point in its dual key units. About 12 per cent of the total units can be split into two separate apartments with different entrances.

With rising prices in the property market, observers say the affordability of ECs is another attraction for buyers, especially among the sandwiched income class.

Mark Teo, senior group division director, ERA, said: “There are some families who have the income of between S$8,000 to S$10,000 – that is, exceeding the limit to buy HDB flats directly from HDB.

“But at the same time, if they were to buy a private condo, even a mass market private condo, it could be well above a million dollars, so to them it is a big financial burden.

“EC buyers are generally young professionals, maybe they’re just starting to work, so to them they have other expenses to take care of them, so ECs for this group of people really serve this purpose.”

In recent years, prices of mass market condos have generally risen by more than half to hit over S$1,000 per square foot, according to experts. This makes ECs more attractive as they are about 25 per cent cheaper.

The 573 units at Esparina, ranging from two- to four-bedroom units and the penthouses, are priced at S$730 to S$750 per square foot on average.

The project is the first EC to be launched since the La Casa in Woodlands in 2005.

There are at least four more developments set for launch this year, which observers believe will help cater to pent-up demand for such developments.

The Canopy in Yishun previews this weekend.

Christine Sun, senior manager, Savills Research & Consultancy, said: “The demand for ECs is expected to stay firm. Buyers would have a wider home selection as a further supply of about 1,980 EC units from four other projects is expected to be released within the next six months.

“The average unit price for these units may not deviate too much from Esparina; they could range between S$720 and S$780 psf.”

Mr Teo said: “The introduction of new ECs is going to be able to curb the escalation of prices of mass market condos. However, it is not going to drag the prices down, I believe.”

The supply of ECs will be boosted with the release of two more EC sites for sale on Wednesday.

The two sites are at Tampines and Bukit Panjang, and are under the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales Programme for the second half of 2010.

The Ministry of National Development had said in August that it would release more land for tender to yield 3,000 DBSS flats and 4,000 ECs to make it easier for first time home buyers to secure a home.

In 2011, the ministry plans to release land sites for another 4,000 DBSS flats and 4,000 ECs.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 5 Oct 2010

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