Weak demand for Alana cluster housing project

As a sign of the sluggish property market in Singapore and competition from properties across the Causeway, sales of Far East Organization’s [email protected] Terrace have been lacklustre.

This was despite the developer dangling the carrot of full reimbursements of the Additional Buyer Stamp and Buyer Stamp duties since the fourth quarter of last year.

The cluster housing project in Yio Chu Kang was launched in the first half of last year and TODAY understands that so far, only a quarter of its 78 units have been sold.

To attract buyers, the developer gave more discounts at its open house during the weekend, matching what its rivals are doing.

Real estate agents at the open house on Sunday (Apr 5) said sales have been dismal, with only a couple of units sold last month. The agents lamented the poor market conditions and noted that developers, in general, have been slashing prices by offering discounts of between 10 and 20 per cent on their projects, on top of increasing the sales commission.

Property analysts whom TODAY spoke to said there is an oversupply of cluster housing units and demand for this market segment has been weaker than overall demand for private housing. Based on the latest Urban Redevelopment Authority data, only 139, or 19 per cent, of 732 cluster housing units launched in February were sold. In comparison, about 36,432, or 63 per cent, of 57,830 private residential units launched were sold that month.

Cluster housing is a form of landed property that comes with strata titles. Such homes are built in clusters within a gated housing estate with shared facilities similar to those in condominiums.

The units at Alana, which have a 103-year lease, are priced above S$3 million, before discounts. Mr Colin Tan, director of research and consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, noted that the prices are out of reach for Housing and Development Board flat owners looking to upgrade.

Those with the means to shop for such houses could also be drawn by the option of buying landed properties in Johor, he said. “A lot of Singaporeans also like to go to Malaysia to buy landed property, for instance, in Iskandar.”

Nevertheless, the situation could change if prospective Singaporean buyers are put off by additional or higher fees imposed by the Malaysian authorities to enter the country, such as the vehicle entry permit, Mr Tan said.

Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong noted that [email protected] Terrace is also competing with cluster housing projects in Upper Thomson and Admiralty. He added that Alana’s location is also not highly attractive.

Source : Today – 6 Apr 2015

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