Sunday, March 1, 2009

'Flippers' back at condo launches

Speculators were among buyers at the recent sell-out sale of all 293 units at Alexis @ Alexandra, a newly launched condominium.

Another project, Caspian, in Jurong, sold around 515 of its 712 units at about the same time.

'For sale' ads followed both launches last month - but sub-sale buyers are not rushing in.

Yesterday, there was no huge crowd, but a steady stream of more than 300 people turned up at the launch of developer Hiap Hoe's The Beverly in Toh Tuck Road.

Its spokesman did not say how sales went for the 31 apartments that were released in the 118-unit development at an average of $750 per sq ft.

Property agents reported signs of attempted 'flipping' - quick profit sales from having bought at the developer's price - but they also said few sub-sale buyers were biting.

They noted that in the case of Alexis and Caspian, shortly after they were launched, ads for subsales began to appear.

An agent who declined to be named said about 10 per cent of Alexis' 293 units were being flipped.
Property agents cited the relatively low pricing as reasons for buyers wanting to do a flip. Prices for Caspian apartments started at $580 psf, while those at Alexis @ Alexandra were priced on average at $850 to $1,100 psf.

In addition, property agent K.L. Goh, who is marketing two sub-sale units at Alexis, said: 'Although the market is bad, Alexis is located near Queenstown MRT station and is highly sought after.'

The owners of a two-bedroom apartment are asking for $880,000, up from the $760,000 they paid for it.

Property agent Leslie Yap, who is helping a buyer market a two-bedroom apartment at Caspian for about $580,000, said: 'She bought it at $527,400 and even if she can make a little profit, I think it's quite good in such a short time.'

Meanwhile, agents said the response from sub-sale buyers was still rather cautious. Mr Yap said last Friday that he had received only one call that day for the Caspian unit.

'Even though this is a very popular project, the response is still very bad and it may be difficult for buyers to make a profit right now,' he said.

Mr John Murray, 41, who works in IT company EMC, was at the launch of The Beverly.

He said: 'I've noticed that the prices are down from when I went house-hunting five or six months ago. This is actually a great time to buy.'

But he did not buy a unit yesterday.

Source: Straits Times, 1 Mar 2009

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