Saturday, May 16, 2009

Launches jump 5 times in April

AMID growing talk of economic green shoots, local developers of high-end private homes rolled out 339 units last month – nearly five times the number in March, according to statistics released on Friday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

And they were not disappointed, as demand kept up with supply that month.

Some 332 private homes in the prime Core Central Region were sold last month, marking the highest since Sept 2007 – the peak of property prices – said Mr Nicholas Mak, director of consultancy and research at Knight Frank.

“This rebound is an encouraging sign that the high-end market is not void of life despite the economic turmoil ravaging across the world,” Colliers International‚s research and advisory director Tay Huey Ying said.

For instance, Illuminaire on Devonshire sold all 72 units launched last month at a median $1,703 per square foot, while BelleRive at Keng Chin Road also sold all 21 units launched.

Analysts agreed that developers, buoyed by the recent good response to mass market condominiums, were testing waters of the high-end segment.

But buyers continued to gravitate towards small units with “affordable price tags which can be under $1.5 million for high-end projects”, noted Savills Research & Consultancy associate director Priya Sengupta.

“Given that developers have started to raise prices of new units on a selective basis to test home buyers‚ price tolerance level, buying activity could be expected to hover in the current range as home buyers are spurred to commit ahead of further price increases by developers,” said Ms Tay.
Yet, developers wanting to move their inventory could launch or relaunch their mid-tier and high-end projects within a lower price bracket in the next few quarters, opined Ms Sengupta.

In total, 1,207 private homes were sold last month and 1,083 units were launched. It was the third straight month where units sold stayed above 1,000.

As in previous months, mid-tier and mass-market projects dominated two-thirds of total sales.

Source : Today, 16 May 2009

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