Friday, March 27, 2009

Home hunters pack showflats in Balestier

SOME home hunters have been packing showflats in the Balestier area and buying units, even as the general property market remains weak.

City Developments (CDL) said yesterday it has sold 'about 60 per cent' of the 100 units at The Arte@Thomson at an average price of $880 per sq ft since a hush-hush preview started last Friday.

The Arte has 336 fairly large units in two 36-storey blocks in Jalan Datoh, off Balestier Road.

The 60 or so units were transacted at $852,800 to $2.46 million, said a CDL spokesman.

Most of those sold were two- and three-bedroom units. The two-bedroom units are 1,055sqft, while nearly half of the project comprises three-bedroom units ranging from 1,399 sq ft to 1,625sqft.

CDL said it had extended the interest absorption scheme (IAS) to buyers during the preview at no extra cost, but could not yet say how many buyers had taken advantage of it.

'Buyers are given some time to decide if they wish to take up the IAS,' said the spokesman.
The scheme allows buyers to defer the bulk of the purchase price until completion on condition that they take up a loan at the point of sale.

The CDL spokesman said the $880 per sq ft price was being offered for a limited number of units only. 'We will be reviewing the price and adjusting it upwards progressively,' he said.

The encouraging sales at The Arte came amid a still-slow market as some other launches see relatively weak interest. Demand for high-end homes, in particular, remains poor.

New home sales in February were lifted to a relatively high level, but that was largely due to the strong sales at three mass to mid-end projects. Many buyers went for small units as their absolute prices were low, and hence affordable.

Just last week, Keppel Land deferred the construction of two yet-to-be-launched projects - Marina Bay Suites in Marina Bay and Madison Residences in Bukit Timah - because of the slumping market.

In the Balestier area, the new showflats benefited from spillover crowds from the various launches, said Savills Residential director Phylicia Ang, who is marketing the 104-unit Domus in the area.

Released for sale two weeks ago, Domus, in Irrawaddy Road, welcomed visitors who had initially attended The Arte preview.

So far, 33 units - out of the 59 launched at Domus - have been sold at an average of $900 per sq ft, or from $480,000 to $1.2 million, said Ms Ang.

The sales included 20 one-bedroom units of 474sqft.

Novelty Group's I-Residences, a 70-unit project in Irrawaddy Road, is about 50 per cent sold since its private preview late last year.

Nearby, on the former Ruby Plaza site, Soilbuild had a preview for The Mezzo, which offers a 6 per cent rental guarantee for two years. It did not comment on sales.

Source: Straits Times, 27 Mar 2009

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