Saturday, September 26, 2009

Buying interest in new homes still high

HOME buyers are still biting, if the preview sales at Hundred Trees condo in the West Coast area are anything to go by.

City Developments (CDL) said it had sold 200 of the 280 units released so far as at 6pm yesterday. Buyers included a significant number of HDB upgraders, sources said.

The 956-year leasehold condo at the former Hong Leong Garden condominium site boasts 396 units priced from $500,000 to $2.6 million.

The first 40 units - out of 150 units released at $895 per sq ft (psf) on average - were sold on Thursday at a preview for staff and former owners of Hong Leong Garden condo, sources said.

Another 130 units - some with better attributes - were then released yesterday at slightly above $900 psf, they said.

The 22 one-bedders at 484 sq ft, priced from $500,000, have sold out.

And most of the 66 two-bedders of between 689 sq ft and 786 sq ft have been sold. Prices started from $615,000.

Four out of six penthouses, priced from $1.28 million, have been sold.

The interest absorption scheme (IAS) is available at a premium of about 2.5 per cent of the sale price.

CDL could not say how many took up the scheme as it was still collating the IAS take-up figures. Sources said it is likely to be within the typical range of about 20 per cent to 30 per cent.

The Government removed the scheme on Sept 14 as part of a package of measures to calm the rapidly heating market, though developers which had offered their projects for sale before that day can continue to offer the IAS.

CDL bought the 266,076 sq ft Hong Leong Garden condo site in a collective sale in early 2007 for $131.5 million, or about $363 psf of potential gross floor area, including development charge.

Last weekend, another condo, the 1,040-unit The Interlace at Alexandra Road, sold 233 units - indicating that buying interest in new homes remains high.

However, some experts say they would not be surprised to see a slight slowdown in overall housing demand as some buyers think twice about their purchases. Demand would be more project- or location-specific, they said.

Upcoming launches include the freehold 278-unit Cyan in Bukit Timah.

Source: Straits Times, 26 Sep 2009

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