Saturday, December 19, 2009

One project, two sites

Businessman Andy Ong was looking to buy a second home for investment along River Valley Road where he lives.

The 45-year-old was excited when he saw that Adria condominium’s showflat, which was within walking distance of his home, was ready for viewing.

But he was in for a surprise.

‘When I got there, I found out that the actual project site is in the Thomson Road area,’ he says.

‘Even though the property agent did point it out upfront, I think locating the showflat here is misleading.’

He adds that having to make two trips – one to the showflat and the other, to the actual site – was inconvenient.

He is still undecided about the purchase.

Adria, developed by Far East Organization, is not the only property development to have a showflat located away from the actual site.

At least five other projects such as Luma and Lucida, both by the Novelty Group, have similar arrangements.

Luma is being built in River Valley Grove while its showflat is two roads away in Leonie Hill.

Lucida is in Suffolk Road in the Novena area but its showflat is located across the road in Derbyshire Road.

Housewife Maggie Tan, 35, who went to check out the Luma showflat a few weeks ago, was also surprised to find that the condo will not be built on the site.

‘Luckily, the actual condo site is only down the road, so I can still get a feel of the neighbourhood.’

A Far East Organization spokesman says Adria’s showflat had to be located away from the actual site because construction of the condominium will start next month.

Free transport to actual site

Since marketing for the project began last month, ‘it is not practical to build a show suite on site, only to tear it down soon after’, he says.

‘This arrangement allows us to market and build the property at the same time.’

Over at Wing Tai Holdings’ Belle Vue Residences, its showflat is in Clemenceau Avenue while the actual site is in Oxley Walk, a five-minute drive away.

A Wing Tai spokesman says while the company prefers to have showflats on-site, it has to locate them off-site sometimes ‘due to construction progress, safety and access concerns’.

He explains that an off-site showflat would offer customers a better viewing ambience away from the noise and dust of Belle Vue’s ongoing construction.

However, he adds that an on-site showflat is currently being fitted out and will be ready soon.

Mr Seah Seng Choon, executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), says the consumers’ body has not received any complaints from the public about this practice.

‘But by having the showflats away from the actual site, developers are not helping consumers to have a better gauge of the amenities around the area,’ he says.

He suggests that developers who want to have off-site showflats provide free visits to the actual site for potential buyers so that they can make more informed decisions about the purchase.

Property agents say they do provide free transport for their clients who want to check out the actual location.

An agent, who declined to be named, says: ‘I will drive the clients to the site and back to the showflat after. It is inconvenient but necessary to seal the deal.’

Some developers prefer to stick with the tried and tested.

A spokesman for Frasers Centrepoint Homes says its showflats are all located within the projects’ sites.

‘This helps to reinforce the unique selling points of the location, which is one of the key considerations when buying a home,’ he says.

But Mr Chris Koh, director at Dennis Wee Properties, says it is becoming common for developers to have their showflats located off-site.

‘Consumers are also getting used to it,’ he says.

Businessman Ong, however, is not convinced.

‘Next time, I will check out a new development only if the showflat is on the actual site. I don’t want to waste my time travelling,’ he says.

Show and tell me where

Other projects whose showflats are not on-site:


Actual site: 31 Jalan Mutiara (off River Valley Road)
Showflat site: Junction of Irwell Bank and River Valley roads
Average sale price: $1,733 psf (per square foot)


Actual site: 2 Suffolk Road
Showflat site: Derbyshire Road
Average sale price: $1,235 psf


Actual site: 6 River Valley Grove
Showflat site: Leonie Hill
Average sale price: $1,662 psf

Source: Straits Times, 19 Dec 2009

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