Thursday, March 25, 2010

Keen interest in high-end properties

POSH property seems to be back in vogue, with one recent launch snapped up and new high-end developments slated for previews in the coming days.

Home-hunters showed keen interest in Keppel Land’s Reflections at Keppel Bay over the weekend, and projects in Sentosa, Nathan Road and Shenton Way are also apparently generating interest.

But while prices are robust and tipped to move up, they are still below the boom-time levels with some experts suggesting that developers are keen to cash in on the buoyant market while they can.

Reflections at Keppel Bay, a development of 1,129 apartments on the southern coast, saw a strong weekend response with 29 of the 30 units launched sold. Prices averaged $2,200 per sq ft (psf) although they hit as high as $2,600 psf.

That priced two-bedders at about $2 million, a three-bedroom unit at $2.5 million and a four-bedroom apartment at $6 million. This was the first time two-, three- and four-bedroom units were being sold from the centre tower, known for having the best waterfront views.

The 99-year leasehold development has six glass towers of 24 and 41 storeys and 11 shorter blocks of villa apartments.

Keppel Land chairman Choo Chiau Beng said yesterday that positive economic sentiments, the improved job market and the buzz sparked by the integrated resorts have helped re-ignite the property market.

Since Reflections’ launch in 2007, almost 98 per cent of its 700 released units had been sold as of last month. It is expected to be completed in 2012.

Keppel Land’s chief executive of its Singapore residential unit, Mr Augustine Tan, said the weekend response had been very good and that 20 more units are being slated for release.

He expects to launch a total of 100 to 200 units this year. About 70 per cent of buyers were Singapore citizens while the rest were permanent residents and foreigners, he added.

Although the luxury segment has not moved as much as the mass market, Mr Tan expects demand to pick up this year with prices increasing by about 5 per cent to 10 per cent.

City Developments is having a media preview of the 228-unit Residences at W in Sentosa Cove today. Industry sources say that it could be priced for about $2,500 psf to $3,000 psf. Developer TID will release the 65-unit freehold development Nathan Suites on Nathan Road, in the prime District 10, at the end of the month at an average price of $2,100 psf.

The 39-storey 76 Shenton downtown condo developed by Hong Leong Holdings also previews today. Prices range from just below $1,700 psf to $2,500 psf.

However, Chesterton Suntec International’s research and consultancy director Colin Tan said the luxury end is still struggling to reach its peak, with prices about 20 per cent lower than in 2007.

‘(Developers) might have thought the optimism in the mass market would spread to the luxury end, but that has not been the case. They know that good times won’t last forever so they might just be trying to get what they can now,’ he said. He also noted that the slew of luxury projects being launched might not necessarily mean sustainable recovery.

Rather, it could be a sign of developers getting nervous since the market share for high-end residences is limited. They might just be jostling to get their slice of the pie, he added.

Source: Straits Times, 25 Mar 2010

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