New condos at lower prices?

A series of new projects could hit the market this week, with some of them priced slightly below average.

( A string of brand new condominiums are slated to hit the property market this week. Image courtesy of Thinkstock.)

Market watchers are expecting a slew of new projects to launch this week, including Ripple Bay near Pasir Ris Beach, Palm Isles at Flora Drive, Natura at Hillview Terrace, and Hillsta at Choa Chu Kang Road.

Natura, a joint venture between Roxy-Pacific Holdings and Macly Group, made recent headlines with its small 635-sq-ft three-room units. The 10-storey freehold development is said to have an average price of around $1,250 per sq ft (psf), and will comprise one- through three-room units and penthouses.

Meanwhile Ripple Bay, MCL Land’s 679-unit 99-year-leasehold project, is said to be priced at just above $850 psf after early-bird discounts. Situated a stone’s throw away from Pasir Ris Beach, it is a surprise that absolute prices start from $415,130 for a 484-sq-ft one-room unit ($858 psf), and from $795,500 for a 990-sq-ft three-room unit ($805 psf).

The prices are lower than that of the Seastrand, located just behind it and a further distance from the beach. Seastrand was released last June at a median price of $879 psf, according to its developer’s declarations to the authorities. The following month saw its median price surging to $935 psf. Current prices remain above the $900-psf marker.

These cautious prices suggest a sense of urgency among developers to push out launches. SLP International managing director Peter Ow told The Business Times that developers are launching projects quicker due to a growing concern that another batch of cooling measures might be whipped up to remedy the record number of new private homes sold last month.

“To ensure a good take-up rate, developers are likely to price new mass-market condo launches say about $10-15 psf below existing nearby projects,” said Ow. However, he commented that there is no need for more cooling measures; speculation has been dealt with via the seller’s stamp duty, and foreign buying staved off significantly following the introduction of the 10% additional buyer’s stamp duty.

Ow added that there is also plenty of available supply.

At Flora Drive sits Fraser Centrepoint’s Palm Isles, which boasts 28 ‘garden homes’, each with its own garden and private parking lots. The 429-unit project has an expected average price of $850-880 psf, slightly lower than that of nearby development Hedges Park. The latter launched in April 2011 at a median price of $889 psf, but last month saw eight of its units going for a median price of $873 psf.

At its launch last week, Tuan Sing’s Seletar Park Residence had 90 of its 276 units sold for an average $1,100 psf price. Excluding the project’s ground-floor units and penthouses, the average price rose to $1,200 psf. In terms of absolute prices, a one-room unit spanning 528-sq-ft starts from $634,000. Buyers were mostly Singaporeans.

Last week World Class Land, a freehold mixed development at the Bedok and Upper Changi Road vicinity, sold almost all of its 90 residential units at around $1,400 psf average.

DTZ’s Asia Pacific research head Chua Chor Hoon told The Business Times that there is still a significant pool of buyers due to current low interest rates and persisting inflation fears. She said, “Demand will be stronger for small units as there are many investors with sizeable bank balances looking to park their money in property.”