Developers set for more launches

PROPERTY developers are continuing to plow ahead with their pipeline of launches, even as they ponder over the best course of action to take following the government’s latest cooling measure, the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD).

Frasers Centrepoint for one, will go ahead with the launch of its Twin Waterfalls, a 99-year leasehold executive condominium (EC) project located close to Punggol MRT station, with e-applications opening on Feb 10.

But buyers will find prices more palatable as they would be about 20 per cent cheaper than the recently released Watertown, according to Frasers Centrepoint Homes chief executive officer for development and property Cheang Kok Kheong. He put prices for the project at between $720 and $750 per square foot (psf).

In addition, the property player is also expecting to unveil a 99-year leasehold condominium development, Palm Isles – a 429-unit garden home styled project at Flora Drive – sometime in the first week of April, at an average price of just under $900 psf.

But whether or not there will be a shift towards more competitive pricing in the days ahead was not confirmed by developers at the Redas (Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore) Spring Festival luncheon yesterday, as they feel that it would be premature to judge the true effects of the ABSD at this juncture.

Redas president Wong Heang Fine, who is also the chief executive of CapitaLand’s Singapore residential arm, pointed out that even when the impact can be determined, each developer would likely respond in a different manner depending on the target market and product.

Having said that, there has been a significant decline in foreign property buyers, especially in the high-end sector post-ABSD, noted Mr Wong, who also highlighted that recent URA data has reflected a moderation in prices for private residential assets for nine consecutive quarters.

‘We really have to see how things go in the next few months before we decide what our reaction would be to the government measures,’ said Mr Wong.

Price-wise, consultants caution that values could fall by about 3 to 5 per cent across the board in 2012 on the back of softening land sale prices.

All in all, the tone at the new year event was more subdued than at the last Redas function held in December 2011, with most developers keeping a tight-lip about future plans, providing coy comments at best.

But Mr Wong was pretty forthcoming with one thing, his budget wish for government incentives to lower the industry’s business costs in the times ahead. A big wish that would put a smile across most developers if delivered.

Source: Business Times – 3 February 2012

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