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Marina Bay project props up private home sales
Pickup 'not sign of recovery', sales for other projects remain sluggish
By: CHERYL ONG
Half of October's sales came from the only project launched: a 1,042-unit integrated development in the Marina Bay precinct, Marina One Residences, where 334 units were sold at a median $2,228 per sq ft (psf).
However, the solid improvement in overall sales from September was likely to be an anomaly and could hardly be regarded as a hint of recovery in the ailing market, experts said.
This was because sales for the other projects on the market paled in comparison.
Buyers picked up a total of 765 private condo units last month, an 18 per cent jump on September's 648 units, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed yesterday.
But when compared with October last year, sales last month fell 31 per cent.
Marina One developer M+S, a joint venture between Singapore's Temasek Holdings and Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional, gave early buyers a 10 per cent discount, bringing prices down to between $1,960 and $3,100 psf.
"Buying demand was not totally absent in the market but it had to be drawn out by attractive pricing," said Mr Mohd Ismail, chief executive of PropNex Realty.
Demand in the central region, where Marina One is located, has languished since rules that restrict the size of a mortgage kicked in last June. Additional taxes for foreign buyers have hit the luxury market hard too.
But last month, this region accounted for the largest slice of the primary home sales pie for the first time since November last year, said Ms Chia Siew Chuin, director of research and advisory at Colliers International.
In that month, DUO Residences, another city-centre project developed by M+S, sold 600 units at a median price of $1,999 psf. Prices of the 660-unit upscale development in Kampong Glam were seen as attractive by analysts as they had expected it to be launched with an average price above $2,000 psf.
These recent exceptions to the moribund market underscore a trend of increasing buyer sensitivity to attributes such as the quality of a project, noted Mr Desmond Sim, head of research at CBRE, South-east Asia.
Without Marina One, October's sales would have been the lowest this year, as the other developments moved fewer than 50 units each, said Mr Nicholas Mak, research head at SLP International.
Developers focused on selling units at projects that have been launched for a while, with City Developments' Coco Palms in Pasir Ris selling 34 units at a median price of $1,039 psf.
MCL Land's Lakeville condo, in Lakeside, sold 32 units at a median price of $1,340 psf.
In all, 261 units were sold in the suburbs and 123 units shifted in the city-fringe projects.
Analysts expect developers to continue holding back on new launches and to focus on marketing the sizeable number of unsold units in older developments this quarter.
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