Buyers snap up over 1,000 units at three projects in one night

Riverfront Residences' showflat after the property cooling measures kicked in. The Hougang project's original launch date was this weekend, but it was brought forward to allow buyers to lock in deals. The crowd at the Riverfront Residences showflat b
THURSDAY 9.07pm: The crowd at the Riverfront Residences showflat before cooling measures took effect. By midnight, about 510 units at the 1,472-unit project were sold.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Riverfront Residences' showflat after the property cooling measures kicked in. The Hougang project's original launch date was this weekend, but it was brought forward to allow buyers to lock in deals. The crowd at the Riverfront Residences showflat b
YESTERDAY 6.05pm Riverfront Residences' showflat after the property cooling measures kicked in. The Hougang project's original launch date was this weekend, but it was brought forward to allow buyers to lock in deals. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

More than 1,000 units were sold at three projects in just a few hours on Thursday night in a remarkable buying frenzy triggered by the imminent imposition of tough new cooling measures.

Buyers rushed to condominium showflats in a desperate bid to sign up for a new home and avoid what - for some - would be significantly higher acquisition costs.

Developers had brought forward the three launches to allow buyers to lock in deals before changes to the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty and Loan-to-Value Limits, which were announced at about 7pm on Thursday, clicked in at midnight.

The sales rush created huge queues, led to packed carparks, ran agents off their feet - and inevitably left some potential buyers high and dry after they were unable to complete the process in time.

By midnight, about 510 units at the 1,472-unit Riverfront Residences in Hougang were sold at an average $1,200 per sq ft (psf) - a level said to be just marginally above its break-even price.

The project sits on the former Rio Casa HUDC site, which was acquired in May last year by a consortium led by Oxley Holdings for $706 psf per plot ratio.

The many developers yet to release projects might have to revise their launch and pricing strategy. Sales are widely expected to fall significantly in the initial months ahead as the market takes stock of potential implications of the new cooling measures.

Park Colonial in Woodleigh shifted 310 of its 805 units at an average $1,730 psf - above an estimated break-even price of $1,600 psf. The project is jointly developed by Chip Eng Seng's property arm CEL Development, Heeton Holdings and KSH Holdings.

Chinese developers Logan Property and Nanshan Group moved 200 of 1,259 units for Stirling Residences in Queenstown at about $1,800 psf on average.

The flurry of last-minute sales reflects strong liquidity and pent-up demand, which some experts say may support the Government's view that there is "euphoria" in the property market.

Riverfront Residences' original launch date was this weekend, while Park Colonial and Stirling Residences had planned to start selling next weekend.

Some buyers at the showflats ended up being turned away as they would not have been able to complete the option to purchase in time.

While the three new projects captured the most attention on a night few agents will forget, existing projects elsewhere offered discounts on Thursday. These included Grandeur Park Residences, Affinity at Serangoon, Marina One, Martin Modern and Wallich Residence.

Some agents said GuocoLand sold seven units at Martin Modern at $2,650 to $2,850 psf and three homes at Wallich Residence at $3,050 to $4,000 psf, both offering 5 per cent discounts.

Wallich Residence is in Tanjong Pagar, while Martin Modern is near River Valley.

The many developers yet to release projects might have to revise their launch and pricing strategy. Sales are widely expected to fall significantly in the initial months ahead as the market takes stock of potential implications of the new cooling measures.

Colliers International has revised its sales estimate for the year to 8,500 to 9,000 units, 15 per cent to 20 per cent lower than the 10,566 units sold by developers last year.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2018, with the headline 'Buyers snap up over 1,000 units at three projects in one night'. Print Edition | Subscribe