Hundreds book appointments as condo sales galleries reopen; resale home viewings also resume

Visitors at Qingjian's Jadescape show gallery on June 19, 2020. ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

SINGAPORE - Sales galleries for private condominium projects reopened for the first time in over two months on Friday (June 19), but there were no large crowds as developers have adopted by-appointment-only visits.

Instead of accepting walks-in, developers interviewed said home buyers have to make appointments before visiting the showflats and adhere to the five-a-group rule, among other safe measures.

Appointment bookings for Kopar at Newton, a luxury condo project launched in April by CEL Development, began on Thursday (June 18).

Around 50 people made bookings for Friday, while over 300 have scheduled visits for the weekend, said the developer's executive director Michael Ng.

The number of people at the sales gallery at any point will be capped based on the recommended occupancy guideline of 10 sq m per person, he added.

"We also do overall crowd control to ensure the total number of people in the space - including agents, security and cleaners - do not exceed 135 people," he said.

Mr Ng added that the arrangement will be in place throughout phase two of Singapore's reopening, until further easing of measures by the Government.

Similar measures will be implemented at the showflats for CEL Development's two other projects Park Colonial at Woodleigh and Parc Komo in Changi.

Other developers The Straits Times spoke to have received between 65 and 109 appointments for this weekend and expect bookings to pick up in the coming weeks.

Staggered time slots, digital check-in system SafeEntry, temperature screening, and enhanced cleaning and sanitising efforts are some of the measures developers have put in place.

Ms Yen Chong, deputy general manager for Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group, said it has "cautiously scheduled" 16 viewing appointments on Friday for JadeScape as it eases into the enhanced safe management measures on the first day of reopening.

It is expecting over 65 appointments across Saturday and Sunday for its condo project in Shunfu Road, with buffer time between appointments to avoid crowding.

A spokesman for Sim Lian Land said its condo project Treasure at Tampines received 23 appointments on Friday, and has over 100 appointments scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

She said the showroom can accommodate 18 slots every two hours, or 90 appointments a day.

Viewings for resale properties have also resumed.

PropNex Realty property agent Madison Heng said she started receiving enquiries for property viewings on Monday (June 15) as soon as Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening was announced.

Ms Heng, who has been in the industry for two years, has five home viewings lined up for the weekend, and is in the process of generating QR codes for SafeEntry at each location to keep track of viewings.

"Singapore buyers prefer to view properties in person, so agents will likely be busy in the coming weeks," she said, adding that she will continue to do online consultations where possible to reduce physical interactions.

During the circuit breaker period, she had conducted multiple virtual property viewings over Zoom and subsequently sold a three-room Housing Board (HDB) flat.

At a virtual engagement session with key players from the real estate industry on Friday evening, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad urged property agencies and agents to continue to use digital tools where possible.

He said it is an opportunity for the estate agency industry to continue its digitalisation efforts and to adapt to the shifts in consumer habits.

He said: "Technology does not do away with the need for face-to-face interactions. Instead, technology offers the opportunity for greater productivity while maintaining the human touch."

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