Developers fastidious about ensuring compliance with safety requirements

IT SEEMS to have been a day of generally patchy sales for developers when they could finally open the doors to their showflats after shutting them nearly two and a half months ago as part of measures to halt the spread of the Covid-19 bug.

The generally slow sales – or even no sales in some cases – on Friday was partly due to developers taking a cautious approach, making sure they comply with all the safety requirement stipulated by the authorities.

Entry into showflats is by appointment only and some developers seem to have let in even fewer groups of buyers than allowed – to minimise risks of infection.

Not all showflats were reopened on Friday. For those that did, some of the appointments made to visit came from buyers who had already purchased units in the development through virtual tours of the showflat – during the April 7 to June 18 period when showflats were closed and property viewings disallowed. On Friday, these buyers finally got the opportunity to have a look and feel of the actual showflat.

At The Florence Residences in Hougang Avenue 2, Logan Property sold eight units on Friday (as at 9 pm), taking total sales to 51 per cent of the 1,410-unit condo, said the group’s executive director CB Chng. BT understands that at least three units were sold on Friday at Stirling Residences in Queenstown – with total sales crossing 1,000 units in the 1,259-unit project, which was launched in July 2018.

Chip Eng Seng Corporation’s subsidiary CEL Development sold a junior three-bedroom penthouse on Friday at its Kopar at Newton condo for S$3.68 million. The 1,593-sq ft unit was bought by a Chinese citizen.

Sim Lian Holdings and Sim Lian Land sold three units at Treasure at Tampines on Friday, taking total sales to 55 per cent of the 2,203-unit, 99-year leasehold project. The project’s average price is S$1,350 psf.

During the period when the showflat had to be shut, Sim Lian managed to move 103 units. “The people who came to our showflat on Friday are serious but they need time to consider,” said a spokesperson at Sim Lian Land.

Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group sold four units at its JadeScape condo in Shunfu Road on Friday (up to 7 pm).

Said its deputy general manager Yen Chong: “Easing into the enhanced safe management measures, we’ve cautiously scheduled 16 viewing appointments on Friday to prevent crowds. Over 65 viewing appointments are currently spread over the weekend.”

Including the four units sold on Friday, total sales in the 1,206-unit project stands at 809 units, said Ms Chong.

JadeScape was launched in September 2018. There has been no change in the project’s average pricing of about S$1,700 psf since launch, she added.

BT understands that City Developments Ltd (CDL) moved a few units on Friday at its various projects.

The group did not reveal sales figures but said it has reopened all six of its showflats on Friday. Its spokesperson said: “A majority of the showflat appointments are made by buyers who have already made their purchase as well as prospective buyers, who are using this opportunity to view the showflat physically, having previously viewed the showflat virtually on our CDL Homes website.”

Alvin Tan, executive director of PropNex International, said: “Activity is there at the showflats but limited by the number of slots available.”

Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Controller of Housing rules, developers have to control the number of people in the show gallery and within show units to not more than one person per 10 square metres of space. Viewings are by appointment only, capped at five persons per group (including agents).

Depending on their size, show galleries can accommodate anywhere from four to maybe 18 groups at any one time. Developers are carving out one or two-hour time slots, spread among the various property agencies.

PropNex is currently actively marketing 90 Singapore residential projects. These are projects that either have a physical showflat and/or units still available for sale by developer.

ERA Realty Network key executive officer, Eugene Lim, said: “It’s a good start with more than 30 show galleries reopened on the first. day. There are are at least another 30 which are getting ready to follow suit soon.

SingHaiyi said that it will reopen the show gallery for Parc Clematis from Saturday. “We have a maximum of 40 viewing slots daily. All of the Saturday slots and nearly all the Sunday slots are taken up,” its spokesperson said at 8 pm on Friday.

Said Mr Lim of ERA: “During the time when showflats were closed, potential house hunters were viewing properties virtually. Now is the time they can enter the showflat to get a feel of the actual thing. This is important because buying a property is a major commitment.

“While virtual tours can help in the marketing and preliminary shortlisting of properties, most buyers prefer to see the project’s showflat in person before they buy a unit.

“My colleagues who handle resale HDB flats and private properties are also seeing their viewing slots for this weekend filling up,” Mr Lim added.

Over the past two-plus months when no viewing activity was allowed, this has created a lot of pent-up demand – in both primary and secondary markets, he noted.

PropNex’s Mr Tan said that during the circuit breaker period, developers were more prepared to listen to buyers’ offers. But especially of late, some developers are holding firm on their prices. They are telling buyers to either consider their promotional units ( their “star buy” units) or accept their list price for the other units.”


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