New projects attract strong interest

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 November, 2010, 12:00am

Singapore's mass-market housing is an example for Hong Kong, with affordable housing made accessible to the middle- and lower-middle class.

Properties developed by the Housing Development Board can be sold, and prices move up and down according to market swings.

The Singapore government has introduced steps to cool the market but some new projects are attracting strong interest from retail buyers. A mass market condominium project in the Pasir Ris Grove area has failed to deter a group of buyers.

Sales were brisk with 160 of the 200 released flats snapped up at S$830 (HK$4,951) per square foot on average. About 75 per cent of buyers were Singaporeans, with the rest foreigners or permanent residents, according to developers City Developments (CDL), and joint venture partners Hong Leong Holdings and Hong Realty. The 642-unit condo is the first large residential project to be released after the government introduced cooling measures and was eagerly watched for signs of buyer resistance.

That seemed in short supply amid the rush, but experts say the 99-year leasehold has plenty of appeal. NV Residences, within walking distance of Pasir Ris MRT, is priced at an average of S$830 per square foot.

That makes a one-bedroom flat (495 sqft to 657 sqft) about S$557,000, while S$1.9 million gets a 2,497 sqft penthouse, CDL says. It is next to Livia, which was relaunched at S$620 per square foot early last year, though prices in the area have since shot up considerably.

Knight Frank's managing director (residential services), Peter Ow, was quoted as saying by local media that the price is attractive. The units at NV Residences are also fairly small and that keeps the total price affordable, he added. Colliers International's director of research and advisory, Tay Huey Ying, says the robust response is 'a testament to the strong underlying demand for mass-market homes by genuine homebuyers, as well as investors who are in a healthy financial position'.

A Hong Leong spokesman says the measures had some impact as some potential buyers did not commit because of the new financing rules. Experts have predicted that the HDB resale market and the mass private property market will be hit by the measures.

HDB resale prices are at record highs, while mass market prices have been described as 'peakish', having exceeded the 1996 highs.