THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has begun its 1995 land sales programme, offering 12 residential parcels, but analysts and market watchers were unenthusiastic, especially over parcels designated for landed development. They said landed property on 99-year leases, which is what the government is offering, had not met with favour from the property-buying public. Softening market sentiment also had not helped. A few said First Capital Corp's 99-year leasehold Loyang Villas terrace homes in the Changi area, launched in June last year for between S$607 (HK$3,326) and $656 per square foot, had not done well. One property analyst with a listed broking firm said: 'Most buyers say that given the asking price [for 99-year leasehold landed property], they would rather settle for a freehold condo where price appreciation is more likely in the long term.' Sources said less than 20 per cent of the 423 homes at Loyang Villas had been sold. Of the five big parcels to be sold by the URA, three are for mixed landed development. Two parcels, a 1.7-hectare site at old Upper Thomson Road and a 1.2-he site at Kismis Avenue, will be auctioned on May 31. The URA said these parcels were expected to attract the most interest. Observers agreed the two parcels were well located and said the auction would show if landed property on 99-year leases was catching on among Singaporeans. The remaining big landed parcel - a 2.1-ha plot in Sembawang Hills Drive - will be sold by tender, as will other large parcels, at Bukit Batok East Avenue 2 and at Alkaff Quay, which are designated for apartments. The Alkaff Quay site, across from Robertson Quay, is expected to generate strong interest because of its prime location and option to use the first floor for commercial purposes. The remaining seven parcels, in Phase 2 of the Eastwood Park development at the corner of Bedok Road and Upper East Coast Road, also will be for flats, and will be sold by tenders, closing at noon on June 7. Colliers Jardine director, Chan Hiap Kong said the response to Eastwood Phase 2 would depend much on the success of landed property with similar leases at Kew Drive. The developer, Far East Organisation, is expected to offer three bungalows, 28 semi-detached houses and 61 terrace units. In the first sale of Kew Drive houses last month, City Developments (CDL) offered six bungalows at $653 sq ft to $793 per sq ft. It met a quiet response, with one unit taken up. Both CDL and Far East group are expected to launch more houses there in the next two months. The URA residential parcels offered will generate about 1,150 dwelling units when developments are completed.