SINGAPORE Land's condo project Pollen & Bleu in the Farrer Road precinct has clocked single-digit sales in Singapore and Hong Kong, The Business Times has learnt.
The boutique high-end 106-unit condo in District 10 held previews in Singapore over the weekend of May 1-3, and soft-launched on May 9, releasing around 30 units in its first tranche.
The developer is offering its units at a 15 per cent discount to comparable boutique condos in the vicinity. It units average S$1,900 to S$2,000 per square foot (psf)
This means that 549 sq ft one-bedders are starting from S$1.05 million; 872 sq ft two-bedders from S$1.58 million, and 1,184 sq ft three-bedders from S$2.18 million, according to an agent.
The condo also has four-bedroom units and penthouses whose prices are available on request at the showflat along Ganges Avenue.
Asked what he thought of the project's performance so far, Michael Ng, group general manager of United Industrial Corp (which privatised Singapore Land in 2014), said: "We are not too disappointed. We clearly think that the product will be appealing when people get on-site. Right now, this is not possible because of the construction going on."
The project's appeal, he believes, boils down to its proximity to Botanic Gardens and its overlooking of rooftops of the surrounding townhouses, mainly Sommerville Park, he said.
"On-site construction of Pollen and Bleu is up to the fifth storey for the eight-storey development for two blocks. For the third block, the basement has just been completed.
"At this stage of the launch, we hope to sell 10-20 units, perhaps by the next month or so. We're just going into the third week, and I think we should be able to hit our target."
He added that Hong Kong buyers liked the project for its tranquil nature and access to Botanic Gardens' greenery.
"They looked at the video and appreciated the feel of the development. One actually bought a unit and is considering another one after visiting the site because he really liked what he saw," Mr Ng said.
The condo sits on a 99-year leasehold plot that Singapore Land won in 2012 for S$113 million, which translates to S$1,049 psf per plot ratio.
In Singapore, it has three agencies - Huttons, Savills and CBRE - marketing the project, while Centaline takes care of the Hong Kong market.
Donald Han, managing director of Chesterton Singapore, said that the muted response to the project is simply a function of the market and its pricing which falls within the S$1,500 to S$2,000 psf range that buyers will find hard to stomach.
Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong said that projects need to be more attractively priced in this market where people are expecting discounts. "For any new product launches these days, to move fast, you either have to show major product differentiation or you have to price it slightly lower."
The natural comparable for many would be CapitaLand's massive 1,715-unit D'Leedon on the opposite side of Farrer Road with still over 200 units unsold.
A market observer noted that while D'Leedon's psf price might be lower (three units sold for S$1,512 to S$1,740 psf last month), the absolute prices will be similar to Pollen & Bleu's given the latter's smaller-sized units.
But a better comparable might be other boutique condos such as Far East's The Siena whose new sale prices averaged S$1,908 psf year-to-date. Meanwhile, sales at Tuan Sing's Cluny Park has been slow. Its latest transaction, in the fourth quarter of last year, was at S$2,835 psf.
Pollen & Bleu is a short drive from Orchard Road, Holland Village and Dempsey Hill and has reputable schools close by, such as Nanyang Primary School, Anglo Chinese School (International) and Hwa Chong Institution.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the developer offered a 15% discount on its units. This discount is rather a discount to prices of comparable developments nearby. The article above has been revised to reflect this.