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Developers kicking off 2020 with early launches

They hope to be proverbial early bird that catches the worm; buyers keen on districts 9, 10, 11 spoilt for choice with almost half of this year's launches in these areas

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It may be early in the new year, but developers are already starting the ball rolling, with three freehold projects - The Avenir (pictured), Leedon Green and Van Holland - in prime Districts 9 and 10 commencing sales.

Singapore

IT MAY be early in the new year, but developers are already starting the ball rolling, with three freehold projects - The Avenir, Leedon Green and Van Holland - in prime Districts 9 and 10 commencing sales.

Savills executive director (research & consultancy) Alan Cheong explains why some developers are launching right off the bat: "Developers are trying their best to launch first, and see what happens. They don't have 20/20 visibility with regards to the government's intentions around the macro-prudential measures."

Huttons Asia expects 40 to 50 projects to be launched this year, with roughly half located in the core central region (CCR). Ultimately, "projects with a good location and strong positioning will do well in the market," said Huttons' director of research Lee Sze Teck.

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By Colliers International's estimates, there could be 6, 13 and 1 projects to be launched this year in Districts 9, 10 and 11 respectively. Last year, 18 projects with 3,045 units were launched in the CCR, of which 19 per cent had been sold as at end November, according to the real estate consultancy.

While this is a relatively decent sell-through rate given the price points, it remains to be seen if all the inventory will be cleared within four or five years, pointed out Tricia Song, head of research (Singapore) at Colliers. She added: "Hence, developers may want to gain a first mover advantage within a locality by launching a project earlier or within a short period of time for potential buyers to compare the various offerings."

Located in the River Valley area in District 9, the 376-unit Avenir (former Pacific Mansion) will launch for sale from Jan 11. The project is jointly developed by Hong Leong Holdings, GuocoLand and Hong Realty.

The luxury development saw about 400 visitors during its preview weekend on Jan 4, mainly Singaporeans from nearby Districts 10 and 11 as well as foreigners from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In terms of the project's selling points, Betsy Chng, head of sales & marketing at Hong Leong Holdings, pointed to its freehold tenure, proximity to Orchard Road and the upcoming Great World City MRT Station, concierge service as well as the design by French architect Jean Francois Milou. "Given these excellent attributes, we have full confidence in our project."

Apartment sizes range from about 527 sq ft for a one-bedroom unit to 2,411 sq ft for a four-bedroom unit. Early-bird prices begin from S$2,930 psf for one-bedroom to three-bedroom units, while the four-bedroom units start from S$3,030 psf.

"If The Avenir could sell 70-90 units at launch, that would be very good," said Mr Cheong, adding that likely buyers could include foreigners and high net worth individuals, who are less price sensitive and don't mind paying more for size.

Mr Cheong expects that The Avenir could see some competition from unsold stock at Martin Modern, but added that this is controllable as they share the same developer, GuocoLand. He said: "The developer could adjust The Avenir's pricing and design attributes accordingly to separate this project from others."

Citing Realis data, Mr Cheong noted that the 450-unit Martin Modern recorded 76 new sales units in 2019 at an average price of S$2,683 psf. Located at the corner of Martin Place and River Valley Close, the 99-year leasehold luxury condominium was launched for sale back in July 2017. Also in the River Valley vicinity is freehold 140-unit development RV Altitude, which has recorded 36 transactions at an average price of S$2,946 psf, he noted. RV Altitude was launched in January last year.

Colliers' Ms Song reckons the take-up pace at The Avenir will "likely be gradual", as has been the case for many new projects launched after the cooling measures in July 2018.

Other projects in the River Valley precinct include 51-unit The Iveria launched in November last year, and the 250-unit 8 Saint Thomas which was completed in 2018 but still has unsold stock, she highlighted.

Over in District 10, sales will soon open for two freehold projects.

Developed by Yanlord Land and MCL Land, Leedon Green (former Tulip Garden) in the neighbourhood of Leedon Heights offers 638 units and is expected to be completed in 2023. Unit sizes start from 474 sq ft for the one bedders and go up to 1,496 sq ft for the four-bedroom units. The four-bedroom garden villas range from 2,400 to 2,680 sq ft.

The Business Times understands the one-bedroom units at Leedon Green are priced from S$2,643 to S$2,786 psf, two-bedroom units from S$2,523-S$2,768 psf, three-bedroom units from S$2,545-S$2,731 psf and four-bedroom units are going at S$2,560 psf. The four-bedroom garden villas for sale range from S$2,420-S$2,569 psf.

Also in district 10, luxury development Van Holland along Holland Road held a private preview last weekend and will begin its public sales launch from Jan 11. The site of the former Toho Mansion offers 69 units across three blocks, with sizes ranging from 495 sq ft to 1,991 sq ft; prices start from S$2,600 psf.

While developer Koh Brothers did not comment on sales figures, Citi analyst Brandon Lee said five units have been sold so far. Its private preview reportedly attracted over 200 visitors.

"We are heartened by the strong turnout and warm interest received at our private preview on Jan 3 and 4," said Francis Koh, managing director and group chief executive officer of Koh Brothers Group, highlighting the development's freehold status, among other things. "Given the rejuvenation of Holland Village and its surrounding neighbourhood, we are confident Van Holland will be an attractive property to potential homeowners."

For district 10, analysts pointed out the latent competition from upcoming launches such as the 319-unit Hyll on Holland and 59-unit 15 Holland Hill.

Other projects in the area include the nearby 296-unit One Holland Village Residences, which was priced at S$2,736 psf and has sold 117 units since its launch in November 2019, according to Citi analyst Brandon Lee in a report on Monday. "We think prospective buyers of high-end condos would be spoilt for choice in 2020, as 40 per cent of the launches are located within districts 9, 10 and 11."