LUXURY home sales in Singapore are still being hurt by economic turmoil in the United States and Europe, although buyers are trickling back, said a top executive at local developer Heeton Holdings.
Another factor is that the Republic is competing with many choice locations as some high-end investors also look to places such as London, Heeton chief operating officer Danny Low said yesterday.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the soft launch of The Boutiq - a 130-unit high-end freehold project in Killiney Road on the former Mitre Hotel site - jointly developed with KSH Holdings and Tee International.
Since the project went on sale early this month, 39 out of the 52 units launched so far have been bought at an average price of $2,350 per sq ft (psf). Half of the buyers were foreign - mostly Malaysians.
Later phases will be priced at a higher level as the initial 10 per cent discount off the list price will be reduced, with more units released, Mr Low said.
Nearby, 84-unit Devonshire Residences sold 53 units at a median price of $2,505 psf last month.
Mr Low said the consortium did not lower its list prices as a result of the Government's property market cooling measures in January.
The consortium had already priced its project lower than its competitors' as it had acquired the site at a 'very good price', he added.
Mr Low said Heeton's other luxury project, the 30-unit iLiv@Grange, will be relaunched in the second half of this year. The Grange Road project has had no sales since it was launched in June last year.
On the differing buyer response to both of its upscale launches, Mr Low said: '(iLiv@Grange) is an even higher-end project above $3,000 psf. The sizes are also larger, so the quantum is larger. It's a different target market.'
Heeton and Koh Brothers' The Lumos project in Leonie Hill, to be completed in July, will also be relaunched this year.
The 53-unit project has sold 19 apartments at an average of about $3,200 psf since it opened for sale in 2007.
On whether luxury home prices will regain their 2007 peak, Mr Low said prices would catch up slowly, but were unlikely to surpass the previous high this year.
The consortium also hopes to launch its recently acquired collective sale site, Camay Court, this year after it completes the purchase in June.
Upcoming new launches include Wing Tai's Foresque Residences in Petir Road, which agents say will be launched at $1,000 psf to $1,200 psf. Auralis at East Coast and H Residences in Telok Kurau are also expected to be previewed soon.
Separately, City Developments said at its annual general meeting yesterday that three more launches - Jean Nouvel Residences, Buckley 9 & 11 and a Segar Road executive condo - are due by June.
Its executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng told The Straits Times that the cooling measures have helped curb speculation and stabilise prices. 'Since then, property prices have come down in some cases or have remained the same in others. Volumes declined initially but have gone up again as a result of the increase in launches by developers.'
Buyers are confident in Singapore's medium- and long-term future, with the Government laying a solid foundation for growth, he added.