Monday, December 12, 2011

Agents step up marketing of commercial, industrial units

Business Times: Mon, Dec 12
(SINGAPORE) It was a markedly slower weekend, but sales continued to trickle in at showflats of mass and mid-market residential projects at the first weekend since the government announced its latest set of measures to curb demand.

Developers and agents selling small strata-titled commercial and industrial units are meanwhile stepping up their marketing efforts in anticipation of increased demand from investors who might be looking to bypass the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) introduced by the government last Wednesday.

Boutique developer Oxley Holdings, for example, will launch five industrial, commercial and commercial-cum-residential developments over the next six months, said chief executive Ching Chiat Kwong.

'I think investors and buyers will take some time to digest the measures that have just been introduced,' Mr Ching said.

'But logically, industrial and commercial projects should see a spike in interest; at the end of the day, I think people will pick the option that they won't have to pay an additional stamp duty for.'

One property agent told BT that at least three projects with small strata-titled industrial, office and retail units will be launched in the next week or so.

Under the latest measures announced last week, foreigners and corporations have to pay an ABSD of 10 per cent - on top of the existing buyer's stamp duty of up to 3 per cent.

Permanent residents and Singapore citizens too will have to pay an ABSD if they buy multiple units.

At showflats for residential projects, turnouts were smaller compared to past weekends as many would-be buyers stayed away, developers and property agents said.

Far East Organization sold about 15 units at its projects across Singapore over the weekend.

A City Developments spokeswoman said that 'a few' units at 892-unit The Palette were sold on Saturday: 'To date, we have sold more than 400 units out of 450 units launched.'

None of the buyers who purchased homes in the project at Pasir Ris have withdrawn their options due to the implementation of the new measures, she added.

CapitaLand likewise said that no buyers at the 583-unit Bedok Residences, which was launched last month, have said they would not exercise their options. That project is currently over 80 per cent sold.

Other developers said it was 'business as usual' at their showflats, but admitted that sales were slower compared to a week ago.

For the most part, buyers are now waiting for prices to fall. Property agents noted that there was a 'steady flow' of potential buyers at showflats - but most left without buying anything.

This is even as many developers - including Far East Organization, Wing Tai Holdings and City Developments - are offering packages to offset the stiff new measures.

Far East is offering a 5 per cent relief package to affected buyers at all of its already-launched projects.

It will reimburse buyers 3 per cent of the unit price to offset the new stamp duty, and buyers will also get furniture vouchers worth 2 per cent of the flat price.

Wing Tai and City Developments are also offering relief packages at selected projects, BT understands.

Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Team Marshe
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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