By Olivia Siong and Seet Sok Hwee | POSTED: 07 Sep 2013 9:18 PM | CNA

SINGAPORE

Several new properties have been launched or opened for preview this weekend but some property developers said sales have been affected by recent loan restrictions.

Skywoods condominium at Dairy Farm Road is one of the new properties that has been launched this weekend. It is going at an average of S$1,250 per square foot.

Out of 420 units, 150 units are on offer at this phase.

At its pre-launch on Friday, its developer TA Corporation said 35 units were taken up, a rate it said is slower than before.

The developer said it is feeling the impact of tighter loan restrictions that have been introduced, in particular the Total Debt Servicing Ratio which was announced in June, where only 60 per cent of one’s income can be used to service a loan.

Forty-eight-year-old Daniel Ong is thinking of upgrading from his current five-room HDB flat to a private property.

Previously, Mr Ong would have been able to get a loan of up to 80 per cent of the property’s value but not now due to the new restrictions.

Some compromises, he said, will have to be made.

“Maybe a smaller unit now or even the location,” said Mr Ong.

Some property investors are looking at downsizing their options.

“Previously we were looking for at least a three-room size (unit) but now, most likely we will be talking about a two-room (unit) or maybe even a studio (unit) for investment purposes,” said potential home buyer Raymond Cheong.

“We are more concerned about the price and the locality and stuff now. We can’t go to the city-fringe… it’s more of mass-market now,” he added.

Located at the city fringe, Thomson Three saw a crowded showroom on its first preview day.

However, its developer said it is taking some time to monitor sentiments before actually putting up units for sale.

It has also adjusted its prices to woo buyers amid the tighter loan restrictions.

The project is now expected to go at an average of S$1,350 to S$1,400 per square foot, down from the initial projection of S$1,500 per square foot.

Kam Tin Seah, senior general manager of investment & strategic development at UOL Group said: “We want to give them enough time to absorb in the project, to understand and to see whether this is the project they like to invest in. (Secondly), to speak to the bankers and hopefully within a reasonable time frame, (they can) come back and make a decision.”

The executive condominium (EC) market seems to be unfazed.

Over at Sea Horizon at Pasir Ris, about 60 per cent of its 495 units have been sold on the first day of sales.

Tan Zhiyong, managing director of MCC Land (Singapore), said: “We are a bit concerned because of some of the loan restriction measures but we don’t think it’ll impact ECs that much.”

“Most of the buyers are first-timers or upgraders. It’s been a while since these measures were announced so they have spoken to the bank to find out whether they can get a loan. About 90 per cent of those who came in today got the units that they wanted,” added Mr Tan.

EC buyer Wong Chee Chong said: “We have to be very prudent about that. That’s why we have to do some homework, source around, what’s the loan quantum before you decide to buy.”

Nicholas Mak, executive director of research & consultancy at SLP International Property Consultancy, explained the strong demand for ECs.

“There’s not going to be a lot of new supply in the next 12 months. And furthermore, the TDSR framework is directing some mass market condominium buyers towards the EC market because they are able to get more loans if they are buying an EC compared to buying a mass market private condo,” said Mr Mak.

With the end of the Hungry Ghost Month, some analysts expect the number of private home sales to be higher in August, and possibly even double last month’s figure.

According to latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, there were 481 new private homes sold in July.

It was the lowest sales volume recorded since December 2009.

– CNA/fa

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/private-home-sales/805460.html