Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Banks Woo Home-Buyers In New Ways

Source : The Straits Times, August 10, 2009

Lenders offer innovative and varied products, moving away from old strategy of using low interest rates

THE recent surge in HDB and private home sales has seen a pick-up in the pace of lending among banks, which have come up with new and innovative loan products to lure home-buyers.

Compared to the first quarter, the second quarter saw the number of approvals more than doubled, said Mr Gregory Chan, head of consumer secured lending at OCBC Bank.

'We continue to see double-digit growth in sales, with a 30 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in new mortgages as of Q2 2009,' said Mr Dennis Khoo, general manager of retail banking products at Standard Chartered Singapore.

Banks are introducing more variations in their loan products, not only to seize market share but also, in part, to avoid the old 'How-low-can-you go?' war of interest rates.

'The best mortgage is not necessarily the one with the lowest interest, but the one that best suits a customer's needs,' said Ms Sherry Leong, business head for home financial services at Citi Singapore.

'We consider it important to offer product innovation and differentiation along with good after-sales service that is relevant to our customers' needs.'

The Straits Times surveyed seven lenders and found many variations of the traditional fixed- or floating-rate mortgages. They include loans that allow changes in loan tenures, offer loyalty discounts, and even a few that earn interest like a savings account.

For example, United Overseas Bank's latest HomePlus loan allows customers to earn the same interest rates on their deposits - of up to 75 per cent of their outstanding loan amount - in a separate bank account.

According to UOB, customers have the option of using the interest earned to offset their loan's interest.

Promotional rates for UOB's HomePlus are now at 1.5 per cent for the first year, 2.99 per cent for the second and 4.5 per cent for the third. But depending on the deposit amount maintained in an account with the bank, an implied interest rate on the home loan can be as low as 1 per cent in the first year and up to 3 per cent in the third year, said UOB.

StanChart's MortgageOne Optimizer also comes with an offset feature where customers can use the interest earned on their deposits to reduce the interest payable on their home loans.

'It is a smart money manager that optimises the deposits and mortgage loans of home-owners...automatically optimising returns by using the lowest interest-earning deposit accounts to offset the highest interest-paying loans,' explained Mr Khoo from StanChart.

Aside from an interest-offset feature that helps customers pay down their home loans faster, Citi's Home Saver is also an index-linked home loan that offers customers one of the widest selections of index tenures in the market, ranging from one month to three years.

With that, customers have the flexibility to switch from one tenure to another when the loan hits its maturity date, enabling them to react periodically on when to fix or float their interest rates, depending on their view of market trends.

'For instance, clients can take advantage of the low one-month Sibor now and then change to a 12-month Sibor later when they feel that interest rates are likely to rise, thereby fixing the rate on their instalments for that period,' explained Citi's Ms Leong.

'Conversely, a client who has chosen a six-month Sibor initially can switch to a one-month Sibor if he believes that interest rates could ease in the coming months.'

However, traditional heavyweights in the home loans market such as DBS Bank, OCBC and Maybank say plain vanilla loans with low fixed or floating rates linked to Sibor, or SOR, continue to remain popular, especially in today's low interest rate environment.

One particular feature in DBS' fixed- rate loans is the flexibility - which is usually not available for fixed-rate packages - of allowing customers to partially pay for their loans at any time within the period.

While DBS offers customers more freedom in managing their home loan, HSBC introduced a special feature to keep their customers banking with them.

'We are the only bank to reward customers for keeping their home loan with us by giving them a loyalty discount, in the form of a year-on-year decrease in the interest rate spread charged,' said Mr Sebastian Arcuri, head of personal financial services at HSBC Singapore.

'This benefit is also 'portable', giving customers the flexibility of carrying forward their loyalty discount to a new property when they finance it with us.'

HSBC says there is also no lock-in period for its loyalty home loan packages, so customers are not tied down.

HSBC's Sibor-pegged loyalty packages also come with a year-on-year decrease in the interest rates spread charged in the first three years, unlike conventional home loans, which typically see interest rate spread rise over the loan tenure.


Allows customers to earn the same interest rates on their deposits in a separate bank account.

Customers have the option of using the interest earned to offset their loan's interest.


Offers customers one of the widest selections of index tenures in the market, ranging from one month to three years.

With that, customers have the flexibility to switch from one tenure to another when the loan hits its maturity date.


Rewards customers by giving them a loyalty discount in the form of a year-on-year decrease in the interest rates charged.

There is also no lock-in period for its loyalty home loan packages, so customers are not tied down.

Looking For A Home To Buy? Try Resale

Source : The Sunday Times, Aug 9, 2009

Prices are mostly lower, living space is larger, but one must choose carefully

Now that the property market has picked up, individual sellers are out in full force.

They are putting up their properties for sale, from the newest uncompleted homes to fully furnished tenanted units and ageing apartments.

For home seekers, this means that apart from brand-new launches, there are plenty of choices in the resale market.

Even developer Keppel Land (KepLand) has started releasing tenanted, fully furnished units at its 99-year leasehold Caribbean at Keppel Bay for sale.

The 969-unit development, launched in 2000 at about $800 per sq ft (psf), had been fully sold, except for 168 units that KepLand has kept for leasing purposes under Caribbean Residences.

The developer declined to disclose the number of transactions, but said asking prices are around $1,300 psf to $1,400 psf. Caveats lodged last month show deals done from $1,131 psf to $1,218 psf.

But, said HSR Property Group executive director Eric Cheng, 'the resale market is not that hot compared with 2007, when you could sell one apartment within one or two days'.

Right now, only the new projects are moving very fast, he said.

He added that 'market sentiment is strong as people are very confident. I think a bubble is forming but it is not near the bursting level yet'.

In the resale market, not only are the units bigger, but living space is also larger as there are fewer bay windows and planter boxes unlike in new condo units.

Prices are also much more affordable, said Chesterton Suntec International's research and consultancy director Colin Tan. But at the moment, 'a large amount of the liquidity or excess money in the market is going mostly into the new launches, that is, uncompleted properties', he said.

'The genuine buyer may end up paying a high premium for a newly launched unit and...spend his whole life working to pay off the mortgage.'

Buyers may want to consider already-built or older projects near new launches which are selling at lower prices, property experts said.

'Quite a number of buyers are not aware that there are better buys in the resale market. They know only how to buy from showflats,' said an investor who recently profited from the sale of a Citylights unit, which he had bought for just $550 psf three years ago and sold at $1,200 psf.

Buyers should ask themselves which properties are available for the budget they have, he suggested. Then, they should narrow down their choices and pick a unit that gives them the most value for their money.

In the Tanah Merah area, deals caveated last month at the nearly completed Casa Merah were at $699 psf to $751 psf, below the average launch price of $810 psf at the sold-out project Optima just next door. Some sellers at Casa Merah may now be asking for higher prices but it remains to be seen if buyers will bite.

Sellers at other completed projects may also be asking for more, as Mr Tan pointed out. He cited an owner of a low-floor 1,453 sq ft unit at Savannah CondoPark in Simei Rise who recently raised his price from $850,000 to $920,000 in line with market sentiment.

This is despite the fact that the owner has failed to find a buyer at the earlier price since January, said Mr Tan.

Greed often gets in the way of a deal, property experts said.

Said the unnamed investor: 'In order to entice buyers to buy resale units, sellers must price them at least 10 per cent below developer units in the vicinity.'

In general, prices of many completed projects are still falling but a few of the better ones have seen some price increases recently, said Mr Tan. However, even then, the increases are minimal compared with those of the new launches.

For those who are ready to commit to a property purchase, it may pay to look at completed homes in the resale market.

Kebun Bahru Station? Where's That?

Source : The Straits Times, August 8, 2009

LTA dismisses 'future MRT stations' appearing in condo sales pitches

UOL's ad for an upcoming condo in last week's Sunday Times showed 'planned stations' like Springleaf and Kebun Bahru, even though the LTA has not confirmed any such sites.

THE proximity of MRT stations to new housing projects has long been a selling point when developments are launched, and it is common to find condominium advertisements displaying 'nearby' train stations.

But a couple of developers have taken the sales pitch one step further: by pinpointing the sites of MRT stations which have not been confirmed.

In UOL Developments' recent advertisement for Meadows@Pierce, a freehold condominium project in Upper Thomson Road expected to be ready around 2012, the developer ran a map showing station sites of the future Thomson Line, which will only be completed in 2018.

These include 'Springleaf', 'Kebun Bahru', 'Venus Drive' and 'Sin Ming' stations.

Another major developer, Far East Organization, showed the location of a 'Marine Parade MRT' station in an online page for its Silversea condo. The east coast development is expected to attain TOP in 2014.

The station is supposedly part of the Eastern Region Line, which will be completed in 2020.

The Land Transport Authority has not confirmed the alignment of the new rail projects, much less the location of stations. An LTA spokesman dismissed the developers' information as 'wild guesses'.

Far East Organization declined to comment; but Ms Claire Cher, spokesman at UOL Group, parent company of UOL Developments, said it got the location and names of the stations from singeo.com - an online map service.

According to the website, the names and locations of the supposed Thomson Line stations were suggestions from users.

Ms Cher nevertheless stood by the advertisement, saying 'we're not misleading, because we put the word 'planned' under each of the station site'.

The Consumers Association of Singapore does not quite agree.

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon said that it fell short of the advertising industry's code of practice, which dictates that all advertisements should be 'legal, decent, honest and truthful'.

'In this case, the sites of the MRT stations as indicated in the advertisement are questionable when the LTA has not confirmed them. As such the advertisement could be misleading.'

Other developers interviewed said it is an occasional practice among some players to include hypothetical sites of new stations in their sales materials - although some frown upon it.

Mr Gerry de Silva, head of group corporate affairs at City Developments, said his company does not resort to this.

Ms Sarah Jane Smith, spokesman for SC Global Developments, said her company has never had to do so because 'all our properties have been very centrally located, so all MRT stations and lines are well established'.

The inclusion of transit stations in property ads is tightly controlled in advanced countries. In Japan for instance, the Real Estate Fair Trade Council says 'future lines or stations are not allowed to be presented in sales collaterals unless the plan is already announced to the public by the transportation company'.

Even so, the line's planned start of operation has to be clearly stated. And the walking distance between MRT station and development has to be made known.

3rd Site Triggered For Sale In 3 weeks

Source : The Straits Times, August 8, 2009

Developer commits to bid $40.5m for govt plot in Seletar Hills area

YET another government land parcel has been triggered for sale after a developer committed to bid at least $40.5 million for the site at the corner of Yio Chu Kang and Seletar roads.

The site is the third government plot triggered for sale in as many weeks after developers tendered bids on land in Dakota Crescent and Chestnut Avenue.

'Developers are looking at the market two years down the road,' said Jones Lang LaSalle's head of South-east Asia research Chua Yang Liang.

'We are still in a contraction mode but the global credit crunch has eased somewhat in Singapore and there is more certainty that we've seen the worst.'

The recent run-up in demand also points to a more positive mood, he said.

The latest land parcel is a 2.1ha commercial and residential site located within the established residential area at Seletar Hills and near the future Seletar Aerospace Park.

With a gross plot ratio of 1.4, it can generate a maximum permissible gross floor area of about 29,400 sq m.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) estimates the site can accommodate 225 housing units.

Shops and food and beverage outlets can be built on 4,500 sq m of commercial space within the proposed development.

Interest in the site is likely to be strong, given the high demand for suburban condos, experts said.

'Given the current pace of sales for suburban condominiums now, the interest for land sites is high and the response to this site should be strong, with likely six to eight bidders,' said the executive director of CBRE Research, Mr Li Hiaw Ho.

Bids are expected to range from $250 to $300 per sq ft per plot ratio, he said.

At that level, they will be about 95 per cent to 134 per cent above the trigger price, which works out to $128 psf per plot ratio.

Mr Li said new apartments on the site should fetch prices of between $700 and $750 psf.

This is based on the expected bids and the resale prices of some of the newer condominium units in the Yio Chu Kang area, which are going at between $600 and $700 psf.

The site was made available for sale via the reserve list system.

Under this sale method, a site goes up for tender only if developers indicate interest by committing to a minimum bid.

There had been much uncertainty in the market earlier, with developers showing little interest in buying sites, but the pick-up in recent months has been fast and furious.

Chesterton Suntec International research and consultancy director Colin Tan said the triggering of the Seletar site is another sign of the strong demand out there.

'Even the developers feel that there is enough demand out there. It's the market talking,' said Mr Tan.

'If the demand from investors is so strong..., then the Government should announce immediately that it will be activating the confirmed list once again at the next review,' he said.

This should cool the market by telling investors that, with more supply coming up, the potential for higher profits will not be there, he said.

Under the confirmed list, sites are put up for tender at scheduled dates, regardless of developers' interest.

The URA said it will launch the tender for the Seletar Road site in about two weeks. The date will be announced later.

Project May Add To Charms Of Seletar Hills

Source : The Business Times, August 8, 2009

URA to put commercial and residential site up for tender later this month.

LOOKING for a new condominium project nestled in the quiet Seletar Hills Estate and in close proximity to roti prata outlets in the Jalan Kayu area, fish farms and The Animal Resort? A new condo with about 225 units could be ready for launch in about a year.


The 2.1 hectare site at the corner of Seletar and Yio Chu Kang roads is the third site in three weeks to be triggered for launch from the reserve lis

It will come up on a 99-year leasehold plot on the government's reserve list that will be launched for tender by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in about a fortnight.

The 2.1 hectare site will also have a commercial component of up to 48,438 square feet gross floor area. Analysts say the commercial component, which could take the form of a small mall, would provide much needed shopping amenities in the vicinity.

The site at the corner of Seletar and Yio Chu Kang roads was once occupied by a wet market and HDB shops and was a convenient shopping haunt of Seletar Hills residents.

This is the third time in three weeks that a site on the government's reserve list which can be developed into private homes has been triggered for launch after a successful application by a developer - reflecting developers' hunger for land for mass-market condominium development in the face of a strong pick-up in home sales.

The identity of the developer that made the successful application for the launch of the latest site in Seletar was not revealed by the URA yesterday. However, the developer's minimum bid price was made public - $40.5 million or $128 per square foot per plot ratio.

CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho predicts strong interest in the plot with about six to eight bids likely, given the current pace of sales of suburban condominiums.

Top bids are expected to be in the $250-$300 psf ppr range - some 95 per cent to 134 per cent above the trigger price, he reckons.

'Based on this land price, as well as the current resale prices of some of the newer condominium units in the Yio Chu Kang area which are between $600 psf and $700 psf, new apartments at this site should fetch prices of between $700 and $750 psf,' he said.

However, Colliers International's research and advisory director Tay Huey Ying expects just a handful of bids for the site, citing the lack of amenities in the vicinity and the fact that the site is not in close proximity to an MRT station. She also noted that older condos in the vicinity, such as Seletar Springs Condo, Serenity Park, Sunrise Gardens and Nim Gardens, fetched median prices of $480 psf to $520 psf in the first half of this year.

The site first appeared in the Government Land Sales Programme in the reserve list for second-half 2004.

At the time, it was much smaller, at 0.5 hectare. The plot was later expanded and in the second half of 2008 was moved to the confirmed list and slated for launch in November last year.

However, before that could happen, the government suspended confirmed list land sales in October last year during the global financial crisis. That was when the plot was moved to the reserve list where it had remained until it was triggered for launch.

Breath Of Fresh Air In Home Loans Market

Source : The Business Times, August 8, 2009

Banks slash spreads on Sibor-pegged loans; 80 and 90% property financing now available.

CREDIT conditions have eased markedly in the competitive home loans market, thanks to improved confidence and liquidity in the property sector. Banks have slashed the spreads they charge on Sibor-pegged loans, and mortgage brokers report the renewed availability of 80 and 90 per cent financing for property.

This is in sharp contrast to the backdrop that prevailed in the first quarter when amid gloom over the economic outlook and falling home price valuations, banks reportedly tightened lending criteria.

At that time, the spread on Sibor loans soared past 1.75 per cent depending on the loan-to-value ratio and whether the property is to be owner-occupied or for investment. For investment property, banks reportedly declined to offer financing higher than 70 per cent. Even for owner occupied home loans, 80 per cent was just about the maximum financing that banks would offer.

Now is a good time to secure fairly low interest rates, whether you're in the market for a new loan or looking to re-price or refinance your current loan.

The three-month Sibor has been hovering at about 0.68 per cent for a few months, not far from the 10-year low of 0.56 per cent in 2003, based on Bloomberg data. The swap offer rate or SOR, which is used by banks such as OCBC stands at about 0.62 per cent.

Most observers do not expect interbank rates to trend up in the near term, particularly as the sustainability of the economic recovery remains in question. A UOB spokesman says: 'Interest rates are anticipated to remain relatively flat at the current level in the months ahead. The trend for home loan rates will be dependent on market competition, cost-of-fund environment as well as global economic conditions.'

Based on rates obtained by Morgan Mortgage International, a mortgage consultancy, OCBC has some of the most attractive rates. Its variable rate package - home loans based on its 'value rate' or board rate - is quoted at 1.68 per cent for the first three years. While SOR loans with no lock-in are reportedly quoted at a spread of 1.25 per cent, those with a one-year lock-in charge an attractive spread of 0.85 per cent for the first year.

Fixed rate loans are also available with the first year rate quoted at below 2 per cent, for those who prefer certainty in their monthly payments.

Morgan's Patrick Tan says that the firm has seen a 50 per cent increase in loan applications. 'Refinancing activity is slowing down and making way for new loans . . . We believe we've reached the bottom in interest rates.'

The loan rates are supportive of an upturn in the property market, particularly as risk-free interest rates in terms of deposit rates and Singapore government bond rates remain low. A number of banks pay just 0.125 per cent for modest amounts. The yield on two-year SGS is quoted at 0.383 per cent, and five-year SGS at 1.34 per cent.

There are, of course, other factors that have buoyed sentiment, as reported in BT on Thursday. Pent-up demand is one factor, arising from the fact that current pricing is still below the 2007 peak. Yet another factor is a slowing of Housing & Development Board construction over the years.

Says Joseph Chong of New Independent: 'The outlook is always uncertain, but it is less uncertain today than it was six months ago. We're watching for policy errors like premature tightening. If there are no errors, the outlook is pretty good.

'Right now, it's not just rates that are low, but the availability of money is high. The asset cycle is turning and liquidity is plentiful.'

An OCBC spokesman says: 'The housing market is currently very vigorous and we see great strength for new properties in the mass market. In the last few months, we've seen a lot of upgraders like young families entering the private property market.'

For now, it seems the bank sees little signs of froth. 'We do not see great movements in the bigger priced properties, current movements are more or less limited to the mass market. We also do not see a great deal of speculation either as these transactions involve mostly owner-occupied homes.'

Property Transactions For Districts 18 To 28 With Contract Dates Between July 15th - 21st, 2009


Source : 《联合早报》Aug 09, 2009


根据仲量联行(Jones Lang LaSalle)提供的数据,发展商手头上其实还握有大约2500个已推出、但还没有人买的新私宅单位。未来一两年内,发展商相信还有能力推出超过8300个新私宅单位,其中超过2000个新私宅单位,是靠近地铁站的优质大众化共管公寓项目。

世邦魏理仕(CB Richard Ellis)执行董事李晓和说:“目前,大众化私宅供应并没有短缺的情况。”


例如:实龙岗地铁站附近的前民登苑(Minton Rise)地段估计能够为市场增添1088个新共管公寓单位;MCL地产在卡迪(Khatib MRT)地铁站附近发展的共管公寓,估计能为市场增添520个新单位;香港富豪李嘉诚的相关公司也估计会在西海岸弯,发展一栋拥有300个单位的新共管公寓单位。








靠近布莱德地铁站的Trevista 共管公寓,正筹备在这个月底推出。由于两个地铁站以外的中景峰(Centro @ Ang Mo Kio)以每平方英尺1150元“起跳”,所以大家都相当关切这个项目的“起跑价格”是否也会订在每平方英尺1000元以上。



Trevista 共管公寓将建三栋40多层高的大厦,单位为590个。(概念图)

吉门岭原址建公寓 “起跑”价或超千元

亚历山大路与德普路(Depot Road)地段,其实就是吉门岭(Gillman Heights)原址。这个被私有化的中等入息公寓在2007年2月,由嘉德置地斥资5亿4800万元,即容积率每平方英尺363元买下。由于多数业主和少数业主相持不下,官司纠缠了两年多,一直到今年5月才圆满结束。

嘉德置地总裁廖文良上星期透露,公司计划在今年下半年推出这个项目。由于附近的Alexis和Ascentia Sky售价都在每平方英尺1100元以上,一般相信,这个项目的“起跑”价也会在每平方英尺1000元以上。分析员估计,建起来的公寓成本可能在容积率每平方英尺700元以上。


庆隆(Kheng Leong)集团在后港11街和罗弄亚苏(Lorong Ah Soo)交界处发展的新共管公寓,其实就是民登苑原址。这栋被私有化的中等入息公寓(HUDC)在2007年初,由本地银行家黄祖耀的私人房地产支部——庆隆以集体出售的方式买下。由于少数业主反对,分层地契局在去年6月才批准交易完成。



位于西海岸弯的地段,则是与香港富豪李嘉诚相关的公司Billion Rise在去年3月的一个政府投标活动中,以1亿1044万元,即容积率每平方英尺305元买下的。





远东机构和星狮地产在勿洛水池路已发展了两个共管公寓项目——水滨苑(Waterfront Waves)和水滨丽苑(Waterfront Key)。



这幅99年地契地段的前身是水滨景(Waterfront View)中等入息公寓,它占地81万平方英尺,相等于14个足球场大小,至今只开发了一半。



它在弗洛拉路(Flora Road)一带拥有的土地,是丰隆集团创办人郭芳枫在70年代买下的农业用地,至今已开发了七个共管公寓项目,即按英文字母顺序命名的雅萨列园(Azalea Park)、美如画花园(Ballota Park)、佳丽莎花园(Carissa Park)、黛丽雅花园(Dahlia Park)、艾德微花园(Edelweiss Park)、Ferraria Park,以及The Gale。








宏茂桥99年公寓价格 可买郊外永久地契公寓

最近,位于宏茂桥组屋区的99年地契共管公寓——中景峰(Centro @ Ang Mo Kio),开出每平方英尺1150元“起跳”的价目表,引人侧目。



如果与同样位于宏茂桥组屋区,但离地铁站较远的豪景苑(Grandeur 8)比较,中景峰的价格也高了大约80%。目前,豪景苑的二手行情只有每平方英尺平均660元。



新共管公寓价格 明显高于附近现楼


以勿洛水池路的水滨丽苑(Waterfront Key)来说,它最近以每平方英尺平均735元推出,价格比隔邻的水滨苑(Waterfront Waves)的二手价格高10%。目前,水滨苑的二手成交价平均约670元。

丹那美拉地铁站旁的Optima @ Tanah Merah最近以每平方英尺平均790元推出,则比隔邻的Casa Merah共管公寓高8%。目前,Casa Merah的转售价格大约是每平方英尺730元。

这两个项目的推出价格,至今还没有超越邻近项目在2007年底/2008年初的楼市高峰水平。水滨苑在2008年初的楼市巅峰期,平均尺价约800元。Casa Merah在2008年3月至5月期间的巅峰时期,二手行情曾经攀升至每平方英尺750元。

现在进场 得准备持守三五年




世邦魏理仕(CB Richard Ellis)执行董事李晓和说,今年6月底左右,黄金地区的公寓租金开始有稳定的迹象,不过全岛其他地区的公寓租金还是继续下挫。







利率或上升 你负担得起房贷吗




马宝山:2011年发展总蓝图 以可持续发展为主轴

Source : 《联合早报》Aug 08, 2009






市建局将征询 公众对总蓝图意见 












马宝山强调,当时经济还未走下坡,而在经济出现衰退后,e2i便能迅速扩充规模来满足求职者和工友的需要。e2i是劳资政稳固合作关系的硬体证明,而我国能够避免失业率攀高也和劳资政伙伴及时推出各项计划如技能提升与应变计划(SPUR)和雇用补贴计划(Jobs Credit)息息相关。

Homes From Sold-Out Projects Back On Market

Source : The Business Times, August 07 2009

Speculators a minority as they shoot for small flipping gains

Some buyers who managed to lay their hands on units at projects sold out recently are trying to get lucky for the second time - by selling what they snapped up, for a profit.

This brings to mind the government's warning last week - that some element of speculation is back in the property market. Industry watchers say, however, that subsales are common for fully sold projects and speculation still remains mild.

Advertisements for subsales at Optima@Tanah Merah have surfaced in the last few days - with owners seeking prices which are at least 5 per cent more than what they paid.

This comes less than a week after all 297 units at the 99-year-leasehold project were taken up in just three days.

Developer TID sold the units at an average price of about $810 per square foot (psf). It had to conduct two rounds of balloting as home seekers descended upon the showflat in droves.

There are also offers for subsales at 8@Woodleigh. Frasers Centrepoint sold all 330 units at the 99-year-leasehold project over a few weeks in June.

According to industry watchers, sellers in the subsale market need to charge a premium of at least 5 per cent to break even. This would cover stamp duty, legal fees and any agent's commission. To earn more, some may set prices which are up to 10 per cent more than what they paid.

But given the market today, those flipping properties would be glad to come out of the deal with $50,000 to $80,000, said ERA Asia Pacific associate director Eugene Lim.

He pointed out, though, that speculation today is 'not excessive'. Every new project will attract a small number of speculators but most buyers today are ready to keep and lease out the property, he explained.

It is when the project is sold out that these buyers may change their minds, he added. 'While some people buy with a medium-term view, because the project is sold out, it presents an opportunity for them to make a quick gain.'

Savills Residential director Phylicia Ang also believes that most buyers do not plan to 'flip' their properties initially. But she noted that if there is profit to be made, some are willing to hear out the offer and may sell later.

She also suggested that not all advertisements may be placed by owners - some property agents may take the initiative to promote units, test market interest and 'gather more leads'.

Both Mr Lim and Ms Ang highlighted that speculation is nowhere as feverish as it was some two years ago. According to Mr Lim, buyers in the subsale market today are more particular - probably looking out for specific units they could not get during the launch.

Rising optimism in the property market seems to be benefiting older projects as well. Casa Merah - which is near Optima and will receive Temporary Occupation Permit soon - has seen prices at its units rise in the last few months. While caveats lodged for units there in February reflected prices of $631-$665 psf, those in July showed prices of $699-$751 psf.

Meanwhile, new launches continue to do well. The 70-unit Airstream at St Michael's Road, for instance, was fully sold through balloting on Wednesday. Previews for Keppel Land's 56-unit Madison Residences have begun, while previews for Allgreen's Viva in Novena will start this weekend.