I have not blogged about the local property market for a while. It is not because I have lost interest but rather I am observing how the market pans out. The reason I am writing this entry is my irritation at the way the local newsroom’s reporting on the property market, creating unnecessary euphoria and resulting in a misinformed market.
Case in point: Backed by the strong demand and response for the local Executive Condominium (EC) launched (Esprinia @ Buangkok and Prive @ Punggol), the next EC to be launched as Austville Residences @ Sengkang. In my opinion, it is a fairly mediocre development in not so encouraging location (i.e. not near MRT station nor amenities) and at a pricing that I think is on the high side. Nothing wrong with being mediocre and the high pricing (being an open market, willing buyer and willing seller) but what irritates me is the way the media has been going around pumping up the property market.
Take a look at the news that follows the development:
8 Jan 2011 – Australian resort-themed exec condo a hit (CNN)
“SINGAPORE: Austville Residences is proving to be a popular executive condominium.
More than 200 applications have been received for the executive condominium, as at 5pm Saturday. A total of 540 units are available.
Even before the showflats were opened at 9am Saturday, about 50 people were already waiting in line.”
My irks: 50 people in the line to merely enter the showflat. Not even to purchase a unit. So what sort of “hit’ is this?
12 Jan 2011 – Overwhelming Over Night Queue for Austville Residences (ST)
My irks: Picture paints a thousand words no? But the ‘open secret’ that most people know is that the developer probably paid some people to join the queue and hype up the whole story. Long gone were the days of overnight and one day sold out projects.
13 Jan 2011 – Long queues form ahead of Sengkang’s exec condo launch (CNN)
“SINGAPORE: Executive condominiums (ECs) continue to see strong demand from home buyers.
The latest development, Austville Residences in Sengkang, saw a queue forming before doors opened for booking on Thursday morning.
Property developer United Engineers declined to give first day sales figures.
Market watchers said ECs serve a segment that is shut out of the HDB market.
Motorists travelling along Buangkok Drive on Thursday morning were greeted by the sight of a long line of potential home buyers – all in a bid to secure a choice unit.
“I was afraid that I won’t be able to get my unit. Must get a good unit,” one said.
“Actually I have applied for a BTO already and I’ve in fact paid some money already, like S$2,000. But the thing is, I was thinking that I might even forfeit that to get this,” another added.
More than 100 prospective buyers were in line even before doors opened in the morning. “
My irks: Same thing: 100 potential buyers versus 540 units available. 5 units for every 1 buyer. Strong demand indeed!
18 Jan 2011 – Sales of Austville Residences hit by cooling measures (CNN)
“The developer of Singapore’s newest executive condominium said the latest round of property cooling measures have hit sales.
The Austville Residences in Sengkang has sold about 20 per cent of its 540 units.
It was hot property before the measures were announced last Thursday. “
A long line of potential home buyers queued overnight to secure their choice unit on the first day.
But the cooling measures announced that same day appear to have chilled demand.
A spokesperson for developer United Engineers said most of the units sold were transacted in the hours before the announcement. “
My irks: I don’t think the cooling measures would have this kind of impact. Especially it is targeted at the 2nd home owners and investors. Most of the buyers for an EC are likely to be first timers who are below the income ceiling of $10,000 a month. So here you go, caught lying with pants down and now conveniently using the measures as a excuse for your pants down.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is not a review of the condo nor the developer but a personal opinion on how the media has a role to play in news reporting. If you are looking for a review on Austville Residence, I will tell you that as long as you are buying for your own stay, it doesn’t really matter which cycle of the market you are buying at because you buy high, you will sell high. This is strictly my personal opinion.