City Developments (CDL) moved 18 units of its high-end condominium project New Futura at an average selling price of $3,200 per sq ft (psf) on the first day of its launch last Thursday.

Market watchers deemed this a decent showing, given that most of the units sold were the four-bedroom and three-bedroom units.

CDL said only 25 units were released during the private viewing on Jan 18.

A third of the buyers were Singaporeans, while two-thirds were Singapore, permanent residents and foreigners.

“We are very encouraged by the positive response to New Futura. It is a highly anticipated brand-new luxury project with just 124 exclusive units on a site area of 87,000 sq ft,” its spokesman said.

The freehold project in Leonie Hill Road is a 10-minute walk from Orchard Road and is designed by internationally renowned architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

The units released for sale are in the South Tower, with prices starting from $3.8 million for a two-bedroom unit of 1,098 sq ft; $5.5 million for a three-bedroom unit of 1,830 sq ft; and $6.9 million for a four-bedroom unit of 2,250 sq ft, according to agents.

The site was acquired by CDL in 2006 for $287.3 million in a collective sale, which worked out to be $1,179 per sq ft per plot ratio.

The project received time extensions for building completion and received its temporary occupation permit last August.

JPMorgan property analyst Brandon Lee estimated that a pre-tax profit margin of 35 percent can be chalked up, based on an average selling price of $3,100 psf.

Nearby project Gramercy Park was sold recently at $2,800 to $3,000 psf and OUE Twin Peaks, also nearby, at $2,700 to $ 2,800 psf.

Mr Lee reckoned that upcoming projects in the vicinity, such as 8 Saint Thomas, Paterson Collection, and One Tree Hill, may be launched earlier than their initially targeted dates to capture the positive buying momentum.

Ongoing projects being sold en bloc may also draw more interest from developers.

In the prime core central region (CCR), there could be up to nine sites offering close to 1,400 units in the first half of the year.

Most consultants are expecting high-end projects to perform well this year.

Firstly, the Singapore residential market is starting to recover compared with other international residential markets, which are peaking or have peaked. Secondly, the prices of Singapore luxury residential properties compared with other gateway cities such as Hong Kong are lower.

Based on an analysis of caveats lodged, purchases by foreigners (non-Singaporeans and non-permanent residents) formed about 14 percent of non-landed homes sold in the CCR last year.

This is slightly below the proportion in 2016. But in absolute numbers, purchases by foreigners grew from 389 units in 2016 to 567 units in 2017.

The number of luxury apartments (above $5 million) bought by foreigners and permanent residents in Singapore’s CCR last year more than doubled to 202 units.

As the Singapore economy recovers and stabilizes, it is expected that the property market continues to grow at a steady rate, and in particular, for the luxury property sector to lead the market.

Adapted from: The Straits Times, 22 January 2018