Business

Number of Martin Modern condo units for sale cut back

GuocoLand acts on confidence that private residential prices will rise

Developer GuocoLand has trimmed the number of units put up for sale at its latest condominium Martin Modern, in what is seen as a bet on private residential prices reversing course after years of decline.

Other developers also appear to share the sentiment.

Earlier this week, Chinese developer Qingjian Realty said it is holding back the second phase of its sales launch at Le Quest project, a mixed development in Bukit Batok, in anticipation of a possible upturn in the property market.

Lendlease had also put off placing new units at Park Place Residences, in Paya Lebar, on the market after launching 217 apartments for sale in March - in the hope of pricing the remaining units at a higher price.

GuocoLand told The Straits Times it has already sold 110 of 450 units at luxury condo Martin Modern in Martin Place about two weeks after it was launched.

The developer added that there is potential to raise the selling price next year.

"We've already started to moderate the releases... you want to achieve a good start so there is confidence in the project, I think we already achieved that. We should not be selling too much too fast," said Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director at GuocoLand (Singapore).

Average selling prices at Martin Modern, the first major launch in the Robertson Quay neighbourhood in eight years, range from $2,009 psf to over $2,500 psf.

I think we already achieved that (a good start). We should not be selling too much too fast. Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of GuocoLand (Singapore)

Mr Cheng declined to speculate how much prices might rise next year, but he acknowledged there will be "pressure for prices to go up" in view of recent aggressive land bids and fewer condo completions.

"The margin is already quite thin among developers, and land constitutes 60 per cent to 70 per cent of total cost, so when the land cost goes up so much, it is not a choice for the developers not to sell higher," he said.

GuocoLand is seeking opportunities to acquire plots, with a focus on mixed development as well as good quality sites for homes.

However, Mr Cheng said the firm will "keep a level head" over land bids. "We have our own take on the market, on our product, and at what price we can sell... we have to do what makes sense for us," he added.

The developer has three other projects with unsold units: the ultra luxe Wallich Residence at Tanjong Pagar Centre, Leedon Residence off Farrer Road and Sims Urban Oasis in Aljunied.

The 99-year leasehold Wallich Residence, which will be ready in the fourth quarter, caught the public eye after news broke of its $108 million super penthouse recently.

Mr Cheng said 19 apartments at the 181-unit luxury condo project have been sold at an average price of $3,100 psf.

The 21,108 sq ft super penthouse is not ready to sell.

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