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THE property market has not yet fully recovered from last year’s onslaught of cooling measures, going by first weekend sales at one of this year’s most-anticipated condo launches.

The Florence Residences in Hougang released 200 units for its first phase of sales on Saturday, of which close to 60 units or 30 per cent were sold.

The 1,410-unit condo project is this year’s first mega launch. Developed by Logan Property, Florence Residences sits on the site of Florence Regency, the privatised HUDC estate that was sold en bloc in October 2017.

In February, Logan Property (Singapore) executive director Chng Chee Beow had told The Straits Times that between 400 and 500 units were expected to be released on March 2, depending on interest during the preview weekend.

One marketing agent suggested that the smaller release “is just a matter of the developer testing the market given the way things have been for the past few months since cooling measures”. The sales are “decent”, he added.

In January, Allgreen Properties’ Fourth Avenue Residences sold 70 out of 168 units released on its launch weekend. In November last year, Oxley Holdings’ Kent Ridge Hill Residences moved 116 units out of 250 launched on the first weekend.

A Logan Property spokesman told The Business Times: “We’re confident of our product, especially with the two MRT stations (Kovan MRT and the future Cross Island Line around the project.”

The average selling price was close to S$1,400 per sq foot (psf), on the lower end of the S$1,400 psf to S$1,500 psf range that Mr Chng had earlier indicated. DBS research analysts estimate Logan’s breakeven price is S$1,340 psf.

Logan Property has hired five agencies to market the project – PropNex, ERA, SRI, OrangeTee & Tie and Huttons Asia. Almost all of the sales were booked on Saturday.

PropNex chief executive officer Ismail Gafoor told BT: “Today, buyers and investors still have plenty of choices within that radius and vicinity, namely Riverfront Residences, Affinity at Serangoon, The Garden Residences and Tre Ver.”

More than 200 units have been sold at these four projects in the last four weeks after details of the upcoming Cross Island MRT line were revealed at the end of January, despite February being the Chinese New Year period. “Affinity sold close to 100 units in the last four weeks, Riverfront more than 50, Tre Ver more than 50, Garden more than 20.”

Mr Ismail added: “Existing developers are still competing aggressively at sensitive pricing and there are only so many buyers in any particular vicinity.” PropNex closed almost half of the sales for Florence Residences with most of the buyers being home upgraders looking at two- and three-bedroom units, Mr Ismail said.

Two smaller projects, the 92-unit Nyon condo at Amber Road and The Essence, an 84-unit condo off Sembawang Road also clocked their first sales over the weekend. A spokesman for Nyon declined to comment on sales.

International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong told BT on Sunday: “For yesterday’s launch of Florence Residences, Nyon and The Essence, I would say that these weak sales figures are definitive confirmation of the over-supplied situation in the residential market.”

CREDITS: THE BUSINESS TIMES