TWO projects - Hillhaven in District 23, and freehold development The Arcady at Boon Keng in District 12 kicked off the year's private home launches over the weekend, with both off to a slow start, although analysts described the sales as "encouraging".
Far East Organization and joint venture partner Sekisui House sold 59 out of 179 units - about 33 per cent as part of their Phase 1 launch of Hillhaven last Saturday
(Jan 20), with prices starting from S$1,903 per square foot.
In a press release on Saturday, Far East said that all 59 buyers are Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRS), with those aged 31 to 50 making up around 70 per cent.
A majority of the units sold were two- and three-bedroom units, it added.
Meanwhile, 51 out of The Arcady at Boon Keng's 172 freehold units just under 30 per cent - were sold as at 4 pm on Saturday, noted ERA, one of the joint marketing agents for the property.
All 11 of the one-bedroom-and- study units, and 25 out of 38 two- bedroom units, were sold.
The project is jointly developed by KSH Holdings, SLB Development and H10 Holdings.
Chief executive of PropNex Realty Ismail Gafoor said that the sales at both projects have been "encouraging", and that he expects take-up to improve as buyers gradually return to the market.
"Generally, we think that buying sentiment is still intact, but prospective buyers may be taking their time to assess the market and review their options," he said.
"The sense is that buyers are still price-conscious, very selective about the property they want to buy, and are really not in much of a hurry."
He also believes that Hillhaven is attractively priced compared with the average transacted price of S$2,150 /sf for new 99-year leasehold Outside Central Region (OCR) non-landed private homes sold in 2023.
Huttons Asia chief executive Mark Yip said that the market has got off to a "good start to the year" with both launches.
In particular, he noted that smaller family sizes appear to have led to a preference for The Arcady at Boon Keng's two-bedroom units.
"Investors like The Arcady at Boon Keng as it is within 1 km of St Andrews Junior School, Hong Wen School and Bendemeer Primary School," he added.
ERA Singapore chief executive Marcus Chu said that rents in the area have also seen a "remarkable" increase of more than 40 per cent from 2020 to 2023, reflecting demand for residential properties in the city fringe.
Furthermore, he noted, only 11 per cent of the expected 11,000 private residential units launched this year will be freehold.
"Notably, the Kallang/Whampoa Housing and Development Board (HDB) estate in the vicinity witnessed some 54 units of million-dollar flats changing hands in 2023," he added.
"The project is an appealing buy for HDB upgraders seeking freehold developments in a thriving and strategically located neighborhood by the city."