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27 July 2012

27th July, Friday




Showflats with the 'wow' factor

Source: Business Times

When it comes to property buying, it is all about location, location, location. But developers also know that an attractive showflat can entice the buyer to sign on the dotted line. After all, a showflat is set up to show potential buyers the kind of lifestyle they can achieve if they purchase an apartment at the said development.

As showflats are the first thing that potential buyers see of a development, developers are known to spare no expense in decking them out, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Generally, the showflat is the primary marketing tool for developers to promote their new condominium," says Elson Poo, general manager of marketing and sales for Frasers Centrepoint Homes.

Albert Foo, general manager of marketing for Keppel Land, points out that "showflats are modelled closely after actual units". "The interior design styling, fittings and finishes also mirror the actual product. There are clear indications where modifications have been made to the showflat or when a particular product is not included in the purchase," he says.

Showflats are often located within the site of the development. "This helps to give buyers a better understanding of the site and its surrounding attributes," says Joyce Sng, assistant general manager of product development at UOL Group Limited.

Sometimes, however, they are located off-site when there are site constraints.

For some projects, the developer can choose to have in-situ showflats, which are actual units located within a built development.

Wheelock Properties' group general manager of marketing Stephanie Tay says that "the brief comes from the marketing department jointly with our in-house design team, which then works very closely with the appointed interior design firm in making sure that the vision is realised in the eventual product".

The amount spent on the design and construction of such showflats is relative to the scale of each development. In-situ showflats incur interior design costs only, while temporary showflats have additional structural costs incurred from the building of these provisional structures.

Developers and interior designers are tight-lipped about how much a showflat can cost but as a general guide, a two-bedroom apartment can cost $90,000 to $120,000 to kit out while a four-bedroom apartment can cost from $120,000 to over $400,000 in decorating fees, including the purchase of furniture, lighting, mirrors and wallpaper.

At some projects, developers even create an outdoor ambience to wow potential buyers. For example, Frasers Centrepoint Homes had a spa pavilion complete with massage beds and aromatherapy oils to bring the spa theme to life for its Soleil@Sinaran showflat. The show suites of The Luxurie in Sengkang by Keppel Land feature private lap pools, which are found in the ground floor units of the project.

The curtains come down on these glitzy showflats when the project's sale period is over. Showflats in temporary structures are dismantled to make way for construction. The furniture in them belongs to the developers, who say the items are put to good use if there are ongoing needs for the office or disposed off according to internal policy. Sometimes, the furniture is sold off.

For in-situ showflats, the unit is eventually sold, "often with the furnishings with the exception of artworks and select decorative items which are collectibles", says Wheelock Properties' Ms Tay.


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Investment Sales


GCBA deals double in Q2; transaction value up 60%

Source: Business Times

Activity in Singapore's Good Class Bungalow (GCB) Areas perked up in the second quarter after an initial knee-jerk slowdown in 1Q in reaction to the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) introduced last December.

A caveats analysis from a property consultancy shows that the number of deals in GCB Areas has doubled from nine in 1Q to 18 in 2Q. The value of transactions has also risen by around 60 per cent - from 1Q's $224 million to $359 million in 2Q.

And the momentum seems to be continuing into the third quarter. An option is said to have been exercised earlier this month for a two-storey bungalow on elevated grounds at Oei Tiong Ham Park off Holland Road at $17.5 million, which works out to $1,614 per sq ft (psf) on freehold land area of about 10,844 sq ft.

A few days ago, a deal is said to have been entered into for a bungalow at Olive Road at $30 million or $1,185 psf. On the nearly 25,320-sq-ft site, in the Caldecott Hill Estate GCB Area, is a two-storey bungalow with a pool and an outhouse. The buyer is expected to tear down the existing property and redevelop the site.

A bungalow on Peirce Hill could also be changing hands at around $25 million, which would work out to $1,650 psf. The land area is about 15,150 sq ft and the property is part of City Developments' Peirce Villas project, which was completed in 2000. The two-storey bungalow on site is said to have spacious rooms with a front garden and a pool at the back.

June's GCB transactions include a property at Old Holland Road which was sold for $20.8 million or $959 psf and a White House Park Road bungalow that sold for $24.8 million ($1,649 psf).

An analyst notes the pick-up in deals in GCBAs in 2Q is against a backdrop of improving sentiment following efforts to defuse the Greek crisis. As well, the higher GCB volume in April-June this year was from 1Q's low base, when the GCB cooled after the introduction of the ABSD. Traditionally, the second quarter is the strongest for GCB transactions due to pent-up demand from 1Q, when activity typically slows down amid Chinese New Year festivities.

The average price of transactions in GCB Areas in first-half 2012 was $1,370 psf, up about 7 per cent from the $1,276 psf average for full-year 2011's transactions.

Meanwhile, in the upscale waterfront housing locale of Sentosa Cove, the bungalow market has been quiet. A caveat was lodged for a bungalow on Treasure Island for $20.2 million or $1,790 psf in June but later withdrawn.


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