CapitaLand calls for more time to sell units

Property developer CapitaLand said last week's tweaking of some property cooling measures demonstrates the Government's readiness to calibrate curbs according to market conditions.

The changes are incremental steps in the right direction, said CapitaLand Singapore chief executive Wen Khai Meng yesterday.

He also suggested that the Government consider extending the timeframe for developers to sell units under the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) and qualifying certificate (QC) rules.

"My view is that the transaction volume has halved. So I think the Government should give developers a longer time to sell the units," Mr Wen said at a media preview of CapitaLand's upcoming launch of Marine Blue condominium.

New home sales have slowed markedly in recent years, after a raft of cooling measures. More than 7,000 units were sold in each of the last three years, down from nearly 15,000 units in 2013 and 22,000 units in 2012.

Developers have a five-year deadline to complete and sell all units under the ABSD rule, introduced in December 2011. Those with unsold stock after the deadline face penalties that could run into millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, the QC rules apply specifically to foreign developers, including Singapore developers listed here with foreign shareholders.

Under the rules, they must sell all units on private residential land within two years of obtaining the Temporary Occupation Permit, failing which the developer will have to pay extension charges, pro-rated to the proportion of unsold units.

Mr Wen suggested these deadlines be extended by two years.

He said: "I don't think it is in the interest of the Government to see any abrupt changes or instability in the market. By allowing a longer time to sell, the market could find its equilibrium and a soft landing."

He also hopes the definition of a foreign developer can be relooked.

So far, CapitaLand has paid $8.03 million in extension charges for The Interlace and $2.56 million for d'Leedon. But the charges are unlikely to have a major impact, as the two projects are substantially sold.

The developer is also confident of selling all units at the newly completed 124-unit Marine Blue in Marine Parade, set to be launched this weekend. It has already sold 38 units in a soft-launch last year.

The 86 units left include 52 one-bedroom plus study units, sized between 635 sq ft and 980 sq ft, which cost between $1.13 million and $1.39 million.

Prices for 27 loft suites, which span between 1,270 sq ft and 1,593 sq ft, start from $1.56 million.

Three penthouses, sized between 3,025 sq ft and 3,261 sq ft, cost at least $4.11 million.

The freehold project also has four large strata homes with pool terraces, sized between 3,670 sq ft and 3,993 sq ft, and priced between $4.87 million and $5.24 million.

The average price at the project - located near the upcoming Marine Parade MRT station - works out to slightly more than $1,700 psf.

This article was first published on Mar 14, 2017.
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