Developers Adjust To Covid-19

Since the pandemic struck, there were much changes as developers adjust to the market conditions. Sales have stalled with show galleries shuttered on 7 April 2020 when the circuit breaker measures set in. Developers have turned to technology from digital marketing to virtual viewing and tele-commuting to engage with prospective buyers.

Some developers are offering discounts ranging from a meagre S$3,000 for a one-bedroom unit at Treasure at Tampines to S$100,000 for a strata terrace house at Riverfront Residences. For projects such as Starlight Suites that are already completed and have obtained the temporary occupation permit, developers may provide deferred payment schemes. This also means that buyers can move in immediately with a 20% upfront payment and pay nothing for the next two to three years.

Show galleries have since opened after Singapore moved into the second phase of reopening on 19 June 2020. Viewing of the show galleries can only be arranged by appointment to ensure that the maximum capacity of the show gallery is adhered to and there is no over-crowding at the show gallery. The recommended guideline of 10 sqm per person helped to cap the number of people at the sales gallery allowed at any one time.

Social distancing guidelines by the authorities should also be adhered to. For completed units, only one group comprising not more than five persons, including prospective purchasers, developer’s staff and salespersons, is allowed into the completed property at any time.

There has also been digital adoption in the sale process. Developers can provide the Particulars, Documents and Information (PDI) and issue Option to Purchase (OTP) and Sale & Purchase Agreement (S&PA) digitally after complying with relevant legislative requirements.

Booking fees and progress payment now include payment by Fast And Secure Transfers (FAST), MAS Electronic Payment System (MEPS) and General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO) in addition to the existing modes via cheques, cashier's orders or telegraphic transfer.