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Developers giving house hunters more leeway

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Developers are giving home-seekers a lot more leeway when it comes to choosing a unit following the tough lending rules that came in at the end of June.

As well as lengthening the preview periods for new launches so people have more time to decide and get their finances sorted out, some projects let some buyers reserve a unit without having to deposit a cheque.

Marketing agents are also on hand at showflats to explain the new loan framework.

The flats are typically opened for four days to a week so potential buyers can have a look and get their funds ready before a project is officially ready for bookings.

But the tighter borrowing rules under the new total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) mean people need more time to work out their sums with bank executives.

The showflat at the new Wing Tai Holdings project The Tembusu was open for two weeks before the official Aug 13 launch.

Buyers could view the showflat but not buy units during this period. Those keen on a particular flat were given an indicative price on which to base financial calculations.

"Interested buyers were given ample time for fact-finding and to revisit the showflat over the weekends," Wing Tai said.

Buyers could also go to a "thinking corner" - free from the pressure of marketing agents - if their preferred unit had already been sold. They could then decide if a different unit was still affordable.

Kensington Square - a mixed-development by the Fragrance Group and World Class Land - has not been launched for booking of units although its showflat has been opened for preview since Aug 8.

Developers said buyers need the longer preview period as banks are taking more time to approve loan applications.

Previously, it would take up to three days for approval, but applications could take up to a week now, said banking sources.

Banks now have to ensure that a borrower's total debt repayments, including vehicle loans and credit card debts, will not exceed 60 per cent of his gross monthly income.

This has meant that many borrowers are now eligible for smaller loans, so they need more time to mull over their purchases, developers noted.

Top Global chief executive Hano Maeloa said that units at The Quinn and The Maisons may be set aside for a buyer for one or two days if more time is needed to make a decision.

Previously, buyers had to place a blank cheque as an expression of interest before a unit could be reserved.

Keppel Land said preview periods for its projects vary but it does not rule out extending it for its upcoming The Glades in Tanah Merah, which is now open for viewing. It will also depend on other factors such as the level of buyer interest indicated in the project.

Credit from The Straits Times - 29 August 2013
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