Sales galleries introduce high-end amenities to attract potential buyers

28 Jan 2020

Showflat carcasses can cost anywhere from S$2 million to S$5 million

Singapore’s private housing market developers, especially those of the luxury market, have lately been more creative with their sales galleries, reported The Business Times.

Some of the new showflat inclusions range from luxurious hotel-style lounges with coffee bars and smart home assets to virtual walk-throughs, all with the goal of attracting potential buyers. Industry observers said that this current one-upmanship among developers will go on, as there are a lot of luxurious residential projects in the pipeline this year.

“Some showflats are more impressive than others. These luxury projects target high net worth individuals, who tend to be more sophisticated and have a stronger appreciation for quality and exotic features,” said Christine Sun, Head of Research and Consultancy for OrangeTee & Tie.

“Given that about half of the upcoming launches are in the luxury home segment, we may expect more sophisticated show galleries this year.”

Alice Tan, Edmund Tie & Company’s Senior Director for Research and Consulting, said developers have been improving their marketing strategies at showflats since 2018.

“Having an appealing showflat remains a key visual and physical strategy to provide differentiation, catalyse talking points, and enables the project to stand out favourably among the rest, in a bid to attract buyer interest,” she noted.

Tan added that recently, showflats for luxurious projects have had a meeting area for potential buyers built like a hotel lounge, with some developers having playrooms for children inside their sales galleries.

Developers are also trying to incorporate such ideas in their showflats at lower budgets, amidst increased costs and declining profit margins.

Showflat carcasses can cost anywhere from S$2 million to S$5 million.

Another trend emerging inside show galleries are more smart home features, such as systems controlling air-conditioning and televisions with just the push of a button.

Modern galleries have also begun utilising multi-media visual presentations to give potential buyers “a virtual walk-through” of the property or “elevated, panoramic views from different levels of the development”, explained Sun.

For example, the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront features a media room in its showflat to help potential buyers appreciate the project’s potential.

The sales gallery for JadeScape by Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group, meanwhile, features a five-room smart home show unit demonstrating the facial recognition technology that its lift lobbies will offer.

Not to be outdone, the showflat for The Avenir at District 9 has three private rooms where prospective buyers could conduct talks with sales agents.

Betsy Chng, Head of Sales and Marketing for Hong Leong, said this feature was added to ensure privacy for their ultra high net worth clients and to give a sense of exclusivity.

“First impressions are very important, you have to impress the buyer,” said Francis Koh, Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer of Koh Brothers.

Margaret Thean, Edmund Tie’s Executive Director for Residential, explained that a high-end two-bedroom showflat can cost at least S$300,000 to furnish, and a four-bedroom apartment can set you back at least S$500,000.

She did caution that the showflats must be modelled closely after the actual units as required by the URA’s Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules, so that purchasers will know exactly what they are getting.

“From my observations, showflat budgets in Singapore for turnkey projects have reduced significantly compared to a decade ago, even though client expectations have increased,” said Cameron Woo, Founder of Cameron Woo Design (CWD).

“This means interior designers have to be more adept at working with tighter budgets and using more economic materials and finishes while still making the showflat look premium.”

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