SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – CEL Development, a fully-owned subsidiary of mainboard-listed Chip Eng Seng Corporation, has sold 77 units at the launch of its 378-unit Kopar At Newton condo project over the weekend.

Singapore-based proptech firm Showsuite said: “This is the first private residential project in Singapore to be launched completely online and with transactions carried out remotely without any of the buyers and serving property agents being present at the sales office.”

The sales office was within Chip Eng Seng’s office premises in Chin Swee Road.

“All bookings were carried out using Showsuite’s proprietary digital booking platform which allowed buyers to avoid queues, crowd and contact, as they signed pre-sale documents in the comfort of their homes. Some buyers even opted to pay the 5 per cent booking deposit online instead of conventional cheques,” Showsuite said in a release on Sunday evening.

This was the first project to be launched for sale amid the heightened Covid-19 guidelines around crowd avoidance announced on March 24 and ahead of the 28-day circuit-breaking moratorium announced by the Singapore authorities last Friday which would see all showflats closed from April 7 to May 4.

The 99-year leasehold project is located off Newton Circus.

CEL executive director Michael Ng said the project average price is $2,350 per square foot (psf), as stated previously. “We have not had time to calculate the average per square foot price for the units sold over the weekend. Most of the units that have been sold are one and two-bedroom apartments,” he said.

The cheapest units transacted were a couple of one-bedders priced at $1.098 million each. Also sold was a penthouse of about 3,305 sq ft that went for $7.88 million. “Buyers were predominantly Singapore citizens, although we also had some permanent residents and a few foreigners who are based here,” said Mr Ng.

Kopar at Newton is jointly marketed by ERA, PropNex, OrangeTee & Tie and SRI.

CEL began previewing the project on March 25. “We had planned to begin sales on Good Friday. However, when we were informed last Friday that all showflats would have to be closed for one month from April 7, we decided to bring forward the start of sales,” said Mr Ng. “We already had Showsuite on board with us, and their technology certainly facilitated the quick commencement of sales on Saturday.”

That said, Mr Ng noted that even with the Showsuite platform, it would have been difficult to launch sales during the moratorium “because you would still need to gather some of the key people – from the developers’ side as well as the key persons in charge from each of the four property agencies – even if they are not in the same physical space as the buyer and serving agents”.

This would not be allowed given that, except for suppliers and supply chains of essential services, activities at all workplaces and retail outlets must be suspended during the four-week period – as part of the additional measures to minimise the further spread of Covid-19.

Showsuite CEO Karamjit Singh said: “We are grateful to the four joint marketing agencies who were trained to carry out the transactions remotely, thereby achieving decentralisation. Each were given their dedicated and secure dashboards connected to our real-time inventory management platform. We also adopted video-conferencing for training and off-site tech-support to ensure the smooth running of the process.”

Kopar at Newton will have two towers of 23 storeys each. Units will range from one-bedroom to five-bedroom apartments; there will also be penthouses.

This is the third project launch that Chip Eng Seng has done in partnership with Showsuite, after Park Colonial and Parc Komo.