Luxury tucked away – Seletar Hills

For now, the district of Seletar and its surroundings are fairly quiet and laid-back. But all that may soon change as the area is being redeveloped as part of the North Coast Innovation Corridor.

The exclusive Seletar Hills Estate in its midst holds a great deal of potential with the serene environment it provides as well as its proximity to town. A 999-year leasehold landed housing project is being built there at the moment –  Luxus Hills is currently in the seventh phase of its development and will feature 28 terrace units and 4 semi-detached houses. These landed properties are developed by Bukit Sembawang Estates whose other properties include Skyline Residences and Paterson Suites.

LUxus HillsPhoto: Luxus Hills

The surrounding area will soon be very vibrant with commercial and retail businesses including the Seletar Aerospace Hub, Greenwich V and Seletar Mall. Within a short drive or bus ride away are the Ang Mo Kio Town Centre and Compass Point in Sengkang. Situated somewhat midway between Yio Chu Kang, Sengkang and Punggol, and Ang Mo Kio, it’s proximity to the Central Expressway (CTE) also makes it a cinch to get to the Central Business District (CBD) and Orchard belt. The Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Yio Chu Kang and Buangkok MRT stations are within easy reach.

Each of the Luxus Hills homes are designed to suit multi-generational families and come with four en-suite bedrooms, a guest room and roof terrace.

Other properties nearby include Riverbank, Rivertrees Residences, Seletar Park Residence, The Greenwich and Belgravia Park.


Waterfront living from East to West

Waterfront living is no longer restricted to those living at Sentosa or by the coastal lines mainly in the eastern districts. With a number of lakes being developed all across the island, waterfront living is becoming more possible than ever before.

In North-east, there is the Punggol Waterway; in the West, Jurong Lake; and in the East, there is the Bedok Reservoir area which has already seen the development of 3 massive private condominium establishments – Waterfront Gold, Waterfront Key and Waterfront Isle.

WaterfrontFaberNow, there is Waterfront@Faber near Sungei Ulu Pandan – a 210-unit private residential development boasting a wide variety of units including increasingly popular dual-key apartments and strata houses. The property consists of 11 such landed houses and 5 high-rise apartment blocks and holds a substantial amount of potential value in terms of its location near the future Singapore-Kuala Lumpur Speed Rail Terminus, as well as its current proximity to the Clementi MRT station and bus interchange. The latter makes it easy for travel to The International Business Park, JTC Summit, National University of Singapore and neighbouring towns and industrial hubs in Jurong and Bukit Batok.

Families will also be happy to know that the property is surrounded by a number of good schools including Nan Hua Primary and High School, The Japanese School Singapore, United World College, Singapore Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and SIM University. There is also no lack of medical facilities as the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Jurong Community Hospital and the National University Hospital are all just a stone’s throw away.

No longer does the East have monopoly of well-amenitized townships and waterfront living. It seems the West is doing well in cultivating well-rounded environments for their old and new residents.

Singapore – An Island city and her Sea view homes

With Singapore being a island city, it is no wonder properties with a sea view, or better still, just next to the sea, are a popular choice. Some of the more common spots for these seafront properties include Pasir Ris, East Coast, Keppel Bay, Sentosa and though not as common – Sembawang.

Bunglows By the Sea Wak HassanPhoto Credit: Fragrance Group

Not as well known as the other districts, Sembawang is a well-kept secret on the Northern end of the island. The Sembawang park area overlooks quiet stretches of the sea and the Johor Straits. Perhaps its distance from the city centre has deterred some buyers from calling this area home. But those who have since bought properties in district 27 have many good things to say about it.

It is quiet, hence provides a sense of exclusivity, where the view seems like it is almost all yours. Landed homes in the Bungalows By The Sea in Wak Hassan Drive have yet to be fully sold despite landed property prices having fallen in recent times. Prices of a bungalow here is at around $610 psf for the built-up area. But land sizes are big, thus the price of a bungalow here could come up to $6 million. The other landed properties in the vicinity include The Shoreline Residences which have been fully sold.

Next up - The Nautical in Sembawang.

The Nautical in Sembawang.

Nearby, there are private non-landed properties for sale, including The Nautical and Skypark Residences which is an EC (executive condominium). Will Sembawang become the next seaside town to watch? Perhaps so, though it will take some time to fill it with amenities and residents. But the wait might very well be worth it.

More landed homes sold

Those living in landed housing estates may recently have found a shift in neighbour dynamics as more homes changed hands in the past 2 quarters.

Since beginning of the year to the mid of the second quarter, there has been a 15.3 per cent rise in the number of landed property sales, 316 sales transactions with caveats lodged to be exact. Since the price peak in 2013, prices have come down and may have become more palatable to the buying public. For those hoping to snag a private landed home, now could be the time as prices are unlikely to drop even further.

BishopsgateBungalowLanded home prices have since dropped 7.2 per cent and as the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) for second-time buyers will be revised by the end of this year, there is only a 6-month window to avoid paying more in duties. It’s not only home owners and individual investors who are purchasing these landed properties, but also developers who are hoping to turn a single plot of land into a potential cash cow. Older bungalows with their extensive land area are of particular interest to developers hoping to rebuild them into viable modern options. Some of the other buyers include new citizens.  A recent $33 million bungalow sale to a China-born Singaporean was recorded at Bishopsgate.

Other areas with increasing landed property sales include Robin Road, Hillcrest Road and Oriole Crescent.


Cluster landed homes – The next goldmine?

Landed homes have always been known to be one of the most expensive properties in land-scarce Singapore and understandably so. And most would think that properties with individual land titles will always be a step ahead of leasehold properties. But apparently strata landed properties, or more commonly known as cluster landed homes, have seen the fastest price rise over recent years.

The four types of landed properties in Singapore are:

  • Leasehold non-strata landed homes
  • Freehold non-strata landed homes
  • Leasehold strata landed homes
  • Freehold strata landed homes

Casa FidelioAnd the last one on the list above have seen speedy rise in value of 77.3 per cent from 2004 to 2008. And the third on the list have been even more popular since 2009, with the fastest rise in capital value of 20.1 per cent a year. This could be due to the fact that most of these cluster homes have been built in the last decade or so, and have better floor planning and a larger floor area due to the fact that they are often built up to at least two storeys. Some older freehold landed properties may come with a land deed, but often extensive renovation have to be done, which raises the cost for the buyer.

Hillcrest-VillaPhoto credit: MCL Land

Examples of the price rise in freehold cluster housing properties can be seen at the Casa Fidelio in Siglap. In 2004, a terraced house cost only $760,000 and by 2008, it was sold for $1.18 million. In 2007, the launch of the Hillcrest Villa in Bukit Timah also pushed prices of cluster landed homes up by almost $1.5 million. Though landed properties are one of the highest profit-earning tickets out there, the cost of such properties in today’s market will require a healthy bank balance and deep pockets. What options are there out there for buyers who wish to invest in such properties? 


Good class bungalows still in demand

The private property, and perhaps more so landed property sector, has been the doldrums for most of the year. But the niche market for Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) has been thriving.

e704119a11f840b8865a9fb67a23b14eA total of 26 Good Class Bungalows were sold this year, with the total sales figure coming up to a whooping $587.75 million. Though it is nothing compared to the 133 sold for $2.38 billion at the height of the industry in 2010, it is comparable to the 29 sold last year for $682 million. But the average sf prices for GCBs have risen this year to $1,454 sf as compared to last year’s $1,388 psf. The Belmont Park, Chatsworth Park, Chestnut Avenue, Dalvey Estate, Raffles Park and White House Park areas received the most attention in 2014.

There are only 2,700 GCBs over 39 designated areas in Singapore, though the number may have increased slightly in the 1980s when GCB areas were gazetted. This resulted in some sites entering the good class bungalow market even though they are smaller than the usual 1,400 sq m size.

But property experts have noticed that the drop in transactions for these high-end properties were largely due to the  MAS-imposed TDSR (total debt servicing ratio) framework and ABSD (additional buyers’ stamp duty). Most buyers of these properties are likely to already have existing properties and the increased stamp duties will total up to a rather substantial sum.

They are expecting this market to fare similarly next year as the property cooling measures remain. But with buyers’ consideration possibly turning into long term value appreciation, the Good Class Bungalow sector will certainly stand its own.

What carrots do Property developer dangle?

With competition heating up in the property scene, developers are finding it increasingly difficult to find ready buyers. The stakes are now higher and thus the incentives offered have been interestingly varied. From discounts to free furniture, rental guarantees, holiday and travel memberships; and even sports-car discounts and diamonds! The “carrots” may now be actual “carats”!

Mon JervoisQingjian Realty has recently offered one-carat diamonds in a lucky draw for Bellewoods executive condominium (EC) e-applicants. 20 diamonds for that matter. Buyers of the Highline Residences in Kim Tian road can look forward to a 3-year “lifestyle membership” which includes limousine rides and complimentary golf privileges at the Ria Bintan Golf Club. Most of the developers are offering these incentives as a way to market and spur renewed interest in their previous launches. These offers help protect their selling prices whilst balancing the expectations of buyers who may
have purchased units in the initial phases. Would this holding back on offers affect the response during first-phase launches? Whilst some may rest a little on their laurels and wait for possible offers in future launches, buyers who are keen to select their prime units may still prefer to strike while the iron is hot and go for first releases to ensure they get a unit they truly want.

At the Infinium cluster-homes in Kovan, IG |Development was offering a $200,000 Mercedes to the first 3 buyers but later withdrew the offer in place of price discounts of $100 psf on their first 3 units sold. That would mean savings of up to $500,000. But if it’s a vehicle you’d like, UIC and SingLand are partnering with Aston Martins to provide discounts on their cars for buyers of three-bedders and bigger units at Mon Jervois.

But as the supply of new homes may trickle come 2015, will developers continue to dangle these incentives or will the property market make a U-turn and head up the charts on selling price alone?

Landed housing gets a boost

Through semi-detached homes. Apparently prices of these landed properties have risen 4.2 per cent in the last 3 months, contrary to what most people would expect of a dimming property market. Usually the first property sectors to show significant decline are landed and luxury homes, followed by mass market suburban non-landed properties and resale HDB flats. But this rare glimmer of hope in the landed property sector has brought a little cheer to the otherwise gloomy industry.

semi-detached houseThe psf prices of semi-detached houses are now comparable to that of bungalows. But the rise could be due to the popularity of these property types with the rising group of buyers who are able to upgrade to landed properties but not yet able to afford the high quantum prices of a big landed home with a high overall land area. Add the group of buyers who may have originally been looking at bungalows but now find themselves strapped down by the property cooling measures, and there is a ready pool of potential customers for the sector.

Bungalows, being the rare commodity they are, will naturally continue to command high asking prices, which is unlikely to come down anytime soon as most owners have a strong holding power and are willing to wait out any industry recessions. However, property experts are quick to point out that the rise could be temporary and does not mean that landed property prices are on the rise per se. As the property cooling measures continue to restrict, the market will need to show significant adjustments before any change in policy will happen, which may then signify the start of a new era for the industry.