Freehold site to yield potential landed homes in Orchard road

The Orchard road belt has not seen landed homes in its midst, or at least new ones, for quite sometime now. They are few and far in between and usually cost more than an arm and a leg. But a freehold residential site near Orchard road worth $72.8 million might potentially yield landed homes.

OneTreeHillGardensThe One Tree Hill Gardens site measures at 39,063 sq ft and currently consist of 6 maisonettes and 7 apartment blocks or $1, 864 psf in asking price. The units here are of considerable sizes, ranging from 1,916 to 4,682 sq ft. Should the development succeed at a collective sale, each home owner could receive anything between $4 to $11 million. What the site could potentially yield are 13 detached and semi-detached houses. Considering the prime district, the rarity of landed homes across the board and more so in the centre of town, and the lack of sizeable residential sites readily available for redevelopment, marketing agent Knight Frank is confident of the interest the site will garner. Recent sales of sites in Grange Road, Cuscaden Walk and Hullet Road have all drew considerable bids of $190.5 million in total.

The area surrounding the One Tree Hill Gardens site is in itself an exclusive enclave of high-end apartments and some landed homes. Add on its future proximity to the upcoming Orchard Boulevard MRT station along the Thomson-East Coast Line and up goes its value.

3 City fringe properties exchange hands for $190 million

3 residential properties in the city fringes – owned by 1 group of 3 investment holding firms and sold to 3 different developers fetching $190.5 million in total. Quite the sale, it seems. These 3 sites, situated in Grange Road, Cuscaden Walk and Hullet Road, were launched for sale in October for $185 million and from the interest it drew before the sale closed on November 2, developers and investors seem upbeat about the future of high-end luxury residential projects and serviced apartments or hospitality-based properties in Singapore.

urban-suitesThe luxury property market may have shrunk slightly in the past 3 to 4 years, but buyers are coming back into the market, after letting the effects of the additional buyers’ stamp duty sink in. Despite the authorities being unlikely to budge on the property cooling measures for now, interest is once again growing, with central region properties sales on the rise this last quarter.

The site on Hullet Road with a total strata area of 18,428 sq ft was sold to Hullet Development for $38.2 million. The consortium led by Mr Patrick Kho of Lian Huat Group have plans to build a high-end development in the site, leveraging on its location right in the centre of town. The biggest of the 3 sites on Cuscaden Walk with a land area of 21,560 sq ft, was bought by a consortium led by Sustained Land for $103.8 million. The other plot on Grange Road was purchased by Roxy-Pacific Holdings for $48.5 million.

boulevard-vueThese new sales may ultimately see the introduction of some choice luxury apartment units in and about town, by the time they are launched or built, the market may or may not provide a suitably soft landing for these new properties.

Mixed use properties – Aiming for perfection in Integration

In the past decade, mixed-use developments have sprung up all over the island, in almost every township and with the most popular ones near town centres and transport hubs. As cities become more crowded and space scarcer, these all-in-one properties are finding favour with buyers and investors as rental yields are often considerably higher.

South Beach
Integrated developments consist of a mix of at least 2 uses – transportation, retail, commercial and residential. They offer the benefits of having conveniences at your doorstop and with an emphasis on a balanced lifestyle. Although it may seem like the lines are blurred, developers are clever about giving residents a sense of exclusivity and most mixed-use properties have their own residential parking area, driveway and serviced-lift lobbies.

Some of the more recent integrated properties include North Park Residences, Kensington Square and The Rise @ Oxley just to name a few. There are a growing number of integrated developments in the city centre as well, near the Central Business District (CBD) and Orchard road districts, including Scotts Square Residences and Icon condominium in Tanjong Pagar  Some older properties include serviced apartments connected to malls such as Far East Plaza and Liang Court. There are also quite a few massive integrated developments coming up in the next few years such as DUO Residences in Rochor road, Tanjong Pagar Centre and South Beach.

Icon VillageThough these properties do not come cheap, their potential is considerable and as Singapore progresses into the 21st Century with lesser available land area and increasing population, their value seem very likely to appreciate.

Investors go for smaller freehold private apartments

Properties in prime town-centre district 9 have long been highly-valued and investment-worthy. Recent trends have pointed to increased popularity in smaller apartments in the district as leasing yields are higher and more frequent, possibly as the effect of the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TSDR) is lesser on these smaller properties.

Sophia Hill ResidencesRecent sales figures seem to indicate that location and exclusivity of properties in district 9 sufficiently triumph tenure and size. Freehold and 99-year leasehold properties seem to only have a $30 psf difference and in fact in recent launches, leasehold property prices have exceeded freehold property prices. In the long run however, freehold apartments hold higher potential and reduced risks.

Some freehold private residential developments in district 9 include The Marq on Paterson, Martin Residence, Liv on Wilkie, The Trillium, Reignwood Hamilton Scotts and Hilltops, just to name a few. The most recent addition to the 99-year leasehold properties list include Cairnhill Nine. Other similar leasehold properties in the area are Sophia Hill Residences, UP at Robertson Quay, Orchard Residences and Leonie Gardens.

UP @ Robertson QuayAs expatriates’ housing allowances shrink and as Airbnb becomes an increasingly common and popular choice for travellers, property investors are looking more into completed smaller, well-located units to start their investment dollar rolling sooner rather than later.

Luxury properties – Pushing through the fog

Despite the sharp fall in interest and sales in the high-end luxury property market, developers are pushing through the bad times and focusing on the light in the horizon, however far.

Cairnhillnine CondoPhoto credit:

This year, CapitaLand is leading the way with their integrated 99-year leasehold Cairnhill project which consists of the 268-unit CairnHill Nine condominium and the 220-unit serviced residence Ascott Orchard Singapore. The development will stand at what used to be Somerset Grand Cairnhill and will connect to Paragon Shopping Mall via a link bridge.

Prices at the prime district property can expect prices to hover around $2,500 psf, which is competitive considering the recent market landscape. Most of the units are one- and two-bedders from 592 to 1,325 sq ft, which might make for easier leasing. One-bedroom apartments here will start from $1.35 million and a good 90 per cent of the units will be priced affordably below $3 million.

By merging residential apartments and serviced residences, CapitaLand is hoping to offer unique suite of services including concierge or housekeeping services even to privately-owned residential units. To be completed by end of 2016, the project looks sets to attract local as well as international investors. Other launches to look forward to from the same developer include The Nassim and Victoria Park Villas.


Orchard road’s West end revamp?

A little off the main stretch, but nearer the exclusive Botanic gardens and Tanglin stretch of sprawling private homes and foreign embassies, the West end of Orchard road looks set for a revamp as MRT stations and other area redevelopment plans are in the works for this spot.

The TomlinsonA MRT stop which is part of the latest Thomson Line is planned just next to the Camden Medical Centre and targeted to be ready by 2021. Now may be the time developers will consider expanding or redeveloping land and older properties around the area. There have been movements in the recent years, with the latest property being St. Regis Residences. Sales at this luxury property has not always been positive however. Prices of $4, 653 psf in 2007 have since almost halved to $2, 399 psf.

Older properties in the same area, such as Cuscaden Residences and The Tomlinson, however fetch a lower sales price, and may be more palatable to those seeking an investment. But due to the relatively large size of most apartment units in the area, it also narrows the target audience. Those who are able or willing to purchase properties here will be limited as it may be more difficult to rent out. At The Tomlinson, the average resale price is $1, 896 psf.

Will the new MRT line bring refresh the market even as luxury homes sales are on a decline? Will the possibility of future collective sales of older condominiums be an incentive to purchase now?

Luxury Apartment prices broke $5, 000 psf

But property analysts are not bringing out the champagne yet.

Although selling prices for luxury condo apartments have broken the $5, 000 psf record, it may not yet be significant enough to indicate a rebound of the previously lacklustre luxury apartment sector. The lack of interest from potential buyers, renters and investors have signaled a continuing weak top-end property market. Low leasing demand may be the main reason for the lull.

Hamilton Scotts

Hamilton Scotts

In view of the volatile and somewhat fragile global economy, companies which hire expatriates are more cautious about providing generous housing allowances. In addition, senior expatriates are increasingly more willing to cut frills and opt for less spacious, more functional properties. These same companies may also have cut back on the number of expatriates offered relocation packages.

TwentyOne Angullia Park. Photo by China Sonangol.

TwentyOne Angullia Park. Photo by China Sonangol.

The properties which went for more than $5, 000 psf? The first was a 2,756 sq ft unit at the Hamilton Scotts apartments at the edge of Orchard Road. The unit went for $13.8 million at $5,001 psf. Considering most units were going only at $3, 401 psf prior to January’s cooling measures, a $5, 001 psf selling price meant kudos to the developers.

Further into the heart of Orchard, the freehold TwentyOne Angullia Park sold not one, but two units above the $5, 000 psf mark. One went for $5, 099 psf and the other at $5, 5600 psf in May. Prior to this year’s top high-end apartment sellers, the last apartment unit which sold above the $5, 000 psf mark was one at the Skyline @ Orchard Boulevard in September 2012. After that, prices had hovered around $4, 000 psf.

It will be a real feat to keep the high prices going, and if they do, what does that mean for Singapore’s real estate sector? How does that affect the average Singaporean?