Thursday, April 29, 2010

Developers that may be sitting on pot of "collective" gold

Sites acquired during the previous en bloc boom in 2006-2007 and currently held by developers will become more precious, if the proposed rule changes on collective sales make it tougher for prime freehold residential sites to make their way to the market.

Developers will also want to time their launch more judiciously if it gets tougher to replenish land-bank in this segment through en bloc sales.

Below is a list of such “prized possessions” complied by CBRE Research and published in BT today.

On Monday, the Ministry of Law released proposed amendments that will among other things make it harder to restart a collective sale within two years of a failed attempt. Any attempt to convene EGMs to appoint a sales committee during this period will require higher requisition levels from owners – 50% by share value or total number of owners for the first re-try and 80% for any subsequent attempts. Currently, requisitions for EGMs only require 20% by share value or 25% of total number of owners.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New project sales update

Tree House
CDL has sold 360 units at its Tree House condo at Chestnut Avenue since previewing the project last week.
The 99-year leasehold project has an average price of about $820psf. To date, CDL has released 400 of the project’s 429 units.

Holland Collection
The Holland Collection
CLSA Capital Partners Real Estate Fund and Lippo sold 6 units at their Holland Collection project in Holland Road last week. This means that the developers have sold 8 units in the 26-unit project since its preview last month. Units sold last week include two penthouses (at about $6.3 million each) and a strata bungalow that fetched $6 million.
The buyers in the freehold project, which is four storeys high and has an attic level, are mostly foreigners. The eight units sold to date are priced between $1,850psf and $2,200psf.

Waterbank @Dakota
UOL Group is understood to have achieved further sales of about 50 units at its Waterbank at Dakota condo last week, taking total sales to 570 units in the 616-unit, 99-year leasehold project.

The Residences at W Sentosa Cove
CDL has to date sold about 25 units at The Residences at W Sentosa Cove. The 99-year leasehold project, priced at $2,500 - $3,000psf, has been on the market for nearly a month now. To date, CDL has released 56 of the project’s 228 units.

The Seascape
Ho Bee and IOI, which are developing The Seascape on a more attractive spot on Sentosa Cove, are said to have sold about 33 units to date. The project has an average price of $2,700psf, with achieved prices ranging from $2,619psf to $3,145psf. The Seascape came to market at about the same time as The Residences at W.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


A dear friend of ours has commented that our previous reviews were… well… too “chunky”. So the wife and I decided to take a slightly different tact on this one. Let us know if you like this better.

Art Impression
District:   14
Location:   Dakota Crescent
Address:   70 – 84 Dakota Crescent
Developer:    UOL Development (Dakota) Pte Ltd
Tenure:    99-year Leasehold
Site area:    185,000sqft
Expected TOP:    July 2014
location map2

Description: Total of 9 condominium blocks, comprising
• Four 20-storey blocks (Block 70, 72, 76 & 78),
• Three 19-Storey blocks (Block 80, 82 & 84)
• One 6-storey podium block with 5-levels of parking and 11 Cabana units on the 6th level.
• Total number of units: 616

Unit Types & Sizes:
• 1-Bedroom (77 units):   484 – 581sqft
• 1+1 Bedroom (98 units):   624 – 786sqft
• 2-Bedroom (78 units):   883 – 1087sqft
• 2-Bedroom Cabana (11 units):   1421sqft
• 3-Bedroom (271 units):   1141 – 1615sqft
• 2+1 “Dual Key” (39 units):   1281 – 1572sqft
• 4-Bedroom (37 units):   1572 – 1981sqft
• 4-Bedroom Penthouse (5 units):   2390 – 2820sqft

(1) The developer has combined a 1-bedder and a 2-bedder to form the “Dual-Key” unit. It has one main door that opens up into 2 separate apartment units, each with own living/dining and kitchen.
(2) The “Cabana” units are 2-bedroom apartment located on the 6th floor of the podium block. Each unit has a patio that faces the lap/wadding pool, and comes with its own dedicated parking space on the 5th level just below the unit.

WATERBANK @DAKOTA is a full-facility condominium. The facilities are spread across the ground level, 5th level of Block 78 (gym) and the 6th level of the podium block adjacent to the Cabana units. No tennis court is available in this development.
There are 5-level of multi-storey parking located in the podium block, with the already much publicized 554 parking spaces for the 616 apartment units. The multi-storey carpark is connected to Blocks 78 and 80 by overhead link-bridges, and to the rest of the blocks via covered walkways on the ground level.

There are 2 showflats in the sales gallery:

Showflat #1: 1981sqft, 4-bedroom ground-floor unit (Type EG)
• Living/Dining – rectangular shape, although seemed a tad small for an almost 2,00sqft unit. Comes with 60cm x 30cm marble-slab floors and 2.8m ceiling.

• Balcony – rectangular shape of almost 400sqft that stretches across the whole length of the living/dining room through to the 3 adjacent bedrooms. Functional enough for a 6 – 8-seater long dining table for outdoor dining.

• Dry Kitchen – divides the living area from the wet kitchen. Solid-surfaced top and sink.

• Wet Kitchen – L-shaped solid surfaced worktop, top/bottom-tier cabinets, “Electrolux” brand hob/hood/oven/microwave and “Grohe” kitchen faucets.

Wife and I were not impressed with the quality of kitchen furnishing and appliances provided.

• Yard – None, so dryer is a must else laundry can only be hung dry in the balcony.

• Utility Room – space enough to fit a single bed but nothing else thereafter.

• “Maid’ toilet – The door actually faces directly at the kitchen top. This is very bad Feng Shui (according to wife) as the kitchen is the “wealth” area of the house. So having the toilet facing the kitchen will drain away all wealth. On a hygiene aspect, it may also be unhealthy to have all the “bad air” from the toilet circulating in the kitchen when one is cooking.

• 2 Common Bedrooms – both are regular shaped, but one is rather small while the other can comfortably fit a “Queen” bed. They come with wood-strip floors and maroon coloured wardrobe with leather-like exterior finish – this looked nice from afar but on closer inspection, the quality of workmanship can certainly be improved.

• Common Bathroom – Decent size, with standing shower stall (no rain shower), “Grohe” bathroom fittings and non-descript toilet fittings. The bathroom sink is really old-fashioned looking, and in our opinion, quite ugly.

• Junior Suite – Decent size enough for a “Queen” bed and comes with the same maroon-coloured wardrobe. Attached bathroom is almost an exact replica of the common bathroom.

• Mater Bedroom - Again decent sized and should fit a “King” bed rather comfortably, with more than average wardrobe space. The Master Bathroom is very good sized, with 90cm x 30cm marble floors and walls. There is a long tub and an adjacent standing shower, but no rain shower option. The standard “Grohe” bathroom and non-descript toilet fittings apply.

Showflat #2: 1389sqft, 3-bedroom ground-floor unit (Type DG)
• Living/Dining – similarly shaped and furnished as the 4-bedder, and even smaller in size.

• Balcony – Again of rectangular shape about 400sqft that stretches across the living/dining area and across the adjacent Master and Common bedrooms. You probably will have to move the dining area out here given the small living area.

• Dry Kitchen – Nonee

Wet Kitchen – Irregular shaped and comes with the same kitchen furnishing and appliances as the 4-bedder.

• Yard – None, and separate washer/dryer will have to be stacked one on top of the other. Either that or take your chance on the combined washer/dryer and risk having damped clothes.

• Utility Room – similar size to the 4-bedder but odd-shaped.

• “Maid’ toilet – Again the door faces the kitchen, consolation is that it is tucked towards the back and thus slightly further away.

• 2 Common Bedrooms – looked to be similar sized and equally bad wardrobe workmanship as the 4-bedder.

• Common Bathroom – Decent size, with similar fittings as the 4-bedder, ugly bathroom sink inclusive.

• Mater Bedroom – Surprisingly large and seemed to be even more spacious than the one in the 4-bedder, with rather generous wardrobe space. The Master Bathroom is decent sized, with 90cm x 30cm marble floors and walls. There is only a standing shower (no tub), and again no rain shower option.

What we like:
• Location – Less than 10-minutes drive to CBD and city area, WATERBANK @DAKOTA is made even more convenient with the newly opened Dakota MRT station just 100m away. Good food galore at the Old Airport Road Food Centre across the road, and a choice of amenities in the HDB estate (wet markets, supermarts, clinics etc) and Leisure Park mall nearby.

• Riverfront Living – The Geylang River and Park Connector is right next to WATERBANK @DAKOTA. However, the river is still rather polluted and may emit some “interesting” smell during low tides.

• Cabana Units – These 2-bedders are rather interesting. They give owners the perception of living in “landed” property and comes with dedicated parking (1) underneath your unit. However, the parking space forms part of the unit’s total size. So the actual interior living area is only about 900+sqft, after deducting the parking and PES.
2-bedroom Cabana

• “Dual-Key” Units – Again, this layout is rather nice. It comes with its own separate “granny flat” but still gives the impression of everyone living in the same household. It is ideal for multi-generation living, as it provides added privacy between you and your parents/in-laws. However, the combined-size of such unit, at 1281sqft, is really too small.

What we dislike:
• The quality of furnishings and fittings are quite disappointing. It reminded us of another UOL project we have seen – Meadows @Pierce – and frankly, the memories are not flattering.

• The toilet in the kitchen/yard area for most (if not all) the 3- and 4-bedder units faces directly at the kitchen. Although one should not be too obsessed over Feng Shui, the wife and I will rather err on the safe side.

• Given the long and narrow strip of land that WATERBANK @DAKOTA sits on, we are concerned that the blocks might be too close to each other for comfort. This is especially so for Blocks 70/72 and Block 82/84.

• Dakota Crescent is a rather narrow 2-lane road.  When WATERBANK @DAKOTA is ready for occupancy, residents of the 616 units will have to share this road with next-door neighbor Dakota Residences (348 units) and the existing HDB dwellers across the road. It may be a daily exercise in frustration getting in and out of the condo especially during rush hours. So either learn to be patient or brush up on those "swear" vocab.

• Although WATERBANK @DAKOTA is situated very close to Katong and East Coast area, its location classification of District 14 puts it in the "Balestier/Mcpherson/Geylang" district rather than East Coast (D15). It may be a minor point on purchase, but the "district difference" can become quite an issue when you decide to resell your unit later and have to compete with the likes of The Shore or Coralis - both of which are located in the "primer" D15.

• Although the marketing literature said that WATERBANK @DAKOTA is nearby to primary schools like Geylang Methodist and Tanjong Katong Primary, only one primary school is within 1-km to our knowledge – Kong Hwa Primary.

• #06-35 (1421sqft, 2-bedroom Cabana): $1.318 million, or $927psf
• #03-20 (1527sqft, 4-bedroom Unit): $1.799 million, or $1178psf
• #02-17 (1527sqft, 4-bedroom Unit): $1.706 million, or $1117psf

The monthly maintenance for the Cabana is about $300, while for the 4-Bedroom is $350.

As of last Sunday, only units on the low floors (i.e. below 6th) are left. The only high-floor units still available are found in Block 70 - stack #06 (3-bedders) and stack #05 (Dual-Key). But these units either face the HDB flats or have their views blocked by Dakota Residences next door.

In summary, the wife and I are not convinced that WATERBANK @DAKOTA is value for money, given the quality we have observed in the showflats, and the fact that we may have to fight over the 554 parking spaces for our two cars with the other 615 unit owners. However, we seemed to be proven wrong at least 550 times over, given that this is the number of units already sold. But whether is this really an indication of foolishness on our part and wisdom of others, only time will tell.

Click here to view slide show and floor plans


No, it is NOT the name of a new property project that escaped you.

The wife and I are just testing this cool game here, until we can find a way to fit this nicely on the sidebar.

We figured all of us need a break from the mundane (or rather, property info overload) every once in awhile.


Go to Pogo to play 100s of Fun Games! Go to Pogo to play 100s of Fun Games!

Launching Soon! Flamingo Valley @Siglap

You may already have heard about this new development.

Here are the preliminary details for the project.

District: 15
Location: Siglap Road.
Tenure: Freehold.
Description: 9 blocks of 5-storeys with attic and 2 blocks of 3-storeys and basement carpark.
Site area: 335,418 sqft.
No. of units: 393 units
Expected T.O.P: April 2015.
Developer: Fraser Centrepoint Homes


a) Skybridge with glass lift

b) The Rainforest comprising of
  • 11m cascading water wall 
  • Biological pond
  • Lounge gazebos
c) 50m lap pool

d) The spa sanctuary

e) Children’s splash pool

f) Entertainment alfresco dining pavilions & spa alcove

g) Function room with
  • Games room
  • Karaoke
 h) Fitness agora comprising of
  • Gymnasium
  • Changing facilities with steambath
i) BBQ patio 

j) Dining patio

l) Sunbathing deck

j) Children’s play zone

k) Fitness terrace with outdoor gym

l) Hammock court

m) Yoga & Tai Chi court

n) Fitness station

o) Tennis court

p) Jogging trail

The wife and I will continue to keep you posted once we have more details/updates, especially on the launch date of the showflats.

Friday, April 23, 2010

UOL Group: Waterbank & upcoming new launches

TheEdge this week has a featured report about UOL Group’s Waterbank @Dakota project and its upcoming new launches. Below are excerpts of the report.

Waterbank @Dakota

UOL has released 500 units of the 616-unit condo since the private preview of this project first started on April 9. About 380 units had been sold as at last Wednesday. Prices, which started from $1,100psf, hit a high of $1,400psf for the smaller units. In fact, the bestselling units turned out to be the 1+1 studio apartments, says Liam Wee Sin, chief operating officer of UOL Group. “These units boast fantastic views. Typically, small one-bedroom units in most condominium projects rarely have great views”, he says.
* Note: the sales info is somewhat outdated.

The profile of the buyers was “quite surprising” as it is not typical of a mass-market project. About 60% of the buyers have private addresses, while 40% had HDB addresses. More than 80% of the buyers are Singaporeans and permanent residents, and 12% are foreigners.

At Waterbank, even the largest units – the five penthouses measuring 2,842 to 3,089sqft – were snapped up in the first weekend of private previews at $3.3 million to $3.4 million. The showflat was closed last Tuesday and reopened for the official launch on April 17. The official launch was deliberately timed to capitalize on the scheduled opening of the Dakota MRT station on the same day.

The interesting thing about the Dakota area is that those who like it really do because of its central location and accessibility to the CBD via the ECP and Nicoll Highway. And the area is now even more convenient with the opening of the Dakota MRT station – part of the Circle Line – just a short walk away.

Dakota Crescent, where Waterbank is sited, is located off Old Airport Road and the neighborhood consists of mainly old HDB blocks. The exceptions are the upcoming Waterbank and the neighboring 348-unit Dakota Residences, by Ho Bee Group and NTUC Choice Homes, which is expected to obtain its TOP in June or July. The project has only 35 units available for sale. Caveats lodged with URA for sub-sales from January to March this year have ranged from $945 to $1,113psf, with the smaller units fetching higher price psf. These two new projects have kick started the renewal of the Dakota area.

The neighborhood will also benefits from the transformation of the Kallang Basin and Riverside into a waterfront lifestyle residential area and Paya Lebar into a commercial hub, notes UOL’s Liam.

Buying into an old neighborhood on the cusp of renewal is UOL’s forte, as demonstrated by its developments in the Newton-Novena area, where it developed Newton Suites, Novena Suites and 1 Moulmein Rise condominiums, and owns Novena Square (a mixed development with office towers and Velocity lifestyle mall) as well as United Square shopping mall. In recent years, it also transformed the Tiong Bahru area by buying the old apartment blocks en bloc and redeveloping them into condominium towers like Regency Suites, Twin regency and The Regency.

Likewise, its Southbank project on North Bridge Road comprises a 197-unit residential tower and a 20-storey, 60-unit SOHO (small office, home office) tower. Located on the site of the former Eng Cheong Towers, it was considered the first en-bloc sale of a 99-year leasehold project when UOL purchased the site in 2005. Overlooking the Kallang River, Southbank also benefits from the proximity to the Lavender MRT station. The project is expected to obtain its TOP in a month or two. Launched in June 2006, about 90% of the units were reportedly sold within a fortnight at an average price of $600psf. Most recently, according to caveats lodged with URA last month, the 614sqft units in the middle to high floors have achieved prices of $1,396 to $1,451psf in sub-sales.

UOL’s upcoming launches
Up for launch is the Rainbow Gardens en-bloc site, in which UOL acquired a 50% stake in 2008. The site was purchased by the LaSalle Asia Opportunity II fund in a collective sale a few years earlier. The new condo development on Toh Tuck Road will have 172 units and will be called Terrene at Bukit Timah. The site will capitalize on its proximity to the Bukit Timah Reserve as well as the upcoming Beauty World MRT station, which is also within walking distance. The project is likely to be launched in June.

Another project soon to be launched is the redevelopment of the Spottiswoode Apartments and Oakswood Heights en-bloc sites, which UOL purchased in 2007. The developer has purchased the 92-unit Spottiswoode Apartment en bloc for $79.5 million, or $732psf per plot ratio (psf ppr), in April 2007, followed by the neighboring Oakswood Heights a few months later for $132 million, or $740psf ppr. It will develop a 350-unit condo on the freehold site.
spottiswoode Apt

The wife and I (me rather) will be watching the Spottiswoode project with great interest… and special sentiments - I have spent a good number of my late-20 to early-30 years living in Oakswood Heights, while my folks were living in the same apartment until the condominium went en bloc.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April new property sales update and new launches

The BT yesterday reported that developers plan to launch more residential projects this weekend, despite home sales slowing in April after a strong showing in March.

A total of 1761 new private homes were sold in March – a 47% month-on-month increase. But sales have come off this month, although there have been exceptions.

UOL Group said that it sold more than 130 units in its 616-unit Waterbank at Dakota condominium from Friday to Sunday. This takes the number of apartments sold there to more than 500. Apartments went for $1000 - $1300psf. UOL said that it will release more units this weekend.

Would-be buyers can also look forward to two projects that will be launched for the first time this weekend – City Developments’ Tree House and The Holland Collection from Lippo Group and CLSA Capital Partners.

The Holland Collection’s 26 high-end luxury homes are being built on the site of former Aura Park condominium in Holland Road. Lippo bought the site in a collective sale deal in June 2007 for $1280psf of potential gross floor area – a high for the location. CLSA Capital Partners took a 50% stake in the project a few months later.
The Holland Collection

The Holland Collection’s 26 units will have 19 unique layout, size and space configurations. Apartment sizes range from 1281sqft to 3606sqft. Units will be launched this weekend at an average price of $2000psf.

Elsewhere, City Developments will launch its 429-unit Tree House on Chestnut Avenue. Prices start from around $600,000 for a 721sqft two-bedroom apartments.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


District: 18
Location: Pasir Ris
Address: 60 – 72 Elias Road
Developer: CEL Development Pte Ltd (subsidiary of Chip Eng Seng Corp. Ltd)
Tenure: 99-year from 17th March 2008

Given the “crazy” prices seen at new property launches these days, you might think the wife and I have gone bonkers if we say that you can actually buy a 2,000+sqft penthouse in a brand new project for less than $1.65million. Well, at OASIS@ELIAS you can.

OASIS@ELIAS is a 388-unit leasehold condo project comprising of 6 tower blocks of 18-storey each and a carpark podium. It sits on a 152,000sqft plot along Elias Road, next to Elias Mall. The current expected TOP is Dec 2012.
Location Map

The sales gallery is located off-site – at the junction of Elias Road and Pasir Ris Drive 3 – as construction work for OASIS@ELIAS is already in full swing. The wife and I were at the sales gallery last weekend to check out the project and showflat. We were told by the marketing agent from Knight Frank that they are currently marketing Phase 2 of this project, after selling out all units in Phase 1.

OASIS@ELIAS is developed by Chip Eng Seng, a contractor turned developer that is responsible for projects like Bishan Loft Executive Condo (Bishan), One Fort (Tanjong Rhu), the “almost TOP” Parc Condominium (West Coast Road) and Grange Infinite (Grange Road).

Despite being a mid-size project, the type of units available (four) is comparatively fewer than other similar sized projects that were launched recently. There are no 1-bedder units at OASIS@ELIAS, and buckling the trend of new projects with mostly smaller units, OASIS@ELIAS has more than twice the number of 3-bedders compared to 2-bedders.

• 2-Bedrooms (95 units): 947 – 1206sqft
• 3-Bedrooms (211 units): 1195 – 1539sqft
• 4-Bedrooms (73 units): 1410 – 1496sqft
• Penthouses (9 units): 2217 – 2659sqft

For those seeking a sea view, the wife and I understand that the “outward-facing”, higher-floor units (9th floor and above) in Blocks 66, 68, 70 and probably 72 will overlook the Straits of Johor.
Block Layout

OASIS@ELIAS is a “full facilities” condo that centres on its 40-metre lap pool and the 5-senses gardens. It also comes with a tennis court (located on the rooftop of the carpark podium) and even an elderly fitness corner.
Site Plan

There are a total of 399 parking spaces (inclusive of 4 handicapped & 7 visitor’s lot – which effectively means only 1 lot per unit) spread over one basement carpark level (2/3 of the total spaces) and a 4-storey carpark podium block (1/3 of the total spaces).

There is only one showflat in the sales gallery – a 1496sqft, 4-Bedroom unit (Type C2). You walk through a rather long corridor as you entered the front door and into the rectangular-shaped living/dining area. The wife and I were surprised at how tiny the living/dining area is – you probably need to push the dining table out to the balcony (like they did in the showflat) if you intend to have a proper “living room” with a decent-size sofa and TV cabinet. Either that or you have to sacrifice the bedroom adjacent to the living/dining area to create more space. The living/dining area comes with 60cm x 60cm homogenous tiles (not marble, sorry) and 2.75m ceiling.

The rectangular balcony is huge and very functional– we reckoned almost 200sqft – which explained why you can fit a 6-seater long dining table here quite comfortably. The only problem we have with the balcony is the ugly railings, which looked like something you will find in a HDB flat (no offence).

Just before you enter into the wet kitchen area, there is a strip of what the wife and I can only term as a pathetic excuse for a dry kitchen - what the developer calls a dry kitchen, we call it a short table-top with cabinets below. The wet kitchen is a long rectangular strip, and comes with 90cm x 30cm homogenous tiles and “EF” brand hob/hood/oven. Unfortunately, we cannot identify the brand of sink/faucets that is provided. Overall, the wife and I are not impressed by the look and quality of the kitchen appliances, while the L-shaped top and bottom-tier kitchen cabinets and solid surfaced worktop also looked distinctly ordinary.

The bomb shelter aka Utility aka maid’s room is located within the wet kitchen itself opposite to the cooking area – a layout that we really dislike – and it has little/no ventilation. The small strip of a yard is at the end of the wet kitchen – you will have to use one of those “2 in 1” washer/dryer or pile one on top of the other if you have separate washer and dryer. And because the yard is just an extension of the wet kitchen, your hanging laundry will probably smell like the meal you cook. A toilet is found in the yard area.

The common bathroom is rather good size. The wife and I both loved the 60cm x 30cm black textured homogenous floor tiles, which looked very nice for a change. The other thing that we liked about the bathroom is the white & green mosaic “featured wall” in the standing shower stall, but disappointed with the fact that the shower stall has no rain shower. You get “Hansa”/”Roca” bathroom and toilet fittings, as well as a toilet cover that will go ‘ka bong” every time you forget to put it down gently.

The 2 common bedrooms are regular-shaped and of acceptable size. You can probably fit a “Queen” bed in here but you will be left with little space for anything else. You get timber-strip floors and the wardrobe space is as per what you normally expect with new projects these days (read: hardly sufficient). We find the quality of flooring and wardrobe extremely “so-so”.

The junior suite is not much bigger than the common bedroom, while the attached bathroom is almost an exact copy of the common bathroom.

The master bedroom is good size though, and comes with a planter area that is accessible via a set of sliding glass doors. The wardrobe space is bigger than what you get in the other bedrooms, but not by very much. The master bathroom is also good-sized and comes with 60cm x 30cm grey textured homogenous floor tiles, which we also liked. You get a bath tub with an adjacent standing shower stall, but again no rain shower.
Type C2

Price wise, we were told that OASIS @ELIAS has one of the lowest psf among all the newly launched projects:  a 1475sqft, 4-Bedroom unit (Block 70, #09-17 – sea facing) is priced at $1.12 million or $759psf

And now for the sweetest deal:  a 2217sqft, 4-Bedroom, 2-level penthouse (Block 66, #17/18-09 – sea facing) will only cost you $1.636 million after a 10% discount, or $738psf

The maintenance fee for the 4-bedder is a low $210/month, while for the penthouse is only $230/month. We also understand that for the initial 2-year period after TOP, there will be a shuttle-bus service that operates from the condo to Pasir Ris MRT Station, which is about a couple of bus stops away.

What we like:
• The price - $1.12 million for a 1475sqft 4-bedder and better yet, less than $1.65 million for a 2200+sqft penthouse? And both units actually come with sea view too?? Such prices for newly launched projects are almost unheard of these days.

• The floors tiles in the bathrooms as well as the “mosaic wall” in the standing shower stall of the common and junior suite bathroom, which are probably the only two sets of furnishing we liked.
Pic - Common Bathroom

• Two co-ed primary schools within 1-km of OASIS @ELIAS – Elias and Parkview Primary. These should give parents with primary school-going kids one fewer headaches, especially if they are not overly particular about the pedigree of the school their children go to.

What we dislike:
• Other than the toilet floor tiles and “mosaic wall” that we have heaped praises about, the wife and I are rather disappointed with the quality of furnishing and fittings in the showflat. Remember the ugly railings we talked about earlier? That’s just one of several examples we can cite.

• The unit layout also leaves a lot to be desired – the long corridor from the main door to the living/dining area is a very inefficient use of space (although you can technically build storage on one side of the wall, as the walkway is wide enough), while more space could certainly be allocated to the pathetically small living/dining area. And to have the bomb shelter in the kitchen right opposite the cooking area, what was the architect thinking?

• The plot of land that OASIS @ELIAS sits on is actually quite small. For comparison, Green Lodge (the condo in Toh Tuck that was recently a subject of much en-bloc discussions) also resides on 150,00sqft of land but only has 80 apartments! So the wife and I cannot help but wonder if the 6 tower blocks will be too close for comfort to each other and thus somewhat claustrophobic.

• Speaking of claustrophobia, OASIA @ELIAS is surrounded by HDB blocks on all sides except for those units facing the sea. But the sea-facing units also overlook Elias Mall. We passed by this small neighbourhood mall along the way to the showflat and frankly, we find it to be a rather ugly building especially from a bird’s eye view.
Elias Mall

• Although the marketing brochure claimed that OASIS @ELIAS is close to nearby malls such as IKEA, Giant, Courts and White sands, none of these amenities is accessible with reasonable ease without a vehicle. So for those of you who are looking forward to amenities within walking distance from the condo, you may have to contend with Elias Mall and the neighbourhood HDB shops.
• The marketing brochure also claimed that the CBD is accessible within minutes through the comprehensive network of ECP, TPE, PIE CTE & SLE. But the wife and I reckon that it will take between 25 minutes (normal traffic) to almost an hour’s drive (rush hours) to get to the city.

On first pass, OASIS @ELIAS definitely looked like a good buy as you can purchase a bigger apartment at a relatively lower price compared to other new projects. However, if you take into consideration its actual location, accessibility, quality of the project (as demonstrated in the showflat) and distance from amenities, the “good buy” statement may need requalification. As a comparison, the wife and I actually prefer Livia down the road – it has a much bigger land site, is mostly unblocked and best of all, is freehold. And if our memories serve us right, the psf price of OASIS @ELIAS and Livia are almost similar. But we reckon that OASIS @ELIAS will still be popular amongst first-time buyers and upgraders that are comfortable with living in the Tampines/Pasir Ris/Changi area. Those who have missed the opportunity to buy units at Livia (which we understand is 100% sold) may also be interested in this project. The good take-up rate for the 2-bedders and the sea-facing 3- and 4-bedders seen at OASIS @ELIAS thus far seemed to support that notion.

Click here to view slide show and floor plans

Monday, April 19, 2010

We have crossed the 10,000 page-view mark today!

Let's face it: we can't even smell Xia Xue's behind (yet) in terms of viewership, but the wife and I have hit another of our modest "milestone".

We are certain some of those page-views actually came from the two of us. And in case your wondering, we are not ego-manic enough to click on our posts repeatedly just to boost up the numbers.  :)

Our sincerest appreciation to those of you who has supported our blog over the past 5 or so months. Please continue to support us and tell your friends, families and pets (if they can read and operate a computer) about SG PropTalk.

Kum Sia very much!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Not only do you have to worry about condo prices, but parking too!

The wife and I have been wondering when the issue of “new condos with fewer carpark lots than apartment units” will finally come to a head. It certainly did not take long – The Sunday Times today has reported on the troubles that car-owning condominium residents can get into when the total number of cars owned exceeds the number of parking space allocated to them.

This has resulted in quarterly balloting of lots for owners with second or third car, charging residents a fee to park their additional vehicles, constant bickering between residents over parking spaces and even threats of lawsuit between dissenting car owners and their condo managements.

While some older condos have 15% more parking spaces than homes, those built in the past five years just meet the government standard of one space for each home.

A rule change in 2005 has allowed condos within 400m of an MRT or LRT station, or in the Central Business District, to have up to 20% fewer spaces.

So Centro Residences, near Ang Mo Kio MRT station, will have 260 spaces for 329 units, while Waterbank @Dakota, near Dakota MRT station, will have 554 spaces for 616 units.

Condo like Centris, above Jurong Point Shopping centre in Boon Lay, charges owners of second or third car $270 to park their vehicles. And examples of upcoming condo projects that do not provide parking spaces include One Rochester (next to Bouna Vista MRT station) and Concourse Skyline (overpass linking to Nicoll Highway MRT station) – owners will have to pay separately for parking.

Even condos with more parking spaces than homes may not be spared the agony of parking disputes, as is the case for Hillington Green in Hillview Avenue. The condo has 480 units and 492 parking spaces.

Some industry observers question the 2005 rule: Home buyers may choose to live near an MRT station not because they do not want to own a car, but for the convenience of their children. Such projects may face parking woes in the future.

The wife and I have a simpler rationale to explain why the 2005 rule is…well… crap. If a family is buying a 3- or 4-bedroom condo apartment for their own stay these days, chances are that they will probably own 2 cars (or more). Even within our circle of DINK (double income, no kid) friends, it is more a norm than exception to find both the husband and wife owning separate vehicles. And the notion that residents (especially expatriates) who are renting units (especially 1- or 2-bedders) in a condo project are unlikely to own a car is, in our opinion, dated.

So the next time you visit the showflat of a new project with fewer carpark lots than apartment units and the marketing agent starts reassuring you with “you don’t really have to worry, many of the 1-bedder residents will not have a car so there will be more than enough lots”, you may need to take that reassurance with a big pinch of salt…

condo parking


Saturday, April 17, 2010


District: 4
Location: Beach Road
Address: 296 - 302 Beach Road
Developer: Hong Fok Group
Tenure: 99-year Leasehold with effective from 13 March 2008

The wife and I were at the sales gallery of CONCOURSE SKYLINE last Sunday. The sales gallery/showflat is located on the 38th floor of the office tower block of The Concourse – we reckon this is deliberate to showcase the magnificent views that come with apartments at CONCOURSE SKYLINE, especially for the higher-floor units.

As mentioned in our previous post, marketing of CONCOURSE SKYLINE has started since the later half of 2008. The wife and I had originally thought that the project was already sold out. So we were rather surprised to see full page adverts over the past few weeks and thus decided to check it out.

CONCOURSE SKYLINE consists of 2 high-rise towers and 1 seven-storey podium block.
• Block 296 – part 34/part 40-storey apartment block
• Block 298 – part 20/part 28-storey apartment block
• Block 302 – part 4/part 7-storey podium car park and apartment block, with retail on the ground level.

All apartments in the two high-rise towers start from the 7th floor onwards, while the 5th – 7th floor at the podium block are residential units as well.

In terms of unit types and sizes, CONCOURSE SKYLINE offers quite a good mix ranging from 1-bedders to 5-bedroom “super penthouses”, which are humongous 2-storey apartments of more than 10,000sqft!

Tower Blocks
• 1-Bedroom (148 units): 775 – 893sqft
• 2-Bedrooms (110 units): 1087 – 1173sqft
• 3-Bedrooms (54 units): 1313 – 1442sqft
• 4+Study (24 units): 2098 – 2282sqft
• Sky Suites (4 units): 3272 – 4445sqft
• Super Penthouses (2 units): 10194 & 11065sqft

Podium Block
• 3-Bedrooms (12 units): 1668 – 1991sqft
• 4-Bedrooms (2 units): 2648sqft
• Penthouses (4 units): 4101 – 4618sqft

In terms of facilities, these are located on the 5th floor, which is the connecting level to all 3 blocks. The wife and I found the facilities for CONCOURSE SKYLINE to be quite basic compared to the other new condo projects of similar size (refer to site plan below). So do not expect to find tennis court here. There is a “sky garden” on the 29th storey of Block 298, but we are unsure what (if any) facilities are available at this level other than the viewing deck. But a unique feature, other than the overhead link bridge to Nicoll Highway MRT station, is the 5-storey high waterwall that greets you when you drive up to the sheltered porte cochere (aka drop-off point).

A total of 380 carpark lots will be available at the 2 basement carpark levels and the 3 levels of multi-storey carpark in the podium block. However, parking does not come with your unit – you will have to subscribe to season parking separately, which will cost you another $100+ per month.

There are 2 showflats in the sales gallery. The first is a 1313sqft, 3-bedroom unit (Type C-a). This is the showflat facing the Kallang River Basin/Tg. Rhu/Marina Golf Club that we took our photo from. The first thing that the wife and I noticed was that the rectangular-shaped living/dining room, though regular, is a tad small. The living/dining/dry kitchen areas come with 60cm x 60cm marble-slab floors, 2.8m ceiling height and ducted air-conditioning. The rectangular balcony, which is easily 110sqft in size, stretches across the full width of the living room all the way to the adjacent bedroom. What we like about the balcony is that it has no planter box area, so you can utilize the full balcony space without needing to deck-up the planter area.

The dry kitchen has a beautiful solid-surfaced worktop and its own sink. It also comes equipped with “De Dietrich” induction hob/hood/oven /fridge and even a dishwasher. The wet kitchen is small – it will be quite cramp for two people to work inside here – with 90cm x 30cm homogenous-tile floors and equipped with “De Dietrich” conventional hob/hood and another kitchen sink. The bomb shelter is on one side of the wet kitchen while the yard/toilet is on the other. The bomb shelter is surprising huge and for once, the door actually opens out to the correct side, i.e. not blocking the wet kitchen worktop. The yard area is big enough for separate washer and dryer to be placed side by side – the “Brandt” washing machine and a separate dryer are provided, by the way – but the toilet at the yard is probably one of the tinniest the wife and I have seen for awhile. So your domestic helper will have a comfortable time sleeping but less so showering.

The two common bedrooms are rather small. This is especially so for the one that is adjacent to the living room. However, we liked the nice timber–strip floors and good quality wardrobe.

The common bath is good size, with marble walls/floors and “Duravit”/”Hansa” toilet and bathroom fittings. The shower stall does not come with rain shower, and the toilet cover can certainly do with better “anti-slamming” hinges.

The master bedroom is quite decent size and can fit a “Queen” bed comfortably. There is a sort of “walk-in” (or rather, “walk through”) closet on both sides of the passage into the master bathroom. However, the amount of wardrobe space in those closets is quite pathetic. The attached bathroom is also decent size, with marble vanity top and separate long bath/shower stall. The shower stall actually comes with rain shower. The wife and I were quite pleased with the quality of furnishing and fittings that we saw.

The second showflat is a 796sqft, 1-Bedroom unit (Type A2-a). The living/dining room is actually not much smaller than the 3-bedder unit we saw earlier. However, the rectangular balcony is about half the size of the one in the 3-bedder showflat. The dry kitchen comes with induction hob/hood/oven/fridge and a washing machine cum dryer, as well as an “island” (with kitchen sink) that separates the kitchen from the living/dining area. There is no wet kitchen in the 1-bedder and no yard. The square-shaped bomb shelter is tucked between the master bathroom and dry kitchen. You can use this space as a study (as per the showflat) but it is more likely that you will need to use the bomb shelter for storage. The master bathroom actually has two entrances – one from the kitchen area (for guest) and another within the master bedroom. The bathroom is very good size and actually comes with a long bath with rain shower fitted on the ceiling.

The master bedroom is almost as big as the one in the 3-bedder, and accessible from either the living room (via sliding doors) or a door next to the master bathroom. The wife and I reckoned that the wardrobe space in the bedroom is not even sufficient to store all my clothes, let alone clothing for both. But we were again quite satisfied with the quality of furnishing/fittings in this unit, which basically mirrored those of the 3-bedder.

What we like:
• Locations – Located within the city (albeit at the fringe of the CBD), we definitely cannot argue against the centrality of CONCOURSE SKYLINE. Everything from shopping, F&B and Cultural/The Arts are just minutes away.

• View – The wife and I must admit that the views that come with the higher-floor units are spectacular, whether is it sea or city facing. And if you are lucky enough, you might even be able to catch the F1 racing action with a high-powered binocular from the balcony of your unit.

• The good quality furnishing and fittings, combined with the regular layout and “well thought out” design of the apartment units, definitely substantiates CONCOURSE SKYLINE's claim of being a high-end project.

• Two primary schools are located within 1-km of CONCOURSE SKYLINE – Hong Wen and Stamford Primary. However, some parents may not find these neighbourhood schools particularly appealing.

What we dislike:
• The fact that you have to pay for season parking after spending so much for a private apartment unit.

• And speaking of spending so much for a unit at CONCOURSE SKYLINE, the facilities that come with the project is really rather basic.

• The Golden Mile Complex next door to CONCOURSE SKYLINE, which was described by one NMP (Nominated Member of Parliament) as a “vertical slum, terrible eyesore and national disgrace”. The wife and I have always found this to be a rather ugly building. The complex’s shopping mall now houses numerous Thai clubs, shops and eateries. The stretch of Beach Road outside the complex is also frequently “blocked” by coaches waiting to ferry travellers going to Malaysia, as many tourist and ticketing agencies have their offices on the ground floor of the complex.

Pricing wise, here are the selling prices of some 1-Bedroom units with different facing:

1. Tg. Rhu/Kallang River Basin Facing
         • #13-13 (861sqft): $1.871 million or $2173psf

2. City/Marina Bay Facing
         • #13-04 (818sqft): $1.785 million or $2182psf

3. Kumpung Glam Facing
         • #26-01 (861sqft): $1.602 million or $1861psf
         • #20-16 (818sqft): $1.496 million or $1829psf
         Note: Stack 16 faces the west sun directly

The 3-Bedroom units are in excess of $3 million, or between $2000 - $2300psf.

The indicative monthly maintenance fees for each unit type are
• 1-Bedroom: $270
• 2-Bedrooms: $315
• 3-Bedrooms: $360
• 4-Bedrooms: $405 - $450

We had stopped short of asking about the maintenance for the sky suites and penthouses - we reckoned that if you can afford these, you are probably not that concerned about the monthly maintenance.

The wife and I understand that about 50% of the units in CONCOURSE SKYLINE are sold. All the 1-bedders in the lower (20-storey) stack of Block 298 have all been taken up, while the units in the podium blocks are not released for sale yet.

The developer is absorbing the stamp duty for units on the 19th floor and below. The offer is supposedly good till the opening of the Nicoll Highway MRT Station this Saturday (i.e. TODAY). But we are quite certain that exceptions will be made for really keen buyers.

In summary, the wife and I do like CONCOURSE SKYLINE but find the price somewhat prohibitive. Despite the marketing agent’s claims that the 1-Bedroom unit will fetch between $4 – 5k/month in rental once the project is ready (which we are rather sceptical), we cannot help but feel that we will be paying a substantial premium in the hope that the property market will remain buoyant over the next few years.

Click here for photos and complete floor plans

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Fancy the view below from your apartment's living room? It is possible, if you own a high-floor unit at CONCOURSE SKYLINE located on Beach road. The picture was actually taken from the showflat located on the 38th floor of the office tower of The Concourse, which is next door to where CONCOURSE SKYLINE is being built.

pic (t.rhu)

Hard to believe? Here is a photo of the same Kallang River Basin/East Coast/Sea view through the showflat.
pic (living)

The story of CONCOURSE SKYLINE is rather interesting. The developer (Hong Fok Group) began redevelopment of the previous retail/serviced apartment wing of The Concourse complex in 2008, leaving the existing office tower intact. The new development will have a part 4/part 7-storey podium car park and apartments with first storey commercial units and [2 blocks of part 20/part 28-storey and part 34/part 40-storey condominium units – CONCOURSE SKYLINE].

Hong Fok, who owns The Concourse, has paid an upgrading premium of $83 million in June 2008 to top-up the lease tenure of The Concourse/Concourse Skyline, to 99 years with effect from 13 March 2008, so that the lease will expire in 2107.

When completed, CONCOURSE SKYLINE could be the first private housing project to have an overhead bridge linking it to the MRT. Residents will need to walk only about 200m to the Nicoll Highway station due to open this weekend.

The unique addition arose from rather unusual circumstances. The original Nicoll Highway station, which was much nearer to The Concourse, would have an underground link to the former Concourse wing. But when the uncompleted station collapsed, killing four workers in a 2004 construction accident, plans for the underground link were scrapped. A dispute then ensued between the LTA and Hong Fok. Neither party would comment on this, but it was supposedly over the condo developer wanting direct access to the new station. The issue was finally settled, resulting in the overhead residential link.

The construction of the link was carried out in three stages, the first being the overhead bridge spanning Nicoll Highway. This was completed in 2009. Construction of the second stage that links the overhead bridge to the MRT station, complete with lifts and escalators was completed this year. And once the Concourse Skyway is near completion, the final segment joining the condo to the bridge will be built by Hong Fok. Access to this segment will be through a secured doorway, passable only to residents. The overhead bridge link to Nicoll MRT station is being touted as one of the main selling point of CONCOURSE SKYLINE.

The 360-unit condo was launched in 2008 as the impact of the world financial crisis hit Singapore. Units were then priced at between $1500 and $1800psf. The project is expected to be ready by 2013.

Stay tuned to the continuation of our review on CONCOURSE SKYLINE in our next post. But here are more photos that the wife and I have taken from the showflat, just to whet your appetite.

Units with City Viewpic (city)
Units facing Kumpung Glam
pic (k.Glum)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More residential sites for land-hungry developers!

The ST reported today that four residential sites are being released for tender by the Government in a move to ramp up supply in Singapore's hot property market. These sites are expected to yield almost 2,000 new homes.

They include Punggol's first executive condominium (EC) site, to boast 615 homes, which will be released for tender early next month as a developer has already made a minimum bid of $147.7 million. This is in stark contrast to a previous Punggol EC site that was launched in September 2008 which saw no takers among developers. The Punggol EC plot, located at Punggol Field, is near the Punggol Town Centre.

The other three sites are for another EC - at Sengkang - and two private development sites at Sembawang and Yishun.

The Sengkang EC site, located at Sengkang East Avenue and Buangkok Drive, was triggered by a developer's bid of $103.8 million on April 1. It is served by the Sengkang LRT system and could yield 465 homes. This plot goes on sale today and the tender closes on May 25.

The Sembawang plot, at the junction of Sembawang Road/Canberra Drive and launched under the confirmed list, can be developed into strata-title landed housing or condominium units offering 290 homes. The site is likely to fetch  $95 - $105 million if a condo is built. This plot also goes on sale today and the tender closes on June 8.

The Yishun condo site, located at Yishun Avenue 2, will also be out for tender early next month. This is in the established Yishun Town and could generate 600 homes. A developer triggered the tender for the Yishun site with the minimum bid of $137.9 million.

This is the latest round in a slew of sites being released by the authorities to inject fresh supply into the market. Developers have been snapping up land to replenish landbanks as they scramble to meet dizzying levels of demand for new homes. The heightened level of activity is a drastic turnaround from the same period a year ago, when no sites were offered or sold by the Government amid a lacklustre property market.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic real estate lecturer Nicholas Mak said the Government is reinforcing the message that there is enough land. And by announcing more than one site at a time, it is also saying to developers that they do not need to bid so aggressively. The objective is to push out enough land supply so that prices can be moderated.

The wife and I sure hope that Mr. Mak is right. But to paraphrase from George Orwell...some land sites are more equal than others. So we reckon prices for "prime" sites will remain strong unless our government pushes more of such sites out for tender, or when home buyers finally come to their senses...


Developers snapping up own units

The ST reported yesterday that the sizzling property market is prompting even the developers themselves to snap up units in their new projects. This is especially for high-end properties.

Singapore Exchange filings show that at least four listed developers have sold units in their residential developments to relatives or “interested parties”. An interested party can be a director, a chief executive, a controlling stakeholder or one of their associates.

Among those listed in the ST report, it was said that the wife of CDL executive chairman has bought a third-floor unit in the 228-unit Residences at W Singapore Sentosa Cove for $4.6 million.


We have absolutely no issue with developers selling to their relatives and “interested parties” as long as such sales are transparent and aboveboard. Hey, if the wife and I are a property developer ourselves (one can always dream), we will also want to take care of our “inner circles”.

What really caught our attention was the fact that at the time of the option of purchase was granted, members of the public were being offered a 20% discount on this project! An additional 2% discount was offered to the company’s directors, including their spouses and children, under its preferential discount scheme for buying units in its developments, said CDL in its statutory filing. So Mrs Kwek Leng Beng had supposedly received a 22% discount.

To be able to afford a 20% discount… the wife and I wonder how much CDL is actually making out of Residences at W Singapore.

And for the benefits of those with the spare millions and seeking a “coastal” home in Sentosa, here are some details on Residences at W Singapore that we have managed to scamper together.

Project:  Residences at W Singapore
Description:  Integrated development with retail outlets, hotel and private condominium residence under Starwood’s flagship “W” Hotels brand.
Developer:  City Developments Limited (CDL)
District:  4
Address:  1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 Ocean Way
Tenure:  99-years with effect from 31 Oct 2006
Site Area:  250,407sqft
Plot Ratio:  1.6
# of Towers:  7
# of Storeys:  6
# of Units:  228
Carpark Lots:  244 basement parking lots, excluding 2 buggy lots

Location Map
Location Plan

Unit Types & Sizes
• 2-Bedrooms Typical  (36 units):   1227 – 1259sqft
• 2-Bedrooms PES  (6 units):   1270 – 1292sqft
• 3-Bedrooms Typical  (70 units):   1625 – 1755sqft
• 3-Bedrooms PES w/Spa Pool  (16 units):   1948 – 2616sqft
• 4-Bedrooms Typical  (54 units):   2067 – 2131sqft
• 4-Bedrooms PES w/Spa Pool  (12 units):   2422 – 2486sqft
• Penthouse – 2-Bedrooms+Study  (4 units):   2217 – 2228sqft
• Penthouse – 3-Bedrooms  (12 units):   2508 – 2573sqft
• Penthouse – 4-Bedrooms  (10 units):   3240 – 3348sqft
• Penthouse – 4-bedrooms+Study  (3 units):   3972 – 3929sqft
• Penthouse – 5-Bedrooms  (5 units):   4898 – 6297sqft

Site Map
Site Map

Pricing:  Between $2,500 - $3,000psf

Putting things in perspective,
                    20% = at least $500psf in discount!


The wife and I had originally wanted to check out Residences at W Singapore after our “Grill & Chill” Sunday lunch at The Capella last weekend. But our little son’s bout of stomach flu put paid to our dining plans. It looks like we’ll have to leave this one till next month. Meantime, the rich and well-connected continue to prosper...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April "en-bloc" deal #2: CULFORD GARDENS sold for $39m

Report over the weekend indicated that Culford Gardens in Siglap, which was put up for sale last month, has been sold to Fragrance Properties for $39 million.

The amount falls along the higher end of the freehold property’s asking price, which was between $37 million and $40 million, allowing the developer to break even at about $950 - $1,000psf. The site had received four offers, all of which fell within this price range.

The selling price translates to a land rate of about $632 per square feet per plot ratio (psf ppr), based on a 1.4 plot ratio – ratio of maximum potential gross floor area to land area. This excludes the 10% balcony allowance.

Including the balcony allowance, the sale price becomes $574psf ppr at a gross plot ratio of 1.54. With the sale, the owners of the en-bloc site stand to receive an average price of $1.63 million for their property.

Culford Gardens, which sits on a 44,093sqft site in the Siglap/Upper East Coast vicinity, is zoned under Master Plan 2008 for residential development with a maximum height of five storeys and a 1.4 plot ratio. The District 15 site is close to amenities and F&B outlets in Siglap and East Coast Park.
Actual Site

It looks like the smaller developments are having more successes with collective sale these days. The wife and I wonder when we will see the likes of Pine Grove or Bayshore Park getting "en-bloc"-ed...


No more #$*!% Google Ads!

Not property related I know but I just need to get this out of my system.

This is all ME of course... the wife doesn't swear... much.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April "en-bloc" deal #1: DIAMOND TOWER

BT reported today that EL Development has inked a deal to buy the freehold Diamond Tower at Jalan Rajah in the Balestier area for $49.6 million through a collective sale.

Diamond Tower Site

The price works out to a unit land price of about $652 per square foot of potential gross floor area inclusive of an estimated $300,000 development charge payable to the state.

Diamond Tower has a land area of about 27,323sqft and is zoned for residential use with a 2.8 plot ratio. The plot ratio is the ratio of maximum potential gross floor area to land area.

EL Development intends to build an 18 – 20 storey apartment block with about 100 units of mostly one and two bedrooms and some three-bedders. The breakeven cost for a new apartment based on today’s construction costs works out to about $1,200psf.

EL Development may enter into a partnership with another party, said to be construction group Teambuild, for the site’s acquisition.

Diamond Tower’s collective sale was marketed by Urban Front Real Estate. It was offered through a tender exercise which closed last month without a deal being sealed. EL Development has submitted their offer after that and are buying under a private treaty deal.

The proposed collective sale of Diamond Tower will be subjected to approval from Strata Titles Board as its owners have not unanimously consented to the sale.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

TREE HOUSE: New condo project at Chestnut Avenue


Below is the preliminary info for Tree House at Chestnut Avenue. The wife and I understand that CDL will be previewing this new project over the next 2 weeks or so.

Description:   Condominium housing development comprising 4 blocks of 24-storey,
                          with a total of 429 units

District:           23
Location:        Upper Bukit Timah
Address:          60, 62, 66 and 68 Chestnut Avenue
Location plan

Tenure:           99-year Leasehold from 23 November 2009
Site Area:       Approx. 244,345sqft
Plot Ratio:      2.1
TOP:                 31 December 2014
Developer:     Chestnut Avenue Developments Pte Ltd
                          (JV between City Developments Ltd & Hong Reality)

Carpark Lots:
472 (estimated) – including 4 handicapped lots, 4 family lots and 3 electric car charging lots

Site Plan and Facilities:
Site Plan

Unit Types & Sizes:
• 2-Bedroom (48 units): 721 – 990sqft
• 2-Bedroom+Study (72 units): 807 – 1098sqft
• 3-Bedroom (119 units): 1152 – 1550sqft
• 3-Bedroom+Study (116 units): 1227 – 1636sqft
• 4-Bedroom (66 units): 1410 – 1959sqft
• Penthouse (8 units): 1927 – 2917sqft

Preliminary Floor Plans:
Tree House - Floor Plans

CORALIS (Review)

District: 15
Location: Marine Parade
Address: 530 Joo Chiat Road
Developer: Grovehill Pte Ltd (Tiong Aik Group of Companies)
Tenure: Freehold

The wife and I decided to drop by the sales gallery of CORALIS yesterday.

CORALIS is located along Joo Chiat Road, sandwiched between Parc Seabreeze (another new project launched mid of last year) and Katong Mall.
Coralis Site

It consists of one 20-storey Tower with a total of 127 apartment units. The freehold site that CORALIS resides on is not particularly large – just 50,000sqft – and has a plot ratio of 2.1. The expected TOP is December 2014.

For unit size, CORALIS has a mix of primarily 1 to 3-Bedrooms. The different unit types and sizes are:
• 1-Bedroom “Typical” (34 units): 495sqft
• 1-Bedroom “w/PES”(2 units): 549sqft
• 2-Bedrooms “Typical” (51 units): 807/861/904sqft
• 2-Bedrooms “w/PES” (2 units): 1066sqft
• 3-Bedrooms (34 units): 1206/1227/1259/1281sqft
• 3-Bedroom duplex Penthouse (2 units): 2659sqft
• 4-Bedroom duplex Penthouses (2 units): 2842/3089sqft

Since CORALIS is mostly blocked by the 19-storey Parc Seabreeze, the developer has sensibly decided to “angle” the condo towards Joo Chiat Road. This ensues that at least some of the East Coast Park-facing units, i.e. the higher-floor ones that overlook the HDB flats across Marine Parade Road, will get “pocket seaview”.

The facilities in CORALIS are all located on the ground level, as illustrated below.

The wife and I were rather surprised that there is no function room (or "Dining Pavilion" as they are called these days) in this project – the closest you get is the so-called “BBQ Pavilion” but this is an open-air area. CORALIS also does not come with tennis court or sky-terrace. There are 2 levels of basement carpark, but no more than 127 lots. So visitors to the condo will probably have to find parking outside, e.g. Katong Mall next door.

The only showflat on display is an 861sqft 2-Bedroom unit (Type 2A). The living/dining room is rectangular but small – good enough for a small sofa set and 4-seater dining table but nothing much else. It comes with 60cm x 60cm compressed marble and opens out to a small balcony/plant box area of about 50sqft. The kitchen is on the left as you enter the main door – this is squarish and rather small, and comes equipped with “Brandt” hob/hood/oven and “Grohe” taps – quite basic stuff. The kitchen worktop is of solid-surface material, while the top and bottom kitchen cabinets have “anti-slam” drawers and doors. For a unit of such size, we kinda expect that there will be no utility room/toilet in the yard area. But the unit does not even come with a yard, so you have to be creative with that washing machine/dryer and even more so with your laundry (the balcony, maybe?).
Type 2A

The common bath comes with homogenous tiles floors/walls and “Grohe/Kalevit” bathroom and toilet fittings. You also get a standing shower stall but no rain shower.

The common bedroom is small, and by small we mean a sofa bed and small writing table taking up almost all the space in the room. It comes with surprisingly good wardrobe space though, while the timber-strip flooring and wardrobe looked rather good quality. But the wife and I both felt that the additional planter box area in this bedroom is unnecessary, since it makes the room looked even smaller.

The one thing that struck us most about the master bedroom is: It sure comes with A LOT of bay windows! These cover two of the four walls around the room, so you are assured of ample natural lighting in here. The room is also very good size for such a small unit – you can comfortably fit a ‘Queen” bed or probably a “King” too should you need more bed space. You also get a huge wardrobe, which we reckon is almost double of what you find in most other new projects.

The master bathroom has marble floors/walls and a standing shower that comes with both hand-held and rain showers. The usual “Grohe/Kalevit” fittings apply.

What we like:
• The quality of furnishings & fittings at CORALIS, judging from the showflat we have seen, is quite good.

• The good-sized master bedroom and the generous wardrobe space that comes with both bedrooms, which is a rarity for new projects these days.

• Location – it is Marine Parade after all; a stone throw away from Parkway Parade and good connections to the city/CBD that are within 15 – 20 minutes away by car via the ECP and Nicoll Highway.

What we dislike:
• CORALIS is practically surrounded by buildings on all sides. Given the small plot size, you might feel a tad claustrophobic especially if you are on a lower-floor unit.

• Although some may disagree, but CORALIS is located at the “less glamorous” part of Marine Parade, i.e. the Joo Chiat/Marine Parade HDB area. So you are not exactly comparing “apple to apple” with the likes of The Shore, Silversea or even Cote d'Azur.

• Many market agents will tell you that CORALIS is near several renowned primary schools – Tao Nan, Ngee Ann, CHIJ Katong – but none of these is within 1-km of the condo.

Here are some price indications for the 2- and 3-Bedroom units:
• #11-06 (861sqft) - $1,261,000 or $1465psf
• #16-06 (904sqft) - $1,368,000 or $1513psf

• #11-05 (1206sqft) - $1,743,000 or $1445psf
• #16-05 (1259sqft) - $1,882,000 or $1495psf

The difference between the “bigger” and “smaller” unit for both unit types is just the additional balcony found in the master bedroom for the bigger units – not something the wife and I are particularly excited about. So we probably stick to the “smaller” units, but that’s just us. All the 3-bedders are East-facing.

In summary, CORALIS does not really appeal to us other than the fact it is freehold compared to other recently launched developments like Silversea and The Shore. And all things being equal, the wife and I feel that Parc Seabreeze (freehold) is actually a better buy. We will also probably take our chances with resale unit at Cote d’Azur over CORALIS, as it seems a better value given its "primer" location and lower psf price currently. This is despite the fact that Cote d'Azur is leashold and already 5 years old.
Marine Parade Caveats (1Q2010)

Click below to view Floor Plans of CORALIS: