Monday, May 31, 2010

THE MINTON: 180 units sold over the weekend

The BT today has reported that developer Kheng Leong has sold 180 units of THE MINTON condo in Hougang as of 6pm yesterday.

This is out of a batch of 300 units that Kheng Leong has released since last Friday in the 1,145-unit development at Lorong Ah Soo/Hougang St. 11 at an average price of $850psf.

Property agents marketing the project told BT that the sales result, while encouraging, was below what they would have expected during the recent height of the property market in March/April. The peak was prior to the fallout from Europe’s economic problems and the Singapore government’s announcement in May that it will deliver a bumper land sales programme for the second half of this year to meet hot demand in the residential property market.

It is reckoned that a new release like THE MINTON would have sold closer to 300 units in its first weekend and at about 5 -8% higher in price, if the 99-year leasehold project had been put on the market a couple of months ago.

As has been the case with other launches, the most popular units at THE MINTON’s holiday-extended weekend preview were one and two-bedroom units. Prices of one-bedders sold ranged from about $480,000 to $590,000 per unit. Two-bedders cost $750,000 to $870,000. The project also has three and four-bedders, penthouses as well as dual-key units.

Buyers were predominantly young Singaporeans, including families. Generally, buyers have HDB addresses, including Hougang, Serangoon and Tampines. Buyers appear to be drawn by THE MINTON’s lush landscaping and generous facilities afforded by the large site area of close to 500,000sqft.

Kheng Leong, a privately owned property group controlled by the family of banker Wee Cho Yaw, is developing THE MINTON on the former Minton Rise site that it bought in 2007 through a collective sale.

The wife and I wonder if this is another sign of the property market cooling...


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Previewing this week: THE MINTON

BT today has reported that Kheng Leong group is previewing THE MINTON at Lorong Ah Soo/Hougang St.11 this week, at an average price of about $850psf.


The developer is expected to release an initial batch of 300 units in the 1,145-unit project that is being developed on a 99-year leasehold site.

Kheng Leong is offering a mix of various unit types, from one-bedders to penthouses, and prices will range from $770 - $960psf at this week’s preview.

The development includes 121 one-bedders ranging from 500-700sqft, 335 two-bedroom apartments (940-990sqft), 158 two bedrooms with study units as well as 44 dual-key units (comprising a two-bedroom apartment and a one-bedder). The remaining unit types at THE MINTON include three and four-bedders. In addition, there will be 24 penthouses ranging from 2,000sqft to 3,500sqft in size.

THE MINTON will have a total of 18 blocks, ranging from 15 to 17 storeys in height. The project is slated for completion in 2014.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Private Residential Units Sold (April 2010)

The following data is courtesy of Urban Redevelopment Authorities (URA).

The list includes projects that the wife and I have reviewed to date - a total of 36 in the past 6 months or so. Not too bad at all, don't you think?

Private Units Sold (Apr 2010)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another project to launch next month: TWIN PEAKS

Overseas Union Enterprise (UOE) will launch TWIN PEAKS – a project at the site of The Grangeford – next month. This is according to a report in BT.

Apartments at the 99-year TWIN PEAKS at Leonie Hill Road will be fully furnished and will be launched at “market rates”. A source flagged the possible selling price at $2,700 – 3,200psf, and estimated that a one-bedroom unit could cost around $1.5 million.

One-bedders at 550 – 570sqft will make up 60% of the 462-unit project. The remaining units will comprise two-bedders measuring 1,060sqft and three-bedders at 1,400 – 1,900sqft.

The said prices are comparable to those at projects nearby. Caveats lodged with the authorities show a unit at Grange Infinite changing hands for $2,862psf last month.

Buyers can choose from a list of furnishings, which include Herman Miller chairs and Foscarini lamps. OUE is able to get discounts on these items through bulk purchase – a Herman Miller chair can cost some 40% less than the retail price.

It is unclear how much the furnishings add to development costs. According to a Rider Levett Bucknall report in March, a luxury quality condominium can cost $334 – 465psf of gross floor area to build. The unit land price for The Grangeford was reported to be $1,810psf ppr.

Such fully furnished apartments are supposedly targeted at investors who wish to lease out their apartments straightaway once the project is completed. But the wife and I wonder how much premium one can really get on the lease with those Herman Miller chairs and Foscarini lamps…


Wednesday, May 19, 2010



The wife and I must confess that we have left TREE HOUSE rather late, given our vacation and all. So when we finally show up at the sales gallery last Sunday, the project is already almost sold out – only about 10 units, comprising 3- and 3+Study, are left and on the low floors.

TREE HOUSE, as most of you know by now, is located at Chestnut Avenue, which is off Petir Road. It is surrounded by greenery, since it is build right next to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and in front of Zhenghua Park (popular trail for cyclist). So this is definitely the ideal project for all you friends of nature.
Location Map

Here’s the scope on TREE HOUSE

District: 23
Location: Chestnut Ave/Upper Bukit Timah
Address: 60 – 68 Chestnut Avenue
Developer: City Development Limited
Tenure: 99-year Leasehold
Estimated site area: 244,000sqft
Expected TOP: End-2014
Description: 4 Blocks of 24-storey each
Total number of units: 429
Total number of carpark lots: 469 (Basement)

Unit Types & Sizes:
• 2-Bedroom (48 units): 721 – 990sqft
• 2+Study (72 units): 807 – 1076sqft
• 3-Bedroom (119 units): 1152 – 1485sqft
• 3+Study (116 units): 1227 – 1636sqft
• 4-Bedroom (66 units): 1410 – 1959sqft
• Penthouses (8 units): 1927 – 2917sqft
*Note: The “bigger” 2 to 4-bedders usually denote ground-floor units

TREE HOUSE is a full-facility condominium, and one that is rather unique in terms of its offerings as opposed to the usual “plain vanilla” facilities found in most new projects these days. The wife and I are particularly impressed with the circular-shaped indoor gym and the chestnut tree houses with its tree-top walk linkage. The development also comes with TWO tennis courts (one is actually listed as “multi-purpose court” but you can also play tennis on it) – very generous for a project with only 429 units.
Site Plan
In addition, sky gardens are found on the 7th, 13th and 19th floor of each block, where residents can go to relax and enjoy the view (and breeze).

And to top it all off, there is the expansive vertical green wall that lined one side of Block 60 - this supposedly acts as a natural insulation to reduce the estate’s carbon footprint by filtering pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air. It sloped design also creates a “bio-shelter”, aiding rainwater collection for landscape irrigation.

There are 2 showflats in the sales gallery:
• 1959sqft, 4-bedroom ground-floor unit (C1p) – the same layout on the upper floors are around 1410sqft

• 1076sqft, 2+Study ground-floor unit (AS2p) – the same layout on the upper floors are around 807sqft

The furnishing/fittings for both showflat are much the same, so we will just go through these generically.

Living/Dining – rectangular shape, although seemed a tad small especially for the 4-bedder. It comes with 60x60 homogenous tiles and 3.25m ceiling (ground floor)/2.9m ceiling (upper floors).

PES – rectangular shape and very functional.

Dry Kitchen (4-bedder) – effectively just a worktop with cabinets below, and it does not come with a sink.

Wet Kitchen – rectangular and rather small for both showflat types. Comes with solid surfaced worktop, top/bottom-tier cabinets, “Electrolux” brand hob/hood/oven and “Hansgrohe” kitchen faucets.

Yard – A squarish small area for the 4-bedder, which means separate washer and dryer will have to be stacked. No yard for the 2-bedder.

Utility/Maid’s Room – A longish narrow room for the 4-bedder. Bed will have to be custom-made. A small “Maid’s toilet” is located next door. No utility room or “Maid’s toilet” for 2-bedder.

Junior Suite (4-bedder) – Very good size, and comes with laminate flooring from Germany and generous wardrobe space. The attached bathroom is of decent size and comes with “Hansgrohe/Ideal Standard” bathroom and toilet fittings. However, no “rain shower” in the shower-stall.

Common Bedrooms – Squarish size and rather small. Comes with the same laminate flooring and wardrobe.

Common Bathroom – Almost mirror image of that found in the Junior Suite.

Master Bedroom – This is surprisingly huge for both the 2 and 4-bedder. There is also a 2 full-panel of wardrobes, which is more than what you find in many other new projects.

Master Bathroom – Again this is huge for both showflat types. The 4-bedder has both a long bath and standing shower, while the 2-bedder has only a standing shower stall.

What we like:
• TREE HOUSE is located pretty far away from the nearest housing estate, and thus can be considered unblocked on all sides. However, the wife and I understand that the plot of land opposite and next to TREE HOUSE is slated for future development.

• NO bay windows or planters for all unit layouts.

• The “atypical” set of facilities around the estate, which blend well with the “nature reserve” surrounding.

• Primary school wise, there is at least the choice of either CHIJ Our Lady Queen (for girls) or Bukit Panjang Primary (Co-ed) that is within 1-km of TREE HOUSE.

What we dislike:
• The quality of furnishings and fittings are rather inferior. Then again, maybe our expectation is too high. It is a “less than $1000psf” project after all…

• The colour scheme of tiles (all white) used for the bathroom is rather blend – it makes the whole area looked very pale and industrial.

• The location of TREE HOUSE is rather far and remote from the rest of the world. The nearest amenities are those found around the Zhenghua HDB estate, which is probably a good 10 – 15 minutes walk away. The nearest MRT Station (i.e. the unconstructed Cashew Station) is a good 20 – 25 minutes walk away. But the wife and I were told that there will be free shutter bus service from the development to the nearest MRT station for the first year. However, we reckon that a car (or two) is probably a necessity for potential buyers of this project.

Pricing wise, what the wife and I consider as the “best” of the remaining units, i.e. the pool facing 1249sqft, 3+Study (Block 66, #04-16) is selling at $1,016,800 or $814psf.

The monthly maintenance for the 3- and 4-bedroom units are around $350.

Overall, the wife and I feel that TREE HOUSE is really a niche taste, i.e. for those who like to live near greenery and love nature. Otherwise, it is quite out of the way and will remain so for quite awhile yet. It reminds us of areas like Punggol and Sengkang of the past before they were developed to their current states. We will probably consider buying a unit at TREE HOUSE if the location is not as remote. But given the extremely good take-up rate of this project, there are a lot of people out there who has no problem with its locality.

Click to view floor plans and showflat photos


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Private Home Sales: Strong April, weak May?

The BT today reported that private home sales surged 25.3% month-to-month to a higher than expected 2,207units. This is the highest monthly figure in nine months and takes the sales tally for the first four months of this year to 6,857 units, nearly 45% of the figure for the whole of last year.

But far from opening the bubbly, industry players are watching how home buyers react to ongoing stock market jitters and fears about a contagion effect in Europe from Greece's problem.

Developers’ sales activity is expected to fall in May as there have been few launches so far this month. But projects such as The Minton in Hougang are expected to be launched next week. Allgreen is also previewing The Cascadia at Bukit Timah this week to retail buyers, after selling 187 of the project’s 536 units to two funds a few years ago.

Last week, Frasers Centrepoint began sales of Flamingo Valley at an average price of $1,200psf to former owners of the site as well as some of its loyal customers, and will soft launch the freehold project this weekend.

The 2,207 unit- home sales by developers in April is the second highest level since URA began releasing monthly developer homes sales data in June 2007. The highest sales volume was 2,772 units in July last year.

The strong sales in April were a function of the surge in launches. Developers launched a total of 2,084 homes last month, up 16.4% from March.

Island wide, the top three selling projects in the primary market last month were Waterbank at Dakota (573 units sold at a median price of $1,178psf), Tree House (374 units at a median price of $835psf) and The Interlace (144 units at $1,067psf median price).


Sunday, May 16, 2010

THE MINTON - Launching Soon!


Project Name:   THE MINTON
Developer:   Kheng Leong Co. and Low Keng Huat (Singapore) Ltd`
Tenure:   99-year Leasehold
TOP:   2014
Location:   Hougang Street 11, off Lor. Ah Soo (ex Minton Rise HUDC)
Plot Area:   500,000sqft (= 7 football fields)
Total # of Units:   1,145
# of Blocks:   18 of up to 17-storey each
Unit Types:   1, 2, 3, 4-bedrooms & Penthouses, as well as limited "Dual Key" units


  • Facilities are incorporated within THREE WORLDS - Fun World, Tranquil World & Wellness World  
  • 10 minutes walk to Serangoon MRT (North East/Circle Lines)
  • Near to soon-to-open "Nex" Mega Mall
  • Within 1-km of Paya Lebar Methodist Girls School and 1.1-km to Maris Stella Primary School

The Minton - Invitation (Call Darren if interested)


Update on Singapore Property Market - April 2010

Our thanks to Citigold and Nicholas Mak‏ for this report.

Sgp_mkt_updt - Apr 2010


Friday, May 14, 2010

CityCenter Las Vegas: More Pictures!

Location & Site Plan
Location Plan

Vdara Showflat (Deluxe Studio)
Vdara (D. Studio)

Veer Towers (Studio)
Veer (Studio)

Residences at Mandarin Oriental

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wanna own a piece of Las Vegas?

Then you may wish to consider an apartment unit in CityCenter – a 67-acre “city within a city” on The Strip. This impressive project was developed by MGM Mirage and completed in 2009.

The wife and I happened to spend the weekend in one of the property in CityCenter, the ARIA Resort & Casino. And between the “Pai Kow Poker” tables and Casino hopping, we stumbled upon the residential sales pavilion for CityCenter. So we decided to give it a look-see.

CityCenter is the latest address on The Strip. For those of you familiar with Las Vegas, CityCenter is located along Las Vegas Boulevard and sandwiched between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio, and diagonally across from MGM Grand.


CityCenter consists of 6 developments:

VDARA Condo Hotel – This is a 57-storey condo hotel consisting of 1,543 fully furnished and equipped turnkey residences. Buyers have a choice of studios, deluxe studios, one and two-bedroom apartments and penthouses as primary or vacation residences. Units range from 500 to 1,650sqft. Ownership includes the opportunity to participate in VDARA’s managed nightly rental program.

VEER TOWERS – These are residential high-rises consisting of two 37-storey glass towers, with 335 condo units each. Inclined at five-degree angle to each other (thus the name), the units in VEER TOWERS consist of studios to one and two-bedroom apartments and penthouses, ranging from nearly 500 to 3,300sqft.
Veer Towers
THE RESIDENCES AT MANDARIN ORIENTAL – This is a “mixed hotel cum residences” development. The 227 residential units start from the 26th floor onwards, and consist of one and two bedroom apartments as well as two and three bedroom penthouses ranging from nearly 1,100 to 3,900sqft. Apartment owners are served by their own private entry separated from the hotel’s public spaces, but will enjoy all the facilities and amenities provided by the hotel.

THE HARMON – This is a 47-storey tower consisting of hotel, spa and residences. The tower’s top 21 floors are dedicated to 207 residence units of one, two and three bedrooms, and penthouses ranging from nearly 1,000 to 3,700sqft.

THE CRYSTALS – This is the retail and entertainment district of CityCenter, featuring unique retail shops, exceptional dining and entertainment venues.

ARIA Resort & Casino – This is CityCenter’s 61-storey, 4000-room resort-casino. In addition to the huge casino floor, ARIA features a 3-storey lobby, showroom theatre for 1850 guests, spa, 4 large pools, 18 restaurants, 6 bars and a nightclub. The CityCenter’s tram connects ARIA to The Crystals, Bellagio and Monte Carlo.

We were told that 70% of the residential units in CityCenter are already sold to date, with the apartments in THE HARMON fully sold. Pricing wise,

• Studios (500sqft) from US$450K
• 1-bedroom Apartments (800sqft) from US$650K
• 2-bedroom Penthouses (1,650sqft) from US$1.7million
No financing is available for this development.

• Studios (500sqft) from US$350K
• 1-bedroom Apartments (800sqft) from US$520K
• 2-bedroom Apartments (1,300sqft) from US$790K
• 3-bedroom Apartments (1,800sqft) from US$1.7million
Financing is available with 30% down.

• 1-bedroom Apartments (1,100sqft) from US$940K
• 2-bedroom Apartments (2,000sqft) from US$2.6million
• 3-bedroom Penthouses (3,900sqft) from US$6million
Financing is available with 30% down.

We do not know what is the actual tenure (i.e. free or leasehold) for the above developments - our question to the sales representative was met with a blank stare.

But the wife and I were particularly impressed with the quality of fittings and furnishings in the showflats. Look out for pictures of these in our next post.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fully furnished apartment, anyone?

We are back! Well... sorta.

The wife and I are sitting in the lounge at Narita Airport on transit back to Singapore, and we reckon we should make the best use of the free wifi here.

You may have read in the ST yesterday that Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) will soon launch for sale Singapore’s first fully furnished apartments.

The showflat for OUE’s only residential project in its portfolio – the former Grangeford condominium site that it purchased in a collective deal in the boom days of 2007 – is almost ready and the launch could take place soon. And each apartment will come fully furnished, which include dining table, sofa, beds and even linen and lamps. The furnishings will be branded and buyers will have a choice of colors. Residents will also have access to a concierge service as the condominium is near the group’s Meritus Mandarin Hotel.

The project will have 462 units, with 268 studios of 550 – 570sqft. There will also be 66 two-bedroom units and 128 three-bedders.

OUE seems to think that there will be a big market for fully-furnished apartments - for people who want the convenience.

And the wife and I always thought that shopping for furniture is part of the “fun” in home ownership…

What do you think?


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Busy last weekend and away for the next 2 weeks!

As such, the wife and I won't be doing much posting till we return from vacation end of next week.

Have a great week (or two) ahead!