Sunday, October 31, 2010

New project in Jurong: Lakefront Residences

The wife has received some preliminary info about Lakefront Residences - the first new condo project to be marketed for its proximity to the upcoming Jurong Lake District and Jurong Gateway. Jurong Gateway will supposedly be the major business district/commercial centre for the western part of Singapore.

The target launch date is around mid-November 2010. We will keep you posted when we have more.

Project Name: Lakefront Residences
Developer: Keppel Land
Location: Lakeside Drive (Next to Lakeside MRT Station)
District: 22
Tenure: 99-year Leasehold
Site Area: approx. 173,000sqft
Type of Development: 3 blocks of 18-storey condominium
Total number of Units: 629
T.O.P Date: approx. 2Q 2015

Location Plan

Site Plan
Lakefront Residences: Site Plan

Units Mix & Prices
Lakefront Residences: Unit Mix & Price

Reasons to buy (according to marketing agents):
• Lakeside MRT right at your doorstep

• Near to upcoming Jurong Lake District + Jurong Gateway

• 1km to Rulang Primary School + close proximity to upcoming Canadian International School

• Great Layout + Functionality - No household shelters or long corridors

• Quality Finishes - Choice of natural/compressed marble for living dining areas + Kitchen appliances by renowned German Brand (TEKA)


Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Glyndebourne: Sales Update (unofficial)

According to some friends of ours who have visited The Glyndebourne yesterday, more than 90 of the 150 units have been sold.

The average selling price for the units is $2,200psf, which is higher than the $2,000psf expected.

So if you are thinking about buying into this project, it may be wise to head on down to the sales gallery tomorrow to check it out...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fancy living next to Capitol Building/Theatre?

As reported in BT today, the landmark site that includes Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building and Stamford House is ready for a makeover. It has been awarded to a partnership comprising a syndicate of investors arranged by Pua Seck Guan’s Perennial Real Estate, Kwee Liong Seen’s Chesham Properties, and Sukmawati Widjaja’s Top Global group for $250 million or $460.93psf ppr.

The group that won the tender is expected to invest $700 million in total (including land price) to transform the site into an iconic hotel, theatre, retail and residential development. The group is allocating about half of the 542,382sqft maximum gross floor area to retail and entertainment use, with 25% each for hotel and residential use.

US-based architectural firm Richard Meier & Partners will work with Architects 61 of Singapore to develop the project.

Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building and Stamford House will be conserved and restored while Capitol Centre will be torn down to make way for a new 15-storey building that will also house four basements. Basements 3 and 4 will be for car parking while Basements 2 to Level 2 will be for retail. Above that will be about 80 apartments of about 1,066sqft to 2,368sqft, which will be sold to help part finance the development.

A five-star hotel with over 200 rooms will be housed on the second to fourth levels of the 4-storey Capitol Building and Stamford House.

Capitol Theatre will be transformed into a single-screen cinema with the largest seating capacity in Singapore (some 800 to 1,000 seats) to be operated by Golden Village for most of the year. The building will also alternate as a performance venue for in-residence theatre groups for the rest of the time, and will be a choice venue for red carpet movie premiers and film festivals.

There will be an underground link to City Hall MRT Station.

The group has intended for the project to be completed in about three to four years’ time, although URA has given them up to eight years to complete the project.

Fancy a guess on the psf price of the apartments, anyone..?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Looking for affordable freehold property? Try Geylang!

Geylang is providing another housing option for those who want to buy condominium units at relatively affordable entry price levels, but which offer steady rental income. This is according to a report in this week’s TheEdge Singapore.

One such example is Atrium Residences, a 142-unit freehold apartment block at Lorong 28 Geylang, which saw four transactions at prices ranging from $715 to $743psf in the Sep 28 to Oct 5 period.

Developed by niche developer Novelty Properties Pte Ltd, the two-year-old Atrium Residences is a freehold development where typical two- and three-bedroom units are from 807 to 1,302sqft, while penthouses are from 1,604 to 2,203sqft.

At around $700psf, units at Atrium Residences are probably “some of the most reasonably priced freehold apartments you can find in Singapore’, says Marcus Fan, associate team director at PropNex, who specialises in properties at Geylang.

When the project was first launched in March 2006, prices at Atrium Residences were $300 to $500psf.

One of the four latest transactions, based on caveats lodged with URA, was for a 1,259sqft, three-bedroom, sixth floor unit that was sold for $900,000 ($715psf). For the seller who bought the unit from the developer for $712,888 ($566psf) in December 2008, this represented a 26% price appreciation in less than 2 years. On the same block, a 1,023sqft, three-bedroom unit on the third floor was sold for $760,000 or $743psf – the highest psf price achieved at Atrium Residences.

In another block, a 1,227sqft, three-bedroom unit on the sixth floor was sold for $880,000 ($717psf), representing a 25.8% gain for the seller who purchased the unit from the developer for $699,888 ($570psf) in March 2007. Meanwhile, a 1,216sqft, three-bedroom unit was sold for $880,000 ($723sqft) on Sep 29.

Several streets away on Lorong 40 Geylang are two much-larger freehold condominium projects – the 398-unit The Waterina developed by CapitaLand and the 338-unit The Sunny Spring by Sing-Indo Development Pte Ltd.

Even though they are older, both developments command higher psf prices than Atrium Residences owing to their location further away from the centre of the red-light district of Geylang, notes a property agent. The latest transaction at The Waterina was for a 667sqft unit that changed hands for $725,000 ($1,086psf), according to a caveat lodged with URA on Sep 16. Asking prices for units in the project are now said to be around $1,000psf.

Meanwhile at Sunny Spring, a 1,109sqft, three-bedroom unit on the third level changed hands at $830,000, or $749psf, according to a caveat lodged with URA on Sep 29. Asking prices of units in the project are said to be in the range of $700 - $800psf.

According to Fan, monthly rental rates for two-bedroom units at Atrium Residences are around $2,800 to $3,200, while three-bedroom units could easily fetch between $3,500 and $3,800. In fact, Fan reckons at least 65% of the apartments at Atrium Residences are tenanted, mostly to European, Japanese and Chinese expatriates.

The location is convenient for these expatriates as Atrium Residences is a 10-minute drive from the CBD, and there are two MRT stations – Dakota and Aljunied – just 10 to 15 minutes walk away.

Apartments at Atrium Residences are also popular with young Singaporean couples as they are reasonably priced. For them, the proximity to the CBD outweighs the red-light district location, explains Fan.

The Geylang area tends to attract a niche group of homebuyers and investors who are cash rich as getting a home loan can sometimes be a challenge, says Fan.

Say all you want, but the wife and I will definitely NOT buy into a development in Geylang (at least in the foreseeable future), as the area is still far from being “family conducive”. Even when it comes to rental, it will probably appeal only to a very selected group of tenants.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

En-bloc news: Cardiff Court & Marine Point

As reported in the ST and BT today:

Cardiff Court
Cardiff Court, a 43,500sqft leasehold site at Cardiff Grove off Lorong Chuan, is being put up for collective sale for $25 million.
Cardiff Court

The 21-unit project, on a 43,491sqft residential leasehold site in District 19, can be redeveloped into a project of up to 5 storeys.

The price works out to $519psf ppr, including the estimated development charges of about $6.63 million to top-up the lease to 99 years. The property currently has 72 years left on its lease.

It is zoned residential use with a 1.4 gross plot ratio, giving it a maximum potential gross floor area (GFA) of about 60,887sqft.

About 96 apartments of about 600sqft each can be built on the site, estimated Sieow Teak Hwa, director of investment sales at Teakhwa Real Estate. Teakhwa Real Estate is marketing the project.

He said that based on a land cost of $519psf, the breakeven price will be $860 - $900psf. That means prices in excess of $1,100psf can be expected at the launch.

Units at nearby 99-year leasehold project Hong Leong’s The Scala were recently sold for between $1,100psf and $1,500psf while another project in the area, Kovan Residences, has also sold above the $1,000psf mark.

Marine Point
Marine Point, a freehold 18-storey residential block at 95 Marine Parade Road, was launched for collective sale last Wednesday at an indicative price of about $110 million. Marine Point consists of 30 apartments and two penthouses on a 51,185sqft site. Its potential GFA is 107,489sqft.
Marine Point

This works out to about $1,116psf ppr, including an estimated development charge of $10 million.

It can be redeveloped to accommodate about 90 to 100 apartments average 1,000sqft each, said marketing agent ERA Asia-Pacific associate director Eugene Lim.

For both Cardiff Court and Marine Point, the requisite more than 80% of owners by share value and strata floor area have signed the collective agreement.

Both tenders will close on Nov 18.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Land Titles (Strata) Act - Latest Revision

Following is contributed by a friend of ours who spends quite a bit of his waking hours pouring through the Governmental legistrations.

We reckon this may be of interest to some of our "like-minded" readers, so here goes... all 57 pages of it.

Have fun!

Cap 158 Land Titles (Strata) Act


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Private Residential Units Sold (Sep 2010)

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

The list includes projects (with unsold units) that the wife and I have reviewed to date.

URA (Sep 2010)


Friday, October 22, 2010

Never heard of Oxley Holdings?

Join the club! The wife and I only knew about this boutique developer when we visited Viva Vista. But it looks like you be hearing a lot more about Oxley Holdings, as they will soon be listed on the Singapore Exchange’s Catalist board. Oxley also plans to launch another five residential and commercial projects by end-2010.

Chief executive Ching Chiat Kwong told BT and ST that Oxley will roll out freehold projects at Devonshire Road, Holland Road, Kovan Road, Stevens Road and Telok Kurau Road with a total of 338 residential units and 28 shops in all by end of this year.

And according to ST, they will be mid-tier to high-end developments, either incorporating a retail element or supported by existing commercial centres nearby, with most having fewer than 50 flats each. Units will range from studios of about 300sqft to penthouses of between 700sqft to 1,000sqft. About half of its residential units will be so-called shoebox apartments of less than 500sqft.

Including the five developments due to be rolled out by end of this year, Oxley has in its landbank a total of nine residential and residential-cum-commercial sites on which a potential 517 homes and 35 shops can be built.

The property developer also owns a 60-year leasehold industrial site at Ubi Road. It also bought a 21-storey freehold office block at Robinson Road, The Corporate Office, from City Developments for $215 million last month. Oxley intends to redevelop the project in the future.

The company has launched five developments in Singapore since Mr Ching set it up with other investors in 2009. Three of the projects – Suites @Katong, Parc Somme and Loft @Rangoon – have been fully sold. The remaining two, Viva Vista and RV point, are around 99% and 84% sold respectively.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sales Update: NV Residences, Suites at Orchard etc…

NV Residences
CDL has sold 48 units so far this month at its NV Residences condo in Pasir Ris, taking total sales to 395 out of 450 units released in the 642-unit project.

The 99-year leasehold condo was previewed on Sep 8 at $830psf on average initially. Prices were later raised 1 – 2%.

Suites at Orchard
Allgreen is said to have sold about 80 units at its Suites at Orchard project at Handy Road, which was released last week.

The average price for the 99-year leasehold project, which comprises 118 units of mostly one and two-bedders and is located near The Cathay and Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, is said to be about $2,100psf.

The Cityscape at Farrer
Sales have been tepid at The Cityscape at Farrer, a 250-unit freehold condo at Mergui Road (near Rangoon Road, facing the CTE) by IOI Group and KSH Holdings.

The project was previewed last week and about 15 units are said to have been sold.

Potential buyers may have found the price, understood to be about $1,400psf on average, steep.

The 31-storey project comprises two and three-bedders as well as penthouses.


The Glyndebourne to launch next week!

The Glyndebourne, a 150-unit proposed freehold condo slated to be built on the Copthorne Orchid Hotel site along Dunearn Road, is expected to go on the market as early as next week, according to a BT report.

Market watchers suggest the average price could be about $2,000psf.

Unit sizes are said to range from about 690sqft for a one-bedroom apartment with a study to 3,563sqft for a five-bedroom penthouse.

City Developments Ltd (CDL) is managing the marketing of the condo on behalf of its hotel unit Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, which owns the hotel.

Earlier this month, BT reported that the closure of the hotel has been delayed by at least three months.

It will now continue to take bookings until March 31, 2011, instead of shutting down at the end of this year as initially announced.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rules tighten on foreign ownership of residential properties...

Citizens and permanent residents who cut their ties with the Republic cannot expect to continue owning landed property in the city, according to a Channel News Asia report yesterday.


That is the message the Singapore government is sending through the Residential Property (Amendment) Bill, tabled in Parliament on Monday.

Analysts said the Bill puts former citizens and PRs in the same boat as foreigners when it comes to landed houses.

Individuals who give up their citizenship or PR status in Singapore will now have to dispose of their landed properties within two years.

There will be a penalty of S$20,000 or a three-year jail term for failing to adhere to the rules.

Meanwhile, foreigners inheriting property will have to dispose of it in 5 years, versus the current 10-year time frame.

Analysts said the moves are part of government efforts to update current legislation deemed too lax in today’s vibrant property market.

Analysts said the impact on the market is expected to be minimal, as PRs currently own only 3 per cent of landed homes.

Besides, landed housing only makes up about 5 per cent of Singapore’s total real estate market, according to observers.

But rules are also being tightened for foreign property developers, and they may feel the squeeze.

Developers who fail to complete and sell developments within the current stipulated period, will now have to pay for any extension of their time frames.

"The incentive is for them to try to sell everything within a two-year period rather than extend it. I think the measures being updated is to create more of a hurt aspect of the extension so they will be incentivised to want to use the two-year period to fully sell their units," said Donald Han, MD of Cushman & Wakefield.

The Residential Property (Amendment) Bill will go for a second reading in Parliament in November and is expected to be passed as law by year-end.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

EC a better investment than private housing?

It certainly seems so, if price gains are anything to go by.

According to The Sunday Times last weekend, some executive condominiums (ECs) – the poshest type of public housing – have gone up more in price over the years than private mass market condominiums in the same areas.

EC such as Bishan Loft, Woodsvale in Woodlands and The Eden in Tampines have beaten the big boys by chalking up higher price gains compared to nearby mass market condos launched during the same periods.

Pinevale, for example, an EC in Tampines launched in 1997 at $450psf, has seen an average selling price of $569psf for its 13 transactions this year – an increase of 26%.

Nearby, however, Hong Leong’s 537-unit The Tropica – also launched in 1997 – has sold an average of $663psf this year, an 11% increase from its launch price of $600psf.

ECs were first introduced for homeowners with rising housing aspirations and whose household income is above $8,000 but below $10,000.

They are more popular when the gap between public and private housing widens and lose popularity when mass market condos become more affordable.

The last EC launch was La Casa in Woodlands in 2005 before Esparina Residences near Buangkok MRT station was launched this month.

ECs, like other Housing Board (HDB) flats, are subject to a minimum occupation period (MOP) of five years. After that, they can be sold only to Singaporeans and permanent residents. They become private property after 10 years, and can then be sold to foreigners.

They are usually priced up to 25% lower to compensate for these sales restrictions and thus start off from a lower base, experts say.

They note, however, that since EC owners need to meet a MOP of five years, they might not be able to profit even if residential capital values are on the uptrend.

Mr Png Poh Soon, Knight Frank senior manager of consultancy and research, said that an analysis of the ECs that have met their MOP has shown a 66.9% price appreciation from 2004 to this year.

This is higher than the 51.8% price increase in mass market residential homes based off the change in the Urban Redevelopment Authority price index of non-landed properties outside the central region, he said.

However, some experts say that buying an EC requires some good luck and timing if an owner is looking for an investment as well. Historically, EC prices have shot up only when mass market prices increased since demand for mass market condos would filter into ECs that have fulfilled their MOPs. But the quality of ECs is still generally inferior to that of private property. When private property prices decline, the difference in quality will show and ECs will become less popular.

Buyers however are still biting, with recent launches of ECs – the first in five years – such as Esparina Residences and The Canopy in Yishun Ave 11, receiving keen interest.

But Knight Frank’s Mr Png added that as the Government launches more EC sites, not all will be equally attractive.

Interested buyers should assess the location of the development, as well as how much lower the price of the EC units will be compared with surrounding private properties, before making a purchase.

So…there you have it!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Cassia View: A case of rethink, revamp and resell...

The New Paper last Friday ran a rather interesting article on how a developer revamps units at a condominium for better earnings.

The offer price to buy the development en bloc was below expectations. So the developer, Melodies Limited, which owns Cassia View, decided to refurbish the place and then resell each unit individually.
Cassia View

The units, which had been rented out, are all owned by the developer.

The company is now expecting to get $15 million more from the sale of the units. And with 80% of the units sold so far, the developer looks to be on target.

It started when the 20-storey, 72-unit freehold project on Guillemard Road was put on the market last year.
At that time, it attracted a $70 million bid, or about $780psf of strata area. But Melodies felt that the offer price was too low. So they decided to spruce up the apartments and sell them individually.

The $3 million renovation bill it chalked up included refitting kitchens with new tiles, cabinets and appliances. Bathroom fixtures from high-end brands were installed, doors were changed and bedroom parquet floors were polished. External walls also received a new coat of paint. The renovations started in May.

Post-makeover, the average price is about $980psf. The bulk, or 67 of the 72-units, is three-bedroom units with area of between 1,100 and 1,200sqft. The two-bedroom apartment has an average floor area of 900sqft, while a penthouse averages about 2,300sqft.

To date, buyers have taken up more than 57 units in the single tower located next to Kong Hwa school.

Overall, the units are expected to fetch $85 million – or $15 million more than if it were sold at last year’s rejected offer price for the development en bloc. Demolishing and rebuilding the property would have resulted in a $30 million price tag.

Buyers, too, end up paying less for a refurbished apartment. A three-bedroom unit is priced between $1 million and $1.3 million. A similar unit can cost up to $1.6 million if it was built from scratch in that area.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Glyndebourne

Here are some preliminary information about The Glyndebourne that the wife and I managed to find over the Internet.
Art 1

This is the luxurious project to be built on the Copthorne Orchid Hotel site.
Quayside Aisle

District:   11
Location:   Dunearn Road/ Trevose Crescent
Tenure:   Freehold
No. of Units:   150
No. of Towers:   8 (5-Storey each)
Site Area:   Aprrox. 179,000sqft
Estimated TOP:   2015
Developer:   Copthorne Orchid Hotel Singapore Pte Ltd  (Part of CDL group)

Unit Types
• 1+Study  (5 units):   689 – 904sqft
• 2-Bedroom  (32 units):   1044 – 1453sqft
• 3-Bedroom  (54 units):   1475 – 1981sqft
• 3+Study  (4 units):   1744 – 2077sqft
• 4-Bedroom  (32 units):   1959 / 2058sqft
• 4+Study Penthouse  (15 units):   2669 – 3165sqft
• 5-Bedroom Penthouse  (8 units):   3541 -3563sqft

Site Plan
Quayside Aisle

The units certainly seem to be good size, although we are unsure how much of it are 'external spaces' (i.e. balcony, PES, roof terrace etc). So this may be THE project to look out for... if you are seeking space and have in excess of $3 million to spend on a 3+Study or bigger unit.


Now you can add Apartments to your grocery list...

The wife and I were grocery shopping at NTUC Finest in Bukit Timah Plaza this afternoon, when we came across a group of property agents marketing The Glyndebourne - the new residential project to be built on the Copthorne Orchid Hotel site.

Supermarket Sale 1

Supermarket Sale 2


Friday, October 15, 2010

Suites at Orchard: More than 50% sold in 2 days!

Also in the BT today, Allgreen Properties had sold about 65 apartments in its 118-unit Suites at Orchard project at Handy Road as of 6.30pm yesterday.


The average price for the 99-year leasehold project, a stone’s throw from The Cathay and Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, is in the $2,000 - $2,200psf range.

In absolute price terms, units cost from about $1.18 million for a one-bedder to about $3 million for a three-bedroom duplex unit of 1,550sqft or 1,571sqft.

About 40% of the units are one-bedders or one-bedders with study, while 37% are two-bedders or two-bedders with study.

There are 10 duplex units (all three-bedders) and 16 penthouses (one, two and three-bedroom units).

Unit sizes range from 584sqft for a one-bedder to 2,551sqft for a two-bedroom apartment with study and private enclosed space.

Allgreen previewed the development to its directors and staff on Wednesday; sales to VVIPs on the developer’s and DTZ’s (the project’s sole marketing agent) lists started yesterday.

The 10-storey project is expected to receive Temporary Occupation Permit in about two-and-half years.

The wife and I decided to do some digging on the internet and found that Allgreen had successfully tendered for this land parcel from URA in March 2007. The site has a total area of about 38,600sqft and a plot ratio of 2.8. Allgreen had paid $72.3 million for this land parcel, which equates to $669psf of GFA (gross floor area).

So one can imagine the kind of money they be making at $2,000psf!


Even cheaper to borrow money now for that property purchase...

The BT today has reported that local interest rates plunged to all-time lows yesterday following the steep appreciation of the Singapore dollar against the US unit. This gave home buyers reason to cheer.

The key three-month Sibor or interbank rate fell 0.7% to a record low of 0.49667% from Wednesday as more money flow is expected here in anticipation of currency gains after an unexpectedly hawkish monetary policy statement from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The three-month Sibor against which many home loans are pegged is now 10% lower from 0.5500% two months ago.

Analysts say that the slide in interest rates to new depths will renew risk of a property bubble and may prompt additional government measures.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The wife and I happened to be lunching at the Pasir Panjang area last Sunday, so we decided to drop by at the sales gallery of VIVA VISTA for a look-see.

VIVA VISTA is a 5-storey (plus attic) freehold condo project and is being marketed as a high-end exclusive development. It is sited on a 39,000sqft plot where Village Centre used to be.
Actual Site
Sales Gallery

The entrance to VIVA VISTA is along South Bouna Vista Road (which is also the address for the development), while the exit from the development is via Pasir Panjang Hill - a road located behind the project.
Site Plan

VIVA VISTA is a mixed development consisting of 144 residential units (2nd - 5th floor) + 106 commercial shop lots (1st floor and basement). It is developed by Hume Homes Pte Ltd ( Oxley), who is also responsible for boutique projects like Parc Sophia, Loft @Nathan and Suites @Guillemard - which contains what is probably the smallest studio unit in Singapore at 258sqft.

VIVA VISTA is supposedly a 7-minute walk away from the future Hwa Par Villa MRT station, 5-minute drive to Biopolis/One North/NUS, 5-minute drive to Sentosa/Vivocity/Harbourfront and 8-minutes drive to CBD & Marina Bay Sands. It is also near to Kent Ridge Park and West Coast Park. So one cannot argue about the centrality of its location.
Location Map

VIVA VISTA has started previewing in end-August and was launched only in mid-September. So the wife and I were shocked to learn that only 3 of the residential units - all penthouses - are left, while 94 out of the 106 shop lots have already been sold. The average transacted price for the residential units was about $1500psf, while the shop lots were sold at a whopping average price of $2700psf!

The unit types are typically 1- and 2-bedders. But for a project with only 144 units, VIVA VISTA has a stunning 30 units of penthouses. Each penthouse unit occupies 2-level, i.e. 5th floor + attic.
  • 1-Bedroom (103 units): 323 - 484sqft
  • 1+Study (3 units): 463sqft
  • 2-Bedroom (8 units): 420 - 560sqft
  • 1+Study Penthouse (24 units): 635 - 1076sqft
  • 2-Bedroom Penthouse (4 units): 775 - 980sqft
  • 2+Study Pethouse (2 units): 635 - 883sqft
2nd floor stack plan
3rd & 4th floor stack plan

Facilities wise, all you get is a swimming pool, pool deck and a gym. And if you own a car, you need to know that parking lot does not come free with the unit. Parking lots are available within the development and this is supposed to be one of those high-tech 'mechanized' parking system. However, the lots are 'shared' between the shop patrons, shop tenants and residents. And residents will have to pay for season parking.

The only showflat on display is a 35sqm (377sqft), 1-bedroom unit (Type A1).
FP (1-Brm)

Since we are paying $1500psf for a development in Pasir Panjang, the wife and I kinda expect a standard of quality similar (or at least close) to what we have seen in some of the recent Far East projects. However, we were dead wrong... and disappointingly so... and here are some reasons why.
  • Homogenous tile in the living/dining area.
  • The supposedly 'tip top quality of fine household appliances and fittings from renowned brands such as OXO and Bosch' looked distinctively... ordinary.
  • The quality of wardrobe and kitchen cabinet provided cannot even match up to the standard of some of the mass-market projects (e.g. The Minton) we have seen recently.

The only saving grace about VIVA VISTA (other than its central location) that we can think of are:
  • 3-metre high ceiling (but you will not see this in the showflat)
  • The 3 penthouses that are still available (700sqft) do not come with balcony or rooftop terrace like some of the other units - you actually get alot more functional space with this unit type. So the wife and I are rather surprised that this is the least popular of the penthouse types. Do you really need rooftop terrace (or private jacuzzi for that matter) for a penthouse unit that is less than 1000sqft? Can you even call this a penthouse in the first place??

For those who are interested in the 3 remaining penthouses (Type PHL3), the quoted price for these (as of last Sunday) was $1.05 million, which translates to around $1500psf.
FP (PH wo PES)

While researching about VIVA VISTA over the internet, the wife and I came across a rather interesting diagram that compares the price of  1-bedder unit in this project versus those of its neighbours. And in this regard, VIVA VISTA is touted as the best buy as it has the lowest quantum amount amongst the respective projects. However, there is no mention of the size of these 1-bedders that are being compared.

But given the unbelievable response that VIVA VISTA has managed, we reckon that buyers are still attracted by the lower quantum rather than the actual psf price that they are paying. Hopefully, this will not return to haunt them if/when they put the units out for resale.

For the wife and I, VIVA VISTA does absolutely nothing for us - we are no fan of 'mickey mouse' units to begin with, as they remind us of... cages (no offence to the developer).


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Weekend sales status

As reported in ST today:

Vacanza @East
The freehold project in Lengkong Tujoh sold another 20 units or soover the weekend., taking total sales to 130 units, said developer Hoi Hup Sunway.
The 473-unit project started its preview late last month, when it moved nearly 90 units. It is priced at slightly more than $1,000psf on average.

The Lanai
Far East Organization released 110 units of The Lanai in Hillview Avenue at a preview over the weekend and has sold 76 units, including a bulk buy.
The 999-year condo is priced from $1,290psf and will be launched this weekend.

Esparina Residences
Buyers had snapped up 344 units of Esparina Residences, an Executive Condominium (EC) project near Buangkok MRT station in Sengkang, last Friday. Another 20 units of the 573-unit project were sold over the weekend, said developer Frasers Centrepoint.
It had received 1,155 applicants in all. Prices are from $730 to $750psf.

The Canopy
The latest EC project to be released - the 406-unit The Canopy in Yishun Avenue 11 - has attracted 250 applicants since viewing started last Friday. Prices are from $600 to $700psf and bookings start this Saturday.
The response for The Canopy seems less enthusiastic than Esparina Residences, probably because the later is near an MRT station and thus better located.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

New project details: RV Point

For those who are interested in small apartments in a freehold (999-years, to be precise) development within the heart of River Valley road.

The marketing agent for this project is already making their rounds doing pre-preview presentation ahead of the private preview (pre-preview presentation...what will people think of next??). You will find them hovering around the coffeeshop at the corner of River Valley and Mohamed Sultan Road.

We understand that cheque collection exercise is in progress for keen buyers, as the project is expected to be over-subscribed.

RV Point

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tree House 2?

As reported in both the ST and BT today, Wing Tai Holdings has beaten eight other bidders with its top offer of $177.4 million or $345psf ppr for a 99-year leasehold residential site on Petir Road. The site is next to the sold-out Tree House project.

The bid was slightly below the $350-$400psf ppr analysts said the site could fetch – based on an eventual average selling price of $800psf – when it was launched a day after the Government introduced measures to curb property speculation on Aug 30.

But the large number of bids surprised some, as recent state land tenders have drawn a more muted response from developers. Analysts attributed the change this time to the Petir Road site’s location, given that the 429-unit Tree House was quickly snapped up in the second quarter.

Analysts reckon new residential project on the site can sell for around $750 - $800psf – or more if Wing Tai chooses to pitch it as a mid-tier product.

The 99-year leasehold Tree House was launched at $830psf on average in April 2010. And units at Mi Casa, a 99-year leasehold condo at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3, went for $700 - $850psf between July and September. And in the resale market, units in the 12-year-old Maysprings nearby sold at between $560psf and $760psf over the same period.

Wing Tai’s bid was just 2% above the second highest offer of $173.8 million or $338psf ppr from Sim Lian Land.

City Developments - which is developing Tree House together with Hong Leong Realty - made its bid through Sunmaster Holdings. It came in fifth with a bid of $167.6 million or $326psf ppr.

The site is about 2.3ha with a maximum permissible gross floor area of about 514,000sqft. Around 430 units can be built on it. It is on the south-eastern fringe of Bukit Panjang HDB estate, about 10 minutes’ walk from the Pending LRT station. When the Downtown Line 2 is completed in 2015, the nearest station will be Hillview station that is a short drive away.


Thursday, October 7, 2010


District:   18
Location:   Pasir Ris Grove
Developers:   City Development Limited (CDL) & Hong Leong Group
Tenure:   99-years leasehold wef 7 January 2008
Site Area:   328,000sqft
Development Type:   Condominium consisting of 8 blocks of 12 – 15-storey each
No. of Units:   642
No. of Parking Lots:   642 (2 levels of basement carpark)
Expected TOP:   31 December 2014

It has taken the wife and I far too long to complete this review.

Some preliminary facts about NV Residences:
• This is the first project to be released since Aug 30, when measures to cool the property market were announced.

• 250 units were sold within the first week of its preview held about a month ago.

• As of last weekend, 358 out of the 400 units released have been sold.

• The architects responsible for the design of this project, Architect 61, are the same folks that designed projects like Livia and Ardmore II.

The sales gallery/showflats of NV Residence is located at a plot next to the actual site. For those who have visited the showflat of Livia previously, the showflat of NV Residences is at the exact same spot. The wife and I understand that besides Livia and NV Residences, there will be 3 other developments that are slated to be built on surrounding plots within the same piece of land.
Location Map
Sales Gallery

The main entrance of NV Residence will be on Pasir Ris Grove (which is also the address for the project) – this is a new road that will be built to connect Pasir Ris Drive 8 with Pasir Ris Street 52.
Site Plan 2

The unit types available at NV Residences range from 1-bedder all the way up to 4-bedroom penthouses:
• 1-Bedroom (27 units): 506 – 657sqft
• 2-Bedroom (144 units): 743 – 936sqft
• 2+Study (144 units): 872 – 1066sqqft
• 3-Bedroom (104 units): 1087 – 1259sqft
• 3+Study (145 units): 1184 – 1464sqft
• 4-Bedroom (72 units): 1453 – 1658sqft
• 4-Bedroom Penthouses (6 units): 2497sqft

The interior layout of each unit type above the ground floor are quite standard, so you pretty much only need to decide on how many bedrooms you need/want.

The facilities at NV Residences are rather typical of those found in most “full facilities” condo projects these days.
Site Plan (Brochure)

However, two particular features caught our eyes:

• The various “themed” swimming pools are lined almost in the shape of a “T” at the centre of the development.

• The children playground, with its shadow playhouses and lighted tents, will definitely be a big draw with kids.

Tennis enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that there are two tennis courts within the development.

A grand total of 642 parking lots are available within 2 levels (or did we hear it wrong?) of basement parking. So you may have to rethink about buying that second car should you decide to purchase a unit here.

There are three showflat types on display at the sales gallery:
• 1055sqft, 2+Study (ground floor) – Type B2a(p)
FP (2+Study)

• 1356sqft, 3+Study (ground floor) – Type C2a(p1)
FP (3+Study)

• 1658sqft, 4-Bedroom (ground floor) – Type D(p1)
FP (4-Brm)

We will focus on the 4-bedroom unit type.

As you enter through the main door, a short walkway will lead you into the living/dining room. The developer has included a built-in shoe cabinet on one side of the wall along the walkway, which is a rather thoughtful touch.

The living and dining area is rectangular and a tad small. It comes with 60cm x 60cm homogenous tiles (no marble here) and 2.9m high ceiling.

The private enclosed space (PES) is rectangular area that takes up about 200sqft of space – we know this for a fact because the 4-bedder on the higher floors is only 1453sqft and does not come with a balcony. But if you fancy outdoor dinning with guests or maybe a private Jacuzzi within the boundaries of your own home (though in plain sight of others), then this ground floor unit is definitely for you.

The kitchen is fairly good size and the developer uses short strip ceramic-tile on the floor, which actually come across as rather appealing. The kitchen comes equipped with “Ariston” hob/hood/oven and the cabinets provided have anti-slam mechanism. The wife and I particularly liked the “top half glass/bottom half concrete” wall partition between the kitchen and the living area, which adds a touch of class to the whole apartment and also provides more natural lighting to the kitchen area.
kitchen glass partition (4-Brm)

There is a small squarish yard area behind the kitchen – separate washer/dryer will have to be stacked one on top of the other. The yard also contains a utility (aka maid’s) room that has enough room for a bed but nothing much else, as well as a small bathroom.

The common bathroom is rather spacious and comes furnished with “Hansgrohe” bathroom fittings and the standard standing shower stall.

The 2 common bedrooms are decent size and come with bay windows. A unique feature here is that the developer has incorporated a patented “storage solution” in one of the common bedroom. Storage compartments are built flush with the floor or bay window, which allows you to maximize the space in your apartment given the added storage. The wife and I were quite impressed with the idea and thought process that was put into the design.

The junior suite is again decent size – you can comfortably fit a Queen bed in here and still have ample space. But we were not impressed with the laminate flooring. The attached bathroom is again good size and comes with similar fittings/furnishings as the common bathroom.

The master bedroom is surprisingly huge – the developer has installed a King bed in here and the room still feels very spacious. Bay windows lined across two of the walls forming an L-shape, so you are assured of ample natural lighting. One rather strange thing about the master bedroom is this odd-looking round pillar that stood at the corner of the room, right about where the two rows of bay windows meet. We can only assume that the pillar is for structural purpose, since it does come across as rather ugly aesthetically.

The master bathroom is… huge! How else can you have a bath tub and standing shower stall opposite of each other, with the wash basin and WC area separating the two? It is probably one of the bigger (if not biggest) bathroom we have come across in awhile. However, you only get tiles for the walls/floors and not the marble version in many other new projects.

Price wise, the 3+Study on the 11th floor (1184sqft) was going at about $877psf, while the 4-bedder on the same floor (1453sqft) was selling at $848psf. However, these prices are more than 2 weeks old.

What we like:
• The design of the unit is well thought-out and functionality seems to be the key. This is evident from the built-in shoe cabinet along the walkway and the “storage solution” found in the common bedroom. Sometimes it is these subtle touches that make a difference, especially if the apartment is small.

• All the rooms are regular shaped with no odd corners, which allow for easier maximization of living space.

• No balcony for all the “non ground floor” units - the upper floor units only have planter boxes. The wife and I generally find balcony a waste of good liveable space, especially with small apartments.

• Two co-ed primary schools within 1-km of NV Residences – Elias and Coral Primary. We reckon many buyers of this mass market development will be families with primary school-going kids. So it is one less headache for those parents who need to put their kids into primary school come 2015.

What we dislike:
• While the showflat at NV Residences score highly for its design and functionality, the quality of furnishing can certainly be better. Remember the homogenous floor tiles in the living/dining room and laminate flooring in the bedrooms?

• Depending on whom you asked, NV Residences is anywhere between 5 to 15-minutes’ walk to Pasir Ris MRT Station and White Sands mall. And the development is also supposedly minutes away from nearby malls such as IKEA, Giant and Courts. However, we feel that NV Residences (together with Livia and the other 3 projects that are slated to be developed) are actually rather isolated. Most of the amenities mentioned are not easily accessible without transport. This is especially if you intend to bring home groceries and shopping. So for those of you who are looking forward to amenities within walking distance from the condo, you may have to contend with the neighbourhood HDB shops across the road.

• With Livia and 3 other projects slated to be developed on the same piece of land where NV Residences is sited, one can conservatively say that there will be at least 2500 new apartments next-door to each other once all 5 projects are up and occupied. Granted that it is quite a big piece of land that we are talking about, so one may not get the “sandwiched” feeling despite living so “intimately” amongst 2499 other families. But drivers may need a lot of patience navigating out of the Pasir Ris Grove/Pasir Ris Drive 1/Pasir Ris Drive 8 area especially during the morning rush hour.

NV Residences is located far too close to the expressway (TPE) for our comfort. So double-glazed windows may be a good idea especially for folks living in Block 93.

In summary, the wife and I feel that NV Residences will be popular with three main categories of buyers:
• Upgraders currently living in Tampines/Pasir Ris/Changi/Sengkang

• Those who may have missed out on Livia

• Investors (?!)… although we wonder how many of these still exist given the new government measures. Having said that, most of the units sold so far are the smaller 1- and 2-bedders, so the jury is still out.

However, a quick check on the caveats lodged with URA indicate that Livia was still being transacted at the $700 – 850psf price range in Aug/Sep, while Oasis @Elias have been sold at the $650 - $700 range. So NV Residences do come across as slightly pricy comparatively.

What the wife and I are really looking forward to is the development slated to be built on the current site where the NV Residences sale gallery now stands – this is the best located of the 5 developments (in our humble opinion) and definitely the nearest to the MRT/White Sands by foot.

You can see more showflat photos of NV Residences here:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sales update from last week: Slower sales seen at most projects...

Home seekers seemed to have turned wary and were in a "look but don't buy" mood, resulting in slower take up rates at most new projects last week. The is according to reports in the ST/BT today.

Vacanza @East
Developers Hoi Hup Sunway sold almost 90 units at the soft launch for Vacanza @East at Lengkong Tujoh last Tuesday but only about 20 sales have been registered since, even though the showflat was crowded over the weekend. This has taken total sales in the project to 110 units of the 141 units released. The freehold project has 473 units in all.

NV Residences
City Developments' 642-unit NV Residences in Pasir Ris, on the market since Aug 30, has sold 358 out of the 400 units released, with 23 sales made last week. The 99-year leasehold project sold 250 units within the first week of its preview about a month ago.
Art 1

Twin Peaks
There were about 5 sales at high-end Twin Peaks at Leonie Hill Road over the weekend, with more than half of the 70 units released sold since its launch two weeks ago. The 99-year leasehold project, developed by OUE, has a total of 462 units.


Apartment vs Condo status: What we know...

The age-old question about the differences between an "Apartment" versus "Condo" status development has resurfaced on our blog, after one of our readers made the comment that The Scala is actually of Apartment (rather than Condo) status.

The wife and I must admit that we do not know enough to fully explain the difference. But this is what we know (thus far):

Since 1973, the Singapore Government had imposed restrictions on foreign ownership of private residential property in Singapore. Such ownership is governed by the Residential Property Act (the Act).

Foreign ownership of private residential property had been restricted to condominium development and other "privatised" developments that is 6-storey or higher. These include HUDC Phase I, Phase II flats and privatised HUDC Phase III and IV flats.

However the Act was amended on 19 July 2005 to allow foreigners to purchase apartments in non-condominium developments of less than 6 stroeys without the need to obtain prior approval. This means that it is no longer important for developer to obtain condominium title to allow foreigners to purchase. The importance of condominium title has since diminished with the waiver of the act for allowing only condominium to be purchased by foreigners. 

The main differences between the two titles (as we know it) are:

• Condominium requires a larger land area of at least 4,000 sqm (approx 43,000sqft).

• There is usually more generous provision of communal and recreational facilities in condominium developments. Under the existing regulation, the site coverage for condo projects should not exceed 40%. As such, more space is dedicated to communal facilities as compared to an "Apartment" status development.

If anyone has more to add on to the differences between an "Apartment" and "Condo" title, we would love to hear your comments.