Thursday, March 31, 2011

Update on Singapore Property Market March 2011

We have not posted this update for awhile, but here is the latest edition. Our thanks to Citigold and Mr. Nicholas Mak as usual.

Citigold: Update on Singapore Property Market March 2011


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Enbloc News: Leong Bee Court

Acoording to a CNA report, Leong Bee Court, a freehold residential development located at Woodsville Close, off Upper Serangoon Road, has been put up for collective sale.

Leong Bee Court

The indicative asking price of $60 million to $68 million works out to $668 to $758psf ppr. No development charge is expected.

The site has a land area of about 29,400sqft. Under the URA Master Plan 2008, it is zoned for residential use and can be built up to 24 storeys high.

The 25-year-old development currently consists of 27 apartments of sizes ranging between 1,870 to 2,450sqft.

Subject to the necessary approvals, a new development can potentially have a build-up gross floor area of about 89,800sqft, which is equivalent to a gross plot ratio of 3.05.

The site can be further enhanced by a possible amalgamation with an adjoining state land of about 1,340sqft.

Future development can yield 90 housing units averaging 1,000sqft per unit, targeting mid-tier investors who want to own a freehold property that is very close to an MRT station and a few stops away from town.

A new freehold development on the site is expected to fetch around S$1,400 psf to S$1,500 psf.

HSR Property Consultants is the exclusive marketing agent and property consultants handling the tender, which closes on April 27.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

February Suburban home prices fall while Central region holds steady

Prices of completed private apartments and condos have slipped slightly, overall, as the government’s cooling measures made themselves felt. But those in the most posh part of town are still holding their own. This is according to a report in BT today.

Latest flash estimates for February from the NUS show a weaker month-on-month performance in price indices compared to January.

NUS’s overall Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) dipped 0.4% month-on-month in February, a reversal of a gain of 2.9% posted in January.

The sub-index for the Central region – home to Singapore’s choicest residential districts (1 - 4 and 9 - 11) – rose 1% month on month in February, a slower rise than the 3.1% gain recorded in January.

The sub-index for the Non-Central region (where suburban mass-market condos are located) declined 1.5% in February over the preceding month, in contrast with a 2.8% appreciation in January.

Meanwhile, prices in the Central region have risen at a faster clip in the first two months of this year since end-2010 than in the Non-Central region. This marks a reversal of last year’s pattern.

As a result, the SRPI for the Central region has finally surpassed its pre-global financial crisis peak of November 2007, albeit by just 0.1%.

NUS’s indices are produced by the university’s institute of Real Estate Studies and cover only completed non-landed private homes. The February 2011 flash estimate for the Central region index is up 4.1% from the end of last year. This is a bigger gain than the 1.3% year-to-date appreciation in the index for the Non-Central region.

The February Non-Central region index is up 18.8% from its pre-crisis peak in January 2008.

The overall SRPI has appreciated 2.5% year to date and is 11.5% higher than its November 2007 peak.

February flash estimates reflect year-on-year increases of 10.3% for the Central region, 13.1% for the Non-Central region and 11.9% for the overall index.


Monday, March 28, 2011

The Lanai: Review

District:   23
Location:   Hillview Avenue
Developers:   Far East Organization
Tenure:   999-year Leasehold
No. of Blocks:   3 (6 towers of 10-storey each)
No. of Units:   214
No. of Parking Lots:   244
Expected TOP:   2014

The wife and I are not deliberately targeting Far East projects. But it just so happened that we were in Upper Bukit Timah last Saturday morning and decided to check out THE LANAI – a new project by Far East Organization located on Hillview Avenue.
Location Plan

THE LANAI was first previewed back in October 2010, at an initial price of $1,290psf. The project resides on a 123,000sqft site that Far East bought from a unit of Cerebos Pacific back in 1996, which Cerebos was using for manufacturing previously. Towers A1 and C were the first two released, and units in both towers are fully sold.

We were told that Tower A3 was just released for sale, but we counted at least 21 of the 38 units in this tower already taken up as of Saturday.

THE LANAI offers a range of 2- to 4-bedroom units. And surprisingly, there are no penthouses in this project. The typical sizes of each unit types are:
• 2-Bedroom (73 units): 947 – 1151sqft
• 2+Study (35 units): 1044 & 1076sqft
• 3-Bedroom (76 units): 1109 – 1453sqft
• 3+Study (20 units): 1302 & 1561sqft
• 4-Bedroom (10 units ): 1378 – 1615sqft

Facility-wise, THE LANAI supposedly follows a “Hawaiian Theme” and the facilities are located in 3 separate zones within the development

• The Water Court – this is located at the centre of the development and is where you find all the different “themed” pools.
• The Atoll – This is located between Towers B & C, where you will find the sun deck, cabana and dining pavilion.
• Sport & Fitness – This is located at the far corner of the development, next to Tower A3. Here you will find the gym and tennis court.

However, the impression we get is a lack of “wow” factor as far as the facility offering goes – you get what is expected of a full-facility condo, but that’s about it.
Site Plan

For parking, you actually get more parking lots than units - 244 versus 214, with a combination of ground level and basement parking.

There are 2 showflat types on display at the sales gallery
• A 1109sqft, 3-bedroom unit (Type C2)
• A 1378sqft, 4-bedroom unit (Type D2)

Before we proceed with our review of the 4-bedroom unit, it may be worthwhile to note that Type D2 is actually not found in Tower A3. The 4-bedder type available is Type D1, which is 1308sqft. We will explain the difference between Type D1 and D2 in due course.

4-Brm FP

As you enter the main door, a passageway leads you into the living/dining area. However, it is merely a living room to us, as the small rectangular space will hardly allow you to fit a regular sofa set AND a dining table comfortably. The dining table in the showflat is actually pushed to the balcony area (for obvious reasons). We were told that the living/dining area of both the 3- and 4-bedder is of similar size.
The living/dining area comes with large 90cm x 90cm marble-slab floors, which is a pleasant surprise. Far East has also provided two colour options for you to choose from - you can either opt for the cream-coloured (as displayed in the 4-bedder showflat) or the white-coloured marble (as per what you see in the 3-bedder showflat). In addition, you also get a ceiling height of 2.9m.
Marble (Cream)Marble (White)

The wet and dry kitchens form an L-shape with each other, and we reckon many buyers will end up using the "dry" kitchen top as the dining table. In addition to the nice looking cabinets (with anti-slam drawers) found in both the dry and wet kitchens, Far East has upped their ante here by providing an extensive range of kitchen appliances. So other than the "Bosch" hood/hob/oven, you also get a 2-door refrigerator, a wine fridge, coffee maker and separate washer & dryer.

The yard area is small but functional - we like the idea of the additional sink (for hand-washing of small items) and cupboard underneath (for storing your washing detergent etc).


The home shelter is definitely too small for a standard single bed, so you either have to find a bed that fits or adopt the Far East method of a customized "stored away/pull-down" bed (as per the showflat) if you intend to house your domestic helper in here.
Home Shelter

The wife and I are impressed with the common bathroom - It is beautifully furnished with marble walls/floors and "Kohler" bathroom fittings (including a square-shaped tap), and even comes with separate toilet and shower cubicles. 

It is in the common bedroom #4 that one will see the diffference between the D1 and D2 unit types. The size of bedroom #4 in the showflat is actually what you will get for the D2 variant. For the D1 variant, you get a room that is about 3/4 the size - so Type D1 is more like a 3+Study unit.

The wife spotted an oddity in the other two common bedrooms. The supposed "Queen" bed in each room looked a tad small and after doing another take, she realized that it is more a "Super Single" rather than a standard "Queen" bed. And if you are anything more than 1.5m tall and try to sleep in the exact orientation as shown in the photo, your feet will probably be sticking out in mid-air! So yes, the common bedrooms are too small for our liking and come with bay-windows too.

The master bedroom is decent in size (comparative to the other bedrooms) and comes with timber-strip flooring (as per all the other bedrooms). And the "King" bed in here is of standard size - yes, the wife did check!
Master Bedroom

The master bathroom is again very beautifully furnished, much like what you will find in most 5-star hotels. We understand you can opt for concrete wall partition instead of glass (if you are shy), and the bathroom comes with a long-bath plus adjacant standing shower stall. The wardrobe provided is not really sufficient but extremely eye-pleasing, although those who cannot keep their clothes tidy may have a problem with the see-through cupboard doors.
Master Bath

Pricing wise, Far East is currently giving about 11% discount off their list price for THE LANAI. On top of that, a “furniture offset” of 2% on the unit purchase price is also given upon TOP of the project.

And now for the shocker – the current price for the 3- and 4-bedders, after all discounts, is in excess of $1430psf. And this is for a project in District 23!

Here is a sample of “nett” prices for units still available as our last Saturday:
• #02-11 (1302sqft, 4-Bedroom) -   $1,871,044 or $1437psf
• #04-11 (1302sqft, 4-Bedroom) -   $1,897,776 or $1457psf
• #06-12 (1109sqft, 3-Bedroom) -   $1,604,081 or $1446psf
Key Plan

As a comparison, below are the latest transacted prices for similar-sized units at developments nearby to THE LANAI:
Hilltop Grove (99-year, TOP 2003, 1238sqft):   $723psf (Jan 2011)
Hillview Residence (999-year, TOP 2003, 1238sqft):   $759psf (Feb 2011)
The Amston (999-year, TOP 1998, 1313sqft):   $647psf (October 2010)

What we like:
• Owners can certainly be proud of the quality of furnishing for their units at THE LANAI. Then again, why would anyone expect less for the kind of money he be shelling?

What we dislike:
• The exorbitant price, the small unit sizes and the “run of the mill” facility offering. Need we say more?

• The main road that The LANAI faces, i.e. Hillview Avenue, is quite a busy road throughout the day. Thus units facing the main road (#16, #17, #18, #20 & #21) will likely bear the brunt of the traffic noise.

THE LANAI is supposedly surrounded by the magnificent panorama of greenery, with Bukit Timah Nature Reserves on one side and Bukit Batok Nature Park on the other. But from what we can see, the actual site is actually surrounded by buildings on most sides, with very little greenery view to speak of. And seriously, the wife and I are not particularly impressed by the “view” of the surrounding.
Vicinity Photo

• The nearest MRT station (i.e. the upcoming Hillview Station on the future Downtown Line 2 to be completed in 2015) is about 1-km away. So not exactly a stroll especially on a hot humid (or worse, rainy) day.

• The only primary school that we know of that is within 1-km of THE LANAI is Lianhua Primary, which (pardon our ignorance) we never heard of until we do our research for this review.

In summary, the wife and I have nothing much good to say about THE LANAI. We must admit to being surprised by the supposed good take-up rate for this project. But then again, quite a number of units were previously sold via a bulk purchase (possibly by some investment funds) and not anywhere near the $1430psf that the project is asking now. Although we were told that the project is “open to offers” (meaning developer is willing to listen to offers less than $1430psf), we will rather take our chances on, say, The Cascadia (a freehold project along Bukit Timah Road and District 21) that is currently transacting at $1400+psf.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Lanai: 3-Bedroom showflat photos

The wife and I were at the sales gallery of The Lanai yesterday.
Sales Gallery

This is a 999-year project located at Hillview Avenue and developed by Far East Organization.
Project Model

Below are photos we took of the 1,109sqft, 3-Bedroom (Type C) showflat.
Type C FP
C.Bedroom Wardrobe
Master Bedroom
Master Wardrobe
Master Bath

Do look out for photos of the 4-bedroom showflat and our review of The Lanai tomorrow.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

New launch: 38 i Suites

The wife and I have received information about the impending launch of 38 i Suites on 31st March.

Project Details
Project Name : 38 i Suites
Developer : Sustained Land Pte Ltd
Address: : 38 Ipoh Lane
District: 15
Tenure : Freehold
Site Area : 24,039sf
Type of Development : 16 Storey Residential Flat Development with Level 1 Carpark and 4 Storey Multi-storey Carpark with Facilities Sky Terrace and Swimming Pool on 6th Storey 
No. of Units : 120
No. of Parking Lots : 120

Project Features
• Location: Nestled between Paya Lebar and Dakota MRT stations.
• Layout:  No home shelter, bay windows or planter boxes.
• Unit types:  1+Study, 2-bedroom, 2+Study and penthouses.
• Parking: 1 level of parking on the ground floor, plus 4 levels of multi-storey parking from 2nd - 5th floor.
• Facilities:  Entire level on the 6th floor dedicated to wellness and lifestyle facilities
• Fantastic View:  Units starts from level 7th ( approximately 25m off the ground).
• Reputable Schools:  Surrounded by good schools such as Haig Girls, Tanjong Katong Primary, Chung Cheng high, Kong Hwa Primary, Tao Nan School and Dunman High School (not all are within 1-km though).

Unit Sizes & Indicative Prices
• 1 Bedroom + Study (45 units): 452 – 506sqft  (From $6xxK onwards)
• 2 Bedroom (36 units): 484 – 667sqft  (From Low $7xxK onwards)
• 2 Bedroom + Study (27 units): 667 & 689sqft  (From $8xxK onwards)
• Penthouses: 1+ Study , 2-Bedroom & 2 Bedroom + Study  (12 units): 990 -1356sqft
(All penthouses comes with private pool, from $1.1xx million onwards)

Floor Plans


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Waterfront Isle: Review

District:   16
Location:   Bedok Reservoir Road
Developers:   Far East Organization/ Frasers Centrepoint
Tenure:   99-year Leasehold
No. of Blocks:   4 (15-storey each)
No. of Units:   561
No. of Parking Lots:   580
Expected TOP:   2015

This review is specially for Veron, who has asked us about WATERFRONT ISLE yesterday.


WATERFRONT ISLE is the fourth and final project in the “Waterfront” series of condominiums co-developed by Far East and Frasers Centrepoint. The project was launched on the third day of Chinese New Year (5th Feb) and have already seen strong take-up rate of around 70%.

WATERFRONT ISLE is situated along Bedok Reservoir Road, adjacent to Waterfront Gold and overlooking the Bedok Reservoir. The 99-year leasehold project resides on a plot of about 224,000sqft, and consists of 561 units in total housed in 4 main blocks (Block 730, 732, 736 & 738) of 15-storey each. Each block consists of 2 towers, each with its own lift lobby. The project is expected to TOP in 2015.

In terms of unit mix, WATERFRONT ISLE offers a range of 1- to 4-bedders, as well as penthouses. And with the 3-bedder units, you have a choice of either the 3-bedroom (Standard) or the 3-bedroom (Compact) – this essentially is a 2+Study unit. The typical sizes of each unit types are:

• 1-Bedroom (122 units): 581 – 850sqft
• 2-Bedroom (204 units): 893 – 1206sqft
• 3-Bedroom (188 units): 1152 – 1389sqft
• 4-Bedroom (43 units ): 1378 – 1442sqft
• Penthouses (4 units): 2482 – 2930sqft

1-Bedroom (Type A)                         4-Bedroom (Type D)
Type AType D1
3-Bedroom (Type C)                                          2-Bedroom (Type B)
Type C1Type B

WATERFRONT ISLE, like its 3 other “Waterfront Collection” predecessors, is a full facility condo project. A large portion of its ground is dedicated to water and water-themed lifestyle offerings – various “themed” swimming pools, isle cabana, island pavilion with hot tub etc. Tennis enthusiasts will be happy to know that there are 2 “sunken” tennis courts in the project, which are essentially just your normal tennis court built slightly below the ground level – maybe to reduce chances of tennis balls flying across the fences (?!)
Two features that particularly caught our eyes are:
• Isle Villa – this is a modern looking piece of architecture that is built on stilts and located beside the main pool, which houses the 3 function rooms (2 air-conditioned and 1 outdoor).

• Sky Terrace – this traverses the rooftops of Block 370 and 372 (i.e. the two blocks facing Bedok Reservoir), and is accessible by two sets of dedicated lift between the 2 blocks. For those owners with lower-floor or inward-facing units, this is the perfect spot to enjoy the reservoir view and surrounding sights.
Sky Terrace

For those with cars, you be pleased to know that WATERFRONT ISLE is one of the few new projects these days that actually has more parking lots than units – a total of 580 lots are available in the two levels of basement carpark.

There are 2 showflat types on display at the sales gallery
• A 900+sqft 2-bedroom unit (Type B)
• A 1200+ 3-bedroom unit (Type C)

Upon entering the showflat for the 2-bedder unit, we were immediately hit by a sense of déjà vu. Of the 4 projects in the "Waterfront Collection", WATERFRONT ISLE is probably the one with the strongest Far East signature in terms of looks and designs of the apartment units.

The living area is expectedly small, so it will be a challenge to try and fit both a regular sofa-set and dining table in here. You probably end up using the dry kitchen table-top for dining purposes. The living area comes with 60cm x 60cm compressed marble flooring and 3m high ceiling (2.85m if you plan to install false-ceiling).

The dry kitchen comes standard even for the 2-bedroom units. Only difference is that the dry kitchen in the 2-bedder is basically just a marble top, whereas those for the 3- and 4-bedders come with an additional sink for washing purpose.

The wet kitchen is a rectangular strip of an area, and comes equipped with the standard hod/hoob/oven and fridge. However, the coffee-maker, wine-fridge and washer/dryer that you see in the showflat are all "for display purposes" only. The kitchen cabinets come installed with Blum "anti-slam" drawers, while the black marble work-top looks really slick.

The 2-bedder unit comes with a small home shelter behind the kitchen area, but no yard or "maid's" bathroom. The wife and I understand that some of the 3-bedder units do not come with a yard or "maid's" bathroom either.

The common bedroom guessed it... small, and the bay windows do not help. It comes with wood-strip floors and a tiny 2-panel "modular" wardrobe.

As if acknowledging the fact that the bedrooms are small, the developers have come up with options that may save you some space - but not for those with height anxiety though.
C.Bedroom (alt)

The common bathroom is decent in size, and we are pleasantly surprised to find marble flooring and walls (as opposed to homogenous-tile). You also have a choice of either a "light" or "dark" tone for the bathroom wall colors. Below is an example of the "light" color-tone option.

The master bedroom is not big on size either - a Queen bed, two small bedside tables and you probably have little space left for anything much else.
Master Bedroom
The master bathroom is huge in comparison to the rest of the living areas. And for the shower cubicle, you get to choose from one of the three options:

• Long bath-tub with surrounding glass partition walls
• Sunken bath with either glass or concrete partition walls
• Standing shower stall with either glass or concrete partition walls

Below is an example of the "dark" color-tone option for the bathroom walls.
Master Bath

Price wise, we understand that the current list price for units at WATERFRONT ISLE range from around $1200 - 1300psf. This is in comparison to the launch price of around $920psf back in February.

However, the list price is before developers' discount, which comprises two components - a straight discount (10% upon booking) and a "furniture offset" (given at TOP).

For bookings made before 24th March, a 13% discount (i.e. 10% straight + 3% furniture offset) is given. For bookings after 24th and before 28th March, the discount is reduced to 12%. For booking after 28th March and before 2nd April, only 10% discount will be given (i.e. no furniture offset).

The wife and I have requested and received the folowing list-price for 4-bedroom units (1378sqft, Type D1) in Block 730 that face the reservoir:

• #11-03 (Tower A1) - $1,753,330 or $1,272psf
• #11-05 (Tower A2) - $1,787,270 or $1,297psf

As a comparison, below are the latest median transacted prices for units at the other “Waterfront Collection” projects:

Waterfront Waves:   $812psf (Apr 2010)
Waterfront Key:   $1052psf (Feb 2011)
Waterfront Gold:   $968psf (Feb 2011)
Key Plan

On what we like and dislike about WATERFRONT ISLE, a lot of these are similar to what we have detailed in our reviews for Waterfront Gold. So rather than repeating ourselves (also to give you added incentives to check out our post for Waterfront Gold), we will highlight those that are particular to this project.

What we like:
• The furnishing in the showflats of WATERFRONT ISLE is the best that we have seen of the 4 projects in the “Waterfront Collection", and more in-line with the type of quality that we expect from Far East. That is probably also the reason why the developers are marketing the project at a higher price point.

• The project is supposedly within walking distance to Bedok Town Park MRT station, which is part of the future downtown Line 3 (DTL 3), which is scheduled for completion in 2017. This may raise the rental prospects of the project once the MRT station commences operation.

What we dislike:
• Some of the towers in WATERFRONT ISLE looked to be too close to each other for our comfort. This is especially so with the inward-facing clusters of Tower A2, B1 and C1.

• The unit sizes (less than 1400sqft for a 4-bedder?) are too small for our liking. This translates to small living spaces, which we are most uncomfortable with.

In summary, the wife and I felt that WATERFRONT ISLE is probably the “Lexus” amongst the 4 projects within the “Waterfront Collection", and is priced thay way too. It will probably be the one that we will go for, if we can get over the “size” hurdle or alternatively, find the couple of millions to buy one of the 4 penthouses.

Last but not least, we shall complete the review by giving you a birdseye view of what the whole "Waterfront Collection" will look like, site-wise - that's ALOT of new apartments if you ask us.
masterplanv4 - no go