Sunday, October 9, 2011

Project Spotlight: Optima @Tanah Merah

On the eve of the public preview of the 297-unit Optima @Tanah Merah two years ago, a queue had already formed outside the showflat. All the units were snapped up within three days at an average price of $810psf, according to a press release by TID, a joint venture between Mitsui Fudosan and Hong Leong Group. The attraction was its location right next to the Tanah Merah MRT station.

At that time, the 556-unit Casa Merah, located directly behind Optima, had just been completed, and transactions in the secondary market were hovering at $750 to $800psf.

Since the start of last year, units at Optima had already started to change hands in the sub-sale market. Prices of the 484sqft one-bedroom apartments in the condo were changing hands from $1,028psf to a high of $1,280psf last year. Meanwhile, the larger units, such as the 3+1-bedroom and four-bedroom units measuring 1,367 to 1,528sqft, were trading at prices of $876psf and $878psf. By April this year, such large units were being sold at $947psf and $951psf.

The 484sqft one-bedroom units have also seen prices escalating in the secondary market and crossing $1,300psf by the middle of this year. The most recent transaction was of one located on the fourth level of one of the five 14-storey blocks. It changed hands at $665,000, or an all-time high of $1,373psf, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis.

That was the third time the unit has changed hands so far. The first buyer had purchased it at launch in August 2009 for $496,600 ($1,025psf). He sold it last November for $545,000 ($1,125psf), at a 10% gain. The buyer enjoyed a 22% price appreciation in less than a year, however, when he sold it recently for $1,373psf.

Construction is well underway, with the project scheduled for completion by 2014. As the latest condo to be launched there, Optima had set new price benchmarks for that part of Tanah Merah. Since its launch, prices of the neighbouring condos have also soared, most notably the neighbouring Casa Merah. Since end-2010, units at Casa Merah have been changing hands at more than $1,000psf. A high of $1,127psf was achieved for a two-bedroom 947sqft unit in June this year and a 958sqft two-bedroom unit in April, which are also the highest average price psf achieved for Casa Merah. The project was jointly developed by NTUC Choice Homes and Wing Tai Holdings.

The neighbourhood in which Optima, Casa Merah and older condos such as The Tanamera and East Meadows are located is also near famous dining enclaves such as Simpang Bedok and Siglap. Shopping malls such as Tampines Mall, Tampines Point, East Point and Bedok Point are also just a few MRT stops away. Investors who had bought into Optima were also looking at its proximity to Changi Business Park and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), scheduled to open by next April.

Jason Hew, associate marketing director of PropNex, says Optima is the first development in the Tanah Merah neighbourhood to offer one bedroom apartments. The smallest units at Casa Merah, for instance, are the 947sqft two-bedroom apartments.

Property agents marketing units at Optima have slapped a premium on prices, given the condo’s convenient location right next to the Tanah Merah MRT station. “Most of the nearby properties like Casah Merah and older condos like East Meadows offer more family-sized three- and four-bedroom apartments,” adds Hew. He sees prices at Optima continuing to trend upwards. As the area develops, he foresees the neighbourhood attracting more single expatriates and young couples who may be working at Changi Business Park, or even in the CBD, given the proximity to the MRT station.

Not surprisingly, asking prices of one-bedroom units at Optima range from $650,000 to $700,000, or $1,350 to $1,400psf. “Some sellers are intending to hold on to the units because it will [obtain its temporary occupancy permit] next year,” adds Hew. A property that is newly completed tends to see a spike in the number of transactions because there will be interest from buyers who want to move in or rent out immediately, he says.
Source: THEEDGE SINGAPORE

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