Sunday, February 12, 2012

Property Spotlight: Toh Tuck/Upper Bukit Timah area

The Upper Bukit Timah area saw some transactions towards the year-end and beginning of 2012. At the fully-sold 172-unit Terrene located in Toh Tuck Drive, a 2,034sqft, three-bedroom apartment changed hands in a sub-sale for $2.2 million ($1,081psf) early this year, according to a caveat lodged on Jan 5 with URA Realis. The seller bought the unit from the developer in August 2010 at $1.96 million ($962psf). Both the buyer and seller in the transaction are said to be Singaporeans.

According to Sebastian Chia, a property agent with ERA, the price of $1,081psf is attractive, given that new launches featuring similar sized units in the 1,800 to 2,000sqft region have seen prices hit a high of $2,086psf in recent months. The price of $2,086psf was achieved at Jardin, a 140-unit condominium project located in Dunearn Road just next to Upper Bukit Timah Road. It involved a 1,776sqft unit on the seventh floor that was sold for $3.7 million in November, according to a caveat lodged with URA Realis. Shortly after, a 1,776sqft unit on the first level went for $3.25 million ($1,830psf).

Based on the current transaction price, the rental yield at Terrene works out to about 2.6%, which is relatively attractive to investors, notes ERA's Chia. He's currently marketing a 1,637sqft, four-bedroom apartment at Terrene with an asking price of more than $2.4 million ($1,488psf).

Construction of Terrene is already well underway, and the project is scheduled for completion by 1Q2014. It is a joint development by UOL Group and LaSalle Investment Management's LaSalle Asia Opportunity Fund II. Previewed in early July 2010, Terrene was fully sold by end-August of the same year. Then, prices ranged from $719,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $2.79 million for a five-bedroom penthouse. The project is a redevelopment of Rainbow Gardens, which was purchased en bloc several years before.

According to Eric Lim, associate director of Dennis wee Realty, prices have taken a slight dip since the introduction of the latest round of property coolong measures on Dec 8, which basically imposes an additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) of 10% on foreign buyers, a 3% ABSD on permanent residents who are buying their second or subsequent residential property, and 3% ABSD on Singaporeans on their third or subsequent purchase.

"No doubt, resale prices have softened," says Lim. "But they are unlikely to fall much lower as properties in the Upper Bukit Timah area are extremely sought after. Many are buying for their own stay owing to its proximity to schools and amenities, as well as the upcoming Beauty World MRT station. Hence, prices at the Terrene should remain relatively steady."

Located near Terrene and in the vicinity of landed homes is a boutique five-storey apartment block with just 10 units called Toh Tuck Lodge that was completed in 2003. According to a caveat lodged with URA Realis on Jan 5, a 2,454sqft penthouse in the freehold project was sold for $680,000 ($277psf). The highest price achieved in the project was in April last year when a 1,346sqft, three bedroom unit on the fourth level was sold for $1.1 million ($795psf). The previous owner paid $610,000 ($453psf) for the unit in March 2004.

Near Toh Tuck Lodge is The Beverly, a 118-unit freehold condo project jointly developed by listed boutique developer, Hiap Hoe Ltd and sister company, Superbowl Holdings in a 60:40 joint venture. The partners had purchased the site, the former Goodluck View located in Toh Tuck Road, in an en bloc purchase in the middle of 2007 for $73.3 million ($460psf ppr). The condo is scheduled for completion sometime next year. Launched in March 2009, 98 units have been sold as at end-December last year. The two caveats lodged in December were for a 3,186sqft, ground floor maisonette apartment that was sold for over $2.8 million ($884psf) and a 1,884sqft unit on the third level that went for $1.98 million ($1,051psf).

While Terrene features a mix of apartments from one- to four-bedroom types as well as penthouses, the most common are two- and three-bedroom units of 915sqft and 1,572sqft. Likewise, The Beverly features a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments and maisonettes.

However, two recent launches last year contain mainly compact apartments. One of them is the 124-unit Nottinghill Suites on Toh Tuck Road, developed jointly by listed developer Roxy-Pacific Holdings and boutique developer, Macly Group. The other is the Suites at Bukit Timah by listed Fragrance Group, which features 71 apartments and 43 shop units.

Nottinghill Suites previewed last July, and out of 60 units released, 55 have been sold to date. According to the URA, 22 units were sold in December at a median price of $1,476psf. "This is mainly due to its location, which is just a walking distance away from the upcoming Beauty World MRT station. Nottinghill Suites also appeal to investors as the quantum price to the size of a unit is still considerably low," says Ken Yeo, director of projects at Macly Group.

One-bedroom units at Nottinghill Suites start from 398sqft while two-bedroom apartments are from 506sqft. Roxy-Pacific and Macly had purchased the site, a redevelopment of the former Toh Tuck Garden, en bloc for $34 million in 2010.

Meanwhile, at Fragrance Group's Suites at Bukit Timah, more than half the apartments (47 units) are one-bedroom units sized from 344 to 441sqft, while another 14 units are two-bedroom apartments with sizes of 517 to 753sqft. There is only one three-bedroom unit there, which is a 1,195sqft penthouse. Based on URA's December new home sales, three units were sold that month at a median price of $1,587psf.

"The property market is expected to continue to be weighed down by a combination of slowing economic growth , increased uncertainty over job prospects and tightening property policies introduced over the past year," according to OrangeTee Research & Consultancy in a Jan 30 report. Prices are expected to see a correction, although a sharp fall is unlikely, adds the property consultant. "We expect well-located and well-specified projects to continue to find buyers as could be seen from market responses to early launches in 2012," says the report. "However, transaction volume is expected to continue to weaken, especially in the secondary market. A key threat to the property market is a sharper-than-expected decline in economic activity."
Source: THEEDGE SINGAPORE

Click on link below to read our review on Terrene:
http://www.sgproptalk.blogspot.com/2010/07/terrene-bukit-timah-review.html
http://www.sgproptalk.blogspot.com/2010/07/terrene-bukit-timah-review-continue.html

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