A semi-detached house at Tai Keng Gardens recently changed hands for $2.69 million ($786 psf)
| BY Jo-Ann Huang |
The quiet landed housing enclave of Tai Keng Gardens located off JalanLokam in the Paya Lebar area has seen a flurry of activity. Two houses in theneighbourhood recently changed hands, according to caveats lodged with URARealis at end-January. One was a semi-detached house sitting on a 3,423 sq ftfreehold plot on Tai Keng Gardens (the street bearing the name of the estate) thatwas sold for close to $2.69 million ($786 psf), while the other was anintermediate terraced house located across the road and sitting on a 1,873 sqft freehold plot hat was sold for $1.76million ($939 psf).
Peggy Ong, a Singaporean and mother of four, has been a resident in Tai Keng Gardens for the last five years.Ong had paid $1.4 million for her intermediate terraced house on 2,000 sq ft of land back in 2007. She moved there because of her four school-going children.Tai Keng Gardens is within a 1km radius of well-respected schools — Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School and Mari stella High School.
“Many of the aging houses have been sold by owners whose children have grown up and moved out,” says Ong. “So,a lot of young couples and families have moved in because of the schools. Most of them tend to do extensive renovations or tear down the existing structure and redevelop into a brand-new three-storey house.”
Tai Keng Gardens is a mature estate, made up mainly of terraced and semi-detached houses developed more than30 years ago by Keng Seng Group, according to a property agent who knows the area very well. The residential neighbourhood is tucked away from the bustling Upper Paya Lebar Road and the nearby light industrial estates, and yet accessible to the CBD via the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway, and to Orchard Road via the Central Expressway, he adds. Shopping malls such as nex and Hougang
Mall are also within a five-minute drive of Tai Keng Gardens.
Interest in the area has picked up because of a spillover effect from other more popular landed housing enclaves in the area, including Serangoon Gardens and Kovan. “It’s going to be the next wave in landed housing,” says Patricia Zoey Tan, senior realty adviser at Knight Frank. Tan is marketing a two-storey, four bedroom corner terraced home at Thrift Drive, a short walk from Tai Keng Gardens. The 2,550 sq ft terraced unit is priced at $2.7 million($1,500 psf, based on a built-up area of 1,800 sq ft).
She notes that the asking price is on a par with those of terraced houses in Serangoon Gardens, which are typically at a 10% to 20% premium to those at Tai Keng Gardens. “This reflects the optimism of the seller,” she adds.
The newly opened Bartley MRT station could also play a part, as Tan has seen the number of transactions inthe Serangoon Gardens neighbourhood increase significantly since the Serangoon and Lorong Chuan MRT stations opened.
Ong says most residents in Tai Keng Gardens, which is dominated by owner-occupiers, prefer the location to Serangoon Gardens, as it is quieter and less congested. The transformation of Paya Lebar into a commercial hub, which is part of the government’s 2008 master plan, is also expected to speed up the rejuvenation of the aging estate.
Located just off the busy Upper Paya Lebar main road is Tai Keng Court, an old mixed-use development with residential-cum-commercial units fronting Jalan Lokam, just one street away from Tai Keng Gardens. The property has been put up for collective sale with an indicative price of $130 million ($903 psf per plot ratio), according to sole marketing agent Jones Lang LaSalle. With a potential gross floor area of152,301 sq ft, including an adjoining piece of state land of 4,988 sq ft, the freehold site could yield a five-storey building with121 residential units averaging 950 sq ft in size, and 30 commercial units averaging 700 sq ft. Tai Keng Court is the largest condo site in the Tai Keng Gardensarea,” says Stella Hoh, head of investments at Jones Lang La Salle. She sees interest coming mainly from mid-sized developers because of its low price. “Such sites will appeal to developers, as there’s scarcely any supply of land parcels of this size that can be redeveloped into a mixed-use project in the Tai Keng Gardens neighbourhood,” adds Hoh.
If the collective sale of Tai Keng Court is successful, it will also speed up the renewal of the landed housing area.