District 11 sees return of buyer interest
| BY AMY TAN |
The Newton, Novena and Thomson area in prime District 11 is seeing a return of buyer interest. Four units in the neighbourhood have changed hands, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis from Feb 17 to 24.
The first unit was a 958 sq ft, two bedroom apartment on the sixth floor of the 99-year leasehold Amaryllis Ville, developed by Wing Tai Holdings six years ago. The unit was sold for $1.35 million ($1,409 psf) on Feb 22. It had changed hands three times before —
the last time, in March 2010, when it went for $1.19 million ($1,237psf). In March 2007,it was sold for $880,000 ($919 psf). The original buyer purchased the unit for $742,000 ($774 psf) from the developer when the 311-unit condominium located along Newton Road was newly completed.
On Essex Road, a 1,066 sq ft, two bedroom unit at Strata, a freehold condo developed by Arts Associate Co, was sold for $1.7 million ($1,595 psf) on Feb 23, according to a caveat lodged with URA Realis. The unit had changed hands twice before. It was sold in November 2006 for $1.03 million ($967 psf). The original owner purchased the unit at $891,000 ($836 psf) in April 2004. The unit saw a price appreciation of about 94% in eight years.
At the corner of Newton Road and Khiang Guan Avenue, in the vicinity of Goldhill Plaza and United Square, is the 118-unit freehold Newton Suites, a 36-storey residential tower developed by UOL Group and designed by award-winning architectural firm WOHA. The project
was completed in 2007. The most recent transaction at Newton Suites was for a 797 sq ft, two-bedroom apartment, which sold for $1.5 million ($1,883 psf) last month. This is the third time the unit has changed hands in the secondary market. The previous buyer paid $1.32 million ($1,651 psf) for the unit in May 2007. Three months earlier, the same
unit had been sold for $876,700 ($1,100 psf). The first buyer had paid $683,000 ($857 psf) to the developer in 2004.
Nearby, located along Moulmein Road, is the 92-unit Novena Suites,a freehold project completed in 2004 and also developed by UOL Group. A 797 sq ft studio apartment on the ninth floor of the condo tower was sold for $1.4 million ($1,758 psf) last month. This is considered the second-highest psf price for Novena Suites. The highest price of $1,762 psf was recorded in July 2011, when a 667 sq ft studio apartment on the 15th floor changed hands for more than $1.18 million.
There were three transactions for the 797 sq ft unit pri - or to the recent sale. The last buyer paid $1.11 million, or $1,394 psf, in October 2007, and just four months earlier, the previous owner had paid $1.05 million, or $1,318 psf. The original buyer purchased the unit in March 2004 for $688,000 ($864 psf) from the developer. The project is located next to the Novena MRT station and Novena Square.
Andy Goh, president of AG Prestige Homes, who specialises in the prime Orchard Road districts, says the Newton, Novena and Thomson area’s main draw is its lower prices relative to those in Districts 9 and 10. “Units in Districts 9 and 10 can fetch $2,300 to $2,500 psf, depending on the location,” says Goh. “Buyers who purchase units in Districts 9 and 10 are generally buying for capital appreciation. However, the rental yield for units in District 11 is much higher than that for units in Districts 9 and 10. Rental yield in District 11 is 3.5% to 4%, compared with that in Districts 9 and 10,which is 2.5% to 3%.”
Buyers who are looking at investing in District 11 properties should expect to hold them for seven to 10 years to reap the long-term returns,advises Goh.According to Kelly Ng, associate agency head, GPS Alliance, who also specialises in the prime Orchard Road districts, District 11 is popular with expatriate tenants as the rental rates are not as steep as those in Districts 9 and 10, which are closer to Orchard Road. The monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in District 11 is typically $300 to $500 lower than that for a similar unit in Districts 9 and 10. “As most expatriates coming to Singapore these days are either single or couples with no children, two-bedroom units are popular among investors,” adds Ng. In addition, the smaller units also have lower quantum prices,which is a big draw for investors.
While most buyers have been put off by the government’s announcement of the additional buyer’s stamp duty on Dec 8, 2011, Goh and Ng continue to see interest among foreign buyers for condos in prime District 11. The area has traditionally been popular among Indonesians because of its proximity to good schools, shopping malls and MRT stations. There is also increasing demand from other Asian investors such as Chinese and Vietnamese. “The main draw for them is the Novena medical hub and, in recent years, our data shows that Indonesians favour the area because of its proximity to Tan Tock Seng
Hospital, Novena Medical Center and beauty lifestyle facilities,” observes Ng. There is also the upcoming Johns Hopkins Singapore International Medical Centre, as well as Novena Specialist Center and,further up on Thomson Road, the Thomson Medical Centre.