The luxury segment of the property market is attracting investor interest once again as some buyers see value in purchasing older properties from the secondary market and recently completed developments with units still unsold.
One such project is the luxury 30- unit Orchard View, located in the prestigious Angullia Park enclave of District 9. Developed by Wheelock Properties, the most recent transaction was for a mid-level 2,530 sq ft four-bedroom apartment in the 36- storey tower that went for $6.36 million ($2,514 psf) in a resale. The last time a transaction was recorded for the development was last September, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis, in which the developer sold another mid-floor unit of a similar size for more than $7.45 million ($2,945 psf).
Orchard View bears all the hallmarks of a Wheelock luxury project — all the apartments have four bedrooms and measure 2,530 sq ft, and there is only one unit on each floor, thus they all have private lift access. The project was completed in 2010 and about half the units have been sold so far.
In the vicinity are two other new luxury boutique condominium developments by Far East Organization, which are under construction. Offering “white plans”, which allow homeowners to customise their apartments, the condos are the 28-unit Boulevard Vue and the 44-unit Skyline @ Orchard Boulevard. Four of the eight units released at Skyline @ Orchard Boulevard have been sold, with the latest transaction done at $4,442 psf, the highest price psf achieved among new homes sold last month, according to URA statistics.
As for Boulevard Vue, 14 of the 17 units released have been sold. The most recent transaction at Boulevard Vue was that of a 4,456 sq ft unit for more than $16.3 million ($3,662 psf) last June. In the most recent property up-cycle, a similar-sized highfloor unit in Boule-vard Vue was sold for $21.4 million ($4,800 psf), which was a record high price psf achieved for the project. In terms of absolute price, however, the highest was for an 8,051 sq ft junior penthouse, which was sold in 2009 for more than $33.4 million ($4,150 psf).
Another Wheelock project in the prime Orchard Road enclave is the 338-unit freehold Scotts Square on Scotts Road, which was completed last November. There are two apartment towers sitting on top of the Scotts Square mall, which also opened at the end of last year. One is a 43-storey tower and the other is 35 storeys.
Most recently, there was a sub-sale of a low-floor 1,227 sq ft, three-bedroom apartment at $4.51 million ($3,680 psf). The previous owner had paid $4.52 million ($3,690 psf) for it in November 2007, according to a caveat lodged with URA.
Last November and December, following the completion of Scotts Square, Wheelock had sold units at $3,634 to 4,456 psf. The development has a mix of one- to three-bedroom units. According to the latest URA new-home sales figures for March, all 264 units at Scotts Square released by the developer have been sold.
Daphne Lean, team director, ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd, says the finishing at Scotts Square is one of the best she has seen. Lean, who has been marketing high-end condos in Sentosa Cove, Keppel Bay and Orchard Road, notes that most of the buyers choose Scotts Square because they believe it is a good investment, given that it is freehold and located in the heart of Orchard.
The monthly rental for a one-bedroom unit at Scotts Square is about $6,000, according to ERA’s Lean.
Two-bedroom units can be leased for $7,000 to $7,500 and three-bedroom units command $11,000 a month. Investors of the development are a mix of locals and foreigners from Indonesia and China, she says. “Most of the investors are looking at Scotts Square for long-term investment. Many of them also own properties elsewhere and this is just to add to their portfolio,” she adds.
In District 9, investors have also been eyeing properties in the Kim Seng Road area, just off River Valley Road. Most recently, a transaction was seen at Wheelock’s The Cosmopolitan, a freehold 228-unit, 36-storey twin-tower condo. A redevelopment of the former Times House, it was completed in 2008. A 1,140 sq ft twobedroom unit on a high floor recently changed hands in a resale for $2.3 million ($2,016 psf).
Meanwhile, at the neighbouring 237-unit The Trillium, which was completed in 2010, a 2,217 sq ft four-bedroom unit was sold for $4.79 million ($2,160 psf). Developed by Lippo Group, the project contains a mix of two- to four-bedroom apartments and penthouses in three 29- storey towers.
Off Angullia Park is Jalan Tupai, which is part of the One Tree Hill landed housing estate in prime District 10. Last month, an old double- storey detached house sitting on a 10,473 sq ft freehold site was sold for $21 million ($2,005 psf) in a resale transaction. There are hardly any transactions in the Jalan Tupai area. The last transaction was made a decade ago, when a detached house sitting on a freehold 5,630 sq ft site changed hands for $2.8 million ($498 psf) in 2002. “Jalan Tupai appeals to [home buyers] who prefer a quiet place that is close to Orchard but away from all the noise,” says ERA Realty’s Lean.
Another development that buyers are seeing value in is the 292-unit Regency Park completed 22 to 25 years ago. Located on Nathan Road, in the vicinity of the Good Class Bungalow neighbourhood of Bishopsgate and Chatsworth, the condo sits on a 500,000 sq ft site and is considered one of the largest freehold development parcels in the prime district.
The development comprises only large three- and four-bedroom apartments and penthouses. Three bedroom apartments measure from 2,228 sq ft, four-bedroom units are from 3,455 sq ft and penthouses from 6,049 sq ft. The development is also accessible from Grange Road and River Valley Road.
The most recent transaction at Regency Park was that of a 3,175 sq ft low-floor four-bedroom unit, sold for $5.25 million ($1,653 psf). Another unit that changed hands last month was a similarsized unit on a high floor that was sold for $5.35 million ($1,685 psf). Units at Regency Park are popular with owner-occupiers because they are spacious.