The 562-unit freehold One Amber was completed in 2010 and saw units change hands in early September
The 400-unit freehold The Esta draws buyers because of the layout of its units
| BY AMY TAN |THE EDGE | SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
Condominiums in the vicinity of the Marine Parade and Amber Gardens neighbourhood have seen a resurgence in interest, especially in developments completed over the last few years such as The Esta and One Amber. Most buyers who are interested in District 15 are drawn to the Amber Gardens area as it is just a 10-minute drive from the CBD and close to Parkway Shopping Centre, East Coast Park as well as good schools. Hence, the area is popular with owner occupiers.
The 562-unit freehold One Amber, developed jointly by United Industrial Corp (UIC),Singapore Land (SingLand) and UOL Group,was completed in 2010. Two units changed hands recently. One was for a 1,701 sq ft, four bedroom unit on the eighth floor, which was sold for $2.32 million ($1,364 psf). This is almost double the original purchase price of $1.19 million ($701 psf) recorded six years ago.
The second transaction at One Amber was for a 19th floor, 958 sq ft, two bedroom unit that was sold for $1.6 million ($1,670 psf). This is the second- highest transaction in terms of price psf since two years ago when a 570 sq ft unit in the development was sold for $1,928 psf. This is the third time the unit changed hands on the secondary market. The last time was in 2009 when the unit was sold for $1.18 million ($1,232 psf). Prior to that, it was sold for a prosperous-sounding $938,888 ($980 psf) in July 2008. The original buyer had paid $813,000 ($958 psf) for the unit in April 2006.
Both units were brokered by Shawn Lai,associate branch director, Propnex Realty,who said both buyers were end-users. Lai has been focusing primarily in districts 15 and 16 for the last seven years, and has brokered the sale of more than 100 units in the One Amber project alone.
Another popular development among buyers is the 400-unit and freehold The Esta, developed by MCL Land and completed in 2008. A 1,130 sq ft, two-bedroom+study unit on the 16th floor was sold for $1.73 million ($1,531 psf). “This price is considered high but The Esta is popular with buyers because of its good layout and design,” says Lai. The unit was transacted three times previously. The last time was in August 2009, when it was sold for $1.36 million ($1,210 psf), and prior to that, at the start of 2009, for $960,500 ($850 psf). The first owner bought the unit from the developer in February 2006 for $849,480 ($752 psf).
According to Lai, investors are attracted to two-bedroom units because of their affordable quantum price. They are also the easiest to rent out. Generally, two-bedroom units in District 15 can fetch a rental yield of 4%. Bigger units, on the other hand, see rental yields of 3% to 3.5%, due to the higher quantum price, he notes. Freehold developments are also preferred over 99-year leasehold projects in the neighbourhood, he says, but some buyers are willing to disregard the lease period if the development is close to amenities, especially an MRT station, or has spectacular views or spacious units.
Along Marine Parade Road, Laguna Park has seen many units change hands since the most recent collective sale tender conducted in November last year with an indicative price of $1.25 billion failed to find a buyer. Even though the 99-year leasehold project is 34 years old, units at Laguna Park are sought after for their spaciousness and unblocked sea views, say property agents.
The most recent deal done at Laguna Park was for a 1,453 sq ft, 20th floor unit that was sold for $1.5 million ($1,032 psf). This is the second-highest psf price seen since January 1995 (when URA started compiling its database of caveats lodged). The highest psf price achieved over the last 17 years was for a 12th floor, similar-sized unit that was sold for $1.52 million ($1,046 psf) in October 2007.
The collective sale of Thomson View,an ageing 99-year leasehold condo a fortnight ago had also brought renewed interest in other ageing developments sitting on large land parcels, observes P S Lee of Icon Realty. One of them is Laguna Park.
Across the road from Laguna Park is the newly completed Elliot at the East Coast located along Elliot Road. Developed by GuocoLand,the eight storey development saw a 1,356 sq ft unit on the third floor change hands at $1.7 million ($1,356 sq ft) on Sept 4. The original owner had purchased the unit from the developer at $1.28 million ($947 psf) in October 2.