Three transactions were seen at Neptune Court, with prices ranging from $787 to $905 psf
| JO-ANN HUANG |
THEEDGE SINGAPORE | OCTOBER 22, 2012Neptune Court, a former HUDC development at the junction of Marine Parade Road and Marine Vista, saw a surge in buying interest from late September to early October, according to URA Realis data. The 99-year leasehold property is in high demand because of its attractive location, the picturesque views of the sea and the city from the higher floors, as well as its affordability relative to properties in the area, say agents.A 1,270 sq ft three-bedroom unit on the 20th floor changed hands for $1.07 million ($842 psf), according to a caveat lodged with URA Realis on Oct 1. Two other similar-sized units on the 17th and 11th floors changed hands for $1.15 million ($905 psf) and $1 million ($787 psf) respectively in late September.Completed in 1975, Neptune Court has 752 units housed in nine 23-storey blocks. Like other older properties, Neptune Court’s units are large, and typical units are threebedroom apartments measuring 1,270 sq ft and 1,635 sq ft. Facilities are basic, including table tennis, a playground and a multipurpose hall. Residents can shop for their daily necessities at the nearby Parkway Parade and Marine Parade regional centre, located a short drive away. Its high floors also offer unending city and sea views, a rare feature in new developments today.Neptune Court’s residents are in the process of privatising the property in the hope of selling it en bloc one day. This is Neptune Court’s second shot at privatisation. Its first attempt was in 2007, when the owners tried to buy the huge open carpark space from the Ministry of Finance so that they could put the entire estate up for a collective sale. Back then, the Ministry of Finance quoted residents a privatisation cost of $144 million, or $191,000 a unit. The owners could not afford the hefty price and abandoned plans to privatise the property. In June 2009, the price was reduced to $40 million, which was still out of the owners’ reach.Now, owners have to pay $64.5 million, or about $75,000 to $90,000 a unit, depending on the size of their unit, say property agents. The price is still too high for some owners, says Mohamed Ameen, a marketing director at ERA Realty Network, so Neptune Court’s enbloc aspirations may have to be put on hold again. “Not many owners are willing to pay that kind of money,” he continues. “For developers, a better choice would be Laguna Park or Lagoon View , as they are already privatised.”Neptune Court’s privatisation woes have also spilled over to its prices. Ameen notes that while the price of Neptune Court’s threebedroom units hovers around $1 million, those of a similar size at Laguna Park are priced about $1.5 million. It works to the advantage of homebuyers, however, as units at Neptune Court are deemed more affordable and because of its proximity to both amenities and the East Coast Park expressway. “It’s nearer to Marine Parade and Parkway Parade, compared with Laguna Park , Lagoon View and Bayshore Park. Victoria Junior College is just next door,” he says. “But it will be a few years before the property is fully privatised.”The potential of Neptune Court cannot be overlooked, though. Ameen says most of the owners there are long-term residents, who bought their homes at a low price in the 1980s. Only a few expats are renting the property’s three-bedroom units, with rents starting at $3,500 a month. The recent buyers of units in the project are also owner-occupiers.