Mon, Nov 19, 2012
The Straits Times
IT USED to be a quiet beachfront road lined with old bungalows, but today Amber Road is packed with condominiums and popular with expatriates.
The area, in District 15 and near the Parkway Parade mall, still retains some pre-war flavour with historical landmarks such as the Chinese Swimming Club, founded in 1905.
The outlook for this estate is "encouraging for owners, due to the proximity to East Coast Park and the very entrenched mindset among buyers that this is among the upper-echelon, niche localities in the east", said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.
Most homes here are private. Major condominium projects in the area include the 400-unit The Esta, which was completed in 2008, and One Amber, with 562 apartments finished in 2010.
Both are freehold properties.
The 114-unit freehold Amber Residences obtained its temporary occupation permit (TOP) last year, while the freehold The Cape, with 76 apartments, was launched with a TOP expected in 2015.
The upcoming Silversea, which was launched in 2009 and expected to obtain its TOP in 2014, is also nearby. The 383-unit project on a 99-year lease had sold around 370 of the 377 units launched as of September.
Analysts expect about 700 new homes to be completed in the next few years.
The bulk of these will come from Silversea, as well as from the collective sale in January last year of Marine Point on Marine Parade Road, which is expected to be redeveloped into around 150 freehold private residential units.
Overall, developer prices for 99-year leasehold and freehold properties in the Amber Road area range from $1,600 per sq ft (psf) to $2,000 psf, analysts said.
"The expatriate community loves living in this area due to the proximity to the airport, to the amenities and to the beach," said PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail.
Reputable schools such as Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Katong Primary School and Tao Nan School are also close by, he noted.
Monthly rents at Amber Residences range from $5,000 to $6,800, and at One Amber, from $3,700 to $6,600.
There were 14 active rental listings for Amber Residences and 201 for One Amber as of Oct 22, Mr Mohamed Ismail said.
Resale activity has been relatively healthy, but waned recently, in line with an islandwide slowdown.
The number of resale transactions for Cote D'Azur on Marine Parade Road has ranged from five to 10 each quarter since the final three months of last year.
Another newer project, the 546-unit The Seaview, which obtained its TOP in 2008, has seen a similar level of resale activity.
In comparison, there were 10 to 20 transactions every quarter in 2010 and the first half of last year for the Cote D'Azur and The Seaview.
Mr Ong cited buyer resistance to rising prices and the lack of an MRT station nearby.
New investors in the area who aim to rent out their units may have to compete with owners who bought properties here at lower prices or with longer-term loans, or who made their purchases before the seller's stamp duty was implemented, he added.
But Mr Ong also said that the absence of an MRT station also meant that significant price hikes are unlikely in the short to medium term.