An 872 sq ft, two-bedroom unit at The bayron transacted at $1.5 million or $1,720 psf recently
The median price recorded for a unit at Skyline 360 in August was $2,022 psf last month
| BY AMY TAN | THE EDGE SINGAPORE | September 23, 2013
The St Thomas Walk neighbourhood (located off River Valley Road) is seeing a flurry of activity, particularly at the 96-unit The bayron, with four transactions in August. The freehold condominium block at 40 St Thomas Walk was completed in 1998, and developed by Chee Swee Cheng Group, the owner of The Heeren shopping mall on Orchard Road that’s undergoing a façade change.
There are usually very few transactions in The bayron. Prior to the spate of transactions in August, the last time units changed hands in the condo block was in 2011.
Agents who spoke to The Edge Singapore believe that the recent transactions at The bayron were sparked by the pipeline of new condos in the St Thomas Walk neighbourhood.
“Whenever you have a new launch or project that is about to complete, there tends to be a lot of focus in the area as real estate agents make cold calls or give flyers to owners of nearby properties to encourage them to sell as there is buyer demand,” explains Nicholas Mak, executive director of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants.
Across the street from The bayron is the freehold Espada by Novelty Group, where construction is at an advanced stage and the project is set to obtain temporary occupation permit (TOP) in 2014. The 232-unit development has a mix of one-bedroom, one-bedroom-plus-study, two-bedroom apartments, and penthouses ranging from 344 to 1,313 sq ft. According to URA data, 18 units were still available at end-August. The last transaction recorded at the project was for a 355 sq ft, one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor, which was sold for $945,000 or $2,660 psf in July.Espada
Next to Espada is the freehold Skyline 360 developed by Hiap Hoe. The newly completed project has a mix of 61 three- and four-bedroom apartments and penthouses with unit sizes of between 1,733 and 6,523 sq ft. According to URA data, the latest median price achieved in Skyline 360 was $2,022 psf, and only five units remain unsold as at end-August.
The bayron contains exclusively twoand three-bedroom units. Given that it was completed 15 years ago, units are spacious with two-bedroom units sized from 818 to 1,335 sq ft and three-bedroom units of 1,302 to 1,910 sq ft. The most recent transaction last month was for a 1,432 sq ft three-bedroom unit on the fourth floor that changed hands for $2.33 million ($1,628 psf). Another unit that was sold with a caveat lodged on the same day (Aug 30) was for an 872 sqft, two-bedroom unit on the second floor that fetched $1.5 million ($1,720 psf). Two days earlier, a 904 sq ft, two-bedroom unit on the third floor was sold for $1.55 million ($1,709 psf), while another 1,431 sq ft, three-bedroom apartment on the third floor was sold for $2.32 million ($1,621 psf).
Phylicia Ang, executive director of residential at Savills Singapore reckons that the units at The bayron could have been held for long-term investment, and the owner could be selling some units now to realise capital gains. In 2000, after the project was completed, some units were first sold at prices ranging from $1,100 to $1,200 psf, observes Ang. Hence, the seller would be realising gains of 35% to 56.4%, based on the selling price of $1,621 to $1,720 psf. “There are some buyers who prefer older developments because the layout is better and the units are bigger,” she says. “Even though The bayron was completed in 1999, the development is well maintained and still looks new. Hence, prices are 20% below those of the newer condos.” With spacious two- and three-bedroom units, The bayron fills a gap and caters to a segment between Espada, which has mainly compact one-and two-bedroom units and Skyline 360, which has exclusively three-and four-bedroom units. “At Espada, most of the units are shoeboxes with some as big as hotel suites while Skyline 360 has bigger units, which also means a higher quantum price,” says SLP’s Mak.
Given The bayron’s achieved selling price, and current market rental rate of $5.16 psf for the location, rental yield for investors would work out to around 3.5%, which is higher than the average 2% yield seen in most prime Orchard Road district condos, points out Savills’ Ang.
An upcoming project at St Thomas Walk that is yet to be launched is Bukit Sembawang’s 219-unit, high-end condo in two towers of 35 and 36 storeys. Bukit Sembawang Estates purchased the former Air view Tower in an en bloc deal in 2007. Perhaps, the launch of a new development on the site will trigger another spate of transactions at the neighbouring The bayron.
Ang sees properties at St Thomas Walk appealing to both locals and foreigners owing to their proximity to the Orchard Road shopping strip and international schools such as Chatsworth International School and Overseas Family School.