Over the past decade, condominium projects linked to an MRT station have generated strong sales. This is especially so for projects that are not only linked to an MRT station, but also part of an integrated development with a sizeable commercial component such as a shopping mall.
According to Alice Tan, head of research and consultancy at Knight Frank, an integrated development is defined as a mixed-use development with a residential and large commercial element that is seamlessly connected to a transport node and public spaces.
Alan Cheong, head of research for Savills Singapore, agrees. “It’s basically convenience at your doorstep,” he says. “You save on time that you would otherwise spend travelling to shop for your daily necessities, or taking a bus or walking 10 to 20 minutes to the MRT station.”
Lendlease’s recently launched Park Place Residences at Paya Lebar Quarter is an example of a private condo project that is part of an integrated development. More than 250 units — about half of the 429 units — at the project were snapped up at an average price of S$1,801 psf (RM5,561 psf) over the first weekend of sales. The show suites were closed after the sale of the first phase; the second phase will be launched at a later stage. Park Place Residences is linked to three office blocks with about a million sq ft of office space and a 340,000 sq ft shopping mall as well as the Paya Lebar MRT Interchange station.
The average launch price of Park Place Residences is 12.5% higher than the average price of S$1,600 psf that Katong Regency was launched at. Katong Regency is a 244-unit freehold development sitting on top of One KM shopping mall, which is located within walking distance of the Paya Lebar MRT Interchange station. The project was launched in 2012 and completed in 2015; all units were snapped up in less than a month.
Apart from Katong Regency, two other private condo developments in the same district as Park Place Residences are GuocoLand’s 1,024-unit Sims Urban Oasis, which is expected to be completed later this year. The 99-year leasehold project was launched in 2015; more than 70% of the units have been sold. About 60 units were sold in April at an average of S$1,380 psf.
The other development is the 99-year leasehold TRE Residences adjacent to the Aljunied MRT station. The 250-unit private condo was jointly developed by Sustained Land, MCC Land and Greatview Development and launched in November 2014 at an average of S$1,416 psf. In March and April, 54 units were sold at an average price of S$1,456 psf, based on caveats lodged with URA Realis.
Compass Heights — Singapore’s first integrated development
The first truly integrated development in Singapore was Compass Heights in Sengkang. The 536-unit, 99-year leasehold private condo comprises two 14-storey blocks, which are linked seamlessly to the new Compass One mall (revamped Compass Point shopping centre), the Sengkang MRT station, LRT Station and bus interchange.
When Compass Heights was launched in February 2001, units were sold at an average of S$480 psf. It was the first private condo launched in Sengkang and completed in 2002.
Across the road from Compass Heights is The Luxurie at Sengkang Square, a 622-unit, 99-year leasehold development by Keppel Land. Launched in September 2011, its units were sold at an average of S$980 psf. From July to September 2011, units at Compass Heights changed hands at an average of S$841 psf, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis.
The Luxurie and Compass Heights were completed in 2015 and 2002 respectively. “If one does not mind living in an older condominium project that comes with the convenience of being part of an integrated development, Compass Heights offers value for money, as the units are relatively larger than [those at] The Luxurie,” says Savills’ Cheong.
Most recently, a 1,292 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the ninth floor of one of the twin towers at Compass Heights was sold at S$990,000 (S$766 psf) in April. Prior to that, a 1,324 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the same floor fetched S$1.13 million (S$853 psf).
The Centris — price gap widened post-completion
Generally, when integrated developments are launched, developers will build in a 20% to 25% premium over other private condos in the same area, notes Knight Frank’s Tan.
Take, for example, The Centris, which was launched for sale in October 2006. The 610-unit, 99-year leasehold condo is located at Jurong West Central 3, is integrated with the Boon Lay bus interchange and has a link to Jurong Point shopping centre and the Boon Lay MRT station. There are no other private condos in its vicinity, which comprises mainly HDB flats.
The nearest private condos are located one MRT stop away at Lakeside MRT station. MCL Land launched Lake Grande, adjacent to the MRT station, last July. Within the first week of sales, about 500 units were sold at an average price of S$1,364 psf. So far, about 85% of the 710 units have been sold. Next door to Lake Grande is the 696-unit Lakeville, also developed by MCL Land. The 99-year leasehold condo was launched in April 2014 at an average price of S$1,325 psf and is fully sold.
When The Centris was launched in 2006, the existing 99-year leasehold private condos in the vicinity of Lakeside MRT station were the 304-unit Lakepoint Condo, a privatised apartment project for the middle class and developed by JTC Corp in 1983; the 638-unit Parc Vista by Far East Organization, completed in 1997; and the 369-unit Lakeholmz by Frasers Centrepoint, which was completed in 2005.
The initial average price of units sold at The Centris in October and November 2006 was S$497 psf, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis.
The closest comparable project then was Lakeholmz, which was completed in 2005. Prices of resale units sold at Lakeholmz averaged S$478 psf between September and November 2006, according to caveats lodged. The premium that The Centris was commanding then was just 4% above Lakeholmz.
From January to April this year, however, units at Lakeholmz have changed hands at an average of S$816 psf. Meanwhile, at The Centris, which was completed in 2009, units were sold at an average of S$972 psf in the same four-month period in 2017, based on caveats lodged with URA Realis. This means the price gap has widened to 19.1%.
Premium eroded with new competition
When the Frasers Centrepoint’s 712-unit Caspian, a 99-year leasehold condo within walking distance of Lakeside MRT station, was launched in February 2009, units were sold at an average of S$598 psf. At the time, The Centris was close to completion, and its units sold in January to February 2009 averaged S$552 psf, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis.
The Caspian was completed in 2012 and units sold from January to April 2017 averaged S$1,054 psf, based on caveats lodged.
While the premium of integrated developments may not hold up against newer private condos in the vicinity, they can still maintain their prices better over the long term, says Knight Frank’s Tan.
In an ageing HDB town such as Bedok Town Centre, however, a new condo that is part of an integrated development sitting on top of a shopping mall linked to an air-conditioned bus interchange and MRT station generates not only interest but also queues ahead of the launch. This was exactly what happened on the eve of the launch of the 583-unit Bedok Residences in November 2011, with 400 people queuing overnight.
On the first day of launch, CapitaLand sold more than 350 units in the project at an average of S$1,350 psf. Completed in 2015, Bedok Residences is linked to Bedok Mall, the Bedok MRT station and the bus interchange. In the first four months of 2017, units changed hands in the resale market at an average of S$1,445 psf. A 657 sq ft, one-bedroom unit that was sold in a sub-sale for S$1,599 psf in April 2015 achieved the highest price in the development.
Bedok Residences has been able to command a price premium because it is the only 99-year leasehold private condo located in an ageing HDB town. The nearest private condos are located one MRT stop away in the vicinity of Tanah Merah and include the newly launched Grandeur Park Residences by Chip Eng Seng Corp’s property development arm, CEL Development.
Since its launch in late February, the 99-year leasehold Grandeur Park Residences, which will be linked to the Tanah Merah MRT station, has sold more than 530 units, or close to 74% of the total, at an average of S$1,350 psf. Grandeur Park Residences is a mixed-use development and will offer a childcare centre, shops and F&B units when completed.
Integrated development with lifestyle elements
Punggol Central awaits the completion of 992-unit Watertown by a consortium comprising Far East Organization, Frasers Centrepoint and Sekisui House. The Watertown private condo sits on top of Waterway Point mall, which is connected to the Punggol MRT and LRT stations as well as the bus interchange. Moreover, it is located on the man-made Punggol Waterway, where the entertainment and recreational facilities are located.
Watertown was launched for sale in January 2012 at an average of S$1,200 psf, or 22% more than A Treasure Trove, where units were being sold in the subsale market at an average of S$940 psf. The 99-year leasehold, 882-unit A Treasure Trove by Sim Lian was launched in September 2011 at an average of S$870 psf and completed in 2015.
Meanwhile, Parc Centros, a 618-unit private condo located across the road from Watertown, was launched in August 2012 at an average of S$970 psf, or 23% below Watertown’s initial launch price. The 618-unit Parc Centros by Wee Hur Holdings was completed in 2016. Both A Treasure Trove and Parc Centros are located just across Punggol Central Road from Watertown.
According to caveats lodged with URA Realis, the average selling price of units sold in sub-sales at Watertown between January and April this year was S$1,220 psf. This is still 5% higher than the average price at A Treasure Trove (S$1,160 psf) and about 10% higher than that of Parc Centros (S$1,100 psf).
The Watertown is the second integrated development after Compass Heights to be located on the Northeast MRT line. The third integrated development located seven MRT stops away is The Poiz Residences and The Poiz Centre.
The Poiz Residences comprises 731 units in six 18-storey blocks sitting on top of a 50,000 sq ft retail-cum-lifestyle complex named The Poiz Centre. The project will be seamlessly linked to the adjacent Potong Pasir MRT station. The retail complex will have 84 strata-titled shops, which MCC Land says it will manage to ensure it has the right tenant mix to cater for the needs of residents in the area.
About 90% of units at The Poiz Residences have been sold since it was launched in November 2015. In April, units were sold at an average of S$1,510 psf, based on caveats lodged.
Meanwhile, the 335-unit Sennett Residence — located on Upper Serangoon Road, across from The Poiz Centre — was completed last year. The latest transaction at Sennet Residences was done last November, when a unit was sold for S$1,301 psf. The average price for units sold is S$1,419 psf, based on transactions so far.
Adjacent to Sennett Residence is the 214-unit Sant Ritz, also completed last year. The most recent transaction was that of a 1,109 sq ft, two-bedroom unit that fetched S$1,092 psf in February. The average price of units sold is S$1,369 psf.
While Sennett Residence and Sant Ritz may be adjacent to the Potong Pasir MRT station, Poiz Residences is the only integrated development in the area, hence its price premium, notes Knight Frank’s Tan.
There are two integrated developments in the northern region of Singapore. One is the 546-unit Hillion Residences, a 99-year leasehold condo development directly linked to the adjacent Bukit Panjang MRT and LRT stations and bus interchange. Developed by Sim Lian Group, the mall was completed at end-2016 and is fully leased. More than 420 units have been sold, at an average of S$1,362 psf, based on caveats lodged.
At least 34 units were sold in March and 22 in April — at an average of S$1,430 psf. With the Downtown Line in operation and the mall open since February, interest in Hillion Residences has picked up, notes a property agent.
Located about 300m away and on the other end of the Bukit Panjang MRT station is Far East Organization’s 338-unit The Tennery, completed in 2013. The project previewed in December 2010, and about 80% of the units were sold within a month at an average of S$1,200 psf. The latest transaction was in February this year, when a unit was sold at S$1,139 psf. The Tennery is considered an integrated development, as it sits on top of the Junction 10 shopping mall, which in turn is directly linked to the Ten Mile Junction LRT station and the Bukit Panjang MRT station.
In Yishun, the most significant integrated development is North Park Residences. The 920-unit private condo comprises 12 blocks sitting atop Northpoint City. It was launched in April 2015 and 313 of the 400 units released in the first weekend of sales were snapped up at an average of S$1,300 psf. North Park Residences is 83% sold.
Northpoint City is the expanded Northpoint shopping centre, which will have 500 shops. It will be integrated with the Yishun bus interchange, Yishun public library and a community club, and will also be linked to the Yishun MRT station.
The government’s aim is that, by 2030, 80% of households will live within a 10-minute walk of an MRT station. Perhaps the premium that an integrated development has over other private condos in the area will depend on how close the others are to the MRT station and amenities of the integrated development, says Savills’ Cheong.
Knight Frank’s Tan believes, however, that integrated developments in the suburbs and on the city fringe will be much better able to hold their value and appeal over the long term than those in the central area. “Those living farther away from town will place greater value on an integrated development because it will save them travelling time,” she says.
This article first appeared in The Edge Property Singapore, a pullout of The Edge Singapore, on May 15, 2017.
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