Landed housing in Hougang in demand

THE proximity to amenities and good schools in the northeastern region of Hougang-Paya Lebar Crescent has increased the desirability of the neighbourhood with homebuyers. Seeing the increase in buying interest, listed developer Goodland Group purchased Hua Court, an old walk-up apartment building located on Paya Lebar Crescent, en bloc for $14.5 million, according to a company announcement on Feb 13. The eight-unit walk-up apartment block sits on a freehold land area of 16,312 sq ft.

Built in 1988, Hua Court was successful in its first en bloc attempt, as "Paya Lebar Crescent is a nice place for landed homes, and the demand for such homes remains strong", says Alvin Er of REMAX, who brokered the sale. Goodland is expected to build a strata-titled landed housing development with 10 terraced houses on the site. The project is also conveniently located across the road from the popular Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School. The nearest MRT station is the Serangoon MRT Station.

The most recent transaction of a terraced house in the Paya Lebar area was a unit in Caifu View in Paya Lebar Place, located across the road from Minton Court. The freehold property, completed in 1991, was sold for $2.46 million ($1,503 psf) last November.

Some residents who bought into Hua Court in the 1990s sold their property for a premium of more than 60% in the en bloc deal, according to REMAX's Er. For instance, in May 1999, a 1,690 sq ft unit was purchased for $720,000 ($426 psf). It was sold for $1.99 million ($1,179 psf) to Goodland Group, thus the owner enjoyed a price appreciation of 64%. A unit measuring 1,184 sq ft first changed hands in 1995 for $730,000 ($617 psf), and again, in 2005, for $420,000 ($355 psf) on the resale market. Goodland paid $1.59 million ($1,339 psf) for the unit as part of the en bloc purchase.

Er is also brokering the sale of another development on Paya Lebar Crescent called Minton Court, which occupies a 13,271 sq ft freehold site. Completed in 1992, the three-storey walk-up apartment block has only nine units, measuring 1,259 to 1,389 sq ft. Minton Court can be redeveloped into a strata landed housing project with eight terraced houses. The site has an indicative price of $13.5 million. Minton Court is located in the Paya Lebar Crescent landed housing estate and about 200m away from the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School.

In Hougang Street 11, off Lorong Ah Soo, is the 1,145-unit The Minton. The 99-year leasehold condo by developer Kheng Leong, the private property development arm of banker Wee Cho Yaw's family, is fully sold and expected to obtain Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) this year. Units at The Minton are a mix of one- to four-bedroom apartments, as well as dual-key units and penthouses. Given the size of the project, there are 18 blocks of 15- to 17-storeys. Unit sizes start from 560 sq ft for a one-bedroom apartment to 1,775 sq ft for a four-bedroom apartment. Penthouses measure between 1,991 and 3,552 sq ft. When the project was launched in May 2010, the average price was $850 psf.

Most recently, a 936 sq ft two-bedroom unit on the 13th floor of one of the blocks changed hands in a sub-sale for $1 million ($1,068 psf). The previous owner paid $830,000 ($886 psf) for the unit in June 2010, when the project was first launched, thus enjoying a price appreciation of about 20%.

As The Minton is obtaining TOP soon, sub-sales have started to pick up, says Jay Choong, a senior marketing director at ERA Realty Network. An attraction is the comprehensive facilities of the project, including indoor badminton court, swimming pool and heated pool. Another major draw is its proximity to good schools such as Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School and Maris Stella High School, and the Serangoon MRT station, says Choong. Units up for sub-sale are currently priced $1,000 to $1,100 psf, he adds.

After selling more than 10 units in the project, Choong himself was convinced to buy a two-bedroom-plus-study unit at The Minton. It is one of the newer and bigger condos in an otherwise mature landed housing estate, he observes. "Layout of the units are functional and decently sized," he says. "A typical two-bedroom unit is sized at 980 sq ft, which is rare for new developments now."

This story first appeared in The Edge Singapore weekly edition of Mar04-10, 2013.

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