Pick up in interest in Balmoral condos

THERE has been a return of interest in the neighbourhood of Balmoral in March with three transactions recorded in the period from March 8 to 15. These were

at Chateau Le Fame, Balmoral 8 and Goodwood Residence.

Located at Ewe Boon Road, a 1,163 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the second floor of Chateau Le Fame changed hands at $1.8 million or $1,548

psf. This is the highest psf price achieved at the freehold project to date, since it was launched in the mid-1990s, in the previous property

boom. The unit previously changed hands in May 2001 at $830,000 or $714 psf. The unit thus saw prices more than double in 12 years.

Developed by Panorama Development and completed in 1997, Chateau Le Fame comprises 39 two- to four-bedroom units and maisonettes. According

to Paul Thio, associate director at OrangeTee, who is marketing a unit at the project, Chateau Le Fame is attractive to buyers because of its

good layout and pricing relative to the new project launches. He estimates rental yield in the Ewe Boon and Balmoral area to be about 3%.

At Balmoral 8 located at Balmoral Road, a 1,905 sq ft, three-bedroom unit transacted at $3.52 million or $1,848 psf. This is the highest psf

price recorded at the freehold project. According to caveats lodged with URA, this is the third time the unit has changed hands in the resale

market. The last time, it was sold for $2.9 million or $1,522 psf in July 2007. Prior to that, it was sold for $1.81 million or $949 psf in

February 2005. Developed by Pinetree Condominium, the freehold project consists of 40 two- to three-bedroom units and penthouses.

According to Samuel Eyo, director of prestige homes at Savills, the recent transaction is considered a good deal as the unit enjoys views of

Goodwood Hill. Since the latest round of residential property cooling measures imposed on Jan 12, sellers have been more willing to offer

discounts to help offset the additional transaction cost for buyers, he observes. "The transaction prices of Chateau Le Fame and Balmoral 8,

which are freehold and in the prime districts, are almost on par with some of the new 99-year leasehold condos, and therefore considered

attractive value buys," says Eyo.

Directly facing Balmoral 8 is the 23-unit freehold The Oliv by TG Development. Currently under construction, the project sits on the site of

the former Eden Spring. According to URA's new home sales figures, only four units have been launched and sold as at end-February. The most

recent transaction was for a first floor, 4,446 sq ft unit, which was sold for $11.06 million or $2,488 psf in September 2010. Further down

the road, Hiap Hoe's Treasure on Balmoral has just been completed and will be launched this year. The freehold project comprises 48 three- to

four-bedroom units and penthouses.

The 210-unit Goodwood Residence is a redevelopment of the former Casa Rosita by Malaysian tycoon Quek Leng Chan's Gucco Land. The project

along Bukit Timah Road has units overlooking Goodwood Hill on Balmoral. It is designed by acclaimed Singapore-based architectural firm, WOHA,

and is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. The freehold high-end development contains a mix of two- to four-bedroom units and

penthouses. The project has also seen buying interest with a 2,508 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the fourth floor being sold for $6.3 million

or $2,515 psf. According to URA, 163 units have been launched to date, of which 138 units have been sold as at end-February.

According to statutory filings with the Singapore Exchange, Quek and his siblings picked up units in the development when it was launched in

April 2010. Quek picked up the biggest unit in the project, a 12,766 sq ft, super penthouse for $18.8 million or $1,473 psf, while his

brother purchased a 6,588 sq ft penthouse for $13.8 million or $2.098 psf. Meanwhile, his sister bought a 2,497 sq ft unit on the eighth

floor for $6.03 million or $2,413 psf.

The Balmoral neighbourhood is accessible via Stevens Road on one end and Bukit Timah Road on the other. With the upcoming expanded Newton MRT

station on the new Downtown Line and existing North-South Line, Savills' Eyo sees future capital appreciation for properties in the

neighbourhood. He also expects to see increased demand in the area from homebuyers given its proximity to popular schools such as Anglo-

Chinese School (Primary) on Barker Road, which is within a 1km range. Thus, the area is seeing interest from locals and foreigners.

This story first appeared in The Edge Singapore weekly edition of Apr 01-07, 2013.

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