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Renewed interest in Sentosa Cove condos

BUNGALOW prices at Sentosa Cove hit a record high of S$3,214 psf recently when a property on a 99-year leasehold, 10,107 sq ft seafront plot on Ocean Drive changed hands for S$32.5 million. Another bungalow on an 8,299 sq ft site at Lakeshore View was sold for S$22.5 million (S$2,712 psf) recently. The number of transactions has also picked up significantly, with buyers including Singapore investors and those from Southeast Asia as well as China and India.

The number of transactions of condominium in Sentosa Cove has also picked up in the past month, although not as noticeably as for bungalows. Most of the recent transactions of condos have been done at prices hovering around S$2,000 psf. For instance, the 264-unit The Oceanfront saw a rise in the number of transactions in mid-October. On Oct 12, a 1,711 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the 10th floor changed hands for S$3.06 million (S$1,788 psf). The apartment was last sold in May 2007 for S$2.82 million (S$1,650 psf). Prior to that, the previous owner paid S$2.4 million (S$1,406 psf) for the unit in August 2006, when the project was newly launched.

Another recent transaction was that of a 2,799 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the fourth level of one of the towers. The apartment was sold for S$5.6 million (S$2,001 psf). The unit was first purchased in August 2006 for S$4.04 million (S$1,443 psf). The owner flipped it three months later for S$4.76 million (S$1,700 psf). The Oceanfront is considered a landmark project in Sentosa Cove and one of only two high-rise condo developments in Sentosa Cove. The other is The Pinnacle Collection, which has yet to be launched.

According to Roy Ang, a property agent at DTZ, The Oceanfront offers great value at current prices, given its seafront location and landmark status. "Compared with high-end projects on the mainland, The Oceanfront is more attractive pricewise," he says. Some units on the higher floors offer panoramic views of the South China Sea. "Not many properties in Sentosa Cove boast full ocean views," Ang points out.

About 80% of the buyers at The Oceanfront are from China, India and Europe. They appreciate the marina-style living and tranquillity, says Ang. Singaporeans, on the other hand, prefer the convenience of properties on the mainland.

Ang adds that prices at The Oceanfront have fallen considerably from their peak in late 2007, when they hit a high of S$2,799 psf in sub-sales, and in 2010, when a unit was sold in a resale for S$2,843 psf. Indeed, prices of luxury condos in Sentosa Cove have softened, he notes.

In the Marina Bay area, the 221-unit Marina Bay Suites has also seen a pick-up in activity as it nears completion, which property consultants are expecting by year-end. Prices of units at Marina Bay Suites, which comprises three- and four-bedroom apartments, have surpassed those at Sentosa Cove. For instance, a 1,572 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the 57th floor was sold for S$4.6 million (S$2,933 psf) on Oct 15. Also, a 1,593 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the 55th floor was sold for S$4.63 million (S$2,907 psf). The 66-storey project is the second residential tower at the Marina Bay Financial Centre and developed by a consortium comprising Hongkong Land, Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Keppel Land.

This story first appeared in The Edge Singapore weekly edition of Nov 5-11, 2012.

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