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West Coast activity driven by impending NeWest launch

INTEREST in residential developments in the West Coast area have surged of late, spurred by the upcoming launch of NeWest, a mixed-use development on the site of the former Hong Leong Garden Shopping Centre. The latter was purchased en bloc for $171.13 million in 2011 by a consortium led by Oxley Holdings, which has a major stake. The other partners in the joint venture include Lian Beng Group, Heeton Holdings, KSH Holdings, Tee International and Zap Piling. The market expects the consortium to launch NeWest in 2Q2013.

Hong Leong Garden Shopping Centre was a 956-year-leasehold property with 72 residential units sitting on the upper levels of the four-storey building, and 66 shops on the first level. Property agents expect NeWest to have about 200 residential and shop units in a new 12-storey building.

Located next door to the upcoming NeWest is the 396-unit Hundred Trees by giant developer, City Developments Ltd (CDL), which is the listed arm of Hong Leong Group. The project is fully sold and will be completed in 2Q2013. It was launched in September 2009 at an average price of $895 psf.

There have been three sub-sales at Hundred Trees recorded in caveats lodged with URA Realis for the month of January to date. One was for a 484 sq ft unit on the second level of the development that changed hands for $750,000 ($1,548 psf) in early January. The other two larger units, a 1,163 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the second level and a 1,302 sq ft, three-bedroom-plus-study unit on the 11th floor, were sold at $1,290 psf and $1,294 psf respectively.

Another project that's benefiting from the anticipated launch of NeWest is another CDL project in the West Coast area — the 493-unit Botannia. The 956-year-leasehold condominium also saw a pick-up in resale activity last month, with three units changing hands in late January, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis.

On Jan 28, a 1,561 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the 10th floor was picked up for $1.88 million ($1,205 psf). It last changed hands in a sub-sale in September 2009 for $1.39 million ($893 psf). The first owner purchased the unit when it was launched in 2007 for $1.09 million ($701 psf).

Another unit in the development, a 1,270 sq ft three-bedroom apartment on the sixth level, was sold for $1.59 million ($1,252 psf) last month. The last time the property changed hands was in July 2009 when it went for $985,000 ($775 psf), or a capital appreciation of 61.5%. A slightly larger three-bedroom apartment of 1,281 sq ft was sold for $1.7 million ($1,327 psf) last month. That same unit changed hands in June 2010 for $1.15 million ($898 psf), and prior to that, was purchased for $961,200 ($750 psf) in July 2007.

Wendeline Goh, a property agent with PropNex Realty has brokered the sale of at least half a dozen units in Botannia over the last six months. One of the attractions of the development is its location in a relatively quiet neighbourhood although it is just a short drive to the CBD via the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE). "The West Coast area boasts of 999-year-leasehold or freehold properties, and prices of existing condominium developments are now hovering at about $1,300 psf," observes Goh.

The indicative launch price at NeWest is expected to be in the $1,400 to $1,500 psf range. Mixed-use developments, especially residential projects with shop units and if they provide amenities, are generally in demand, notes Alan Lai, a Knight Frank team leader who is marketing NeWest. "Homebuyers don't mind paying a premium for the added convenience, and new mixed-use developments in the West Coast are rare," he adds.

On the other side of the AYE, directly across from NeWest is Park West, a 99-year leasehold property located in Jalan Lempeng. The 432-unit condo was developed by CDL and completed 27 years ago. The project has also recently seen a pick-up in activity. A 1,249 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the eighth floor of one of the blocks changed hands last month for $1.17 million ($936 psf). A similar-size unit on the ninth floor changed hands earlier in January for $1.23 million. Unit sizes in Park West range from 872 to 1,087 sq ft for a two-bedroom unit, and 1,249 to 1,894 sq ft for a three-bedroom unit. The project is popular because of its location amid greenery and proximity to top schools such as Nan Hua Secondary School and NUS High School of Maths and Science.


This story first appeared in The Edge Singapore weekly edition of Feb 18-24, 2013.

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