Resale prices at Balestier hover around $1,400 psf

The Balestier Road neighbourhood is a popular haunt for those in search of food, lighting and bathroom accessories. However, it has been transformed with the opening of two major business hotels at Zhongshan Park in 1Q2013, namely the 405-room Days Hotel Singapore and the 384- room Ramada Singapore.

The neighbourhood is also benefiting from its proximity to the Novena medical cluster, with the opening of the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and Specialist Centre last year, complementing the Novena Medical Centre, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Ren Ci com-munity hospital.

Given that it’s just a short drive to the CBD and Orchard Road via the Central Expressway or the Pan Island Expressway, Balestier is increasingly popular with local and expatriate professionals and executives, as well as with skilled workers, including those in the medical profession. And even though the resale market has seen transaction volume halved compared with a year ago as a result of the latest government property cooling measures implemented on Jan 12, there has still been interest in the Balestier area.

At De Royale, a 204-unit twin-tower condominium by developer Hoi Hup, located on Jalan Rama Rama off Balestier Road, a unit changed hands for $1.72 million, or $1,343 psf, according to a caveat lodged in early April. The sale of the unit was brokered by Joyce Lau, a property agent with ERA, who has sold and rented out many of the units in the project. According to Lau, there has been a pick up in transaction and rental activity in De Royale since 4Q2012, and she attributes it to the opening of the Mount Elizabeth Novena.

Apart from its freehold tenure, the larger apartment sizes of the seven-year-old De Royale relative to the newer projects which feature mainly shoebox apartments have been a draw. The project is popular with expatriate singles and couples looking for rental apartments, according to Lau. The monthly rental of apartments in the Balestier area is lower than those in the neighbouring Novena area. For instance, asking rents for a three-bedroom unit in Novena start from $5,500 a month, while in Balestier, they are generally from $4,500, Lau notes. Despite that, investors can still expect rental yields of around 3%, even at today’s prices, in the Balestier area.

Other private condos in Balestier that have also seen some activity include The Marque @ Irrawaddy, a 48-unit boutique freehold condo project by Roxy-Pacific Holdings. The most recent transaction at The Marque @ Irrawaddy was for an 883 sq ft unit on the 11th floor that changed hands for $1.2 million, or $1,391 psf, in early April. The same unit fetched $970,000 ($1,099 psf) in August 2010.

One of the four 3-bedroom penthouses at The Marque @ Irrawaddy, which is 1,550 sq ft in size, is now on the market for lease, with an asking rent of $5,300 a month. The Marque @ Irrawaddy was completed in 2009.

New launches have also drawn investor interest to the area. The most successful launch was One Dusun Residences last August. The freehold project contains 154 apartments, with sizes ranging from 452 to 657 sq ft. There are also 76 shops, with sizes ranging from 129 to 495 sq ft. All the units were snapped up within two months. Apartments were sold for prices ranging from $1,209 to $1,832 psf, or an average of $1,700 psf.  Meanwhile, the shops were snapped up at $4,206 to $9,058 psf, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis.

Going the upmarket route is listed developer SingHaiyi Group, which is previewing its 54-unit designer loft project Cosmo Loft on Wednesday (May 1). The project is a redevelopment of the former Waldorf Mansion on Balestier Road, which the developer had purchased en bloc for $21 million in 2011. Units at CosmoLoft are priced from just under $800,000 for a 452 sq ft, onebedroom apartment to about $1.65 million for a 1,173 sq ft duplex penthouse, or an average of $1,700 psf. The development is expected to draw young and trendy buyers attracted to the loft-style units that fea- ture high ceilings, according to HSR International, the marketing agent for the project.

Source : TheEdge – 2 May 2013

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