More buzz in Tanjong Pagar Chinatown area

Excitement is building up in the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood. Property consultants attribute it to the impending launch of TP180, the 200-unit residential development within Guoco Land’s upcoming mixed-use project, Tanjong Pagar Centre. The new development boasts Singapore’s tallest tower, at 290m.

The 67-storey skyscraper will contain a mix of offices and residences, ranging from one- to four-bedroom apartments. There will also be a luxury hotel and a six-storey retail podium within the project. According to Guoco Land, TP180 is likely to be launched in 2H2013.

Given the premium location of the residential units at TP180  on the higher floors of the skyscraper and the fact that it is part of a mixed use development as well as integrated with the Tanjong Pagar MRT interchange station, prices are expected to be above $2,500 psf.

Since GuocoLand unveiled details of its much-anticipated Tanjong Pagar Centre last month, some buyers have snapped up units in other existing residential projects in the vicinity in the hopes of riding a potential upswing in prices. “Tanjong Pagar Centre is going to transform the environment of the area, and investors and home buyers are betting that prices of residential property in the vicinity will enjoy an uplift as well,” explains Samuel Eyo, director of prestige homes at Savills Singapore.

Some investors are zooming in on older freehold apartment blocks with collective sale potential and that offer a viable alternative to 99-year leasehold properties such as TP180 and most of the newer residential developments in the area, which will be completed in the next year or two. They include the 360-unit Skysuites@Anson and the 280-unit Altez on Enggor Street.

At Skysuites@Anson, the most recent transaction was that of a 1,012 sq ft unit on the 63rd level sold for close to $2.63 million ($2,596 psf) in April. At Altez, an 840 sq ft unit on the 36th level was sold for $1.96 million ($2,335 psf) also in April.

At the 10-storey 63-unit The Arris on Yan Kit Road, off Cantonment Road and Hoe Chiang Road, a 990 sq ft unit on the sixth level was sold for $1.7 million ($1,717 psf) in a transaction with a caveat lodged with URA Realis on May 28. The sixth-storey unit had been transacted three times in the past decade. It was previously bought in 2007 for $1.02 million ($1,030 psf). The unit was first sold in 2003, for $792,000 ($800 psf). The freehold apartment block was completed in 2002, and contains predominantly studio and two-bedroom units measuring 667 to 1,120 sq ft.

There have been few transactions at The Arris. The last time a unit changed hands this year was in January, when a three-bedroom unit on the 10th floor was sold for $1.7 million ($1,736 psf). Shaun Boey, an agent from ERA Realty, who is marketing a unit there, has been receiving more inquiries of late. He recently conducted three viewings in a day for the unit at The Arris. Boey says the interested buyers are a good mix of locals and foreigners, given the convenience of the location at the CBD fringe and Chinatown. “Many of them are looking to buy with the intention of occupying the unit themselves,” he observes. “However, like all homebuyers, they also want to en- sure that they will enjoy capital gains in the future.”

Farther up, in the Spottiswoode area, is the 175- unit freehold Spottiswoode Suites, a 50:50 joint venture between Lian Beng Group and Centurion Properites. The 36-storey condominium tower’s preview in mid January coincided with the government’s seventh round of property cooling measures. Yet, units have generally sold for $1,684 to $2,714 psf, the most recent transaction price at the development. It was for a 452 sq ft unit on the 28th floor, sold for more than $1.2 million at end April.

In the heart of Chinatown, ageing mixed-use development People’s Park Complex, completed in 1972, has seen four units change hands since April. What is the reason for the flurry of transactions? With only 54 years left on the 99-year lease and given that the development is old, some people believe there is potential for an en-bloc sale, says Savills’ Eyo.

“Developments such as People’s Park Complex are very old, so buyers always think there is potential for an en-bloc sale, especially given the location near the Chinatown MRT station,” says Eyo. “In the current market, where the entry level for properties in the CBD is above $2,000 psf, these older developments offer a lower price psf. Investors can collect rent while waiting for a potential en-bloc sale in the future.”

In the week of May 23 to 31, two 1,119 sq ft units at People’s Park Complex changed hands. A unit on the 26th floor was sold for $1.01 million ($902 psf); the other, located on the 22nd floor, fetched $960,000 ($858 psf).

Farther up on Eu Tong Sen Street is Pearls Centre, which was gazetted for compulsory acquisition last August to make way for the Thomson MRT Line. Owners and tenants at Pearls Centre will receive a reported compensation package of $450 million ($1,400 psf) on average. Pearls Centre was in the early stages of exploring a collective sale last August when the government’s acquisition was announced. With the upcoming Thomson Line, the Outram Park MRT station is set to become an interchange station serving three MRT lines, including the East-West and North-East Lines, which will improve the connectivity of developments in the vicinity.

According to the Singapore Real Estate Exchange, a 1,119 sq ft unit at People’s Park Complex can fetch median rentals of $4,299 a month, with a recent transaction of $4,500 a month in December. Rental rates at the complex have remained relatively steady, owing to its location next to the Chinatown MRT station, and just one stop from the Outram Park MRT station, says Aric Lim, a senior marketing director at Huttons, who is marketing a three-bed- room residential unit there.

Units at People’s Park Complex tend to be popular with mainland Chinese businessmen, as it is in the heart of Chinatown. “While the units may be pretty old, the appeal is its location,” says Lim. “The units are also easy to rent out, especially to mainland Chinese.”

Source – The Edge – 21 Jun 2013

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