Experts say restrained prices mean deals there will pay off in the long term.
THE appeal of living near the Central Business District (CBD) will get a major test next weekend with the launch of the 1,042-unit Marina One Residences.
The area, best known as a fast-growing office centre, is shaping up as a significant residential precinct as well.
And while rents in the vicinity have fallen over the past year, investors may find the area a good buy now that cooling measures have restrained overly high prices, consultants say.
Marina One Residences – with one-, two-, three- and four-bedders – is part of the larger Marina One development, also including Marina One offices and The Heart, a retail podium set around a 65,000 sq ft park.
Developer M+S said it is looking to price Marina One at an average of $2,600 per sq ft (psf).
“We believe that there will always be discerning buyers who will seize a good investment opportunity as long as a development offers quality attributes – even through the peaks and troughs of the market,” said M+S chief operating officer Kemmy Tan.
Marina One Residences is one of the rare CBD residential developments with a freehold title, said OrangeTee senior research analyst Wong Xian Yang.
“Given current market conditions, its initial selling price may crowd out a considerable group of potential buyers… (But) in the longer term, Marina One will likely see more active deals due to its advantageous location and good designs, which are highly valued by busy owners and tenants.”
Nearby project V on Shenton, launched in August 2012, sold 354 of 510 units as at the end of July.
In the past year, average resale prices in the area ranged from $1,945 psf at three-year-old One Shenton to $2,694 psf at one-year-old Marina Bay Suites.
On average, resale prices fell by about 8 per cent in the past year, said R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng. A major reason for the fall is weakening leasing demand by expatriates, he said. “(They) have more or less decentralised to the city fringes to save on accommodation costs, as most companies have been strict in their housing allowances.”
However, he said, investors, especially those owning small units in the area, can expect keen leasing interest from mid- to senior-level expats who may still want a conveniently located property.
With cooling measures such as the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework, buyers may now find properties here at attractive prices, which could “allow them to have a share of future price appreciation or recovery”, Mr Ong added.
“Prior to the TDSR, however, most locality upsides and rejuvenation plans were quickly priced in by owners and developers.”
In the past year, average rents in the area ranged from $4.40 psf a month at Marina Bay Suites to $8.10 psf a month at three-year-old The Clift.
While rents have fallen by an average of 6 per cent over the past year, this is in line with weakening leasing conditions islandwide, especially rents of high-end residential properties, said Mr Ong.
But the investment outlook is promising beyond the short term, said Mr Wong.
Better infrastructure is expected in the next few years, such as the Thomson-East Coast Line which will be linked to Marina Bay MRT station.
“The precinct’s unique setting and high accessibility will appeal to people working in the CBD who have tight daily schedules. Barring any major deterioration in the global economy, the rental market should also see good support in tandem with the maturation of adjacent office properties,” said Mr Wong.