Friday, July 30, 2010

Three HUDC estates in Hougang and Potong Pasir designated for privatisation

Channel News Asia today reported that the government has identified three HUDC estates for privatisation.

The estates are located at Hougang North Neighbourhood 3, Hougang North Neighbourhood 7 and Potong Pasir.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) said the three estates comprise a total of 797 of apartments and maisonettes.

Real estate agents said the news could affect prices of these properties, which may rise 5 to 7 per cent.

"With privatisation, everyone will be happy (because) the price will be higher if we intend to sell,’ said Steven Tan. The HUDC estate at Hougang Avenue 7 which he’s been living in has been put up for privatisation.

Property agents said prices could inch up overnight.

Recently transacted prices in the three estates range from S$620,000 to S$735,000.

"I won’t be surprise some will say if I were to sell you the unit, then I am giving up my opportunity to cash in more if this development go en bloc. We’ve heard of developments where once it is privatised, the prices there sometimes rocket by S$100,000" said Chris Koh, director of Dennis Wee Group.

Industry players said the en bloc potential for these HUDC estates is good because they are located in mature estates with more developed infrastructure and amenities.

The privatisation process could take up to two and a half years.

But it will need support from three quarters of the residents.

Helen Lee, Protem Committee Member of Hougang Avenue 7 HUDC estate said: "The last time we did a survey in early 2009, more than 80 per cent of the residents were actually in favour of the privatisation. I think it shouldn’t be a problem getting the 75 per cent vote."

The residents of each estate will have to form a protem committee comprising resident representatives to act on their behalf.

One stumbling block could be the privatisation cost, which include legal and survey cost, as well as cost of land transfer.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) will cap the cost of privatisation at $30,000 per flat for the three newly—designated estates at Hougang and Potong Pasir.

The MND said this is a concession to enable HUDC lessees to fulfil their aspirations to enhance their assets.

The concession will also apply to the Serangoon North HUDC estate, which is in the process of obtaining support for privatisation.

The capping of privatisation cost at $30,000 is only valid for three years, starting from 2 August 2010.

Thereafter, MND said the cost of privatisation will be adjusted to take into consideration the prevailing redevelopment potential of the land.

Observers said privatisation means flat owners will no longer be bound by some public housing rules like sub—letting and they can sell or rent their homes to anyone.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

THE SCALA: More than 75% sold after first day of launch!

The ST today reported that more than 75% of the total units at THE SCALA, a leasehold project developed by Hong Leong Holdings, were sold on the first day of its public launch yesterday.

Demand for this 99-year leasehold project near Lorong Chuan MRT station was so strong that balloting was needed to sort out who get to enter the showflat first. By late morning yesterday, more than 800 property agents and potential buyers who had submitted blank cheques had packed the balloting tent at the condo site in Serangoon Avenue 3. This is the biggest turnout at a mass market public launch since Trevista in Toa Payoh and Hundred Trees in the West Coast area were launched late last year.
Location Map2

A private preview was held on Tuesday for Hong Leong staff and buyers who had registered their interests with the developer. About 150 units were sold then.

This means more than 350 of the 468 units in the project were already sold, of which about 200 went yesterday.

Units at THE SCALA, in five residential towers, are between 474 and 2,142sqft each and range from one- to four-bedroom apartments. They were sold at an average of $1,150psf.

In terms of total price, the smallest units were priced from $600,000 while the four-bedders were from $1.5million.

Hong Leong said the buyers, mainly locals, comprised a good mix of HDB flat upgraders and investors.

Most buyers listed as key selling points the projects close proximity to the newly opened Lorong Chuan MRT station and the range of amenities such as the NEX mega mall due to be completed next year. Some buyers also cited nearby schools such as the Australian International School and the Stamford American International School. They said this could mean high rental yields.

THE SCALA is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

$1,150psf for a 99-year project in District 19? The wife and I really hope that the Government is right, i.e. there is no property bubble yet...


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Second Quarter 2010 Real Estate Statistics

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has released the real estate statistics for the 2nd Quarter of 2010 on 23rd July.

Below is an excerpt of the statistics for private residential properties.

URA 2Q2010 Statistics

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


District:  21
Location:  Jalan Anak Bukit
Developer:  Sustained Land Pte Ltd
Tenure:  999-years Leasehold (from 10 June 1884)
Estimated site area:  33,300sqft
Expected TOP:  01 June 2014
Description:  1 blocks of 5-storey each
Total number of units:  72
Total number of carpark lots:  72 (ground level)

The wife and I decided to visit the sales gallery of SUITES DE LAUREL last Sunday morning. This is an “Apartment Status” project developed by Sustained Land Pte Ltd, a boutique developer that is responsible for projects like Coastal View Residences (Changi), Coastal Breeze Residences (Changi) and 833 MB Residences (Mountbatten).

The sales gallery is located at the actual site along Jalan Anak Bukit, next to Garden Vista Condo. We understand that SUITES DE LAUREL has started its VVIP Preview since end-May but it is still not officially launched yet.
Location Map
Show Flat
The actual site looks rather small – understandable given that it is only about 33,000sqft. The wife and I were told by the marketing agent that more than half of the total units in SUITES DE LAUREL will enjoy unblocked view, with some units getting a full view of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserves. The development is also about 5 minutes walk to the future Beauty World MRT Station.

Those seeking big units at SUITES DE LAUREL will be solely disappointed – the project consists of mainly 1, 1+1 and 2-bedders of no larger than 721sqft, while the 15 penthouses range from a mere 937sqft to 1593sqft.
  • 1-Bedroom (18 units):             484 – 527sqft
  • 1+1 Bedroom (21 units):         571 – 624sqft
  • 2-Bedroom (15 units):             646 – 721sqft
  • 3-Bedroom (3 units):               915sqft
  • 2/2+1/3-Bedroom Penthouses (15 units):        937 – 1593sqft

Given the “Apartment Status” and the small plot area, the facility offering at SUITES DE LAUREL is very basic – you get a swimming pool, BBQ pit at the pool deck, gym… and that is basically it. However, one aspect that we find rather interesting is the rectangular shaped swimming pool acts like a rooftop connector between the 2 “wings” of the block. And since the pool is only supported at both ends with nothing underneath, you get a “floating pool” effect.
Site Plan
Carpark lots are found on the ground level. Most of these are uncovered, unless you are fortunate enough to be assigned a lot that is directly beneath the block.

The only showflat on display is a 721sqft, 2-bedroom unit (Type J).
Type J

The home shelter is next to the main door as you enter the unit. The living/dining area is a small rectangular area that will probably accommodate a small sofa, coffee table and a 2-seater dining table (Ok, 4-seater maybe, if you can find a small enough rectangular table). It comes with 60cm x 60cm marble floors and a standard ceiling height of 3.15m, which is quite impressive. The balcony is a narrow rectangular strip that will probably offer standing space only.
The unit comes with an “open concept” kitchen – we were told that most of the unit layouts in SUITES DE LAUREL are fitted with such kitchen. The wife is not particularly thrilled about open concept kitchen as this is usually fully enclosed, i.e. with no windows for ventilation. So you cannot really do serious cooking without having the whole house smelling like what you are having for dinner. The kitchen is fitted with “Tekka” induction hob/hood and faucet, which are all the appliances that come with the unit. A small space for your washer/dryer is available at the end of the kitchen, but there is no yard area in this unit. We find the quality of the kitchen worktop and cabinets average at best. One thing that we must warn you about is that the kitchen layout in the showflat (as shown in the photo below) is NOT an exact replica of what you actually get for this unit type. You should refer to the floor plan to have a better feel of the actual kitchen layout.
Master bath - Kitchen
The common bedroom is small but regular shaped and comes with bay windows. So you probably have to go with a single (super-single max.) bed in here. The room does come with decent looking timber-strip floors but a rather small wardrobe.

The common bathroom has ceramic-tile walls and floors and come with a standing shower stall with standard wall-mounted shower.

The master bedroom is longish rectangular in shape and comes with similar timber-strip floors. The outer walls are surrounded by bay windows. Our first impression of the master bedroom is that it is actually quite spacious for a 700+ sqft unit. But this is largely due to the fact that the rather small dressing table and round-shaped bed are custom fitted onto the bay window ledges.
Master Bedroom
The master bathroom is good size and even comes with rain-shower in the standing shower stall (no bath-tub, sorry). However, the wife and I were not impressed by the ceramic-tile walls/floors – perhaps we are overly spoilt by the fact that nearly all the new projects we have seen lately come with marble walls/floors in the master bathroom. Again we have to warn you about the master bathroom layout – we were told that the actual unit will have a slightly different layout compared to what is shown in the showflat. However, the furnishing you get should be similar.

What we like:
  • Location – SUITES DE LAUREL is right across from Bukit Timah Plaza, diagonally across from Beauty World Plaza and short walking distances to the various eateries nearby. So amenities are aplenty. 

  • The project is approximately 5 minutes’ walk to the upcoming Beauty World MRT Station – ideal for owners/tenants without cars.

  • Primary school wise, you have a choice of Pei Hwa and Methodist Girls’ Primary that is within 1-km of SUITES DE LAUREL.
What we dislike:

  • Location – The stretch of road along Jalan Anak Bukit where SUITES DE LAUREL is sited is busy almost whole day round. So units facing the road may find it a tad noisy.

  • Unit size – 3-bedroom units of 915sqft and “penthouses” of 937sqft are waaaay too small for our liking.

  • The unit layouts are less than ideal – home shelter located in the living area, enclosed kitchen, lots of bay window etc. However, we were told that there is one unit type (Type N: 721sqft, 2-Bedroom) where there is no interior bay windows (i.e. the bay windows are outside of the unit and do not constitute as part of the unit’s total floor area) and another unit type (Type M: 915sqft, 3-Bedroom) where there is actually a small yard area and the home shelter is located in the yard.
Pricing wise, here is a sample for the different unit types

  • #05-08, 484sqft 1-bedroom unit (Type H): $791,520  or  $1635psf     (* This is supposedly the best 1-bedder unit in the whole project – highest floor and with full view of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserves *)
  • #04-04, 624sqft 1+1-bedroom unit (Type D): $863,940  or  $1385psf     (* This unit is located diagonally from the main entrance *)
  • #02-13, 721sqft 2-bedroom unit (Type N): $967,980  or  $1343psf     (* This is the unit with no interior bay windows – only unit left in this stack *)
Site Plan2

As of last Sunday morning, about 25 of the 72 units in SUITES DE LAUREL are already sold. All the 3-bedroom units and 3-bedroom penthouses have also been taken up.

The marketing agent claimed that there will be good demand for such smaller units at SUITES DE LAUREL, as they are popular as rental investments and with DINKs or working singles. This is especially when the other new projects in District 21 by bigger developers does not have similar unit sizes. We were told that the 1-bedder can expect to fetch a monthly rental income of $2.5k. However, the wife and I are less than convinced by the claims – most buyers and especially tenants will prefer a full-facility condo. A “Condominium Status” development will also generally command better rental and resale values than one with “Apartment Status”.

Click on below link to view full set of floor plans

Friday, July 23, 2010

Update on Singapore property market - July 2010

Here is the July update - our thanks as usual to Citibank and Mr. Nicholas Mak.

The one thing that caught our eyes was that compared to a year ago, non-landed property prices in the mid-tier segment grew at the fastest rate of 46.2% year-on-year (yoy), while average home prices in the high-end and mass-market sectors jumped by a relatively lower 35.7% and 36.1% yoy respectively.

Is this scary or what...

SG Market Update (July 2010)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Private Residential Units Sold (June 2010)

The following data is courtesy of Urban Redevelopment Authorities (URA).

The list includes projects that the wife and I have reviewed to date.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spottiswoode Park, UOL...?

Our blog has been receiving quite a number of hits for above. This relates to the new project at the site of the ex-Oakswood Heights/Spottiswoode Apartment along Spottiswoode Park Road.

United Overseas Land (UOL) has bought these two adjacent freehold sites via collective sales back in 2007. The developer's plan is to build a new project of about 350 units on the combined site.

Given the interest, I decided to swing by the site today to check on the status of the sales gallery/showflat.

As you can see from the photos taken, the sales gallery is not quite ready yet - the external structure is mostly up but it is still pretty much an empty shell within.

The sales gallery is rather huge though - it stretches from the main entrance area of Oakswood Heights all the way to the carpark area of the adjacent Spottiswoode Apartment plot.


The wife and I are eagerly waiting for the launch of this project, which is slated for the second half of this year. This project also carries special sentiments for yours truly - I have spent a good 7 of my younger years residing at Oaskwood Heights.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TERRENE @BUKIT TIMAH (Review - continue)

We pick up where we left off yesterday.

The second floor of the sales gallery features what the upper level of a 4-Bedroom Penthouse will look like. 

The master bedroom is located on the upper level. This comes across as much smaller than the one we saw in the 3-bedroom unit. This is probably because of the huge roof terrace area that took up quite alot of space on this level.
Master Bedroom (P)

The master bathroom is definitely more spacious than the one in the 3-bedder. However, the furnishing is similarly unimpressive.
Master bath (P1)

There is no bathtub in the master bath even for the penthouses. The other thing that we find quite strange is the two wall-mounted showers in the standing shower stalls. The wife and I have seen our fair share of "His" and "Hers" bathroom sinks and even wardrobes, but this is the first time we have come across a "His" and "Hers" shower!
Shower (P)

There is one other bedroom on this level but this felt more like a study given its small size. There is also a common bathroom outside the "study".

The roof terrace area is huge, so much so that it can accomodate a big jacuzzi (which comes standard with the 4 and 5-bedroom penthouses) and still have enough space to hold a small party for 6 - 8 people.

What we like:
• Location - The wife and I are not exactly big fans of the Jalan Jurong Kechil/Toh Tuck Road area, but it is a relatively straight road from TERRENE to PIE/Dunearn Road/AYE (via Clementi Road), all of which are just minutes’ drive away. However, we understand that the morning traffic along this stretch of road can be quite daunting.

• The upcoming Beauty World MRT Station is supposedly less than 500m from TERRENE. It is also fairly close to eateries and amenities along Bukit Timah Road.

• For those with kids entering primary school come 2015, there is a choice of Bukit Timah or Pei Hua Primary that are within 1-km of TERRENE.

• The Canadian International School (Elementary) and German European School are also within a kilometre from TERRENE, which may mean rental demands from expatriates with children attending these schools.

What we dislike:
• This is the third project by UOL (i.e. after Waterbank @Dakota and Meadows @Pierce) that the wife and I have seen since we began writing our blog. And we are disappointed a third time with the quality of furnishing at TERRENE.

• The common rooms in the showflats are too small for our comfort and please do not even get us started on the tiny utility aka maid’s room in the 3-bedder unit.

• Given the low-rise status (i.e. 5-storey) of this project, the external view of all outward facing units at TERRENE are likely to be blocked. And if you look at the facility offerings and their layouts, there is nothing much to look into even for the inward facing units.

Despite our grievances about TERRENE, there seems to be quite a lot of people that disagree with our take on the project. This is reflected by the extremely strong take-up rate – we were told that developers have sold more than 10 units over last Friday and Saturday alone, so it is not far-fetched to assume that TERRENE will be completely sold out within the next 1 - 2 months.

Price wise, we understand that this ranges from slightly below $1000psf for the penthouses to over $1250psf for the smaller units. So one can buy a 2000+sqft, 999-years tenure, 2-level penthouse in district 21 for about $2 million dollars. Granted that TERRENE is not exactly located at the most fancied part of district 21, but it is still a relatively good deal if you consider the current property market situation.

However, TERRENE is not a project that the wife and I will consider buying into, for obvious enough reasons.

Monday, July 19, 2010


District: 21
Location: Jalan Jurong Kechil/ Toh Tuck Road
Developer: UOL & LaSalle Investment Management
Tenure: 999-years
Estimated site area: 130,000sqft
Expected TOP: 31 March 2014
Description: 8 blocks of 5-storey each
Total number of units: 172
Total number of carpark lots: 172 + 4 handicapped (all basement)

The wife and I finally found ourselves at the sales gallery of TERRENE on Sunday morning. The much talked-about project was officially launched last Friday, but with only 42 of the 172 units left for sale.

The sales gallery is located at the actual site itself, i.e. the junction of Jalan Jurong Kechil and Toh Tuck Road. Entrance to the gallery is on Toh Tuck Road, but the actual condo entrance will be along Jalan Jurong Kechil.
Location Plan

The sales gallery was expectedly filled with both prospective buyers and agents alike, with many crowding around the site model and others roaming around the showflat.
Sales Gallery

The types of unit available at TERRENE are fairly standard. However, there is a vast number of penthouses (30) found in this project.

Unit Types & Sizes:
• 1-Bedroom (22 units): 506 – 624sqft
• 2-Bedroom (68 units): 915 – 1184sqft
• 3-Bedroom (44 units): 1109 – 1572sqft
• 4-Bedroom (8 units): 1550 – 1841sqft
• 3-Bedroom PH (14 units): 1733 – 2034sqft
• 4-Bedroom PH (11 units): 2067 – 2443sqft
• 5-Bedroom PH (5 units): 2659 – 3025sqft
Unit D1
Unit D2

In terms of facility, TERRENE has incorporated the standing offering found in most new condo project but in a nature setting. So you will find water-walls, gym that is set beneath a ridge and a "Bird's Nest" - which is essentially a playground/treehouse built around a big tree. However, there is no sky terraces (given the low-rise status) or tennis court. The wife and I actually found the facilities quite basic.
Site Plan

The primary showflat on display is a 1539sqft, 3-Bedroom ground-floor unit (Type C7G).
3Br FP

The wife and I were disappointed the moment we stepped into the showflat - the living/dining area is real tiny for a 1500+sqft unit. We were also not impressed with the small-slab marble flooring. All units come standard with 2.9m ceiling.
Living (3Br)

The kitchen is squarish and decent size. The quality of the L-shaped worktop and kitchen cabinets are nothing much to shout about. The unit comes with "Tekka" hood/hob/oven and that is about all the appliances you can expect.
Kitchen (3Br)

There is not much of a yard area to speak of, so doing laundry in here will be a challenge. The utility/maid's room is quite pathetic in size - it is long and narrow and so will probably fit a custom-made bed but nothing much else. A small bathroom is available opposite the utility room.
The two common rooms are a tad small. It comes with a modular wardrobe with "foldable" doors - not exactly classy looking.
C.Bedroom (3Br)

The common bathroom is good-sized and comes with 'Grohe" bathroom fittings and a standing shower stall. However, we are not particularly thrilled with the quality of furnishing - e.g. the not-very-appealing ceramic wall/floor tiles, wall cabinet with very sharp edges and bath sink that looked very "old-school".
C.Bathroom (3Br)

The master bedroom is surprisingly very spacious - one of the few things we liked about this unit.
The wardrobe has sliding doors this time, but it is quite non-descript.
Master Bedroom (3Br)

The master bathroom is quite small and you be disappointed if you are expecting a bathtub - it only has a standing shower stall with standard shower head. And unlike many other new condos, the master bathroom does not come with marble floor or walls.
Master bath (3Br)

The sales gallery of TERRENE also showcased what the upper level of a 4-Bedroom Penthouse unit will look like. We will review this section tomorrow and also tell you what we think about this project.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Home sales continue to slow in June

According to report in the BT today, home seekers bought just 847 private homes from developers in June.

This is the smallest number of new sales in a month since the start of the year. It is 22% lower than the 1,083 units sold in May and 62% below April’s 2,208 units.

But overall sales for the first half of the year have been strong. Developers offloaded 8,584 units from January to June – an average of 1,431 monthly. They did better compared with the same period last year, when they sold 7,374 units in total or an average of 1,229 monthly.

Purchases had started falling in May as the euro debt crisis and high prices caused interested buyers to think twice.

According to flash estimates from the URA two weeks ago, the private residential property prices index hit a new high in Q2, past the pre-Asian financial crisis peak.

Developers have also held back launches – they rolled out 1,010 homes in June, down 11% from 1,135 in May.

Buying activities was concentrated in the suburbs, reflecting market caution. Home hunters bought 429 homes in the outside central region, accounting for 51% of total sales. These included 77 units from Waterfront Gold at Bedok, which made its debut in June.

In the rest of central region, developers sold 275 units or 32% of the total.

Activity was quietest in the core central region with 143 units or 17% sold. New launches included Far East Organization’s Skyline @Orchard Boulevard, where two units changed hands for a median price of $3,839psf.

The Wave Song

This is so funny we just have to share it...


Thursday, July 15, 2010

New rules for collective sales take effect today...

New rules aimed at creating more clarity over collective sales kick in today, as reported in the ST.

A key change centres on when an attempt to sell an estate en bloc fails to garner enough backing from owners.

To discourage repeated attempts when there is insufficient interest, a two-year restriction period will be imposed after a failed collective sale attempt.

During this period, the first retry to convene an extraordinary general meeting to reappoint a sale committee will require the agreement of 50% by share value, or of the total number, of owners.

This is up from the current level of 20% by share value or 25% of the total number of owners.

For the second and subsequent retries, approval from 80% is needed.

To speed up the sale process, the Strata Titles Board (STB) will focus on its role as a mediator, instead of also trying to make rulings in disputed cases.

How much will the new rules dampen collective sales, especially if market sentiments continue to be red hot? Only time will tell…


Wednesday, July 14, 2010


As reported in the BT this week:

A collective sale is said to have been sealed for Meng Garden Apartments off Killiney Road for $137 million or about $1380psf ppr, including an estimated development charge of $681,000.

This is the biggest collective sale transacted this year and the first in a prime district.

It also takes the year-to-date tally to 16 deals at about $786 million.

Boutique developer TG Development, the buyer of Meng Garden, will not have to seek the Strata Titles Board’s approval for the transaction as 100% consent from the owners have been secured prior to the property being put up for tender last month.

The 35,639sqft freehold site is zoned for residential use with a 2.8 plot ratio and a 10-storey height control.

The site can potentially accommodate a new development with about 95 apartments averaging 1,000sqft each.

The 16 collective sales at $786 million so far this year is a marked improvement from last year’s solo deal of $100.8 million and the 2008 showing of eight transactions for a total $346 million.

Cavenagh Mansions, a District 9 freehold site, is said to have been sold for $42.38 million to a Malaysian developer. The price works out to about $1,025psf of potential gross floor area inclusive of an estimated $267,000 development charge.

The existing development is about 20 years old and comprises 21 apartments.

The 19,813sqft site is zoned for residential use with a 2.1 plot ratio under Master Plan 2008.

BBR Holdings has picked up Goodrich Park through a collective sale, for $86 million.

The price reflects a unit land price of $629psf ppr. No development charge is payable.

The 97,703sqft freehold site at Simon Lane is zoned for residential use with a 1.4 plot ratio.

As the collective sale has not garnered unanimous approval from owners, it will be subjected to approval from the Strata Titles Board.

The existing development was built in the 1980s. Owner of the 52 units stand to receive gross sale proceeds of between $1.55 million and $1.72 million – or about 70 to 80% more than what they could have obtained if they sold their units on an individual basis.

BBR says that the site, currently occupied by four blocks of four-storey walk-up apartments, can potentially be redeveloped into a five-storey condo comprising about 120 units of around 1,200sqft each. The company targets to launch the project sometime late next year.

The site is tucked away along a quiet cul-de-sac, yet close to Kovan MRT Station.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekend sales update: TERRENE & 368 THOMSON

As reported in the BT:


A further 46 units were sold over the weekend (as of 7pm on Sunday), in addition to the 50 that they had sold as of 10pm last Friday.

Thus far, 130 of the condo’s total 172 units have been put on the market. While the initial 85 units released by Friday were priced at about $1,250psf on average, the further 45 apartments offered on Saturday and Sunday were at marginally higher prices.

Even the big units and penthouses are selling well. More than half of the 30 penthouses in the project have been taken up. Prices of the penthouses in the condo range from $1.7 million to $2.9 million.

UOL and LaSalle Investment Management will release the balance 42 units at the condo’s official launch later this week.

Singaporeans form the majority of buyers, buying mainly for owner occupation.

Another 32 units were sold as at 6pm on Sunday, taking total sales to 128 units. Last Friday, CDL had sold 96 of the 120 units released initially in the 157-unit freehold condo.

The remaining 37 units were released progressively over the weekend at a marginal price increase of 2 – 3% from the initial average selling price of $1350psf.

The majority of the 32 units sold over the weekend were one+study units.

Singaporeans made up 75% of the 128 units sold.


Monday, July 12, 2010

368 THOMSON (Review)

Given the hype surrounding 368 THOMSON, the wife and I decided to go check out the project yesterday morning.

The sales gallery/showflat is located on the actual site at the junction of Thomson and Balestier Road.
location map2

368 THOMSON is a freehold development consisting of a single tower of 36-storey with 157 units. It resides on a 60,000sqft plot with a plot ratio of 2.8. The expected TOP of this project is 2015.

The unit types available at 368 THOMSON is fairly straight forward:
  • 1 + Study (31 units):  689sqft  - Face Jalan Raja Udang. 
  • 2-bedrooms (62 units): 872/883sqft  - Face Thomson Road.
  • 3-bedrooms (31 units): 1302sqft  - Diagonally facing Tan Tong Meng Tower & reservoir view.
  • 4-bedrooms (31 units): 1722sqft  - Face Balestier Road and City/CBD but supposedly with 270-degree view. Private lift access.
  • 5-bedroom penthouses (2 units): 3337/ 3391sqft  
unit distribution

There are 2 vehicular entrances into the condo – one along Thomson Road and the other via Jalan Raja Udang at the back of the condo, which is quite thoughtful and unusual for a small development.

368 THOMSON is marketed as a full-facility condo. However, the facilities are rather basic and are found either on the ground or the “sky terrace” level on the 3rd storey of the condo. Tennis enthusiasts will be largely disappointed as there is no tennis court in this development.
Site Plan

There are a total of 170 parking lots spread over 3 levels – basement, ground and first level.

The only showflat on display was the 1722sqft, 4-bedroom (Type D) unit. This comes with your own private lift lobby and lobby area. 

The first thing that struck us when we enter the showflat was how small the living/dining area looked for a 1722sqft unit. This is a long and rather narrow strip of an area, which looked rather “stingy” and a nightmare in terms of space utilization. However, both the wife and I were impressed by the good quality honed marble flooring provided. It also comes with 2.9m ceiling height.
living dining

The balcony is an odd-shaped area big enough to host a mahjong session comfortably. The only complaint we have about the balcony is the round pillar that stands out like a sore thumb in the outer corner. A long row of plant box surrounds the balcony, stretches across one side of the living room and wraps around the lift lobby area.

The unit comes with good-sized wet and dry kitchens. The wet kitchen is good sized and comes equipped with “Hansgrohe” kitchen fittings, “De Dietrich” hob/hood/oven and “Fisher & Paykel” fridge. The developer has even thrown in a “Brandt” wine for good measure. The solid-surface kitchen worktop and gross-finished cabinets have excellent workmanship and very pleasing to the eyes.

The yard area is one of the most generous we have seen for awhile, so you have plenty of space here to do and even hang up your laundry for drying. There is also a back door access through to the common lifts. The utility/maid’s room is, however, a tad small.

The two common bedrooms are tucked at one side of the unit, across from the master bedroom and junior suites. These two rooms are a bit small but regular shaped and comes with good quality wood floorings and wardrobe.

The common bathroom is sandwiched between the two bedrooms and is quite good sized with well thought-out furnishes, e.g. storage compartment behind the bathroom mirror. It also comes with a standing shower stall and “Hansgrohe/Bravat” bathroom and toilet fittings.

The junior suite seems a bit small and has a set of curved bay windows. The attached bathroom is decent sized and comes similarly fitted as the common bathroom.

The master bedroom is adjacent to the junior suite. This is very spacious and comes with one of the best looking set of wardrobe that we have ever seen in a showflat.
master bedroom
Master wardrobe

The highlight of the unit must be the master bathroom. It comes with a marble “feature wall” that blends well with the marble floor and gives the whole bathroom a very chic look. The furnishing is also well designed - the storage cupboard below the wash basin is actually compartmentalize, i.e. not just a “box with doors” that you normally get with other projects. And we loved the beautiful vanity top and oval-shaped mirror on top of the large rectangular wash-basin. The master bath also comes equipped with a long bath and an adjacent standing (rain) shower stall.
master bath

What we like:
• The well though-out designs and excellent quality of furnishings we saw in the showflat of 368 THOMSON, which is probably the best that we have seen since Parvis.

• The spacious yard area that allows you to confine all your laundry chores to.

• There is at least a choice of CHIJ Toa Payoh (for girls) or Balestier Hill Primary (co-ed) for primary schools that are within 1-km of 368 THOMSON.

What we dislike:
• Location – 368 THOMSON is in District 11 but it is located at what the wife and I deemed as the “least desired” part of District 11, i.e. right in front of the busy intersection between Thomson and Balestier Road. This is unless you find the sight and sound of traffic soothing.

• We are rather disappointed with the facility offering, especially when you only have one tower on a 60,000sqft plot. And “sky terrace” on the 3rd storey is kind of an oxymoron.

• The small living/dining area for the 4-bedders.

Pricing wise, following are two units of the 1722sqft 4-bedder that are still available as of yesterday morning:
• #11-05 - $2,312,400 or $1343psf
• #21-05 - $2,436,000 or $1415psf

The monthly maintenance for a 4-bedroom unit is about $496.

The project was opened to the public since last Friday and about 100 of the 120 units released have already been sold. All the 2-bedroom units are fully sold. This is hardly surprising – the developer (CDL) has obviously priced 368 THOMSON to sell, given the competitive pricing for this very high quality project versus other new developments in District 11. The wife and I are still somewhat uneasy about the actual site (i.e. at the intersection between two busy roads) and the unimpressive facility offering within the condo, but we reckon 368 THOMSON will be fully sold within the next 2 months.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


The ST reported that 96 of the 120 units launched at the 368 THOMSON were sold since previews began on Thursday.

The District 11 development was priced at an average of $1,350psf.

Sale prices ranged from $918,000 for a 689sqft “one+study” flat to $4.4 million for the 3,391sqft five-bedroom penthouses.

The 36-storey tower, which will be built on the former Concorde Residences site in Thomson Road, will have 157 units. They comprise 31 one-plus-study flats, 62 two-bedroom units, 31 three-bedders, 31 four-bedroom units and two penthouses.

City Developments (CDL) said it will release more units to cater to demand.

Most of the buyers were Singaporeans, with permanent residents and foreigners making up 25%.

The 368 THOMSON project is expected to be completed in 2015.

More than 50 out of the 85 units launched at the preview sale for developers UOL and La Salle’s business associates and staff were taken.

The average selling price for the 999-year leasehold condominium was $1,250psf.

The project offers over 140 one- to four-bedroom apartments and 30 three- to five-bedroom penthouses, all with rooftop Jacuzzis.

Sizes vary from 506sqft for a one-bedder to 3,025sqft for a five-bedroom penthouse. The development is expected to be ready by April 2014.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


BT reported that Frasers Centrepoint and Far East Organization have sold 93 of the 150 units released since June 25 at the Waterfront Gold condo. The average price for the 99-year leasehold project is $950psf.

Waterfront Gold comprises 361 units and will be the first condo in Singapore to feature a skypark. This will be on the roof of the 15-storey project.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

THE TERRENE & 368 THOMSON to preview this week

At least two new condos are expected to be released this week – 368 THOMSON and THE TERRENE @BUKIT TIMAH. This is according to a BT report today.

UOL Group and LaSalle Investment Management are jointly developing THE TERRENE on the former Rainbow Gardens site in the Toh Tuck/Jalan Jurong Kechil area.

The 999-year, 5-storey project will have 172 units, ranging from one bedders (starting from 506sqft) to five-bedroom penthouses (of up to 3,025sqft). It will be close to two green lungs – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park – and about half a kilometer from the Beauty World MRT Station, which is being built.

Prices of typical units are expected to be in the $1,200 - $1,400psf range. However, one bedders could touch around $1,500psf. Ground floor apartments with private enclosed areas could be priced closer to the $1,000psf mark.

In October last year, UOL announced it had taken a half-share in the Rainbow Gardens site, which had been bought by the LaSalle Asia Opportunity II fund in a collective sale a few years earlier.

TERRENE is being marketed by Knight Frank and Jones Lang LaSalle.

For UOL, the preview of THE TERRENE follows the virtual sell-out of its Waterbank @Dakota, a 616-unit condo fronting Geylang River and next to Dakota MRT Station. The 99-year leasehold condo’s launch in April was timed with the opening of the station.

Over in the Balestier/Thomson Road area, City Developments Ltd is getting ready to preview 368 THOMSON later this week on the former Concorde Residence site.

Prices in the 36-storey freehold development are expected to range from $1,300 - $1,500psf. The condo’s 157 units range from one-bedders to penthouses, with unit sizes of 689sqft to 3,391sqft. The project is being marketed by Huttons.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kim Keat site sold for $36 million

The BT today reported that boutique developer BS Capital has bought a freehold site at Kim Keat Road-Lorong Ampas for just over $36 million or $670psf of potential gross floor area, including an estimated development charge of almost $25 million.

The Colourscan building now stands on the 32,544sqft site, but the Urban Redevelopment Authority has approved rezoning from Business 1 to residential use with 2.8 plot ratio – the ratio of maximum potential gross floor area to land area.

BS Capital plans to develop a 20-storey project with about 160 apartments – mostly studios, and one and two-bedders – ranging from about 400 to 700sqft per unit. There will also be some four and five-bedroom penthouses.

The plan is to launch the proposed District 12 residential project within six months. The developer is targeting an average price of about $1,300 – 1,400psf.

BS Capital is also the developer of The Lumiere - a 99-year leasehold, 45-storey condo with 168 units off Shenton Way.


Monday, July 5, 2010

No yard, no problem?

A photo that the wife took as we drove past this high-end development over the weekend.


Each unit in this newish development cost in excess of $2 million and you see laundry hanging out in the balconies. Not exactly the right sort of image to project!

This is what happen when your apartment does not have a functional enough yard area to confine your laundry to. But we reckon they could at least invest in a decent dryer...


No showflat visit last weekend...

With Terrene @Bukit Timah and Waterfront Gold still not open to "public" folks like us, the wife and I suddenly found ourselves with no showflats to visit last weekend!

Well... at least "The Karate Kid" was worth the price of the cinema tickets.

We hope to resume our new property review next weekend so stay tuned.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lighter side of... One Amber

Remember One Amber? The project looks to be TOP-ing anytime now.
The wife and I first saw One Amber sometime in 2006 when it was launched. Price then was about $700+psf. The latest transactions saw units changing hands at over $1,400psf!
One Amber


Friday, July 2, 2010

Reported in BT today: Private home prices outstrip peak of '96

Private home prices in Singapore have now surpassed the former all-time peak they achieved in 1996, official data shows.

Flash estimates released yesterday said that private home prices in Singapore rose 5.2% in Q2 2010 after climbing 5.6% in the first three months of the year.

This brings the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) price index for private residential property to 184.1 points – 1.5% higher than the previous pre-Asian crisis peak of 181.4 points in Q2 1996.

Homes in the “outside central region” (a proxy for suburban mass-market locations) led the price increase with a 5.7% quarter-on-quarter climb in Q2.

Prices in the “core central region” (which includes the prime Districts 9 and 10, the financial district and Sentosa Cove) rose 5.1% while prices in the “rest of central region” rose 4.5%.

Home prices in the outside central region and rest of central region are higher than they were during the recent 2008 peaks. But prices in the high-end core central region are still about 2% below the 2008 peak.

While prices climbed across all three regions, analysts pointed out that recent government measures to cool the market have worked to some extent as the price growth has now slowed down for three consecutive quarters – although the deceleration in growth has been slower than what was hoped for, particularly in the mass-market segment.

There is also increasing price resistance, as demonstrated by more than 50% drop in sales of new homes in May. Developers sold just 1,078 private homes – about half the 2,208 units they transacted in April.

Most analysts expect private home prices to rise a total of 12-15% for the whole of 2010.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Introducing INESSENCE: High-end brand from Far East Organization

Far East Organization (FEO) launched its luxury development brand “Inessence” along with a sneak preview of Skyline @Orchard Boulevard yesterday, according to a BT report today.

Four developments – Skyline, Alba, Boulevard Vue and Scotts Tower will come under this brand.

Two hallmarks of the “Inessence” projects are the white plan concept which allows customers to customise the unit layout and the use of well-known architects, such as Arquitectonica and Fumihiko Maki.

“Inessence” was conceptualised one to two years ago, with the launch of Boulevard Vue and Alba.

FEO has been building the brand name through the buyers, one on one. And now that the product has proven itself, they are launching the brand.

Of the four projects, Boulevard Vue and Alba have already been launched. Skyline will be launched later this year, and will be priced from $3,900psf onwards.

Skyline will be built on the former Skyline Angullia site, which was bought by FEO in 2006 for $100 million, or at $1,073psf ppr. Breakeven was estimated then to be about $1,400psf. Currently, Alba is marketing for $2,900psf onwards and Boulevard Vue at $3,700psf onwards.

As of May, 9 out of 28 units at Boulevard Vue had been sold. In the month of May, two units were sold at an average price of $2,971psf. As of Alba, 18 out of 50 units have been sold. The transacted prices ranged from $2,000 - $2,550psf.
Boulevard Vue

Boulevard Vue’s units are large, ranging from 4,500sqft to 11,054sqft. In contrast, Alba’s and Skyline’s unit sizes start from $1,862sqft and $1,744sqft respectively. The expected TOP date for Boulevard Vue is 2013, Alba in 2014 and Skyline in 2015.

A launch date has not been set for Scotts Tower.