Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Foresque Residences & Belysa: Sales Status

More than 120 units of Wing Tai's Foresque Residences have been sold since the project was launched earlier this month. So far, 306 of the 496 units have been released for sale.

Belysa, an executive condominium in Pasir Ris, has moved 158 apartments - nearly half of its 315 units - since it launched last Wednesday. 


Enbloc News #2: Austral View sold for $81 million

Austral View at Tanjong Rhu, on a 30,540sqft site, was sold for $81 million through a collective sale to a Chinese developer which last month picked up the adjacent Fortredale (click on below for our previous post about the collective sale for Fortredale).


Austral View’s sale is subject to approval from the Strata Titles Board. CB Richard Ellis brokered the sale of the property, which works out to $1,342psf ppr inclusive of an estimated Development Charge (DC) of slightly over $5 million. The unit land price is the same as that achieved for next-door Fortredale, which was transacted at $65 million.

If amalgamated, the two freehold sites will result in a total freehold land area of 53,560sqft – sufficient for a new condo development of about 108 units averaging 1,000sqft. Both the Fortredale and Austral View sites are zoned for residential use with a 2.1 plot ratio and 24-storey maximum height under Master Plan 2008.

Source: The Business Times


Enbloc News #1: Dragon Mansion (the other block)

Prime residential freehold property Dragon Mansion at 14 Spottiswoode Park has been put up for collective sale tender by its sole marketing agent Jones Lang LaSalle.
Dragon Mansion

Another Dragon Mansion site, located at 18 Spottiswoode Park, was sold to Roxy Pacific subsidiary Roxy Land in December 2009 for S$100.8 million. It has since been redeveloped into the new Spottiswoode 18.

The land site for sale has a redevelopment area of 39,176sqft. It includes another land site housing a substation.

The redevelopment area has a gross plot ratio of 2.8 and its new property can be built up to 36 storeys. There is no development charge payable on the site.

Subject to approval, an adjoining state land of 1,167sqft costing about $1.22 million could be added into the redevelopment area.

This will bring the total land area including the state land to a potential gross floor area of 112,959sqft. It can yield about 112 apartment units at 950sqft each, said Jones Lang LaSalle.

Dragon Mansion comprises an 18-storey block with 68 units at 1,324sqft each. It is within walking distance to Outram MRT Station and Tanjong Pagar MRT Station, and a short drive away from the central business districts and daily amenities.

The indicative price for Dragon Mansion is between $150 million and $156 million, or from $1,340 to $1,392psf ppr, said Jones Lang LaSalle.

Jones Lang LaSelle's head of investments Stella Hoh said: "The subject site offers the potential developer an opportunity to acquire a prime piece of land in the CBD fringe area.

"Rejuvenation of Tanjong Pagar such as the relocation of the port and railway station and plans for Tanjong Pagar to be the next 'waterfront city' will inevitably add value to the potential of the subject site".

The Dragon Mansion tender closes at 3pm on July 5.

Source: Channel News Asia

With all the debates raging about whether Pine Grove or Laguna Park is the better site, THIS is the one that will probably be sold way before the other 2 sites!


Monday, May 30, 2011

Foresque Residences: Review (Part 2)

This unit in question is a 1432sqft, 4-bedroom (Type D2).
Type D2 (FP)
As you enter the main door, you find the living/dining room - this is a rectangular area that seems a tad small for a 4-bedder unit. However, it can still comfortably fit a 6-seater long dining table and a 3-seater sofa (see photo). The area comes with 60cm x 60cm compressed marble floors (Tree House only has homogenous-tile flooring) and 2.9m ceiling. 

The balcony is also rectangular-shaped and disproportionately large compared to the living/dining room - we reckon the area is about 100sqft. The marketing agent has suggested for the dining table to be pushed out to the balcony so that you get more living room space, which is a considerable option.

The kitchen is again a rectangular strip of an area and of fairly good size. You get top and bottom kitchen cabinets on both sides of the walls, which is quite generous. The kitchen also comes with "Turbo" hob/hood/oven/microwave from Italy (although we understand that some of their products are also manufactured in Taiwan) and a fridge (sorry but we forget to check the brand).

The "yard" area is actually just a tiny extension at the end of the kitchen, between the cupboard that houses the washer/dryer (separate units will have to be stacked one on top of the other) and the utility (aka maid's) room. The window in the "yard" provides natural lighting and ventilation to the kitchen. We were also told that an extendable laundry rack will be provided for you to hang your laundry outside the window.

One unique feature in the unit is found in the utility room - it comes with an attached bathroom! So the utility is probably designed with the maid in mind.

The common bathroom is decent-sized and comes with homogenous-tile floors and ceramic walls. You also get "Hansgrohe" bathroom fittings and "Bravat" toilet bowl/sink. We like the extra storage behind the bathroom mirror, in addition to the vanity cupboard below the bath-sink. However, you will have to make do with the standard wall-mounted shower in the shower stall.
Common Bath
common bath2

The other thing we like about the common bathroom is a "feature wall" made from ceramic tiles with a "wood-like" look/feel to it.

common bath3

The 2 common bedrooms are almost square-shaped and seem quite good size - the absence of bay windows may be a contributing factor. The bedrooms come with small timber-strip flooring, unlike Tree House where you only get laminate floors.
common bedroom

The junior suite is quite spacious (Queen bed recommended) , while the attached bathroom is also good-sized. But again you only get the standard wall-mounted shower in the shower stall.
Junior Suite
Junior Bath

The master bedroom will easily fit a King bed and it comes with a small L-shaped balcony that will allow you to place a small breakfast table and two chairs.
Master Bedroom

The master bathroom is huge and has compressed-marble floors and walls, which gives it a classy look. It also comes with a long-bath and an adjacent standing shower, which is nice. but what is even "nicer" is that the standing shower stall is fitted with both a rain-shower as well as wall-mounted shower.  
Master Bath

In case you are wondering what a 4-bedder in Foresque will cost you, here are prices for both a mid and high-floor units
• #06-10 (1432sqft, Type D2):   $1,484,000 or $1,036psf
• #21-10 (1432sqft, Type D2):   $1,656,500 or $1,156psf

We were told that for a limited period, developer is providing "stamp duty rebate" as incentive to buyers - this rebate will be given upon TOP of the project.

What we like:
• The layout of the blocks are designed to maximum the number of units with unblocked view.

• NO bay windows or planters for all unit types. This makes the apartments feel "bigger" than originally perceived. The 3- and 4-bedroom showflats are surprisingly spacious compared to the actual size.

• The quality of furnishing and fittings are definitely better than what we have seen in Tree House.

• Primary school wise, there are two within 1-km of Foresque: CHIJ Our Lady Queen (for girls) and Bukit Panjang Primary (co-ed)

What we dislike:
• Location - this is the main issue we have with Foresque, which is located almost in the middle of nowhere. The nearest amenities are those found around the Zhenghua HDB estate, which is probably a good 15 minutes' walk away. The Pending LRT station is at least a 10 minutes' walk, while you will need transportation to get to the nearest MRT Station (i.e. the upcoming Hillview Station, scheduled to be completed in 2015). The wife and I were told that a shutter-bus service to Hillview MRT Station will be provided to residents for the first year. However, we reckon that you are probably stuffed if you do not own a vehicle.

• There is no "wow" factor in the facility offerings in Foresque, which definitely pale in comparison to Tree House.

Our Verdict: At over $1000psf (which is a new price benchmark for 99-year projects in D23), the wife and I certainly expected more from Foresque Residences. Although the interior quality of the apartments are apparently better than Tree HouseForesque is still way too expensive if you take into account the project overall and especially the locale. Buyers of Tree House during its initial launch at average price of $830psf back in April of last year must be mighty proud of themselves now...


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Foresque Residences: Review (Part 1)

Project Name:   Foresque Residences
Tenure:   99-year leasehold wef 10 Jan 2011
Location:   Petir Road
District:   23
Site Area:   244,000sqft
TOP (estimated):   2Q 2014
Total Units:   496
No. of Blocks/Storey:   5 Blocks with 24-Storey each
Car Park Lots:   Basement Parking with 506 lots
Developer:   Wing Tai Asia

When the wife and I look at Foresque Residences, we cannot help but compare this project with its next door neighbour - Tree House. Both projects are similar in terms of tenure, location, land size and even down to total number of units (496 for Foresque versus 429 for Tree House).

As some of you may recall, Wing Tai bought the Foresque site for $177.4 million (or $345psf) in October last year. The site is along Petir Road - this is where the main entrance of Foresque is located - whereas you enter Tree House via Chestnut Drive.
Tree House 2(a)

For those of you who are concerned about the possible traffic noise coming from BKE (especially the two 4-bedder stacks in Block 105), you be pleased to know that the Foresque site is about 160m away from the BKE and separated by Zhenghua Park in between.
location map

Foresque is designed by Arc Studio Architecture & Urbanism - the same folks that gave us Pinnacle @Duxton - and consists of 5 blocks of 24-storey each (Tree House has only 4 blocks, also 24-storey each). The project was launched on May 15 with 7 stacks in 3 blocks released for sale
• Block 101:   Stacks #01, #02 & #05 (1-bedroom)
• Block 105:   Stacks #10 (4-bedroom), #11 & #12 (3-bedroom)
• Block 107:   Stack #14 (3+study)

The leasehold project offers a mix of 1 to 4-bedroom apartments as well as penthouses and cabana (ground-floor) units:
• 1-Bedroom: 463sqft
• 2-Bedroom: 667/ 710/ 732/ 743sqft
• 3-Bedroom: 1130 & 1184sqft
• 3+Study: 1238/ 1270/ 1281sqft
• 4-Bedroom: 1399/ 1421/ 1432sqft
• Penthouse: 1119 - 2573sqft
• Cabana: 1515 - 2013sqft

The penthouses and cabana units come with their own private Jacuzzis.
Schm Chart

The other unique feature of the project is that there is no 2nd floor in every block - the cabana units occupy the ground floor of each block and thereafter, the next level is the 3rd floor, which is elevated by some 20m from the ground. So your 3rd floor unit in Foresque is effectively as high as the 8th floor unit in Tree House.

In terms of facilities, Foresque does provide your fair share of different "themed" pools and pavilions as well as 2 tennis courts (ala Tree House). The club house also boasts of a function room, AV room and gourmet kitchen. However, the facility offerings seem somewhat "plain vanilla"  (at least to us anyway) compared to Tree House.

Site plan

Parking lots are available in the basement and you actually get a few more lots (506) versus the total number of units (496), which is quite rare these days.

There are three showflats on display at the sales gallery - this ranges from 2- to 4-bedroom units.

For the purpose of our review, we shall concentrate on the 4-bedder (Type D2) unit. Look out for the post tomorrow (or maybe the day after)!

Type D2


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our next review...

The wife and I were at the sales gallery of Foresque Residences yesterday.

The review will be posted as soon as we (or rather, I) shake off this nasty flu bug... kerchoo!

Sales Gallery


Somone asked about sales @ d'Leedon & Silversea?

The wife and I do not have the latest May 2011 sales (yet), but hopefully the YTD April figures will suffice.

d'Leedon & Silversea (YTD April 2011)


Friday, May 27, 2011

The rise of small units

Small apartment or condominium units - including the smaller "shoeboxes" - have captured the attention of the residential property market here in recent years with their popularity among buyers and the high per-square-foot prices that they are able to command.

This trend towards small units is also occurring in major cities such as London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. It is part of an evolutionary process where the rise in real estate values is accompanied by demographic and lifestyle changes.

There are now more singles and couples without children, people who spend less time at home and those who dine out more often, etc. And the trend is fast gaining momentum.

In 1996, there were only 114 transactions in Singapore involving small units of up to 60 sq m, based on caveats lodged, representing only 0.8% of the total number of private non-landed residential transactions.

The bull market in 2007 saw small units marketed in greater numbers, with 1,669 sold, accounting for 5.1% of non-landed transactions.

By last year, the number of sales involving such units had increased substantially to 4,240, or 13.3% of non-landed transactions.

This trend has continued into this year, with the first quarter seeing 1,121 small units sold, accounting for 19.3% of non-landed sales.

Since last year, transactions have involved units as small as 24 sq m, while more than a quarter of those within the 60 sq m threshold were between 30 and 40 sq m.

Absolute prices have varied from $350,000 for a secondary market unit to $2.72 million for a high-end one at Scotts Square. Unit rates also varied widely, with suburban units fetching around $800 psf, while the Scotts Square transaction was at $4,358 psf.

Purchasers of Small Units
Small units are only suitable for occupation by singles or couples without children. While some singles or couples have bought with occupation in mind, most of the buyers of small units have been investors. What is notable is that many HDB residents have been buying small units.

In 2007, of the 1,669 small units transacted, 35.9% of the buyers had HDB addresses. This proportion increased to 47.7% last year and 49.9% in the first quarter of this year.

The table shows that about 56% of small unit buyers with HDB addresses purchased at a price of $650,000 or less.
Today (27-05-2011)

Another 35% or so bought their units at between $650,000 and $1 million, while less than 9% purchased at beyond $1 million.

Buyers of small units with private addresses, on the other hand, were more active in the mid- to upper price ranges, with nearly two-thirds buying at $650,000 and above.

This suggests that buyers with private addresses are less constrained by their budgets compared to those with HDB addresses.

As most buyers with HDB addresses have families, it is unlikely that they bought the small units for upgrading. This shows a growing trend among HDB households to invest for rental returns.

But due to budget constraints, they are able to afford only the smaller units with lower absolute prices. Anecdotally, we have heard of that ideal financial or retirement arrangement where one continues to live in an HDB flat while having a private property to provide rental income.

Examine the Fundamentals
Did the buyers of small units, especially those who are more budget-constrained, buy because they genuinely assessed that the product would fetch a good return or were they drawn by the affordable absolute price per se?

With an increasing supply of small units, will there be sufficient rental or owner-occupier demand? If the size of the unit is too small, would it be practical for living? If a development has a high proportion of small units, what will be the impact of the increased density on the living environment and traffic? These are issues that buyers of small units should ponder over.

Small units are not sure winners when it comes to leasing and will be subject to competition from others on the market.

Only those with strong attributes will attract tenants readily and at good rental. Generally, these would be centrally located, within or near the city or in proximity to amenities and transport.

As the trend towards small units continues, buyers will be presented with even more investment opportunities but they have to consider the fundamentals thoroughly in order to make better buying decisions.

Source: TODAY online

In other words, not all small units are built equal, despite the common perception of affordability of such units. So caveat emptor!


Pearlbank Enbloc Status: Erm...?!

More than a day has passed since the tender for Pearlbank Apartments closed at 3pm on May 25. However, there has been no news from anywhere concerning the tender status.

The wife and I are now wondering if Knight Frank is doing a "Pine Grove" on us all with regards to the tender result of Pearlbank...

If anyone has any update on the above collective sale, do share!

pearlbank apt2


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Unsold units from GLS residential sites: Sim Lian tops the list!

Sim Lian Group has the highest number of unsold residential units in its land bank - some 2,781 homes - built up from government land sales (GLS) sites bought in 2010 and 2011, a new report shows.

According to the new report from Knight Frank, Sim Lian has in its portfolio 1,441 private homes, 600 executive condo (EC) units as well as 680 HDB flats that will be offered for sale under the design, build and sell scheme (DBSS).

City Developments was placed second. The developer has 211 private homes and 1,060 EC units left from GLS sites it bought from 2010 onwards.

Five other developers each have more than 800 unsold units from GLS sites acquired in the last 17 months: United Engineers, Hong Leong Group, Far East Organization, MCL Land and Chip Eng Seng.

Developers are likely to grow their land banks in the second half of this year as the government is expected to roll out another bumper supply of residential sites under its twice-yearly GLS programme, Knight Frank said.

“We expect a significant new supply of private housing for the H2 2011 GLS programme to meet demand,” said Knight Frank’s head of consultancy and research Png Poh Soon. In particular, more new EC sites could be released following the strong take-up seen for recent EC launches such as Esparina Residences, Prive and The Canopy, he said.

“Developers with a sizeable number of mass market homes in their land banks are likely to be more selective. Some may choose to offload their existing land banks before acquiring new sites, creating a window of opportunity for others,” Mr Png said.

Developers with substantial land banks should be able to clear their stock if demand for mass market homes continues to hold up in the absence of new cooling measures, he added.

Savills Singapore similarly noted that demand for mass market homes can be expected to remain robust in the coming months. “With more mass market launches coming on stream, the fresh infusion of housing would bring more attractively priced units onto the market,” Savills said in a new report.

But analysts noted that policy changes could soften demand for private properties as well as ECs and DBSS flats.

To determine the housing stock held by each developer, Knight Frank reviewed all the winning bids for GLS sites launched in 2010 and year-to-date 2011, then discounted those units that have already been sold in launched projects.

Source: The Business Times

Two things come to our minds after reading the above news report:

• The housing stock held by each developer is actually much higher if you include all the unsold homes from privately acquired (collective sales) sites – if we recall correct, the last count by Kim Eng Research back in mid-April 2011 was over 20,000 units!

• Everyone is worried about new/additional property cooling measures by the Government, but nobody seems concern that the global economy may just head south in the next couple of months…


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Foreigners buying more pricey homes while Singaporeans do the reverse...

The proportion of private homes bought by foreigners jumped to 16% in the first three months of 2011 – the highest quarterly percentage ever recorded since Q1 1995, when the data was first made available for analysis.

The previous high of 15% came in Q4 2007, at the height of the last property boom. DTZ, which analysed caveats lodged for both new and secondary sales, said that foreigners accounted for 13% of all private home purchases in Q4 2010.

DTZ’s analysis also shows that more foreigners bought high-end homes in Q1 2011. For homes that cost $1.5 million and above, the proportion of purchases by foreigners rose to 21% in the quarter, up from 17% in Q4 2010.

But on the other hand, more Singaporeans picked up homes for under $500,000. According to DTZ, Singaporeans accounted for 80% of purchases below $500,000 in Q1 2011, up from 72% a quarter earlier.

This reflects the smaller budget among Singaporean buyers, said DTZ’s South-east Asia research head, Chua Chor Hoon.

Anecdotal evidence from the ground confirmed the trend.

Wendy Tang, Knight Frank’s director of residential services, said that the proportion of foreigners and permanent residents (PRs) who bought units in new launches marketed by Knight Frank rose to 31% in the first quarter of 2011, up from 20 – 25% in earlier quarters.

DTZ also found that the ratio of mainland Chinese (both foreigners and PRs) among non-Singaporean buyers reached a new high of 24% in Q1 2011 – the first quarter that they are the top foreign purchases of residential properties in Singapore.

The Chinese overtook the Malaysians, who have held the top position since Q2 2008. The Malaysians’ share among non-Singaporeans dipped from 24% in Q4 2010 to 21% in Q1 2011.

DTZ, which downloaded the caveats on May 10, found 6,368 caveats lodged for private homes sold in the first quarter – some 25% lower than the 8,455 transactions recorded in Q4 2010 as a new round of cooling measures implemented by the government on Jan 14 affected demand.

The most significant fall was for secondary sales in February, with 745 caveats compared to 1,664 in January 2011 and 1,890 in December 2010.

However, the volume rebounded to 1,592 caveats in March, close to the January level, as the knee-jerk reaction to the cooling measures appeared to wear off.

The primary market showed less adverse effects from the cooling measures.

Developers sold 1,210 new units in January, just slightly below the 1,332 units sold in December 2010. And following the cooling measures, February’s new sales volume defied expectations with about 1,100 units sold.

The new sales number the recovered by March to record close to 1,400 units as the sustained level of launches and liquidity in the market continued to drive demand.

But analysts also warned policy changes could dampen demand in the coming months.

Source: The Business Times


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Laguna Park Enbloc: Maths tutor needed!

The Straits Times today has reported on the $1.33 billion asking price for Laguna Park, which you probably have already heard about. Laguna Park comprises 516 residential apartments and 12 commercial units.

It goes on to say that the asking price includes about $250 million to top up the 99-year lease and a development charge of almost $269 million to enhance the property’s use.

And if the latest bid comes off, residents of the 34-year-old condo each stand to receive between $2.35 million for a 1,453sqft apartment and $4.5 million for a 3,369sqft penthouse unit. All 12 of the Laguna Park’s commercial units are 1,636sqft and are owned by HDB, which stands to receive a total of $22.2 million from the development’s sale.

The wife and I are struggling with the Maths somewhat:

Asking Price = $1.33 billion = $1330 million

(minus) Lease Top-up = $250 million

(minus) Development Charge = $269 million

(minus) Proceeds for 12 Commercial Units = $22.2 million

Nett Proceeds for remaining 516 Residential Units = $788.8 million

For the sake of simplicity, if we assume all 516 residential units are of the same size (which they are not), each unit will expect to get ($788.8/516) = $1.53 million

So how did ST come up with the figure of $2.35 million for a $1,453sqft apartment..?

Given the supposed $975psf ppr asking price, we suspect the $1.33 billion excludes the cost of lease top-up and DC...


Terrasse: Latest sales status

MCL Land has sold 150 of the 200 units it has released at its 414-unit Terrasse condo in Hougang.

The average price for the 99-year leasehold, five-storey development in Hougang Avenue 2, whose preview started on Saturday (May 21), is $950psf. The cheapest unit in the project costs $580,000 for a 506sqft one-bedroom unit on the second floor, which works out to $1,146psf.

The development also has two to four-bedders as well as nine five-bedroom penthouses of about 2,217sqft each costing up to $1.85 million ($834psf). MCL has released four of the five-bedroom penthouses, of which two have been sold. The developer has yet to release 15 garden duplex units of about 2,490sqft each spread over the ground and basement levels.

All unit types received even interest, with 90% of the buyers locals and permanent residents. The rest were foreigners from countries including Malaysia and China. 60% of buyers have HDB addresses, many of them within 3 to 5-km of the project.

The project’s design affords views of either a water feature or swimming pool for nearly 80% of the units.

The project will include a tennis court, a multipurpose court as well as three clubhouses.

Source: Straits & Business Times

Monday, May 23, 2011

Okio Residences (Review)

Project Name:   Okio Residences
Tenure:   Freehold
Location:   262 Balestier Road
District:   12
Site Area:   22,285sqft
TOP (estimated):   4Q 2015
Total Units:   104 apartment units + 10 shops/offices
No. of Blocks/Storey:   1 Block of 18-Storey
Car Park Lots:   Multi-storey Parking with 114 lots
Developer:   SDB Asia Pte Ltd

The wife and I decided to visit the sales gallery of Okio Residences over the weekend. This is a freehold project by Malaysian developer Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB).

Sales Gallery

The actual site of Okio Residences is at Balestier Road (where Balestier Complex used to be). However, the sales gallery is located along Clemenceau Avenue North, diagonally across from Newton Hawker Centre.

Some of you may wonder how the name Okio Residences comes about. “O kio” actually means “Black Bridge” in Hokkien and apparently, the Hokkien used to refer to Balestier Road as “O kio”.
Location Map

Okio Residences consists of 1 block of 18-storey each. It is a mixed development with apartments from the 5th to 18th storey, while 4 shop and 6 office units occupy 1st – 4th storey. The project was launched back in February and more than 80 of the 104 apartment units have already been sold as of last weekend.

The freehold project offers a mix of 1 and 2-bedroom “small format” apartments as well as penthouses:
• 1-Bedroom (48 units):   420 & 431sqft
• 1-Bedroom Garden Villa (4 units):   452 & 463sqft
• 2-Bedroom (44 units):   570 & 592sqft
• 2-Bedroom Garden Villa (4 units):   657 & 667sqft
• Penthouses (4 units):   1044 & 1098sqft

The Garden Villas are basically ground-floor (5th floor rather) units that come with private terraces and direct access to the pool deck. The penthouses are duplex units that come with private Jacuzzis.

As can be expected, the facility offerings at Okio Residences are rather basic. Everything is located on the 5th floor:
• 25m Lap Pool (1)
• Hydrotherapy Spa Pool (2)
• Pool Deck (3)
• BBQ Area (4)
• Poolside Gym (5)
Site Plan

Parking lots are available in the 4 levels of multi-storey carpark, with one lot per unit. The marketing agent will have you believe that there is more than sufficient parking lots given that many residents (especially the 1-bedders) will probably not own cars. So if you own more than one car, you better hope that it’s true.

There is only one showflat on display – this is a 570sqft, 2-bedroom unit (Type B2).
Type B2

The living/dining area and kitchen are all contained in a small rectangular space. However, the developer has done a very good job with space planning.

The kitchen and dining area stretches along one side of the wall, with a “pull out” dining table (included) that should comfortably sits four. The units comes with integrated fridge, induction cooker hob and hood, oven and washer/dryer (all from “Bosch”) as well as all the cabinets you see in the photo below. Even the sofa is provided, which can be converted into a bed if needed. You get a ceiling height of 2.95m, while the flooring throughout the whole apartment is made of “engineered wood” – this consists of three layers, i.e. oak, compressed timber and plywood. You will also find a small home shelter (just after the main door and to your left) as well as a small balcony at the end of the hall.

The common bedroom is small, but if you place the bed in the same manner as shown in the showflat, you can actually free up quite alot of space! The integrated wardrobe/storage cupboards/study table you see in the photo comes standard with the unit.
Common Bedroom

The master bedroom is good for a “Queen” bed but nothing much else. The room opens out to another balcony, which we felt is an overkill given the size of the apartment. (* Sorry but we were unable to show you the master bedroom *)

There is only one bathroom in the whole apartment, but this is surprisingly spacious and well-designed to save on space (e.g. storage cabinets behind the mirror).  It is fitted with homogenous-tile floor/walls and “Duravit” toilet and “Grohe” bathroom fittings.

The most unique feature of the whole apartment is actually found in the standing shower stall – a door actually opens out to an air-con ledge that also doubles as the laundry area. It comes equipped with a “laundry drying” system (i.e. hangers attached to a set of pulleys that allow you to air-dry your laundry), which is both practical and quite cool in terms of design.
Laundry Area

Price wise, a 570sqft, 2-bedder (Type 2B) unit on the 14th floor (#14-08, facing the lap pool) will cost you $881,600 or $1,547psf. Alternatively, you can purchase a 420sqft, 1-bedder (Type 1B) unit on the same floor (#14-04, backward facing) for $713,300 or $1,698psf.

Monthly maintenance charges will set you back around $320 for the 2-bedder or $280 for the 1-bedder.

What we like:
• The efficient use of space and well thought-out interior design, which is extremely important for apartment of such (small) size.

• Amenities are conveniently located within short walking distances, whether be it for food, marketing (Whampoa Market) or even shopping. Also easy access to PIE, CTE and ECP.

• Two primary schools within 1-km of Okio Residences – St. Joseph Institution Junior (boys) & Hong Wen Primary (co-ed). However, we reckon this may not be an important consideration as the project may not really appeal to families (given the unit size).

What we dislike:
• Location – Okio Residences is located along Balestier Road, which is quite a busy road throughout the day. As such, we reckon that apartments facing the main road (i.e. the 2-bedders) will be a tad noisy, unless you keep the windows closed (and air-condition on) the whole time.

• This may sound anal, but the wife and I find the number of budget hotels around Okio Residences somewhat disturbing.

• The wife and I have reservations about mixed-developments, as the quality of tenants that occupy the shop and office units may have a huge impact on the value (perceived or otherwise) of the apartments.

• The quality of furnishing and fittings can certainly be better given the asking price of the units. The soft furnishings (e.g. sofa and dining table) are especially disappointing.

Our Verdict: Okio Residences is definitely one of the better “small format” projects (in terms of interior design and space planning within the apartments) that we have come across so far. We reckon that the development will probably appeal to singles or DINKS who enjoy living in the Balestier area, but less so for family units. However, one may find the price (in excess of $1,500psf) too steep for comfort despite its freehold status.


Enbloc News: Laguna Park to price at $1.33 billion

Laguna Park, a residential redevelopment site in District 15, is up for en bloc sale at an expected price of $1.33 billion.

This is the second time the development has been put up for sale, with a previous attempt in October 2009.

Sole marketing agent Knight Frank said the prime leasehold site is located along Marine Parade Road and has a land area of nearly 63,000 square metres.

The land is zoned for residential use at a plot ratio of 2.8.

Laguna Park currently comprises 516 residential apartments and 12 commercial units with sizes ranging from 135 square metres to nearly 315 square metres.

Knight Frank said this translates to a land price of $975 per square foot per plot ratio, based on the potential gross floor area of about 176,000 square metres and the expected price of $1.33 billion.

It added Laguna Park is a rare site where potential developers can capitalise on the unblocked sea views which span 300 metres and a clear city skyline.

The tender will close in the afternoon of July 5.

Source: Channel News Asia


Friday, May 20, 2011

Belysa: 86 applications received on the first viewing day for this new EC

NTUC Choice Homes has launched its first executive condominium (EC) in Pasir Ris since 2002.

Belysa was open for viewing from today (Friday) till next Monday. Sales bookings will open from May 25.

As at 6pm today, about 86 applications were received - nearly a third of the 315-unit development.

The condo which is located near the Pasir Ris MRT station will boast a full range of condominium facilities.

The 3-bedroom units range from 829 to 1,216sqft and will cost between $574,000 and $841,000.

The biggest 4-bedroom unit is about 1,420sqft, costing $952,000.

Source: Channel News Asia


Thursday, May 19, 2011

And the en bloc wheels keep on turning: Laguna Park

Laguna Park residents will be pocketing about $2.2 million each from the successful sale of the property, which will be put up for tender on May 24.
Laguna Park

With a plot ratio of 2.8, Laguna Park's price works out to $975psf ppr.

The 528-unit, 677,493sqft property is making a second collective sale attempt with Knight Frank as its sole marketing agent.

Knight Frank said the 33-year-old Laguna Park possesses many quality traits - it is the only available landsite along Marine Parade with a seafront view and it sits on a rectangular-shaped plot.

But the winning buyer would be tasked with a potential 1,580 units for the redeveloped site, said Mr Tan Tiong Cheng, chairman of the Knight Frank marketing team handling Laguna Park's sale.

He maintains that with a rectangle-shaped plot, a consortium of developers could split the land up and sell the units in phases.

The firm is currently marketing the project to large property developers as well as a number of foreign ones.

Knight Frank has also highlighted Pine Grove as one of the key competitors to Laguna Park.

On top of Pine Grove, the marketing agent pointed out the large supply of government land and other key en bloc projects as competition.

Meanwhile, the overall sentiment among residents of Laguna Park is one of confidence.

"Residents are more positive about the sale this time around because property market is more robust and developers are building up their land bank now. The previous time it was put on sale was about 2009, when the property market sunk due to the Lehman Brothers crisis," said a resident who declined to be named.
Source: TODAY
Good luck to residents of Laguna Park on their collective sale. They will probably need lots of it...


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just when you think you have enough of en bloc news: Elizabeth Tower

Elizabeth Tower, located in the heart of Orchard Road's shopping belt, is up for en bloc sale at an asking price of $630 million.

Marketing agent Credo Real Estate said the freehold development would be a perfect fit for a luxury homes branded developer.

The development has a land area of above 54,000sqft, with 80 units ranging from just under 2,000 square feet to above 3,100 square feet.

As such, Credo said unit owners stand to receive minimum gross prices of between $6.3 million and $9.7 million, while the penthouse owners could walk away with at least $14.2 million.

Elizabeth Tower has been designated with a gross plot ratio of 2.8 under the Master Plan, but Credo said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has confirmed that the development baseline plot ratio is actually 4.84.

Gross floor area is around 278,000sqft, including the additional 10 per cent gross floor area of balcony.

As such, Credo said the new development may be configured into 132 apartments with an average size of 2,000sqft.

It added that Elizabeth Tower is part of the ultra-prime residential sites off Orchard Road where there are only two dozen sites.

In 2006 and 2007, there were 14 of such sites that were sold to developers, but since then, no sites had been put up for sale.

Observers said Singapore, with its booming economy and as the financial capital of the region, should see growth in luxury home prices.

Credo expects the break-even price to be at about $3,000 to $3,100psf based on the asking price of $630 million.

Some units at the nearby freehold The Ritz-Carlton Residences had fetched $3,762psf, and $4,307psf, in February.

The tender will close in the afternoon on June 22.

Source: Channel News Asia


Foresta @Mount Faber: Review (Part 2)

The other showflat in the sales gallery of Foresta is a 926sqft, 2-bedroom ground-floor unit (Type C2G).

For those who are not interested in ground floor units (read: large PES), the typical Type C2 unit is 786sqft.

The kitchen is on your left as you enter the unit. And unlike the 1-bedroom apartment, the kitchen is distinctly separated from the living/dining room. It comes equipped with similar furnishing and kitchen appliances as the 1-bedder. However, you get homogenous tiles for the kitchen floor, which we reckon is more appropriate than marble. The wife and I also like the “pull out” storage cabinet between the integrated fridge and washing machine (see photo).

The living/dining room is rectangular-shaped and is spacious enough for a small sofa set plus a 4-seater dining table. It comes with similar 90cm x 90cm large marble-slab floor and 4.2m high ceiling (3.2m for 2nd floor and above). 

The common bathroom is almost square-shaped and of decent size. It comes with homogenous-tile walls and floors as well as “Keramag” toilet and “Grohe” bathroom fittings. The wife and I were slightly disappointed with the standing shower stall, which has a rather “plasticky” look to it.
Common Bath

The common bedroom is small - the photo we took is actually quite flattering compared to the actual size. Maybe this is the reason why there is no bay window for this project? (else the bedrooms will be even smaller!)
Common Bedroom

The master bedroom seems surprisingly smaller than the one in the 1-bedder showflat. And instead of separate “His” and “Hers” set of wardrobe, you get the standard “2-panel” wardrobe here.
Master Bedroom

The master bathroom is quite good size, with similar look and feel as the common bathroom. This is with the exception of the shower stall, which looked more appealing than the one in the common bathroom. However, those expecting a bath tub or maybe “rain shower” (as a consolation) will be disappointed.
Master Bath

Price wise, this is what you can expect to pay for a 2-bedder unit in Foresta:
• #02-28 (721sqft, inward-facing): $1,369,900 nett or $1,900psf
• #02-01 (667sqft, inward-facing): $1,267,000 nett or $1,900psf

What we like:
Foresta is about 450m away from the upcoming Telok Blangah MRT station and 980m away from Harbourfront MRT station - not exactly at your doorsteps but still within reasonable walking distances. Vivocity is also supposedly a 10-minutes walk away, which may appeal to those working in Harbourfront or thereabouts.

• The high ceiling (4.2m/3.2m), which is especially welcomed given the (small) size of the units.

• The quality of furnishing provided – we like the well-designed kitchen, the good quality marble floors and the appealing wardrobes.

• Two primary schools are within 1-km of Foresta – Radin Mas & Blangah Rise Primary.

What we dislike:
• Location – We were unimpressed with the “sights” around Foresta. The surrounding buildings looked rather dated and poorly maintained, which gives the whole area a rather “sad” look. Granted that all these may change by the time Foresta is completed in 4 years’ time, so one can always hope!

• We suspect the stretch of roads outside Foresta (i.e. Morse Road & Wishart Road) will be rather congested during the weekends, as you probably find cars belonging to church-goers (there are at least 4 churches along that short stretch of roads) parking on both sides of the narrow roads.

• Many marketing agents for Foresta will tell you that the project faces Keppel Club and Reflections at Keppel Bay. But in reality, there is not much in terms of view for “outward facing” units in Foresta given the height of the project (5-storey) – you either face the row of old shophouses/the flyover along Telok Blangah Road (for front-facing units) or Pender Road along the foot of Mount Faber (for back-facing units). So the “best facing” units are probably the inward (pool-facing) ones.

• Speaking of inward-facing units - the distance between Blocks 100/102 and Blocks 106/108 is a mere 15 metres. This is a tad too close for our comfort but good news for curtain/window-blind makers.

• The amount of PES/balcony space is disproportionately large compared to the overall size of the unit. Do you really need two balconies (one in the living room and one in the master bedroom) for a 700sqft, 2-bedroom unit? This is especially when you are paying full price for the balcony space!

Our Verdict: The wife and I feel that Foresta is hardly value for money by any stretch of our imaginations. The project is average at best in terms of location (at the wrong “foot” of Mount Faber), mediocre in terms of its facility offerings and not quite “high end” enough in terms of interior quality (some furnishing in the showflat we really like but not enough to pay the kind of money the developer is asking). At $1,900psf or above, one can still have quite a few options for freehold projects even at current market prices. However, given the rate at which units in Foresta have been snapped up so far, maybe the buyers knew something that we don’t…?!


And speaking of en bloc...

P.Valley enbloc

We reckon if you do not succeed the first four or five times, try and try again...

You certainly cannot fault them for their efforts and preseverance!


Brookvale Park going en bloc?

A reliable source told us that Brookvale Park has gotten 80% consent to put the development out for collective sale.

They are currently working on the reserve price, so we can expect an official announcement within the next couple of weeks.

Brookvale Park is a 999-year devlopment located at the end of Sunset Way. It was completed in 1983 and has 160 apartment units in total.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

April 2011 private home sales data: At a glance

So the pertinent questions become:

• Will May sales outstrip the April’s number?
• Will the Government take further action if the sales numbers continue to be so robust?

Today (17-05-2011)

BT (17-05-2011)