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Two new condos won't come cheap
But Tanjong Katong and Bishan projects boast good locations
The Straits Times - April 6, 2012
By: Esther Teo
RESIDENTIAL projects to be launched in Bishan and Paya Lebar this month will test the market's appetite for ever rising prices.
UOL Group's mixed-use Katong Regency in Tanjong Katong Road will be pushed out by the end of this month while buyers will be able to snap up units at CapitaLand's 509-unit Sky Habitat in Bishan Street 14 from April 14.
UOL Group president (property) Liam Wee Sin told The Straits Times that prices of the 244 units at Katong Regency on the former Lion City Hotel site will average $1,500 to $1,600 per sq ft (psf).
Industry sources said that indicative prices for Sky Habitat range from $1,700 to $1,800 psf.
Both projects are in suburban or city fringe areas but experts said their benchmark prices, which are on a par with some city centre developments', are due to their good locations near MRT interchanges and the nature of the product.
Mr Tan Kok Keong, OrangeTee's research and consultancy head, said that despite these high prices, the market might just surprise.
'While the take-up rate might not match some launches in outlying areas, it is likely to be decent,' he added.
More than half of the units at freehold Katong Regency are smaller one-bedders or one-plus-study units starting from 549 sq ft. These will be priced at about $1,800 psf, while larger units will list at about $1,400 psf. This means one-bedders at the project will go for about $1 million upwards, two-bedders at $1.3 million to $1.4 million while three-bedders will be sold at about $1.9 million.
'To some extent, the smaller units will target investors and also young couples... The key value proposition of this development is its centrality, connectivity and the growth potential of Paya Lebar hub,' Mr Liam said.
At a separate briefing yesterday at the Sky Habitat sales gallery that cost more than $6 million to build, CapitaLand said that almost 60 per cent of the units at the 99-year leasehold project will be three-bedders or larger.
One selling point is that renowned Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, who drew up the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, designed the Bishan project.
Both developers also touched on the state of the market, and noted that with global sentiment improving with more clarity in Europe's situation and with interest rates remaining low, the market is likely to remain 'sustainable'.
UOL's Mr Liam said he does not think further cooling measures are needed despite the strong sales of new homes. While volumes are up, the measures have had their intended effect with prices showing signs of slowing, he added.
He expects suburban prices to be stable while high-end home values might dip by 5 per cent to 10 per cent this year.
Private home prices took a breather after almost three years, dipping 0.1 per cent in the first quarter.
The redevelopment of the mixed-use site UOL acquired in January last year will see Katong Regency built on top of a new mall, One KM.
The mall, which has signed Cold Storage as an anchor tenant, will have up to 200 shops and be positioned as an edutainment centre.