After years of decline, prices of residential properties in Singapore are finally starting to trend upwards. The recovery is especially pronounced in the luxury segment, as prices in prime areas were the most affected over the past three years.

The increasing number of buyers who now feel that prices of high-end properties in Singapore are more affordable than in cities like London or Hong Kong are contributing to the upcycle, says Tay Kah Poh, executive director and head of residential services at Knight Frank.

In this article, we will look at condos in the Core Central Region (CCR) that saw the highest levels of demand this year. Based on new sale and resale caveats that were lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), we measure demand for these condos by comparing the number of units at the development to the number of units that were sold this year.

1) Pollen & Bleu

D10 – Farrer Drive

Tenure: 99 years leasehold

Completed in: 2016

Number of units: 106

Average psf: $1,954

The high-end boutique development by SingLand saw robust sales after it was relaunched with a deferred payment scheme(DPS) in February 2017. Under the scheme, buyers only need to pay a 20% down payment, with the remaining 80% payable 24 months later.

About 82% or 87 of the 106 units at the development were sold between February and June 2017 at an average transaction price of $1,993 psf. Prior to that, only 13 of the 28 units that had been launched since May 2015 were sold, at an average transaction price of $1,912 psf.

Based on caveats lodged, the highest selling psf price at the development was $2,369 psf, when a 1,432 sq ft four-bedder unit on the seventh floor fetched $3.39 million in May 2017. Meanwhile, the lowest selling psf price was $1,725, when a 1,270 sq ft three-bedder unit on the second floor changed hands for $2.2 million in the same month.

The most recent sales transaction at Pollen & Bleu took place in June 2017, during which a 1,163 sq ft two-bedder unit on the second floor changed hands for over $2 million ($1,729 psf).

Based on our research, about 58% of owners at Pollen & Bleu are Singaporeans. The development, which comprises units ranging from 549 sq ft one-bedders to 1,593 sq ft four-bedder, is located just 435m away from Farrer Road MRT Station. It also contains two-bedroom loft units and a mix of three- to five-bedroom duplex penthouses ranging from 1,841 to 2,831 sq ft.

2) One Balmoral

D10 – Balmoral Road

Tenure: Freehold

Completed in: 2016

Number of units: 91

Average psf: $2,209

One Balmoral is a redevelopment of a condo bearing the same name. Hong Leong had paid $125 million for the 43-unit apartment block in 2007, which translated to a record price of $1,188 psf per plot ratio for the Balmoral area.

The project was fully launched in 2013, when units transacted at a starting psf price of $2,549. In November 2016, Hong Leong offered a 13 percent discount on prices of all units at One Balmoral, as well as a DPS, which brought the sales tally to 63 units (of 91 units) or 69% of the development between March and November this year. The units transacted at an average psf price of $2,242.

Based on caveats lodged, the highest selling psf price at the development was $3,004, when a 969 sq ft two-bedder unit on the third floor sold for $2.91 million in August 2017. While the lowest selling psf price at the development was $1,874, when a 2,099 sq ft four-bedder unit on the first floor changed hands for over $3.93 million in June 2017. The most recent sales transaction took place in early November 2017, during which a 1,658 sq ft 4-bedder unit on the ninth floor fetched nearly $3.9 million ($2,352 psf).

In terms of absolute price, the sale of a 2,228 sq ft, three-bedroom penthouse for $4.48 million ($2,012 psf) in May 2017 accounted for the largest transaction in the development. The buyer is believed to be a Singaporean investor, who opted for the DPS, under which, the buyer will enjoy an 11% discount instead of the 13% offered under the normal payment scheme. Based on EdgeProp’s research, 62% of owners at One Balmoral are Singaporeans.

Location-wise, the development is within 1km proximity to renowned schools like Raffles Girls’ Secondary School, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School, Chinese International School and Anglo-Chinese School.

 

3) Sophia Hills

D9 – Mount Sophia

Tenure: 99 years

Expected completion: 2018

Number of units: 493

Average psf: $1,993 psf

Jointly developed by Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments, Sophia Hills will be the largest development on Mount Sophia following its slated completion in 2018.

Also noted for its cultural sensitivity, the architecturally distinctive development comprises three conservation buildings. They include the former Methodist Girls’ School and Nan Hwa Girls’ School, as well as the Trinity Theological College Chapel. Project architects Consortium 168 and conservation specialists Studio Lapis restored and repurposed these buildings as a clubhouse, childcare centre and restaurant, respectively.

All 493 units at the development were launched in November 2014 at a starting psf price of $1,999. To date, 302 of the 493 units (61%) were sold this year at an average psf price of $2,003. Sophia Hills was also the bestselling project in October. To date, 458 of the 493 (93%) of the units at the development have been sold. Two-bedders spanning 700 sq ft to 710 sq ft were most commonly transacted unit types at Sophia Hills.

The highest selling psf price at the development was $2,331 when a 463 sq ft one-bedder unit on the fifth floor was sold for almost $1.08 million in December 2014. Meanwhile, the lowest selling psf price was $1,779 when a 1,012 sq ft three-bedder on the third floor sold for $1.8 million in May 2016. The most recent transaction at Sophia Hills occurred in November 2017, during which a 700 sq ft two-bedder on the fifth floor sold for nearly $1.36 million ($1,940 psf).

Over 58% of owners at the development are Singaporeans. Located just 255m away from the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, Sophia Hills is also close to malls like The Cathay and Plaza Singapura.

4) The Asana

D10 – Queens Road

Tenure: Freehold

Expected completion: 2019

Number of units: 48

Average psf: $2,541 psf

Image source: Aurumland

The Asana is envisioned as a contemporary urban retreat with oriental influences in terms of architecture, landscaping and interior design.

Nestled in the prestigious Bukit Timah estate, the development was first launched in April 2016 at a starting price of $2,062 psf. It was fully launched by August the same year.

A total of 27 of the 48 units (56%) at the development were sold this year. The highest selling psf price at The Asana was at $2,749 when a 570 sq ft unit on the fourth floor sold for nearly $1.57 million in October 2017. Meanwhile, the lowest selling psf price was at $2,049 when a 517 sq ft unit on the fifth floor sold for nearly $1.06 million in September 2017. The most recent transaction took place in November 2017, when a 635 sq ft unit on the first floor sold for over $1.7 million ($2,692 psf).

The project comprises apartments units ranging from two to three-bedroom suites. Based on our research, Singaporeans make up almost 61% of owners at Sophia Hills.

The freehold project is located 422m away from Botanic Gardens MRT station.

 

5) Gramercy Park

D10 – Grange Road

Tenure: Freehold

Completed in: 2016

Number of units: 174

Average psf: $2,970 psf

The twin-tower condo was developed by City Developments (CDL) and was completed in 2016. The 24-storey towers, named the North and South Towers, each comprise 87 units.

Phase 1 of the project was launched in May 2016, at a starting psf price of $2,499 psf. In 3Q2017, the average transacted psf price had risen to $2,830 psf.

To date, 148 of 174 units (85%) at Gramercy Park have been sold, according to CDL. Based on caveats lodged, 85 units (49%) at the development changed hands this year.

In August 2017, the $21.86 million sale of a 23rd floor unit at Gramercy Park made headlines when the 7287.17 sq ft unit became one of the most expensive homes to have been sold in Singapore.

The highest selling psf price at Gramercy Park was $3,310 when a 1,259 sq ft three-bedder unit on the 18th floor was sold for almost $4.17 million in July 2017.  Meanwhile, the lowest selling psf price was $2,246 when a new 3,132 sq ft four-bedder unit on the first floor was sold for nearly $7.04 million in June 2016. The most recent transaction at the developed occurred in November 2017, during which a 1,981 sq ft unit on the 11th floor was sold for nearly $5.54 million ($2,795 psf).

Industry players attribute the pickup in transactions to the government’s tweaking of property cooling measures. While CDL is offering the DPS for the project, the scheme is said to be available to only “a limited number of units”. Based on our research, foreigners made up close to 50% of owners at Gramercy Park.