Thursday, January 6, 2011

Huge collective sale site slated for landed homes

A HUGE redevelopment site in one of Singapore's prime neighbourhoods, District 11, has just become the first collective sale offering to hit the market this year.

But for property watchers, the most intriguing feature of the proposed sale of Whitley Heights, just off Whitley Road, is that most unusually, an apartment site is on sale to be redeveloped into landed homes.

Most residential sites go on sale en bloc as they can be redeveloped into high-rise condo units but this is the reverse. Sales of freehold landed home sites are very rare, especially plots this large, at 130,165 sq ft or 1.21ha. The site is only a stone's throw from the large houses in Chancery Lane and top schools.

The last large-scale collective sale for mixed landed development was of Nim Park in the Seletar area, back in 2007.

One key factor in how this closely watched collective sale will play out, say market experts, is that price gains for landed homes have been outstripping those for non-landed homes of late.

Marketing agent Credo Real Estate's managing director, Mr Karamjit Singh, said: 'Between the second quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2010, prices of landed properties jumped 54 per cent while non-landed prices rose 39 per cent.'

The supply of landed homes is also limited, having not grown as fast as that of non-landed homes, experts say. The number of landed homes as a proportion of total private residential homes fell from 35 per cent in 2000 to 27 per cent last year.

Whitley Heights owners are asking for between $185 million and $210 million, which works out to a maximum of $1,613 per sq ft. Each owner stands to pocket $4 million to $4.7 million.

The condominium comprises 45 walk-up units housed in three three-storey blocks. The units range from 1,600 sq ft to 2,100 sq ft.

Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's 2008 masterplan, the site is zoned for two-storey mixed landed homes upon redevelopment.

The freehold site could house up to 80 strata terrace houses or around 60 strata semi-detached houses, said Credo.

Property firm Knight Frank's head of consultancy and research Png Poh Soon said it was a good chance for the condo owners to cash in on the surge in landed home prices.

He said developers are always on the lookout for good sites and locations. 'This situation is very rare... usually when you redevelop, the land use is intensified so when the project is done up, you can build more and increase the developer's profit margin,' he said.

A successful sale could prompt nearby low-rise projects such as Villa Des Flores to attempt a collective sale, market watchers added.

The tender for Whitley Heights closes on Jan 26.

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