Sunday, February 6, 2011

District 19 leaps into favour

Straits Times: Sat, Feb 05
THE evergreen estates of Katong, Marine Parade and Siglap in District 15 continued to top the charts of home buyers last year, although new areas gained popularity as well.

There were 4,053 non-landed transactions made in District 15 - about 12 per cent of the 34,767 caveats in total - entrenching its position as the most favoured district among Singapore home buyers.

District 19 followed with 2,911 transactions, a jump from seventh place in 2009.

Third place went to District 9 - the prime areas of Orchard, Cairnhill and Leonie Hill - with 2,478 caveats lodged, according to an analysis by Dennis Wee Group.

The main change in the pecking order last year centred on new areas such as District 19, which covers Hougang, Serangoon and other suburban areas.

Experts said the rankings show that estates in the north-east, such as Punggol and Sengkang, are beginning to gain popularity, in line with the Government's plans to spruce up these new towns.

Mr Colin Tan, research and consultancy director at Chesterton Suntec International, said the rise in popularity of District 19 could be attributed to the increased number of residential launches there, as the Government released more land for sale in the north-east.

'People tend to buy where they are familiar with, and with the HDB's movement into Punggol and Sengkang, the population there has increased...Some of these buyers might be HDB upgraders,' he added.

Projects in District 19 such as The Scala, The Minton and Kovan Grandeur, which were launched last year, were all well received.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said newer developments, such as the Australian International School, have also livened up the area.

He expects increased demand and higher prices in the district as it continues to get spruced up in line with the Government's rejuvenation plans.

He also flagged the Jurong Lake District as the area with the highest potential for capital appreciation - even greater than District 19 - after it was earmarked by the Government as the biggest commercial hub outside the city centre.

But District 15 remains a perennial favourite. It straddles the mid-tier to high-end market, falls between the city fringe and suburban regions, and brings a cosmopolitan yet local flavour, experts said. It also offers the largest supply of private homes.

Dennis Wee Group director Chris Koh said the many condominium projects in the district offer more affordable prices compared with those in prime districts 9, 10 and 11. Most Indian and Chinese nationals have chosen to settle in the east, he added.

Chesterton's Mr Tan said the area tends to attract middle-income buyers and is 'easy to assimilate' into.

Private homes in districts 9 and 10 also remained popular due to the continued interest of investors in centrally located homes, said experts.

Cushman & Wakefield's senior manager of Asia-Pacific research, Mr Ong Kah Seng, said the many collective sales in prime districts in 2007 mean that new projects have been going onstream at attractive prices.

'Homes in the area could also have partially benefited from the successful remaking of Orchard Road...with the completion of new major malls,' he added.

For landed homes, districts 19, 15 and 16, which cover Bedok and Upper East Coast Road, were the three most popular districts last year, as in 2009.

Experts said landed homes in areas like Serangoon Gardens in District 19 are cheaper compared with those in prime districts, possibly attracting more buyers.

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