Saturday, May 19, 2012

Private homes for $1 million or less


Straits Times: Sat, May 19
BUYERS can still snap up private apartments of reasonable size for less than $1 million - but do not expect up-to-the-minute styling or prime locations.

Yet such buys could end up being a good deal if they are in an area that is set to be revitalised or developed. Buyers have been quick to jump in.

There were 1,249 private flats of 1,000 sq ft or more sold for below $1 million in the period from Jan 1 to May 4, consultant Nicholas Mak said. This includes new and resale private and executive condominiums.

Mr Mak, the head of research at SLP International Property Consultancy, added that most sales were made in 99-year resale condos in suburban areas. The freehold properties were mostly in city fringe areas such as Geylang, where there is a higher concentration of such homes, he said.

Homes costing less than $1 million can be found in both new launches and the secondary market but it is rarer in the former, because the increase in land prices has led developers to offer higher per sq ft (psf) prices and smaller units, R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said.

New launches of flats of at least 1,000 sq ft and costing below $1 million can be found in the north-eastern areas like Hougang, Sengkang and Punggol.

Mr Ong noted that in the first four months of the year, there were 74 such transactions at The Minton, an upcoming 99-year condo in Lorong Ah Soo, and 36 at Sengkang's Riversound Residence, a 99-year condo.

Deals can also be found in upcoming condos in Pasir Ris. There were 24 sales at The Palette and 12 at Ripple Bay. For example, a 1,076 sq ft flat at Ripple Bay was sold for nearly $902,000 last month. That works out to $838 psf. The 99-year condo is expected to be completed in 2015.

'(These areas) are more valued propositions as the north-east promises exciting future growth while Pasir Ris is an established and refreshing resort-living area,' he said.

In Yishun and Sembawang, some similar transactions were made at The Nautical and Eight Courtyards.

These areas are also good scouting grounds for buyers looking to get a resale unit, which could be as big as 1,400 sq ft for that price, Mr Ong said.

Based on caveats lodged in the first quarter of the year, completed condos like Regent Heights, Changi Rise Condominium, The Mayfair, The Warren and Hillview offered bargains.

Last month, a 1,346 sq ft unit at Melville Park in Simei was sold for $888,000. The 99-year condo was completed in 1996.

Many shoebox units - measuring about 540 sq ft or less - cost less than $1 million but these are said to be too small for a family.

Decent-sized units can also be had for a similar price, but buyers have to bear in mind the trade-offs, like how an older condo may look dated...
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Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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