Saturday, September 1, 2012

Woodlands home prices may rise by 30 per cent


Straits Times: Sat, Sep 01

THE upcoming Thomson MRT line could lift home prices in the Woodlands area by up to 30 per cent, according to one real estate expert.

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said the new rail service, which will be ready in phases from 2019, will help end the area's image as a far-flung northern outpost.

The three stations along the new line - Woodlands, Woodlands North and Woodlands South - will cater for residents of more than 4,300 private homes as well as those living in HDB units, which dominate the area.

The Woodlands North station is near Republic Polytechnic and Woodlands South, close to Christ Church Secondary School.

Homes near the Woodlands station should get the biggest lift as it is sited adjacent to the existing station on the North-South line. Both will be linked eventually to become an interchange.

Surrounding HDB flats, such as five-room units along Woodlands Avenue 5 and Woodlands Drive 50, are already changing hands at more than $450,000. Some housing agents believe transactions crossing the half-million-dollar mark will not be too far away now that the station's location is known.

Though residents who live further away from the stations will still have to rely on buses to get to them, they can expect to conveniently transit to the city centre with the new MRT line, Mr Ong noted.

The Woodlands area is already attracting keen buyers. Condominium prices have been increasing by between 15 and 20 per cent over the past two years.

Resale units average $650 to $800 per sq ft, while new launches can be had for between $900 and $1,000 psf.

There has been healthy buyer interest in new launches like the 689-unit Parc Rosewood and 337-unit Woodhaven, both of which are still under construction.

Mr Ong also expects rents - now about $2.50 to $2.80 psf a month - to increase more evidently when the three new stations are approaching completion.

Ms Chia Siew Chuin, Colliers International's director of research and advisory, said residential rents could fall during the stations' construction period due to congestion, road diversions and noise.

She added that home price increases may not be as steep as in the past when there were fewer MRT lines in the country.

The new rail line could also hasten the development of Woodlands as a regional centre with more retail outlets and offices - changing the face of this typical HDB estate, Ms Chia said.

Unlike Tampines and Jurong East, Woodlands has seen little commercial and civic development.

Malls like Causeway Point could benefit as residents from other parts of Singapore capitalise on the improved transport links and visit the area, Mr Ong said.


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