Monday, December 24, 2012

New condos go beyond pool and gym to sell


The Straits Times
Monday, Dec 24, 2012

FACILITIES such as swimming pools, playgrounds and gyms used to be the stock standard amenities in condominiums. But these days developers are spicing up their offerings.

Treats that have been a mainstay at luxury projects are being offered in the mass market estates as firms strive to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive environment.

The eCo in Tanah Merah, which launched in September, has community plots for residents to grow fruit and vegetables as well as a rain garden to collect and recycle rain water.

Echelon in Alexandra View, a mass market project that previewed this month, comes complete with a sky gym, a yoga terrace and spa lounges.

Residents of selected units at Heron Bay, an executive condominium project in Upper Serangoon, will be able to unwind in their own private pools that come with jacuzzis.

The developer of CityLife, an upcoming executive condominium in Tampines, is counting on resort- style amenities to reel in buyers.

It is offering features like a concierge service, a 100m infinity pool and a variety of landscaped aromatherapy and sky gardens.

Amenities at other projects range from hammock lounges, hydrotherapy beds and baths to floating pavilions and star-gazing lawns.

Not to be outdone by their mass market peers, developers of luxury homes have also had to up the ante.

The Marq at Paterson Hill has homes featuring en suite cantilevered lap pools that offer views of Orchard Road.

Residents at Hamilton Scotts in Orchard Road can drive right to their doorsteps with the help of an elevated parking system that takes cars to en suite sky garages attached to individual units.

Hamilton Scotts resident Susanna Kang said that while the location and the views from her home are a big plus, the sky garages give her home the advantages of a landed property.

"Being a car enthusiast, my husband can now showcase his favourite car collection right beside our living room," she added.

While non-traditional facilities are not a new concept to other property markets around Asia, Ms Jacqueline Wong, head of corporate residential solutions at HSR Property Consultants, said the growing popularity of the trend here reflects how competitive the market has become.

Property experts said it is likely that as more developers offer stand-out features and brandname fittings, buyers may come to regard them as the norm.

Mr Alan Cheong, head of research at Savills Singapore, said this could have two implications: "One will be the increased construction costs and the flow through effect of (higher) sales prices.

"Two, it suppresses the rate of price and rental increases for older projects that do not come with such bells and whistles."


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