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Hot Spot – East Coast Road

 The Sunday Times takes a look at this coveted residential district in the East. Check them out. east-coast-hot-spot.pdf

JOO CHIAT/TELOK KURAU

Steady stream of small projects

THE sleaze of Joo Chiat is often put in the spotlight but beyond the colourful nightspots, the area is a quiet residential zone dominated by low-rise boutique developments and terrace houses.

A sprinkling of amenities such as schools, a medical centre, a park and good food also make this a conducive residential district.

Home prices rose to $600 to $700 per sq ft (psf) on average in the first quarter of the year, up from $450 to $550 psf a year ago, said CBRE.

There has been a steady stream of small apartments launched, with projects like Le Merritt selling for $650 psf this year. Last month, a 1,626 sq ft terrace house went for $1.2 million while a 2,190 sq ft semi-detached home went for $1.51 million.

Sim Lian Land bought Wen Yuan Court, K Gardens and Leyuke Apartments last year, but will launch its new project for sale only next year.

SIGLAP/FRANKEL

Cafes give quiet area some buzz

THE hub of activity in the otherwise homogeneous area of bungalows and semi-detached houses is the Siglap Road and East Coast Road junction.

Siglap Shopping Centre and rows of cafes and eateries give the otherwise quiet area some buzz, upping the area’s hip quotient.

With few new projects, Axis @ Siglap, a 40-unit boutique condo marketed earlier this year, sold out in a matter of weeks at an average price of nearly $800 per sq ft (psf). This was above the range of $600 to $700 psf for most properties in the area, Savills had said.

The strong demand is good news to developers who have bought sites in the area. Sing Holdings and a fund will redevelop Finland Gardens while Frasers Centrepoint will redevelop Flamingo Valley.

Prices for landed homes tend to vary widely, though they have moved up moderately. In May, a 4,700 sq ft bungalow on Siglap Road sold for $1.9 million while a 9,586 sq ft bungalow on the same stretch sold for $5 million.

ST PATRICK’S

Sleepy stretch enjoys new lease of life

IF YOU are looking for some peace and quiet in the East Coast locale, then the St Patrick’s area might be just your cup of tea.

The many boutique apartments, nestled alongside schools including St Patrick’s Secondary School and CHIJ Katong Primary, enjoy a special serenity that even the construction work at Grand Duchess at St Patrick’s and St Patrick’s Loft cannot disrupt.

The sleepy area has seen three launches recently. One was the 37-unit St Patrick’s Loft – marketed late last year at over $600 per sq ft (psf). Then came the fast sell-out of the 121-unit Grand Duchess, which created a stir. This project, which sold at $740 psf on average, further raised the area’s value.

Just a year ago, average levels were at just below $500 psf. Five Grand Duchess sub-sales were done at $700 psf to $900 psf, said CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). MCL Land’s recently sold-out Tierra Vue rode on the success of Grand Duchess and started sales at $800 psf. One 1,270 sq ft unit was said to have been sold at $1,051 psf, a record for the area, said CBRE.

More new projects are expected for the area.

MARINE PARADE

Heart of the district with sea-front housing

MARINE Parade is the heart of the entire East Coast Road district and is a textbook example of how to develop reclaimed land. It brings together a popular shopping mall, schools and sea-front housing all within a linear stretch.

Public housing dominates, though older, large condos such as Mandarin Gardens and Neptune Court also enjoy the sea breeze and East Coast Park is just a stroll away.

It is no wonder the HDB flats here, particularly those with sea views, have always commanded a premium.

And recently, they have benefited further from the robust activity in the private residential market, said CBRE.

Prices of five-room flats hit $358 per sq ft (psf) or some $467,000 on average in the first quarter, up 13.5 per cent from a year ago. This compares with a 7 to 8 per cent rise in prices of three- and four-room flats in the same period.

A four-room flat costs about $334 or some $305,000 on average, up nearly 7 per cent from a year ago.

But when it comes to rental, the four-roomers seem to be the most sought after. Average monthly rents of four-roomers rose by a hefty 47 per cent to $1.47 psf in the first quarter. This compares with a 23 per cent rise to $1.62 psf for three-roomers and a 7 per cent rise to $1.19 psf for five-roomers, said CBRE.

Private home prices in the area have risen by 20 to 40 per cent to $700 to $800 psf over a 12-month period as of the first quarter, said CBRE.

The area’s newest large condo is the 99-year leasehold Cote D’Azur.

KATONG

Oozing old-world charm

RUSTIC shophouses, good food and a strong Peranakan heritage make Katong a real gem in the East Coast area.

The housing developments are mostly low-rise, with shophouses and boutique condominiums the mainstay, although there are quaint colonial houses for lease along Kuo Chuan Avenue.

Apart from the old-world charm, there is 24/7 shopping at Cold Storage in Katong Mall.

There are few new developments, though more may come as there have been several collective sale targets.

Sea Breeze Apartments was sold en bloc and should become an 88-unit project while a 229-unit condo in Jago Close is also expected, said CBRE. Most of the properties here are small and rather old, so interest has not been very strong, with prices done in the past year or so at between $400 and $787 psf, said CBRE.

Developments such as Ceylon Crest and Katong Gardens transacted recently at about $540 to $550 psf on average.

Others such as East Galleria and Bellezza @ Katong go for about $650 psf on average.

AMBER ROAD

Sweeping away the old

A WAVE of collective sales is gradually sweeping old properties out of the area, to make room for high-style condos that will give the street a brand-new look.

This enclave is becoming the hottest on East Coast Road as buyers snap up units at yet-to-be-completed, relatively large condos, jacking up the area’s value.

Prices averaged $850 to $1,000 per sq ft (psf) in the first quarter, up 40 to 45 per cent from $600 to $700 psf a year ago, said consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).

Condos under construction include Wheelock Properties’ 546-unit The Sea View; MCL Land’s 400-unit The Esta; the 562-unit One Amber from United Industrial Corp and United Overseas Land; and Ho Bee’s 42-unit Vertis.

The three large freehold condos have seen active sub-sales, said CBRE. They are popular for the location, facilities and well-known developers, said a consultant. Recent deals for The Sea View were done near $1,000 psf on average.

Buyers will soon have more choices.

A new project is earmarked for the sites now housing Amber Lodge and Jin Fu Apartments. Voda Land bought these estates en bloc in a private treaty at an undisclosed price and aims to launch Amber Residences in about three months.

It will be an ‘upper mid-market’ condo with 114 units in one 21-storey block, said Savills Singapore.

More condos will come when Far East Organization redevelops Amberville and Rose Garden, which it bought in collective sales last year.

For now, while construction roars ahead, the existence of older estates like Rose Garden makes for a noisy juxtaposition of past and future.

Source: Sunday Times 3 Jun 07

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