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Marina Bay’s key selling points

Its ‘live-work-play’ concept makes it an attractive location for home-buyers.

MARINA Bay is not just well on the way to becoming Singapore’s new financial hub, it is also shaping up as an attractive location for home-buyers.

Property analysts say that since the first residential project there – City Developments’ The Sail – was launched in late 2004, interest in the area has spiked, sending prices climbing.

Prices at The Sail averaged $970 per sq foot in 2004 after the project was launched in November that year.

But since then the average price – taking into account new sales, resales and sub-sales – climbed to $1,060 psf in 2005 and $1,300 psf in 2006, says Knight Frank’s director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak.

And for the first nine months of 2007, units at The Sail went for an average of about $1,600 psf, he says.

He reckons prices could hit $1,800-$1,900 in about two years. The 1,111-unit development is fully sold.

‘The project was launched in 2004, which means it was just in time to rise on the property market upturn,’ he said.

Analysts say the upside for other residential projects in the area may not be as great because they were launched at higher prices. But they could still benefit from the ‘buzz’ now associated with the area.

Two projects have been launched since The Sail – Marina Bay Residences and One Shenton.

Marina Bay’s biggest selling point, analysts and developers agree, is its ‘live-work-play’ concept.

For one, office space there has been a huge hit with banking and financial institutions.

The top office draw at the moment is the massive Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC).

Two office towers in MBFC’s first phase will add about 1.7 million sq ft of lettable area when they come up in 2010. And the office tower in the second phase is expected to offer a further one million-plus sq ft of space.

Nearby One Raffles Quay, completed last year, has slightly over 1.3 million sq ft of office space.

In addition to this, the government has indicated that it intends to progressively release plots in the area.

Two parcels – known as Land Parcel A at Marina View and Land Parcel B at Marina View – will add at least 1.7 million sq ft of office space. Parcel A has been awarded, while the tender for Parcel B closes on Nov 13.

The authorities are also moving to increase the area’s vibrancy. And one eagerly anticipated project is Gardens by the Bay.

The waterfront is set to be home to three distinct gardens, each with its a unique look, the National Parks Board revealed last year.

The gardens will range in size from 10 to 54 hectares. It is estimated that $300 million-$400 million could be spent on them.

Perhaps most significantly, the $5.2 billion Marina Bay Sands integrated resort (IR) will come up in 2010 – significantly changing the look and feel of the place.

Besides drawing more tourists, the retail and F&B facilities at the IR could attract home buyers, market watchers say. All these goings-on have translated into greater local and foreign interest in homes in the area, analysts and developers point out.

‘We are seeing a keen appetite among investors confident in Singapore and interested in the live-work-play destination of Marina Bay,’ said Kan Kum Wah, head of residential marketing for Marina Bay Suites.

More residential projects are likely to be launched in the coming months.

For a start, Land Parcel A and Land Parcel B are ‘white’ sites, which means the successful bidders can use some of the gross floor area to build homes.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority is also setting aside some 60ha of land at Marina South for a landmark residential district.

Some 11,000 housing units are planned, with a mix of commercial, hotel and community facilities.

URA expects to start launching sites in the residential district within the next year, and interest is expected to be keen.

But the next project in the area to hit the market is likely to be Marina Bay Suites.

The 223-unit development, which is the second and last residential block at MBFC, will be launched early next year.

MBFC’s developers – Keppel Land, Cheung Kong Holdings/Hutchison Whampoa and Hongkong Land – expect strong interest in the project, as well as high prices, on the back of then-record prices achieved by Marina Bay Residences.

Last December, when Marina Bay Residences was launched, all 428 units were snapped up within days, with one penthouse fetching $3,450 per square foot (psf) – a record for private homes prices at the time.

‘Marina Bay Suites will be a fitting, even more upscale, sister development to the 428-unit Marina Bay Residences,’ said Mr Kan.

However, homes in the area still have some catching up to do before they reach the prices fetched by residential units in the traditional prime districts 9 and 10.

At Orchard Residences, CapitaLand and Sun Hung Kai Properties are said to have sold a penthouse on the 53rd storey for about $5,600 psf. In contrast, prices at Marina Bay have only hit $3,450 psf.

But home prices in the area could hit $3,500-$4,000, said Ku Swee Yong, Savills Singapore’s director of marketing and business development.

‘Once the casino is up – and perhaps with more traffic congestion due to the vibrant economy – younger high-flying execs in financial services, legal services, etc will come to appreciate inner-city living,’ Mr Ku said.


Source: Business Times 18 Oct 07

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