A $2 million dream …

Landed property within reach if buyers know where to look

With property prices hovering near record highs, can some home buyers still realise their dream of owning a landed property? Those who are serious about purchasing a landed property should start with $2 million as a realistic budget to work with, property experts said.

“A year ago, especially in the earlier part when the downturn was at its worst, you might still be able to afford a semi-detached house in prime areas for under $2 million. Now, this is a lot harder,” said ERA Asia-Pacific associate director Eugene Lim.

Instead, those with $2 million budget can now opt for 10 to 15 year-old inter-terrace houses, defined as those within a row of terrace houses. Such properties offer ample space with land areas of between 1,500 and 1,600 sq ft, as well as a built-up area of close to 2,000 sq ft.

“These will not come with facilities like swimming pools but buyers can make up for it through a country club membership. It can be a good trade off since they don’t have to maintain the facilities,” said Mr William Wong, managing director at RealStar Premier Property.

Of the 259 freehold landed properties sold for less than $2 million from January to August this year, 247 were terrace houses, 11 were semi-detached houses and one was a detached house, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

In comparison, around 31 semi-detached houses and 2 detached houses were bought during the same period last year.

Market experts said that as a guide, terrace houses located in the central region would cost some $2 million to $2.6 million, a semi-detached house would cost above $3 million and a bungalow would be more than $5 million.

But if buyers look east, they may find some good buys.

“If the buyer is flexible with the location, they can afford a corner terrace house in the East. These would have more space for landscaping,” said Mr Lim.

At under $2 million, some terrace houses in the East offer a land area of 1,600 sq ft to 1,700 sq ft, property market observers said.

These will have built-up areas of 2,000 to 2,500 sq ft, able to accommodate three large bedrooms or four smaller ones.

And if the buyer is fine with a 99-year lease, they could also opt for terrace house at $1.3 million or a semi-detached house for $1.6 million to $ 1.8 million, said Mr Lim.

For instance, a terrace house at 17 Sea Breeze Road in Tampines was sold at $1.8 million, which works out to $503 psf. Built in 1993, the property has an area of about 3,574 sq ft.

Another recent transaction was for the semi-detached house at 157 Bedok Road, sold at $833,333 or about $259 psf. It 3,218 sq ft unit was built in 2004.

Property experts said with the recent cooling measures, buyers may be able to pick up good deals as sellers may become more amenable to negotiation.

Source : Today – 3 Sep 2010

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