Bukit Timah properties see renewed interest: analysts

Private home prices in the Bukit Timah area have increased by over 30 percent in the past year, according to market watchers.

This has outstripped the 10 percent gain for private properties islandwide.

Market watchers say the greater premium that the area now commands is due to a filtering down from the high-end luxury market.

An upcoming MRT line that is to run along Bukit Timah Road is also seen as potentially boosting demand for homes there.

Bukit Timah has always been seen as a prime location for families with school-going kids, due to its proximity to popular institutions like The Chinese High.

In recent months, the spotlight may have turned to new areas like the Marina Bay and Sentosa Cove, but there are numbers to show that the market in Bukit Timah is seeing an increased buzz in activity.

Tay Huey Ying, Director of Research, Colliers International, says, “The properties along the Bukit Timah stretch have actually seen the filtering down effect from the bull run of the luxury market. Just to give some examples, down at Maplewood, a 1,200 square feet unit was sold last February at S$718,000. But in February this year, similarly-sized units have been sold at S$950,000.”

This is a more than 30 percent jump in prices.

In addition, more apartments in the area are changing hands.

About 1,220 units were sold last year, compared to 950 units in 2005.

Demand is also expected to increase – with the upcoming 20 kilometre Bukit Timah MRT line.

The Land Transport Authority has yet to announce the locations of the stations, but these are expected to stretch along Upper Bukit Timah Road.

Tay Huey Ying says, “With the MRT line and the MRT stations, it would certainly enhance the accessibility of projects along this stretch, particularly those at the Upper Bukit Timah stretch. As with most projects that we have seen in Singapore, demand and interest will certainly be boosted, and therefore prices will be lifted when further details on this line are being announced.”

However, analysts caution that it may still be premature to snap up properties there, based only on the likelihood of having an MRT station at the doorstep.

Nicholas Mak, Director of Research, Knight Frank, says, “Certainly there will be additional interest in residential properties around that area when more details are known about this proposed MRT line. Like for example where would the stations be located, and when the stations might be operational. I think at the moment the plan is that construction will start in 2010 and be completed in 2016, so it is still a long way away. But I believe families around there or potential buyers will definitely be keeping an eye out for that area.”

The Bukit Timah line is expected to intersect the upcoming Circle Line, and end at the new Promenade station near Suntec City.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 26 March 2007

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