Buyers snap up “retirement resort” condo on first day of sale

A condominium touted as Singapore’s first retirement village was sold out on its first day of sale.

Despite concerns about The Hillford’s shorter 60-year lease, buyers – both young and old – snapped up all 281 apartments.

By 9am on Friday, The Hillford showflat at Upper Bukit Timah was already crowded with some 1,000 prospective buyers.

Within the first one-and-a-half hours, more than 80 units were already sold. That is 30 per cent of what is available.

The project has been marketed as a “retirement resort” for active seniors with elderly-friendly facilities and commercial space set aside for health care and elder care.

But with the condo located near the upcoming Beauty World MRT station in Bukit Timah, seniors were not the only ones interested.

This is despite the smaller flats and shorter 60-year lease. Private properties in Singapore usually have a 99-year lease or are freehold.

Analysts said The Hillford’s popularity shows people are receptive to properties with a shorter lease.

Chris Koh, director of Chris International, said: “For many, at the end of the day it’s the price. If it’s affordable, and the quantum is low, you can see they’re willing to buy.”

But there are concerns that the facilities for the elderly may not materialise if there are too many young buyers.

A lot will depend on the property’s management body, which will be made up of residents, said Mr Koh.

He said: “They must remember the essence of this village. It’s for the elderly, for retirement, and they should not just change it overnight to cater to the youngsters who live in the project.”

Christine Li, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee, said: “In order to make this retirement concept more meaningful, there could be some restrictions, such as the age of the buyer, as well as some resale restrictions.”

Sales figures are still being worked out, but the developer World Class Land said it expects a “substantial proportion” of buyers to be over 50 years old.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 17 Jan 2014

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