City Square Residences hits a record $1,709 psf

New condominiums in the city fringe, particularly those next to MRT stations and near the heritage area of Little India, have seen prices setting new highs recently.

According to caveats lodged with URA, over the week of June 28 to July 5, a seventh-floor 570 sq ft studio apartment at City Square Residences located at Kitchener Link was sold for $975,000, or a record $1,709 psf. Another unit in the development, this time an 840 sq ft two-bedroom apartment, changed hands at $1.39 million, or $1,656 psf.

The 910-unit freehold City Square Residences was completed in early 2009, and sits right beside the City Square Mall. Both projects are developed by listed giant developer, City Developments Ltd. City Square Residences also contains an underground link from the mall to the Farrer Park MRT station, and is also near a bus stop.

Property agents who have sold units at City Square Residences say demand for the condo is strong because of its freehold status and convenient location. “It is one of the very few city-fringe condos close to an MRT station and more than one shopping centre, namely City Square Mall and the 24-hour Mustafa Centre,” says Brandan Lim, a team director at HSR. “The pool is large; there are ample facilities such as a snooker room, a bowling alley, three TV rooms and three function rooms. Some units on the high floors have unblocked views of the city, which will remain unblocked as City Square Residences is surrounded by conservation shophouses,” he adds.

First launched in April 2005, units were sold at prices ranging from $500 to $600 psf. Unit types are a mix of 570 sq ft studio apartments, two-, three- and four-bedroom units of 1,518 sq ft.

Many of the owners who had bought their units at the launch have seen prices escalate in recent years. The 570 sq ft unit that was recently sold at a record-high of $1,709 psf, for instance, changed hands in a sub-sale in August 2007 at $570,000 ($999 psf). The first owner had purchased it at launch in 2005 for a mere $383,680, or $673 psf. Most of the owners at City Square Residences are now asking for at least $1 million for their studio apartments, says Lim.

Anecdotal evidence is that owners are holding on to their asking prices. Recently, a seller had turned down an offer of $1.42 million for his two-bedroom, 872 sq ft unit, as it fell short of his asking price of $1.46 million. The owner was confident of finding a buyer at his desired price. HSR’s Lim observes that most of the recent buyers are foreigners, mainly from China, Indonesia, India, Australia and Dubai.

Asking rents for units at City Square Residences range from $3,000 ($5.26 psf) a month for a fully-furnished 570 sq ft unit to $6,800 ($6.80 psf) a month for a fully-furnished 1,000 sq ft two-bedroom unit.

Just a short drive from City Square Residences is the 600-unit, 99-year leasehold Citylights, located next to Lavender MRT station.

The most recent transaction there was for a 678 sq ft unit on the 33rd level that changed hands in mid-June at $1.15 million, or a record of $1,696 psf for the development. This is the third time that the one-bedroom unit has changed hands. It was transacted in August 2007 when it went for $881,400, or $1,300 psf, and prior to that, the previous owner had purchased it from the developer, CapitaLand, in October 2006 for just $493,000 ($728 psf).

Standing 42 storeys tall, the high-floor units at Citylights offer unblocked views of the Kallang Basin, the future Sports Hub, as well as the city. When the project was first launched in late 2004, prices initially averaged $600 psf.

Patrick Lai, director of residential leasing at Savills Singapore is not surprised at the recent high transaction prices and rental rates achieved at City Square Residences and Citylights. He expects prices to go up even further. “City Square Residences is newer compared with Citylights, but both are equally sought-after by expatriates, given their location right next to a MRT station,” he says. “Units there are ideal for those who want value for money, and find prices in other city fringe areas such as the Novena/Newton area too expensive.”

Owners of high-floor units with views at City Square Residences and Citylights are also asking for a premium on rents. “These are the two new hot city-fringe locations,” says Lai.

Source : The Edge – 25 Jul 2011

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