HDB prices at vast Greater Southern Waterfront project could be similar to [email protected]’s: Experts

Property experts and prospective homebuyers are already upbeat about plans unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during Sunday’s National Day Rally, involving housing development along Singapore’s southern coastline.

However, experts agreed that public housing at the mega waterfront development project is set to be at the upper end of Housing and Development Board (HDB) pricing — similar to prices at the very popular [email protected] in Tanjong Pagar.
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One analyst told TODAY that securing an HDB flat at the waterfront location would be like striking a lottery.

The 2,000ha Greater Southern Waterfront, which covers 30km of coastline that stretches from the Gardens by the Bay East area to Pasir Panjang, is six times the size of Marina Bay and double the size of Punggol town.
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One of the first developments is on the site of the Keppel Club near Labrador nature reserve, which is set to comprise a blend of 9,000 public and private housing units.

The reshaping of the Greater Southern Waterfront will take place in phases in the next five to 10 years, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said on its website.

Mr Lee said on Sunday (Aug 18) that it will also entail moving port terminals to Tuas, with Pasir Panjang Terminal slated to move by 2040 in order to free up prime land for redevelopment. In the works are entertainment attractions on Pulau Brani, which will be similar to Universal Studios on nearby Sentosa. Pulau Brani is now home to a port terminal.

While the Ministry of National Development said that it is still studying the details of the development, the key question for many experts and would-be homebuyers is: How much will it cost?

Read also: Rising sea levels to affect property values? Not if the Govt has solutions planned, say analysts

Experts told TODAY that housing in the area is expected to be in demand given the waterfront living and good location and that homebuyers should expect the property prices in the area to be premium prices, given the attractive location.

Having said that, it is hard to predict property prices in the next five to 10 years, they added.

PRICES TO BE LIKE [email protected]

Mr Chris Koh, director of property consultancy Chris International, said that while private property prices will depend on how much private developers bid for sites on offer, a good price gauge for public housing flats would be to compare those at [email protected]

In 2015, [email protected], a 50-storey housing development next to Singapore’s central business district, broke records when five units — that were not maisonette, executive or landed units — sold at S$1 million or more.

Echoing his sentiments, Mr Colin Tan, director of research consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, said that just like those who secured a unit at the [email protected], homebuyers who score a unit at the Greater Southern Waterfront will be “striking a lottery”.

Mr Tan added that a four-room flat in the Greater Southern Waterfront area is likely to be more expensive than one in a non-mature estate such as Sengkang — adding that the difference would at least be about S$200,000.

“This figure is what we can project now, it will definitely change in five or 10 years when there are more developments in the area,” Mr Tan said.

Ms Christine Li, head of research at global property consultancy Cushman and Wakefield Singapore, said that a new business cluster that is part of the overall plan, on a sought-after city-fringe location where multinational firms such as Google, Unilever and Cisco are already located, will contribute to the price point.

“There will be minimal impact on the existing housing projects in the vicinity when construction starts, due to blocked views and construction noise and dust,” she said.

“However, over the long term, housing prices are expected to appreciate due to the injection of more commercial and entertainment activities in the area.”

Ms Li noted that nearby islands Sentosa and Pulau Brani will make the most of the waterfront location to create “the next generation of entertainment and recreational facilities” for the region.

Plans are already underway for Sentosa to expand its attractions, she said.

“Pulau Brani, which is now home to a port terminal, is also expected to house a new resort called Downtown South. The resort is expected to be accessible to the mass market, bringing more local traffic to the south, which could help change the perception of Sentosa being too inaccessible and expensive to the local mass market,” Ms Li added.

BRIDGING THE INCOME GAP

Having public housing in the Keppel area will address the income gap, Ms Li also said.

“This will allow a wide range of Singaporeans, both lower- and higher-income households, to enjoy sea-front living with modern and high-rise residential blocks at the Greater Southern Waterfront,” she said.

Agreeing, Ms Christine Sun, head of research and consultancy at property firm OrangeTee, added that this move will spur younger Singaporeans to buy a house in a prime district.

In 2016, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong had said on separate occasions that the Government was looking at ways to tighten resale conditions of future HDB flats in prime downtown locations such as the Greater Southern Waterfront to mitigate the so-called lottery effect.

The measures could include a shorter lease than the standard 99 years, a higher resale levy or a longer minimum occupation period.

Homemaker Loh Shuzk Meng said that she would invest in a flat in a centrally located area if it is reasonably priced.

The 31-year-old, who is waiting to collect the keys to her first flat in Clementi, expects a four-room flat at the Greater Southern Waterfront to be about S$100,000 higher than a similar flat in a mature area.

“Of course it will be more expensive, but I think young people are willing to pay for the good views and accessibility to the business districts and town,” Ms Loh said.

Project manager Tan Xiu Li, 31, agreed that she would buy a property in the Keppel area because of its accessibility to the city centre.

Ms Tan said that she is willing to invest in a flat there as long as it is within her means.

“The plans for redeveloping the area are promising, especially for someone like me who has been living in the outskirts of Singapore for a long time,” the Sengkang resident said.

Source: Today – 21 Aug 2019

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