Interest in River Place gathers pace

The 509-unit condominium River Place located at Havelock Road has long been a favourite among property investors and expatriate families largely because of its location — just at the edge of the CBD and overlooking the Singapore River, say property agents. It’s also within walking distance to the nightspots in the Mohamad Sultan neighbourhood, Robertson Quay, Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, as well as the Clarke Quay MRT Station.

“River Place typically attracts local investors, as well as foreign investors, particularly those from China, Hong Kong and the UK,” says Regina Chung, deputy head, business unit at Knight Frank. Chung estimates that there have been at least a handful of transactions each month in recent months, and properties sold are a mix of studio units and larger three-bedroom apartments.

Completed in late 1999/early 2000, the studio apartments at River Place are sized from 688 to 925 sq ft, while two-bedroom units are from 1,033 to 1,054 sq ft. There are also three- and four-bedroom apartments, as well as penthouses with sizes ranging from 2,109 to 3,648 sq ft.

The studio apartments at River Place can command monthly rental rates of $3,600, while a partially furnished four-bedroom unit can fetch $17,000 a month, according to rental listings on Investors are looking at rental yields of 4% to 5% a year based on current prices, she reckons. According to Chung, there are no completed residential developments in River Place’s immediate vicinity that has River Place’s high density, large units and full condo facilities. “Most of the properties in the Robertson Quay area, which is some distance away, are boutique developments and they’re usually smaller when compared with a property such as River Place,” says Chung. For instance, Watermark at Robertson Quay, which was completed in 2008, has 206 units with its largest unit sized at only 1,800 sq ft.

There are 41 large units at River Place that are still available for sale, according to the developer Far East Organization. Asking prices for the units range from $2.17 million for a 1,281 sq ft three-bedroom unit on the second floor, to more than $6.3 million for an 11th floor four-bedroom 3,649 sq ft unit.

Built 12 years ago, River Place provides full condo facilities such as a large swimming pool, Jacuzzi, tennis courts, gymnasium, as well as a putting green and even an outdoor giant chessboard in the garden. It therefore attracts a good mix of expatriate singles and couples, as well as families with children.

Of late, investors have been paying attention to the new condos along the Singapore River, and on their radar are sizeable condos such as River Place. From July 12 to 19, three units were sold at prices ranging from $1,390 to $1,425 psf, according to URA Realis data.

All three units have changed hands three times since the project was launched in 1997, and the fortunes of the sellers mirrored the ups and downs of the property cycle. For instance, a ninth-floor studio unit of 797 sq ft was first purchased in May 1997, which was at the peak of the property boom just months before the Asian financial crisis. The price the original buyer paid was $980,580, or $1,231 psf. In March 2002, when the economy was in recession, the unit changed hands for $660,000 ($829 psf), 32.7% below the purchase price. It changed hands a third time last month, and based on the transaction price of $1.14 million ($1,425 psf), the seller saw a capital appreciation of close to 72%.

A three-bedroom 1,582 sq ft unit on the sixth level was first purchased in September 2000 for $1.46 million ($923 psf), not long after the project was completed. The unit was sold in August 2006 for $1.09 million ($686 psf), 25.7% below the original purchase price. The second owner, on the other hand, saw prices double when he sold the apartment last month for $2.2 million, or $1,390 psf.

An eighth-floor 721 sq ft unit that changed hands in July for $1.02 million ($1,414 psf) was purchased in April last year for $850,000 ($1,179 psf). Hence, the seller saw a 20% capital appreciation in just over a year. The original buyer had bought the unit in January 1999 for just $537,000 ($745 psf), he saw a 58.3% appreciation in over a decade when he sold it last year.

Source : The Edge – 8 Aug 2011