Investors zoom in on Cairnhill

With a slew of condominiums being completed in the Cairnhill area, such as SC Global’s 240-unit Hilltops, Wing Tai Holdings’ 140-unit Helios Residences and, most recently, the 58-unit Ritz-Carlton Residences, investor interest has returned to the neighbourhood.

The most recent recorded transaction at the freehold Hilltops was in August, when a 1,335 sq ft unit on the third floor was sold by the developer for $4.71 million ($3,528 psf). At the freehold Helios Residences next door to Hilltops, a similar-sized unit on the 13th floor was sold for $3.42 million ($2,604 psf) in a sub-sale. Another similar-sized unit on the first level of Helios Residences was sold by the developer for $4.05 million ($3,084 psf). At Ritz-Carlton Residences, developer KOP Group’s asking price is from $3,800 psf.

Meanwhile, at the fully sold 165- unit Urban Suites by CapitaLand, located on Hullet Road, off Cairnhill Road, there was a recent sub-sale of a 1,572 sq ft three-bedroom unit on the 15th level for $4.43 million ($2,821 psf). The seller had purchased the unit when the project was first launched early last year for more than $3.88 million ($2,472 psf), hence recognising a capital appreciation of about 14% in less than two years.

Urban Resort Condominium, next door to Urban Suites, a joint venture development by CapitaLand, is more exclusive, with just 64 units. As at end-September, 34 units have been released and 23 sold, with the latest transaction at a median price of $2,968 psf.

Next to Urban Suites and Urban Resort is Sing Holdings’ 229-unit The Laurels. As at end-September, 213 units at the development have been sold. The most recent transaction, according to URA, was for a 549 sq ft unit on the ninth floor that changed hands in a sub-sale for $1.62 million ($2,951 psf) last month. The seller had purchased the unit from the developer in March last year for $1.44 million ($2,629 psf).

Apartments in the Cairnhill district have traditionally attracted investors, given the prime Orchard Road location, as these units tend to be popular with high-level expatriate executives, say property agents.

According to Benson Koh, senior group district partner of SLP Real Estate Empire, properties in District 9 tend to draw foreign investors, who intend to use the apartments as a holiday home. “These investors are likely to favour new projects such as Urban Resort and Urban Suites, owing to their proximity to Orchard Road,” he says.

However, there are also some local investors who feel that older condos priced below $2,300 psf are “valuefor- money buys”, compared with new launches in the neighbourhood that range from $2,500 to $3,500 psf currently. “Hence, they think it’s a good time to take position,” says Samuel Eyo, associate director of Savills Prestige Homes.

That explains the spate of transactions in the Cairnhill area, as seen in the data downloaded from URA Realis on Oct 26. Many of the transactions are for resale units of older condos at $2,000 to $2,100 psf.

For instance, at the 248-unit freehold Cairnhill Crest, completed in 2004, an 818 sq ft one-bedroom unit on the 12th floor of one of the towers was sold for $1.75 million ($2,139 psf). The seller had purchased the property in 2006, when the project was first launched, for $1.17 million ($1,426 psf). He saw a gain of almost 50% over the last five years.

Across the road is The Light@ Cairnhill, a 118-unit freehold project by Wing Tai Holdings that was completed about the same time as Cairnhill Crest. A 1,496 sq ft three-bedroom unit on the first level was transacted at $3.05 million ($2,039 psf) on Oct 6. The seller had bought the unit in 2004, when the project was launched, for $2.51 million ($1,680 psf).

In the Cairnhill Circle neighbourhood, near Hilltops is the 97-unit Cairnhill Residences, a freehold twin-tower condo by Allgreen Properties that was completed in 2009. A 1,163 sq ft three-bedroom unit was recently sold for $2.36 million ($2,031 psf). The first buyer had purchased the unit when the project was launched in February 2007 for $2.01 million ($1,727 psf) and sold it in May 2009 for $1.73 million, which was 13.8% below the original purchase price.

At the top of Cairnhill Rise is the 20-unit Cairnhill Heights, which was completed 25 years old ago. A 1,281 sq ft two-bedroom unit on the 10th level was sold early this month for $1.75 million ($1,366 psf).

Nearby is the 158-unit freehold Vermont on Cairnhill by Bukit Sembawang Estates that is still under construction. To date, about 60% of the units have been sold, with the latest transaction being the sale of a 527 sq ft unit for $1.45 million ($2,749 psf).

In the vicinity is also the 50-unit luxury project by Far East Organization called Alba. Of the 42 units released to date, more than half have been sold, with the latest recorded transaction being that of a 2,056 sq ft unit, which was sold for $6.45 million ($3,140 psf) in May. The developer’s “white-plan concept” gives owners the flexibility of customising the interior spaces of their units.

Located just behind Paragon shopping mall on Bideford Road, just off Cairnhill Road is Richmond Park. The condo was completed 15 years ago, and the most recent transaction at the 159-unit freehold development was that of a 1,259 sq ft unit on the third floor that was sold for more than $3 million ($2,450 psf). It does seem like buyers have a lot of choices in the Cairnhill area alone.

Source : The Edge – 31 Oct 2011

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