River Place on Havelock Road fetches $1,307 psf

The 509-unit River Place on Havelock Road has recently caught the attention of investors and property agents attribute it to the perception that it could be undervalued relative to other newer projects in the vicinity — for instance, The Pier at Robertson, completed in 2006, where transaction prices in late September/October ranged from $1,696 to $2,032 psf; and Watermark at Robertson Quay, completed two years ago, where the most recent transaction in October was at $1,579 psf.

The proximity of River Place to the CBD and the entertainment/F&B enclave of Boat Quay and Clarke Quay along the Singapore River makes it popular with expatriates.

The condominium saw four transactions in the Nov 9 to 16 period. Prices ranged from $1,143 to $1,307 psf, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis. Developed by Far East Organization, River Place consists of four towers, with one- to fourbedroom units measuring 678 to 2,100 sq ft. The condominium along the Singapore River also contains 50 penthouses and maisonettes, measuring 1,292 to 3,649 sq ft.

Completed in 2000, the 99-year leasehold River Place was launched in early 1997, just before the Asian financial crisis. It was also when the property market was still toppish, although sentiment had been affected by the tough anti-speculation measures introduced on May 15, 1996. Thus, prices of units sold when the project was launched ranged from $1,100 to $1,200 psf, which is not far from prices today. “Investors could get a unit at River Place in District 3 in the $1,200 to $1,300 range, which is considered an entry-level price for a condo located so near the CBD, and at the same time, the units offer views of the river,” says Alan Shue of PropNex, who has been marketing resale units at River Place for more than a decade.

In the Tanjong Pagar area, the 351-unit Spottiswoode Residences, located along Spottiswoode Park Road near the Tanjong Pagar railway station, was launched in early November at prices ranging from $1,720 to $2,150 psf. It is a freehold project, however, and located within a short walk to the Outram MRT station.

Even new launches of 99-year leasehold condos in the suburbs of Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio are priced at $1,100 to $1,200 psf today, notes Shue. As such, he considers River Place “a good buy”.

Prices at River Place may not have moved much, but rental rates certainly have, and investors there are therefore enjoying high rental yields, he notes.

Most recently, the owner of a 1,389 sq ft unit at River Place listed an asking rent of $7,000 a month, says Shue. Monthly rental rates are $4.50 to $5 psf, translating into a rental yield of 5%.

“Most of the buyers are local investors looking to rent out the units,” says Shue.

River Place has a strong take-up rate, especially among singles and young couples who are working in the CBD area such as Raffles Place. One-bedroom units, which make up more than 50% of River Place, are especially popular.

Another key contributing factor to the strong rental growth at the development is the spacious bedroom layout, says Shue, adding that one-bedroom units range from 678 to 925 sq ft, unlike some of the new city apartments, which measure 350 to 400 sq ft.

Situated along the Singapore River at Havelock Road and Clemenceau Avenue, River Place is a 10- to 15-minute walk to both the Clarke Quay and China Town MRT stations, as well as two bus stops away from the Raffles MRT station. Residents could also walk to Mohamed Sultan, Riverside Point, Clarke Quay and Boat Quay.

Most recently, a 1,819 sq ft unit on the first floor was sold for $2.08 million ($1,143 psf). This represents a 43% gain for the seller, who bought the unit in the sub-sale market for $1.45 million ($797 psf) in August 1999. The first owner bought the unit from the developer for $1.59 million ($875 psf) in June 1999.

On the seventh floor of another block, the owner of a 797 sq ft one-bedroom unit made a 33% capital gain when he sold it for $990,000 ($1,243 sq ft) on Nov 15. He had bought the unit from the developer for $742,600 ($932 psf) in August 1999. Meanwhile, a 786 sq ft one-bedroom unit on the eighth floor of the same block was sold for $1.01 million ($1,285 psf) on Nov 12, representing a 5.6% gain for the seller, who bought the unit for $956,232 ($1,217 psf) from the developer at its launch in 1997.

On the same floor, a 818 sq ft one-bedroom unit was sold for $1.07 million ($1,307 psf), representing a 4% gain for the seller, who had bought the unit for $1.03 million ($1,255 psf) from the developer in May 1997.

Not surprisingly, River Place is as sought after as the newer projects on the riverside, which are also popular among investors. For instance, there are City Developments’ The Pier at Robertson, a 201-unit condo located along Mohammad Sultan Road and completed in 2006; and CapitaLand and Hwa Hong Corp’s 545-unit RiverGate, a landmark project located on Martin Road and also fronting the river.

Source : The Edge – 7 Dec 2010

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