Space was luxury then, small is trend now: SC Global

Space was luxury then, small is trend now: SC Global

THE times they are a changin’ – even for high-end home buyers. And luxe developer SC Global is rolling with it.

The Simon Cheong vehicle, known for building “Mansions in the Sky” at The Marq, is now going small with its new collection, aptly named Petit Collectibles.

The approximately 55-unit Petit Jervois in River Valley, the first project under this new brand, will be mostly one and two-bedders spanning 800 sq ft to 1,000 sq ft, and will launch by the end of the year.

It is expected to be launched at around S$2,800 to S$3,000 per square foot (psf) range.

Units under this brand will also be “a bit modular” in design, allowing owners flexibility in how they want to use the rooms depending on their preferences, said Mr Cheong, founder and chairman of SC Global.

“The market has changed, and people want higher-quality, smaller, compact units,” he told BT in an interview, referring to units of 800 and 1,000 sq ft. Unit sizes at his maiden project The Ladyhill spanned an average 2,300 to 2,400 sq ft, a decision he made in the belief that space is luxury. But demand for smaller luxury apartments has been on the up, he observed, mirroring the trend in cities like New York, London and Paris.

Currently, small units at his other projects are all sold out, he said.

Empty nesters here are looking to move on from older properties that require more maintenance, while young professionals outsource housekeeping to housekeepers rather than hire live-in help.

The freehold Petit Jervois will also be its first Singapore project in three years, Mr Cheong said. SC Global scooped up the former Jervois Gardens condo in September 2017 in a S$72 million collective sale.

SC Global, Far East Consortium International and New World Development had also clinched a Cuscaden Road Government Land Sales (GLS) site for S$410 million this year.

Mr Cheong’s firm is responsible for head-turning premium developments, like Martin No 38, Sculptura Ardmore and Thr3e Thre3 Robin.

“We are able to withstand the collateral damage (from cooling measures over the years),” he said. “People know we’re quality at the end of the day. We’ve maintained our prices . . . Quality will withstand the test of time.”

Likewise, the most recent round of cooling measures will likely result in a “knee-jerk” effect in the short term, but ultimately, “those people who want good quality accommodation, they are still there. There are still buyers, and we continue to sell.” Albeit sometimes with a nudge from the developer.

In 2016, SC Global launched a payment plan to help move unsold units at The Hilltops. Under that scheme involving 30 units at the Cairnhill development, buyers would be given a two-year option to purchase the units at a fixed price set back then, and receive a return of 10 per cent each year on the 20 per cent downpayment.

Two years on, he said all the buyers under that scheme have executed the option to buy.

“It solved their anxiety about prices going down further and whether they would be able to sell their existing place,” he said.

Since delisting from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2013, the company has ventured abroad, such as by acquiring a resort site in Bali in 2012, and buying some freehold land in the ski resort town of Niseko, Japan last year. In end-2017, it also bought a 12-storey commercial building in Tokyo called Ginza 12. Mr Cheong told BT that markets like Japan and China, particularly Shanghai, are promising for acquiring prime real estate.

He declined to reveal SC Global’s revenue mix by geography, but “spends 50 per cent of his effort and time” on overseas projects. But he said Singapore will continue to be the company’s main base.