The Parc sets a high of $1,030 psf; West Bay unit hits $786 psf

The launch of The Vision condominium along West Coast Crescent by Hong Kong developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) in mid- March at $1,000 to $1,200 psf set a new price benchmark for the West Coast area. For instance, the two penthouses in the develop ment were sold for $1,332 psf in the first weekend of private previews.

The development — designed as a high-end product, setting a new benchmark for condos in the area in terms of quality of the finishing — has 281 apartments and 14 strata terraced houses overlooking West Coast Park and the sea. As at June 8, only 11 units in the development are still available, says a marketing agent. These are mainly low-floor units, thus the selling price is below $1,000 psf.

Existing projects in the immediate neighbourhood of The Vision are prime beneficiaries, as they have seen a rise in transaction prices since its launch. A marketing agent says: “Although the properties in the vicinity of The Vision are older, their prices are now not too far off from those of The Vision, and people are increasingly attracted to the area.”

Take, for example, Far East Organization’s Blue Horizon, a 99-year leasehold condo with 616 units in five 22- and 23-storey towers that was completed five years ago. Other than The Vision, it is the only condo in the area boasting waterfront views, as it also overlooks West Coast Park and the sea. Prices at Blue Horizon have been trading above $800 psf in recent months and even hit a high of $908 psf, surpassing prices during the peak between mid- 2007 and early 2008.

Most recently, according to a caveat lodged on May 21, a 1,152 sq ft, three-bedroom apartment on the 18th floor of one of the towers was sold for $1.035 million ($899 psf). This represented a gain of 45.5% for the seller, who had first purchased the property for $711,360 ($618 psf) at the launch in March 2002.

Another beneficiary is West Bay Condominium, a 17-year-old, 318-unit development on West Coast Crescent directly across the street from The Vision. Prices have already surpassed 2007 levels and are pretty much on a par with those seen in the property boom of the mid-1990s

In 1Q2010, units in the 99- year leasehold project were trading in the secondary market at $583 to $704 psf, according to caveats lodged with URA. However, since the launch of The Vision, prices have gone up, with transactions now above $700 psf.

In the week of May 18 to 25, three units at West Bay Condo changed hands at $716 to $786 psf. One, an 893 sq ft unit on the third level of Block 60, was sold for $640,000 ($716 psf).

The two others were neighbouring units on the seventh floor of Block 50. One was an 872 sq ft unit sold for $685000 ($786 psf). The previous owner had purchased the unit in 1995 for $663,800 ($761 psf).

The other was an 893 sq ft unit that was sold for $688,000 ($770 psf). The property had changed hands in the resale market at least three times in the last 15 years. The last time it was sold was in late 2005, at $333,500 ($373 psf). The previous owner had purchased the unit a decade earlier in 1995 for $680,000 ($761 psf), according to a caveat lodged.

Excitement has also built up among developers, owner-occupiers and investors, since the government outlined in its 2008 Master Plan a blueprint for the Jurong Lake District, which will be transformed into a commercial hub. Very much like Marina Bay, it will contain a mix of residential, hotel, entertainment and lifestyle elements along the Jurong Lake.

Another development in the West Coast area that has seen many units changing hands in recent weeks is The Parc Condominium, a massive project with seven 24-storey blocks and a total of 659 units. From May 18 to 25, six units were sold at prices ranging from $929 to $1,030 psf.

The freehold project is jointly developed by Chip Eng Seng and Lehman Brothers. Launched in September 2007, all the units were snapped up within a fortnight, with prices hitting as high as $1,040 psf and averaging $880 psf.

According to ERA marketing agent Kia Eng, who specialises in The Parc Condominium, there has been a surge in interest since February as the development nears completion. “It is popular because it is a freehold development in the area and selling prices averaging $1,000 psf are considered reasonable,” he says, adding that most of the buyers are HDB upgraders.

Of the recent transactions, a fourth-floor, 1,216 sq ft unit in Block 5 changed hands in a sub-sale for $1.16 million ($954 psf). The previous owner had purchased the unit at launch in August 2007 for $975,000 ($802 psf), hence seeing a price appreciation of 19%.

Another unit, a 1,421 sq ft apartment on the 17th floor, was sold for $1.385 million ($975 psf).

Three other sales were for units in Block 7, including a 1,518 sq ft unit on the 16th floor that fetched more than $1.56 million ($1,030 psf). Another unit, a 2,174 apartment on the 24th floor, was sold for just over $2 million ($960 psf), with the seller making a 22.9% gain on the original purchase price at launch in September 2007 of $1.7 million ($781 psf).

Meanwhile, in Block 15, a 1,496 sq ft unit on the 15th floor changed hands for $1.466 million ($980 psf), representing a gain of 14.2% for the seller, who had also bought the unit at launch in August 2007 for $1.28 million ($858 psf).

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