Unit at Double Bay Residences sells for $821 psf

It may be three years before Double Bay Residences is completed, but some buyers of the sold-out, 646-unit condominium at Simei Street 4 have already cashed out for a profit.

The 99-year leasehold project was launched in March last year amid much uncertainty in the property market. Units went for as low as $409 psf, with the average selling price in the $600 to $650 psf range. With the property market recovering in 2H2009 and the first four months of this year, prices have escalated, hitting a high of $981 psf in March, when a 538 sq ft unit on the seventh floor was disposed of for $528,000.

The condo, developed jointly by UOL Group and Kheng Leong (a private property arm of banking magnate Wee Cho Yaw and his family), comprises nine 12-storey blocks and five 13-storey blocks. It is just a short walking distance to the Simei MRT station, and Eastpoint Mall is near schools like Changkat Changi Secondary School and ITE College East.

Noelle Lim of PropNex says new developments in the area like the upcoming university and new offices at Changi Business Park yield and capital appreciation. There is also a lot of interest from HDB upgraders who are looking for something affordable.”

With another upcoming private condo launch in the pipeline, homebuyers are expecting prices in the neighbourhood to receive another boost. Last month, the tender for a 99-year leasehold government land parcel of 126,940 sq ft site at Simei Street 3 attracted a record number of 18 bids. Chip Eng Seng Corp won the site with a bid of $152.7 million, or $523 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr), based on a maximum gross floor area of 291,963 sq ft. The proposed development will be a 280-unit condo, and based on the price psf ppr, property consultants expect the breakeven price to be $860 to $900 psf, and the selling price of the project to be around $1,000 psf when it is launched in 1H2011.

At Double Bay Residences, there were three transactions ranging from $812 to $821 psf from May 25 to June 1, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis. A 936 sq ft two bedroom unit on the ninth floor was sold for $760,000, or $812 psf. That’s a 20% gain in slightly over a year for the original owner, who bought it for $630,867, or $674 psf, from the developer last April.

In another block, a 1,001 sq ft two-bedroom apartment on the seventh floor went for $820,000, or $819 psf. The owner had purchased it for $690,378, or $690 psf, in March last year, reaping an 18.8% gain in over a year.

In the same block, another 1,001 sq ft unit on the 12th floor was sold for $821,888, or $821 psf. This represents a 14% gain for the seller, who purchased it for $717,683, or $717 psf, in April last year.

Double Bay Residences’ launch has also lifted the prices of other 99-year leasehold condos in the neighbourhood, with some hitting new highs. Located next door is Simei Green, an 11-year-old executive condo developed by NTUC Choice Homes. A high of $692 psf was achieved in May there, when a 968 sq ft unit on the eighth floor was sold for $670,000. The 602-unit executive condo was completed in 1999. Under HDB rules, executive condos can only be sold to a Singaporean five years after completion, but they can be traded like private condos (allowed to be sold to locals and foreigners) after 10 years.

Further up along Simei Street 4 is another Choice Homes development —the 242-unit private condo Tropical Spring. A 1,335 sq ft unit in one of the blocks was sold for $940,000 ($704 psf), according to a May 3 caveat. The property last changed hands a decade ago for $775,218 ($581 psf). Meanwhile, a 1,926 sq ft unit on the first floor went for $1.5 million, or $779 psf, in April. The property was last transacted at $860,000 ($446 psf) in December 2006, hence the owner saw a 74.4% gain in less than 3½ years.

Another 99-year leasehold project on Simei Street 4 is Modena, a 230-unit private condo developed and completed by OUB Centre nine years ago. The most recent transaction there was for a 1,561 sq ft, eighth-floor unit that was sold for $1.1 million ($705 psf). The previous owner had purchased the unit in 2002 for $$770,000 ($493 psf), hence seeing a 43% appreciation in the last eight years. The highest price achieved to date in terms of price was $752 psf for a 957 sq ft unit on the seventh floor.

Suburban condos located near MRT stations like Double Bay Residences are seeing strong homebuyer interest even though the market has become more subdued in the past month. Property consultants expect prices to hold for now.

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