Unit at Scotts Square fetches $4,626 psf

Scotts Square, a 338-unit freehold highend condominium development in the prime Orchard Road-Scotts Road neighbourhood, is back on investors’ radar screens, as it scheduled to obtain the temporary occupation permit towards the latter part of this year.

Scotts Square, by listed luxury developer Wheelock Properties, comprises two residential towers of 43 storeys and 32 storeys each atop a three-storey retail podium, which is positioned as a luxury boutique shopping mall with around 75,000 sq ft of prime retail space. As at end-January, of 241 units launched, 239 had been sold, according to URA’s newhome sales figures.

When it was first launched in 2007, Scotts Square’s low-floor units were priced at $3,500 to $3,600 psf, while high-floor units went up to $4,600 psf. Today, sellers in the sub-sale market are asking for $4,200 to $4,600 psf. In the week of Feb 8 to 15, two high-floor, 947 sq ft, two bedroom units were sold at $4,119 and $4,626 psf, according to caveats lodged with URA. A unit on the 32nd floor went for $3.9 million ($4,119 psf), while the other, on the topmost level (43rd floor), was sold for $4.38 million ($4,626 psf).

The price of $4,626 psf is the second highest average price achieved since the project was launched in 2007, when a 1,249 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the 37th floor changed hands in a sub-sale for $5.87 million ($4,701 psf) that September.

“Some 80% of the buyers are investors, particularly Indonesians and Singaporeans who are cash-rich,” says ERA team director Daphne Lean, who is currently marketing over 20 units at the development. “The average per sq ft price might be high, but for those who can afford to buy, they see the potential of good capital returns in Scotts Square.” Located in prime District 9, the residences at Scotts Square are positioned as city apartments and are therefore relatively small, with one-bedroom apartments sized at 624 to 635 sq ft, two-bedroom units at 893 to 947 sq ft and three-bedroom apartments at 1,227 to 1,249 sq ft.

A price premium is also attached to its freehold status and location right in the heart of Orchard Road, notes Lean. Scotts Square is also a mere five-minute walk to the Orchard MRT station via an underground link.

However, the residential project to hit the highest prices to date in the neighbourhood is the 175-unit The Orchard Residences. It sits atop the ION Orchard landmark shopping mall and is integrated with the Orchard MRT station in the basement level, with underground links to the other shopping malls in the vicinity.

Developed by listed giant property group CapitaLand and Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai Properties and completed last year, the 54-storey residential tower boasts four penthouses sold at $5,000, $5,400, $5,500 and $5,600 psf in the second half of 2007, at the peak of the last residential boom.

Some 90% of units at The Orchard Residences had been sold as at end-January. The most recent caveat lodged with URA was that of a 1,808 sq ft unit on the 46th level that was purchased from the developer for $7.7 million ($4,258 psf).

The only other condo to have breached $5,000 psf is SC Global’s newly completed 66-unit, super-luxury condo The Marq on Paterson Hill. In July 2007, a 6,157 sq ft apartment in the Signature Tower, which features only duplexes, each with a private lap pool, was sold for a whopping $31.4 million ($5,100 psf). This was the first time a residential unit in Singapore crossed $5,000 psf. In another transaction, a 3,003 sq ft unit in the Premium Tower was sold for more than $15.8 million ($5,262 psf).

According to a Feb 24 report, DMG Research property analyst Brandon Lee expects The Marq to be relaunched in the coming months given the project’s completion. Enquiries “are rising steadily”, Lee says. “Recently transacted prices of nearby Scotts Square [$4,626 psf] and The Orchard Residences [$4,258 psf] should provide pricing support.” In terms of asking rents at The Orchard Residences, the owner of a three-bedroom, 1,808 sq ft unit is asking for $17,500 ($9.68 psf) a month. Meanwhile, a 2,174 sq ft, four-bedroom unit is indicating $18,000 a month ($8.28 psf).

According to Lean, a significant number of buyers at Scotts Square are investors, and given the availability of one- and two-bedroom apartments, in addition to three-bedroom units, the development is likely to appeal to singles and young couples. The condo also offers the esteem of an Orchard Road address and proximity to shopping malls and eateries as well as Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Medical Centre, and an MRT station.

Source : The Edge – 7 Mar 2011

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