Whitley Heights up for en bloc sale

After a strong run last year, it looks like the en bloc market is ushering in the new year with a bang.

Apartment complex Whitley Heights is up for collective sale — the first property to be offered this year.

Re-zoned for landed housing, the site should attract substantial interest, according to analysts.

Experts said sites like the Whitley Heights apartment complex are a rare find.

Located off Whitley Road, it consists of three blocks of three-storeys, each with a total of 45 units. Apartment sizes range from 1,600 square feet to 2,100 square feet.

Credo Real Estate managing director Karamjit Singh said: “There are very few residential redevelopment sites available in the market place for them to get their hands on to build landed properties or mixed landed.

“Here, when we talk about mixed landed, we are referring to the ability on the part of the developers to build a whole variety of either terraces, semi detached or detached houses.

Mr Singh added that Whitley Heights is the largest freehold plot in Districts 9 to 11, sized at 130,165 square feet. He said it is the largest site put up for collective sale in more than three years.

Now that demand for landed property is rising due to supply constraints, analysts expect Whitley Heights to attract bids from mid-tier as well as major developers.

Prices for landed housing increased 20 per cent last year, outpacing the non-landed residential market.

International Property Advisors chief executive officer Ku Swee Yong said: “We’ve got a limited supply; right now, total stock in Singapore is just under 70,000 units.

“What’s coming up in the next five years could be about three to four thousand units of new landed housing”.

Whitley Heights is expected by analysts to attract bids ranging from S$185 million to S$210 million.

That means each of the owners gets to pocket a S$4 million if the sale goes through.

This translates to S$1,421 per square foot to S$1,613 per square foot over the land area.

Credo Real Estate said Whitley Heights could be developed into as many as 80 strata terrace houses or about 60 strata semi-detached houses, subject to approval.

Going forward, analysts are bullish on the landed housing market.

They forecast that prices of landed housing will rise by eight to 10 per cent this year.

Prices of landed housing are currently at S$7,600 to S$9,300 per square metre, 25 per cent lower than prices of non-landed housing.

“Right now, there’s a little bit of a price gap on a per square foot basis versus high-rise properties,” Mr Ku said.

“The gap has shrunk within the last eight to 10 years from 30 over per cent. Now the gap is only at 25 per cent. We expect the gap to shrink further because the demand for landed properties is stronger than the demand for high rise properties.”

Analysts also expect en bloc deals, which were worth S$860 million last year, to double in 2011.

Mr Ku noted that other private properties which have the potential to follow in Whitley Heights’ footsteps are Kiam Hock Gardens, Kew Lodge, Orchid Apartments and Charming Gardens.

Like Whitley Heights, these properties are located in Districts 9 to 11.

But the site could multiply its value proposition. Sources say that the two private low-density properties are a barrier to direct access into Chancery Hill Road and Chancery Lane.

“A smart developer would try to buy off the two properties and rebrand the entire redevelopment into an exclusive Chancery Lane residence,” said a property consultant who declined to be named.

Tight government land supply in the city fringe region has led to successful en bloc sales in the area.

For example, fellow city-fringer and en bloc property Maison Royale, which is located at Surrey Road, was sold off last month to Giant Land for S$46 million.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 5 Jan 2011

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