Interest in luxury homes typically picks up once they are completed as well-heeled buyers can personally inspect the design and quality of the project. For Cairnhill Nine, an integrated development by CapitaLand, it also means aspiring buyers can experience for themselves the project’s proximity to Paragon, a luxury shopping mall in the Orchard Road shopping belt.

Only 48 units have remained unsold at Cairnhill Nine since the project was launched a year ago. Following the project’s completion in October, CapitaLand will showcase these units in Singapore and Jakarta starting from Feb 25.

The robust sales at Cairnhill Nine were primarily driven by its prime location. The development is directly linked to Paragon via a covered overhead bridge. Cairnhill Nine is part of an integrated development that includes Ascott Orchard Singapore, a 20-storey luxury serviced residence with 220 units.

In addition to the one-bedroom units, buyers have also snapped up all the 22 fourbedroom units and eight penthouse units within the first two months of launch. Prices ranged from $1.3 million for a one-bedroom unit to $6.7 million for a 3,864 sq ft penthouse unit.

The remaining 48 units are mainly two-bedroom units of 1,033 sq ft, with prices ranging from $2.5 million to $2.9 million. This works out to $2,400 to $2,750 psf. A majority of the units are above the 14th floor, although there are still a handful of lower-floor units available. High-floor two-bedroom units sold over the past six months have ranged from $2,513 psf for a 14th-floor unit to $2,915 psf for a 27th-floor unit.

More than 20% of the buyers are from Indonesia, according to a CapitaLand spokesperson. This is not surprising as the Orchard Road micro-market has traditionally been popular with Indonesian buyers.

“For them, the main draw is the convenient location — with shopping, food and medical facilities at the doorstep,” says Jerry Tan, founder and managing director of JTResi, a marketing agent specialising in luxury property. The site’s leasehold tenure, as a result, took a backseat in their purchase decision, he notes.

The show suite of a two-bedroom unit at Cairnhill Nine

Luxury finishes

Residents at Cairnhill Nine will be able to enjoy hospitality services provided by the adjoining Ascott Orchard, including concierge, housekeeping, laundry and even grocery shopping services. Each unit comes fully fitted with marble flooring and Miele kitchen appliances, including a coffee machine, microwave oven, slimline hood, induction/gas hob and concealed refrigerator, as well as a Bosch washer-dryer.

The two-bedroom-plus-study unit features a swivel TV panel that can pivot to face the living room or the study. Meanwhile, the smart home system allows residents to remotely control home devices such as the air-conditioning, digital lock with biometric access and security camera.

The show suite of a two-bedroom-plus-study unit with a TV swivel panel between the living room and study

Unlike in most projects, Cairnhill Nine units will be fitted with LED lighting and cove lighting in the living area. Homeowners therefore need only buy soft furnishings before moving in while investors can rent out the units immediately. As at end-January, there were eight rental contracts for one-bedroom units in Cairnhill Nine ranging from $3,700 to $5,500 a month. There were four rental contracts for two-bedroom units at between $5,900 and $6,850 a month.

Facilities in the project include a 50m lap pool, children’s pool, spa pods, barbecue areas, cabanas as well as two clubhouses that house a gymnasium, golf simulator room, music room, function room, wine room, spa room and reading room. Ascott Orchard has a separate range of facilities for its guests.

Return of Ascott The Residence to Orchard Road

The soft opening of Ascott Orchard Singapore on Dec 1, 2016 marked the return of the Ascott The Residence brand to Orchard Road after a decade-long hiatus. The 20-storey serviced residence comprises 220 luxury units ranging from 323 sq ft studios to 861 sq ft two-bedroom units. With a hotel licence, Ascott Orchard offers both short- and longterm stays.

The online rates for a studio unit for a one-night stay on May 6 start from $352 a night, excluding taxes. Meanwhile, the two-bedroom penthouse suite is going for $1,224 a night. The eight penthouse suites on the top floor are furnished and fitted out by Fendi Casa, the lifestyle living subsidiary of the Italian high fashion house. 

A penthouse unit at Ascott Orchard

Ascott Orchard is currently running at about 50% occupancy, two months into operations, according to Norman Lim, country general manager for Singapore at The Ascott Ltd. “There is an equal mix of short- and long-term guests. With its proximity to Orchard Road and world-class medical facilities at Paragon Medical Singapore and Mount Elizabeth Orchard, all less than five minutes away, this serviced residence is ideal for business, leisure and medical travellers,” he says.

Facilities at Ascott Orchard include a gymnasium, swimming pool and residents’ lounge. Breakfast is served at Kith Café, a favourite haunt among foodies and brunch enthusiasts. 

Ascott The Residence ceased its Orchard Road operations about a decade ago. In 2004, The Ascott Group entered into a conditional agreement with Wheelock Properties, formerly known as Marco Polo Developments, to sell its Scotts Shopping Centre and The Ascott Singapore serviced residence located above the mall. The site is now occupied by Scotts Square, a luxury mixed-use development comprising a four-storey retail mall and 338-unit freehold apartments.

The facilities deck of Ascott Orchard (right) and the adjacent Cairnhill Nine (left)

Homes for the global rich

CapitaLand has an established footprint in the Cairnhill area, having developed Urban Suites and Urban Resort Condominium, located just across Cairnhill Nine. Unlike Cairnhill Nine, which comprises predominantly one- and two-bedroom apartments, units start from 1,044 sq ft at Urban Suites for two-bedroom apartments and 2,121 sq ft at Urban Resort Condominium for three-bedroom apartments. The freehold developments were completed in 2013.

Both Urban Suites and Urban Resort Condominium were designed by Kerry Hill Architects, whose portfolio includes Aman Tokyo, dubbed Aman’s first city retreat. More than half of the buyers at the condo projects were foreign nationals, including Singapore permanent residents and non-PRs. The latest transaction at Urban Suites was for a 2,045 sq ft unit that fetched $5.2 million, or $2,518 psf. Meanwhile, the latest transaction for a 1,044 sq ft, two-bedroom unit was in January 2015. The unit on the 13th floor changed hands at $2.9 million, or $2,758 psf.

The last two penthouses in Urban Resort Condominium were snapped up in February last year, by a Singaporean and a Chinese national. The 4,715 sq ft penthouse on the 17th floor was sold for $8.5 million, or $1,803 psf, according to a caveat lodged on Feb 25, 2016. The 6,857 sq ft penthouse on the 19th floor went for $12.2 million, or $1,779 psf, according to a caveat lodged on Feb 17, 2016.

Aside from Cairnhill Nine, CapitaLand also launched two luxury residences — Victoria Park Villas and The Nassim — in 2016. Victoria Park Villas comprises 106 semi-detached houses and three bungalows on a 403,000 sq ft, 99-year leasehold site. The project’s main appeal lies in its location at the junction of Coronation Road and Victoria Park Road, flanked by Good Class Bungalow areas in prime District 10. Mok Wei Wei of W Architects was the master planner for Victoria Park Villas. Mok collaborated with AR43, HYLA Architects and Studio Wills + Architects, which designed the individual houses. Transacted prices at Victoria Park Villas ranged from $4.2 million to $5.1 million, based on caveats lodged.

The Nassim is a luxury condo comprising only 55 units on a sprawling 122,600 sq ft freehold site. CapitaLand had envisioned a project reminiscent of the black-and-white bungalows of the early 1900s and commissioned W Architects’ Mok to deliver this vision. The development made headlines last June when an Indonesian family picked up two units at $20.3 million and $13.7 million. In September, a Singaporean buyer shelled out $14 million, or $3,204 psf, for a 4,370 sq ft unit in the project.

Earlier this year, CapitaLand announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, CRL Realty Pte Ltd, had sold its 100% stake in Nassim Hill Realty to Kheng Leong Co. NHR owned the remaining 45 unsold units at The Nassim. The purchase consideration was $411.6 million. The 10 units that were sold to individual buyers fetched prices ranging from $2,248 psf for the $20.3 million unit to $3,260 psf for a 1,927 sq ft unit, based on caveats lodged. The Nassim was completed in 3Q2015 and CapitaLand would have had to pay extension charges if had failed to sell all the units by 3Q2017, that is, two years from the date of completion. 

The newly completed Ascott Orchard serviced residences (left) and Cairnhill Nine apartment block on Cairnhill Road