The collective sale momentum of freehold sites has picked up in recent months

The collective sale momentum of freehold sites has picked up in recent months
(Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

 

A growing number of old condominiums — both freehold and 99-year leasehold — are attempting en bloc sales even as rumblings among dissenters increase. What is the cost to minority owners?

  

The tender for Royalville, which was launched on Oct 12 was originally supposed to close on Nov 10. However, on the evening of Nov 9, marketing agent Edmund Tie & Co. announced that the tender period has been extended. The new closing date is Nov 30.

Altogether, 80.25% of the owners had agreed to the collective sale at $368 million, which translates into a land rate of $1,509 psf per plot ratio (ppr).

However, not all the owners are expected to pop the champagne at the prospect of the collective sale going through. “Who likes moving? Especially if it’s against your wishes. That makes you feel even worse,” laments one of the owners who did not agree to the collective sale of Royalville. Having moved into Royalville more than a decade ago, he has witnessed all three collective sale attempts at the development. The first was in October 2007, when the asking price was $350 million, but there were no takers, so the price was cut to $305 million in April 2008 as the collective sale fever cooled. The second attempt was in 2011/12 when the asking price was $320 million to $370 million.

It was during this second collective sale attempt that the owner decided to buy another condo unit with similar attributes in the same neighbourhood in case the sale went through. Likewise, when the latest collective sale attempt was launched, he decided to buy another unit in the Bukit Timah area as a safeguard. “But now that the units are tenanted, we can’t ask the tenants to leave just because we’re being pushed out of [Royalville],” he reasons.

 

Replacement home

He reckons if the collective sale goes through, he will have another year before he has to move out. “We love the condo and the convenience of the location,” he says. “We’re not one of those people who bought a few years ago in the hopes of an en bloc sale.”

The 30-year-old Royalville contains 93 condo units and 11 strata shops that sit on a freehold site of 174,176 sq ft. Under the URA Master Plan 2014, the site has a plot ratio of 1.4, and has the potential to be redeveloped into a new condo with 323 units.

The site in prime District 10 is said to have attracted strong interest from developers. This is not surprising as the last time a freehold site of this size in Bukit Timah was sold en bloc was more than 10 years ago, recounts Swee Shou Fern, Edmund Tie & Co’s (ET&Co) senior director of investment advisory. In 2006, GuocoLand purchased Casa Rosita, which has since been redeveloped into luxury condo Goodwood Residence.

ET&Co is the marketing agent for Royalville, which is expected to be third time lucky in its latest collective sale attempt.