Foreigners step up purchases of prime condos

By Tay Hock Meng / The Edge Property | March 17, 2016 10:00 AM SGT
The last two penthouses at Urban Resort were snapped up last month for $8.5 million and $12.2 million respectively. For more property information around Urban Resort Condominium area, please click HERE
After a series of distressed sales last year, things are starting to look up for owners at St Regis Residences. The latest transaction at the 173-unit luxury condo was that of a 5,543 sq ft, five-bedroom duplex on the 20th floor. It changed hands for $15 million ($2,706 psf), according to a caveat lodged on Feb 26. The previous owner had paid $11.7 million ($2,111 psf) for the unit in February 2012, therefore recognising a 28.2% gain in four years.
A fortnight ago, a four-bedroom unit on the 12th floor of St Regis Residences was sold for $4.7 million ($2,194 psf). The owner had paid $4.5 million ($2,101 psf) in 2009, hence the upside was 4.4% over six years.
According to Alan Cheong, head of research at Savills Singapore, large apartments at St Regis Residences, such as the five-bedroom duplex that was just sold for $2,700 psf, is “a huge turnaround” for the project. The $2,700 psf is the highest since 2010, when a 2,756 sq ft unit fetched $7.45 million ($2,704 psf). “It’s also a clear sign that foreign buyers are returning to the prime districts of Singapore,” he says.
Even though the additional buyer’s stamp duty of 15% is still in place and there is no sign it will be lifted anytime soon, foreigners are starting to find prices of luxury residences in Singapore attractive enough to come in. According to Cheong, prices of luxury property in Singapore averaged $2,200 psf at end-4Q2015. This is equivalent to about HK$12,000 psf and looks reasonable compared with luxury property prices in Hong Kong, which are at an average of HK$20,000 psf or $3,561 psf.
Meanwhile, the last two penthouses in CapitaLand’s luxury 64-unit Urban Resort Condominium were snapped up last month, by foreigners, it was believed. The 4,715 sq ft penthouse on the 17th floor was sold for $8.5 million ($1,803 psf), according to a caveat lodged on Feb 25. The other, on the 19th floor, was 6,857 sq ft and went for $12.2 million ($1,779 psf), according to a caveat lodged on Feb 17.
At The Sail @ Marina Bay, a 678 sq ft, one-bedroom unit fetched $1 million ($1,475 psf), according to a caveat lodged on Feb 26. The seller realised a gain as the unit was last purchased for $881,400 ($1,300 psf) in February 2009. However, the last time prices fell below $1,500 psf was in January 2010, when a 1,259 sq ft sixth-floor unit changed hands in a resale for $1.8 million ($1,436 psf).
Over at Marina One Residences, a 1,119 sq ft, two-bedroom unit on the 21st level was sold for $2.58 million ($2,306 psf). Marina One Residences has seen strong interest among foreign buyers since 4Q2015, says Savills’ Cheong. The mixed use scheme contains two residential towers with 1,042 units, two office towers with a total of 1.88 million sq ft of space, and a shopping mall with a direct link to the Marina Bay interchange station. The 99-year leasehold deve lopment is a joint venture between Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2017.
This article appeared in the City & Country of Issue 719 (March 14, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.