Investor attention turns to Newton

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Recent transactions in the Newton Road neighbourhood show two emerging trends: Buyers are either targeting penthouses for their scarcity, or going for the compact one-bedroom and studio apartments.
One such transaction was a 3,315 sq ft duplex penthouse on the 29th storey of one of the 30- storey blocks at Park Infinia at Wee Nam. The owner of the four-bedroom penthouse sold it on Sept 22 for $4.5 million ($1,357 psf), having purchased it for $2.59 million ($781 psf) in August 2005. The 486-unit Park Infinia at Wee Nam was developed by Keppel and completed in 2008.
Park Infinia at Wee Nam
A 3,315 sq ft apartment on the 29th storey of the sevenyear-old Park Infinia at Wee Nam fetched $4.5 million ($1,357 psf) on Sept 22
Meanwhile, at L’Viv, word on the street is that three penthouses that measure 2,228 sq ft to 2,530 sq ft are currently “under negotiation” as a group of investors is interested in purchasing them in a club deal. The penthouses are fully furnished and should appeal to investors looking to lease them out and hold them for future capital appreciation, says a property observer.
The remaining units at the 147-unit L’Viv are one and two-bedroom apartments with sizes of 614 to 657 sq ft and 990 to 1,001 sq ft, respectively. These have been fully sold in the freehold project, developed by Wing Tai Holdings and completed just last year.
Across the road is another Wing Tai development, the 81-unit freehold Newton 18. A 614 sq ft unit on the 24th floor of the apartment was sold for $1.05 million ($1,711 psf) on Sept 23. The unit last changed hands in August 2007 for $990,000 ($1,614 psf). The project was completed in 2002.
Nearby is Lincoln Residences, developed by Sim Lian Group and completed in 2011. The 99-unit freehold condo has only one unit available for sale from the developer. It is a duplex penthouse of 2,497 sq ft that has been fully furnished. The unit is on the market for $4.3 million ($1,722 psf) and is being marketed by Emily Eng, head of residential project marketing at OrangeTee. Meanwhile, the 175-unit Lincoln Suites was completed sometime this year. The project is jointly developed by listed niche developers, namely, Koh Brothers, Heeton Holdings, Lian Beng Group and KSH Holdings. As at end-August, 161 units in the development have been sold, with only 14 more available.
Located on Khiang Guan Avenue, off Lincoln Road and Newton Road, Lincoln Suites has seen some of the high-floor compact units in the twin 30-storey development command some of the highest prices on a psf basis in the Newton enclave. For instance, in August, two 538 sq ft one-bedroom units on the 26th and 27th storeys of one of the towers were sold for $1.39 million ($2,581 psf) and $1.4 million ($2,597 psf), respectively. In early August, another 538 sq ft one- bedroom unit on the 25th floor was sold by the developer for Z1.394 million ($2,590 psf), and a 474 sq ft studio unit fetched $1.28 million ($2,696 psf), according to caveats lodged with URA Realis.
Across the road but closer to Novena is the 99-year leasehold Soleil @ Sinaran by Frasers Centrepoint. The developer still has one penthouse available in the 417-unit condominium located within a short walk of the Novena MRT station. The 4,715 sq ft duplex contains five bedrooms, a private lap pool and roof terrace, and was recently tagged at $11 million. The penthouse is being marketed by Savills and other agents. Incidentally, Samuel Eyo of Savills is also marketing another penthouse at Soleil @ Sinaran, on behalf of an individual owner. The 4,930 sq ft duplex is fully furnished as the owner currently occupies the unit. It is on the market for $12.8 million. The penthouses at Soleil @ Sinaran have panoramic city views.
368 Thomson
A 689 sq ft apartment on the 23rd storey of 368 Thomson changed hands for $1.09mil ($1,582 psf) on Sept 19
On Thomson Road is the newly completed 368 Thomson, located at the junction of Balestier Road and Thomson Road. The 157-unit freehold condo by City Developments Ltd saw number of units change hands last month, the latest being a 689 sq ft one-bedroom apartment on the 23rd storey that fetched $1.09 million ($1,582 psf) on Sept 19. That unit was first purchased in July 2010 for $994,000 ($1,443 psf). Earlier last month, two two-bedroom units were sold: An 872 sq ft unit on the 22nd storey fetched $1.39 million ($1,594 psf) on Sept 10, while an 883 sq ft unit on the 27th storey went for $1.42 million ($1,609 psf) on Sept 3. The recent transaction prices achieved by the two-bedroom units reflect a softer market, says Fransiska Tan, associate team director at PropNex Realty, who is marketing about 15 units within 368 Thomson, with a mix of units for sale and rent. Average asking prices of two-bedroom units in the area are closer to $1.5 million today, she adds.
Quite a number of owners who had purchased units at 368 Thomson four years ago are now looking to divest them for a marginal profit. This is because they have crossed the four-year threshold and are no longer bound by the seller’s stamp duty, says Tan. The capital appreciation is marginal as launch prices were in the range of $1,300 to $1,400 psf four years ago. “A lot of sellers are willing to let go of their units so they can look for opportunities elsewhere,” she adds.
This article appeared in the City & Country of Issue 647 (Oct 13) of The Edge Singapore.

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