Mixed fortunes in Cairnhill

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In the Cairnhill area, a two-bedroom unit at Hilltops, the exclusive 240-unit luxury condominium by SC Global Development, was recently sold for $4.2 million, or $3,142 psf.
The freehold project was completed in 2011, and designed by award-winning Mok Wei Wei of W Architects. It comprises three blocks — two 20-storey towers and a 14-storey block — with units ranging from two- to five-bedrooms, as well as three penthouses, including an 11,000 sq ft super penthouse. Most of the typical units are three- and four-bedroom units measuring 1,600 to 3,000 SQ ft.
The sale of the 1,335 SQ ft, two-bedroom unit at Hilltops for more than $3,000 psf is an anomaly in Caimhill, where most of the newly completed units have been sold by developers for $2,100 to $2,300 psf in recent months For instance, at The Vermont on Cairnhill, developer Bukit Sembawang slashed prices to a median of $2.133 psf last July to clear its 37 unsold units. More recently, at CapitaLand's Urban Resort, more than a dozen units were sold for $2,200 to $2,300 psf.
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According to Nicholas Mak, executive director of research and consultancy at SLP International, SC Global's projects tend to command a premium, as they are perceived as being of top quati1y, with a well-conceived design and layout, as well as offering a sense of space and luxury. In addition, unlike listed property developers, which are pressured to sell their units within two years of completion under the conditions of the Qualifying Certificate (QC), SC Global was delisted in March 2013 and is therefore “in no hurry" to lower prices for its unsold units, he points out. As such, it is able to hold on to its prices.
Mak foresees that prices in the luxury segment as a whole, including the Caimhill area, will continue to fluctuate because of market forces. A lot depends on the financial situation and holding power of individual owners in the secondary market. For example, at the 248-unit Cairnhill Crest, developed by Cheung Kong (Holdings) and completed in 2004, there were two recent transactions. One was that of a 1,970 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the 17th floor of one of the three condo blocks, and it was sold for $3.65 million (S1,853 psf), according to a caveat lodged in February. The unit was last purchased for $4.1 million ($2,084 psf) in March 2006, based on an earlier caveat. This reflects a markdown in price of 11%. Another unit on the same floor changed hands in January. The 1,733 sq ft, three-bedroom unit was sold for $3.41 million ($1,968 psf). It was last purchased in 2006 for $3.28 million ($1,891 psf. Thus, the owner saw the unit price appreciate 4% in nine years.
Meanwhile, at the 97-unit Cairnhill Residences by Allgreen Properties, a unit on the 12th level changed hands for $2.8 million ($2,222 psf) , according to a caveat lodged in late January. For the seller, this is a capital appreciation of 24% from his 2007 purchase price of $2.2 million ($1,798 psf). The freehold twin-tower condo was completed in 2009.
Alba, a 50-unit freehold luxury condo by Far East Organization, is the latest project in Cairnhill to obtain its Temporary Occupation Permit in 2014. As at end-January, 33 of the units had been sold, with the most recent recorded transaction achieving $5.7 million ($3,092 psf) for a 1,851 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the 13th floor of the 18-storey tower. The sale was recorded in November 2013.
Meanwhile, it was reported in February that LaSalle investment Management had sold its remaining 16 units at Ill Emerald Rill for a total of $75 million to S76 million, or an average of $1,700 psf, reflecting a bulk discount. Prior to that, the most recent transaction in the condo block was that of a 2,411 sq ft four-bedroom unit on the fourth level for $5.59 million ($2,277 psf) in January 2014. The 40-unlt, high-end condo at Emerald Hill is located adjacent to Lafe Corp's Residences at Emerald Rill, and completed around the same lime, in 2011.
The 56-unit Residences at Emerald Hill saw four units sold at an average price of$2,150 psf last December. The units were sold to Rosy Yu Lo Si, the wife of its chairman, according to a Singapore Exchange announcement on Dec 5. The three-bedroom units measured 1,658 sq ft each and were sold for $3.56 million each. Based on caveats lodged, 13 units in the development have been sold.
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This article appeared in the City & Country of Issue 666 (Mar 02) of The Edge Singapore.

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