New residential projects spark rejuvenation of Kovan

By Michael Lim / The Edge Property | September 23, 2016 11:00 AM SGT
Once dominated by landed homes and low-rise apartment blocks, Kovan estate is now being transformed as new high-rise condominiums sprout up, especially in the vicinity of Kovan MRT station.
The first high-rise condo project to be developed in the area is 778-unit Kovan Melody. The 99-year leasehold project is located on Upper Serangoon Road and adjacent to the Kovan MRT station. Launched in 2004 and completed in 2006, the project was developed jointly by Wing Tai Holdings, NTUC Choice Homes and Greatearth Development.
Housewife Caroline Tan has been living in a 1,300 sq ft, four-bedroom unit at Kovan Melody for the past 10 years. “We decided to buy a unit here because my husband and I know the area well and it is very convenient, with the MRT station just next door and Heartland Mall across the road,” she says. The Tan family had upgraded from a five-room HDB flat in Hougang.
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What draws people to the Kovan area is also its wide variety of F&B outlets — from hawker fare at the Kovan Food Centre to traditional coffee shops on Simon Road and Upper Serangoon Road, including Soon Soon Teochew Porridge, Punggol Nasi Lemak and Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh. Pubs, cafés and restaurants have also sprouted up in the area. The most popular include Knuckles Bistro, which serves pork knuckles with beer; Hatter Street Bakehouse & Café, which specialises in desserts and cakes; The Bread Table Café; Joe’s Corner Café & Bar; and Lola’s Café.
Joe’s Corner Café & Bistro is Tan’s favourite hangout. “It serves good food at reasonable prices,” she says. “I especially love the chocolate lava cake, and after dinner you can stroll over to Simon Plaza for a gelato at Ice Edge Café.” Although Heartland Mall is located nearby, Tan prefers Nex shopping mall, which has more than 600,000 sq ft of shopping space and is just one MRT stop away at the Serangoon station.
Kovan Estate is being transformed into a hip new residential estate with high-rise condos
A wide selection of eateries offer local and Western cuisine on Upper Serangoon Road
Heartland Mall offers everything, from basic necessities to a supermarket
Cafés and bars such as Joe’s Corner Café & Bar, Ice Edge Café and Lola’s Café offer diners a casual environment for socialising
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New private condos
The success of Kovan Melody has also led to new private condos being launched in recent years. The second project was the neighbouring Kovan Residences, a 521-unit private condominium project by Centurion Properties and Lian Beng Group. The 99-year leasehold condo was launched in 2008, and completed in 2011.
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Both projects are fully sold. At the peak of the market in 2010 to 2012, resale prices of units at Kovan Melody averaged $1,200 to $1,400 psf respectively, says Fred Teo, executive head of business unit with KF Property network. He has been focusing on sale and rental of residential units in the Kovan area over the past five years.
Resale prices at Kovan Melody and Kovan Residences have softened as more property cooling measures were unleashed, and especially since the implementation of the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) in June 2013. This is evident in recent transaction prices at both projects, which are now in the $1,000-to- $1,100-psf range, says Teo.
For instance, a 1,227 sq ft, three-bedroom unit at Kovan Melody was sold in August for $1.2 million ($978 psf), and an 893 sq ft, two-bedroom unit fetched $968,000 ($1,083 psf), according to caveats lodged with URA Realis. At Kovan Residences, an 883 sq ft, two-bedroom unit was sold in September for $1.1 million ($1,244 psf) and a 1,281 sq ft three-bedroom unit fetched $1.4 million ($1,109 psf) in August.
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A third private condo project, Kovan Regency, was launched in 2012 and completed last year. The 393-unit, 99-year leasehold condo by developer Hoi Hup Realty has been fully sold. When the project was first launched, average prices were at $1,250 psf. The most recent transaction in the project was in November last year, when a 592 sq ft, two-bedroom unit was sold for $770,000 ($1,301 psf), based on caveats lodged with Realis. Within the development, a 1,150 sq ft, three-bedroom unit at Kovan Regency was leased at $3,200 a month, which is considered below market rate.
Kovan Melody was the first high-rise development in Kovan when it was completed in 2006
Kovan Residences, a 99-year leasehold, 521-unit development by boutique developer Centurion Properties and Lian Beng Group, was completed in 2011
A 1,150 sq ft, three-bedroom unit at Kovan Regency was leased for $3,200 a month
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Raising the bar
The Tembusu, a 337-unit freehold developed by Wing Tai Holdings, topped out on Sept 14 and is scheduled for completion by year-end. The project has been substantially sold, with only nine units available. It comprises five 18-storey blocks, with a wide range of unit types — from one- to four-bedroom apartments, as well as dual-key and penthouses, and measure 474 to 3,886 sq ft.
Located on Tampines Road, The Tembusu is located on the site of the former Wing Tai headquarters. Launched in August 2013, it was considered “Wing Tai’s 50th anniversary project”. In the first weekend of sales, more than 200 units were snapped up at prices between $1,400 and $1,500 psf. The project saw strong sales despite being launched just over a month after TDSR was introduced.
The most recent sale at The Tembusu was that of a 1,367 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the third floor that fetched $1.9 million ($1,389 psf) in June. A similar-sized unit one floor above fetched $2.05 million ($1,502 psf) in May.
The Tembusu, a 337-unit freehold development by Wing Tai Asia, topped out on Sept 14

Source: Wing Tai Asia

New developments have entered the fray. The latest is Stars of Kovan, a mixed-use development by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s property arm, Cheung Kong Property Holdings. The project contains 390 condo units sitting on top of a commercial podium with 46 commercial units. There are also five strata landed homes within the development. The condo units at Stars of Kovan were launched in May at an average price of $1,420 psf. As at end-August, 134 units have been sold at a median price of $1,468 psf, according to URA data. The most recent recorded transaction was that of a 506 sq ft, one-bedroom unit that was sold for $752,000 ($1,487 psf) earlier this month.
Cheung Kong is expected to set the benchmark for the Kovan neighbourhood by introducing luxury apartments fully equipped with SMEG kitchen appliances and full marble bathrooms fitted with top-end sanitaryware and accessories by Duravit, Hansgrohe and Kohler, according to property agents marketing the project. The 17-storey condo blocks sit on top of the commercial podium. As such, 80% of the units will have unobstructed views.
For those who want a landed feel but cannot afford a conventional landed home, there have also been developers launching strata landed housing projects. These include Charlton 18, Charlton Residences, Charlton 27 and One Surin. ACT Holdings has been active in the area and involved in projects such as Charlton Residences, Charlton 27 and One Surin, in a joint venture with its partners.
Cheung Kong Holdings’ 395-unit Stars of Kovan was launched for sale in May at an average price of $1,420 psf

Source: Cheung Kong Holdings

Seventy per cent of buyers from northeast
KF Property Network’s Teo estimates that 70% of the buyers of Kovan Melody, Kovan Residences, Kovan Regency and The Tembusu are owner-occupiers. “Of these, 70% are residents in the Northeast region of Singapore, and want to continue to live in neighbourhoods along the North-East [MRT] Line,” he says.
Profile of homebuyers include HDB upgraders from the nearby Hougang HDB estate and those downsizing from landed properties in the Serangoon Gardens or Kovan/Hougang area into private condos.
Teo estimates that 70% of the buyers of Kovan Melody, Kovan Residences, Kovan Regency and The Tembusu are owner-occupiers
For families with children, proximity to good schools is also important. Popular schools in the area include Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ Primary and Secondary School, St Gabriel’s Secondary School and Hillside World Academy, an international school.
With the new developments to be completed over the next few years, the Kovan area is set to become more vibrant, and hence, a more desirable residential neighbourhood, says Teo.
This article appeared in The Edge Property Pullout, Issue 747 (Sep 26, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.