Old prime condos see prices hit new highs, $1 mil profits

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/ EdgeProp
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February 4, 2019 7:16 AM SGT
Over the week of Jan 15 to 22, three condominiums in the Core Central Region (CCR) saw transactions that were not just the most profitable, but also set record prices.
A unit at The Marbella was sold for $3.2 million ($1,830 psf), according to a caveat lodged on Jan 22 (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
The Marbella, at Mount Sinai Rise in prime District 10, is a 239- unit, freehold condo developed by OUB Centre and completed in 2005. The latest unit to change hands in the project was a 1,744 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the 23rd floor of one of the three 24-storey towers.
The unit at The Marbella was sold for $3.2 million, or $1,830 psf — which is a new high in terms of psf price. The sale price was 2.3 times the purchase price of $1.4 million ($803 psf) that the former owner paid in November 2002, according to a caveat lodged then. The seller also pocketed $1.8 million from the sale — which was the highest gain registered for the week under review (See Gains & Losses Table on Page EP9).
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Another profitable deal that week was for a unit at Emerald Garden on Club Street in District 1 of the CBD. The 265-unit, 999-year leasehold condo was completed in 1998. It is regarded as one of the first inner-city private condos in Singapore.
The unit at Emerald Garden is a 1,238 sq ft, three-bedroom apartment on the second level of the 11-storey condo block. The sale price was $2.6 million, which translates into $2,100 psf — also a new high in psf price terms. For the seller, who had paid $935,000 ($755 psf) in December 2002, it meant a capital gain of $1.67 million.
The third most profitable deal was at 28 Shelford, a freehold development that was completed in 1994. Located on Shelford Road, off Dunearn Road in prime District 11, it is a boutique, low-rise condo block with just 36 units.
The 1,184 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the second level of the four-storey block at 28 Shelford was sold for $2 million ($1,689 psf), double the purchase price of $1 million ($845 psf) in November 1999. The latest psf price achieved — $1,689 psf — is also the highest to date.
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Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI, believes that the buyers of these units are most likely en bloc beneficiaries looking for replacement homes in the prime districts. Owners of projects that have gone through a successful collective sale and received their money late last year, for instance, Hollandia, Olina Lodge and Tulip Garden in the Holland Road and Farrer Road neighbourhood, are now looking for replacement homes.
“These en bloc beneficiaries who want similar-sized three- and four-bedroom units are having difficulty finding them in newer developments where apartments are compact in size,” says Lye. “Older developments such as The Marbella and 28 Shelford, which were built more than a decade ago, however, have comparable unit sizes.”
What’s more, these prime projects have collective sale potential too, he adds. Lye points to Emerald Garden where owners in the development are attempting a collective sale. Word on the street is that they are exploring the possibility of having the site rezoned for use as a hotel or serviced apartment project.
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Just across the road from Emerald Garden is a public carpark that URA launched for tender as a hotel site last September. At the close of the tender on Jan 15, Worldwide Hotel Group’s subsidiary, Midtown Development, emerged the winner with a top bid of $562.2 million ($2,148 psf per plot ratio). That translates into a breakeven cost of $800,000 per key, according to Tricia Song, Colliers International head of research for Singapore.
“The record price for the hotel site may have induced some owners at Emerald Garden to ride the collective sale wave,” reckons Lye.
For the sellers of The Marbella, 28 Shelford and Emerald Garden, it made sense to cash out after holding their units for almost 28 years, adds Lye. These sellers had also purchased their units when the market was down and prices were at the trough in 1999-2002 in the aftermath of the