Revitalising Potong Pasir’s private property market

By Ruth Loh
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
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Potong Pasir is a mature estate known for the sloping roofs of its HDB blocks and its proximity to central Singapore. With well-established amenities within walking distance for its residents, this city-fringe locale is home to more than a mouthful of budget-friendly bites.
Potong Pasir used to consist of mostly HDB flats and landed homes, but housing took a skyward turn five to 10 years ago, when the URA began releasing land parcels under its government land sales (GLS) scheme. Much of this land flanked the Upper Serangoon Road artery demarcating Potong Pasir’s landed and HDB residential areas.
POTONG PASIR - Designated land parcels for non-landed residential and residential-and-commercial uses
Designated land parcels for non-landed residential and residential-and-commercial uses (shown in purple). Photo credit: URA website
These land parcels have since been transformed into residential developments: these include the 219-unit Nin Residence (with an average sold price of $1,405 psf), 332-unit Sennett Residence (with an average sold price of $1,486 psf), 214-unit Sant Ritz (with an average sold price of $1,533 psf), and 731-unit The Poiz Residences (with an average sold price of $1,321 psf). All these developments were allotted 99-year leaseholds. All prices are as of June 8, 2019.
In 2017, Potong Pasir’s 30-year old privatized HUDC development Raintree Gardens successfully concluded its en bloc deal with a joint venture between UOL Group and United Industrial Corp (UIC). The final sale price of $334.2 million meant each of Raintree Gardens’ 175 apartment owners received an average of $1.9 million. The Raintree Gardens site is now home to the upcoming The Tre Ver, a 99-year leasehold development with 729 one-to-four bedroom units.

Potong Pasir’s first shopping mall

POTONG PASIR - MCC Land won the tender to develop this GLS site
MCC Land won the tender to develop this GLS site in August 2014, which later became The Poiz Residences and The Poiz Centre. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth
In November 2015, more than 1,000 people visited the preview of The Poiz Residences, a mixed-use development that includes the first shopping mall, The Poiz Centre, to be built in Potong Pasir. The 50,000 sq ft retail space is connected to Potong Pasir MRT Station, making it very convenient for travellers. Designed to house 84 strata-titled shops, a number of units stand empty in the centre’s quieter alleys, although the mall’s main avenue on its ground level is the epitome of a primarily food-focused and bustling business hub. In total, only 5,000 sq ft of total space is allocated to F&B tenants, with the remaining area designated for other uses, such as retail brands and convenience marts. The nearest major malls are NEX at Serangoon, two MRT stops away, and Plaza Singapura at Dhoby Ghaut, three stops away, making The Poiz Centre a Potong Pasir landmark.
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Upcoming Bidadari estate heightens area’s overall appeal

Less than 10 minutes’ drive from Potong Pasir is Bidadari, a town in the making. Bidadari comprises about 1,000 units built across a 93 ha site. Envisioned as a garden community, there are six distinctive neighbourhoods interwoven with communal parks and other public spaces; in fact, this is Singapore’s first public housing estate that allows its residents to live within a park. Edmund Tie & Co (ET&Co) CEO Ong Choon Fah observes that “most people do not delineate the (Potong Pasir) boundary” when it comes to mentally separating Potong Pasir and the surrounding area. For example, unlike other estates, Bidadari is adopting a totally different concept helmed by award-winning designer Siew Man Kok of MKPL, and has generated excitement as ‘the next Bishan’, Ong says the neighbourhood will be very vibrant once residents begin shifting in, and this will have a positive influence on Potong Pasir next door.
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Private property sales picked up in 2017

Nin Residence was completed in 2014, and Sant Ritz and Sennett Residence were completed in 2016, introducing fresh private non-landed homes to the mature estate, but according to Ong, there were unsold units prior to 2017. “If you look at the price index, the market was soft then, till 2017, which was when it began to pick up throughout Singapore,” Ong says.
The market picked up so quickly that the government issued a new round of cooling measures in July 2018, with higher additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) rates and more stringent loan limits. Despite this, The Tre Ver sold more than 140 units within three hours of initial launch. The average transacted price at launch was $1,500-$1,600 psf, which holds true still when compared to its current average sold price of $1,583 psf.
People like the Potong Pasir heartland because “it is close to town, in a fairly accessible location, with established amenities, schools, and a lived-in population easy to ease into”, Ong says. She adds that For instance, The Tre Ver has performed relatively well because it has been thoughtfully designed to align its features with its target audience: a “younger set of people who want to live a more active lifestyle amid landscaped greenery”. The development is within jogging distance of the park connector and residents can jog or cycle to the CBD.
There is rising demand from a group of households comprising smaller families, among whom one-or two-bedders are popular for both price and size; $1.2 to $1.5 million, Ong says, is a common budget for those looking for private property.

Plenty of choice for buyers in 2019

Right now, the market is expected to be flooded with units for buyers to pick from, since there are about 60 new developments in the launch pipeline across Singapore this year. While “underlying demand is strong,” Ong says, “people have a lot of choice in the market.”
At the same time, homebuyers may have more choice, but also higher hurdles to cross with the sharper ABSD and more demanding loan-to-value (LTV) limits. Buyers faced with this dilemma may wait to see before signing on the purchase contract.
Within Potong Pasir and its vicinity, buyers have multiple developments to choose from. As a sizeable group of potential buyers for these units are likely to be HDB upgraders, Ong says, budgets may be constrained. And those who want to upgrade need to sell their units in time to avoid ABSD.
For those who decide to invest in a private Potong Pasir property, though, the benefits of living in a comfortable and convenient heartland without compromising on location and accessibility to town are pillars of the neighbourhood’s highlights that have deep, unshakeable roots, giving this town something to offer both young and old.
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