Sales at Mon Jervois pick up after completion

/ The Edge Property
October 8, 2016 8:00 AM SGT
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When Mon Jervois obtained its Temporary Occupation Permit in August, developer Singapore Land threw a launch party on the grounds of the project on Sept 1. About 250 people attended the event, including property agents, consultants, bankers, lawyers, architects and business associates.
Following the event, 11 units were sold at an average price of $1,850 psf, bringing the total sales tally in the 109-unit private condo to 65, or 60%. The pickup in sales post-TOP shows that potential buyers who came to view the project liked what they saw, says Michael Ng, group general manager of listed property group United Industrial Corp (UIC) and its privatised property arm, Singapore Land (SingLand). The boutique high-end condominium was designed by Ong & Ong Architects, with landscaping by renowned landscape designer Belt Collins International.
Clubhouse and swimming pool of the 109-unit Mon Jervois
The spa pool set amid greenery, with landscaping by Belt Collins
“Before TOP, people can’t visualise what the property will look like,” says Phylicia Ang, Savills Singapore’s executive director and head of residential sales. “But when the project is completed, they have a better appreciation for the project. And that’s why there was a sales uptick.” Mon Jervois is jointly marketed by CBRE, Huttons Asia and Savills.
More than half the buyers were foreigners and permanent residents (PRs) and they were a wide mix of nationalities mainly from China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the UK and the US. Most of them were buying for their own use, either as their primary residence in Singapore or as a holiday home, says UIC’s Ng.
Good Class Bungalow enclave
Mon Jervois is located in a quiet enclave of landed and low-rise condo developments in the neighbourhood of Bishopsgate and Jervois Road within the Chatsworth Park Good Class Bungalow estate. In the vicinity of Mon Jervois is Jervois Ville, where the landed homes built in 1989 are arranged in a horseshoe shape. Also nearby are the condo blocks of the 92-unit Dormer Park developed by Hong Leong Holdings in 1993. There is also Jervois Lodge, a 108-unit freehold condo block built 19 years ago. Adjacent to Mon Jervois is 38-unit Jervois Regency. Completed in 2003, it is considered one of the newer developments in the area.
Minister for Defence, Ng Eng Hen, is a resident in the area, lending it a measure of prestige. “This is therefore a safe, tranquil neighbourhood,” says Samuel Eyo, managing director of Singapore Christie’s International Real Estate.
The spacious master bathroom of the four-bedroom unit
The master bedroom of the four-bedroom show unit
Few land sites for sale
For more than a decade until the launch of Mon Jervois in 2013, there was no new residential development in the area because very few land sites have been put on the market except for collective sales, says UIC’s Ng. A detached house sitting on a land area of 14,822 sq ft at 38 Jervois Road was sold for $25 million ($1,686 psf) in February last year. The property will be redeveloped into a 27-unit condo block called 38 Jervois, which has yet to be launched.
Farther down the road from Mon Jervois is Jervois Gardens, a freehold four-storey apartment block with 14 units that was completed in 1998. The owners attempted a collective sale in December 2013. The 34,038 sq ft site with a plot ratio of 1.4 was put up for sale with an asking price of $72 million, which worked out to $1,510 psf per plot ratio. The owners of the 98-unit Casa Jervois had also attempted a collective sale in late 2009. Casa Jervois is a freehold condo on Jervois Road that was completed in 1990. There were no takers for both collective sales.
Meanwhile, Mon Jervois is a redevelopment of a rare government land parcel in prime District 10. It was the site of a former school on a 99-year leasehold site. When it was put up for sale, it drew 17 bids at the close of the tender in February 2012. SingLand had put in the top bid of $118.9 million for the 96,423 sq ft site, which translated to $881 psf ppr.
Dearth of comparables
In the Bishopsgate neighbourhood, the most recent launch was Bishopsgate Residences by Kajima Overseas Asia. The project is a redevelopment of the former Bishops Walk, which a unit of Kajima Overseas Asia had purchased for more than $130 million, or $1,500 psf ppr (including a development charge of $15.6 million), in April 2007.
The 69,189 sq ft freehold site has been redeveloped into the 31-unit Bishopsgate Residences, featuring spacious three- and four-bedroom apartments as well as penthouses and townhouses. The project was completed in 2012. The developer has maintained its selling prices at above $3,000 psf. The three most recent transactions from last August to February this year were those of a 2,917 sq ft, three-bedrooom unit sold for more than $9.9 million ($3,400 psf); a 3,143 sq ft, four-bedroom-plus-study that fetched $10.46 million ($3,329 psf); and a 6,082 sq ft townhouse that went for $21 million ($3,465 psf).
Christie’s Eyo says: “Bishopsgate Residences is a different product from Mon Jervois, as the units are all sized bigger, it’s freehold and prices are above $3,000 psf.”
The 1,981 sq ft, four-bedroom dual-key show unit with 4.7m ceiling height and private enclosed space
One of the common bedrooms in the four-bedroom show unit
Loft-style apartments in demand
Mon Jervois has a mix of one-bedroom-plus study units of 614 sq ft; two-bedroom units from 883 sq ft; three-bedroom units from 1,389 sq ft; and four-bedroom units from 1,905 sq ft. Penthouses are a mix of two- to four-bedroom types with sizes of 1,475 to 3,003 sq ft. A block containing 12 loft units was released for sale just last week, according to Silvia Wang, Sing Land’s senior manager of business development and residential marketing. The loft units have a double-volume ceiling height of 6.7m and are a mix of two-bedroom-plus-study and two-bedroom-plus-family room. Units measure 1,539 to 1,668 sq ft and they are especially popular with those who work from home, she says.
The most popular units at Mon Jervois are those with private enclosed space (PES) and a 4.7m ceiling height. All except one each of the one- to four-bedroom units have been sold. The four-bedroom show unit on the first level is under negotiation with a foreign buyer, according to Wang. Prices of the 11 units sold last month ranged from $1.14 million for a one-bedroom unit to $3.7 million for a four-bedroom unit, based on caveats lodged with URA Realis. “It’s the bigger units that are the most popular,” she says.
The showflat of a two-bedroom unit, which will come fully fitted with Miele kitchen appliances including refrigerator and washer-dryer
The master bedroom of the two-bedroom show unit with a balcony
‘Resurgence in foreign interest’
Besides foreign individual buyers, there is also interest from foreign funds exploring bulk purchase of units, says UIC’s Ng. “We’re seeing a resurgence in the luxury market because Singapore is the only gateway city where luxury residential prices have been on a downward trend for the last five years, compared with markets such as Hong Kong, London, New York and even Shanghai and Vancouver, where prices have soared.”
According to JPMorgan analyst Brandon Lee in a report on Sept 23, high-end residential prices in Singapore are down 15% to 25% since the peak in 4Q2011. There was a sizeable q-o-q increase of more than 30% in volume of transactions of high-end condo units in 2Q2016 to 767 sales worth $2.4 billion. Lee says foreigners represented 27% of the deals in the high-end segment.
High-end homes in Singapore now look cheap compared with similar luxury properties in other major cities, says Lee. Luxury properties in London, New York and Hong Kong are 92%, 82% and 165% higher respectively than similar properties in Singapore. The “very attractive” price gap is believed to be drawing interest from private-equity and global property funds, he notes.
The living and dining area as well as adjoining wet-and-dry kitchen of a three-bedroom show unit
-living and dining area
- adjoining wet-and-dry kitchen
Across the canal
Just across the Alexandra Canal from the prime District 10 neighbourhood of the Jervois area is the Alexandra-Prince Charles Crescent neighbourhood of District 3. Upcoming developments there include UIC’s Alex Residences, UOL Group and Kheng Leong’s Principal Garden and The Crest, by a consortium led by Wing Tai Holdings.
Construction of the 429-unit Alex Residences is well underway, with the project scheduled for completion in mid-2017. Alex Residences is about 65% sold, according to Ng. Fifteen units were sold from July to September and many were high-floor units, with some crossing $2,000 psf. Of the 15 sold, only one was a one-bedroom unit of 474 sq ft and it was sold for $993,650 ($2,098 psf); seven were two-bedroom units of 657 to 678 sq ft priced at $1.23 million ($1,874 psf) to $1.45 million ($2,137 psf); and the rest were three-bedroom units of 883 to 1,044 sq ft priced from $1.76 million ($1,998 psf) to $2.04 million ($1,950 psf). Therefore, even the bigger three-bedroom units have achieved prices of $1,900 to $2,000 psf.
“At Alex Residences, we are catering for those who prefer to be close to Redhill MRT station,” says Ng. “So, we have both segments of the market covered — Mon Jervois in the exclusive District 10 GCB estate and Alex Residences, a high-rise development in a prime city fringe area near the MRT station.” The high-floor units are sought after because those from the 15th floor upwards will have unobstructed views towards Orchard Road and the CBD.
The pickup in sales of Mon Jervois post-TOP is a good sign for the high-end residential market, says Christie’s Eyo. “Mon Jervois has its own charm. It has attracted the attention of people who have viewed many developments and realise it is an undiscovered gem set amid a Good Class Bungalow enclave in prime District 10.”
This article appeared in The Edge Property Pullout, Issue 749 (Oct 10, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.

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