Special Feature

Small but mighty: Boutique developments’ affordability and profitability appeal to investors and homeowners

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Jansen House is the latest offering from Macly Group, a 21-unit 999-year leasehold boutique development in Hougang, which is the most affordable new project launch in District 19 with prices starting from $1,940 psf (Photo: Macly Group)
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Boutique developments may be small in size but they can still maintain an edge over big residential developments in various aspects, such as profitability on the resale market and the exclusive use of amenities among a smaller group of residents.
Based on EdgeProp’s research, there are about 1,797 boutique developments in Singapore, making up approximately 50% of all condos and apartments in the market.
Compared to mega-sized projects, an attractive attribute of boutique developments is the heightened sense of exclusivity where common facilities are shared by a smaller group of homeowners, says Mohan Sandrasegeran, head of research and data analytics at SRI. “This exclusivity is complemented by increased privacy, as the limited number of units means fewer neighbours and fosters a more private and intimate living atmosphere,” he notes.
The popularity of boutique developments is evident from the successful sales record and development portfolio of local boutique developers, such as Macly Group. The developer has a portfolio of more than 40 residential and commercial developments in Singapore and Malaysia, including the 50-unit NoMa along Guillemard Road in Geylang, 15-unit FiveNine on Lorong K Telok Kurau and 27-unit 33 Residences along Lorong 30 Geylang — all of which are freehold properties.
Its latest offerings are the freehold 17-unit Koon Seng House in the East Coast area in District 15, and the 72-unit, 999-year luxury leasehold condo Hill House atop Institution Hill, off River Valley Road in prime District 9. Koon Seng House was launched in March, while Hill House was launched for sale in November 2022 and has sold 18 units.
Jansen House: The most affordable new project launch in District 19 with prices from $1,940 psf
Macly will reinforce its position as a leading boutique developer in Singapore when it launches Jansen House in May, a 999-year leasehold development on Jansen Road in District 19. The development is part of Macly Group’s “House Series”, a collection of boutique residences that the developer is positioning as “hyper-connected, hyper-convenient and hyper-cool” homes. The layout of the units has been efficiently designed to feature spacious and comfortable living areas, such as in the sizes of its two- to four-bedroom units, ranging from 721 sq ft to 1,335 sq ft.
Units at Jansen House feature a wide dining area opening to a balcony and a kitchen-balcony access where families can enjoy an alfresco lifestyle. The living room is spacious enough to include a work-from-home or dresser space. On top of that, its large-sized master bedrooms feature generous-sized master wardrobes, master bathrooms with a built-in day rack, and can fit a king-sized bed. The common rooms can fit a queen-sized bed.
The development also features with comprehensive facilities to be shared among just 21 households, including a pool, reading room, BBQ pit and play area.
With its 15% early bird discount, Jansen House is set to be the most affordable new launch in District 19. This sets the starting prices for its two-, three- and four-bedders to be priced from $1.499 million, $1.999 million, and $2.442 million, respectively.
The development is in a quiet landed neighbourhood in Hougang. It is close to Kovan MRT station on the North East Line, this accessibility provides residents of Jansen House with a direct connectivity to hotspot locations near the city, such as Clarke Quay, Outram Park and Chinatown. The area features a variety of nearby amenities such as the Heartland Mall next to Kovan MRT station, NEX shopping mall and Serangoon Stadium and Swimming Complex. For families with school going children, Zhonghua Primary School and Peicai Secondary School are within 1km of the project.
Profitable and high rentability
The profitability of boutique developments is a testament that their size does not affect the value and potential capital gains of the property. Based on EdgeProp’s research, boutique condos have hit new psf highs in their neighbourhoods, raking in profits for sellers. Christine Sun, chief researcher and strategist at OrangeTee & Tie, observes that investors typically flock to such niche developments for the steady rental income.
In February, the freehold 27-unit Balmoral Spring on Balmoral Crescent in prime District 10, reached a new high of $2,367 psf after a 1,119 sq ft three-bedder was sold for $2.65 million. The seller purchased the unit in September 2018 for $1.95 million ($1,742 psf) and raked in a profit of $700,000.
Another freehold boutique condo, the 56-unit MeyerHouse, located within 2km of Macly Group’s Koon Seng House in District 15, also saw a new psf high in February. This came from a 2,971 sq ft, four-bedroom unit that changed hands for $9.28 million on Jan 20. This works out to $3,124 psf — the first time that a unit at the condo passed the $3,000-psf mark.
Macly’s NoMa has also seen its units rake in profits on the resale market. This follows the sub-sale of an 850 sq ft two-bedder for $1.5 million ($1,764 psf) in January. The seller bought the unit for $1.38 million ($1,618 psf) in October 2020, earning a gross profit of $124,368.
Noma’s latest and first sub-sale of an 850 sq ft two-bedder unit raked in a gross profit of $124,368 for the seller (Photo: Macly Group)
Their tranquil living environment makes boutique developments an understated asset for those who value privacy and exclusivity. In addition, the smaller group of neighbours in the development and their potential profitability make them a must-have asset for home buyers and investors who may have future ambitions of upgrading their assets and prioritise a smooth exit strategy.
There is also the potential windfall from a successful collective sale in the future. “If the development decides to go for collective sale, the process could be easier as there are fewer homeowners involved,” Sun notes.
Boutique projects can fetch good rents as well, says Lee Sze Teck, senior director of data analytics at Huttons. This is especially if they are centrally located and a short drive to the CBD, such as District 14 and 15, and near to an MRT station.
“For example, three-bedroom units at The View at Meyer, a 45-unit project, fetched an average monthly rent of $7,833 in 2023. The Seafront on Meyer, a 327-unit project, had an average rent of $7,411 per month in 2023. Both projects are around the same age,” Lee adds.
Exclusivity at a reasonable price
Boutique developments provide a taste of luxurious living at affordable prices. For example, Macly Group’s Koon Seng House previewed in February with prices from $2,284 for its two- to four-bedroom apartments. Just seven months before, 99-year leasehold condo Grand Dunman in Dunman Road within the same district was launched in July 2023 with an average selling price of about $2,500 psf. Grand Dunman comprises 1,008 units, including a mix of one- to five-bedroom units and penthouses. Grand Dunman has sold 641 of its units, which translates to a take-up rate of 64%.
Based on the popularity of past boutique development projects, the slow initial take-up rate does not necessarily translate into lack of appeal. Wong says that generally, the take-up rate for boutique projects at their weekend launch may not cross 50% or 70% like the bigger developments, which have a greater choice of units for buyers to choose from. Their take-up rates vary from project to project, depending on their location, pricing, and development attributes, she adds.
At its launch in June 2018, Macly Group’s 27-unit 33 Residences saw seven or 22% of its units sold during its launch month. By December that year, the boutique development was fully sold out. Meanwhile, the developer’s NoMa sold 66% of its 50 units during its preview sales in August 2020, and was sold out within a year.
Boutique developments are increasingly gaining traction due to its attractiveness to buyers, particularly those who value the exclusivity of such developments. This is because a well-located project with good product attributes and access to amenities will have a high take-up rate, regardless of its size, says Sun.
For example, Koon Seng House is a walking distance away from various shopping malls, including i12 Katong, iMall, Kinex, Paya Lebar Square and PLQ Mall. Within 1km of the property are a wide range of schools, such as Tao Nan School, Haig Girls’ School, CHIJ (Katong) Primary, and Tanjong Katong Primary School. The property is a few minutes’ drive to Dakota and Eunos MRT stations.
According to EdgeProp’s LandLens, Jansen House is located within 1km of Kovan MRT station on the North East Line, as well as Zhonghua Primary School.
Koon Seng House which was recently previewed in February with prices from $2,284 for its two- to four-bedroom apartments (Photo: Macly Group)
Niche buyers
Ultimately, the appeal of boutique developments hinges on the individual needs and preferences of buyers and investors, Sandrasegeran remarks. He adds that Macly Group’s recent unveiling of Koon Seng House and upcoming Jansen House positions these developments as noteworthy projects in the new launch market this year.
Jansen House will be launched soon, offering spacious living layout for only 21 homes (Photo: Macly Group)
“Both projects, with their limited number of units, highlight the exclusivity and unique appeal that Macly Group is known for, making them significant additions to its portfolio and attractive options for discerning buyers and investors,” he notes, citing Macly Group’s past successful boutique developments, including The Iveria, Neu At Novena, NoMa and Seraya Residences.
“These developments are notable for their exclusive ambiance and tailored living experiences, appealing to discerning buyers who value quality, uniqueness, and a close-knit community atmosphere.”
To view Macly’s latest boutique development offerings, visit Macly’s sales gallery at 501 Guillemard Road (next to car-repair workshop) or Hill House at 130 King’s Road (next to Catholic Church of St Ignatius).
For more information, visit www.maclygroup.com or www.theovecollection.com for upmarket branding and luxury projects.

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