Special Feature

[UPDATE] Uncovering value in boutique condos in prime and city fringe neighbourhoods

By EdgeProp Team
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Boutique condos in the Joo Chiat and Telok Kurau area in District 15 (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
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Boutique condos are like limited-edition art pieces. With fewer than 100 units in a single development, they tend to attract buyers who want an “exclusive and private abode, a place they can retreat to after a long day at work”, says Lee Sze Teck, senior director of research, Huttons Asia.
Many freehold boutique developments have emerged in the city fringe or the Rest of Central Region (RCR). Some boutique projects, especially those in District 14 (Eunos, Geylang, Guillemard and Paya Lebar), are centrally located and a short drive to the CBD and Orchard Road. Lee adds that the rest are within walking distance of a bus stop or MRT station, increasing their rentability.
For example, monthly rental rates at Rezi 24, completed last year, have averaged $4,700 this year. This is much higher than the average rent of $2,800 per month over the same period this year at the six-year-old Guillemard Suites.
The 110-unit Rezi 24 at Geylang Lorong 24 was launched for sale in March 2019 and entirely sold by December 2021. The latest transaction was for a 1,195 sq ft four-bedroom unit on the eighth floor that changed hands in a sub-sale for $1.95 million ($1,632 psf) in July 2022. The previous owner had purchased the unit at launch for $1.783 million ($1,492 psf) in March 2019.
The Geylang area is being rejuvenated and presents opportunities for those seeking freehold residential property in a central location (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Under the radar

Huttons’ Lee notes that boutique condos are typically launched without much fanfare. Hence, they are usually under the radar of the public. However, this does not necessarily imply that boutique condos do not sell well.
For example, 40 units of the 98-unit freehold Arena Residences on Guillemard Crescent were sold on the first day of launch in November 2018. By February 2021, Arena Residences was 100% sold. Launched in August 2020, the 50-unit NoMA on Guillemard Road was 66% sold on the first day; 15 months later, it was fully sold.
The 34-unit Zyanya at Lorong 25A Geylang was launched in December 2021. To date, 24 units (71%) have found buyers at an average transacted price of $1,821 psf. Hence, there are only 10 units available for sale as of May 19. They are a mix of three-bedroom units of 893 to 1,044 sq ft with prices from $1.78 million ($1,994 psf) to $2.1 million ($2,012 psf); three-bedroom dual-key units of 1,023 sq ft, priced from $1.946 million ($1,902 psf) to $1.974 million ($1,929 psf); and four-bedroom apartments from 1,195 to 1,313 sq ft, priced from $2.19 million ($1,832 psf) to $2.368 million ($1,803 psf).
Meanwhile, in District 15, Royal Hallmark on Haig Lane is close to 72% sold. The 32-unit freehold condo was launched in February 2022. So far, 23 units have found buyers at an average price of $1,931 psf.
The launch of the large-scale 638-unit Tembusu Grand in April brought the spotlight back to the Haig Road and Tanjong Katong Road enclave. Launched on April 8, 353 units (55.3%) of the 99-year leasehold condo Tembusu Grand on Jalan Tembusu were sold at an average price of $2,465 psf.
In the Telok Kurau neighbourhood of District 15, the 24-unit freehold Baywind Residences is 79% sold at an average price of $2,064 psf.
Most large-scale condo projects tend to be in the Outside Central Region (OCR) and attract HDB upgraders. Says Lee: “They want to move to a private condo to enhance their lifestyle and gravitate towards the mid- and large-scale developments for the varied facilities and communal spaces.”
There are many freehold, boutique developments in the city fringe, particularly in the Geylang and Guillemard areas of District 14 (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘Window of opportunity’

However, he adds that buyers who want a centrally located, freehold home should take a closer look at boutique projects. “Some of them have unique design concepts and lifestyle offerings that make them more interesting than mainstream projects. And in today’s market, their prices are attractive too.”
Besides boutique developments in the RCR, those in the Core Central Region (CCR), particularly in Districts 9 and 10, are worth revisiting. Sammi Lim, founder and executive director of Brilliance Capital, believes the sales momentum of freehold projects in the CCR should pick up.
These boutique developments target local Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) who aspire to own a home in the CCR. “This is a window of opportunity for savvy investors who want to gain a foothold in the CCR and purchase a freehold property,” says Lim.
In the enclave of Jervois, developer Fragrance Group recently rolled out a deferred payment scheme (DPS) for homebuyers at its newly completed freehold development, Jervois Treasures. Buyers have the option of a 12- or 24-month completion period. Brilliance Capital has been appointed exclusive marketing agency for Jervois Treasures’ post-completion launch.
The recently completed 36-unit Jervois Treasures by Fragrance Group had a post-completion launch with a deferred payment scheme (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Promotional packages

Under DPS, owner-occupiers need only make a 10% down payment before they can move into their new apartment. Prices at Jervois Treasures start from $2,559 psf. One-bedroom units of 506 sq ft start from $1.376 million ($2,719 psf), while 592 sq ft one-bedroom-plus-study units start from $1.592 million ($2,689 psf).
Two-bedroom units of 786 sq ft are priced from $2.036 million ($2,590 psf), while three-bedroom units of 1,130 sq ft start from $3.138 million ($2,777 psf). The sole three-bedroom dual-key unit of 1,227 sq ft has a $3.19 million ($2,601 psf) price tag.
On top of DPS, the developer also offers to furnish and fit out the one- and two-bedroom units in the style of the show suites for an additional $80,000 to $100,000.
Since the launch last month, a one-bedroom 624 sq ft apartment was sold for over $1.59 million ($2,549 psf). The buyer is a Singaporean in his early 40s who intends to move in. Negotiations are underway for several more units.
“About 60% of the potential buyers are end-users, and they tend to be singles or couples with no children,” Lim notes. She adds that most potential buyers at Jervois Treasures are Singaporeans who are keen to take up DPS and the furniture package.
Show unit of a two-bedroom apartment at Jervois Treasures, where prices are from $2.036 million ($2,590 psf) [Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore]

Rare freehold condo in prime District 10 from $1.3 mil

For those who value privacy and want to live in a prime low-density Good Class Bungalow (GCB) enclave, Jervois Treasures is worth considering. The 36-unit freehold condo is newly completed with a mix of one- to three-bedroom apartments and a three-bedroom dual-key unit available for sale.
Jervois Treasures was developed by Fragrance Group, a developer known for creating apartments with functional and practical layouts.
All the units at Jervois Treasures have high-end DeDietrich kitchen appliances, including a dishwasher and washer-dryer.
Sammi Lim, founder and executive director of Brilliance Capital, likens the project to a Lexus. “It’s one of those understated, high-performance luxury cars,” she says. “It’s like Jervois Treasures, which offers practical and efficient layouts and understated, high-end fittings.”
Starting from $2,559 psf, the entry price for Jervois Treasures is comparable to — if not lower than — the average price of new project launches in the Rest of Central Region (RCR), says Lim, the exclusive marketing agent for the property.
So far, three units have been sold: A 1,130 sq ft three-bedroom unit on the fourth floor that went for $2.87 million ($2,433 psf) in February 2020, a three-bedroom duplex penthouse of 1,496 sq ft that was sold for $3.398 million ($2,271 psf) in February 2021 and a 624 sq ft one-bedroom unit that was sold for $1.591 million ($2,549 psf) just last month. All the buyers were Singaporeans. Jervois Treasures appeal to those who “appreciate simplicity and exclusivity”, says Lim.
Jervois Treasures has a shortcut to the Alexandra Park Connector. It is near Valley Point Shopping Centre, Great World shopping mall and the Great World MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line. Dempsey Hill F&B and lifestyle destination, Orchard Road shopping strip and the Singapore Botanic Gardens are just a short drive away.
Zyanya is a freehold project on Lorong 25A Geylang with 34 units (Picture: NNB 8 Development)

Freehold residences near Aljunied MRT Station

Located along Lorong 25A Geylang, off Geylang Road and Sims Avenue, Zyanya is a freehold boutique condo in District 14. The eight-storey development has 34 units, comprising a one-bedder of 441 sq ft, two-bedders of 614 sq ft to 646 sq ft, three-bedders of 893 sq ft to 1,044 sq ft, and four-bedders of 1,302 sq ft. There are also four penthouse units between 1,227 sq ft to 1,313 sq ft.
Since sales started in December 2021, the project has sold 22 units (65%) at an average price of $1,821 psf, based on caveats lodged as of May 16.
Zyanya is a project by NNB 8 Development, a joint venture between construction company Boldtek Holdings, food catering company Neo Group, corporate services provider Sovereign Group and advisory firm EDC Holdings.
Zyanya’s location places it within easy reach of a host of amenities. It is a four-minute walk (about 260m away) from Aljunied MRT Station, just one stop from Paya Lebar MRT Station — an interchange with the Circle Line and gateway to malls like PLQ Mall, Singpost Centre and Paya Lebar Square. The CBD is less than a 15-minute drive away, while the Bugis-Beach Road area is only 10 minutes away.
Zyanya is also near the Joo Chiat and Katong areas which offer a vast selection of eateries and cafes. Several reputable schools, including Kong Hwa School, Geylang Methodist School (Primary), Nexus International School and James Cook University, are within 1km of Zyanya.
Residents will also have access to facilities, including a lap pool, a barbecue area and an outdoor gym
Gems Ville has 24 apartments comprising one- to three-bedders, as well as three-bedroom dual-key units (Picture: Dongya Xinhua Group)

Modern homes in the vibrant Geylang district

Gems Ville, a 24-unit development on Lorong 13 Geylang, offers freehold homes within the Geylang district. Situated between Sims Avenue and Geylang Road, the District 14 condo is surrounded by eateries, boutique hotels and other small businesses.
When completed, residents of Gems Ville will be three minutes away from the Paya Lebar commercial hub with malls including Paya Lebar Square, PLQ Mall, SingPost Centre and KINEX. The Kallang area — home to Kallang Wave Mall, Kallang Riverside Park and Singapore Sports Hub — is less than a five-minute drive away.
Gems Ville is near MRT stations with Kallang (East-West Line), a nine-minute walk away, and the Paya Lebar Interchange Station (East-West and Circle Lines), a three-minute drive away. Major expressways, including Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway, East Coast Expressway, Central Expressway and Pan Island Expressway, offer convenient connectivity to the CBD and other areas islandwide.
Homes at Gems Ville are a mix of one-bedroom-plus-study units of 517 sq ft, two-bedroom units of 797 sq ft, three-bedroom units of 1,130 sq ft and three-bedroom dual-key units of 1,216 sq ft. All residences come equipped with appliances and finishes from brands including Hansgrohe, Blanco, Toto and Bosch, and smart home features. Facilities at the condo include a swimming pool, gym, yoga deck, barbecue and al fresco dining area.
Gems Ville is a project by Chinese developer Dongya Xinhua Group, which has established a track record across China since 2005. The group is also the developer for Sophia Regency, another boutique condo on Sophia Road in prime District 9. Dongya Xinhua Group purchased the site for Gems Ville, the former Yuen Sing Mansion, for $15.2 million in September 2020.

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