Angela Lim’s golden touch

Angela Lim’s golden touch

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Founder of interior design firm SuMisura has charted her own course by turning vacant spaces into visions to behold, spurred by competition and constraints

Before SuMisura worked its magic on a penthouse in 3 Orchard By-The-Park, the 6,555 sq ft duplex unit failed to attract a buyer. The award-winning interior design firm was brought in after multiple attempts to market it by agents ended in vain, with the key feedback that people had trouble visualising the potential of its interiors. 

One problem was the glasshouse enveloping a staircase in the centre of the penthouse, dividing the expanse of the interior into smaller pockets of spaces. With such a structure, “it’s actually difficult [for people] to see it as a big entertainment space”, says Angela Lim, director and co-founder at SuMisura. “And when people cannot see the value of it, they won’t buy.”

Angela Lim - SuMisura's Angela Lim

SuMisura's Angela Lim (Photo: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Her mission was therefore, “to make sense of the spaces” in the penthouse and turn it into a unique selling point, shares Lim. A Bocci light installation was placed above the central staircase, with the intention to draw attention to it. “We wanted to make it look like an art piece in the middle of the house,” she explains. 

With SuMisura’s vision, the penthouse was  sold in six months to a Chinese national for $31.5 million on June 21 – or $4,805 psf, which was the highest psf price achieved for the development. 

Another defining touch included turning a 1.8m to 2m long corridor leading to the powder room into a “linear library”. One wall was fully fitted with bookshelves, while the opposite side was furnished with a bar top and stools overlooking a window.

SUMISURA - Linear library

The "linear library" (Photo: SuMisura)

Lim also jumped on the chance to weave in the narrative of a well-heeled lifestyle. Instead of decking up all the rooms as bedrooms,  the room nearest to the dining area was turned into a poker room. “We thought of doing something fun,” she says. “We fitted a nice daybed in there; if the guests get too drunk after the whiskey and poker, they can sleep in.”

SUMISURA - Poker Room

The dining area was converted into a poker room (Photo: SuMisura)

Before its makeover, the 25th-floor unit boasted a vast roof terrace, left bare. “People are paying for roof terrace space, but in our very hot and cruel climate, it’s really very hard for anyone to imagine what to do [with it],” says Lim. SuMisura decided to spruce up the area by adding on semi-covered shelters, building an outdoor kitchenette, and introducing an option for outdoor cinema screening with projectors. It was done up “just to show that after dinner, you can also go up, gather [with others] and watch a movie,” says Lim. 

For price trends, recent transactions, other project info, check out these projects' research page: 3 Orchard By-The-Park, One Pearl Bank, 1953 



The aggressive purchases of land plots over the past two years, from 2016 to 1H2018 - both in  government land sales and collective sales - have led to increased competition among developers planning to launch their residential projects. There’s therefore, a greater need to differentiate their projects, says Lim. “That’s when they really have to think very hard and ask themselves, ‘What will set my project apart from my competitors?’” 

SUMISURA - Bocci light piece

The Bocci light piece at the 3 Orchard By-The-Park penthouse (Photo: SuMisura)

Currently, SuMisura’s portfolio of of showflats includes CapitaLand’s 774-unit One Pearl Bank, an upcoming development in the Outram-Chinatown district that takes after the iconic horseshoe-shaped Pearl Bank Apartments, a Brutalist structure of Singapore’s past. Her task was to design the two- and three-bedroom show units and she was given a “hygge” theme to work with. (The Danish term encapsulates the feeling of cosiness and contentment evoked by simple things or acts, and has of late been adopted by marketers to brand a  lifestyle.) “The interesting part about [the brief we were given] was that it’s supposed to be clean, chic, and minimalistic,” says Lim. 

SUMISURA - One Pearl Bank's hygge theme

One Pearl Bank's design was based on a "hygge" theme (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

SuMisura had to inject a more luxurious vibe, while keeping to the spirit of a natural, comfortable environment. Lim described her task as making “the marriage of the two” work, like an unyielding matchmaker of sorts. As a testament to its bold creativity, One Pearl Bank’s public preview on the weekend of July 13 drew a 4,000-strong crowd, and has to date sold 230 out of 774 units, according to caveats lodged with the URA. 

SUMISURA - One Pearl Bank two-bedroom show unit

The living area of a two-bedroom show unit at One Pearl Bank (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Another themed development is 1953 by Oxley Holdings, a mixed-use project at the junction of Balestier and Tessensohn Roads, comprising 58 apartments and 14 strata commercial units. A melding of old and new, the development has seven of its retail shops and nine residential units that will be housed in a row of conservation shophouses, while the rest of the units are part of a new six-storey development. The former will be painted white and feature an art deco facade, while the latter will be dressed in black paint, a design that captures the amalgamation of new buildings constructed next to those steeped in history. When designing the interior of the showflat, SuMisura tried to instil its spaces with “old-world charm”. Based on URA data, 1953 has sold 30 of its 58 apartments.

A decade old now, SuMisura started out humbly. Even though some of the firm’s work today include Good Class Bungalows, the company’s early projects were mostly fitting out showflats of compact or “shoebox apartments”. The name SuMisura, in Italian, actually means made-to-measure, shares Lim, which she deems an apt description of what the company was doing then. In a team of 10, “we slogged through the nights”, she recalls. “Starting a company is no less than bringing up a child, there were the night feeds – we did our overtime, we put in the hours.” 


Based on URA logs, 1953 has sold 30 of its 58 apartments (Photo: SuMisura)

Her most crucial takeaway from SuMisura’s growth journey is perhaps what the firm has successfully carved a niche in – how to make small spaces work. “You need to be very creative,” Lim asserts. “Unlike very big apartments where you make sense of the space by layering it sideways (because you’ve got the depth and the width), to make small apartments work, you layer it up,” she explains.  

Lim’s favourite spaces to design are kitchens and bathrooms. “When you design other spaces, like living rooms or bedrooms, there are not many services, your hands are not tied. So it’s not as challenging.” 

Designing her favourite rooms, however, are “a little like working with mathematical equations – you have to solve the puzzle and find the solution to that”, she describes. “Doing the Lego work is very fun, because you know that the pipes are here, the services are there. So you have certain boundaries and limitations, but you will try to break it and still make it work. Eventually, the entire layout is better,” she explains.

SUMISURA - One Pearl Bank Bedroom

SuMisura designed the One Pearl Bank showflat to be clean, chic and minimalist, while including tinges of elegance and opulence (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

As SuMisura gained recognition in the interior design arena, Lim’s vision for the company and the jobs it took on also changed. “When I first started, I was more selfish then.  Somehow I got this idea that I know what [makes] good design… which is why my focus was only on doing showflats where the developers would trust me and give me a free hand,” Lim recounts. 

But as the company grew, and the design scope expanded even as the firm took on more jobs,  she realised the way to have repeat clients was to “create something that will make everyone happy”, and not just herself. The satisfaction she draws from the awe of a client when he walks into a SuMisura-designed space is what drives her harder.   

Lim foresees natural designs to be the upcoming trend. Three years ago, the use of metals and maximalist designs were in, but that is now tapering off. This April, when she visited the Salone del Mobile.Milano – an annual international furniture fair where the professionals in the industry convene – Lim noticed that brands were doing prints of monstera ferns on almost everything. “We are seeing it printed on big huge wallpapers, on big panels of blinds and curtains. We are seeing it printed on mosaics, even on ceramic tiles.” She attributes the “big prints” to the influence of the maximalistic era on natural designs. 


SuMisura designed 1953’s show unit to adopt an “old-world charm” (Photo: SuMisura)

And what of SuMisura’s future? Lim envisions it becoming an international name, not akin to the “next Wilson [Associates] or the next Hirsch Bedner”, but “well sought-after” and known instead for the “quality of work that we produce”. She has a preference for keeping the team lean, otherwise “you end up just managing people”. But setting high aspirations is a must: “I’ve always felt that it is important to dream big so that if you fail, you won’t be too far off.”

Check out the latest listings near 3 Orchard By-The-Park, One Pearl Bank, 1953​, MRT Stations and Schools

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About 160 units sold at One Pearl Bank on launch weekend

About 160 units sold at One Pearl Bank on launch weekend

CapitaLand announced that 160 units or 80% of 200 units released during the first weekend of launch, have been sold as at 5pm on Sunday, July 21. Bookings had commenced at 11am on Saturday, July 20. The average sale price achieved was $2,400 psf.


Crowd on launch weekend where 21% of the 774-units were sold, making One Pearl Bank the best-selling new launch in Singapore's Central Area (Credit: CapitaLand) 


The sales rate achieved translates to 21% of a total of 774 units in the private condo development at 1 Pearl Bank. “The strong performance during its first weekend of sales earned One Pearl Bank the distinction of the best-selling new launch in Singapore’s Central Area year to date,” according to CapitaLand in a release.

“We are very encouraged by the positive response for One Pearl Bank during its weekend launch,” said Ronald Tay, CEO of CapitaLand Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia, Residential & Retail. “This points to the continued market demand for well-appointed homes in prime District 3 that are connected to transport nodes, amenities and lifestyle options.”

Homebuyers who booked their units during the first weekend enjoyed an early bird discount of 1%. Units sold included a mix of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The most popular unit types were the one- and two-bedroom units, which accounted for 56% and 31% of the 160 units sold respectively.

According to CapitaLand, about 80% of the buyers were Singaporeans and Permanent Residents; with the remaining being foreigners, particularly from China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Units at One Pearl Bank range from studios of 431 sq ft to penthouses of up to 2,788 sq ft. Prices start from under $1 million for a studio apartment, with more than two-thirds of apartments priced below $2 million apiece.  

The sales gallery for One Pearl Bank had opened to the public just the weekend before (July 13-14) and drew a crowd of more than 4,0000 visitors. The project is a redevelopment of the former Pearl Bank Apartments, which CapitaLand purchased en bloc for $728 million in February 2018. It paid an additional $201.4 million to top up the lease to a fresh 99-years.



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One Pearl Bank: A new icon in the making

One Pearl Bank: A new icon in the making

Over the weekend of July 13 and 14, more than 4,000 prospective homebuyers flocked to the public preview of CapitaLand’s One Pearl Bank, a redevelopment of the former horseshoe-shaped Pearl Bank Apartments in Outram. The preview attracted former residents as well as new homebuyers. 

“[Homebuyers] are attracted to the development mainly due to the site’s attributes and architectural design of the building,” says Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty Network. 

Located in District 3, One Pearl Bank is within walking distance of Chinatown and is the only development atop Pearl’s Hill. The 99-year leasehold development will have two 39-storey residential towers with 774 apartments ranging from studios to penthouses of between 431 and 2,788 sq ft. The project is marketed by ERA and Huttons Asia.


Nearby amenities 

When the project is completed in 2023, a sheltered walkway will link the development directly to Outram Park MRT Station. This station is expected to become an interchange for three MRT lines in 2021 when Stage 3 of the Thomson-East Coast Line opens. It currently serves the North-East and East-West Lines. 

Nearby, the Pearl’s Hill City Park has been identified for rejuvenation under the URA’s Draft Master Plan 2019. In future, residents will also be able to take a stroll from One Pearl Bank to Fort Canning Park via the Singapore River. 

Ronald Tay, CEO of CapitaLand Singapore, highlights that the project complements the lifestyle of city-dwellers, given its amenities and proximity to the CBD. “[Residents] can also walk to Chinatown, Keong Saik and Tiong Bahru,” he says. 

In addition to these, Lee Sze Teck, head of research at Huttons Asia, points out that the “exceptional views all round” impressed many interested homebuyers at the weekend preview. To complement the project’s show gallery, CapitaLand has turned Level 28 of Pearl Bank Apartments into a viewing gallery that features unblocked views of Singapore’s city skyline. As One Pearl Bank will be elevated, units from the 18th storey onwards will have these views. 

The rooftops of both towers of the new development have been designed as a social space connected by a “Sky Oculus”. Here, residents will find facilities such as a walking track, indoor and outdoor gymnasium, function rooms, gourmet kitchen and social lounge. At its media launch on July 11, CapitaLand stated that this space was conceived so residents can enjoy the views from all angles of the project. Terraces on levels 14 and 18 will house an amphitheatre and outdoor lounge areas for social gatherings.

Designed by Serie+Multiply, One Pearl Bank is the first residential development to have a series of sky allotment gardens vertically arrayed at one edge of each tower. There will be 18 allotment gardens with a total of 200 allotment plots where residents can grow their own plants and produce. “We wanted to have these gardens to support urban farming and for residents to have a space to bond,” says CapitaLand’s Tay. 



The developer has also rolled out a “renovation-zero” concept for the project. This means that residents can move in as soon as they collect their keys. All units will come with fully-integrated kitchens, as well as built-in lighting, air-conditioning, cabinetry and curtains. 

Kitchens will have the full suite of luxury Swiss-made V-ZUG appliances including washer-cum-dryer and premium Italian Ernestomeda kitchen systems. All kitchens will also have an integrated sink and countertop, a first among residential developments in Singapore.

Meanwhile, all units will each come with a built-in smart mirror that can be used for visitor management, reading the news, watching videos, controlling the air-conditioning, booking facilities, and accessing shopping deals. Residents can also grant visitors access or control their smart appliances with the One Pearl Bank lifestyle app. 

“The ‘renovation-zero’ concept with its extensive provisions [stands out] when compared to standard offerings in the market,” says Huttons’ Lee. “This has been extremely well-received by prospective buyers.” 


Attracting ‘good mix’ of buyers

One Pearl Bank will be launched for sale on July 20. Based on the turnout for its preview, ERA’s Lim expects the demographic of buyers to be a good mix of young couples, young families and multi-generational families. He explains: “This is because the project has a good unit mix, ranging from studios to four-bedroom units and penthouses, to choose from.”

Lim adds that investors would also be interested in the smaller units, given the project’s location and proximity to amenities.

While CapitaLand did not provide the average psf prices for One Pearl Bank, it revealed that prices will start at just under $1 million for a studio unit. More than two-thirds of the 774 apartments are priced below $2 million each. 

CapitaLand purchased Pearl Bank Apartments for $728 million in a private treaty collective sale in February last year. The site, with a land area of 82,376 sq ft, was previously put up for collective sale three times before it was sold. 

According to ERA’s Lim, the land cost works out to be about $1,515 psf per plot ratio, after factoring in an additional lease top-up premium estimated at $201.4 million. As such, given the provisions in each unit and the locale, he believes that One Pearl Bank is launching at a “very reasonable” price. 


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CapitaLand's One Pearl Bank goes green

CapitaLand's One Pearl Bank goes green

Set to complete in 2023, One Pearl Bank will comprise 774 apartments ranging from studio apartments to penthouses (Credit: CapitaLand)

The design for One Pearl Bank has been unveiled by CapitaLand, in place of the iconic horseshoe-shaped Pearl Bank Apartments that was once the highest residential tower in the country.

The new design comprises two 39-storey towers which are gently curved, linked at the roofs by sky bridges. This emulates the appearance of Pearl Bank Apartments, which CapitaLand purchased for $728 million in February last year. The curved facades “create a light and airy affect”, allowing residents to enjoy views atop Pearl Hill, says the developer. 

At 178 metres, One Pearl Bank will be the tallest residential development in the Outram-Chinatown district in Central Singapore, with views that extend from the CBD to Sentosa, CapitaLand says. Set to complete in 2023, it will comprise 774 apartments ranging from studio apartments to penthouses, from 430 to 2,800 sq ft. To benefit from Pearl Hill’s sloped topography, the two residential towers will be lifted 21 metres from ground.

One Pearl Bank will have a total of 18 sky gardens arrayed at the edge of its two towers (Credit: CapitaLand)

Urban greenery is an important design element incorporated throughout the development. One Pearl Bank will boast over 500 trees across 35 species and more than 135,000 shrubs, plants and flowers, occupying over 60,000 square feet of space – equivalent to 75% of the total site area.  

The facade of the development will feature a series of sky gardens arrayed vertically at one edge of each tower – a garden will be allotted every four storeys, with each garden housing 11 plots. In total, the development will have 18 sky gardens at the edge of towers, with close to 200 plots where residents can grow their own herbs, fruits and vegetables, CapitaLand says.

The gardens allotted at the edge of each tower are complemented by two sky terraces and two roof gardens. There is also a sunken planter in every balcony to maximise the greenery on the facade of the development.

The development’s two 39-storey towers will be linked at the roofs by sky bridges (Credit: CapitaLand)

“We wanted a design scheme that contributes meaningfully to Singapore’s cityscape and enhances its surroundings,” says Ronald Tay, CEO of CapitaLand Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. “These include incorporating abundant greenery at different elevations and adding a landscaped path linking One Pearl Bank to the adjacent Pearl’s Hill City Park.”

As part of URA’s Draft Master Plan 2019, Pearl’s Hill City Park will be revamped into a playground and social space for the community, and linked to Fort Canning Park through the Singapore River.

One Pearl Bank is designed by multi-award-winning Serie+Multiply, a joint venture between London-based Serie Architects and Singapore-based Multiply Architects.


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Residential market to see spike in new launches

Residential market to see spike in new launches


In the pipeline for launch next year are about 60 projects (Photo Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Another slate of new launches is being readied for launch after Chinese New Year, and these are of bigger projects, including SingHaiyi’s The Gazania (former Sun Rosier) and The Lilium (former How Sun Park).

The two biggest projects that will be rolled out in 2019 are the former Normanton Park (1,882 units) and Treasure at Tampines (former Tampines Court), with more than 2,000 units. “These are also likely to be launched in 1Q2019, after Chinese New Year,” says Gafoor.

In the pipeline for launch next year are about 60 projects. “The window of opportunity for launching projects is just eight to nine months,” says Gafoor. This is after discounting Chinese New Year (February), the June school holidays and December holidays, he says.


Desmond Sim, CBRE executive director of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia, says: “Developers will definitely avoid the Hungry Ghost Month next year as well. In a bull market, people will still launch during the Hungry Ghost Month, and there will still be buyers, but not in a cautious market.”

With the ramp-up in the number of projects coming onstream, developers are also likely to deploy “all kinds of marketing strategies — from special offers at soft launches to incentivising agents — to make the best of their launch”, adds Sim.


This year is likely to close with 40 new projects and a total of 14,000 units launched, says Tricia Song, Colliers International head of research for Singapore. In the pipeline for launch next year are an estimated 55 to 60 projects, offering 17,000 to 18,000 new units. “Depending on market conditions, some of these project launches may spill over into 2020,” she reckons.

Based on en bloc and government land sale (GLS) sites sold from end-2017 to 1H2018, there are more projects that could be launched in Districts 10 and 15, says Colliers’ Song (see chart).


New launches in the Amber Road-Meyer Road neighbourhood should see “keen interest”, given their proximity to East Coast Park and Katong as well as the new MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line (Photo Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


“Prime locations such as Holland Road and Bukit Timah in District 10 and the popular East Coast enclave in District 15 have not seen new launches of large projects — more than 250 units — in a long time,” adds Song. “These new larger projects are able to provide a variety of facilities and social spaces for residents.”

New launches in the Amber Road-Meyer Road neighbourhood should see “keen interest”, given their proximity to East Coast Park and Katong,” says Ong Teck Hui, senior director of research at JLL. “The popularity of East Coast among the expatriate community makes properties in the area good for both owner-occupation and investment,” he adds. “East Coast diehards will eagerly await the launch of these projects.”

The Thomson-East Coast MRT Line is also expected to be ready by 2023, notes Colliers’ Song. “Residents in these projects will get to enjoy the convenience of the commute to the city and the proximity of these projects to good schools.”


Some districts, such as District 5, may have just three new projects in the pipeline: The two notable ones are the redevelopment of the Normanton Park en bloc site (1,882 units) and the former Park West condo (1,454 units). Their combined total of 3,336 units, however, is more than the 2,128 units from a total of 12 projects in District 10; and 1,342 units from eight projects in District 15.


District 10 (Holland Road-Farrer Road pictured) have not seen new launches of large projects for some time (Photo Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Normanton Park and Park West are also in areas that saw new launches of sizeable projects recently, notes Song. For example, Normanton Park is near the 548-unit Kent Ridge Hill Residences, launched in November. Meanwhile, Park West is near the 520-unit Twin Vew and the 716-unit Whistler Grand, which were launched in May and November respectively.

Next year will see at least a handful of projects with more than 1,000 units. “Some of these launches will be spread out to 2020, as there were significantly fewer land sales since July 2018,” says Song.

Many of these sites are redevelopments in privatised HUDC estates purchased en bloc from 2H2017 to 1H2018. The biggest is Treasure at Tampines on the site of the former Tampines Court (2,225 units). Florence Residences on the site of the former Florence Regency (1,410 units) is another new launch.

“Tampines Court has limited competition in the locality,” says Song. “But owing to the sheer size of the project — 2,225 units — it is likely to be priced competitively and still offer a compelling theme.”


The former Normanton Park, which will be redeveloped into a new 1,882-unit project, is considered one of the largest residential projects to be launched in 2019 (Photo Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Florence Residences located on Hougang Avenue 2 in District 19 is in an area that saw a high level of new launches in 2018: the 613- unit Garden Residences; the 1,052-unit Affinity at Serangoon; and 1,427-unit Riverfront Residences. “Thus, the developer needs to either offer something differentiated or compete on pricing,” says Song.

Two new mega projects that will feature about 1,000 units but occupy sites purchased in GLS are: the private residential project at Silat Avenue in Kampong Bahru (1,101 units); and the executive condo (EC) on Sumang Walk in Punggol Central, with 955 units. “The EC project should sell well because it’s the only one to be launched in 2019,” says PropNex’s Gafoor.

These launches “should be fairly exciting to watch”, given their huge plot sizes, which would allow developers to come up with interesting development concepts, says JLL’s Ong. He sees these projects “remaking” their neighbourhoods, especially if they incorporate “fresh ideas and concepts that spell a different living and lifestyle experience for home buyers”.

These “mega projects” tend to be located in the suburbs and would, therefore, draw buyers looking for opportunities at, or near, entry-level pricing for new private homes, adds Ong. “They would meet the needs of owner-occupiers, including HDB upgraders.”


The 800-unit new project on the site of the former Pearl Bank Apartments is expected to set new benchmark prices (Photo Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore


The 800-unit new project on the site of the former Pearl Bank Apartments is another highly anticipated large-scale development because of its city-fringe location, says Ong. He expects the new project to “set new benchmark prices” in the neighbourhood, owing to “the breath-taking views” from the high-floor units and its proximity to Outram MRT station.


About 40% of projects headed for launch next year are in prime Districts 9, 10 and 11. Developers of these projects have the option of showcasing them overseas if sales at home are soft, says Nicholas Mak, ZACD Group executive director and head of research. These projects appeal to an international audience because of their freehold tenure, and proximity to the Orchard Road shopping belt and top international schools, he adds.

While the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) for overseas buyers is high — at 20% since July, from 15% previously — Singapore still looks compelling compared with other global markets such as Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and the UK, “which have equally high tax regimes for foreign homebuyers”, points out Mak.

In prime District 9, two projects on GLS sites that CBRE’s Sim considers “attractive” are: Frasers Property’s Jiak Kim Street development fronting the Singapore River, and City Developments’ HAUS on Handy Road, just across the road from Plaza Singapura shopping centre and the Dhoby Ghaut MRT interchange station.


Projects appeal to an international audience because of their freehold tenure, and proximity to the Orchard Road shopping belt and top international schools (Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


With the ramp-up in the number of new launches next year, the number of new units sold could range between 8,000 and 10,000 units, estimates JLL’s Ong. “Demand will depend on economic and business conditions, which are contingent on external factors such as the [US-China] trade war.”

The housing market is expected to be more challenging next year, with exuberance already curbed by the cooling measures in July and the new regulation regarding minimum average unit sizes outside the Central Area announced in October. “No further cooling measures are expected next year, though,” says CBRE’s Sim. “Still, sentiment could be hit by rising interest rates.”

If demand is supply-led, new-home sales next year could still do better than in 2018, says Colliers’ Song. “1H2018 was really handicapped by a lack of available launches and choices,” she adds. “2019 should see a gradual acceptance of the new cooling measures.”

She expects developers to sell 9,500 to 10,000 new homes in 2019, “amid the substantial pipeline of new projects that could be launched for sale”. She adds: “Developers are also likely to look towards a progressive and sustainable sales target to achieve full take-up within five years.”


In the current market, developers aim to sell at least 20% of the units in the project at the launch weekend - half the volume pre-cooling measures (Photo Credit: Property Agent)


PropNex’s Gafoor estimates new-home sales next year to be in a similar range. “Despite the various rounds of cooling measures, and TDSR [total debt servicing ratio] introduced in 2013, the number of new homes sold in the three years from 2014 to 2016 were in the 7,000-to-8,000 range,” he says. “That’s the inherent demand from upgraders, local and foreign homebuyers. It’s not unimaginable to see sales figures of 9,000 to 10,000 units next year.”

In the current market environment, developers aim to sell at least 20% of the units on the launch weekend, notes Gafoor. “That’s considered a very credible performance today. Pre-cooling measures, the expectation was to sell 40% of the units on the launch weekend.”


Developers are aware of home buyers’ “price sensitivity” and are pricing their projects accordingly to attract them, says Gafoor.

ZACD’s Mak agrees, saying: “Most developers are realistic. They know it will take more than a year to sell all units in a project with more than 400 units. They are unlikely to slash prices to sell quickly, as this will hit their bottom line.”

Selling out projects too quickly will mean having to buy new land parcels at a higher cost — given the 5% ABSD that they have to pay upfront, adds Mak. “It makes more sense for them to maintain their prices at a steady pace of sales until after the fourth year [of launch]. It’s only then that developers have to decide whether to adjust prices. They will still have one more year to sell all the units in the project before the 25% ABSD kicks in at the end of the fifth year.”

As such, Mak projects price growth of “0% to 3%” for 2019.







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Ghost of Brutalist past: Golden Mile Complex for sale at $800 mil

Ghost of Brutalist past: Golden Mile Complex for sale at $800 mil

The tender for the collective sale of Golden Mile Complex will close on Jan 30 (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Will Singapore’s Brutalist architecture be a construct of the past? The iconic Golden Mile Complex, built in 1972, was put up for collective sale at the reserve price of $800 million on Oct 30, according to Edmund Tie & Co (ET&Co), which is brokering the sale.

Golden Mile Complex is one of a handful of buildings erected in the 1970s, inspired by the architectural style of using raw concrete for the facade of buildings. Management of other such landmarks — People’s Park Complex, People’s Park Centre and Golden Mile Tower — have also reportedly been in talks to launch their respective developments for collective sale.

Golden Mile Complex boasts dual frontage along Beach Road and Nicoll Highway, occupies 1.3ha of land and is zoned under commercial use in URA’s Master Plan. It is one of Singapore’s first integrated developments and comprises 418 retail shops, 227 office lots, 68 residential units, a car park that accommodates 400 cars and a swimming pool.

The mixed-use development is halfway through its 99-year lease. “In terms of upkeep, it is quite a challenge, and the building should be given a new lease of life,” Ong Choon Fah, CEO of ET&Co, tells EdgeProp Singapore.

The Beach Road area is undergoing rejuvenation. City Developments and IOI Group jointly previewed South Beach Residences on Sept 8 and 9 this year. The 45-storey, 190-unit luxury residential tower and 634-room hotel are part of an integrated development that includes a Grade-A office tower and retail and F&B outlets. In October last year, developer GuocoLand successfully bid for a commercial site on the road for $1.62 billion, which includes the former Beach Road Police Station — a historical landmark mandated by the government to be conserved and restored. Along the same stretch of road, there is also the integrated development DUO, comprising a 56,000 sq ft retail space, the 340-key Andaz Hotel, and a 660-unit residential component, linked directly to Bugis MRT interchange.

As the collective sale of Golden Mile Complex, a large-scale conserved building is “unprecedented”, ET&Co is conducting a “longer tender process to allow interested parties to carry out a detailed study”, says Swee Shou Fern, senior director of investment advisory at ET&Co. The company, on behalf of the Collective Sales Committee (CSC), has also submitted an application to the URA to retain the existing 16-storey building and add an adjoining block.

The URA has said it is open for discussions to facilitate the conservation of the development.

“Many successful developments that integrate older buildings not only manage to optimise the land use efficiency but also leverage on the history of the site to bring value to the sense of place and identity of the development,” says Chan Hui Min, director of DP Architects. The firm, which designed Golden Mile Complex in the early days, has been appointed by the CSC as consultant architect for the development.

The tender for Golden Mile Complex will close next year, on Jan 30.

Meanwhile, Singapore is already losing one of its Brutalist structures. The iconic horseshoe-shaped Pearl Bank Apartments, once the highest residential tower in the country, was sold for $728 million to CapitaLand in February. The developer intends to build an 800-unit, high-rise residential development in its place. 

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Landmark Tower sold en bloc for $286 mil

Landmark Tower sold en bloc for $286 mil

The 139-unit Landmark Tower at Chin Swee Road has been sold to a joint-venture (JV) company for $286 million, according to a release by marketing agent JLL. One of the JV partners is said to be a public listed company.

The 60,821 sq ft site is zoned for residential use with an as-built plot ratio of 4.0. The winning bid of $286 million translates to a land rate of $1,406 psf per plot ratio (ppr) after taking into consideration the lease upgrade premium of $57 million, estimates Tan Hong Boon, JLL regional director.

The price of $1,406 psf ppr compares favourably to the $1,515 psf ppr achieved at Pearl Bank Apartments, which was sold to CapitaLand in February. Landmark Tower is also a 99-year leasehold development located next to Pearl’s Hill City Park, near Pearl Bank Apartments.

Given its vantage point, Landmark Tower offers residents 360-degree city views. Based on the sale price, the owners of Landmark Tower will receive gross proceeds between $1.6 million and $4.9 million from the collective sale, adds JLL’s Tan.

The 33-year old development was put up for collective sale on April 10 with a reserve price of $285 million, althought owners had expected in excess of $300 million ($1,474 psf ppr) for it. 


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Owners of Landmark Tower expect more than $300 million for their collective sale

Owners of Landmark Tower expect more than $300 million for their collective sale

The 139-unit Landmark Tower located along Chin Swee Road has been launched for collective sale, with JLL as its sole marketing agent. The 33-year-old project sits on a 60,821 sq ft land area with a 99-year lease from 1980. The existing 38-storey tower sits on an elevated site next to Pearl’s Hill City Park.

Under the 2014 Master Plan, the site is zoned ‘Residential’ and has a plot ratio of 3.7. Based on URA’s past reply to enquiries, the development has an “as-built” of around 4.014. As such, it can be redeveloped into a high-rise apartment tower with unobstructed, 360-degree view of the city, says Tan Hong Boon, JLL regional director.


The 38-storey Landmark Tower overlooks Pearl's Hill City Park and commands panoramic city views (Credit: JLL)


Landmark Tower is within a five-minute drive to Orchard Road and the CBD. It’s an 8-10-minute walk to two MRT interchange stations, namely Outram Park (for the North-East and East-West Lines) and Chinatown (for the North-East and Downtown Lines). Top school River Valley Park Primary School is within 1km from the development.

What’s more, the project is near the heritage areas of Chinatown and People’s Park as well as Raffles Place and Marina Bay. It’s also within easy reach of the F&B and lifestyle enclaves of Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay as well as Tiong Bahru. The upcoming renewal plans for SGH Campus will mean “state-of-the-art medical services” nearby, adds JLL’s Tan.

The reserve price for Landmark Tower is $285 million, although the owners are expecting in excess of $300 million for the site. At the reserve price of $285 million, the land rate is about $1,400 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr), after factoring in the lease top-up premium. No development charge or differential premium is payable up to its “as-built” plot ratio. At $300 million, the land rate is about $1,474 psf ppr, which still compares favourably to the $1,515 psf ppr achieved at the leasehold Pearl Bank Apartments nearby.

The tender for Landmark Tower will close on May 17.





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URA launches two GLS sites with potential to yield 1,375 units

URA launches two GLS sites with potential to yield 1,375 units

On Mar 16, the URA launched two residential sites at Mattar Road and Silat Avenue for sale by public tender. They are under the Confirmed List of the first half of 2018 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme. In a statement released by the URA, these two 99-year leasehold sites can potentially yield a total of 1,375 residential units.

The land parcel at Mattar Road sits on a site of about 67,061 sq ft, with a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 201,188 sq ft.  It is zoned residential and can yield an estimated 250 units.

The site at Silat Avenue is about 245,972 sq ft with a maximum GFA of 910,099 sq ft. It is zoned for residential development, with commercial on the first storey, and has the potential to yield an estimated 1,125 units.

The future development on the site at Silat Avenue is to be sensitively integrated with the section of the Rail Corridor located adjacent to it. The Rail Corridor which spans 24km from the north to the south of the island will be turned into a community space, with seamless leisure corridor, featuring greenery and Singapore’s railway heritage landmarks.

                                                                                  Sale site at Silat Avenue (credt: Urban Redevelopment Authority)


The most recent land sale in the area is the collective sale of Pearl Bank Apartments, an ageing 99-year leasehold condo that was sold en bloc to CapitaLand for $728 million, or $1,515 psf per plot ratio (ppr). Lee Nai Jia, head of research for Edmund Tie & Co (ET&Co)  anticipates that the winning bid could be in the range of $1,300 to $1,400 psf ppr, based on current market conditions.

As for the site at Mattar Road, ET&Co notes that the most recent land sale in the vicinity was the collective sale of Eunosville, a privatised HUDC estate, that was sold to MCL Land in June last year for $765 million, or $909 psf ppr. He therefore expects the site at Mattar Road to fetch around $1,100 psf ppr. Lee sees the Mattar Road site benefiting from its proximity to Paya Lebar Central, with the Paya Lebar Quarter integrated development completing over the next two years.

                                                                                  The land parcel at Mattar Road (credt: Urban Redevelopment Authority)            


The tender for the two sites will close at 12 noon on April 26, and they will be batched with the closing of residential site launched on Feb 27, namely the Cuscaden Road site.

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CapitaLand buys Pearlbank Apartments for $728 million

CapitaLand buys Pearlbank Apartments for $728 million

Following the close of its collective sale tender on Dec 19, 2017, Pearlbank Apartments in Outram was sold through a private treaty collective sale to CapitaLand Limited for $728 million, announced the developer on Feb 13. The sale price, with an additional lease top-up premium for a fresh 99 years estimated at $201.4 million, translates to a land price of $1,515 psf ppr. There is no development charge payable, says Colliers International, which brokered the deal.

The 82,376 sq ft Pearlbank Apartments site atop Pearl’s Hill in Outram Park has a Gross Plot Ratio of 7.2 under the 2014 Master Plan. However, it has an existing Gross Plot Ratio of 7.4479. As such, the site has the potential to be redeveloped into a residential development with a total GFA of approximately 613,530 sq ft, says Colliers.

Subject to conditions precedent, CapitaLand plans to redevelop the Pearlbank Apartments site into a highrise residential development with about 800 units. Every unit will enjoy unblocked panoramic views extending from the Central Business District (CBD) to Sentosa as the site is on elevated ground, says CapitaLand. The project is targeted for completion by early 2023, right after the opening of the third MRT line in Outram, the Thomson-East Coast line, says Ronald Tay, CEO of CapitaLand Singapore.


Every unit of the new project will enjoy unblocked panoramic views extending from the CBD to Sentosa as the site is on elevated ground, says CapitaLand (Credit: Colliers International)


“This site is a rare gem with its prime location at the confluence of Singapore’s business and cultural districts as well as its excellent transport connectivity,” says Lim Ming Yan, president and group CEO of CapitaLand Limited. “The acquisition is in line with CapitaLand’s disciplined investment strategy to build our quality residential pipeline on a sustainable basis.”

The 37-storey Pearlbank Apartments comprises a total of 288 units (280 apartments and eight commercial units). According to Colliers, the apartment owners, whose unit sizes range from approximately 1,323 sq ft to 3,993 sq ft, stand to receive between $1.8 million and $4.9 million from the successful sale of the property. Meanwhile, owners of commercial units with sizes ranging from approximately 700 sq ft to 5,630 sq ft, will potentially receive between $1.2 million and $6.9 million. The Pearlbank Apartments site is subjected to the Pre-Application Feasibility Study (PAFS) which was announced by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on November 13, 2017.

“The introduction of the PAFS - just weeks before the close of the public tender - was a setback for the collective sale as interested parties needed more time to assess its impact,” says Alex Poh, chairman of Pearlbank Apartments collective sale committee. “Despite the challenges, we are pleased that Colliers, with its extensive network of investors and real estate expertise, managed to secure a deal through private treaty.”

While residents of Pearlbank Apartments had previously explored the idea of conserving Pearlbank Apartments, recent sentiment has strongly shifted to redevelopment, says Poh. A deeper analysis of the building structure and the required enhancement work show that conservation would be a costly undertaking and a huge burden for the owners, explains Poh, who adds that “it is not a viable nor favourable option for the residents.”

“I believe that the future development will be well-received by investors as well as home buyers who aspire to live in an exciting and historic locale in the city,” says Tang Wei Leng, managing director at Colliers International. “Future apartments in the development could be sold at an average price of $2,600 psf or around $2.5 million, which is relatively affordable for such a choice location.”

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