Government land site in Tanah Merah could see healthy demand despite Covid-19 pall

Government land site in Tanah Merah could see healthy demand despite Covid-19 pall

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - The government launched a private residential site at Tanah Merah Kechil Link for sale by tender on May 28. It is located between two existing private condominiums, namely the 582-unit Urban Vista, which was completed in 2016; and the 297-unit Optima @ Tanah Merah, which was completed in 2012. Both projects are also 99-year leasehold residential developments built on government land sale (GLS) sites.

The latest site at Tanah Merah Kechil Link is the second residential site offered on the Confirmed List of the 1H2020 GLS programme. The first was an executive condo (EC) site in Yishun which could be developed into a 600-unit project, and was launched at the end of April.


EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The Bedok-Tanah Merah neighbourhood (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

The Bedok-Tanah Merah neighbourhood (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


The Tanah Merah Kechil site can be developed into a residential project with some 265 units, which is fewer than the 310 residential units which was the initial estimate when the site was first announced in December 2019, says Nicholas Mak, head of research & consultancy at ERA Realty. Besides residential, the site has a commercial component with another 2,000 sq m (21,529 sq ft) of space on the first level. Given the site’s proximity to the Tanah Merah MRT Station and the surrounding condominium developments, it is likely to be used for shops and F&B outlets, notes Mak.


Source: URA 


Table 1: Details of the Tanah Merah Kechil Link GLS site


Tanah Merah Kechil

Site area

8,880 sq m (95,587 sq ft)

Maximum permissible gross floor area 

24,864 sq m (267,644 sq ft)


Estimated commercial space

2,000 sq m (21,529 sq ft)

Lease period 

99 years 

 Source: URA  



‘Palatable site at favourable location’

“Conveniently located next to the Tanah Merah MRT Station and within close proximity to Changi Business Park, the residential development at this site would attract buyers’ attention and have the potential to command attractive prices,” says Mak. Compared with all the residential sites in both the Confirmed and Reserve Lists of the 1H2020 GLS Programme, the Tanah Merah Kechil site has the smallest gross floor area (GFA), which would mean less capital required, and hence less financial risk to a developer, he adds.

Median transacted prices from January to April 2020 for comparable condominiums in the immediate neighbourhood are as follows:

Table 2: Comparable residential projects to Tanah Merah Kechil Link GLS   


Street name



Number of units

2020 median price ($psf)

Grandeur Park Residences

Bedok South Avenue 3





Urban Vista

Tanah Merah Kechil Link






Bedok South Avenue 3





The Glades

Bedok Rise





Source: URA, ERA Research & Consultancy


Supermarket, retail and F&B component

A major attraction of the site is that there is no shopping mall in the vicinity of Tanah Merah MRT Station. “Hence, there would be strong demand for shops and F&B stores,” notes Mak. At least 1,000 sq m (10,764 sq ft) of the commercial space must be used as a supermarket.

“This would be welcomed by the residents in the Tanah Merah neighbourhood, especially in the Covid-19 ‘new normal’ when more people could be working from home and may not wish to travel too far to buy their daily necessities,” he adds.

The nearest project where such amenities are available is East Village, a 90-unit, mixed-use development located along Upper Changi Road, 500m away from the site for sale, notes Mak. Completed in 2014, the freehold, four-storey East Village has residential units on the three upper floors, while the first level has a mix of strata-titled F&B and retail units as well as a Cold Storage supermarket. The latest transaction of a strata retail unit at East Village was for a 108 sq ft, retail unit at East Village that changed hands for 0,000 or ,973 psf in April 2019, according to a caveat lodged with URA Realis.


The nearest supermarket is the Cold Storage at East Village on Upper Changi Road (Photo: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Table 3: Comparable commercial strata units to Tanah Merah Kechil Link GLS  

Condominium with commercial units at 1st storey




2019 Median price of commercial units  ($psf)

Nearest MRT station

Distance to nearest MRT station

Suites At Bukit Timah

Jalan Jurong Kechil




Beauty World

230 m

East Village

Upper Changi Road




Tanah Merah

500 m

Stars Of Kovan

 Upper Serangoon Road 

99-Year LH





Source: URA, ERA Research & Consultancy


The most recent GLS residential site awarded in the area was the site for Grandeur Park Residences condominium located along Bedok South Avenue 3 – on the opposite site of Tanah Merah MRT Station. The 720-unit Grandeur Park was awarded to CEL Development, the development arm of Chip Eng Seng Corp, in 2012 at a land rate of $761 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr). The site will also contain a childcare centre.


EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - Grandeur Park's condominium facilities include dining pavilions, swimming pool, and Himalayan salt room, there is also a childcare centre (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Grandeur Park's condominium facilities include dining pavilions, swimming pool, and Himalayan salt room, there is also a childcare centre (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Grandeur Park previewed in February 2017 and attracted a crowd of 10,000 on the first weekend. It is 98% sold with only 13 units available for sale, and is expected to obtain Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) sometime in 4Q2020. The latest transaction was for a 1,453 sq ft, five-bedroom unit that fetched $2.22 million ($1,526 psf), according to a caveat lodged at the end of April.

With Grandeur Park expected to be completed before year-end, the balance units are currently priced around $1,550 psf, says Michael Ng, executive director of CEL Development. “The project could potentially see a price increase upon TOP, given the childcare centre and upcoming amenities, such as the 20,000 sq ft of retail, F&B and supermarket space located on the opposite side of the MRT station,” he adds. 

ERA’s Mak expects the new development at Tanah Merah Kechil Link to be launched in 2021. “By then, the negative impact of the Covid-19 outbreak would have weakened and the Singapore economic recovery should be underway,” he says. Hence, he expects the new project to be “among the more popular” new launches in 2021.



EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The balance units at Grandeur Park are now priced at an average of $1,550 psf and could increase closer to completion and at the prospect of the upcoming amenities at the 20,000 sq m commercial space at the new Tanah Merah Kechil site across the road (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

The balance units at Grandeur Park are now priced at an average of $1,550 psf and could increase closer to completion and at the prospect of the upcoming amenities at the 20,000 sq m commercial space at the new Tanah Merah Kechil site across the road (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


Mak reckons the site could attract between five and 10 bids from major developers, with bid prices in the range of $255 million to $238 million, or $840 to $888 psf ppr.

Lee Sze Teck, director of research at Huttons Asia, expects the site to see “a healthy amount of interest” as it is one of the last two GLS sites next to the Tanah Merah MRT Station. He is expecting top bids of $780 to $830 psf ppr.

Apart from its proximity to the Tanah Merah MRT Station, the site is also near Bedok Mall and Changi City Point as well as Changi Business Park, the Singapore Expo and Singapore Changi Airport and Jewel Changi. Wong Xian Yang, Cushman & Wakefield’s associate director of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia, expects developers’ bids to be “range-bound” between $820 and $870 psf ppr.

“Despite the site’s strategic location, developers are expected to bid cautiously due to higher construction costs and a severe economic recession as a result of Covid-19,” adds Wong. “It may also face potential competition from Treasure At Tampines, which is currently about 50% sold and has 1,094 unsold units as of April 2020. The median transacted price for units sold at Treasure At Tampines is around $1,346 psf.”


Check out the latest listings near Optima @ Tanah Merah, Grandeur Park Residences, eCO, The Glades, Urban Vista, East VillageSuites At Bukit Timah, Stars Of KovanTanah Merah MRT Station and Schools

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Tech alleviates cabin fever for shoebox residents

Tech alleviates cabin fever for shoebox residents

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Marketing manager Karyn Wong is too busy to be bored. Despite having to stay home during the “circuit breaker” period implemented to help prevent further spread of Covid-19, she has been working with her husband from their 355 sq ft home on Haig Road. 

Karyn Wong shoebox apartment

Wong and her husband in their home on Haig Road (Photo: Karyn Wong)


She says: “I have been swamped with work. In fact, I am struggling to find the work-life balance when working from home.” 

The couple is renting from Wong’s father, who originally purchased the property as his retirement home. Working from their compact home has been conducive for Wong so far. The only challenge she faces is when both she and her husband have to take video-conference calls at the same time. “When that happens, one of us stays put, while the other goes to the bedroom,” Wong says.  

With stricter rules put in place to prohibit social gatherings and visits, those who do not work in essential services are only allowed to leave their homes — on the condition that they wear a mask — to exercise, and buy essential groceries and food to go. Offenders of new Covid-19 rules are fined $300 without warning on first offence. 

Karyn Wong working from home

Wong works and has her meals on the only table in the house, while her husband usually works from the bedroom (Photo: Karyn Wong)


For those living in Singapore’s smallest apartments or “shoebox apartments” like Wong, this entails being cooped up for extended periods of time in compact areas of between 300 sq ft and 500 sq ft. The smallest ones, found in private developments, measure under 300 sq ft. These small homes, which tend to be owned by property investors, singles and empty-nesters, typically contain a living room, dining area, kitchenette, bedroom and bathroom. In the case of HDB flats, older one-room flats are 355 to 376 sq ft, while the newer iteration, two-room flexi flats, are 484 sq ft. 

Whether residents will develop a case of cabin fever — a term used to describe claustrophobia or irritability caused by being confined in a small space — depends on how they make use of technology to stay connected. 

Wong connects with family and friends through social media and video-conferencing platforms. “The things that keep me sane daily include drinking sessions with my friends and checking in on family members via Zoom. I have also started doing Facebook Live sessions, where I play the keyboard, sing and chat with my friends,” says Wong, who is also a freelance performer.

Karyn Wong's apartment

The view from the main door of Wong’s 355 sq ft apartment. The kitchen, part of the living room and the dining area are in sight (Photo: Karyn Wong)


The level of noise during conference calls is a common issue for residents who live in small apartments with other family members. For graduating student Xaveir Yeung, finding her first job from the 376 sq ft, one-room, rental flat on Owen Road that she shares with her grandparents has been difficult under circuit breaker rules. Fresh out of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Chinese Media & Communication school, she does job interviews via video-conference platforms, but finds it a challenge to carve out an area where the background is not too cluttered and her grandparents are not in view. Yeung adds: “When the TV is on, or when my grandfather is talking on the phone through the speaker, it affects my concentration during interviews.”

Yeung’s grandfather, who was working full-time prior to the circuit breaker, has had his work hours shortened since then and has been staying home, which means that the three family members are in each other’s way more frequently.

 Tan Wei Qin, an investment analyst who lives in a rented apartment at Urban Vista measuring 431 sq ft, has been working from home with his wife. He says: “Staying home has been smooth for us since we have no kids, except when we have to speak up during video-conferences at the same time. We may be picked up in each other’s call when we speak too loudly.”

While he feels the symptoms of cabin fever, he says an increased workload and Netflix shows keep him busy most of the time. The newly-wed couple have been renting since December last year after their wedding ceremony and intend to do so until they buy their own property. They rely on delivery app GrabFood for their meals as they dislike the smell of food that lingers when they cook. Although going outdoors for exercise has not been prohibited, the couple has been exercising indoors within the limited space available, as they worry about contracting the virus and prefer to stay home as far as possible.

danielle fong swivel tv work fro home

The swivel TV screen at Fong's place is used for entertainment and also as an extra monitor for video-conference calls when she is working from home (Photo: Danielle Fong)


For Danielle Fong, a civil servant who lives alone in her 506 sq ft home at Stars of Kovan, noise is not an issue. She has been working from home for four weeks coming and still finds it conducive. In her free time at home, she does home improvement projects, cooks new dishes and catches up on Netflix shows. After the circuit breaker was implemented, the only thing Fong has missed is meeting her boyfriend, parents and relatives face to face, but she has managed to stay connected with them through online platforms. 

Fong has also exercised indoors every day, ever since the gym and swimming pool in her condominium closed. She says: “I subscribe to live sessions online with my fitness instructor, so we work out at 7.30am every morning. I would do it on my balcony if I need some fresh air, but the space in my living room is more than sufficient. I have not felt cabin fever so far. In fact, I love being at home.” 

Before the virus outbreak was in the news, Fong had already designed her dining space to double up as a workspace when she moved in at the end of last year. “The TV in the living room on the opposite side of the dining area is installed on a swivel so when I work there, I can use it as an extra monitor for video conferences and other online work projects. I have a tendency to be a workaholic, so this arrangement also forces me to put my work aside when it is time for meals and draws healthier boundaries,” elaborates Fong.

Check out the latest listings near Urban Vista, Stars of Kovan, MRT Stations and Schools


View from Fong’s unit at Stars at Kovan (Photo: Danielle Fong)

View from Fong’s unit at Stars at Kovan (Photo: Danielle Fong)


Increasingly, smart designs have been incorporated into small apartments to make them more liveable. In One Pearl Bank, launched in July last year, each studio apartment, 431 sq ft in size, comes with a swivel table in the kitchen that functions as a dining table and can be put down for more walking space when not in use. According to caveats lodged with URA, more than a third of the 140 studio apartments in the development have been sold. The most recent transaction was $1.18 million, or $2,741 psf, on April 3. 

At another development, The M, studio apartments between 409 sq ft and 420 sq ft come with a multi-function kitchen table that can be used for meals, work and entertainment. The sliding wardrobe can also be used as workspace storage. All 52 studio apartment units at The M have been snapped up, owing to its central location on Middle Road. The latest one, 409 sq ft in size, sold for $1.01 million, or $2,476 psf, on March 30.

One-bedroom unit in GuocoLand’s Midtown Bay. Such units feature dual-function spaces such as a dresser that can double up as study space (Photo: GuocoLand)

One-bedroom unit in GuocoLand’s Midtown Bay. Such units feature dual-function spaces such as a dresser that can double up as study space (Photo: GuocoLand)


GuocoLand’s latest new project, Midtown Bay, features one-bedroom apartments between 409 sq ft and 527 sq ft, where the dresser space in the bedroom can be converted into a study desk and the cabinet in the dining room can be designed as a study space. The most recent transaction of such a unit was on Feb 11, when a 409 sq ft unit sold for $1.22 million, or $2,992 psf. 

Dora Chng, general manager (residential) at GuocoLand, says that all their one-bedroom apartments have a relatively spacious dining area that can fit a six-seater table. The neutral designs of the units give off a corporate feel, which allow residents to easily convert spaces into office or study areas. 

While the sales of shoebox apartments have slowed down since 2018 after URA adjusted the minimum average unit sizes for private developments, those that are centrally located still enjoy good demand. Christine Sun, head of research & consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie, says: “For new launches, people seem to be more selective in buying shoebox units nowadays. Many prefer units in selected locations such as downtown areas and the city fringe. The more popular units are still two-bedroom or two-bedroom plus study, which are suitable for rental and own stay.”  

“Property investors also favour shoebox units since there is high rental demand, especially those that are well located near MRT stations, offices or the city-centre. Some tenants still prefer to have a unit to themselves to sharing a bigger unit with others,” adds Sun. However, she notes that co-living spaces are growing in popularity among tenants as the rental price includes cleaning services and utilities, and concludes that shoebox apartments may face competition for tenants in the long term. 

In October 2018, URA increased the average unit sizes for private developments outside Singapore’s central region, from 70 sq m (753 sq ft) to 85 sq m (915 sq ft) or 100 sq m (1,076 sq ft), depending on the district. This means that there is no minimum size requirement imposed for each unit, but developers are required to provide a varied unit mix to comply with the new average unit sizes. 


While younger individuals can busy themselves by working from home, watching online entertainment, working out to YouTube videos and chatting via video-conferencing platforms, older folks who are not as tech-savvy do not have as many options, especially within a small space. 

This is perhaps why, despite stricter circuit breaker rules, senior citizens have still been seen leaving their homes to shop at wet markets and exercise in parks. Ironically, this age group is more susceptible to Covid-19 — the 11 patients who have succumbed to the virus in Singapore were all aged between 64 and 95 years old. 

Lion Befrienders, a welfare organisation that engages volunteers to make regular home visits to the elderly with limited family support, shares that the majority of the 6,000 socially isolated seniors they serve are not tech-savvy and depend only on phone calls or television to pass their time during this period. Of these elderly, 80% live in one-room or two-room flats of under 500 sq ft.

Anthony Tay, chairman of Lion Befrienders, says: “The elderly always need social connection, but they need it more than ever during this period of unprecedented fear and uncertainty, especially those living on their own. Also, when they are unwell, they may not seek medical care promptly. Without family members who can help them purchase essential items such as food and the ability to engage in technology, they may feel particularly isolated.” 

While staff and volunteers of the organisation still conducted physical visits at the gate to seniors who are moderate- or high-risk — homebound, potential suicide or abuse cases — when the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level went up to “orange”, those visits have ceased after circuit breaker measures were implemented. 

“Now, we call our elderly twice a week to check-in on the elderly under our care,” says Tay. During the phone calls, Lion Befrienders’ volunteers check on seniors’ well-being and encourage them to stay home as far as possible. At the same time, the volunteers take note of changes in behaviour and tone of voice to look out for possible signs of anxiety and depression. 

He adds: “We also have an informal system of ‘village chiefs’, who are seniors living nearby, who will check on high-risk elderly and help them get food or supplies.”

Tay believes that it is the lack of social interaction and communication, rather than the size of an apartment, that affects the seniors’ well-being. He says: “Not all seniors staying in a one-room flat struggle. Some of them are active and resourceful and know how to keep themselves occupied. Others who stay in larger flats with family members but do not communicate with them, still feel isolated at the end of the day.” 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced that the circuit breaker period will be extended until June 1, instead of May 4 as previously announced. During this period, the adoption of technology, particularly to communicate with others, is one way to stave off feelings of depression and loneliness of staying home, regardless of apartment size. 


For price trends, recent transactions, other project info, check out these projects' research page: Stars of KovanUrban Vista, One Pearl Bank, The M, Midtown Bay

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Why Stars of Kovan strata terrace units are attractive

Why Stars of Kovan strata terrace units are attractive


There are only five three-storey strata terrace units at Stars of Kovan


At Stars of Kovan, developer Cheung Kong Property Development has saved the best for last — five strata terrace units, which it has held back from launch until now. Here are the reasons why these strata terrace units are a rare find:



There are no other mixed-use developments in the Kovan and Serangoon area that offer high-end apartment units, upscale strata retail and luxury strata terrace units. At $2.34 million each, or $1,279 psf, the strata terrace units at Stars of Kovan are priced to sell.



The Kovan neighbourhood is sought after by both investors and homebuyers as it is an established private residential estate. Over the past decade, new private condos, trendy cafes and restaurants have opened in the area, catering to a younger and more affluent crowd. Top schools in the area include Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School, Rosyth School and Holy Innocents’ High School.


Stars of Kovan is well-situated at the junction of Serangoon Road and Tampines Road, just across the road from the Kovan MRT station. The biggest shopping mall in the northeast region, NEX, is located just one MRT stop away. NEX is integrated with the Serangoon MRT interchange station for the North- East and Circle Lines as well as the bus interchange.


Stars of Kovan is only a two-minute walk from Kovan MRT station


Punggol North, which has been designated Singapore’s first “Enterprise District”, with growth clusters focusing on digital and cybersecurity, will soon be within easy reach when the extension of the North-East Line is completed by 2023. This will make the new growth corridor more accessible, as more trains are in the pipeline, greatly reducing waiting times during peak hours.




Rediscover Serangoon Today!

#FINDYOURSPOT in our beloved city island



A mixed-use development, Stars of Kovan contains both residential and commercial units. It has 46 carefully selected premium shops with classy designs, shop fronts and fittings.


All 46 strata retail shops are located at street level, offering excellent frontage and visibility


Stars of Kovan also has 390 apartment units that are 98% sold. The developer is now rolling out the five exclusive strata terrace units. Sized at 1,830 sq ft each, the strata terrace units span three floors with ceiling heights of up to 3.4m. Each strata terrace unit comes with a private spa pool at the balcony, spacious living and dining area, well-appointed kitchen as well as three bedrooms, including a luxurious master suite and junior master suite. Top-end fixtures include SMEG kitchen appliances as well as Duravit, Hansgrohe and Kohler bathroom accessories and fittings.


The strata terrace units at Stars of Kovan enjoy the best of both worlds: As the units are designed as luxurious private landed residences, owners will be able to enjoy a wide range of privileges such as 24-hour security, top notch property management and landscaping, and access to all the clubhouse facilities, including a 50m swimming pool and spa, and gymnasium.


Strata terrace unit owners have access to the condo facilities, including the 50m lap pool



The developer of Stars of Kovan, Cheung Kong Property Development, is a subsidiary of CK Asset Holdings (formerly known as Cheung Kong Property Holdings), which is owned by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing. CK Asset Holdings has a string of fully sold and completed residential projects across Singapore, from Cairnhill Crest in prime District 9 to Thomson Grand in the sought-after Upper Thomson neighbourhood and The Vision in the West Coast.





This article appeared in The EdgeProp Pullout Issue 808 (December 4, 2017) of The Edge Singapore.



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Strong sales at Forest Woods have ripple effect on other new condos in District 19

Strong sales at Forest Woods have ripple effect on other new condos in District 19

The Oct 8 launch of Forest Woods has brought the spotlight back to District 19, with existing new projects benefitting from the limelight. Excluding Forest Woods, there were 18 new private condominium and apartment units sold in the week of Oct 4 to 11, almost a third of the 56 sold in September based on URA caveat records.

The 519-unit Forest Woods is located along Lorong Lew Lian, near the Serangoon MRT station and Nex shopping mall. A total of 337 units (65%) were sold on the first day of launch, at an average price of $1,400 psf. The project, a joint venture between City Developments (CDL), Hong Leong Holdings and TID, collected more than 800 cheques during the fortnight of previews prior to the launch.

According to CDL, all unit types enjoyed a strong take-up, and the one-bedroom-plus-study and two-bedroom units were all sold. One of the three penthouses priced at $2.85 million was taken up over the weekend. The two-bedroom units were popular because owners were given the flexibility of turning the study into an en-suite or walk-in wardrobe. Prices started from $688,000 for a one-bedroom-with-study unit, $830,000 for a two-bedroom unit, $1.1 million for a three-bedroom unit and $1.65 million for a four-bedroom unit. About 70% of the units have been sold to date.

At Stars of Kovan, the latest property by leading Hong Kong giant Cheung Kong Property Holdings, buyers snapped up 11 units over the same week, at an average price of $1,434 psf, compared with 13 units in September. “The recent launch of Forest Woods has resulted in increased activity at Stars of Kovan and other projects in the area,” concurs Daniel Lim, a project in-charge at Huttons. Lim attributes the surge in sales to the return of genuine buyers in the area as a result of Forest Woods’ launch. “Prices at Stars of Kovan are comparable to those at Forest Woods, which are palatable to homebuyers looking for a property in the area,” he adds.


Buyers snapped up 11 units at Stars of Kovan in the week of Oct 4 to 11 at an average of $1,434 psf


Smaller units were the better performers at Stars of Kovan. Only one of the 11 transactions involved a three-bedroom unit. The 947 sq ft unit on the fourth floor went for $1.3 million, or $1,415 psf, on Oct 8. Two-bedroom units, ranging from 732 to 807 sq ft, were the most popular unit type among buyers; six were sold in the week. The next best-sellers were the one-bedroom units, measuring 506 to 517 sq ft, which accounted for four of the units sold. Prices averaged $1.04 million ($1,394 psf) for the two-bedroom units and $762,270 ($1,499 psf) for the one-bedroom units.

Stars of Kovan is a 99-year leasehold mixed-development at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Tampines Road. The project comprises 46 commercial units on street level, five strata terraced houses and a total of 390 apartments in four 17-storey residential blocks atop the commercial floor. It is slated for completion in 2020.

Over at Trilive, five units — three two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units — found buyers that week at an average price of $1,620 psf. The third priciest transaction at the project in terms of price psf took place on Oct 5 when a 646 sq ft, two-bedroom unit on the 16th floor was sold for $1.13 million, or $1,748 psf. Trilive, a freehold development by Roxy-Pacific Holdings, is located at the junction of Tampines Road and Hougang Avenue 3. It comprises two commercial shops and 222 residential units. Its one-bedroom units were snapped up within days of its launch. The project’s larger units, from 614 sq ft, could be converted into dual-key units, as two of the bedrooms come with an en-suite bathroom. As at September, 63 units were still available.

While a good proportion of the overall buyers are understood to be investors, a significant number are purchasing the units for their own use. “The buyer profile is a mix of both,” says Lim. “Some of the smaller units were purchased for investment, while others purchased for future use, for instance, parents who are looking to downsize when their children have grown up and moved out.”


This article appeared in The Edge Property Pullout, Issue 751 (Oct 24, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.

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Stars of Kovan, Star Qualities

Stars of Kovan, Star Qualities

What makes the condo stand apart from the rest 


Stars of Kovan, the latest property of leading Hong Kong giant Cheung Kong Property Holdings, is set to turn a once-rustic neighbourhood into a trendy one.

Cheung Kong is renowned in Singapore as a de­veloper of upscale residential developments. Past projects include Cairnhill Crest in prime District 9, Costal del Sol in East Coast, The Vision in West Coast and Thomson Grand in the Upper Thom­son area, which was completed recently. Land­mark developments in which Cheung Kong was part of a consortium of developers are the multi­billion-dollar Suntec City, Marina Bay Financial Centre and One Raffles Quay.

When completed, Stars of Kovan will have 46 commercial units on the street level with prom­inent street frontage along Tampines Road and Upper Serangoon Road. Four 17-storey condo­minium blocks with a total of 390 units will sit atop the commercial floor; and adjacent to it will be five strata terrace units.

One of the most prominent projects launched this year, Stars of Kovan offers the best of the best in terms of address, quality living and unob­structed views.




Being a resident of Stars of Kovan means living in close proximity to amenities. The Kovan MRT station and Heartland Mall are within walking distance. One of the biggest suburban shopping malls, NEX, is just one stop away at the Seran­goon Interchange, which is linked to the Circle Line and North East Line. Just four MRT stops away is the Punggol Waterway Point, another brand new shopping mall that opened earlier this year.

Just off Upper Serangoon Road is an eclectic mix of eateries – hipster café Sunday Market, the famous Bee Kee Wonton Noodles with truffle oil, popular Thai restaurant Nakhon Kitchen, Soon Soon teochew porridge and Punggol Nasi Le­mak. For those who want something more rustic, there’s the famous Kovan Hougang Market and Food Centre.

The Kovan area also has easy access to the CBD and Marina Bay as well as the rest of the is­land via four expressways – the Central Express­way, Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway and Tamp­ines Expressway.




Stars of Kovan is designed for those who appre­ciate suburban living at its best – with a touch of glamour. The units are designed with high-spec­ification European brands. Kitchens are fully equipped with Smeg appliances, master bath­rooms are full marble, and bathrooms feature top-end sanitaryware and accessories by Duravit, Hansgrohe and Kohler. The project is expected to set a new benchmark in the neighbourhood in terms of luxury finishing and fittings.

Unit sizes are generous to meet the needs of aspiring homeowners, with a mix of one- to three-bedroom apartments sized from 506 sq ft to 1,023 sq ft. The most popular units among homebuyers are the two-bedders of 732 sq ft to 807 sq ft.




The Kovan area is an idyllic neighbourhood with predominantly landed homes. Stars of Kovan is set to be the new landmark in the estate five years from now. With its striking façade and state-of-the-art lighting design, the development will also light up the night sky. It is designed by Team Design Architects, which was also involved in Cheung Kong’s two earlier projects: Costa del Sol and The Vision.

As Stars of Kovan is one of the few high-rise blocks in the area, at least 80% of its residents will be able to enjoy panoramic views from their homes.



This article appeared in The EdgeProp Pullout Issue 747 (September 26, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.

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Developer sales accelerates with hot new launches

Developer sales accelerates with hot new launches

Developer sales picked up by 41.7% in May 2016, from 745 private homes in April to 1,056 private homes in May 2016. The increase in sales was a result of two new launches in May 2016, Gem Residences and Stars of Kovan.

While May’s sales may be the highest in 10 months, to put it in perspective, it is in fact the lowest 1H peak in the last three years.  Developers sales have been observed to peak around April and May in 1H before the June holiday lull, notes Tay Huey Ying, head of research and consultancy at JLL. 

Gem Residences was best-selling project last month, with 312 units sold, at a median price of $1,431 psf. The project had a take-up rate of 54%.

Investors were the main driver of sales at these projects, with one- and two-bedroom units at Gem Residences being the most popular amongst buyers, according to ERA's key executive officer Eugene Lim.

Mixed development Stars of Kovan trails behind with 76 units sold at a median price of $1,414 psf. The project had a take-up rate of 42%.

Looking ahead to the next two months, this monthly sales figure is expected to moderate as there are no foreseeable new major launches, says Desmond Sim, head of CBRE research, Singapore and South East Asia. “This is a result of the noticeable cutback on residential sites in the GLS programme.”

Sales of Executive Condominium (EC) on the other hand dropped by 39% with 332 units moved in May, compared to the 546 units sold in April. This is a result of the lack of new launches this May. Despite the drop in units sold, the EC units have certainly fared better than last year, where less units were sold in months without new launches, indicating that buyers have more positive reception to the EC market this year.

The two top best-selling EC projects last month were Bellewaters and The Vales. Bellewaters sold for 40 units while The Vales sold 38 units, which both sold at median prices of sub $800 psf.


Top selling private projects in May 2016

Project Name

Street Name

Cumulative Units Launched to-date

Cumulative Units Sold to-date

Total Number of Unsold Units

Units Launched in the Month

Units Sold in the Month

Median Price ()

Gem Residences

Lorong 5 Toa Payoh







Stars Of Kovan

Upper Serangoon Road







The Poiz Residences

Meyappa Chettiar Road







Botanique At Bartley

Upper Paya Lebar Road







Sturdee Residences

Beatty Road








 Top selling EC projects in May 2016

Project Name

Street Name

Cumulative Units Launched to-date

Cumulative Units Sold to-date

Total Number of Unsold Units

Units Launched in the Month

Units Sold in the Month

Median Price ()


Anchorvale Crescent







The Vales

Anchorvale Crescent







The Terrace

Edgedale Plains







The Visionaire

Canberra Drive







The Brownstone

Canberra Drive








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60 units at Stars of Kovan sold at VIP pre-sale

60 units at Stars of Kovan sold at VIP pre-sale

Hong Kong property developer, Cheung Kong Property Holdings, has managed to sell 60 of its 390 condominium units at Stars of Kovan at an average price of $1,408 psf. The units were sold during its two-day VIP pre-sale event held over the May 21 and 22 weekend.

The developer has decided to extend the VIP discount of 5% until the weekend of May 28 and 29. Cheung Kong say it may revisit or discontinue the offer anytime without prior notice.

Located at the junction of Tampines Road and Upper Serangoon Road, Stars of Kovan will have 390 condominium units, five strata houses and a single-storey commercial block with 46 strata shop units. The 99-year leasehold project is scheduled for completion in 2020.



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Cheung Kong starts VIP preview for Stars of Kovan

Cheung Kong starts VIP preview for Stars of Kovan

Cheung Kong Property Holdings will be holding a VIP preview for its mixed-use development Stars of Kovan on May 7. The units will be priced between $1,550 and $1,600 psf, according to marketing agent CBRE. One-bedroom units sized from 506 sq ft will be priced at about $800,000, while two-bedroom units sized from 732 sq ft will be priced at about $1.2 million. Three-bedroom units sized from 947 sq ft will cost about $1.5 million.

Located at the junction of Tampines Road and Upper Serangoon Road, Stars of Kovan will have 390 condominium units, five strata houses and a single-storey commercial block with 46 strata shop units. The 99-year leasehold project is scheduled for completion in 2020.  

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Stars of Kovan unveiled

Stars of Kovan unveiled

An upcoming project scheduled for launch in early May is Cheung Kong Property Holdings’ Stars of Kovan. Located at the junction of Tampines Road and Upper Serangoon Road, the development will have 390 condominium units, five strata houses and a single-storey commercial block with 46 strata shop units.


Artist’s impression of the upcoming Stars of Kovan, which will have 395 residential units and 46 shop units


Scheduled for completion in 2020, the project will have a 110m frontage on Upper Serangoon Road; all the commercial units, which are strata-titled shops, will be located on street level. It will be the “the first Britsh-inspired commercial development in Singapore”, and will incorporate replicas of the red telephone booths, red mail boxes and street lamps of London city.

The condominium will have a mix of one- to three-bedroom units with mostly unobstructed views, as the surroundings are predominantly low-rise landed homes. There will also be five strata-titled houses in the development, which will offer full condo facilities such as a 50m lap pool, a duplex clubhouse with a private pool for private parties, kitchen facilities in the entertainment area and a gymnasium.


Site’s potential
Cheung Kong’s subsidiary Asset Legend won the 99-year leasehold, 108,685 sq ft site in Upper Serangoon in a government land tender in November 2014. It beat 10 other bids with a price of $276.8 million, or $848.84 psf per plot ratio. “When we looked at the piece of land, we saw its potential,” says Francis Wong, director of Cheung Kong Real Estate. “It is located within an established residential neighbourhood where 60% are landed homes. It is a peaceful and convenient location, just a two-minute walk from the Kovan MRT station.”

According to Wong, Cheung Kong plans to spend $10 million on the showflats and sales gallery of Stars of Kovan. “We want our sales gallery and showflats to reflect the quality of the future project,” he says. “We don’t have too many projects in Singapore. Our plan is to build the most eye-catching project that will change the landscape of the Kovan area.”

Cheung Kong had spent an equivalent amount on the sales galleries and showflats of its two other recent launches, Thomson Grand and The Vision at West Coast. The 339-unit Thomson Grand on Upper Thomson located just off Upper Thomson Road was launched in 2011, fully sold in 2012 and completed last year. The 295-unit The Vision at West Coast, which was launched in March 2010, fully sold at the end of that year and completed in 2014.


Wong: Our plan is to build the most
iconic and eye-catching project that will
change the landscape of the Kovan area


Pent-up demand
No doubt, housing prices in Singapore have corrected since 3Q2013. As at end-1Q2016, the URA private property index was back to 4Q2010 levels, points out Wong. “That means prices are more affordable, and it’s a good time to buy property,” he says. He reckons there is pent-up demand of more than 10,000 units built up over the last two years because of the property cooling measures.

Based on the government land sales awarded over the last few years, the number of private residential units scheduled for completion next year is about 14,000, with another 10,000 targeted to come onstream by 2018. However, the supply of new completions is expected to fall off significantly to 6,000 units in 2019 and just around 2,000 units by 2020. “Even if a developer were to buy a piece of land today, the [Temporary Occupation Permit] will be in 2021. With future supply slowing and pent-up demand building up, property prices should be bottoming,” reckons Wong.


Pegged at market price
The showflats and sales gallery of Stars of Kovan will open at end-April, and the sale of units will start in early May. Two neighbouring residential projects on Tampines Road are Wing Tai Holdings’ The Tembusu, which was launched in August 2013, and Roxy-Pacific Holdings’ Trilive, which was released for sale in July 2014. Recent transactions at these two developments have hovered at $1,550 to $1,600 psf, according to Wong. He therefore estimates that one-bedroom units at Stars of Kovan are likely to be priced from $800,000, two-bedroom units from $1.2 million and three-bedroom units from $1.5 million. Sizes start from 506 sq ft for a one-bedroom unit to 1,023 sq ft for a three-bedroom unit. Two-bedroom units from 732 to 807 sq ft make up 61% of the units in the project. “A Cheung Kong tradition in Hong Kong is that we give an earlybird incentive to the initial group of buyers,” says Wong.

The commercial units at Stars of Kovan are slated for launch at a later date. Cheung Kong also intends to showcase them for sale in Hong Kong and London. Wong is looking to price the commercial units at $5,500 to $7,000 psf. “We believe the Kovan area has good prospects,” he says. The closest mall in the vicinity is the Heartland Mall — Kovan, located just across the MRT station. It is a four-storey ageing complex built by HDB in 1984. “It’s more than 32 years old,” he adds. “We’re providing a new mall that will uplift the Kovan neighbourhood.”


This article appeared in the City & Country, Issue 725 (April 25, 2016) of The Edge Singapore. 


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