From Straits Times – June 23, 2007
“Next property hot spot: Bt Timah
Developers set to launch at least 6 residential projects in coming months
By Fiona Chan, Property Reporter
BUKIT Timah – one of the leading lights in the last property boom – is fast making a comeback as property developers gear up for a slew of new launches there.
At least six residential projects will be launched there in the coming months, with prices reaching $1,900 per sq ft (psf) – a level not seen for the past 10 years.
Duchess Residences in Duchess Road, for instance, will have 120 units priced at between $1,600 and $1,900 psf when it is released for sale next month, said developer United Overseas Land.
At unit sizes ranging from 1,464 sq ft for three-bedroom homes to 4,101 sq ft for a penthouse, this means prices are likely to start from $2.4 million for a unit.
This launch is the clearest sign that the Bukit Timah area, which has stayed under the radar for the past few years, is on track for a strong recovery, say consultants.
The District 11 corridor, an established residential area dotted with prestigious schools, has long been a favourite with expatriates and families. But it has been outshone in the current boom by ultra-prime areas such as Orchard Road and Sentosa.
At the peak of the property upturn in 1996, two units at Shelford Apartments fetched a Bukit Timah high of about $2,100 psf.
But prices have since plummeted to below $1,000 psf. They started to pick up only in December, with the launch of Sixth Avenue Residences, which saw 90 per cent of its units snapped up over just one weekend.
‘We feel that prices of homes in the Bukit Timah area remain undervalued at an average of just under $1,000 psf,’ said Mr Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore. ‘In line with the increasing rental yield due to the recent rents hike, we see prices appreciating in the coming months.’
Developers are betting big on a recovery. Far East Organization, for one, has many eggs in the Bukit Timah basket that are due to hatch over the next year.
First up will be Jardin, located at Dunearn Road. It will have 90 lofts and 50 apartments, which market watchers expect to be priced at an average of $1,400 psf.
Far East also has a tie-up with Wing Tai to launch Floridian, a 336-unit condominium near Methodist Girls’ Primary School, tentatively by the end of the year.
It still has units available in completed projects such as Gardenvista, Hillview Regency and Meadowlodge.
‘We see a growing demand for completed projects in the Bukit Timah area,’ said Mr Chia Boon Kuah, Far East’s chief operating officer of property sales.
This is especially as Bukit Timah starts to attract home buyers flush with cash from collective sales, he added.
These buyers are not likely to lack options. Other projects include Allgreen Properties’ The Cascadia, due for release next month.
Market sources say the development’s 536 units will sell for about $1,200 to $1,300 psf on average – slightly above the recent high of $1,100 psf achieved by The Nexus next door.
Down the road, City Developments is planning to launch a project in Shelford Road in the third quarter. The project will have 77 units, ranging from two-bedroom units to penthouses.
At nearby Hillcrest Road, MCL Land has begun construction work on the former SingTel Academy site. About 160 cluster terrace houses are slated to come up on the 99-year leasehold plot, which is likely to be marketed in the second half.