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Older condos’ size and lower psf price a draw in prime districts

timothy.tay@edgeprop.sg

The latest property cooling measures could cause homebuyers to search for more affordable options in the resale market. “Older condos have larger unit sizes and a more spacious living area,” says Jacqueline Wong, Savills Singapore head of residential services and private office. “The downside is that these old units will be in need of renovations.”

As it is, some people have started to look at the resale market in the prime districts. A recent sale was at The Tomlinson, a 29-unit freehold develop ment at the corner of Tomlinson and Cuscaden Roads in prime District 10. The 20-storey luxury condo was completed 16 years ago and developed by Wing Tai Holdings.

On July 3, a five-bedroom unit on the 17th floor was sold for $7.2 million ($1,944 psf). The seller had purchased it for $5.5 million ($1,485 psf) in 2004.


A five-bedroom unit at The Tomlinson was sold for $1,944 psf early this month (Pictures: The Edge Singapore)

It is perceived to be a bargain because, across the road, Park House was sold en bloc in June for $375.5 million, or a record-breaking $2,910 psf per plot ratio (ppr). Based on the land price, its breakeven price is estimated at $3,500 psf.

Meanwhile, YTL Land has previewed units at the luxury 3 Orchard By-the-Park at prices starting from $3,490 psf. The 77-unit luxury condo is designed by Antonio Citterio, famous for his designs of the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts.

Units in older condos such as the 40-year-old Cairnhill Plaza tend to attract local buyers who are already hunting for homes in the prime districts and want sizeable units. They need to bear in mind, however, the renovation costs and higher cash outlay required for the down payment, in view of the lower loan-to-value limit introduced from July 6, says Jason Tan, executive director of boutique luxury marketing agency JTResi.


A 3,305 sq ft, three-bedroom unit at the 40-year-old Cairnhill Plaza was sold for $1,740 psf recently

Cairnhill Plaza is a 204-unit, freehold apartment project completed in 1978 and located in prime District 9. A 3,305 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the 15th floor changed hands for $5.75 million ($1,740 psf). It was last transacted for $5.45 million ($1,649 psf) in March 2014.

In the vicinity, several of the older condos have either been put up for collective sale or already been sold en bloc. Last month, Elizabeth Towers across the road was put up for en bloc sale for $610 million, or a land rate of $2,416 psf ppr.

Further down Cairnhill Road, Low Keng Huat purchased Cairnhill Mansions en bloc, along with two neighbouring plots for a total of $100 million. The listed construction group-cum-developer intends to amalgamate the three sites. The price for the Cairnhill Mansions site translates into a land rate of $2,311 psf ppr.


Cairnhill Mansions was sold to Low Keng Huat for $362 million ($2,311 psf ppr) in a private treaty deal after the close of the tender on Dec 12 (Credit: CBRE)

It is no surprise that homebuyers are gravitating towards the older units for bigger space and also attractive psf prices in the prime districts. While prices of these older condos have risen, they have not soared the way land rates in the Cairnhill and Cuscaden areas have over the past year.

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