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15 June 2013

Iskandar condos now investors' darling

New launches cost nearly twice as much as those released last year

Source: Straits Times | Money
By Yasmine Yahya

PROPERTY buyers have been flocking to Iskandar Malaysia to buy landed homes since 2006, but lately, high-rise living there has caught on in a big way.

Developers have been ramping up the supply and quality of condominium units and new launches now cost almost twice as much as those released early last year.

"Prices have risen fastest in Medini and Puteri Harbour, having risen nearly 100 per cent since the first projects there were launched early last year," said Mr Dominic Lee, a PropNex agent who is active in the Iskandar market.

For example, Afiniti Residences in Medini, an area in Iskandar's Nusajaya zone, was launched last weekend with prices ranging from RM850 (S$340) per sq ft (psf) to RM1,000 psf.

Compare that with 1Medini, the first high-rise residential project in Medini, where units were sold at an average price of RM450 psf when they were launched in January last year.

Over at Puteri Harbour, Iskandar's answer to Singapore's Keppel Bay, freehold condo Pinetree Residences was launched in March for RM1,210 psf to RM1,616 psf. At around the same time last year, serviced apartment Somerset Puteri Harbour Iskandar was launched at an average price of RM800 psf.

CBRE Malaysia noted in a report that the prices of new launches are almost triple that of condo projects that were launched several years ago and have since been completed.

"The completed high-rise residential supply in Iskandar is generally less sophisticated in terms of concept and pricing when compared to recent launches," the report said.

"While new launches have breached the RM1,000 psf mark with fast take-up rates, transaction prices of completed high-rise units are generally less than RM400 psf, depicting an increase in discerning property purchasers in the region."

Developers have been swooping in to take advantage of the high demand for luxury condos. Over the next three to four years, they are building another 13,500 condo and serviced apartment units in Iskandar.

In contrast, there were only about 8,000 such units built between 2006 and last year.

Chesterton Suntec research head Colin Tan said the explosion in the growth of Iskandar's condo market was likely triggered by strong interest from foreigners, particularly Singaporeans.

Since property cooling measures were imposed here, Singaporeans have rushed to Iskandar to invest in condo units, he noted.

"And now that Iskandar has gained some respectability with the participation of Singapore government-linked firms, it gives (buyers) added confidence," he said.

"The same thing happened in Kuala Lumpur: When Singapore developers such as CapitaLand and Wing Tai built condos there, Singaporeans started buying there too. And when Singapore investors buy, Malaysians will buy too."

Mr Kevin Goh, associate director of estate management at CBRE Malaysia, agreed, noting that Johorians have lately warmed to the idea of high-rise living.

"People have come to realise that security is tighter at condominiums, and for older buyers, they like the idea of living in a small apartment that they can easily leave behind when they travel, rather than a big bungalow."

Singaporeans and Malaysians are not the only ones who see the potential of Iskandar's high-rise homes.

A Japanese investment fund bought an entire tower of 285 units at Iskandar Residences in Medini, launched last month.


Still commanding premium prices

Checking out the page views on the STProperty website gives an instant snapshot of what projects buyers are keen on. This week, we look at developments in districts 9 and 10 that have drawn the most attention.

Source: Straits Times | Money
By Rachel Scully

OWNING a unit close to the Orchard Road shopping belt is the ultimate dream for many.

Hence, it is not surprising that buyers are prepared to pay premium prices for a unit in districts 9 and 10.

The areas covered under District 9 include Cairnhill, Killiney, Leonie Hill, Orchard and Oxley.

Based on page views on portal STProperty between June 3 and 9 (see table), boutique development Up@Robertson Quay heads the list of top five projects in District 9.

The 70-unit project, made up of one- and two-bedders, is also the priciest on the list, with an average asking price of $2,437 per sq ft (psf).

It is also the only 99-year leasehold project among the top five.

The nearby 545-unit Rivergate freehold project, offering two- and three-bedders, is in second spot. It has an average asking price of $2,255 psf.

Rounding up the list for District 9 are three other freehold projects: Watermark Robertson Quay, Sophia Residence and Residences @ Killiney.

The development of the 272-unit Sophia Residence was delayed earlier this year due to the financial woes of main contractor Poh Lian Construction.

Slightly further to the west is District 10, which includes areas such as Balmoral, Bukit Timah, Grange Road, River Valley, Tanglin Road and Holland Road.

Heading the list of top five projects in the district in terms of page views between June 3 and 9 is D'Leedon, a project located within walking distance of the Farrer Road MRT station.

The 99-year leasehold project offers 1,703 units ranging from one-bedders to penthouses. The mixed development also has 12 villas and eight retail shops. It has an average asking price of $1,607 psf for its one- to four-bedroom units.

The other District 10 projects on the list are freehold: The Tessarina, The Legend, The Trizon and Parvis.

With its proximity to Holland Village, the 248-unit Parvis, ranked fifth on the list, has the highest average asking price for its two-, three- and four-bedders at $2,062 psf.

The average transacted price for Parvis between last December and May this year was $1,959 psf, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority. This was based on five or fewer transactions.

Condos near popular schools in the north

Options for parents eyeing schools such as Rosyth

Source: Straits Times | Money

IN ANTICIPATION of the Primary 1 registration process next month, this series takes a closer look at homes to rent or buy near popular schools.

This week, we venture to the north zone, where parents may be enrolling their children in schools such as Rosyth School, Ai Tong School, Jiemin Primary School, Kheng Cheng School and Innova Primary School.

Rosyth School

ONE of the most sought-after schools in the area, Ang Mo Kio's Rosyth is near landed homes, Housing Board flats and private condominiums.

At Fontaine Parry, completed in 2010, seven units are up for sale on the STProperty website.

The average asking price is $978 per sq ft (psf) for a two-bedder, $1,292 psf for a three-bedder, and $1,115 psf for a four-bedder, the listings show. Recent transacted prices at the 999-year leasehold site, within 1 km of Rosyth, are around $1,122 psf.

Also nearby is 99-year leasehold Regentville, with 10 units listed for sale and 10 for rent. The units for sale have an asking price of $774 psf on average for a two-bedder and $858 psf on average for a three-bedder. Recent sales have been transacted at $818 psf. Other developments in the area include Kensington Park, with three units listed for sale and two for rent.

Ai Tong School

ANOTHER well-known school is Ai Tong School, along Bright Hill Drive. Within walking distance are Bishan Point and The Gardens At Bishan, both 99-year leasehold, and the freehold Flame Tree Park.

At Bishan Point, just across the road from Ai Tong, a two-bedder is listed for sale on STProperty at an asking price of $1,327 psf. There are also two three-bedders for sale, with an average price tag of $1,072 psf, and two similar units for rent.

The Gardens At Bishan has two- and three-bedders for sale at $1,254 psf and $1,144 psf on

average respectively. Flame Tree Park has a few three-bedders for sale at $1,225 psf on average.

Jiemin Primary School

FURTHER north in Yishun, parents interested in living near Jiemin Primary can consider the 99-year leasehold Euphony Gardens or the freehold Northwoods.

Both are along Jalan Mata

Ayer, within 1 km of Jiemin Primary. STProperty has four Euphony Gardens units for sale - a three-bedroom unit and three four-bedders - at an average asking price of $770 psf. Units were recently sold at an average of $685 psf. There are also four Northwoods three-bedders for sale at an average of $1,000 psf.

Kheng Cheng School

NEAR Kheng Cheng School in Toa Payoh are Trellis Towers, Oleander Towers and Trevista.

Trellis Towers, the only freehold development of the three, has 16 three-bedders for rent on STProperty. There are also three units listed for sale, but these are smaller one- and two-bedders.

Nearby is Oleander Towers, which has seven three-bedders for sale. The smaller units of 1,152 sq ft are asking an average of $1,158 psf, while the larger units of 1,582 sq ft in size are listed at an average price of $982 psf.

At Trevista, built in 2011, there are seven units for rent and 20 for sale. Most are three-bedders, with an average price of $1,481 psf. Trellis Towers and Oleander Towers are near Toa Payoh MRT Station. Trevista is nearer to Braddell MRT Station.

Innova Primary School

FAMILIES interested in living near Innova Primary in Woodlands have plenty of choice.

Within 1 km of the school are five 99-year leasehold developments: Rosewood, Rosewood Suites, Woodgrove Condominium, Casablanca and La Casa.

The oldest, and most affordable, is Woodgrove, where a handful of three-bedders are up for sale at an average price tag of $792 psf. Next is La Casa, an executive condominium, with more than 50 units listed for sale. Three-bedders have an average asking price of $808 psf.

More information can be found on the www.STProperty.sgwebsite.