Aspen Heights may be 11 years old, but the massive 606-unit condominium located along River Valley Road has been enjoying a resurgence of interest from homebuyers, riding on strong sales of new developments nearby. After only 15 transactions hovering at the $1,000 psf level in the first half of 2009, more than 30 units have changed hands in 2H2009, with prices surging past $1,400 psf. For the period Dec 23 to 31, there were three caveats for units sold at $1,250 to $1,450 psf, according to URA Realis.
After the onset of the financial crisis in late 2008, prices at Aspen Heights sank below $1,000 psf for about half a year, before rebounding strongly in June 2009 with the rest of the market. The main reason for the upturn could be the strong sales of nearby developments, including The Wharf Residence and Martin Place Residences, which were among the top sellers last year.
The two upper-mid-tier projects were relaunched in mid-May last year at prices that were 20% lower than in early 2008. For instance, in mid-May last year, CapitaLand had priced the remaining units at the 173-unit The Wharf Residence on Tong Watt Road off River Valley Road at $1,200 to $1,500 psf, compared with $1,500 to $1,900 psf for the first phase released at previews in mid-2008. Meanwhile, Frasers Centrepoint Ltd also relaunched Martin Place Residences at Martin Place off Kim Yam Road at $1,260 to $1,700 psf, compared with its soft launch in early 2008, when 28 units were sold between $1,700 and $2,000 psf.
Since last May, however, prices of both projects have enjoyed an uplift. Last October, a high of $1,496 psf was achieved in a new sale by the developer when a 2,206 sq ft unit at The Wharf Residence was sold for $3.3 million. The condo is expected to be completed in 2013.
Likewise, at the 302-unit Martin Place Residence, sales have picked up since May. Last month, a 1,044 sq ft unit was sold for $1.88 million, or $1,800 psf, in a sub-sale according to a Dec 2 caveat. This is a 13.7% gain for the original owner, who purchased the unit from Frasers Centrepoint Homes and sold it in just six months.
The buoyant demand for homes in the River Valley Road area could also have been sparked by the new shopping centres that opened along Orchard Road last year: ION Orchard, Orchard Central, 313@Somerset and Triple One Somerset (at the former Singapore Power Building site). Easy access to a range of good schools like River Valley Primary School and Singapore Management University as well as cafés and restaurants in the Robertson Quay area continue to reel in families with school-going children as well as investors.
New developments under construction have also drawn buyer interest to existing developments in the River Valley and Mohamed Sultan neighbourhood. The largest project in the area is easily Aspen Heights, developed by the former DBS Land (now part of CapitaLand). Units range from 882 sq ft two-bedroom apartments to 1,604 sq ft for four-bedrooms, while penthouses measure 2,691 to 3,143 sq ft.
With prices recovering to 2007 levels, it’s also a good time for owners looking to sell their properties. According to a Dec 30 caveat, a 1,324 sq ft unit on the fifth floor of block 263 (one of two blocks) changed hands for $1.67 million, or $1,260 psf, translating into a 23% gain for the seller, who purchased the unit in early 2007.
On the 10th floor of the neighbouring block 261, a 2,691 sq ft penthouse fetched $3.9 million, or $1,450 psf. That’s a 19% gain for the seller, who purchased the unit for $3.28 million three years ago, according to a March 2007 caveat.
With renewed investor interest in projects in Orchard Road and investors targeting both older projects and new launches, it won’t be surprising to see resale prices at Aspen Heights returning to or even surpassing mid-2007 levels.
Source: The Edge, 25 Jan 2010
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