Sunday, April 25, 2010

Flamingo Valley's details

Finally! Details of the much awaited Flamingo Valley has trickled out and straight into the open mouths of you hungry investors to feast upon...

Tenure: Freehold
District: 15
Developer: Frasers Centrepoint Homes
Estimated TOP: 2015
Site Area: ~335,418 sqft
Blocks: 9
Floors: 3-5
Units & Typical Sizes:
1+Study (~510-680 sqft) x 41
2BR (~820-1100 sqft) x 65
2+1 (~970-1,200 sqft) x 24
2+Loft (~990 sqft) x 4
3BR (~990 - 1,600 sqft) x 126
2BR Dual Key (~780 - 940 sqft) x 15
3BR Dual Key (~1,200 - 1,520 sqft) x 21
4BR (~1,590-1,930 sqft) x 48
2BR/3BR Roof Terrace PH (1,600 - 3,200 sqft) x 21
3BR/4BR Duplex Penthouse (2,000 - 2,700 sqft) x 26
4BR Penthouse (3,000 sqft) x 2

And for those that have been hiding their heads in the sand, here is the location of the old Flamingo Valley that was enblocced and now transformed into a swan brand new Flamingo Valley:

The siteplan for the new Flamingo Valley:

Notable Facilities:
  • 50m lap pool
  • Spa sanctuary
  • Children's pool
  • Function rooms (with Karaoke)
  • Gym
  • Steambath
  • BBQ
  • Tennis court

A close-up of the stacks:

Poking our nose about and making a few calls, some prices have been rumored to be:

1+Study $1400 to $1450 psf
2BR $1300 to $1400 psf
3BR $1200 to $1300 psf
4BR $1100 to $1200 psf

images: brochure

Source :

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Update: Tree House is doing very very well

We told you it was going to be HOT. We have news that CDL's Tree House has SOLD OUT all its 2BR and 2+1BR units. Prices for this Chestnut Avenue development are in the $780-$900 psf range. Going by this photo below, there's a huge demand for this mass market condo.

Just look at the crowd. This is a Thursday morning! Don't these folk have to work? Image from tipster C. Wong.

You'd think it's some grassroots event or some big-shot's wedding! This is not even the showflat. This is the balloting area where potential buyers are waiting for their name to be called. The showflat is next door on the right!

There aren't many mass market units around this year so as expected there's plenty of pent-up demand.

According to our sources:
2BRs - $850-$900psf, around $610k to $640k.
2+1BRs -$850-900psf, around $680k to $770k.
3BRs - $800-900psf. around $900-$1000k.
3+1BR - A 16th floor, 1,227 sqft unit in Stack01 is going at $1.033m or $841psf.
4BRs - ranging from $770-780 psf.

It seems that analysts are spot on with their price prediction mentioned in our initial Tree House Preview.

Just quickly to recap:
Nearby Cashew Heights (999 yr, TOP92) caveats from Jan to Mar 2010 are at an average of $708psf. Glendale Park (FH, TOP2000) Jan 2010 caveats averaged $701 psf while Hillview Heights (FH, TOP96) Jan - Mar 2010 averaged $715psf.

Showroom is still open. You better make your way there if you want a piece of the action!

Image: Brochure.

As posted in by John

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Condo Preview: Tree House

Tucked away in the quiet corner of Singapore, surrounded by lush untouched greenery, is CDL's latest - Tree House. Check out this 24-storey, 99-year condo in District 23. We've got plenty of photos, site layouts, floorplans and much more!

Tree House is quite aptly named, it's literally surrounded by trees. Situated at the junction of Petir Road and Chestnut Avenue, this development is also quite 'ulu' or remote. Some might like this area for the greenery, peace and quiet, some might hate it for the inconvenience when it comes to getting around.

The developer City Developments Limited (CDL) won the tender for this site back in late-August 2009, making this the quickest turnaround ever - 8 months from winning the bid to project launch. It's obvious they're trying to catch the buying wave.

They won the bid at $144m, making it around $280 psf ppr.

Tenure: 99 yrs
District: 23
City Development Ltd
Estimated TOP: end-2014
Floors: 24
Blocks: 4
Units: 429 total, 2BR (48), 2+1BR (72),3BR (119), 3+1BR (116), 4BR (66), PH (8).

Unit Sizes
2 BR: 721 sqft (PES: 990 sqft)
2+1 BR: 807 - 861sqft (PES: 1,076 sqft)
3 BR: 1,151 - 1,162 sqft (PES: 1,474 -1,485 sqft)
3+1 BR: 1,227 - 1,248 sqft (PES: 1,550 - 1,636 sqft)
4 BR: 1,410 sqft (PES: 1,959 sqft)
PH: 1,927 / 1,969 / 2,023 / 2,917 sqft

Notable Facilities:
TWO(!) tennis courts
Swimming pool
Jogging Track


Image: Google Maps. Note: Site overlay is approximate.

The closest place you could do your eating and shopping is at Rail Mall about a 1km drive away. The next best thing would be Ten Mile Junction in Bukit Panjang.

This area is like Punggol back in the early 2000s, empty plots of land all around. Plenty of room for development.

Image: Google Street View

The new Downtown Line Cashew MRT and Hillview MRT will be built pretty close by and slated for completion in 2015, which should be around the same time as the Tree House's TOP. Check out this PDF for their location.

Those with cars should note that BKE and Upper Bukit Timah Road gets quite heavy during rush hour.

If you look at the artist impression below, there's this cool feature - wall garden / living wall / vertical garden or whatever you might call it. It's at the block closest to the tennis courts. Pretty neat way to block out the hot hot evening sun.

Wall-garden/Vertical Garden

Site Layout

Image: Google Maps. Note: Site overlay is approximate. Green arrows = ideal view, yellow arrows = fair view, red arrows = not so good view. [Edit (16 Apr 2010): We have made some corrections to stacks 1 and 2, they are facing east. Thanks: Kwuan Tzee.]

Best views and best units
The blocks are north-south facing, meaning that future developments north and south of Tree House will block your views. Don't believe us, check the URA Masterplan 2008.

To the east it's the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE), there's 100m of jungle/forest to dampen the noise and block your view. Past that, its greeeeeenery all the way with Singapore's central water catchment areas. High-floor units could possibly get a view of the Upper Peirce Reservoir and Mandai Reservoir on a clear day.

[Edit 16 Apr 2010: We've made a mistake with the views of stack 01. Initially we thought it faced north-south. Actually it faces east.

With that correction, the views in stack 01 could be the best. It looks down at the pool below and looks through the gap between the blocks to the Central Catchment Area. We would recommend high-floor units in stack 01.]

We also recommend high floor units in stacks 07, 08, 17 and 18 to make the most of the green view. If you think the BKE is too unsightly, the next best could be mid-floor units in stack 13 - you get a pool view and will be some distance away from any future developments south of the project.

Until a new development gets in their way, stacks 03 and 04 do get a nice view of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to the south.

Agents are touting "prices starting from $6XXk". Let's assume the smallest units - 2BR, 721 sqft - are going for $610,000. Going by that (admittedly shaky) yardstick, that works out to around $840psf. Which means larger units could be going in the range of $750 - $800psf.

We shall know for sure when the showflat opens its doors tomorrow for the VVIP preview.

Nearby Cashew Heights (999 yr, TOP92) caveats from Jan to Mar 2010 are at an average of $708psf. Glendale Park (FH, TOP2000) Jan 2010 caveats averaged $701 psf while Hillview Heights (FH, TOP96) Jan - Mar 2010 averaged $715psf.

Quick thoughts
CDL's bid for this site was rather aggressive, and its chairman Kwek Leng Beng was pretty confident about the location. Perhaps he knows something we don't.

Think long term: you can always look at this project as the area's 'pioneer' development, whose prices should rise as soon as the Downtown Line gets built in 2015.

Still, it'll do you no harm to head down to the showroom and see the site for yourself!

More images

Pool views

Some floorplans

2 BR Floorplan

2+1 BR Floorplan

3 BR Floorplan

3+1 BR Floorplan

4 BR Floorplan

Images: Brochure

Tree House update: Breathtaking views and Balloting

We popped by CDL's Tree House and took some photos of the environment around. Check out some breathtaking views of the Central Catchment Area! Plus - some interesting developments!

View along Petir Road, towards Bt Panjang

This is the area just south of the development. Plenty of greenery and jungle around. Note the Tree House showroom in the background.

South view, Petir Road towards Dairy Farm Road

High floor units will be able to see Bukit Timah Hill.

View on 16th floor, Blk 201 Petir Road

This shot faces north-east. In the background is the Central Catchment Area.

View on 21st floor, Blk 210 Petir Road

This shot faces north-east. Look at that! Who says Singapore has no natural landscape? The tiny silver of water way way back is Mandai Reservoir. The road in the foreground is the BKE. This block is right next to it. It's quite noisy too.

View on the 20th floor, Blk 211 Petir Road

This is the money shot! The camera is facing south-east. The Tree House site is further down on the right-hand side of the image. My my my! That's Upper Peirce Reservoir my friends! Amazing!

Trees, trees, trees! Same angle, but more to the left (east).

An update - cheque balloting
According to our sources, this site is so popular that the developer will be balloting cheques come Thursday 22 April for their VVIP preview. In essence, no more first come first serve for VVIPs, must ballot HDB-style. Interested buyers have to send in their cheques by this Monday 19 April. So move fast!

Those who are concerned about the potential noise BKE makes should not be too worried. The trees shield the traffic noise pretty well. Only if you listen hard, you can make out a low low hum but really, it's not noticeable at all.

The (rumoured) prices are pretty acceptable, final quantum for the 2BRs are around the $600-700k mark and the 3BRs around $800-900k. We'll only know the final price on launch day.

We do forsee very good sales for Tree House. There aren't many mass market units to choose from these days.

As usual, not all units are available in the first phase (esp the ones with the good view), but hey, it never hurts to try your luck!

Worth looking at
There's still time! We highly suggest you pop by this weekend to take a look. Official 'public' opening is on 23rd April, while VVIP 22nd April. Option-to-purchase cheques must come in by this Monday 19th April.

As posted in by John

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flamingo Valley launching soon

Flamingo Valley (en bloc 2007)
Flamingo Valley was bought by Frasers Centrepoint for $194m back in early 2007, plans to develop the freehold site was put on hold due to the uncertain economic outlook in mid-2008 to 2009. They decided instead to rent it out for the time being in late 2008.

Potentially, the old 185-unit condo would be able to yield a five-storey condo with 300 units in the 335,161 sqft site. With a gross plot ratio of 1.4, the developer has forked out about $413 psf ppr.

Date of launch is still unknown, there aren't any rumours on the ground at all. However, three years is a long time to hold on to something, and it could be that they're waiting for the existing rental leases to run out. We're guessing 2010 is the year the developers make good on their investment.

Condo Details
Lease: Freehold
Developer: Frasers Centrepoint
District: 15
Amount paid: $194m
Estimated number of units: 300
Estimated price: $890 - $910 psf

Location Map

Via Google Maps (Note: Site outline is approximate)

Street View

Via Google Street View.

Situated in the heart of the Siglap landed estate, it looks to be a quiet and peaceful development. A quick bus-ride or leisurely walk brings residents to Siglap Shopping Centre and the various restaurants nearby. Siglap has a kind of laid-back atmosphere much like Holland Village.

Bedok Town Centre and MRT is pretty close by too. This place could prove quite popular among fans of the East Coast/Katong/Siglap area.

Required reading: Asiabuilders - "Frasers inks deal to buy Flamingo Valley for $194m" and AsiaOne - "Firms shelve supply of 1,000 new apartments"

If you want more information regarding this site, feel free to contact us.

Source :

Monday, April 12, 2010

April en blocs: Marina House, Culford Gardens and Diamond Towers

April looks like a good month for en blocs.

Diamond Towers in Balestier was recently bought for $49.6m by EL Development. Last Friday also saw Culford Garden in Siglap bought for $39m by Fragrance Properties.

Marina House in Shenton Way was bought for $148m by Roxy Pacific Holdings last Monday too.

The price paid for Diamond Towers works out to $652 psf ppr while Culford Gardens works out to $632 psf ppr. Shenton Way's Marina House will be converted into a brand new 42-storey apartment with commercial space on the first floor.

As posted in by John

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Collective sales are back

A new spell of collective sales is upon us once again. Over the past few weeks, several notices by owners to sell their homes en-bloc have been announced. And at a recent seminar, a speaker confidently predicted 30 such deals for this year.

For those involved in such sales, it brings back to mind a whole gamut of feelings - of anxieties, hopes, happiness, sadness, bitterness and hate.

On hindsight, the last wave of collective sales was the most impactful although for some, it was the most destructive or disruptive, even wasteful. A 10-year old development had been put up for sale.

Housing leases were pre-terminated en masse forcing mostly expatriate households to re-locate. Demand soon outstripped supply as the rental stock dwindled rapidly.

Rents doubled or tripled affecting all tenants. Within months, rental yields reached new highs rendering an abnormally artificial gloss to property investments although the impact was one-off.

Misled into thinking there was strong inflows of expatriates to service the then booming economy, windfalls from such sales were re-invested into the market in a big way. Deferred payment schemes magnified its impact many times. Soon, prices of prime properties hit stratospheric heights.

The prospect of another substantial impact must have sent quivers of excitement through investors.

It brought new hope to those who bought high-end units in 2007 and to developers with unsold units in this segment.

Consumed by the euphoria at that time, many have jumped into the market biting more than they could chew. Fortunately, the huge stimulus spending by governments throughout the world saved many from what would have been an early demise.

Many are now clinging to their properties waiting anxiously for prices to return to their highs. They see the same conditions which characterise the previous run up and know fully well that the market can turn any time.

For developers, due to high acquisition costs and the need to maintain prices, selling at much lower values was not a viable option.

A new wave of selling and buying could just be that catalyst that sends prices surging to and beyond their previous peaks.

Possible but not probable. Today collective sale participants are better informed. Developers are not able to catch them unawares this time. Owners are likely to visit every showflat in the vicinity from announcement till close of tender.

Unfortunately, the lack of transparency at showflats is raising unrealistic expectations. For deals to close, developers need to be desperate enough to bid ahead of the market.

Projects with potential of amalgamation with remnant state land provide opportunities to unlock untapped value and have higher chances of succeeding.

For investors, keep your fingers tightly crossed. While improbable it is not impossible.

As posted in Today's by Colin Tan, head of research and consultancy at Chesterton Suntec International.

Photo by

Friday, April 9, 2010

Waterbank at Dakota teases buyers

Waterbank@Dakota will be the next major condo to be put under the microscope - by both home buyers and investors. Why?

  • It is very close to town (much much closer than some recent launches)
  • It is very close to the Dakota MRT station (~200m) though you have to walk through a HDB estate to get there
  • It can be "sold" as waterfront living to some gullible "ang mo"
  • There are a good number of studios, 1+1, 2BR and even some Dual Key units which mean total prices would be small-er.
  • This area has been largely ignored for the longest time and has been "rejuvenated"

Above is a rough location map for you guys to get an idea where this condo really sits (for rough illustration purpose only). Quite obviously the south facing units will get pretty much an unblocked view due to the landed housing estate across the river. artist's illustration of the landed estate view and beyond (Marine Parade).

The real deal...waterfront living? We hope they have cleaned it up! You can see the uncompleted Dakota Residence in the background(taken last year by a contributor).

UOL, the developers, purchased the land in a hotly contested tender back in October 2009. Their bid of $329m worked out to $508 psf ppr.

And the details:

Tenure: 99 yr
District: 14
Developer: UOL Group Limited
Estimated TOP: ?
Blocks: 8
Floors: 19-20
Units: 616 total, Studio(77), 1+1(98), 2(78), 3(271), 4(37), Cabana(11), Dual Key(39), Penthouse(5)
Typical Sizes:
Studio (~480 sqft)
1+1 (~630 sqft)
2 (~880 sqft)
3 (~1,150 - 1,270 sqft)
4 (~1,610 sqft)
Cabana (~1,340 sqft)
Dual Key (~1,300 sqft)
Penthouse (~2,430 - 2,870 sqft)

An artist's illustration of the pool...interesting poolside units on the right eh?

Notable Facilities:
  • Infinity-edge leisure pool
  • 50m Lap Pool
  • Wading pool
  • Steam Room
  • Jacuzzi
  • Half basketball court
  • BBQ
  • Gym
  • Bubble bed (?!)

Price? We heard it might be in the $1100-1250psf range. Making some calls, we heard these are some speculated prices:

490sqft, 1BR - $650k
630sqft, 1+1BR - $700k
880sqft, 2BR - $1,050k

Close to town and only $1100-1250psf in this crazy market? Sounds like a mad deal? Just remember to check for resale prices in the vicinity, who knows you might get an even better deal.

The VIP preview is tomorrow, so move fast if you want this place!

[Editor's Note: We have previously stated the site to be in District 15, however, we think now that this site is in District 14 instead. Checks on the URA website did not reveal the postal district as the development has not been awarded an address yet.

Blk 58 Dakota Crescent, the HDB just opposite this site, has a postal code of 390058, which sets it in District 14, according to this chart. So, it's safe to assume for the moment that Waterbank is in District 14.]

Image: brochure, googlemaps

As posted in by Francis

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Where are property prices now

In general: smaller price increases, at or near record levels - that is where we are now, according to flash estimates by the authorities.

HDB prices are at an all time high...never seen before!

Private property prices are reaching an all time high...we give it one or two more quarters to surpass it (barring all the usual excuses).

If you ask how much we are up from one year ago, HDB homes are up an amazing 12% (pretty huge for HDB) and Private property is up a modest 24.5%. HDB resale prices are also estimated to break a new record - according to the HDB resale flat price index. And although private property still hasn't reached its 1996 peak yet, it is almost there.

Some we have spoken to told us that HDB prices were well bolstered during the down turn by a sustained demand for cheaper housing and a growing population, all this while private property was taking a beating from business sentiment.

Of course we also have friends in the industry that tell us that this feels eerily similar to 1996 - before the big bust. Some are even telling us to take profit, even if it means giving up 10-15% extra.

Some of their advice?

  • "Sell on the way up, not when you are there"

  • "Don't be greedy. Be fair and always give some space for the next buyer to make a profit"

  • "Each new high, is always higher than the last. So when you are at the last high, start making your exit"

  • "When your neighbor auntie suddenly become a property expert, run like hell."

  • "Don't listen to bears. Haven't met a rich bear before"

  • "Have you walked around the Marina bay lately? Singapore will never be the same again"

How about you readers? Got any good advice to share? Tell us here.

Images: URA & HDB

As posted in by Francis

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Condo Review: The Vision

About The Vision

West Coast's newest addition comes to you via Hong Kong's Cheung Kong. Guaranteeing many units a view of the sea, this District 5 condo is also priced very handsomely. Comprising two blocks and 14 landed homes (something you don't see too often these days) the 99-year development opened to much interest, with all 100 units in the first phase sold out.

Tenure: 99yrs
District: 5
Cheung Kong Property Development (Hong Kong)
Estimated TOP: Mid 2013
Floors: 33
Blocks: 2 and 14 strata-titled landed houses
Units: 295 total, 2BR (93), 3BR (154), 4BR (32), PH (2), Strata House (14)

Unit Sizes
2BR: 818, 829, 904 sqft
3BR: 1,259 - 1,313 sqft (PES: 1,776 - 2,110 sqft)
4BR: 1,604 sqft (PES: 2,562 sqft)
PH: 2,702 sqft
Strata Houses: 4,467 - 4,855 sqft

Notable Facilities:
Basement parking
Swimming pool


Note: Map overlay is approximate. Images: Google Maps.

West Coast isn't exactly close to town. And it's nowhere near the IRs to have their sheen rub off on this condo. If you want to be brutally honest, this is a condo in Clementi.

That said, it's in a very quiet spot. If you're looking for the hustle and bustle of Ang Mo Kio or Bishan, this is not the place to be. Being near a huge industrial area means that the place is pretty much peaceful during weekends.

The West Coast View
There's the East Coast sea-view and then there's the West Coast sea-view. Unlike developments along Marine Parade, where residents get beautiful view of clear blue sea, a West Coast view gets you rows and rows of cranes and container boxes to the east and dusty grey industrial complexes and shipyards to the west.

View from 8th floor of Blk 715 (Facing South)

View of from 25th floor of Blk 717 Clementi West St 2 (Facing East)

Note the giant cranes of Pasir Panjang Terminal. The building site of The Vision can be seen in the foreground.

Jurong Island, the island of lights

Do you like orange lights? Then you must love the sea view after the sun sets. Jurong Island will light up the night sky with their flaring of waste oil from the oil refineries. If that's not enough, its multitude of flickering orange lamps that dot the horizon will do the trick.

What's more, the shipyards will light up your view of the west, while the Pasir Panjang Terminal will illuminate your eastern view. Your vision will be really bright indeed!

Closer view of the location. Note: Map overlay is approximate. Images: Google Maps.

Apart from that, it's worth mentioning that the West Coast is popular with Japanese and Korean expats (plenty of Japanese schools around). Also, West Coast Plaza (formerly Ginza Plaza) is just a short 700m walk away.

We really couldn't believe it when we heard it - $1,100 to $1,200 psf! The developers bought the land at a paltry $305 psf ppr and now they are selling it at nearly 3x the price. We actually thought this will be a mass market condo! How wrong were we!

904sqft 2BR units are selling in the range of $1,120 - $1,260psf, taking the total quantum to just over the $1m mark. A 1,259sqft 3BR is going for about $1,050psf, or about $1.3m.

Looking at next door's Blue Horizon (2005, 99-year), URA caveats in Feb 2010 showed prices at an average of $797 psf. The Vision is asking for a good $300 psf more.

The developers tried to 'lux' it up with marbled floor finishing, bathtubs and so on, but it is essentially a condo way out west. No MRT, no IR, no town centre, no nothing!

Ideal Units
If you look at the site layout, you'd notice that many units will get a view of the sea. Very smart planning we must say.

We'd take high floor units facing the sea (B1 and B2). The units to the east come face to face with Blue Horizon. The units to the west have an open view, but the land there is slated for residential development with a plot ratio identical to The Vision's, it's likely the view will be blocked eventually.

We feel it's worth looking at city-facing units (A2) south of the development. West Bay condo only goes up to six storeys, any units in The Vision higher than that would get an unblocked view of the east and the city.

Green arrows = good views, yellow = average, red = not ideal.

Final Word
Not our cup of tea. We feel this place is only for those who must live in the West. If you have that kind of budget, look at other condos like The Interlace at Alexandra or Trevista at Toa Payoh or even (dare we say it) Centro Residences, they offer much more in terms of location and pricing.

Alas, if you must live in the West, you must. Pop by the showroom to see it for yourself. There are plenty of units still available.

More Photos

Ground view of the site

Model of strata-titled housing

Oil-rigs under construction as seen from HDB Block 715

West Bay condo to the south, just across the road

Showroom bedroom

Showroom living room, note the angled balcony

Same room, another angle

Bathroom. Note the exquisite marble finishing.

Some floorplans

2BR floorplan

3BR floorplan

4BR floorplan

Images: Brochure

As posted in by John