A look at the fastest-selling new launch condos of early 2021

As we near the end of Q1 2021, things are beginning to heat up. The usual lull period over Chinese New Year has come to an end; and the momentum from last year has been sustained. Amid rumours of new cooling measures, and a potential new round of en-bloc buys, realtors and developers have had their hands full. To date, the following are the headline developments that have seen quick sales; here’s what you should know about them:

1. Normanton Park

Where is it? Normanton Park, District 5

How much is it? Approx. $1,765 psf, with an average quantum of $1.41 million

Lease status 99-years

TOP date 2023

Number of units 1,862

Main things to know about this development:

Normanton Park, along with The Reef at King’s Dock (see below) made up around half of all the transactions in January 2021. This development sold 625 units that month alone, so it’s expected to be the top-seller for Q1 2021.

Normanton Park is attractive due to its competitive price. It’s hard to find new launches with an average quantum of below $1.6 million these days – and Normanton Park is not only new, it’s also close to the One-North tech hub.

Normanton Park makes for one of the better family condos in the west. With a footprint of around 128,959 sq.m., there’s room for a large number of facilities (110 in total). This is one of the strong points of mega-developments: due to their large land space, they often feel more like a whole estate than a single condo, so you get more “bang for your buck” in the way of common facilities.

Mega-developments also tend to come with lower maintenance fees, as the cost is spread out over a larger number of households.

In general, I would think of Normanton Park as a “west side” counterpart to Treasure at Tampines. The two have very similar traits, but are on different ends of our island.

However, being a mega-development comes with its own drawbacks. Some buyers may not like the lack of exclusivity, or feel it lacks privacy. On the financial side of things, you also need to consider that there’s more competition for tenants, and eventually for buyers at the point of resale.

(It’s also true that consensus is harder to reach during an en-bloc, due to the number of owners involved; but this is a new condo, so that concern comes very far down the road.)

As such, despite Normanton Park being close to One-North, those looking for pure investment properties may be hesitant due to its size. Prospective landlords also may not like that One-North Eden, while much smaller, is located closer to the heart of One-North; this is also a new launch condo. So while there’s definitely rental potential here – thanks to the tech hub and nearby schools like INSEAD – this development skews more toward owner-occupiers.

Note that, while there’s no MRT at your doorstep or within walking distance, there will be a shuttle bus to Kent Ridge MRT (a three-minute ride).

2. Parc Central Residences (Executive Condominium)

Where is it? Tampines Street 86, District 18

How much is it? Approx. $1,174 psf, with an average quantum of $1.28 million

Lease status 99-years

TOP date 2025

Number of units 700

Main things to know about this development:

At the time of writing, Parc Central Residences is already 70 per cent sold. It’s unsurprising that this development is selling out fast (the second-fastest next to Normanton Park), just based on its EC status alone. ECs are always popular for upgraders, and Parc Central Residences is the first EC launch of 2021.

Now unfortunately, Parc Central Residences is not within the hot spot of Tampines Central – it’s about 1.7 kilometres, or a seven-minute drive, to the famed nexus of Tampines Mall, Century Square, Tampines MRT, etc.

Nonetheless, an average price of below $1.3 million is very good for a condo so close to the hub. At around $1,174 psf, note that a quantum of below $1.3 million is still sufficient to secure units with a size of 1,102 to 1,133 sq. ft., making this a good choice for families.

This development is also in the “sweet spot” with regard to size: 600 to 700 units is enough to keep maintenance costs down, without overcrowding or loss of privacy. Price wise, this is a value buy compared to many of the new launches in 2021.

One of the expected drawbacks, is that there’s no MRT station nearby. Even the closest station (Tampines West) is over 1.5 kilometers away, so do be prepared to use the bus or drive.

Some buyers may dislike the high density surroundings here. I feel it’s spacious enough, but if you don’t like to see a lot of tall buildings around you (The Alps is nearby, as are many HDB blocks), you may not appreciate it.

3. The Reef at King’s Dock

Where is it? HarbourFront Avenue, District 4

How much is it? Approx. $2,304 psf, with an average quantum of $1.64 million

Lease status 99-years

TOP date 2025

Number of units 429

Main things to know about this development:

The Reef at King’s Dock, which sold 221 units in January, is currently third place (and coming close to second) on the fastest selling list for Q1 2021.

This is one of the rare developments that can work equally well for own-stay or investment. I’d say it’s one of the best-located condos in District 4 right now, being within a 10-minute walk of HarbourFront MRT station (and hence, VivoCity, which is connected to the station). Buyers who were earlier priced out of Corals at Keppel Bay are likely to make a beeline for The Reef.

Besides immediate access to HarbourFront and VivoCity, this condo is just around a 13-minute drive to the CBD, and an eight-minute drive to Sentosa. Landlords looking to rent to the affluent expatriate crowd can probably sense the potential.

That said, The Reef is not a straightforward investment decision. As I mentioned above, there are nearby properties like Corals at Keppel Bay (neighbouring), Reflections at Keppel Bay, and even the older Harbourlights. As such, prospective investors should be careful to check the rental rates of these nearby properties – while The Reef has the advantage of being new, Corals is not much older (it was completed in 2018).

Contact me if you need help in deciding whether this is right for your property portfolio.

For home owners, it’s one of the few ways to live near Sentosa or VivoCity, without paying the sky-high prices of more recent launches in the district.

4. Ki Residences at Brookvale

Where is it? Brookvale Drive, District 21

How much is it? Approx. $1,774 psf, with an average quantum of $1.65 million

Lease status 999-years

TOP date 2024

Number of units 660

Main things to know about this development:

Ki Residences is currently 39 per cent sold, fast considering it only launched in December 2020. With a 999-year lease, this property is effectively as good as a freehold development. This is one of the major selling points – it’s rare that a new launch, freehold condo doesn’t breach the $1,900 psf mark, even in the fringe regions.

In terms of location, Ki Residences is fine if you drive or use Private Hire Vehicles. Clementi Mall is nine-minutes’ drive away, and Beauty World Plaza just 11 minutes’ drive from this condo, as is Bukit Timah Plaza.

If you don’t drive however, Ki Residences is quite inaccessible – the closest MRT station (Beauty World) is too far to walk to, and there’s no bus stop nearby. As a trade-off, you may be interested to know that Sunset Way – just a one-minute walk out your door – is a well-regarded foodie haven.

If you’re looking for a long-term investment, to take advantage of the 999-year lease and steady appreciation in Upper Bukit Timah, the price is definitely right at Ki Residences.

5. Treasure at Tampines

Where is it? Tampines Lane, District 18

How much is it? Approx. $1,395 psf, with an average quantum of $1.37 million

Lease status 99-years

TOP date 2023

Number of units 2,203

Main things to know about this development:

Treasure at Tampines is currently the largest condo development we’ve ever seen in Singapore. There are 2,203 units, but it has a land space of over 60,386 sq. m. The developer has used a 60/40 balance, which means that – despite the high unit count – 60 per cent of this sizeable space is given to common facilities.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main advantages of mega-developments is that, due to their sheer size, they tend to offer more in the way of facilities (there are 13 swimming pools in this development, for example).

Probably the main draw of this development – which is 80 per cent sold out today – is the price point. Single-bedders start from as low as $780,000, while units of 850 and 915 sq. ft. are mostly below $1.3 million.

Location wise, this condo is about the same distance from Tampines Central as Parc Central Residences (see above); about a seven-minute drive. Simei MRT station is arguably close at about half a kilometre (around 490 metres) away.

Due to the sheer size of the development, and the presence of many condos in the Tampines area, Treasure is harder to recommend as a pure investment asset. However, it will definitely appeal to families who want to stay in a regional centre like Tampines, at a much more reasonable price point than many recent launches.

Treasure at Tampines is also a viable alternative for those who like Parc Central Residences, but don’t like the restrictions that come with an EC, such as the MOP, eligibility requirements, or a 10-year wait for privatisation.

While there are not as many launches as there were last year, a lot of the stronger offerings seem to be in the first half of 2021

This year, new launches with the most attractive price points and locations seem to be the ones on the market now; many (but not all) developments in the latter half of the year are looking more niche.

There may also be a bigger rush for units in the near-term, due to buyers’ fears of a new round of cooling measures. As such, it may be an increasing challenge to get the unit you want. If you miss your opportunity, I suggest patience – property is not an investment to rush into, and you will get another chance in future.

If you are interested to get a piece of the action, contact me and I’ll see what I can do. Many of the condos above are close to sold out, but there’s still wiggle room. In the meantime, you can follow me on RonChongProperty.sg, to get updates on the private property market and its latest developments.

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