Battle of the Mega-Developments: Which big condo is best for you in 2020?

In the Singapore private property market, a mega-development is usually regarded as a condo where there are over 1,000 units. These mega-developments have long been a topic of debate: whereas some buyers love them for their extensive facilities, others feel there will be too much competition for tenants or resale gains.

In this article, I’ll quickly touch on the main pros and cons of mega-developments; then we can have a look at some popular options on the market right now:

Why buy – or avoid – a mega development?

Mega-developments

Mega-developments tend to have more extensive facilities, or larger communal spaces, than smaller counterparts. For example, Parc Esta in District 14 has a land size of 376,716 sq. ft., while Parc Clematis in District 5 is around 633,644 sq. ft.

This is far larger than most mid-sized condo units (e.g.500 to 600 units), which are around 280,000 to 320,000 sq. ft.

A larger land space means there’s more room for additional pools, playground, BBQ pits, an additional clubhouse, etc. There’s also likely to be some space for commercial units, which can mean eateries, childcare centres, and so forth. As such, mega-developments tend to offer more facilities.

A second advantage to mega-developments is the maintenance fees. In general, the more units a development has, the lower the maintenance fees can go. This is because the maintenance is split between many more owners, as opposed to small or boutique developments.

Finally, mega-developments tend to rack up higher transaction volumes. This creates less volatility in the resale or rental rates (when there are a small number of units, and transactions are rare, the price / rental rate can swing more radically).

The downside to a mega-development, however, is the potential competition. It’s probable that, whenever you want to rent out the unit or sell out, several other people in the same development will be trying to do the same. This makes for a tough competition, as those other units all have the same facilities and amenities; you’ll have to rely on smaller distinguishing traits, such as what floor you’re on, or whether you’re closer to certain facilities.

That said, let’s take a look at some of the most popular mega-developments on the market right now:

  • Treasure at Tampines
  • Parc Esta
  • Parc Clematis
  • Avenue South Residence
  • Jadescape

1. Treasure at Tampines

Treasure at Tampines

Image credit: https://www.treasureattampines-official.com.sg/

Address: Tampines Lane, District 18

Number of units: 2,203

Land size: Approx. 650,000 sq. ft.

Lease: 99-years

Nearest MRT station: Simei (910 metres, approx. 12 to 14 minutes’ walk)

Past five transactions:

Date Unit Size (sq. ft.) Price PSF Price
Oct 2020 915 $1,389 $1.27 mn
Oct 2020 1,324 $1,338 $1.77 mn
Oct 2020 678 $1,411 $957,000
Oct 2020 678 $1,432 $971,000
Oct 2020 678 $1,445 $980,000

Median price to date: $1,379 psf

Summary:

Treasure at Tampines is the largest condo development current in Singapore.

Despite the sheer number of units (2,200+), the developer has specified that only 40 per cent of the land plot is taken up by housing. This means more than half of the developments 650,000+ sq. ft. is dedicated to communal space and facilities; in fact Treasure at Tampines boasts 128 facilities, from pavilions to pools.

There’s a significant benefit to the location too; it’s close enough to Changi Business Park to be attractive to workers there. Coupled with the lower price point, it might be of interest to landlords still; despite the large number of units.

Treasure-at-tampines-BBQ-Pavilion

Image credit: https://www.treasureattampines-official.com.sg/

The most stand-out feature is the competitive pricing. Besides the price – which you can see above – the maintenance fees are kept low due to unit numbers. At last check, even the five-bedders had maintenance fees of around $250 per month. It’s almost half the amount that most newer condos would charge.

That said, Treasure at Tampines may be considered bit far from the MRT station. 910 metres may not be considered as convenient for everyone.

Also, with over 2,200 units, you need to be careful in picking units with distinct advantages. A better view, a shorter walk to the entrance, easier pool access, etc. can all help to differentiate your unit. This will matter a great deal, when trying to get tenants or buyers later.

A good buy if:

  • You’re looking for a condo with a competitive price point, and low maintenance fees
  • You want tenants from Changi Business Park
  • You don’t mind travelling a bit further to the MRT

2. Parc Esta

Parc Esta

Address: Sims Avenue, District 14

Number of units: 1,399

Land size: Approx. 376,715 sq. ft.

Lease: 99-years

Nearest MRT station: Eunos (the station is right across the road)

Past five transactions:

Date Unit Size (sq. ft.) Price PSF Price
Oct 2020 850 $1,653 $1.4 mn
Oct 2020 861 $1,637 $1.41 mn
Oct 2020 1,119 $1,684 $1.88 mn
Oct 2020 861 $1,622 $1.39 mn
Oct 2020 1,335 $1,569 $2.09 mn

Median price to date: $1,712 psf

Summary

Parc Esta is one of the most popular launches this year. At the time of writing, there are only 23 units remaining, of which 18 are residential – the others are shops.

There are two main reasons why this development is so popular:

First, Parc Esta is just across the road from the Eunos MRT station. The other private developments in this area are all further away, with the next closest being Suites @ Changi (350 metres away) or Le Reve (360 metres).

Second, properties in Eunos – particularly Parc Esta that’s so close to the MRT – are benefiting from the transformation of Paya Lebar. Paya Lebar has become one of Singapore’s newest commercial hubs, and Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) is a nexus of shops, eateries, and Grade A office space.

This is all one train stop away from Eunos MRT. That makes Parc Esta fantastic for attracting tenants, or for home buyers who work there (it can be quite expensive to buy in Paya Lebar itself, now that prices have risen).

Parc Esta

The only drawback is that, compared to surrounding properties, Parc Esta’s prices can seem high. This isn’t helped by the fact that some nearby developments, like Suites @ Changi, are freehold whereas Parc Esta is leasehold. As such, some buyers may be inclined to check out these resale alternatives instead.

But if you compare to the wider market, Parc Esta’s prices are in the mid-range of new launches; and it’s well justified by the proximity to the MRT and newer, more extensive facilities.

A good buy if:

  • If you work at PLQ, but don’t want to pay the higher prices for a home there
  • You want to get rental income from people working at PLQ
  • You want a condo that’s across the road from an East-West line station; this is the line that goes direct to City Hall, and Tanah Merah interchange (from which you can take the train to Changi Airport)

3. Parc Clematis

Parc Clematis

Image Credit: https://www.parc-clematis-official.sg/

Address: Jalan Lempeng, District 5

Number of units: 1,450

Land size: Approx. 630,000 sq. ft.

Lease: 99-years

Nearest MRT station: Clementi (approx. 1,100 metres, or around a 15-minute walk)

Past five transactions:

Date Unit Size (sq. ft.) Price PSF Price
Sep 2020 721 $1,686 $1.14 mn
Sep 2020 1,044 $1,667 $1.74 mn
Sep 2020 1,668 $1,593 $2.68 mn
Sep 2020 893 $1,704 $1.52 mn
Sep 2020 1,238 $1,620 $2 mn

Median price to date: $1,632 psf

Summary

The Clementi area is a recently emerged property hot spot. In fact the signs were starting to show as early as 2018. The main reason is that Clementi is between two high growth areas: the tech and media hub of One-North (around which there are relatively few condos), and Holland Village, which is seeing a revival as an identity node.

On top of this, Clementi is a mature estate, with access to numerous schools (the closest to Parc Clematis is Nan Hua Primary School, which is only about seven minutes’ walk).

This location is the “secret sauce” to Parc Clematis. Although the condo is further from Clementi MRT than some would like, there will probably be no shortage of willing buyers and tenants in the future.

Also interesting is the inclusion of bungalow and semi-detached homes in this condo. This will appeal to buyers who want the experience of landed living, but don’t want the cost issues involved with purchasing a “true landed” property.

Parc Clematis pool

This is complemented by one of the most generous uses of space in a mega-development. The facilities include three lap pools, as well as a 100-metre long lagoon between the blocks.

That said, the closest MRT station and its attending mall (Clementi Mall) is quite a walk, so you have to be prepared for this. Also, an average price of $1,632 psf may be hard to swallow for some old school buyers who still think of Clementi as a sleepy, low-cost residential town (even though those days are past).

A good buy if:

  • You work or want tenants from One-North or Buona Vista, but don’t want to pay the higher prices in those areas
  • You’re looking to hold the property for 10 to 15 years, as Clementi is set to boom on the back of its neighbouring towns.
  • You want quick access to schools, as Clementi has some of the more prestigious educational institutes (e.g. Nan Hua Primary School and NUS High School)

4. Avenue South Residence

Avenue South Residence

Image Credit: https://avenue-southresidence-official.com/

Address: Silat Avenue, District 3

Number of units: 1,074

Land size: Approx. 245,973 sq. ft.

Lease: 99-years

Nearest MRT station: Outram Park, but it’s too far to walk (Cantonment MRT station will be closer once it’s up)

Past five transactions:

Date Unit Size (sq. ft.) Price PSF Price
Oct 2020 669 $2,240 $1.54 mn
Sep 2020 527 $2,076 $1.09 mn
Sep 2020 732 $2,104 $1.54 mn
Sep 2020 527 $2,059 $1.08 mn
Sep 2020 732 $2,079 $1.52 mn

Median price to date: $2,071 psf

Summary

Avenue South Residence is one of Singapore’s tallest residential developments, at 56 storeys. As such, this development offers some of the most spectacular views of our island.

The location in District 3 is the main attraction – Avenue South Residence is about a 10-minute drive to the CBD, and about a four-minute drive to Mt. Faber.  For families, there are four schools within one kilometre: CHIJ (Kellock), Radin Mas Primary, CHIJ (St. Theresa’s Convent), and Zhangde Primary.

The price is attractive for such a prime region property; many of the units hover at a quantum of about $1.5 million, which is more typical of a mass-market condo than a home in District 3.

As for the MRT station, Outram Park is the closest but too far too walk. As such, this development will appeal more to those who drive or prefer cabs. Cantonment MRT station will be closer once it’s ready, sometime in 2025.

Units do tend to be on the smaller side, although the 700+ sq. ft. units are quite well laid out, and will still appeal to some families.

A good buy if:

  • You absolutely must live near the CBD, but the $2 million+ prime region properties are out of budget
  • You’re looking at long term resale value, as this is a hot spot with little room for further high-density residential developments
  • You are okay with not having immediate MRT access

5. Jadescape

Jadescape

Image Credit: https://www.jadescapesmarymount.com/

Address: Shunfu Road, District 20

Number of units: 1,074

Land size: Approx. 397,823 sq. ft.

Lease: 99-years

Nearest MRT station: Marymount (365 metres, or about six minutes’ walk)

Past five transactions:

Date Unit Size (sq. ft.) Price PSF Price
Oct 2020 764 $1,781 $1.36 mn
Oct 2020 764 $1,799 $1.37 mn
Oct 2020 1,259 $1,743 $2.19 mn
Oct 2020 764 $1,755 $2.21 mn
Oct 2020 527 $1,785 $1.36 mn

Median price to date: $2,071 psf

Summary

Jadescape actually launched back in 2018, but it has continued to garner a lot of attention. The location on Upper Thomson is in a low density area, which offers a lot of quiet and privacy. On the other hand, it’s not too isolated as it’s also close to Bishan, where you can more built-up amenities like Lot One mall.

The Jadescape also stands out because of its proximity to Marymount MRT station: a common complaint about Thomson and Upper Thomson (which has slowly been rectified over the years) is the lack of accessibility for non-drivers. Jadescape manages to be in this desirable location, without accessibility drawbacks.

As an aside, Jadescape also emphasies smart home technology as a key selling point. This includes facial recognition technology at the lift lobby, and even dishwashers that will message your phone when the cleaning is done.

The main contention for Jadescape is the proximity of two other condos: Tresalveo, and the much older Seasons View (which is around 20 years old). Investors may worry about competition for tenants, or at the point of resale; especially given that Jadescape already has 1,074 units.

A good buy if:

  • You want a quiet, low density area, but not the sort of housing enclave where you need to drive to get around
  • You want to be near Bishan or Thomson, at a better price point than most other condos in those neighbourhoods
  • You’re a techie who can appreciate – and will use – the smart home features

The development that’s “best” depends on your lifestyle needs, and property investment goals

If you’re undecided from the points above, drop me a message on Facebook, and I can help to better narrow your search. You can also follow me on RonChongProperty.sg, for more updates on these developments and others.

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