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Eye on Novena: Bridging the past and future

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 26th February 2017 in Blog
Health City Novena

By 2030, Health City Novena will become the biggest healthcare complex in Singapore, linking Tan Tock Seng Hospital with a medical school and other healthcare facilities.

Novena gets its name from a popular Catholic church built in the vicinity more than 65 years ago. In recent years, it has undergone major changes, with new shopping malls, hospitals and residential developments catering to a growing number of locals and expats who have made the neighbourhood their home.

By Joanne Poh

Despite the modern appearance of the Novena neighbourhood, the area’s name is actually religious in origin.

Novena was named after the Church of Saint Alphonsus, one of the area’s most distinctive landmarks, popularly known as Novena Church.

The church premises, which was formerly the property of Wee Kah Kiat, a rich Chinese businessman, was acquired in 1948 by Redemptorist priests who, having made the journey from Australia to Singapore in 1935, then oversaw the construction of the Catholic church in 1950.

In fact, the word “novena” refers to a type of Catholic devotional prayer, which is repeated over a period of nine days or weeks, in private or in public.

Meanwhile, Balestier Road, a major thoroughfare in the Novena area linking Serangoon Road to Thomson Road, was named after Joseph Balestier.

Balestier was the first American consul of the British colony, a wealthy man who owned a massive sugar plantation named Balestier Plain, situated where the present-day Balestier Road now stands.

The Novena of today retains hints of its colourful past despite having been reinvented to become one of the nation’s best neighbourhoods.

 

Median sale and rental prices for non-landed private property in D11

 

The neighbourhood that’s got everything

Over the years, Novena has undergone significant development to become one of Singapore’s most sophisticated neighbourhoods.

Edmund Ee, a property agent with PropNex Realty, said: “District 11 is one of the prime districts in Singapore. There is a medical hub, demand from investors, and good schools like St. Joseph’s Institution Junior. There is also local demand from parents who want to send their children to good schools there.”

Residential property in the Novena area is extremely sought-after due to its proximity to the Central Business District (CBD). It has also become an extremely popular area for expatriates seeking rental property due to its location and amenities, making it an excellent choice for those wishing to invest in a buy-to-let property.

The vast majority of homes in Novena are landed houses or condominiums, although there are some HDB blocks in certain spots, such as Moulmein Road and Balestier Road.

Novena is not short of landmarks, which makes it one of the most distinctive neighbourhoods in Singapore.

Other than the storied Novena Church, with its very visible location on Thomson Road, the area has drawn visitors from all over Singapore, thanks to the cluster of shopping malls in the vicinity of Novena MRT station.

Velocity @ Novena Square, formerly known as Novena Square Shopping Mall, was rebranded ten years ago and transformed into a sports-themed mall with an outdoor basketball court by the entrance. Free workouts are frequently organised on-site, and tenants include the Adidas Factory Outlet, Reebok Fit Hub, Royal Sporting House and World of Sports.

Just next door is Square 2, dedicated to the more conventional pursuits of shopping and dining. The mall boasts a Korean-themed cluster of tenants for those who’ve been swept up by the Korean craze.

Further down Thomson Road, United Square Shopping Mall is another long-time shopping centre that is now in its current incarnation as a hub for child-and-maternity products and services. The mall is equipped with a nursing room, reading room and play facilities, in addition to a range of retail shops which include GapKids, Petit Bateau and Toys “R” Us.

For those who wish to escape air-conditioned malls for a more authentic local experience, Balestier Road has a reputation for being home to some of Singapore’s oldest and most famous eateries, attracting foodies from all over the island. Firm favourites include revered chicken rice sellers Boon Tong Kee and the inimitable 333 Bak Kut Teh.

Lee Shi Yan, a 31-year-old lawyer who grew up in Novena, enjoys the area immensely due to its variety of lifestyle options.

“There is access to good food along Balestier Road, perfect for a midnight supper run,” he said. “The cinema is close by at Balestier Plaza, and there is a good cluster of shopping centres, including Square 2, Velocity and United Square. Orchard Road is also not far away.”

His favourite spots in the area include La Ristrettos, a cosy cafe on the eighth floor of Novena Medical Centre with a nice view of the surrounding area, and PigsFly Kitchen & Bar, an unpretentious eatery that serves up beer and a variety of cuisines in a charmingly casual setting.

Despite the array of shopping and dining options in the area, Novena is by no means a concrete jungle. In fact, due to the abundance of low density housing, the area retains a peaceful charm that has been lost in many parts of Singapore, with quiet pockets where residents and visitors can relax.

One such spot is the beautiful Zhongshan Park, with its picnic-worthy grounds, flanked by restaurants and a shopping mall. The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, just a stone’s throw away, is one of the most important cultural sites in the Balestier Conservation Area, having served as Sun Yat Sen’s base for his revolutionary activities in Southeast Asia.

 

12 on Shan

12 on Shan is a new freehold property located close to Novena.

 

Looking to the future

Novena’s enduring popularity looks set to grow even further. Already, the area has benefitted greatly from the opening of the Downtown Line’s two new MRT stations (Botanic Gardens and Stevens), which have boosted connectivity to the CBD and Bukit Timah.

While Novena has always been very accessible due to its proximity to Orchard Road and the financial district, the area will be even better connected when the Thomson MRT line and its Mount Pleasant station, as well as the interchange at Stevens, are added by 2021.

Another major initiative that will further boost Novena’s attractiveness is the upcoming Health City Novena, slated for completion in 2030.

Said PropNex’s Ee: “Novena will have the country’s biggest healthcare complex by 2030, an integrated community of healthcare, medical education and translational research providers. All public and volunteer healthcare facilities, plus a medical school, will be linked up to form Health City Novena. More facilities and services will be added to the existing ones, such as Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and the built-up area will be more than doubled from 250,000 sq m to 600,0000 sq m – roughly the size of 85 football fields.”

Ee is confident that the entire area will benefit from the development of Health City Novena.

“In the future, there will be a steady pool of good tenant profiles in the medical field renting in the Novena area and spilling over to Newton. Land is scarce, thus we should see more en bloc activities in time to come,” he said.

Given its potential, Novena is constantly being watched by investors and prospective home buyers. Some notable residential projects in the area include 6 Derbyshire, 26 Newton and 12 on Shan, a much-awaited freehold condominium development which is expected to receive its Temporary Occupation Permit in 2019.

Due to their convenient location in one of Singapore’s most central residential neighbourhoods, these developments look set to be extremely popular with investors.

The residents of Novena have the good fortune of being able to enjoy the best of both worlds – a glitzy modernity that manifests in shopping malls and healthcare facilities on the one hand, and the idyllic, nostalgic charm of the Balestier shophouse stretch, two sides of a Singapore that’s caught between the past and the future.

Did you know

– The famous Novena Church is undergoing a facelift. For the past two years, the church has undergone a major refurbishment to transform it into a gothic-style house of worship, reminiscent of European cathedrals, a total change from its previous Swan and Maclaren-designed premises.

– The Novena MRT station is one of the most recognisable stations in the MRT network, thanks to its distinctive bright green tiles.

– The stretch of Balestier Road between Thomson Road and Serangoon Road forms part of the Balestier Conservation Area, and features pre-war historic shophouses and architecture from the 1950s and 1960s.

credits: propertyguru

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Punggol, Clementi flats sees robust interest from buyers

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 24th February 2017 in Blog
Punggol, Clementi flats sees robust interest from buyers

 

Flats in Punggol and Clementi attracted the most interest at this year’s first Build-To-Order sales exercise, reported Today Online.

Data from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) showed that five-room flats at Punggol Northshore Cove had a subscription rate of 5.6, or 958 applications for the 170 units offered, while Punggol Waterway Sunrise II’s three-room flats had a subscription rate of 4.2, or 402 applications for 95 units.

Punggol’s 713 two-room Flexi flats received 2,894 applications or a subscription rate of 4.1.

Buyers at Clementi favoured the 3Gen and five-room flats at the Clementi Peaks and Clementi NorthArc projects, with a subscription rate of 4, or 2,501 applications for the 619 units available.

Response from second-timer applicants was especially overwhelming, with 31.1 applications for every unit offered to the group.

Overall, 11,001 applications were received for the 3,343 three-room and larger flats launched in Tampines, Clementi and Punggol. This works out to a subscription rate of 3.3.

Demand from second-timers surpassed that of first-timers, with 12.2 applicants for every unit available, up from the 2.4 for first-timers.

Spanning six projects, the 4,056 flats launched last week are the first of the 17,000 flats set for launch this 2017.

The exercise also marks the first time families under the Fresh Start Housing Scheme can apply for a flat. The scheme is intended to help second-timer families with young children living in public rental flats own a flat again.

credits:propertyguru

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Qingjian Realty to launch internet-ready EC

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 23rd February 2017 in Blog
iNz Residence

Artist’s impression of iNz Residence in Choa Chu Kang, the first EC to launch in 2017. Source: Qingjian Realty 

Chinese developer Qingjian Realty, through its smart home solutions provider hiLife Interactive, has teamed up with Singtel to launch iNz Residence, the first internet-ready executive condominium in Singapore.

With this partnership, home buyers can expect their units to be fitted with 1Gbps Singtel fibre broadband. Singtel will also provide WiFi services within the development’s facilities, such as the gym, clubhouse and pool area.

“This will clearly be a boon to the smart lifestyle – they will be able to continue to access online services soon after they are handed their new homes, and be at ease planning and designing their new lifestyle in their new homes in a smart and efficient way,” said Yen Chong, Deputy General Manager at Qingjian Realty.

The property developer revealed that homeowners at the 99-year leasehold development will enjoy energy-efficiency trackers like the smart leak sensor and smart energy meter, as well as more smart security systems like the smart digital lockset, smart contact sensor and smart motion sensor.

Located on a 1.6ha site, iNz Residence is located along Choa Chu Kang Ave 5, and comprises nine blocks of high-rise apartments. Unit sizes at the 497-unit project range from two-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom maisonettes.

Prices for the two-bedroom units start from $500,000, $600,000 for the three-bedders and $1.1 million for the maisonettes, reported TODAYonline.

“We believe that the public will continue to be interested in the smart living concept at iNz Residence, just as we have seen at The Visionaire,” said Yen, adding that the latter has seen a consistent stream of buyers and is almost 60 percent sold.

E-applications for iNz Residence will start this Friday (24 February).

The showflat at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 6 (along Brickland Road) will open on the same day, with bookings commencing on 11 March. The project is expected to obtain its TOP in 2019.

credits: propertyguru

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Over 5,000 people turn up at The Clement Canopy preview

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 17th February 2017 in Blog
The Clement Canopy preview

The showflat in Clementi drew a large crowd of prospective buyers last weekend. (Photo: UOL Group)

The Clement Canopy, a 505-unit condominium at Clementi Avenue 1, drew large crowds at the start of its preview last weekend. More than 5,000 people crammed into its showflat over two days to view the two- to four-bedroom apartments.

Spread across two 40-storey blocks, the units range from 635 sq ft to 1,539 sq ft, with prices starting from $850,000 for the smallest units. The average price of the project is in the range of $1,330 psf to $1,360 psf.

Jointly developed by UOL Group and SingLand, the 99-year leasehold project is the first condo to launch in 2017. It is located close to NUS High School of Mathematics and Science and Nan Hua High School.

Anthony Wong, General Manager of Marketing at UOL, said: “We see a very strong interest for The Clement Canopy, as there has not been any launch within the vicinity for some time. I believe the price is the key to the excitement that we see amongst the crowd.

“Moreover, buyers recognise the value of the project, given the attractive pricing and location, which is near one-north and the education hub. Riding on the improved market sentiment, buyers who have been staying on the sidelines are now actively seeking out affordable properties with good location and design.”

In line with Singapore’s vision to become a Smart Nation, UOL has joined a long list of developers to incorporate smart home technology in its latest project. For instance, future residents of The Clement Canopy will be able to book common facilities such as the tennis court and clubhouse through a mobile app. Using the same app, homeowners can also remotely control door access, air-conditioning and lighting in their units.

Meanwhile, the preview period for The Clement Canopy will stretch for another weekend, while balloting starts on 25 February.

Giving an update on sales figures at its previous launches, UOL said it has seen an increase in transactions since the start of the year.

Thomson Three and Seventy Saint Patrick’s in Marine Parade are now fully sold, while Botanique at Bartley, a 797-unit condominium, is left with just nine units. Over in Sengkang, the 555-unit Riverbank @ Fernvale project, which comes with bike-sharing facilities, is left with 18 units, while Principal Garden at Prince Charles Crescent has sold more than half of its units.

This improved sentiment in the housing market carries on from a good year-end take up of 7,972 private units in 2016, up 7.2 percent from the year before, noted analysts.

credits: propertyguru

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New home sales up 17.6% from year ago

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 16th February 2017 in Blog
property market

Analysts expect more sales activity in the primary market this year. 

Despite the lack of new project launches, developers sold 381 private residential units in January, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), according to latest data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). This is up 3.8 percent from the 367 units moved in December, and 17.6 percent higher than the 322 units sold in the previous year.

Developers also sold 184 EC units, down 13.6 percent from December, but 17.9 percent higher from last year, indicating more positive sentiments and outlook compared to the previous year.

“January 2017 is better than January 2016. Notwithstanding the lead-up to the Lunar New Year celebration in January, market sentiments and outlook at the onset of 2017 is clearly much more positive than the beginning of 2016, which was marred by a volatile stock market that dampened sentiments,” said Ong Teck Hui, National Director, Research & Consultancy at JLL.

Given the improved sentiments, Ong expects a more active first quarter this year as developers are more confident to launch new projects.

In fact, Desmond Sim, Research Head for Singapore and Southeast Asia at CBRE, expects new sales in February “to be higher with the launch of The Clementi Canopy and possibly Grandeur Park Residences if it is launched soon”.

Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty, said he also expects February “to enjoy a healthy number of transactions, exceeding January’s numbers, along the lines of 700 units. Whereas in March, we can expect more than 1,000 units sold”.

“This is indeed a buyers’ market which home buyers should take advantage of, while interest rates are still low,” noted Ismail, who also expects developers to continue dangling incentives to move unsold units.

credits: propertyguru

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Two highly anticipated condos to launch in coming weeks

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 14th February 2017 in Blog
Aerial_Grandeur Park Residences

Artist’s impression of Grandeur Park Residences, a new condominium in the east. Source: CEL Development 

Following the Chinese New Year lull period, developers are gearing up to launch two private residential projects in Singapore. One of them is The Clement Canopy, the first condominium to be launched this year, with its showflat opening for preview this Saturday (11 February).

Jointly developed by UOL Group and SingLand, the 99-year leasehold development in Clementi Avenue 1 will comprise two 40-storey blocks of 505 condo units. Buyers can choose from two- to four-bedroom units ranging from 635 sq ft to 1,539 sq ft.

“We are riding on the positive market sentiment and launching The Clement Canopy with a unique approach of doing away with one-bedroom units. Instead, we have introduced a variety of two-bedroom apartments, which are affordably priced from $850,000,” said Liam Wee Sin, Deputy Group CEO at UOL.

In fact, 194 of the units (40 percent) are two-bedders sized from 635 sq ft to 732 sq ft, while prices of all the units range from $850,000 to over $1.62 million.

“Given its close proximity to NUS and the second CBD in Jurong, The Clement Canopy will appeal to both investors and owner-occupiers. For our initial launch, we are going out at an average price that ranges from $1,330 to $1,360 psf,” said Liam. The project is expected to be completed in 2020.

Located near the Clementi MRT station, the development will come with full condo facilities, including smart home features. The developers will also incorporate smart technology within the common areas and facilities, such as the tennis court and clubhouse.

Meanwhile, CEL Development, the property arm of Chip Eng Seng Corporation, will soft launch a 720-unit condominium in the east next weekend.

Dubbed Grandeur Park Residences, the 99-year leasehold development along New Upper Changi Road / Bedok South Avenue 3 will feature one- to five-bedroom units.

Located within walking distance from the Tanah Merah MRT station, the project boasts a three-generational (3G) gym that comes with state-of-the-art equipment. It is also one of the few condominiums to have Omnia gym equipment.

According to Raymond Chia, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of Chip Eng Seng Corporation, buyers will be “treated to a year’s worth of complimentary fitness and lifestyle classes and activities”.

In fact, the developer has teamed up with Amore Fitness to organise fitness classes, such as Zumba classes and Pilates sessions.

Scheduled for completion in 2021, unit prices at Grandeur Park Residences range from about $500,000 to over $1.4 million. In addition, there are two shops priced around $3,500 psf.

credits: propertyguru

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