View of high-end apartments in Robertson Quay. (Photo: Christopher Chitty)
Move over Marina Bay and Sentosa Cove because there is a growing number of luxury home buyers in Singapore who are turning their attention to the River Valley area in District 9, particularly the Robertson Quay stretch.
Already an established residential enclave with several exclusive projects such as Martin Place Residences, Rivergate and Martin 38, its proximity to the Central Business District (CBD) in Raffles Place and the Orchard Road shopping belt makes it a much sought-after address among high-income expatriates.
Over the years, this has led to greater vibrancy in the area with new shops, cafés and restaurants offering alfresco dining and boutique hotels.
“River Valley is popular among investors because it is in a more affordable part of the prime districts, yet enjoying proximity to the CBD, Orchard Road and abundant amenities,” said Ong Teck Hui, National Director, Research & Consultancy at JLL.
“These attributes also help to attract tenants which augurs well for investors as they could lease their units more competitively.”
Aggressive land bids
Not surprisingly, property developers continue to bid aggressively for land sites in River Valley. In June 2016, GuocoLand outbid 12 other bidders for the Martin Modern site at Martin Place, submitting the top bid of $595.1 million, or $1,239 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr).
Launched for sale last month, the 99-year leasehold project is the first large-scale condo there in the past eight years.
To date, 110 out of the 450 units (24 percent) have been sold at an average of $2,009 psf to over $2,500 psf, said a spokesperson for GuocoLand. The developer noted that buyers “appreciate the chic lifestyle at Robertson Quay”.
“The area is also growing and transforming, especially with two new MRT lines and upcoming MRT stations at Great World and Fort Canning, as well as redevelopment of the Kim Seng Road corridor,” said GuocoLand.
In addition, the presence of the nearby Singapore River means that new projects, including the future one located at Jiak Kim Street, will offer waterfront views.
Formerly home to the popular Zouk nightclub, the 99-year leasehold site measuring about 145,123 sq ft was made available for application in June under the reserve list of the first half 2017 Government Land Sales programme.
It could be triggered for sale in the coming months if a developer submits a minimum bid that’s acceptable to the government.
According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority, its prominent river-fronting location offers developers the opportunity to create an iconic landmark of up to 36 storeys high, which could yield more than 500 homes and commercial space on the ground floor. Three conserved warehouses built in 1919 will be integrated with the development.
Ong expects the project, which is about 0.5km away from the upcoming Great World MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line, to see strong demand from buyers and investors.
“Its uniqueness is the river and promenade frontage with amenities along the Singapore River and the Havelock area within easy reach. We expect 10 to 14 bidders if there is a tender. (The) top bid is estimated at $1,350 to $1,500 psf ppr.”
Premium price tag
Meanwhile, Roxy-Pacific Holdings is expected to launch a much smaller residential project close to Great World MRT station along River Valley Road in Q3 2018. The developer purchased the prime freehold site measuring 28,798 sq ft for $110 million earlier this month.
“The future development will definitely command a premium price and be well sought-after by both foreign property investors and local buyers,” said Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty.
“We foresee there to be around 60 to 80 units and since this is a freehold residential site, the price based on current market conditions would be around $2,800 psf.”