SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) – Chinese developer Kingsford Huray Development’s Normanton Park, the first new residential project launch of 2021, sold about 600 residential units by 9pm on January 16, the first day of its launch. That is equivalent to 32.6% or one-third of the 1840 apartments within the nine 24-storey blocks of Normanton Park.
About 600 units were sold on the first weekend of launch at Normanton Park (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
“With about one-third of the units sold, it’s a good start for Normanton Park,” says Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty. “It’s an amazing start for the real estate industry, and demonstrates the resilience of the residential market. The sales momentum carried through from November, with the launch of The Linq @ Beauty World, Ki Residences at Brookvale, Clavon and now, Normanton Park.”
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Normanton Park has a total of 1,862 residential units: In addition to the 1,840 high-rise apartments, there are 22 strata terraced houses and a row of eight strata commercial units which are also open for sale. Three of the eight strata commercial units, including one that is zoned for restaurant use, were taken up over the weekend.
Since preview started on Jan 2, the show gallery recorded some 12,000 visitors (or about 4,000 groups of visitors), according to a Kingsford Huray Development spokesman in a statement on Jan 17. In the lead-up to the launch, more than 1,400 cheques were collected as expressions of interest by the five joint marketing agencies: ERA Singapore, Huttons Asia, OrangeTee & Tie, PropNex and SRI.
Clavon, the top-selling project of 2020, which sold about 442 units or 70% of the project at launch in December (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Given the strong interest, property agencies marketing the project were expecting sales to cross 500 units. That would already have surpassed the sales achieved at the top-selling project of 2020: The 640-unit Clavon at Clementi Avenue 1, where 442 units or 70% of the total were sold over the weekend of Dec 12-13.
Both Clavon and Normanton Park are located in District 5. However, Clavon is considered to be a suburban location or in the Outside Central Region (OCR). Normanton Park, on the other hand, is considered to be in the city fringe or Rest of Central Region (RCR) as it’s closer to the city centre. Steven Tan, CEO of OrangeTee & Tie believes attributes Normanton Park’s strong sales to several factors: the low supply of residential projects in the vicinity of One-north; its location next to Kent Ridge Park; and within easy reach of the CBD and Jurong Lake District.
The sales achieved at Normanton Park means “another record has been broken, this time in the RCR,” says Lee Sze Teck, director of research at Huttons Asia. “This certainly creates a positive vibe and sets the tone for the property market.”
Mark Yip, CEO of Huttons adds: “The affordable quantum, low interest rate environment, ample liquidity, large base of HDB upgraders, recovery of the property market, perceived shortage in supply and pent up demand for this long awaited project resulted in the overwhelming response to this project.”
One- and two-bedroom units (pictured) made up 80% of the units sold (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
One- and two-bedders appeal to investors
About 80% of the units sold were one- and two-bedroom apartments, says the Kingsford spokesman. The overall average price achieved for the project is $1,750 psf. Most of the homebuyers are Singapore citizens and permanent residents, with an equal mix of owner occupiers and property investors, he adds.
Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI, bought a 657 sq ft, two-bedroom premium unit on the 20th floor of one of the 24-storey towers within Normanton Park. He paid about $1.15 million ($1,751 psf) for the unit which has a dumbbell layout – with a bedroom and bathroom flanking the living and dining area. He bought the unit as an investment. “It’s a very practical layout,” says Lye. “It can be rented to two different tenants who don’t mind sharing the living and dining area.”
Lye says the location of Normanton Park is attractive as one side fronts Science Park Drive, where Science Park 1 and 2 are situated, and one-north is also nearby, which is where many of the R&D companies, pharmaceutical and knowledge industries are located at Biopolis, Fusionopolis and Mediapolis. “There is a ready tenant pool right at your doorstep, with 120,000 employees working in these tech parks, and many billion-dollar companies located there,” observes Lye. “You can’t go wrong with this location.”
Ken Low, managing partner of SRI agrees. “Normanton Park is surrounded by key business nodes – Science Parks, one-north, National University of Singapore, National University Hospital and Mapletree Business City,” he says.
In terms of liveability, Normanton Park also ticks all the boxes for both investors and home seekers: direct access to Kent Ridge Park, a 10-minute drive to the city centre, future direct link to the Greater Southern Waterfront and unblocked 360-degree views of greenery and the sea, says Low.
Kitchen of a one-bedroom-plus-study unit at Normanton Park (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
One- and two-bedroom units make up 1,150 units or close to 62% of the total at Normanton Park. One-bedroom units range from 484 sq ft to 700 sq ft, and are priced above $700,000 ($1,445 psf) to $1.17 million ($1,671 psf). Two-bedders, sized from 635 to 980 sq ft, are priced from $1million ($1,575 psf) to $1.6 million ($1,633 psf).
Kingsford has also departed from the norm by pricing Normanton Park’s smaller units at lower psf prices relative to the larger ones. “Buyers have a lot of options in terms of one- and two-bedroom units,” points out PropNex’s Gafoor. “And the pricing is very attractive for investors.”
Three-bedroom units at Normanton Park make up another 529 units or 28% of the project. The sizes range from 904 to 1,238 sq ft, with prices from $1.47 million ($1,626 psf) to $2.1 million ($1,696 psf). Four-bedders make up another 115 units, and these are priced from $2 to $2.6 million. Five-bedders account for 46 units, with price tags of $2.79 to $3.2 million. Strata terraced houses are upward of $3.42 million, while commercial units are from $2 million.
“The developer understands the psyche of homebuyers today,” notes Gafoor. “Those prepared to pay at least $2 million for a unit will not want to compromise in terms of views and other attributes. Hence, the larger units on the higher floors command a premium in terms of psf prices.”
The developer has priced the project attractively at launch in order to achieve a high sales momentum, says Gafoor. “Once the project is more than 50% sold, the developer can increase the price for higher floor units with the more premium views. This will help the developer achieve a better gross development value.”
The crowd at the sales gallery on July 5, the eve of the property cooling measures that came into effect at midnight, July 6, 2018 (Photo: Property agent)
Mega developments of recent past
The last time a new project launch had sales exceeding 500 units in a single day was Riverfront Residences. The 1,472-unit project by a consortium led by Oxley Holdings sold more than 500 units on the evening of July 5, 2018: It was a window of just five to six hours before the property cooling measures kicked in at the stroke of midnight on July 6, 2018.
Riverfront Residences is a redevelopment of the former Rio Casa, the privatised HUDC estate located at Hougang Avenue 7, which the Oxley-led consortium had purchased in a collective sale for $575 million in May 2017. Based on caveats lodged, Riverfront Residences is more than 92% sold to date.
Other mega projects – those above 1,000 units – that were also redevelopment of large, privatised HUDC estates and launched in recent years include the largest to date, the 2,203-unit Treasure at Tampines (former Tampines Court) and the 1,410-unit The Florence Residences (former Florence Regency) at Hougang Avenue 2.
The Florence Residences, by Hong Kong-listed Chinese developer, Logan Property, was launched in March 2019. To date, 952 units or 67.5% of the project has been taken up. Treasure at Tampines, located at Tampines Lane, was launched by Sim Lian Group was also launched in March 2019. A total of 1664 units have been sold, translating to 75.5% of the project.
Normanton Park, also a privatised HUDC estate, was purchased by Kingsford for $830.1 million in October 2017. While the other mega developments launched in recent years are located in the OCR, Normanton Park is in the RCR.
“I don’t think there were any mega projects launched in the last three years that saw so many units sold on the launch weekend,” says Gafoor.
Treasure at Tampines, the biggest condo with 2,203 units, is a redevelopment of the former Tampines Court. To date, 75.5% of the project has been sold since the project was launched just two years ago (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
What are the odds?
In conjunction with the launch of Normanton Park Kingsford has dangled a lucky draw offering 10 Mercedes-Benz cars (A-Class 180 Hatchback style) as prizes. It will be offered to purchasers and their respective marketing agents for the first 800 unts sold. “The lucky draw is a ‘nice to have’ but not the deciding factor for most buyers,” says Nicholas Mak, head of research & consultancy at ERA Singapore.
PropNex’s Gafoor agrees. “People don’t commit to an $800,000 to $1 million property purchase when the odds of winning a Mercedes is one in 80,” he says.
“I think there is a pool of potential buyers waiting on the fringe of the market,” notes ERA’s Mak. “Their jobs and income were not affected by the pandemic, The Work from Home [WFH] situation and government supplementary budgets strengthened their job security. They just need the right push to encourage them to acquire real estate.”
The strong sales at recent new project launches and the pick-up in big-ticket deals of both housing property and shophouses have also led to concerns that the government may introduce new cooling measures later this year. “That’s the billion dollar question,” says ERA’s Mak. “The market is just starting to grow out of the shadows of the pandemic. If the government were to slap the market with another round of cooling measures in 2021, it would be like strangling the baby in the cradle.”
The government is certainly monitoring the situation, adds PropNex’s Gafoor. “Their concern is not so much the volume of sales, but the price momentum,” he says. “If the price starts to move up by more than 5% in the first two quarters of 2021, and there’s an indication that the full-year price growth may be double-digit, that will raise a red flag as it’s deemed to be unsustainable. The government wants to ensure that the residential market is sustainable, and moving in tandem with the rest of the economy.”
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