Whitley Heights sold for $159m on second try

Straits Times: Fri, Sep 02
IT WAS a case of second time lucky for the owners of sprawling Whitley Heights, after a buyer agreed to stump up $159 million for the estate.

Developer Hoi Hup Realty inked a private treaty to pay $1,222 per sq ft for the site – just under the owners’ price target of $165 million.

That was set in June after a bid in January to sell the estate en bloc for between $185 million and $210 million fell flat.

Owners are expected to get between $3.3 million and $3.8 million each – about 70 per cent more than if they sold their units individually.

Whitley Heights, which comprises 45 walk-up flats in three-storey blocks near the upmarket Chancery Lane and a number of top schools, has been re-zoned for landed homes.

The deal indicates that developers remain keener on medium-sized plots, while spurning larger deals of more than $500 million like Pine Grove, Tulip Garden and Hawaii Tower, which have all failed to find buyers.

The Whitley Heights deal has notched some firsts, said marketing agent Credo Real Estate.

The vast 130,165 sq ft estate off Thomson Road is the largest freehold site in districts 9, 10 and 11 to be sold for landed homes since the early 1990s.

Such sites are in high demand given the lack of supply.

It is also the first collective sale with a land area of more than 100,000 sq ft earmarked for landed homes since Nim Park in the Seletar area was sold in May 2007, Credo added.

The firm’s managing director, Mr Karamjit Singh, said there have been very few sales for landed sites.

‘According to our records, out of some 290 private residential redevelopment sites sold, including en bloc sales, over the last five years, only 15 sites were for landed properties,’ he said.

‘Over the last 24 months, the Government has sold 52 sites under the government land sale (GLS) programme. Only two were intended for landed homes. The tenders for both landed sites were very well received by developers.’

A leasehold landed site in Serangoon Garden Way had 16 bids last month, while one in Jurong West in December 2009 attracted a record-breaking 32 bids.

The Whitley Heights deal will be the third largest en-bloc deal out of about 72 struck since the beginning of last year. These deals had an average size of just $53 million.

The site is to be redeveloped into two-storey landed homes.

Credo said Hoi Hup could build as many as 80 strata-terrace homes or about 60 strata semi-detached houses.

But experts noted that the collective sales market has cooled, with developers turning cautious in the light of global economic uncertainties.

This has also been seen in the GLS tenders, where certain sites have garnered low interest, they added.

Mr Alwyn Low, director of Deans Realtors, said that while developers might stay on the sidelines in the short term, those with dwindling landbanks will still be in the hunt.

Smaller sites of less than $200 million have garnered the most interest, he added, while underlying confidence in Singapore’s property market also remains strong.

esthert@sph.com.sg

  • Vast 130,165 sq ft estate off Thomson Road is the largest freehold site in districts 9, 10 and 11 to be sold for landed homes since the early 1990s
  •  

  • First collective sale with a land area of more than 100,000 sq ft earmarked for landed homes since Nim Park in the Seletar area was sold in May 2007
  •  
    Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

    About Propertyguru Expert

    Website contend is hand picked and high demand. Marketing Manager at Huttons Asia Pte Ltd. Indonesian Focusing in Private Residential Singapore. *Service Quality Assured. *Top 300 producer in 2011.