Saturday, July 19, 2008

Condo-Like Flats For Less Than $700,000

Source : The Straits Times, July 19, 2008

Four 30-storey blocks under the design, build and sell scheme for Ang Mo Kio

SINGAPORE'S third condo-style public housing project is about to go on sale, this time in the heart of bustling Ang Mo Kio.

The project is located at Ang Mo Kio Street 52, which is flanked by Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Avenue 5 and within walking distance of the Ang Mo Kio MRT station.

LIVING IN STYLE: The Park Central development will boast amenities like barbecue pits and jogging path on the roof-top garden above the carpark. -- ARTIST'S IMPRESSION: COURTESY OF UNITED ENGINEERS

The prices for Park Central @AMK are about 10 per cent below the last such project, City View@Boon Keng, launched early this year. Sales there were slow amid some concerns that prices were too high.

Developer United Engineers (UE), through its unit Greatearth Developments, is launching the 578-unit Park Central project for sale on Wednesday.

It aims to take advantage of the small window before the Hungry Ghost month starts in early August when some home hunters are wary of buying.

The project, comprising four 30-storey towers, will feature only four- and five-room flats. The average price will be about $490 to $500 per sq ft, with the four-room units going for about $400,000 to $500,000. The five-room units will cost about $600,000 to $670,000.

Park Central also has 20 'loft units', which have higher ceilings of 3.6m, compared with the typical flat height of 2.6m. They will cost $580,000 to just below $700,000.

These high-end HDB flats will boast condo-style fittings such as built-in wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, air-conditioning systems, timber flooring and planter boxes.

The developer will also put in barbecue pits and a 400m jogging path on the roof-top garden above the carpark, allowing for more privacy, though these are public areas.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail expects strong demand as the prices are very fair, particularly considering the significant run-up in construction costs, he said.

UE chief executive Jackson Yap said he priced the units slightly above resale flat prices. He is optimistic as resale prices are still rising.

UE won the Park Central site in a tender last November at $212 per sq ft of potential gross floor area. It is the third project under under the Housing Board's Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS).

In such projects, private developers set the price of the flats but are bound by general public housing rules. For instance, they can sell their flats only to households earning not more than $8,000 a month.

Because of this restriction, the project's price seems a little high, said Chesterton International's head of research and consultancy, Mr Colin Tan. 'But the interest will be strong as Ang Mo Kio is one of Singapore's largest housing estates.

'People tend to buy in areas they know or have lived in. With a little clever marketing, enough people may be persuaded to really stretch themselves and part with their hard-earned money.'

The first DBSS project, The Premiere@Tampines, met with an overwhelming response when it was launched at the end of 2006. But demand at City View@Boon Keng, which was priced over 50 per cent more than The Premiere, was slower. Some buyers felt the prices - the five-room units cost $536,000 to $727,000 - were too high.

The fourth DBSS project, in Bishan, could come to market at the end of the year.

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