With its consortium partners, Singapore’s fastest growing property group to lead the market in terms of new launches
Recognising the latent housing demand in the neighbourhood of Serangoon, Singapore-listed property group Oxley Holdings snapped up three of the six collective sale sites made available in the northeast region last year. Two of the sites are large privatised HUDC estates that are well located: Rio Casa on Hougang Avenue 7, fronting the Serangoon River; and Serangoon Ville on Serangoon North Avenue 1, which is just a four-minute drive to Serangoon Gardens.
These sites were purchased as part of a consortium with partners KSH Holdings, SLB Development and Apricot Capital. Rio Casa was purchased for $575 million, or $706 psf per plot ratio in May; Serangoon Ville was acquired for $499 million, or $835 psf ppr, in July. The third site, Toho Green on Yio Chu Kang Road, is a smaller site, which Oxley purchased on its own for $8 million, also in July.
In fact, it was the Oxley-led consortium’s purchases of Rio Casa and Serangoon Ville that fired up the collective sale market in the northeast region last year.
One of the largest in Singapore, the northeast region encompasses the area from Sengkang, Punggol and Yio Chu Kang Road to Serangoon North, Hougang and Serangoon Gardens. “For many upgraders, especially young couples and families with children of school-going age, the most appealing enclaves are in Serangoon, Hougang and Yio Chu Kang,” says Eugene Lim, ERA Realty key executive officer. “Being mature neighbourhoods, they are where good schools, famous eateries, public transport and other amenities are situated.”
GREATER PRICE FLEXIBILITY
Being a first mover in the area means the Oxley-led consortium will be the first out of the gate with a project launch. The 1,052-unit Affinity at Serangoon (a redevelopment of Serangoon Ville) will be rolled out at end-May, and the 1,472-unit Riverfront Residences on the site of the former Rio Casa will make its debuta month later.
Oxley’s three en bloc sites have a combined total of more than 2,400 new housing units when redeveloped. “By being in control of the majority of the upcoming supply, Oxley and its partners have greater flexibility in terms of pricing and launch timing,” notes ERA Realty’s Lim.
JLL regional director for capital markets, Tan Hong Boon estimates the Oxley-led consortium’s price advantage to be “in the $150-to-$200 psf range” over subsequent land sites sold in the area.
Keen competition among developers for collective sale and government land sale (GLS) sites has driven up land prices to record levels since 2Q2017, notes Alice Tan, head of research and consultancy at Knight Frank Singapore.
In the northeast region, GLS sites sold include the 99-year leasehold commercial and residential site at Woodleigh Lane, which was sold for $1,118 psf ppr last June. The following month, a residential site across the road saw 15 bids, with the winner paying $1,110 psf ppr for the site. Last July, the GLS site at Serangoon North Avenue 1 received 16 bids and fetched a top bid of $965 psf ppr. That month, Oxley paid $835 psf ppr for the Serangoon Ville site.
“Developers such as the Oxley-led consortium that purchased sites last year at prices below $1,000 psf and are launching this year are likely to enjoy a first-mover advantage when it comes to capturing homebuyers,” says Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty.
With unsold units of existing launches in the northeast region largely depleted, even individual owners in the resale market have raised their asking prices by 15% to 20% this year, says Knight Frank’s Tan.
RIDING ON AFFINITY
The last condominium launch in the neighbourhood of Serangoon Gardens was said to be The Scala, and that was in 2010. Many of the condos in the vicinity, such as Kensington Park, Chiltern Park or Chuan Park, were developed more than 20 years ago. Now, the owners there are attempting collective sales.
The Oxley-led consortium’s Affinity at Serangoon, located just a four-minute drive from Serangoon Gardens, is therefore one of the first new launches in the neighbourhood in eight years. “The Project’s name, Affinity at Serangoon, by Oxley-led consortium reflects the strong sentimental and social ties to the Serangoon Gardens neighbourhood that people who grew up there have,” says Ken Low, director (project sales and marketing) at Huttons Asia. “Many would naturally want to buy a home there to be near their parents or other family members.”
The Serangoon Gardens neighbourhood also draws others who did not grow up there but appreciate its laidback charm and proximity to famous eateries such as Ah Hock Hokkien Fried Noodles, Ah Seng Braised Duck Rice and Swee Heng Wonton Noodles at Chomp Chomp Food Centre as well as Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre, notes Huttons’ Low. It is also within a 1km range of top schools such as Rosyth Primary School and Zhonghua Primary School, he adds.
Among the older generation of Singaporeans, Serangoon Gardens was fondly known as “ang sar lee” for the red zinc roofs of the houses that were originally built on the estate. Developed in the 1950s, Serangoon Gardens is also one of the areas identified by URA as an identity node.
The Serangoon area is also well served by transport nodes, mainly the North East Line, where the Serangoon MRT station and bus interchange are integrated with nex mall. The Serangoon MRT station is the interchange station for the North East and Circle Lines, says ERA’s Lim. The upcoming Cross Island MRT Line and North South Corridor will further increase accessibility.
Besides nex, other malls in the Serangoon neighbourhood include Hougang Mall and Heartland Mall. There is also a new integrated development next to the Buangkok MRT station on the North East Line.
“There are those who want to live near amenities like nex and the MRT interchange station,” notes PropNex’s Gafoor. “There are also die-hard fans of Serangoon Gardens who want to live near the housing estate because of the amenities and nostalgia of places like Chomp Chomp.”
Serangoon Gardens is also near the up-and-coming Punggol Digital District, where 28,000 new jobs are envisioned to be created. “This will be a major catalyst for growth, and where a new business and education hub is scheduled to open in 2023,” says ERA’s Lim. “There is definitely potential for growth.”
New jobs created also translate into new housing demand. With 1,052 units, Affinity at Serangoon has a wide variety of units ranging from 474 sq ft, one bedroom condo units to four-bedroom-plus-study units of up to 1,711 sq ft that will satisfy different household sizes. The project also has 40 strata houses comprising 4 and 5 bedroom type.
“The Oxley-led consortium has upped its game by creating a product that appeals to buyers not just from a functional aspect, but also emotional and lifestyle,” says Knight Frank’s Tan.