SINGAPORE: Upcoming flats in the future Mount Pleasant public housing estate will likely see hot demand, owing to their prime location and the abundance of surrounding amenities, said analysts.
Authorities announced on Tuesday (Nov 23) that about 5,000 new flats will be built on a 33-hectare plot in the area, on the back of strong demand for public housing.
The first Build-to-Order project on this plot – largely on the site of the Old Police Academy – will be launched within the next five years, said the Housing & Development Board (HDB), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA) in a joint release.
"SUPER PRIME AREA"
Many buyers will be eager to apply for a flat in the area, said property analysts.
Mr Lee Sze Teck, head of research at Huttons Asia, described the plot as a “super prime area”, given that it is in District 11, which stretches from Novena to Bukit Timah.
The site is also very close to a Good Class Bungalow area, he said, referring to the nearby Caldecott neighbourhood.
“It is near to MacRitchie Reservoir, close to an MRT station, near the (Pan Island Expressway) and (has) unblocked views towards the North and South,” added Mr Lee.
Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research at OrangeTee & Tie, echoed the allure of its location, adding that it is “not often” that new BTO projects are built near or next to an MRT station.
The development will be served by the upcoming Mount Pleasant MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line, which will open in tandem with the completion of public housing developments in the area, authorities said.
She also noted that its location, near the centre of Singapore, means it is convenient to travel to many parts of the island, including the Central Business District or Orchard Road.
While being close to the city, it will also be surrounded by greenery, she said.
"Some heritage buildings will also be preserved. There are not many public housing areas that infuse heritage buildings into their surroundings. Therefore, Singaporeans who enjoy greenery and culture may like this location," added Ms Sun.
Ms Sun noted that there could be some drawbacks to the location, such as the sound and noise from the expressway and its proximity to a cemetery. The plot is situated next to the Kopi Sua cemetery.
But Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty, said he believes this is unlikely to deter many buyers.
Citing how BTO projects in the Bidadari estate, which are built directly on top of an exhumed cemetery, have still been highly oversubscribed, he said the site’s prime location will trump other factors.
He added that it is near the mature estate of Toa Payoh, which has many amenities such as schools and eateries.
EXPECTED SELLING PRICE
Ms Sun expects prices to be close to the BTO launches at Toa Payoh or Bidadari. “For instance, for this year’s February launch at Bidadari, prices of five-room flats started from S$611,000 while four-room flats started from around S$460,000.
“For the February 2020 launch in Toa Payoh, four-room flats started from about $400,000 and prices went up to S$666,000,” she said.
Mr Lee, who believes the plot has the potential to fall under the Prime Land Housing (PLH) model, said prices could start from S$600,000 for a four-room flat if this is the case. If it is not within the PLH model, this could rise to at least S$650,000, he estimated.
IMPACT ON EXISTING NEIGHBOURHOOD
With about 5,000 households being introduced to the area, this could mean more vehicles, and more congestion in the estate, said Mr Mak.
But such issues related to intensifying land use are also “difficult to escape”, he said, adding that it also “does not make economic sense” to leave the plot empty or underutilised.
He noted that the development will be gradual, and the MRT station nearby could help alleviate traffic.
As for other residents, Ms Sun said they could benefit from estate rejuvenation if more amenities are built to support the larger number of residents in the area.
“These additional amenities and the completion of the new MRT station may uplift the values of their homes, although the residents may have to live with the construction noise, inconvenience, and dust for a few years,” she said.