Sentosa Cove prices hit levels not seen since 2006

A 4,133 sq ft penthouse with unblocked sea views located at luxury condominium Seascape was sold for $5.8 million in May , which translates into a profit, loss of $5.2 million or a 47.3% plunge for the original owner who paid $11 million for the unit in December 2011, according to a caveat lodged then. The latest sale price of $5.8 million works out to $1,403 psf, based on the latest caveat.

The penthouse with four bedrooms and a study is located on the eighth floor of the 151-unit condo, which was completed in 2011 and developed jointly by Ho Bee Land and IOI Properties. The penthouse was a mortgagee sale, and was first put up for auction by JLL on March 26 with an opening price of $9 million. It was put up for auction a second time in April at a lower opening price of $8.25 million, but still drew no bids. It was subsequently sold in a private treaty deal brokered by JLL in May.

At $1,400 psf, it appears that Sentosa Cove prices are returning to levels unseen since 2006. And that presents the kind of buying opportunities investors are seeking.

Recently, a 2,626 sq ft unit on the fifth level of The Coast changed hands for $4.18 million ($1,592 psf), according to a caveat lodged on June 19. The unit last transacted for $4.44 million ($1,690 psf) in December 2006.

Another unit on the third level of The Coast was recently sold for $1,420 psf, although the caveat has yet to be lodged. Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI5000, a division of SLP International, was interested in buying it for himself, but missed out on the opportunity as the unit had already been snapped up.

“I think prices have bottomed,” says Lye. “There are many buyers who feel the same way, and willing to bite at the $1,400 to $1,500 psf level.”

Meanwhile, another unit at The Coast is available at an asking price of $1,450 psf. However, given that it is on the second level, the sea view is partially blocked by trees. “Many owners’ asking prices are now in the $1,400 to $1,450 psf range,” says an agent who is marketing several units within condo development. The Coast was developed Ho Bee Land and completed in 2009. Almost the 249 units in the luxury 99-year leasehold condo have a direct view of the sea from the living room and master bedroom.

At Turquoise, a unit on the fifth level is on the market for sale on a private treaty basis. The indicative price for the 2,185 sq ft three-bedroom unit said to be $3.17 million or about $1,450 psf.

The last transaction at Turquoise was for a 2,777 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the same level that had changed hands for $4.55 million ($1,638 psf) in January this year. Prior to that, two identical four-bedroom units of 2,777 sq ft stacked on top of each other on the second and third levels were sold for $4.03 million ($1,450 psf) and $3.88 million ($1,397 psf) respectively in July 2014. Both were foreclosed properties and mortgagee sales. Turquoise, a 99-year leasehold luxury condo with 91 units, was developed by Ho Bee Land and completed just five years ago.

Meanwhile, at The Oceanfront, a landmark luxury condo at the mouth of the marina at Sentosa Cove, a 1,216 sq ft unit on the second level of one of the blocks was sold for $1.85 million ($1,521 psf) in May. It had fetched $1.59 million ($1,307 psf) when the 264-unit project was launched by City Developments and TID Pte Ltd in mid-2006.

On July 2, it was reported in the Straits Times that City Harvest Church founder has put his 5,242 sq ft duplex penthouse at The Oceanfront for sale at a price tag of $10 million.

At the 200-unit The Berth by the Cove, three transactions have been recorded this year to date. They ranged from $1,230 to $1,383 psf, far below the peak of $2,200 psf last seen in November 2007. The Berth was the first condo project to be launched in Sentosa Cove by developer Ho Bee in 2004; it was also the first to be completed, in late 2006, and it’s already nine years old.

The most recent transaction at The Berth was for the resale of a 2,002 sq ft unit on the first level, that fetched $2.52 million ($1,259 psf), according to a caveat lodged in May with URA Realis. The unit changed hands for $2.98 million ($1,488 psf) in March 2010. It was purchased for just $1.53 million ($766 psf) when the project was first launched in December 2004.

Another luxury condo at Sentosa Cove that had everyone riveted at the start of the year was The Marina Collection, when it was reported that 37 of 38 units sold had defaulted on their mortgages from United Overseas Bank.

Some buyers had been hoping that these units would appear as mortgagee sales at upcoming auctions. “There’s not going to be a ‘Great Singapore Sale’ for now,” says Joy Tan, head of auction at DTZ. “The bank will explore leasing out the units until the market recovers.”

Nevertheless, SRI5000’s Lye feels Sentosa Cove is worth revisiting at the current price levels of $1,400 to $1,500 psf as there is no new supply in the pipeline in Singapore’s premier waterfront residential enclave. “Once the government removes or revises the property cooling measures, prices at Sentosa Cove will be the first to react,” he says. “This is the opportunity many buyers have been waiting for.”

This article appeared in the City & Country of Issue 684 (July 6) of The Edge Singapore.

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