By Lynda Hong | POSTED: 19 Nov 2013 23:58 | CNA

SINGAPORE

Singapore’s Balestier area is lining up to be the next hot spot to own a private property.

The area, popularly known as the lighting centre of Singapore, has now taken a new facade with several new developments coming up.

One of them is the new Zhongshan Park Integrated Development that was launched on Monday, which includes a mall, an office tower and two hotels.

Analysts told Channel NewsAsia that such developments will only push up property prices in the area.

Balestier has one of the highest number of freehold condominiums.

Analysts said this makes up for the lack of an MRT station in the area.

According to property consultancy Colliers, in the last four years, more than 2,000 condo units have been launched in the vicinity which is known for its food and light fixture shops in conserved shophouses.

And developers have priced their units in the area at a lower level of between S$1,160 to S$1,380 per square foot (psf).

Due to the slew of cooling measures imposed on the property market, some analysts noted that in the short term, prices of private homes in Balestier will remain flat or dip by about five to 10 per cent.

Rentals may also face downward pressure due to more condominiums being completed.

Rentals in Balestier are also comparatively cheaper on a psf basis.

In the first quarter of this year, rentals were at S$3.61 psf. It then dipped to S$3.55 in the second quarter before rebounding slightly to S$3.57 in the third quarter.

But analysts said such low rentals and property prices are only for the short term.

They expect prices to pick up as the area looks set to benefit from the growth in medical facilities nearby.

Colliers’ deputy managing director Grace Ng said: “You also see more medical tourists and people flocking to the Novena Medical Hub with the completion of Mount Elizabeth, Novena Hospital, Novena Specialist Centre and Novena Medical Centre.

“In the medium to long term, property prices over at Balestier should increase because of the continued rejuvenation and transformation in the area.”

Knight Frank’s head of investment and capital transactions Ian Loh said: “If the Novena area does successfully take off, (and) the Middle Eastern or Chinese or Indonesians buy into the healthcare in Novena, then we will likely see investor interest in this area.”

The medical hub in Novena will continue to grow into “Health City Novena”. This will be Singapore’s single biggest healthcare complex, where all public and volunteer healthcare facilities and the medical school are linked up physically by 2030.

– CNA/gn

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore/balestier-lining-up-to-be/892518.html