By Olivia Siong | POSTED: 04 Jan 2014 21:30 | CNA

SINGAPORE

There has been strong interests for the first few properties opened for viewing this year.

This includes what’s being called Singapore’s first retirement resort, which saw a big crowd on its first day of preview on Saturday.

Its developer, World Class Land, said interests shown were mostly from those in their 50s.

It was a packed showflat for The Hillford’s first viewing day.

Touted as Singapore’s first retirement resort, the project offers 281 units on a 60-year lease.

Apartments range from one-bedroom units to two-bedroom dual key units, and the indicative price starts from S$980 per square foot.

World Class Land said units released at the upcoming VIP Preview are likely to start from S$388,000 for a one-bedroom unit, S$498,000 for two-bedroom, and S$648,000 for two-bedroom dual-key units.

It added that the vision for the project was in response to Singapore’s ageing population.

Jack Chua, CEO of ERA Real Estate, said: “If you look at a 99-year condominium development, a small unit nearby is about 1,600 per square foot. For Hillford, a retirement resort, pricing from S$980 per square foot is substantially below the market value.

“There are more lifts, there are wider corridors to improve accessibility. There are also medical (facilities) and eateries within the development. In addition, there is also a 24-hour concierge service and full-time resort manager to organise activities like dancing classes and yoga for the residents.”

“Price wise, it’s all right. It’s not very expensive,” said a prospective buyer.

Mdm Tan, who is 70 years old, said: “I think it’s a bit small, if my grandchildren come, it’ll be a problem. We have to consider first.”

While the project may be touted to be a retirement resort, there is no age restriction for those hoping to buy a unit.

Some property analysts think this may attract a small group of younger buyers hoping to rent out their units.

Mohamed Ismail, CEO of Propnex, said: “Regardless of a 60-year, a 99-year, or even a freehold, the rent is about the same. The rental is likely to be five to 10 per cent higher than a comparable either 99-year or freehold because the demand will be there for people who want to put their loved ones, or people themselves who want to stay and enjoy all these facilities.

“But what I cannot imagine here is a retirement village (where) at the end of the day, youngsters who just want to stay there for convenience, then the objective would not be right.”

Location was another draw for young potential buyers. The project is located at Jalan Jurong Kechil in the Bukit Timah area.

Joseph Zhu, 31 years old and a Singapore PR, said: “We are mainly considering to buy the place near the good school that we can enrol our kids. Like for us young people, if we cannot afford the very expensive condominium, this could also be an option for us.”

But some property analysts say resale value may be an issue in the long run.

Chris Koh, director of Chris International, said: “My concern is when there are 40 years lease left. That’s when I expect the value to come down. We have today rulings on the usage of CPF, banks may also be a bit more conservative in lending the money for the purchase. But for the next five, 10 years, I still see this project will still hold its value.”

Over in Ang Mo Kio, new condominium The Panorama also opened for preview. It has 698 units on offer.

Marketing agents said the response has been good so far, especially since there have not been many new projects in the area.

Tan Tee Khoon, executive director of Residential Services at Knight Frank, said: “Our sales persons on the ground who have been speaking to prospective buyers have indicated keen interest from families who have school going children, young professionals, as well as those who want to live near their parents living in the vicinity.”

Both projects are likely to be open for bookings in two weeks’ time.

– CNA/de

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore/crowds-throng-new/943058.html