Alexandra becoming hot spot for new homes

Alexandra becoming hot spot for new homes

BETTER known for its industrial and office buildings, the sleepy neighbourhood of Alexandra has slowly been gaining favour among home buyers in recent years.

Ms Jacqueline Wong, head of corporate residential solutions at HSR Property Consultants, said residential options in the area had long been largely limited to Housing Board flats.

But Mr Steven Tan, managing director of OrangeTee, said the profile of the area has changed in recent years.

He said more private property projects - such as the Metropolitan, Alexis and Echelon - have been or will be built on sites previously occupied by public housing.

Flanked by neighbouring towns Tanglin and Queenstown, Alexandra is on the fringes of the District 10 prime residential area.

The mature estate's proximity to the Central Business District, Orchard Road and public transport has made it a favourite locale for expats looking for rental properties.

"(Alexandra) is in a mature estate that offers a lot of amenities like schools, retail shops and entertainment areas," said Mr Tan.

"Expatriates find it easy to fit in, and thus provide a good catchment (audience) for the rental market," he added.

This demand for rental housing has led to an increase in investor interest, pushing up the prices of private homes in the area.

Data from OrangeTee shows that the average prices of new homes launched this year hovered between $1,600 per sq ft (psf) and $1,800 psf.

About a fortnight ago, 200 units at the Echelon project in Alexandra View were snapped up, at prices averaging $1,700 psf.

The project consists of 508 units, spread over the condominium's two 43-storey towers.

Mr Tan said property prices of private homes in Alexandra rose about 8 per cent to 10 per cent in the final three months of last year, compared with the same period in 2011, outperforming the 2.8 per cent rise recorded in the Urban Redevelopment Authority's fourth-quarter flash estimates for the same period.

Mr Tan also said resale transactions in Alexandra grew by about 10 per cent in the second half of last year, compared with the first six months of last year, well above the 5.5 per cent rise in islandwide transactions for the same period.

Ms Wong said a resale one-bedroom 400 sq ft apartment in the Alexis project would cost from $700,000 to $800,000.

The Alexis is a 293-unit condominium project that was completed in 2009. It comprises mainly one-bedder and two-bedder apartments, with some measuring around 366 sq ft.

The heightened interest has also trickled down to land prices, with winning bids for government land tenders moving up 15 per cent to 27 per cent in the last year.

Last December, a 99-year Alexandra Road condo site near Redhill MRT station fetched a price of $332.7 million, which translates to $970 psf per plot ratio.

OrangeTee's Mr Tan said the prices of homes in Alexandra are set to increase.

"Areas that are closer to town like Alexandra will become increasingly more attractive, particularly to investors.

"Land in prime areas is scarce. Therefore, future purchasers who are keen to invest in the traditional prime areas such as District 9, 10 and 11 may consider alternative choices in the fringe areas."

He also added that with more private homes due for completion in the neighbourhood in the next few years, Alexandra could be rejuvenated, and that could spur greater interest in the segment.

cherlim@sph.com.sg

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