A 99-YEAR leasehold executive condominium (EC) site at the junction of Sembawang Crescent and Sembawang Drive has received a top bid of $211.9 million, or $323.76 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).
The top bid came from boutique property developer JBE Holdings, which beat seven other bidders.
Ong Kah Seng, director at R'ST Research, commenting on the bid, said it reflected the developer's confidence in the attractiveness of ECs in far-flung Sembawang, where another EC, 1 Canberra is located.
"EC sites that are bought at higher prices are expected to be well conceptualised and designed, with special themes to garner buyers' interest," he said.
He added: "ECs are, in part, subsidised housing products, so developers are likely to err on the side of caution to reduce controversy by focusing on overall special project themes instead of providing selected luxury units."
This was a reference to "luxury" EC units in the news lately for the prices they commanded, such as the $1.77 million penthouse unit in Heron Bay in Upper Serangoon and the $1.61 million double-storey penthouse in 1 Canberra.
Last month, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan took to his blog "Housing Matters" to remind developers to stay within the spirit of the concept of this class of housing.
SLP International head of research Nicholas Mak noted that the eight bids received for the Sembawang Crescent/Sembawang Drive site reflected "strong demand" for EC development sites.
"This is due to recent robust EC sales. Furthermore, some developers are interested in this site because of a lack of new EC launches in Sembawang, resulting in potential pent-up demand," he said.
He added that the developer could aim to launch the project at between $720 and $730 psf.
Li Hiaw Ho, the executive director in CBRE Research, said: "There are only two other new EC