1st retirement housing project prices 'on high side'

PHOTO: 1st retirement housing project prices 'on high side'

Property agents have started marketing units at Singapore's first retirement housing development.

But preliminary prices suggest that units at the privately developed project are on the high side, experts say.

Developer World Class Land, a unit of jewellery group Aspial Corp, submitted the top bid of $73.8 million - or $482 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr) - for the Jalan Jurong Kechil plot in November last year.

The 1.02ha 60-year leasehold site is earmarked for residential use and the Urban Redevelopment Authority said private flats, a condo or retirement housing may be built.

Marketing material describes the project, The Hillford, as a "retirement resort". It is expected to launch on Jan 10. The 281-unit project will boast 24-hour concierge service and 18 commercial units, such as food outlets, a convenience store, clinics and medical-related facilities.

Early price indications show a one-bedder of 398 to 431 sq ft could cost at least $400,000, or about $1,005 psf. A two-bedder of 506 to 560 sq ft could be at least $500,000, or about $988 psf. Prices of a 657 sq ft two-bedroom dual-key unit will start from $700,000, or at least $1,065 psf.

Analysts had expected units to go for $900 to $1,100 psf.

Although the prices fall within forecasts, industry experts say buyers should be mindful of the property's short lease.

Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of property firm Century21, noted that 99-year leasehold one-bedders at The Inflora range from 462 to 495 sq ft and were sold for just over $400,000 in late October.

Units at nearby Sherwood Towers, with 62 years left on the lease, were selling at a lower psf price, he added.

The Jalan Jurong Kechil project's shorter lease could mean banks may offer buyers a smaller loan for properties with shorter leases.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said the developer could have priced rising construction costs and the cost of providing concierge services to residents into the selling price.

A World Class Land spokesman said that people may not be familiar with the offering, adding that retirement villages cannot be compared with condos as they provide different amenities.

Semi-retired doctor Ambika Dharan, 64, had been interested in the project, but is considering a retirement home in Iskandar instead. She said she would have to live on her savings if she sold her current flat to buy a one-bedder.

"It's a little pricey considering it's for retirees, not just a typical condo. I don't think you can peg it to the condo market," she added.


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.