65 retail units at Hougang project sold during preview

PHOTO: 65 retail units at Hougang project sold during preview

SINGAPORE - Oxley Holdings and Lian Beng sold about 60 per cent or 65 of the 107 retail units of The Midtown development in Hougang at the project's preview on Wednesday. They also found buyers for about 40 of the 160 residential units at Midtown Residences, BT understands.

The 12-storey mixed-development project will come up on the former Hougang Plaza site, which the duo picked up from CapitaMall Trust for $119.1 million last year. The site's lease has been topped up to 99 years.

The 160 residential units are understood to have been priced at around $1,400 per square foot (psf) on average after all discounts. The units range from 441 sq ft for a one-bedroom apartment with a study to 1,572 sq ft for a penthouse.

Absolute prices start at around $660,000 for a one-bedder on a low level, reflecting about $1,500 psf. The priciest unit, a four- bedroom penthouse, costs nearly $2.1 million, which works out to around $1,330 psf. Units at both ends of this spectrum are among those understood to have been sold.

The project's 107 retail units comprise 55 food and beverage (F&B) units, 51 shop units and a supermarket space. The F&B units are duplex spaces with sizes of 721-969 sq ft and are priced at $4,039 psf on average, or between $3,588 psf and $5,013 psf.

Absolute prices of the F&B units are said to start at slightly above $2.8 million for a 786-sq-ft unit; this works out to nearly $3,590 psf. The priciest F&B unit is around $4.3 million (or around $4,460 psf based on its strata area of 958 sq ft).

Shop units span from 258 sq ft to 893 sq ft and cost between $4,687 psf and $6,737 psf; the average price is nearly $5,800 psf. Absolute prices of the shops range from $1.5 million to nearly $4.2 million, BT understands.

Sources suggest that balloting was done for only about half of the 40-odd shop units and only a few of the 20-odd F&B spaces that were sold on Wednesday.

Gauging from this, as well as the response to Novena Regency released earlier this month, some market watchers are wondering if buying interest in new launches of strata retail units could be starting to thin, compared with the frenzy seen during the release of Alexandra Central in January and Pavilion Square in Geylang Road last month.

Transactions for strata retail units, especially small units, gained momentum in the past couple of years as investors diversified from the residential sector, which has been the target of various rounds of property cooling measures here. Demand has been spurred by the launch of projects with small strata retail units.

Last month, the Urban Redevelopment Authority introduced a minimum average size for retail units of 50 square metres (538 square feet), along with guidelines for minimum corridor widths for retail developments.

Get The Business Times for more stories.