A plum plot that goes on sale in Redhill next year could be a litmus test of where home prices are headed in the upmarket neighbourhood, said analysts on Wednesday.
While they agree that the Prince Charles Crescent site will send a crucial signal to the market, they are split on what that signal might be.
Some point to land-hungry developers who will drive up the price while others counter by citing a softening property market.
The 2.5ha site near Redhill MRT is slated to go on sale in February under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme for the first half of next year, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said on Wednesday.
It was originally put on the reserve list in May this year.
Sites on the reserve list go on sale only if a developer lodges a minimum acceptable bid, unlike confirmed list sites which go on sale regardless.
Only three of the 20 sites put on the reserve list in the second half of this year have been triggered for sale, the MND noted. These consist of two hotel sites, at Havelock Road and East Coast Road, and a residential plot at Geylang East Avenue 1.
The Prince Charles Crescent plot sits next to a 2.37ha land parcel that drew a top bid of $960 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio (ppr) in September last year from a Wing Tai-led consortium.
Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong reckoned the latest plot could fetch a top bid of up to around $1,000 psf ppr.
He said some land-hungry developers may bid aggressively to ensure that they secure the site, noting: "The real estate tender process isn't like the stock market, you can't queue and wait for prices to go down."
At the other end of the spectrum, Chesterton Singapore managing director Donald Han said developers would likely remain cautious amid a softening market.
The top bid may be slightly below $960 psf ppr because the Wing Tai consortium developing the adjacent parcel would want to defend its turf but would not want to overpay, he added.
Apart from the Prince Charles Crescent site, consultants said a mixed-use plot at the junction of Upper Serangoon and Meyappa Chettiar Road would also be keenly watched. SLP International research head Nicholas Mak said the site would be "hotly contested" when it is launched in April because it has direct access to the Potong Pasir MRT station.
The Prince Charles Crescent site is one of the seven residential plots on the GLS confirmed list for the first half of next year.
The other six are all in the suburbs and include four executive condominium (EC) sites - two are in Yishun Street 51, one in Sembawang Avenue and one in Choa Chu Kang Drive.
Consultants said releasing four EC parcels on the confirmed list reflects the popularity of the segment, a hybrid of public and private housing.
However, Colliers International research head Chia Siew Chuin said that "whether there is still as much vigorous demand... has yet to be tested by the market", citing new restrictions on ECs imposed earlier this month such as tighter loan curbs.
MND said on Wednesday the tender for the two Yishun EC sites would be batched together to encourage "prudent" bidding. The sites are slated to be launched in March.
Another pair of private residential sites at Fernvale Road in Sengkang will also have their tenders batched together. They are set to go on sale in June next year.
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