Tampines, the new Bedok Reservoir

PHOTO: Tampines, the new Bedok Reservoir

SINGAPORE - Property buyers undeterred by the latest round of cooling measures may want to look towards the eastern part of Singapore, where a new residential enclave is slowly but surely springing up.

Specifically, the area around Tampines Avenue 10 and 1 - which some property analysts say has the potential to give the popular waterfront developments at the nearby Bedok Reservoir locale a run for their money.

Situated opposite Tampines Quarry and near Bedok Reservoir, three developments are already being built along that stretch.

While it can easily be mistaken for a reservoir, Tampines Quarry was actually a disused sand quarry pit. It was abandoned in the early 1980s, and had been filled with water over the years.

This man-made lake is 30m deep and as big as 10 National Stadiums.

The 630-unit Q Bay Residences, developed jointly by Frasers Centrepoint, Far East Organisation and Sekisui House, was the latest of the three to be launched just two weeks ago.

Boasting a bayfront lifestyle, the development includes bay villas - surrounded by a private garden, pool and spa - where private functions can be held.

The other two developments are Waterview, developed by Sim Lian Group, and Arc @ Tampines, an executive condominium developed by Hoi Hup Realty.

At least three more plots of land in the same area are expected to be put up for sale by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) within the first half of this year.

A 17,100 sq m site, located right next to Q Bay Residences and estimated to be able to house some 530 units, has been confirmed to be open for bidding around May.

Two other plots of land next to this are on the reserve list of the URA's Government Land Sales programme, which may be made available by June.

The sites, spanning 22,190.8 sq m and 15,660.4 sq m, are expected to have about 680 units and 470 units, respectively.

Also, another two more plots in Tampines Avenue 8 have been designated as residential zones.

They are currently vacant green fields.

Mr Alan Cheong, senior director of research at Savills Singapore, pointed to three attributes of the area which will serve as big draws to buyers: a scenic view, ease of accessibility and amenities nearby which would help attract tenants.

"With some portions of lands along Tampines Avenue 10 having an unobstructed view of the quarry, developers who have projects with that vantage will zero in on this selling point," he said.

He noted that there will also be a new MRT line coming up in the vicinity, which includes the Tampines West station, located just about 10 minutes away from the area.

The presence of the United World College (UWC) within 1km from these sites also makes it easier for units there to be rented out, and possibly at a higher rental rate.

Mr Cheong added: "Therefore, it could well be that the Tampines Avenue 10 area may have similar benefits to, or even surpass, those of the Bedok Reservoir locale."

R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said that to maximise the residential potential of the area, the quarry would need to be spruced up to increase its tranquil appeal.

"Other than that, I don't reckon that the location needs to have major developments, in the form of commercial or lifestyle amenities, to attract buyer interest," he said.

"The primary attractiveness of the area will still be by virtue of it carrying a Tampines address, which is firmly entrenched in the minds of buyers as a highly appealing residential location."

Demand for the location seems to be healthy enough, if property prices at the one fully completed development in the area is any indication.

HSR noted that the median price of 537-unit The Tropica, located in Tampines Avenue 1 and within 1km of UWC and right next to Temasek Polytechnic, jumped by 37 per cent since the first quarter of 2010.

Given all these factors, analysts said that they expect developers' interest in the new land parcels in Tampines Avenue 10 to still be fairly encouraging - although not overly aggressive - despite the latest property curbs.

Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior manager for research of Dennis Wee Group, said: "Land bids and interest are likely to be at the same level as that of the Q Bay Residences land parcel, which went to Frasers at $252,777,000.

"If developers can keep the selling prices below $1,000 psf, it will attract a healthy take-up."

Mr Ong said that similar land-buying prices would reflect the fact that developers are beginning to accept private-property prices have peaked and may have to be calibrated downwards in order for sales to move faster, especially in the face of the cooling measures.

But he added that the area's waterfront concept, or its position as an up-and-coming vibrant residential enclave, would mitigate the chances of developers having to introduce major price cuts or massive rebates.

Home prices in that area are likely to increase by about 5 per cent in the next three years, Mr Ong estimated.

"Prices will remain flat or could dip up to 5 per cent this year, given the cooling measures, but are likely to see a gradual recovery from 2014, especially when some projects are completed," he said.