The crowd at the preview of Liv@MB a fortnight ago (Credit: Bukit Sembawang Estates)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Bukit Sembawang Estates announced today that it has sold more than 75% of its 298-unit condo, Liv@MB this weekend. Over 220 units were taken up yesterday (Saturday, May 21), which was its first day of launch, with an average selling price of $2,387 psf. More than 90% of the buyers were said to be Singaporeans residing in the immediate neighbourhood.
Located at the junction of Arthur Road and Mountbatten Road in prime District 15 in the East Coast, Liv@MB is in the neighbourhood of the bungalows in the Mountbatten Road conservation area. Liv@MB is a redevelopment of the former Katong Park Towers, which Bukit Sembawang had purchased en bloc for $345 million in March 2018. (See potential condos with en bloc calculator)
The condo sits on a 140,000 sq ft, 99-year leasehold site just a three-minute walk from the upcoming Katong Park MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line. About 80% of the project’s site area is dedicated to recreational facilities and landscaped gardens, according to Bukit Sembawang. The architect for Liv@MB is Arc Studio Architecture + Urbanism, the architect behind Pinnacle@Duxton, Singapore’s first high-rise public housing project in the city area. Ong & Ong is Bukit Sembawang's landscape consultant for Liv@MB.
“The District 15 property leverages Bukit Sembawang’s deep expertise in developing landed homes by creating an exclusive private community that prioritises the living and recreational spaces of its residents,” says Ho Jenny, general manager, marketing & sales at Bukit Sembawang. Liv@MB is also said to be “a stone’s throw from the green corridors of East Coast Park and the future Kallang River Master Plan”.
Over 1,200 cheques were collected as expressions of interest ahead of the weekend launch, which showed that the project was four times subscribed, says Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex. By lunchtime yesterday, all the one- and two-bedroom units were taken up. These were predominantly investors, he observes. In the afternoon from 2pm to about 5pm, buying interest continued to be strong, and these were mainly owner occupiers, looking at the three- and four-bedroom units.
More than 1,200 cheques were collected ahead of the launch as expressions of interest, which means the 298-unit Liv@MB was four times subscribed (Credit: Bukit Sembawang Estates)
“People were attracted to Liv@MB despite its 99-year lease because of the design of the project, proximity to the upcoming Katong Park MRT station and the lifestyle in the East Coast,” says Gafoor.
There is also a lack of new housing supply in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR). According to URA and PropNex Research, unsold housing stock in the RCR totalled just 4,612 units, and in the OCR, it amounted to 3,892 units as at 1Q2022. Total unsold housing stock stood at a historical low of 14,087 units as at end 1Q2022. In District 15 in particular, new unsold units amounted to fewer than 100 units prior to the launch of Liv@MB, Gafoor points out. “And there was no new supply of one- and two-bedroom units in the area,” he adds.
Desmond Sim, CEO of Edmund Tie, notes: “Liv@MB hit the right notes in terms of location and affordability. “Most of the two-bedroom units were priced below $2 million, and in terms of its location in the prime East Coast area, it is attractive. It’s not surprising that the one- and two-bedroom units were among the first to go.”
Homebuyers are well aware that City Developments Ltd (CDL) paid $768 million or $1,302 psf per plot ratio for the 99-year leasehold site at Jalan Tembusu at the close of the government land tender in January this year, notes Gafoor. “Prices in the upcoming project are unlikely to be lower than $2,300 psf given the land price of $1,302 psf ppr,” he adds. “This gave further confidence to investors with a medium- to long-term horizon.”
Indeed, the “psychological level of $2,000 psf and beyond” for projects appears to have been accepted by buyers “in order to enter into a good product at a good location”, says Lee Sze Teck, senior director (research), Huttons Asia. “We foresee the positive sentiments from Piccadilly Grand and LIV@MB to spillover to other project launches in the months ahead.”
The most popular units at Liv@MB were said to be the one- and two-bedroom units, which are fully sold, with the three- and four-bedroom units substantially sold too (Credit: Bukit Sembawang Estates)
Piccadilly Grand, another 99-year leasehold condo in the city fringe, was launched a fortnight ago, and saw 77% of the 407 units taken up over one weekend on May 8-9. Average price achieved for the project in District 8 was $2,150 psf.
“Another major project launched [Liv@MB] in 2022 has achieved more than 75% sales on launch day,” remarks Mark Yip, CEO of Huttons Asia. “This is truly remarkable against the backdrop of cooling measures in December 2021, rising interest rates, rising inflation and global uncertainties. The attractive entry price from $2,080 psf further sweetened the deal.”
In fact, the average price psf for Liv@MB is closer to $2,400 psf because the smaller units on the high-floor achieved prices above $2,600 psf, notes PropNex’s Gafoor.
The most recent launches in the vicinity of Liv@MB were in 2019 and were upscale projects in the neighbourhood of Meyer Road, namely the 56-unit MeyerHouse, the 66-unit One Meyer and the 200-unit Meyer Mansion.
To date, Meyer Mansion is 72.5% sold with units averaging $2,639 psf, according to URA Realis. Meanwhile, One Meyer, launched in March 2019, has only five unsold units, and average price achieved is $2,592 psf. Meanwhile, MeyerHouse is 78.6% sold, with average price of $2,528 psf. However, MeyerHouse is positioned as a luxury project with only three- and four-bedroom units as well as penthouses. Its last and biggest penthouse of 5,683 sq ft sold for $14.2 million in October 2021, according to URA Realis.
“These projects in the neighbourhood of Meyer Road are freehold and therefore, prices are closer to $3,000 psf,” notes Nicholas Mak, head of research & consultancy at ERA Realty Network. “Liv @ MB is in a prominent location, within a 10-minute drive to the CBD. It has a good catchment of buyers who are already living in the east. And it is in a neighbourhood of predominantly landed property. Hence, being 99-year leasehold, its entry level price is more digestible.”
According to Bukit Sembawang’s Jenny: “We are encouraged by the response from discerning buyers who were attracted by the location, modern architectural design, quality finishing, thoughtful layouts and fine touches offered with our homes”.
The sales gallery and showflats “will be temporarily closed until further notice” after today.