Property heavyweights from Singapore, Hong Kong and China dominated the Lion City’s final land sale of 2023 with top bids for a trio of sites amounting to a combined S$2.3 billion ($1.7 billion), led by a stronger-than-expected offer from a consortium of City Developments Ltd (CDL), Frasers Property and Japanese builder Sekisui House.
The S$968 million top offer from the CDL-led consortium bested a pair of competing bids for a 1.57 hectare (3.88 acre) residential site at Lorong 1 Toa Payoh in District 12, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced on Tuesday. If awarded, the tender would mark the first joint venture by the three property heavyweights and Toa Payoh’s first new private housing project in eight years.
“The last GLS tender (in Toa Payoh) was in 2015 and considering the limited new home supply in the vicinity, our development will offer homeowners an attractive opportunity to reside in a mature town with excellent connectivity and plentiful amenities,” Sherman Kwek, CDL Group Chief Executive Officer said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Together with our partners, we look forward to tapping on our collective expertise to create an iconic development in the highly sought-after Toa Payoh estate.”
Drawing the greatest number of bids was a tender for a 144,785 square foot (13,451 square metre) suburban housing plot at Clementi Avenue 1 in the western region. That plot drew six offers topped by a S$633.45 million joint venture between Hongkong Land’s Singapore unit MCL Land and CSC Land Group, a local unit of state run mainland giant China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).
Land Cost Surges 80%
CDL, Frasers and Sekisui House propose to build two 40-storey residential blocks on the 99-year leasehold Toa Payoh site with the project expected to yield 800 new homes within three minutes’ walk of Braddell MRT station.
CDL holds a 50 percent stake in the consortium while Frasers and Sekisui House hold 25 percent interest each.
The trio will be paying roughly S$1,360 per square foot of the project’s maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 711,720 square feet, or roughly 20 percent higher than market expectations of S$1,100 to S$1,200 per square foot.
That land premium was also 80 percent higher than the S$755 price per square foot which a joint venture between Malaysian builder Gamuda Land and local partner Evia Real Estate paid for a site just across the street at Lorong 6 Toa Payoh/Lorong 4 Toa Payoh in June 2015. That plot was developed into the 578-unit Gem Residences complex which was fully sold out in 2019.
Nearby educational institutions include CHIJ Primary Toa Payoh, First Toa Payoh Primary, Kheng Cheng School, Marymount Convent School and Pei Chun Public School.
SRI research and data analytics head Mohan Sandrasegeran estimated selling prices of condos at the upcoming project could sell for S$2,500 to S$2,600 per square foot.
Homes Sell Out Fast
In western Singapore, MCL Land and CSC Land’s offer for the Clementi Avenue 1 site translates to S$1,250 per square foot of its allowable GFA of 506,754 square feet, with that bid besting tenders from property heavyweights CDL, Frasers and GuocoLand.
The 99-year leasehold plot can yield 500 homes opposite the Nan Hua High School campus, and is sandwiched between two previously tendered sites developed by UOL Group as the 640-unit Clavon and 505-unit The Clement Canopy condo projects.
The joint venture’s offer for the Clementi site also exceeded market expectations and is nearly 60 percent higher than what UOL had paid for the Clavon site in July 2019.
Condos in the future Clementi project by MCL Land and CSC Land could be priced at S$2,400 to S$2,500 per square foot, according to Sandrasegeran.
“With a likely pent-up demand and a wide range of educational institutions nearby, it is likely the future development at Clementi Avenue 1 site will further fuel demand in the area,” he added.
MCL Land Bags Two Sites in a Row
Also closing on Tuesday was a tender for the URA’s Pine Grove Parcel B residential site, which is located north of the Clementi project within the affluent Bukit Timah area. The site drew three tenders with a joint venture between MCL Land and Indonesian builder Sinarmas Land securing the top bid at S$692.39 million.
That winning bid is equivalent to S$1,223 per square foot of the site’s 565,998 square foot maximum GFA, exceeding initial analyst expectations but still the lowest land cost on a price per unit area among the three sites tendered.
The site can accommodate a 565-unit condo project, but faces strong competition from UOL’s recently launched Pinetree Hill project which occupies an adjacent plot. The MCL Land JV is paying 7 percent less for its plot than what UOL paid for the adjacent site in a URA land sale in June 2022.
Selling prices in the upcoming Pine Grove development could come in at around S$2,300 to S$2,400 per square foot, according to PropNex.
“The future project on this plot may be appealing to families owing to its proximity to popular schools like Henry Park Primary School, and Pei Tong Primary School, as well as those who want to live near the prime District 10,” said Wong Siew Ying, research and content at PropNex.
Both MCL Land and Sinarmas Land had not commented on the tenders by the time of publication.
The higher than expected bids come despite Singapore’s private housing market having shown signs of cooling this year as developers flood the market with new supply at the same time that buyers slow their purchase in the face of market uncertainties and rising interest rates.
New home sales across the city-state plunged to a nine-month low of 394 units in September, bringing the year-to-date tally to 5,407 condos, down 7.5 percent from the same period last year, based on URA figures.