Published December 25, 2012

CityDev to start selling Echelon this week

Potential buyers said to have been given average price indication of $1,700-plus psf for Alexandra Road condo

By Kalpana Rashiwala

CITY Developments Ltd (CDL) will begin sales later this week for Echelon, its long-awaited, 99-year leasehold private condominium project next to Redhill MRT Station, sources say.

BT understands that bookings for the Alexandra Road condo - next to the completed Ascentia Sky condo - are likely to start on Friday. Potential buyers are said to have been given an average price indication of "$1,700 per square foot plus". Word on the street is that about 30-50 per cent of the development's 508 units may be released for this week's preview, and more than 300 cheques are thought to have been collected.

Designed by SCDA, units in the 43-storey, twin-tower development will range from studios to four-bedroom apartments and penthouses.

City Developments is developing Echelon jointly with Hong Leong Group's Intrepid Investments and Hong Realty's Garden Estates. The trio clinched the site for $396 million, or $754 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), at a state tender that closed on Dec 6 last year - a day before the government announced the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD), aimed at curbing the wave of foreign buying at the time and excessive private residential property investment by Singaporeans and permanent residents.

CDL's bid for the site looked ill-timed during the bleak period which immediately followed the ABSD announcement. As well, its land price was 9 per cent higher than the second highest bid at the tender. However, sentiment has since improved markedly as witnessed by developers' record home sales this year as well as subsequent land bids in the locale.

At a state tender earlier this month for a neighbouring land parcel at Alexandra View, a Singapore Land unit's winning bid was $970.18 psf ppr.

In September, a consortium comprising Wing Tai, Metro and UE E&C, paid $960.28 psf ppr for an arguably choicer site - 500 metres from Redhill MRT Station but near the Chatsworth Park Good Class Bungalow Area.

Meanwhile, at Woodlands Ave 5/Woodlands Drive 16, nearly 800 e-applications were received from Friday to Sunday for the 653-unit Forestville executive condominium (EC) project.

E-applications, which began on Dec 21, will stay open until 10pm on Dec 26. Balloting will be carried out at 10.30am on Friday, Dec 28 at the showflat, to be followed immediately by the start of sales bookings.

The average price is around $700 psf for buyers on normal progressive payment scheme.

The price will be 3 per cent higher for those who choose the deferred payment scheme (DPS). Under DPS, buyers fork out 5 per cent of the purchase price on booking, followed by another 15 per cent in the following eight to 10 weeks. No further payment is due until the 13-storey development receives Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) and buyers collect the keys to their unit. TOP is expected in mid-2016.

Forestville will comprise 14 blocks. Units will range from two to five-bedroom apartments. Dual-key units will make up 30 per cent of the 653 units. Forestville will have 29 penthouses, ranging from 1,550 sq ft to 2,756 sq ft.

ECs are a hybrid of public and private housing with initial buyer eligibility and resale restrictions which are completely lifted 10 years after the completion of an EC project. Forestville is being conceptualised and managed by MCC Land on behalf of its developer, Hao Yuan Investment. Both Hao Yuan and MCC Land are controlled by unrelated mainland China interests. The project is being marketed by ERA and PropNex.

CBRE and Huttons are the marketing agents for Echelon.