Thursday, June 21, 2007

'Uber-premium living' with price to match

Coming to River Valley at above $2,500 psf

Christie Loh
[email protected]

Hoping to ride the current property wave, developer Novelty Group will soon launch a River Valley project that is asking for around double the prices in the area.

Named Luma, the 75-unit freehold development will be priced at above $2,500 per square foot (psf) when launched next month, said Novelty's chief operating officer Manoj Kalwani.

That would surpass the nearby 2RVG, which sold for about $1,100 psf of late, according to caveats lodged. A condo at Ardmore Park recently fetched around $2,100 to $2,600 psf.

"To justify a doubling of the price, the developer needs to have something very special," said Knight Frank's research director Nicholas Mak.

Novelty believes its brand-name imported finishes will call out to "connoisseurs" of "uber- premium living". Some agents were so bullish as to market Luma at $3,015 psf.

Luma, meaning "shrubs of small trees with evergreen foliage", sits on the land of the razed 50-unit Eng Tai Mansion, which was sold collectively for $810 psf late last year. The new development comprises 27 floors of one- and two- bedroom units of 743 sq ft to 1,173 sq ft each.

"It's for anyone with money and who appreciates the finer things in life," said Mr Kalwani.

Targetting the super rich has become the norm, said Cushman and Wakefield's managing director Donald Han. To come up with fresh ideas, developers have been travelling to fashion capitals to suss out novelties, he added.

The latest to hit the market with a unique feature is The Marq on Paterson Hill by SC Global Developments. The builder said yesterday that it expected an average $4,000 psf for the 66-unit freehold project, which is marketed as "ultra luxurious" with a Singapore-first a 15m private heated lap pool jutting out of every apartment.

Should anyone buy the biggest units each around 6,195 sq ft for up to $30 million as SC Global hopes, the selling price would work out to a record $4,843 psf. That would beat the benchmark set last month, when someone paid $4,653 psf or $28 million for a penthouse at St Regis Residences along Tanglin Road.

But records these days tumble fast. The latest peak was reached shortly after a unit at Parkview Eclat at Grange Road fetched the then-record $4,200 psf.

But not everyone hits the headlines. "It is easy to say I'm gonna sell at X dollars, but not everyone can do it. You need to have the right developer's acumen and branding. You must have the track record and the snob appeal," said Mr Han.