Published December 12, 2006

Speculators eye Marina Bay Residences
Project likely to be priced at just under $1,700 psf on average


PROPERTY speculators are heading for their next gold mine - at Marina Bay Residences, market watchers say.

Attracting attention: Foreigners are expected to account for more than 30 per cent of Marina Bay Residences buyers

Previews begin today and although pricing has not been finalised, the net average price is expected to be just shy of $1,700 per square foot.

'We've seen strong interest from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Middle East and Europe and have received enquiries about multiple purchases,' the head of marketing at BFC Development, Kan Kum Wah, said at a news briefing yesterday.

Some parties are keen on several units and others are eyeing entire floors, said Mr Kan, who described the likely price range of $1,550 to $2,150 psf as 'a very fair price'.

The indicative average price of just under $1,700 psf for the 99-year leasehold development is in line with going prices in the area. Bay-front units in the neighbouring The Sail @ Marina Bay are changing hands for about $1,600-$1,700 psf in the sub-sale market. The 1,111-unit project is fully sold and has been a speculation hotspot.

So far there have been 162 sub-sales deals at The Sail - about 15 per cent of the project's total units. But the actual number of units involved may be higher, as about 10 of these deals involved multiple units.

Sub-sales are seen as a proxy for speculation.

DTZ Debenham Tie Leung executive director Ong Choon Fah said yesterday: 'People who are buying in this location have deep pockets. Besides owner occupiers and long-term investors, there may be some 'specu-vestors', meaning they are prepared to hold on to their units if necessary but can be persuaded to sell if they receive a good offer.'

City Developments and AIG began selling units at The Sail's first tower in October 2004 at an average price of $950 psf and in the second tower a year later at $1,080 psf initially, eventually achieving an average of $1,200 psf for the second tower.

More than 40 per cent of the total 1,111 units sold by the joint developers were snapped up by foreigners.

Over the past three months, units at the development have changed hands at an average price of about $1,300 psf.

Despite the rapid price gain in the area seen over the past few years, Mrs Ong believes that there is potential for further gains.

'We'll have two integrated resorts,' she said. 'A lot of international companies are choosing Singapore as their hub. And residents in the Marina Bay area will enjoy the 54-hectare Gardens by the Bay at their doorstep.'

CB Richard Ellis chairman (Asia) Willy Shee reckons foreign buyers will account for more than 30 per cent of Marina Bay Residences buyers. 'We've seen strong interest from both local and foreign buyers - from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea and the Middle East. We expect a very good sell rate in the next few days,' he said at yesterday's briefing.

CBRE and DTZ are marketing the project jointly.

Marina Bay Residences, a 428-unit luxury residential tower, will be part of the Marina Bay Financial Centre project being developed by Hongkong Land, Keppel Land and Cheung Kong (Holdings).

Offers of more than $20 million have been received for the 'uber penthouse' of 11,012 sq ft on the top three levels of the 55-storey tower. There will be nine other smaller penthouses in the project, which will also have units with one, two, three and four bedrooms.

Prices start from about $1 million for a one-bedder of 710 sq ft.