Published March 15, 2007

En bloc action moves beyond Orchard area

13 of 17 collective sales so far this year are in secondary locations


DESPITE big publicity for a few prominent sales, most of the en bloc deals so far this year have been outside the Orchard Road area, property advisers Jones Lang LaSalle said yesterday.

Since the start of this year, there have been 17 collective sales totalling $2.43 billion. And of these, 13 deals adding up to $1.59 billion were outside the prime Orchard Road belt - or 65 per cent of the islandwide tally of $2.43 billion.

JLL expects en bloc sales in secondary locations with good accessibility to begin taking the spotlight on the collective sale stage this year, citing the varied housing preferences that will emerge as Singapore becomes home to a more diversified population in its evolution into a global city.

JLL said the total islandwide tally of en bloc sales so far this year was notably bigger than the 14 deals worth $1.3 billion recorded in Q1 last year. The figure for the first two-and-a-half months of this year nearly matches the $2.41 billion for the whole of 1999, which was a record year at the time. That full-year record was surpassed by last year's figure, of $7.75 billion comprising 62 collective sale deals.

JLL regional director and head of investments Lui Seng Fatt is bullish about the outlook for the first half of this year, saying that the level of en bloc sales for the whole of this year is likely to be maintained at the 2006 level. 'We also expect greater participation by foreign funds through joint ventures with local developers to invest in more sizeable deals,' Mr Lui said.

Examples of en bloc sales sealed this year outside the Orchard Road area include Gillman Heights at Alexandra Road ($548 million, setting a new record for a collective sale in absolute dollar terms), Minton Rise in Hougang, Hong Leong Garden Condominium in the West Coast location, Seabreeze Apartments in Joo Chiat and Flamingo Valley in Siglap.

Mr Lui expects the 'filtering effect to the secondary areas' to strengthen further this year. 'As Singapore continues to establish itself as a global city, a more diversified population, with different housing preferences, will emerge. Demand for residential units will remain strong but will not be concentrated just in the prime districts,' he said. 'Projects in secondary areas with good accessibility will begin to take the spotlight on the collective sale platform.

'At the going rate, we may even see another record set in the secondary areas, especially those around the East Coast districts that are near or along major transportation routes.' JLL observed that an increasing number of new collective sales sites are emerging in secondary areas such as Farrer Road (such as Leedon Heights and Tulip Gardens), Palm Beach Gardens and Ocean Apartments in the East Coast vicinity, and Concorde Residences, Bright Building and Balestier Court in the Thomson area.