Posh executive flats

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Wow, all those featured here are in their 20s, and buying property in excess of $700,000 to $800,000! Where do they find the money and how much of it is financed? It's going to be very hefty finance charges unless their parents help them pay off a substantial sum at the downpayment stage.....Huh

I don't think they are good buys - in fact they are very expensive for those who have just started out on their career. They should get something in the $300,000 to $400,000 range for it to be more affordable (HDB Resale comes to mind).

Jan 1, 2011
Home & garden
Posh executive flats

Home buyers are snapping up executive condominiums but are they good buys?
By Tay Suan Chiang

When IT executive Vincent Foo went house-hunting recently, his pick was an executive condominium (EC).

The 33-year-old bought a three- bedroom unit at Prive, an EC in Punggol, for $790,000, early last month and plans to move in with his fiance, cabin attendant Carol Loh, 29, when the apartment is ready by 2014.

He says: 'Prive is in a good location as it is near Punggol MRT station. We also don't mind paying more to get condo- style facilities. Resale flats were not our choice as we didn't want to pay high cash-over-valuation prices for them.'

In the last three months, ECs, which are 'more posh' than Housing Board (HDB) flats but not priced as high as private property, have been selling like hot cakes in the sizzling property market. Nearly 1,000 out of 1,659 EC units launched have been sold since October.

In that month, property developer Frasers Centrepoint Homes launched Esparina Residences near Buangkok MRT station, followed by MCC Land's The Canopy in Yishun.

Prive by NTUC Choice Homes Cooperative was launched earlier last month, while United Engineers Limited's Austville next to Punggol Park will be launched this month.

In 1995, it was then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong who mooted the idea of building ECs to meet the housing needs of 'sandwich' families, whose income exceeds the $8,000 HDB income ceiling and yet cannot afford private property.

The gross monthly household income of buyers of new EC units cannot exceed $10,000.

Although ECs are developed and sold by private developers and their designs are comparable to that of private condominiums, they come with sale restrictions similar to those for public housing.

First-time EC owners must live in their homes for at least five years. After that, they can sell the apartment only to Singaporeans and permanent residents.

When an EC home is 10 years old, it will be fully privatised and can be sold to foreigners.

It is not just home buyers who feel that ECs are good buys. Property agents agree, too.

Mr Eric Cheng, chief executive of ECG Property, says the homes offered by developers in the recent EC launches generally have been priced well.

They are about 10 to 15 per cent cheaper than the resale condominium apartments in the same area.

For example, units at The Canopy in Yishun are going for an average price of $650 per square foot (psf). About 2km away is the 16-year-old Orchid Park Condominium, a 99-year leasehold development, where units were recently sold for an average of about $660 psf.

Mr Chris Koh, director at Dennis Wee Group, adds that on top of ECs' lower prices, 'buyers are getting new apartments rather than resale ones'.

'ECs come with many amenities and it is as good as living in a private condominium. And they tend to be located in mature estates that have good transport networks and other amenities,' he says.

He adds that ECs have also been known to appreciate in value over the years.

For example, when the Lilydale EC in Yishun was launched in 2001, the average price for the units was $360 psf. Records for recent sales show that the selling price is now about $650 psf.

Over at the first EC, Eastvale in Pasir Ris, which was completed in 1999, prices then were about $430 psf.

Today, units are sold at an average of more than $600 psf. This is slightly higher than the average $530 psf price that the nearby, 99-year leasehold condo Elias Green, completed in 1994, is fetching.

To date, 23 ECs have been built in the heartland such as Pasir Ris, Jurong East and Woodlands.

The spate of recent EC launches comes after a five-year drought, when the last EC, La Casa in Woodlands, was launched in 2005.

Living Down Under in Sengkang

There were no EC launches between 2005 and 2009 because in 2004, the property market slumped and private home prices fell. The need for ECs diminished and the Government stopped selling land for EC development.

ECs today have become so posh, they even have fancy showflats that can match those at private condominium launches.

Austville in Sengkang will have Australian-themed features for its project, such as eucalyptus gum trees, tropical ferns, vineyard-inspired clubhouse and kangaroo-tile motifs in the pool.

Units come with marble flooring for living and dining rooms much like those in private apartments.

A spokesman for United Engineers Limited says the theme was chosen because 'Australia has always been one of the coveted places in the world to live in, combining the best of rustic living and city life. We want to bring that element here'.

Over at Esparina in Buangkok, residents can enjoy seven types of spas, such as a rain spa and hydromassage spa.

The Canopy in Yishun prides itself on having units with large living spaces.

Mr Richard Nah, a senior manager at The Canopy's developer MCC Land, says: 'We have buyers who are upgraders, who are used to the large living spaces in older flats, hence we want to give them this similar feeling in our EC.'

At Prive in Punggol, there are amenities such as a clubhouse, lap pools and floating decks for its residents.

It is features such as these that have attracted credit analyst Derek Ng, 25, and his girlfriend, analyst Hanna Tan, 25, to buy an EC at Esparina. They paid $809,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

'We belong to the sandwich class and buying an EC allows us to get access to condo-style living,' says Mr Ng.

For others, it is the location of the EC that made them sign on the dotted line.

Software engineer Benjamin Kwang bought a three-bedroom unit at The Canopy for $780,000. 'It is near Yishun MRT station and I find Yishun a convenient location,' says the 22-year-old.

There is more good news for those who have their eyes set on ECs.

Four more sites - in Tampines, Chua Chu Kang, Punggol and Upper Serangoon - have been earmarked for ECs in the Government Land Sales Programme for the first half of this year. These will provide 2,290 homes.



Executive deals


Junction of Punggol Field and Punggol Road

Nearly half of the 680 units in this project by NTUC Choice Homes Cooperative have been sold since its launch last month.

Buyers can choose from two-, three- or four-bedroom units. The average price is $660 per square foot (psf).

Facilities at the project, located next to Punggol MRT station, include a 50m lap pool.
'Prive is in a good location as it is near Punggol MRT station. We don't mind paying more to get condo- style facilities'

IT executive Vincent Foo, who bought a three- bedroom unit with his fiance last month


Yishun Avenue 11

Developed by MCC Land, this project has sold 210 of its 406 units at an average of $650 psf.

Launched in October, it offers two-, three- and four-bedroom units and penthouses. Facilities include a 50m lap pool, alfresco dining lounge and outdoor badminton court.

It is next to Nee Soon East Park and near Yishun MRT station.
'It is near Yishun MRT station and I find Yishun a convenient location'

Software engineer Benjamin Kwang, who got a three-bedroom unit at The Canopy


Between Sengkang East Avenue and Buangkok Drive

To be launched this month, the 540-unit project is developed by United Engineers Limited. Prices start from $620 psf and the project has two-, three- and four-bedroom units.

It has Australian-themed facilities such as a billabong, or ox bow lake water feature, an infinity pool and a vineyard-inspired dining pavilion.


Compassvale Bow

Since its launch in October, the project has sold 514 of its 573 units at an average of $740 psf. Developed by Frasers Centrepoint Homes, it is near Buangkok MRT station and offers two-, three- and four-bedroom units.

It also has dual-key units - units with an adjoining studio apartment. The studio unit has its own entrance, which opens to a foyer that is shared with the main unit.

Residents can also enjoy seven spas on the premises, such as the rain spa and hydromassage spa.
'Buying an EC allows us to get access to condo-style living'

Credit analyst Derek Ng, who bought a three-bedroom Esparina unit with his girlfriend
My Value Investing Blog: http://sgmusicwhiz.blogspot.com/
waos... 1st home already $700k... :O

1) Try NOT to LOSE money!
2) Do NOT SELL in BEAR, BUY-BUY-BUY! invest in managements/companies that does the same!
3) CASH in hand is KING in BEAR! 
True Story.

A friend of mine also just bought a unit at the Prive. I'm sure how much he paid for the unit or what he's earning. Both he and his fiancee are officers at a Stat Board.

After he bought the unit, I read something on his FB update that caught my attention. He mentioned something about aiming to make $1K more per month so I asked him out of curiousity about what he was up to.

His Reply:

"Shorting the market."

Now I don't know if he has any experience as a trader before this but I'm guessing not. The fact that he 'advertised' this right after he bought the EC shows that many people are indeed overstretching themselves with this purchase and looking for alternatives to make some money. I hope my friend comes out on the right side of things.

Also, prepare to hear more stories like this in The New Paper when the downturn comes.
Oooh your true story sounds quite scary indeed! If more of these young couples over-stretch just to have a feel of the "condo facilities" then when the crunch comes (whether rising interest rates or crashing property market) it will catch them hard!

Any ways to prevent the damage from being done? Or has it already been done with the selling of these expensive flats? Undecided
My Value Investing Blog: http://sgmusicwhiz.blogspot.com/

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