District 9 has heated up as more en bloc sites sold and at the same time more sites has been put up for collective sale in this area.
On Friday, 25th May, Huttons Asia has announced that Leonie Gardens is being launched for en bloc sale through public tender and the asking price at S$800 million.
The asking price equals S$2,104 psf ppr considering the present gross floor space or S$2,021 on the basis of psf ppr with 10% balcony space also included, assuming approvals from appropriate authorities.
The tender for this en bloc sale closes on 21st June, Thursday, at 3 pm.
Leonie Gardens is located in the Leonie Hill in District 9, at 23, 25 and 27 and has 71 years left in its 99 years leasehold before it expires on 14th September, 2089.
The condominium comprises of 138 units with total strata space of 324,972.90 square feet and 410,431.80 square feet of gross floor area.
The site enjoys residential zoning under the Master Plan 2014 from the Urban Development Authority with plot ratio at 2.8.
Huttons opines that the property can be redeveloped to hold 544 units with an average of approximately 70 sq meters each, or about 380 units with 100 sq meters each.
An additional 10% balcony space can be added subject to approvals from the authorities. This will push up the area available to 449,031.63 sq ft.
Since the present baseline is more than the current plot ratio at 2.8, no development charge will be levied. However, the 10% additional balcony space would attract development charge at S$44 million, when approved.
Owners of Leonie Gardens, a high-end condominium within District 9, have decided to put their property on the market collectively. To underline their commitment to the sale, they called an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 30th September, during which they formed a collective sales committee.
Before the meeting ended, more than 50% of the property owners had expressed their support for the sale. Also the marketing agent and solicitor, professionals needed to help with the property sale, have already been selected through a public tender.
Leonie Gardens is a beautiful site, with its towers’ reddish hue catching the eye from afar. The property sits on an area 14,000 square meters and has two blocks, each 23 storeys high. It also has another block with eight storeys. In total, the property currently has 138 units and their sizes range between 1,730 and 4,300 square feet.
Although this is the first time the property is being put up for a collective sale, one member of Leonie Gardens’ collective sales committee, Mr. Michael Tan, says there was such talk among property owners a decade ago, but the wave died away before any action could take place.
Although there are other condominiums that have been sold en bloc in the recent past, and there is a possibility of more estates within the main central region joining the en bloc sale bandwagon, owners of Leonie Gardens are hopeful they are going to succeed in their collective sale.
Industry observers reckon that since it is apparent competition in the property market is going to continue rising, the property that is going to succeed in its collective sale attempt is the one that has a strong selling point, or one that distinguishes itself from the rest.
On that point, Mr. Michael Tan, says their property has more than one unique selling point. He highlights the fact that their property sits at the hilltop as one aspect that can captivate potential buyers.
He also points out the serenity and beauty of the slope down Leonie Hill, observing that it provides relief from the hustle and bustle of the estates. Mr. Tan also notes that their site is considered Leonie Hills’ crown jewel, and as such it is hot property as far as potential buyers are concerned.
The hype surrounding en bloc sales notwithstanding, Mr. Tan notes that selling Leonie Gardens to developers is in line with the government’s vision of having old properties rejuvenated.
- The property having 2.8 as its plot ratio puts it at an advantage, because the developer has leeway to build blocks of towers rising up to 36 storeys.
- It provides a clear view of the areas around because of its high ground
- Residents enjoy a nice breeze from up the high ground
- Transportation is convenient as the property is just off two good roads, Grange and River Valley roads.
- It is very close to some important MRT stations – the Orchard and the Somerset, and also the much anticipated Great World City MRT.
- There are buying centres nearby, including the Four Seasons Organic Market and Cold Storage Takashimaya.
- The National Museum and the Singapore Art Museum are close by.
- There are popular malls in the vicinity, including the Ion Orchard.
- Also there are schools around, including Outram Secondary School, St. Margaret’s Primary School and River Valley Primary School.
- The site is walking distance from Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
- It has fascinating surroundings with a Hawaiian theme, including a lagoon and waterfalls. According to industry players, these features contributed to the hike in the property price back in 1993 when development of Leonie Gardens was completed. Logically then, the same features could help to sell out the developed units even at a price higher than other properties in the market.
Dr Lee Nai Jia, Edmund Tie & Company’s head of research has another perspective. He says that whereas developers may admire a location, ability to pay the asking price is a different matter altogether.
He also intimates that some developers might first wish to check if they can find freehold property before they dash to buy a 99yr old leasehold property.
Even among the 99yr old lease properties, some developers may wish to compare Leonie Gardens with properties on Jiak Kim Street, which has its vibrant identity as a possible selling point.
To resident owners, their readiness to let go of their property at Leonie Gardens boils down to the financial gain they are bound to get from the collective sale. Mr Maniyadeth Narayanan, another member of the collective sales committee who came to live in Leonie Gardens in 2003, says the busy Orchard Road shopping belt is visible from his flat, and he loves the view.
However, he says he is practical about the allure of the big money he is likely to receive from the sale, and in any case, an old condo has its issues even when it has been properly maintained.