Private housing takes off in Punggol

8 new home sites within last 12 months could add more than 5,000 homes

By Cheryl Lim
20 October 2011

Punggol, Singapore’s newest option for waterfront living, is fast entering a new phase of development as private housing takes off in the new town.

The Government has just announced the release of a large 1.8ha private condo site, right next to Punggol MRT station, which is able to yield 540 homes.

The site is just the latest in a string of new home sites in Punggol. Seven other residential sites have been put up for sale, sold or developed in the last 12 months.

These eight plots could add more than 5,000 homes over the next few years.

Analysts note that public flats are usually the first type of homes introduced into a new area as they help build critical mass. Then private homes pave the way for the next wave of development.

‘It’s partially because private developments are meant for upgraders within the estate,’ said Mr Colin Tan, head of research and consultancy at Chesterton Suntec International. ‘If most of the public housing in an area has been occupied for less than the five-year minimum occupation period, then it’s difficult to shore up demand for the project,’ he added.

The estate, which has long carried the stigma of being too remote, is buzzing. In July, a Frasers CentrePoint-Keong Hong Construction partnership bagged an executive condo (EC) site at the Punggol Way-Punggol Field junction.

ECs are a public-private housing hybrid and eventually become fully private.

A few weeks ago, a joint venture company consisting of Capital Development and ZACD Investment clinched another residential plot at Punggol Field.

Still, some home buyers have snubbed the new town, saying it lacks the well-established infrastructure of neighbourhoods such as Toa Payoh and Tampines.

But many others, like Ms Vivien Poh, are unfazed by this, banking instead on the area’s development potential.

The 51-year-old financial consultant said: ‘Many years ago, I was captivated by Punggol after seeing the pictures of the Punggol Waterway project… Some people say the town lacks facilities and infrastructure but it reminds me of what Tampines was like back when it was first established. Now it’s not easy to buy a place in Tampines. It’s all about looking into the future.’

Like-minded buyers have boosted sales at several large projects there.

Despite being some distance away from an MRT station, Qingjian Realty’s RiverParc Residence EC project has sold 99 per cent of its 504 units since its July launch, at an average price of $670 psf.

Sales at projects closer to the Punggol MRT station have performed even better.

Prive, another EC, has sold all 680 units. More than 270 units were snapped up on the first day of its launch last December. Since then, units have been sold at an average price of $680psf.

A more recent development, A Treasure Trove by Sim Lian Group, has moved more than 730 of the 882 units, with units fetching a median price of $915 psf.

The newest is Watertown, an upcoming mixed-use project by Frasers Centrepoint, Far East Organization and Sekisui House. The Straits Times understands starting prices for the more than 900 units are set to be above $1,000 psf.

Market experts say the success of such projects will encourage town planners to consider releasing more sites for sale.

Two other plots are up for grabs. The latest 1.8ha site, at the corner of Punggol Central and Punggol Place, will be put up for sale on Oct 27 and the tender for a site at the corner of Punggol Central and Edgedale Plains will close on Nov 3. That plot can yield an estimated 610 units.

Although the new town is far from the city and the Central Business District, Mr Tan Kok Keong, head of research at OrangeTee, said buyers can get good value at Punggol, given the $13 million plan to put in attractions like a promenade and activities like horse-riding and fishing.

‘If more commercial properties come up closer to Punggol, it could mean more employment opportunities nearer to the town and that would mean an even bigger boost for Punggol’s appeal.’

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