Saturday, December 1, 2007

Westwood Apartments

THE record collective sale price achieved by Westwood Apartments yesterday has put to rest industry concerns that the red-hot property market has cooled off.

Malaysian conglomerate YTL Corporation paid $435 million for the 30-year-old condominium in Orchard Boulevard, with an additional $4.6 million development charge.

This prices it at a startling $2,525 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr), a level that trumps the freehold The Ardmore, a 24-unit property off Orchard Road that was sold to SC Global Developments in June for $262 million, or $2,338 psf ppr.

Westwood’s owners will each reap about $8 million, with the two penthouse owners getting about $17 million each.

The sale comes after recent government land sales received lukewarm responses, prompting experts to voice concerns of a souring in sentiment.

A condo plot in Enggor Street in Tanjong Pagar, for example, fetched a top bid of $180.8 million, or $717 psf ppr when it closed recently. This was well below the $852 psf ppr achieved by an adjacent plot.

Analysts told The Straits Times they were caught off guard by YTL’s bullish price but added that the prime Westwood location justified the high price tag.

The 62,179 sq ft condo, which has a plot ratio of 2.8 and a 20-storey restriction, could accommodate 43 luxury apartments of 4,000 sq ft each, said Savills Singapore, which brokered the deal.

Knight Frank director for research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said the sale was refreshing as the volatility in global stock markets, coupled with recent government measures to cool the market, have slowed sales.

Other analysts believe the sale is a one-off with demand for collective sales likely to be confined to prime areas such as District 9, 10 and 11.

Chesterton International Property Consultants’ head of research and consultancy, Mr Colin Tan, said negative sentiment is unlikely to affect prime sites.

‘Even if a developer overpaid, it has secured the site. In the long run, it is likely to be in their advantage,’ he said.

Malaysian tycoon Francis Yeoh, who helms YTL, told The Straits Times yesterday that he was in it for the long- haul. Buying Westwood cements YTL’s entry into Singapore’s top-tier luxury property market.

YTL already owns Sandy Island and the Lakefront Collection at Sentosa Cove.

Dr Yeoh shrugs off the apparent recent real estate cool-down in Singapore, saying wealthy buyers will always demand quality homes, regardless of market sentiment.

‘The question of whether the price paid for the land is reasonable depends on what you do with it,’ he said. ‘There are many people who are still bullish about Singapore’s market.’

Westwood resident Richard Eu, who is also chief executive of the traditional Chinese medicine company Eu Yan Sang, said owners were ‘happy that we managed to get a good price given the recent slowdown’.

The deal took just seven months to complete and is the largest collective sale since new rules kicked in on Oct 4.

Westwood’s owners will each reap about $8 million, with the two penthouse owners getting $17 million each.

Source : Straits Times - 28 Nov 2007

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