Marina One Residences’ developer waited four years to ride the property market momentum; prices now average S$2,700-S$2,800 psf

Developer M+S says it has waited four years to launch this tower block to ride the market momentum; the other tower was launched in 2014.
M+S

Come July, the developer behind the mega mixed-use project Marina One will find out whether its strategy four years ago of holding back half its 1,042 residential units from the market has paid off.

M+S Pte Ltd, the joint-venture firm by Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, will release 30 per cent of its 521-unit Garden Tower for sale, with the rest expected to be released in the remainder of the year.

Prices at Garden Tower will start at S$2,400 ($1770) per square foot (psf) and stand at an average S$2,700 psf  to S$2,800 psf.

Units in the other residential block, Park Tower – which also has 521 units – were released for sale at the start of 2014. M+S chose to hold back the launch of Garden Tower until the temporary occupation permit (TOP) was obtained for the development in 2017.

Chief executive of M+S Kemmy Tan, referring to the 3.9 per cent jump in the private home price index of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in the first quarter of 2018, said: “We’re riding on the market momentum. Any buyer can expect returns straightaway, especially for someone buying for investment.”

The launch of Garden Tower in July will help build up the Marine One Residences community, she added. This community also comprises Grade A office space – 1.88 million sq ft of it – and 140,000 sq ft of retail space including Cold Storage and Virgin Active. This “ecosystem” could be a draw for potential buyers, said Ms Tan.

The units come with appliances and fittings from Miele, Poggenpohl and Villeroy & Boch, and overlook the sea, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and Marina One’s “Green Heart” biodiversity garden, with 160,000 trees and plants.

M+S is not required to finish selling units at Marina One Residences within a stipulated time because it does not come under qualifying certificate (QC) rules, which require a developer to finish building a residential project in five years and sell the units within two years of their completion. Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) also does not apply as the land was acquired before 2011.

In Garden Tower, 77 per cent of units are one- and two-bedders targeted at investors, singles and young couples; the rest are three- and four-bedders targeted at seasonal occupation or owner-occupiers. There are also four penthouses, each 8,000 sq ft in size.

Potential buyers could be looking at a rental yield of about 3 per cent, said Ms Tan.

Sales have been brisk at Park Tower, where units have moved at an average S$2,350 psf, she said. Just 41 units are left.

About half the buyers at Park Tower are Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs); the other half are foreigners, mostly from Asia.

M+S’ 660 residential units at its other integrated development Duo in the Ophir-Rochor area is almost fully sold; only 10 units are left.

M+S came about as a result of a historic land swop deal between Singapore and Malaysia in 2010. Three plots of former Malayan Railway land and three additional plots in Bukit Timah were exchanged for four land parcels in Marina South and two parcels in Ophir-Rochor, giving rise to these two developments.

Nicholas Mak, executive director for ZACD Group, said: “The project could appeal to investors who may be able to rent these units as soon as they take possession of it.” Some buyers like being able to see the completed product before they buy it, instead of just viewing a showflat, he added.

Industry watchers noted that although Marina Bay has no soon-to-be residential developments coming up, apartments have come up between Marina Bay and Tanjong Pagar in the last 10 years.

Going by caveats lodged between January and June, Marina Bay Residences units transacted at a median S$2,182 psf; those at Marina Bay Suites went for a median S$2,059 psf. Over the same period at the nearby V on Shenton, units transacted at a median price of S$2,339 psf.

Ku Swee Yong, International Property Advisor’s chief executive, said investors also have choices beyond the immediate vicinity, such as City Developments Limited’s upcoming South Beach Residences and Guocoland’s Wallich Residence.

Mr Mak said: “The Raffles Place and Marina area are very well-served by public transport. If the price of their units are too high compared to other condos within 20 minutes by MRT, some buyers (and tenants) may prefer cheaper alternatives.”