Citylights, the 600-unit condominium located on Jellicoe Road and just across the street from the Lavender MRT station, has been on the radar of property investors on the lookout for apartments in the city area lately.
Developed by CapitaLand, the project comprises four 42-storey condo blocks and a row of conservation townhouses. The 99-year leasehold development was first launched in late 2004, and prices then averaged $590 psf. Buyers who bought then must be feeling very pleased with themselves as resale transactions hit a high of $1,525 psf last month, when a 570 sq ft unit on the 34th floor was sold for $870,000. This was the highest price achieved for the condo, and even surpassed the previous peak price of $1,450 psf achieved in mid-2007. At that time, a 2,530 sq ft unit on the 41st floor of one of the towers with panoramic views of the city changed hands in a sub-sale for $3.668 million.
Located on the city fringe, Citylights is just a short drive from the CBD and Orchard Road, and just a few MRT stops away from both. Most of the units above the 20th floor offer unobstructed views of the Tanjong Rhu area and Kallang Basin.
From April 20 to 27, five units at Citylights were sold at prices ranging from $1,126 to $1,455 psf, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis. An 893 sq ft two-bedroom unit on the 33rd floor of Block 88 was sold for $1.3 million, or $1,455 psf — a 63% gain for the previous owner, who had purchased it for $800,000, or $895 psf, in May 2007. The first owner had purchased the unit for $631,800 ($707 psf) from the developer in April 2005.
Meanwhile, a 721 sq ft 1+1 bedroom unit on the 16th floor of the same block went for $968,000, or $1,342 psf. The seller had purchased the apartment for $829,150 ($1,150 psf) in October 2007, which was at the peak of the previous boom; hence, the gain was a more modest 17% in 2½ years. The buyer had purchased the unit at the launch for $572,000 ($793 psf) in May 2007, hence his capital gain was 45%. The first buyer bought it for $437,000 ($606 psf) in May 2005.
At Block 90, a 28th-floor two-bedroom aprtment of 893 sq ft changed hands for $1.2 million ($1,343 psf), according to a caveat lodged with URA in late April. The seller had purchased it for $1 million ($1,119 psf) in the middle of last year, according to a July 2009 caveat. The one who posted the highest capital gain (58%) was the first buyer, who had purchased it from the developer for $632,700, or $708 psf, in December 2006, and sold it for $1 million last year.
Another seller reaped a significant gain of 87% from the sale of his 12th-floor, 1,421 sq ft, three bedroom unit when he sold it for $1.6 million, or $1,126 psf. The owner purchased it from the developer for $854,100, or $601 psf, in early 2007.
Asking rent for 1+1 and two-bedroom apartments are in the range of $3,400 to $4,500 per month, according to agents. Based on today’s transaction prices, rental yield works out to 4.2% to 4.5% per annum, which is still relatively attractive to investors.
Meanwhile, asking prices at Citylights have been on an upward trajectory since late last year. According to marketing agents, prices are between $1,400 and $1,500 psf. Most of the buyers are investors looking at rental income, they say.
Another condo on the city fringe that has seen a spike in transactions last month is Kentish Court, a boutique 77-unit development by giant developer Far East Organization that was completed in 2000. The project is located on Oxford Road just off Rangoon Road, hence it’s a short drive to the CBD via the Central Expressway (CTE). What’s more, with the opening of the Farrer Park MRT station and the City Square Mall, the neighbourhood has been rejuvenated.
From April 20 to April 27, three units in the leasehold condo block changed hands at prices between $790,000 and $925,000. Prices in the development today have even surpassed the peak prices achieved in the previous boom of 1996 when the project was first launched. At that time, the highest price achieved was when a 1,259 sq ft unit
was sold for $920,112, or $731 psf, in September 1996.
Most recently, according to a caveat lodged with URA Realis, a 1,044 sq ft, two-bedroom unit on the second floor was sold for $790,000 ($757 psf). The previous buyer had paid $660,000 ($632 psf) for the unit in November 2007. The first owner purchased it for just $506,340 ($485 psf) from the developer in 1999.
A slightly larger unit of 1,054 sq ft on the sixth floor changed hands for $790,000 ($749 psf) recently. The seller made a capital gain of 61% as he had bought it for a mere $490,000 ($465 psf) in March 2004 when the property market was still in the doldrums. The first owner had paid $484,000 ($459 psf) in December 1998.
The third unit to have changed hands at Kentish Court last month was a 1,270 sq ft apartment that went for $925,000 ($728 psf). That represents an 18% gain over the last purchase price of $781,980 ($616 psf) in January 1998. It looks like condos, both old and new on the city fringe, continue to see strong investor interest, as well as interest from occupiers, given the connectivity due to the MRT station.