SINGAPORE - Plans to jazz up the Jurong Lakeside district probably caused the overwhelming response to the Lake Life executive condominium (EC) where applications closed over the weekend, property consultants said.
"I think now, anything to do with Jurong Lakeside has a story. It's quite powerful," said Mr Steven Tan, managing director of OrangeTee. "It's appealing to young people because of the upcoming developments in the area and amenities nearby."
The 546-unit EC in Yuan Ching Road drew at least 1,828 e-applications from interested buyers before it closed last night - more than three times the 546 units available, said the project's developer Evia Real Estate.
The response was also in marked contrast with Qingjian Realty's Bellewoods. The 561-unit EC in Woodlands drew 400 applications when it opened just a week before Lake Life.
Evia topped the tender for the 20,213 sq m site in July last year in a 16-way tussle, with its bid of $272.8 million - or $418 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio (ppr). This smashed the previous record of $392 psf ppr for the site of the Tampines Trilliant project.
Mr Donald Han, manging director of Chestertons, said: "People were wondering why were so many people bidding for it, now you know why because there's pent-up demand in the area."
Mr Han noted that Lake Life has the benefit of being the "first mover" as a new EC project has not been launched in the area since 1994. The Bellewoods condominium, on the other hand, faces competition from other projects that still have unsold units. "That will take some bite off the subscription rate," said Mr Han.
The area in Western Singapore has been making the headlines since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined plans for its development in his National Day Rally speech, resulting in what experts term as the "Jurong Lakeside effect".
The plan is to give the neighbourhood a makeover, with a new Science Centre and the Jurong Lake gardens in the works. In the past two years, a string of new shopping malls have sprung up in the vicinity.
The Jurong Lake District has also been proposed as a possible site for the terminus of the proposed high-speed rail line between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Upgraders from Housing Board (HDB) flats, who are the target market of EC developers, probably jumped at the chance to buy a unit at one of the last five ECs that will not be affected by a resale levy. said consultants.
New rules introduced in December last year stipulate that buyers who have already bought an HDB flat or EC unit must pay a resale levy of $15,000 to $55,000, depending on what their first subsidised home was. This applies to ECs on land launched for sale on, or after, Dec 9 last year.
Despite this, Mr Han said he believes developers will still be bullish in their bids if there is more land to be sold in Jurong Lakeside. "I suspect the second and third project will still enjoy good take up from buyers."
So far, there is no land in the area slated for sale in the Government Land Sales programme for this half of the year.
But PM Lee had also pointed out that there are plans for more HDB flats to be built north of the Jurong Lake, and for industrial land around the Pandan Reservoir in the south to be converted to residences as their leases run out over the next 20 to 30 years.