$685m bid triggers sale of Queenstown residential site

The 99-year leasehold site is next to Tiong Ghee temple and near The Anchorage condominium and Anchorpoint Shopping Centre.
The 99-year leasehold site is next to Tiong Ghee temple and near The Anchorage condominium and Anchorpoint Shopping Centre.PHOTO: URA
The site on sale was formerly two adjacent sites in the reserve list, until they were merged into one site on the 2012 reserve list.
The site on sale was formerly two adjacent sites in the reserve list, until they were merged into one site on the 2012 reserve list.PHOTO: URA

In a sign property developers are hungry for land amid improving market sentiment, a large residential site for private homes in Queenstown has been triggered for sale.

A developer committed to bid at least $685.25 million for a 2.11ha Stirling Road site, able to yield about 1,110 units, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said yesterday. Unlike sites on the confirmed list which go on sale automatically, sites on the reserve list are put up for sale only after a bid acceptable to the Government is received.

The site has been on the Government Land Sales reserve list since March 2010. It is made up of two adjacent sites once offered separately but merged into one site in 2012.

The 99-year leasehold site is next to Tiong Ghee Temple and near Anchorpoint shopping centre.

As it is one of the larger sites on offer, analysts said the bid reflected better market sentiment, and developers' growing appetite for residential land. "The triggering of this site is by a developer who felt that the private residential property market has a high chance of getting out of the woods - there's some light at the end of the tunnel," said Mr Ong Kah Seng, director of R'ST Research.

He noted that many developers are running low on land and have to demonstrate that they have longer- term corporate growth strategies.

Mr Ong Teck Hui, JLL's national director of research, agreed that upbeat sentiment and keen buying interest this year prompted the bid.

"Being a prime city-fringe site, it is also likely to generate much interest and attract buyers easily."

Analysts expect competitive bidding. Mr Desmond Sim, head of South-east Asia research at CBRE, said the site "has very good attributes" and is within walking distance of Queenstown MRT station.

He added that the parties bidding will likely form "joint ventures as $685.25 million is a big undertaking". Based on a maximum permissible gross floor area of 954,328 sq ft, the bid translates to a price of $718 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio. Analysts expect bids to climb further, to between $830 psf and $950 psf.

Mr Nicholas Mak, SLP International Property's executive director of research, expects eight to 14 bids. Good sales at nearby projects andthe easing of property curbs "should lift the confidence of bidders".

JLL's Mr Ong expects between seven and 11 bids, but noted unsold supply in Commonwealth Towers, Queens Peak and an upcoming project in Margaret Drive. The pricing will likely take a cue from Queens Peak, with an average of $1,640 psf, and Commonwealth Towers, at an average of $1,654 psf, he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2017, with the headline '$685m bid triggers sale of Queenstown residential site'. Print Edition | Subscribe