Former HUDC estate Rio Casa collective sale: $451m sought

Rio Casa's riverfront location will draw interest from developers, says Edmund Tie and Company's head of South-east Asia research Lee Nai Jia.
Rio Casa's riverfront location will draw interest from developers, says Edmund Tie and Company's head of South-east Asia research Lee Nai Jia.PHOTO: KNIGHT FRANK

Price tag for former HUDC estate includes lease top-up premium

A former HUDC estate in Hougang Avenue 7 that has been privatised is now up for sale.

Owners at Rio Casa, formerly called Hougang N3, are expecting offers above $450.8 million, which translates to a price of about $586 per sq ft per plot ratio.

Unit owners would receive in excess of $1.5 million each through the sale of the estate, which has 73 years left on its lease, said Mr Ian Loh, head of investment and capital markets for Knight Frank, which is marketing the 286-unit site.

While the reserve price is "confidential", the $450.8 million asking price excludes a top-up premium of about $57.5 million for a new 99-year lease, as well as a premium of $141.5 million for intensification of the 396,231 sq ft riverfront site.

Mr Loh said the collective sale committee got the requisite 80 per cent consent needed for the sale in about three weeks, which he said was a "record time" in his career.

The estate elected its sales committee last August.

  • $1.5m Unit owners at Rio Casa would get in excess of $1.5 million each if the estate is sold, according to marketing agent Knight Frank.

The site has more than 200m of riverfront and greenery views, and is in an area with schools such as Holy Innocents' Primary and High School and CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity.

Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of South-east Asia research at Edmund Tie and Company, said the asking price of $450.8 million is on the higher side but still within the "reasonable range" of his estimates.

He felt that this is a sweet spot for sellers, as property sentiment is improving, with "a pick-up in activity, but prices have not followed suit".

Sellers are not always keen to sell during a price boom, as it will be harder for them to buy another property, he added.

Dr Lee added that there will be interest in the site, given that the Government Land Sales sites on offer will be hotly contested.

"However, developers may be concerned about the take-up rate, as it is not near any MRT stations, and there is a nearby development, Kingsford WaterBay, which has unsold units," he added.

Still, the riverfront attribute of Rio Casa will draw interest, he said, as not many developers have riverfront land bank, which can boost sales if they can come up with an interesting concept.

The crux would be whether sellers will accept bids that might be potentially lower than the asking price, said Dr Lee.

The tender for Rio Casa closes on May 23.

Correction note: In our earlier story, we said the $450.8 million asking price includes a top-up premium of about $57.5 million for a new 99-year lease, as well as a premium of $141.5 million for intensification of the 396,231 sq ft riverfront site. This is incorrect. The $450.8 million excludes the premiums. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2017, with the headline 'Rio Casa collective sale: $451m sought'. Print Edition | Subscribe