ABUNDANT nature reserves and water catchment areas have made the Upper Thomson district better known for greenery than as a residential hot spot, but that is set to change.
The area's transformation is coming on two fronts - major condominium projects that are taking shape and the upcoming Upper Thomson MRT station.
This station, located near Thomson Plaza, is part of the $18 billion Thomson Line, which is slated for completion in 2019.
The Upper Thomson district consists mainly of landed housing, with clusters of condos and apartments around Bright Hill Drive and Sin Ming estate.
There are few options for home buyers but the low housing supply augurs well for owners, said Jones Lang LaSalle Singapore research director Ong Teck Hui. He expects demand to pick up once the area becomes more accessible, saying: "The stretch from Long House to Thomson Plaza, with its diverse mix of eateries and shops, can be expected to be even more vibrant and popular... homes in that vicinity will also stand to gain in appreciation of values."
Private non-landed home prices in the Upper Thomson area have risen almost 34 per cent over the past four years, from an average $780 per sq ft (psf) in 2009 to $1,045 psf in the first quarter this year.
Recent project launches include the 361-unit Thomson Grand, Meadows@Peirce with 479 units and Thomson V Two, which has 74 homes. All three are fully sold. Units at 99-year leasehold Thomson Grand, launched in July 2011, are fetching a median price of about $1,300 psf. It is expected to get its temporary occupation permit (TOP) in 2015.
Meadows@Peirce, launched in July 2009, was completed last year. Average prices grew 6.2 per cent to $1,153 psf in the first quarter of this year from the preceding three months. Average rents at the freehold project leapt 13.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
Knight Frank consultancy and research head Alice Tan said leasing demand in Upper Thomson is likely to rise as more budget-conscious expatriates are moving out of the central location to city fringe and suburban areas.
Analysts are upbeat about the area, pointing to a few upcoming residential launches. These include a condo development on a plot in Bright Hill Drive bought by UOL Group and SingLand in a state tender last August for $291.5 million or $720 psf per plot ratio (ppr). This could yield 445 homes.
A $590 million collective deal for the former Thomson View condo was struck by Lucrum Capital and Wee Hur Development last September but several owners objected to the proposed sale in January. If the sale goes through, the potential redevelopment of Thomson View could yield about 1,000 units, analysts said.
The 65-unit condo Three 11 is likely to be launched in the next few weeks, with its TOP expected in 2016.
The project is on the site of the former Jasmine Court, an estate that was sold en bloc in 2011 for $43 million or $833 psf ppr to Woh Hup unit Aurum Land.
Excluding Thomson View's collective sale, an estimated 877 new private homes will be completed in the area by 2016.
This story was first published in The Straits Times on May 4, 2013
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