A NEW UPSIDE IN DISTRICT 9
THE HOME WITHIN A BOTANIC GARDEN
Can Singapore’s prime District 9, a highly sought-after address for the well-heeled, still offer upside for home buyers? Unknown to some, the answer may be found within the River Valley and Robertson Quay precincts, where a slew of catalytic changes happening in and around it are seen stroking property prices northwards.
Favoured for its central location and proximity to Orchard Road, the CBD and lifestyle amenities, this affluent residential enclave will soon enjoy greater connectivity with the completion of two upcoming MRT stations serving the River Valley precinct for the first time.
Fresh lifestyle amenities including new hotels, retail and F&B offerings in the nearby Robertson Quay are also breathing new life into the waterfront promenade of the historic Singapore River. Their impact on property prices is imminent, some market watchers point out.
“Increased connectivity and new amenities in the precinct would refresh both price and rents by lifting them to a higher plane,” says Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.
He expects property prices in the River Valley precinct to rise over the next five years, while rents may turn around later this year and trend up over the same period.
Positives Not Priced In Yet
Such potential upside has not been priced into residential properties there yet, going by studies revealing that properties tend to command a premium when a new MRT line is completed.
A study on properties near the Circle Line by professors from the Department of Real Estate at the National University of Singapore found that the new Circle Line opening created an estimated S$1.23 billion housing wealth effects for households living in close proximity to the MRT stations.
Homes located within a 400-metre radius from the closest MRT stations enjoy an average price premium of 13.2 per cent relative to those outside the 400-metre boundary, the study shows.
One project that has thus found itself in a sweet spot is Martin Modern, located in the upscale residential enclave at Robertson Quay.
Sitting on a generous 1.6-ha site in Martin Place, the 450-unit condominium project is the latest luxury project by Singapore- listed developer GuocoLand Limited that is slated for launch in the second half of this year.
It will be within walking distance to the Great World City station along the Thomson-East Coast Line and the Fort Canning MRT along the Downtown Line — both up and running by the time the project is completed around 2021.
Mr Cheong believes that the completion of the Great World MRT station will further augment the popularity of this area, which is currently not served by any MRT lines but is still popular among expatriates.
Few prime-district residential sites have come onto the market through state tender, with this site being the third in District 9 to be made available in the past 10 years.
GuocoLand Singapore group managing director Cheng Hsing Yao says: “The site is in a posh residential neighbourhood that is also near the F&B cluster along Robertson Quay, and a short walk from the future Great World MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line which will take residents straight to the CBD and Marina Bay.
“A site of this size in District 9 is very rare,” he continues.
“Its land area and high ground are ideal conditions for us to create our trademark luxury design as seen in Goodwood Residence and Leedon Residence.”
Over 80 per cent of the land area at Martin Modern is reserved for a botanic garden, an arboretum of more than 200 plant species and over 50 species of trees and palms. The vast acreage will feature 15 different spaces including a party lawn, forest trail, rain gardens and a green maze. This garden is spread across three levels, leveraging the site’s 10-metre upward slope from one end to the other.
Families with children can enjoy the project’s proximity to established schools such as River Valley Primary School, School of the Arts and Singapore Management University. For an experiential treat, art and cultural connoisseurs can head down to the nearby Civic District – home to colonial- era buildings, museums, concert halls, and art galleries.
Over at Robertson Quay, an eclectic mix of restaurants, wine bars, and trendy bistros by the Singapore River makes it a popular hangout. New lifestyle hotels including Warehouse Hotel and M Social have also come on-stream with their exquisite cuisines and bars.
The “Quayside Project”, which comprises 225-key luxury InterContinental Hotel and 100,000 square feet of lifestyle retail, will inject new zest into the hip locale when it opens its doors this year. The retail podium is poised to be a premier F&B draw, with its river promenade re-positioned as a lush entertainment haven.
These new lifestyle amenities, coupled with the enhanced connectivity, will clearly elevate the appeal of living and investing in a Robertson Quay property in District 9. As it is, the precinct has been highly popular among expatriates seeking longer term accommodation, Mr Cheong of Savills observes.
“Anecdotally, many of them relocate from other parts of Singapore after realising that the River Valley and Robertson Quay precincts offer a unique lifestyle,” Mr Cheong says. ”
PropNex CEO Ismail Gafoor observes that Martin Modern is one of the first few launches in the River Valley and Robertson Quay precincts just as market sentiment has turned positive. Brand new launches in District 9 are few and far between. The large plot size also offers the developer much flexibility in the architectural design, and a lot of creativity has been infused into it, Mr Gafoor says.
“GuocoLand already has a track record and a reputation for delivering high-quality workmanship of interior design and concept. Even for units going for S$10 million and above in other GuocoLand projects like Leedon Residence, they sell well because people have confidence in their brand name.”
Where Luxury And Convenience Meet
Owing to its location, the project encapsulates both the tranquillity of luxury living and the convenience of lifestyle amenities well within reach in the nearby Orchard, Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay.
The downtown core, Singapore’s business epicentre, is about five minutes’ away by car and less than 10 minutes by train or cycling. River taxi services at the Singapore River offer a unique daily ritual for those who love a boat ride to start or end their day.
The nearby Singapore River promenade, Fort Canning Park and Alexandra Park Connector provide other work-out avenues for cycling enthusiasts. A number of yoga, pilates and fitness studios have also sprung up in the vicinity.