An Exclusive Enclave
Home to many from the upper echelons of society, Bukit Timah contains a collection of luxurious condominiums, cluster homes, and landed houses. Its Malay name literally translates into English as “hill tin”, although Bukit Timah contains no tin. Rather the locality was named after Temak, a tall rainforest tree found in the area.
Bukit Timah stretches across eight designated sub-zones and 1,732 hectares. The ample space is home to many prestigious schools and houses many exclusive, mega-sized Good Class Bungalows.
According to Edmund Tie & Company (ET&Co), the median prices of detached homes in Bukit Timah have had a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of up to 2.5% over the past three to five years, with average annual sales volume of 35 to 55 homes. Median prices for such homes have stayed above the $10 million mark since 2010, and ranged between $11 million and $13 million within the last five years. Given limited new and existing housing supply, these median prices are expected to stay stable in the next five years, with possible low single-digit increases. This is provided economic conditions remain constant.
Primed for premium prices
In 2017, Allgreen Properties bought Royalville, near Sixth Avenue MRT Station, at $1,960 psf ppr and Crystal Tower at $1,840 psf ppr. Both developments are in Bukit Timah. In all, nine local and foreign developers made the bid for Royalville, while 12 developers offered for Crystal Tower. The keen interest reflected bullish developer sentiment towards the Bukit Timah area. In the last five to ten years, nearly one in three transacted apartment units in Bukit Timah were new sales, according to ET&Co’s research.
The ninth round of cooling measures was meted out on July 6, 2018, and the very next quarter saw an overall 20% dip in transaction volume, yet Allgreen Properties sold nearly half of their available phase-one Fourth Avenue Residences units during the January 2019 launch. The average sales price was a strong $2,375 psf. The average sales price at the development has subsequently rose to $2,411 psf, with a 710 sq ft unit hitting a historical high of $2,552 psf in April 2019.
Bukit Timah is part of Singapore’s central area and is unaffected by the October 2018 regulation requiring new developments to increase their minimum average unit sizes. According to ET&Co, 700 to 1,000 units have transacted each year (on average) since 2014, with median psf prices rising from $1,800 in 2015 to $2,300 in April 2019. Conversely, median unit size has undergone a squeeze within the same period, from 130-150 square metres to 65-70 square metres.
About 60 new launches are scheduled for 2019, with more than 10 hailing from District 10. These include the 320-unit Royalville on Bukit Timah Road.
A positive ripple effect
ET&Co’s research shows 70 to 120 semi-detached homes and 60 to 110 terrace houses have been sold each year on average in the last five years. Since 2012, median semi-detached psf prices have hovered above $1,550 psf and median terrace psf prices have been poised above $1,150 psf.
ET&Co’s outlook for median CAGR prices for non-landed properties over the next five years is that they will increase with a high single-digit uptrend, riding on the back of smaller fresh units feeding housing supply and the fact that developers will likely factor in high land prices paid during the en bloc fever.
Existing development prices have experienced mixed price trends. Maplewoods, a freehold development located on Bukit Timah Road, has seen a steady upward price move from about $1,350 psf in mid-2014 to $1,600 psf in mid-2019, while 999-year-leasehold Duchess Residences was clinching final sales at $1,800 psf in 2007 and $1,600 in 2019.
With its reputation as one of Singapore’s finest neighbourhoods and fairly stable psf prices, Bukit Timah holds potential for those looking for an opportunity to join an exclusive enclave.
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