AN EXECUTIVE condominium (EC) site in Yishun has attracted a top bid of
$213.8 million in a crowded eight-cornered contest among developers.
Interest in such sites is picking up after a policy shift that widened the pool of eligible buyers for ECs, a hybrid of public and private housing, experts say.
ECs were re-introduced to the market last year after a five-year hiatus - receiving an enthusiastic response.
MCC Land lodged the top bid of $293 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr) for the 27,154 sq m site at the junction of Yishun Avenue 7 and Canberra Drive.
The site is close to the company's other EC project - 406-unit The Canopy in Yishun Avenue 11, which is 93 per cent sold as of last month. The land parcel was sold in March last year for $281 psf ppr.
Sunmaster Holdings was next with a bid of $197.5 million, or $270 psf ppr, while a joint bid by Kheng Leong subsidiary Russville and Low Keng Huat came in third at $190 million, or $260 psf ppr.
Ho Lee Group and a UE E&C unit submitted the lowest bid of $146.9 million, 31 per cent lower than the top bid.
Other bidders for the site, which can yield an estimated 725 units, included Chip Eng Seng, Qingjian Realty, a joint bid by Frasers Centrepoint and Koh Brothers, and BBR Property.
Experts say that while the tender has demonstrated sustained interest in EC sites, the bids are 'measured' and in line with expectations.
Colliers International's director of research and advisory, Ms Chia Siew Chuin, said the top bid was the highest unit land price lodged for an EC site since June, particularly after market sentiment was rocked by the West's debt crisis.
Mr Ong Teck Hui, Credo Real Estate's head of research and consultancy, said interest in EC sites has definitely picked up since the household income ceiling for ECs was raised to $12,000 in August.
'With a bigger pool of eligible buyers, developers are assured of demand and this has led to the good participation in this tender.
'Other than The Canopy, this is the only other new EC site in Yishun that will meet demand from buyers interested in that area,' he added.
He also noted that the top bid was close to the $291 psf ppr seen in the Pasir Ris Drive 3 EC tender, which attracted 11 offers earlier this month.
Mr Alan Cheong, Savills' research and consultancy associate director, said strong sales at The Canopy may also be why MCC Land was confident of its bid.
Recent EC transactions in the area were about $660 psf for Lilydale and $646 psf for The Canopy, he noted.
Colliers' Ms Chia expects the units to break even at about $580 psf to $600 psf, while Savills' Mr Cheong estimates the figure to be $630 psf.
CB Richard Ellis Research executive director Li Hiaw Ho said units in the new EC project would likely be priced in the $600 psf to $700 psf range, similar to prices at The Canopy.
Credo's Mr Ong said home buyers are likely to find the site attractive as it is just across from amenities at Chong Pang village and is a reasonable distance to Sembawang and Northpoint shopping centres, Yishun MRT station and the bus interchange.
The site also has a long frontage to Sungei Simpang Kiri and a landed housing estate is across from it, so views will be unimpeded, he added.
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang