Development scramble

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 October, 2011, 12:00am


Singaporean property developers are scrambling to overcome the challenges of a restricted skyline with innovative and fresh developments that cater to a population hurtling into an era of socio-economic liberation, upscale lifestyles and high-profile entertainment.

A stable government, consistent policies, a strong currency and a clean and safe environment makes Singapore one of the world's leading cities. It was ranked the 15th most liveable city in the world in Monocle's list and is one of the top three countries people would like to immigrate to.

Combined with a strong economy and widening affluence, property companies are going to town with new developments to meet demand. 'Singapore is undergoing a wave of urban transformation and rejuvenation, not only within the city and traditionally prime locations like Marina Bay but also in new growth areas from Jurong to Woodlands, from Paya Lebar to Punggol,' says Chia Boon Kuah, chief operating officer, property sales, Far East Organisation (FEO), one of Singapore's oldest developers.

'There is a buzz and vibrancy in the market, created largely by the two integrated resorts and the city-state's intensified growth as a financial hub. Singapore also offers a slew of exciting new developments. Along with various glamorous events such as the Formula 1 night race, large-scale sporting events and renowned entertainment acts, Singapore has upped its appeal factor among investors and visitors,' Chia says.

FEO, established in 1960 and winner of several domestic and international industry awards, has built more than 700 developments in residential, retail, commercial, industrial and hospitality sectors and is the largest private property developer in Singapore.

FEO boasts an array of residential properties featuring mid-market to ultra-luxury complexes, including Silversea, a luxury seafront development located on one of the last stretches of residential plots on the sought-after East Coast.

Inessence is FEO's latest series of ultra-luxury homes, which the company hopes will raise the bar for refined and sophisticated living in Singapore. Launched in June last year, Inessence comprises Skyline@Orchard Boulevard, Alba and Boulevard Vue and is located on super prime space on iconic Orchard Road.

FEO says Inessence residences allow buyers to customise the design and configuration of their homes, so no two are alike. 'Far East Organisation is well positioned to tap the demand from high-net-worth individuals in Singapore and around the region who allocate most of their wealth in residential and real estate properties. In addition, the continued strong visitor arrivals augur well for the Organisation's hospitality portfolio of hotels and serviced residences in Singapore,' says Chia.

Among the other private developers aggressively penetrating the market are City Development, Keppel Land and CapitaLand. However, real estate in Singapore has also received a huge shot in the arm from the government's Housing and Development Board (HDB).

According to HDB estimates, the resale price index for HDB flats rose 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year from the previous quarter. Although the private property sector has cooled in recent months, prices are still at an all-time high, according to agency Colliers.

One of Singapore's leading property companies, Keppel Land, is embarking on its biggest commercial project - the Marina Bay Financial Centre (Phase 2), a proposed masterpiece of contemporary urban design with integrated live-work-play features. The project is jointly developed by Keppel Land, Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hongkong Land, and comprises grade A office space and 221 units of luxury Marina Bay Suites. Total lettable area is 1.3 million square feet.

Its flagship residential project is Reflections, the second phase of a development in the Keppel Bay waterfront precinct. Reflections comprises 1,129 luxury waterfront condominiums in six glass towers of 24 storeys and 41 storeys that twist into the sky in addition to 11 blocks of six- to eight-storey villas.

City Development Holdings (CDL) is one of Singapore's stalwart developers. Established in 1963, the developer has built more than 22,000 luxury and quality homes. It is among Singapore's biggest landlords with more than 6 million square feet of lettable office, industrial, retail and residential space. It has a host of residential launches, including Blossom Residences, Buckley Classique, H2O Residences, The Glyndebourne NV Residences, W Residences, Cube 8, Volari, Shelford Suites, Cliveden at Grange and One Shenton.