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Upgrader interest expected at Riverbank @ Fernvale

Average price for 555-unit Sengkang private condo just over $1,000 per sq ft

THE sale of units at UOL Group's 99-year leasehold development Riverbank @ Fernvale will begin next Friday, while viewing opens today. The average price indication for the 555-unit private condominium in Sengkang is slightly over $1,000 per square foot (psf).

Even amid falling resale prices, Liam Wee Sin, president (property), remains "quietly optimistic" about buyer response.

Mr Liam says the pricing is realistic because of the $489 price per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) tender bid last year. The neighbouring parcel of land, on which Rivertrees Residences will be built, has a psf ppr of about $533.

He says that even with the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR), underlying demand to upgrade is still strong. "If you can produce a product that meets their aspirations and they can afford it, people will still buy," he said.

Prices of a one-bedroom unit (495 sq ft) start from $476,000, or around $962 psf. A three-bedroom unit (947 sq ft) starts from $878,000 or $927 psf.

Mr Liam expects buyers to come predominantly from the upgrader market, as well as investors who may express interest in smaller units. He added that the pricing for Riverbank is marginally close to that of executive condominiums (ECs) and should also attract some buyers from that market.

Jones Lang LaSalle head of South-east Asia research Chua Yang Liang says Riverbank is priced quite competitively, given the area and current market situation. While things slow down, he said, "good projects in good locations tend to move well".

CBRE research head Desmond Sim says competitive pricing is key in the area as buyers have various developments to choose from. He says buyers can take their time and make calculated decisions. "If they cannot get the best unit, they can move on to other developments," he said.

Pricing for Riverbank could give some insight into how much interested buyers of nearby Rivertrees Residences will fork out for a unit.

Rivertrees is located just beside Riverbank, and is also a 99-year leasehold development. BT understands that buyers can register their interest from this Saturday. Developers Frasers Centrepoint, Far East Orchard and Sekisui House have not provided firm details on how the project will be priced.

Market watchers had previously said that the site on which Rivertrees will sit is superior to that of its neighbour, given its longer frontage along Sungei Punggol river. It is also set back from major roads.

But Mr Liam does not think demand for Riverbank will be affected, saying that both residences differ in their strengths and product angle. "It's good to have a bigger crowd coming in - they can make their choice," he said.

Rivertrees has 487 apartments and eight strata landed homes. Units are sized between 495 sq ft for a one- bedder and 1,658 sq ft for a four-bedder.