Nouvel 18's like exclusive honey to China bees

Despite 20% ABSD, non-PR buyers pick up about 90% of the 17 units sold since start of sales on July 18

Sat, Aug 03, 2019

MAINLAND Chinese buyers continue to mop up luxe condo units in Singapore.

At the completed freehold Nouvel 18 project in the posh Ardmore Park area, they are the predominant nationality among the foreign buyers who have picked up about 90 per cent of the 17 units that have been sold since sales began on July 18.

As these foreign buyers are not Singapore permanent residents (PRs), they would have to pay 20 per cent additional buyer's stamp duty, note market watchers.

The 17 units transacted are part of the initial batch of 30 units released on July 18. "The average selling price for the development is S$3,300 per square foot. There is no deferred payment scheme," said a spokesman for City Developments Ltd (CDL).

The units sold comprised mainly three- and four-bedroom apartments, he added. The 156-unit project is being marketed by four property agencies: ERA, Huttons Asia, PropNex Realty and SRI.

CDL's spokesman disclosed the number of units sold and the proportion picked up by foreigners as a whole but declined to elaborate on their nationalities.

However, Bruce Lye, the co-founder and managing partner of property agency SRI, told The Business Times that mainland Chinese have been the predominant buyers in this project and that they are involved in businesses such as F&B, technology and financial services. "Many of these buyers have owner occupation in mind; they are planning to relocate their children to Singapore for their education."

BT understands that the three-bedders in the project are priced at about S$5-6 million and four-bedders, around S$7.6-13 million.

There is a sky suite and four penthouses. The penthouses include a 6,318 sq ft duplex unit with four bedrooms, a lift within the unit, a private pool, jacuzzi, roof terrace, two kitchens and a wine cellar. It is understood to be priced at S$32 million. The biggest penthouse, however, is a 6,458 sq ft unit with similar features, except that it has five bedrooms and spans three levels; its price has not been released.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of CDL is the exclusive asset manager for Nouvel 18, following a securitisation of this asset in October 2016.

Located near the corner of Anderson Road and Ardmore Park, Nouvel 18 has two 36-storey towers. It received Temporary Occupation Permit in November 2014.

The project has 26 units of two-bedroom plus study apartments; 23 units of three-bedders, 33 units of three-bedroom plus study apartments and 69 units of four-bedroom plus study units - in addition to the sky suite and four penthouses.

CDL jointly developed Nouvel 18 with Wing Tai. In July 2016, CDL bought over Wing Tai's half stake before entering into a profit participation securities or PPS transaction three months later. Under the PPS deal, which valued the completed condo development at S$965.4 million or S$2,750 psf on total saleable area of around 351,000 sq ft, CDL sold its entire stake in the company that developed Nouvel 18 to an entity named Green 18.

The shareholders of Green 18 are high net worth Singapore citizens and Singapore-incorporated companies which in turn are fully-owned by Singapore citizens.

(CDL had purchased Wing Tai's half stake in the project for S$410.96 million; that deal valued the completed condo at S$2,342 psf.)

CDL entered into the PPS structure for Nouvel 18 to avoid having to pay hefty extension charges to the state for not meeting a two-year deadline in November 2016 to finish selling the project, under the government's Qualifying Certificate rules.

Alan Cheong, research head and key executive officer of Savills Singapore, suggests that the resurgence in mainland Chinese purchases of Singapore luxe properties in the past couple of months "could somehow be linked to the protests in Hong Kong against the HK-China extradition bill as the two things seem too coincidental".

He also said that the US-China trade tensions may lead some mainland Chinese who had previously planned to send their children to the United States for their education to now consider schooling them in Singapore instead. "These parents may also find that it makes sense to buy a residential property here for their kids' accommodation," he added.

CDL seems to have had a good run selling luxury condo units in the past year.

At Boulevard 88, which the property group is developing jointly with Hong Leong Holdings and Lea Investments, 68 of the total 154 residential units have been sold at an average price of over S$3,800 psf, since sales began in March this year. This is a freehold development.

Over at the 190-unit South Beach Residences, a joint venture between CDL and IOI Properties Group has moved 94 units since last September at an average price of over S$3,400 psf. The residences are part of a completed mixed development on a site in Beach Road with 99-year leasehold tenure which began in December 2007.

CDL's spokesman said that more than 60 per cent of buyers at Boulevard 88 and over 80 per cent of buyers at South Beach Residences are foreigners (including Singapore PRs). They are from places such as China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US and Malaysia.

However, things have been pretty slow at CDL's 188-unit Haus on Handy condo near Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station. It has sold just 25 units between July 5 (when sales began) and July 28, based on data on URA Realis. The average price of units sold works out to S$2,870 psf. The 99-year leasehold project's pricing has been described as a record for the location.