The next few months should be rather interesting as a few projects that sit on the fringe of Singapore’s central business district (CBD) are launched. Just like in my previous review of Avenue South Residence by UOL, Riviere is developed by another established developer, Frasers Property. In today’s muted property market, it is interesting to see how such projects, with good locational attributes developed by reputable developers, fare. Of course, pricing must be in line with the current market sentiment as well.
Details about the development
Riviere is a 99-year leasehold property with a site area of 13,481.7 square meters. It is located along Jiak Kim Street and will be built on the site of the former Zouk nightclub. In December 2017, Frasers Centrepoint Limited placed a top bid of SGD$955.4 million for the site. That works out to SGD$1,732.55 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) and that is the highest unit land price achieved on a per square foot basis for government land sites sold, excluding commercial and white sites. This was a very bullish bid and is some 40 per cent higher than the SGD$1,239 psf ppr that Guocoland paid 18 months earlier for the plot of land which they are developing Martin Modern. The site was hotly contested and Frasers Centrepoint Limited beat nine other bidders for the plot of land.
It will have a residential component, serviced apartments and conservation warehouses. The residential portion will consist of two 36-storey towers with 455 units, the serviced apartments will consist of 80 units and there will be 3 conservation warehouses. It will face the Singapore River and thus there will be units with waterfront facing.
Where is the development located?
Riviere is located along Jiak Kim Street. Many who were born in the 1970s and 1980s should know where the previous Zouk was. The iconic discotheque was located on this site. Zouk at Jiak Kim Street closes its doors around the end of 2016 and the plot of land was taken back by the state and eventually put for tender.
Currently, there are no MRT stations located around the area. However, there will be a Great World MRT Station along the Thomson-East Coast Line that will be ready in 2021. The Thomson-East Coast Line will open in stages with stage 1, the stations around Woodlands, to be ready by 2019, stage 2, the stations around Lentor to Upper Thomson, to be ready by 2020, stage 3, the stations around Mount Pleasant, Great World, Orchard and Gardens by the Bay to be ready by 2021, stage 4, the stations around the East Coast to be ready by 2023 and Stage 5, the stations around Badok to be ready by 2024.
If you are walking from Riviere to Great World City MRT Station, according to Google Maps, it will take about 9 minutes and the distance travelled is about 650 metres.
Great World MRT Station will be located just one MRT stop away from Orchard MRT Station. By then, Orchard MRT Station will be the interchange for the Thomson-East Coast Line and the existing North-South Line. Great World MRT Station will also be two MRT stops away from Outram Park MRT Station which will be the interchange for the Thomson-East Coast Line, the East-West Line and the North-East Line.
Currently, the closest MRT stations to Riviere are also Orchard MRT Station and Outram Park MRT Station. As the Great World MRT Station is not yet ready, I cannot include MRT journey times and cost into this property review.
If you are driving, according to Google Maps, it will take you 6 minutes to get to Orchard Road and the distance travelled is 2.3 kilometres.
If you are driving from Riviere to Raffles Place, it will take you 7 minutes and the distance travelled will be 2.4 kilometres.
The selling points of the development
The location would be the main selling point. Despite the fact that there is currently no MRT station nearby, the upcoming Great World MRT will improve connectivity greatly. In fact, Great World MRT Station will be just one station away from Orchard MRT Station and two away from Outram MRT Station. By the time Riviere is completed, the MRT stations would be up and running already. Residents will be able to use the MRT to get to Orchard or Outram MRT stations easily. If you include the walking time, residents should be able to get to Orchard and the CBD in under 30 minutes. Residents should include those that would like to live along the city fringe and thus would most probably be working in the CBD. The profile of tenants that would rent properties in the area are usually working professionals.
Riverfront living is not common in Singapore and Riviere is located along the Singapore river. Units that face the river should command a premium.
Possible bad points about the development
Price? The developer did purchase this plot of land at a premium. The breakeven cost for this development is about SGD$2,450 per square foot. Analysts are expecting a launch price of about SGD$2,700 per square foot. As of now, pricing has yet to be released so we cannot comment accurately on the pricing of Riviere yet.
Transacted prices of Mirage Tower and Tribeca are hovering just under the SGD$2,000 per square foot mark. Riviere will represent a premium over the neighbouring properties. A new project launch is usually sold at a premium to the resale market and I have always maintained that if buyers are going to purchase new project launches during the launch period, they have to identify units with unique selling points and good attributes like the units with the best facing and the ones with an ideal layout. Many buyers are attracted to developer launches as during launch there are a wide array of units available for selection. Moreover, these units do come renovated and with a defect liability period. The facilities in newer condominiums may also be more adequate than older developments.
Finally, Riviere is a 99-year leasehold development as compared to the neighbouring developments which are freehold.
My thoughts about the development
I have always maintained that if prices outside of core central region have crossed SGD$2,000 per square foot, think The Woodleigh Residences, then it is time to look at properties closer to the core central area. It still perplexes me why buyers would purchase a 99-year leasehold development at The Woodleigh Residences for over SGD$2,000 per square foot when they could get a freehold development at places like Mirage Tower or Tribeca for just under SGD$2,000 per square foot. That, however, is the state of the primary and secondary property markets in Singapore. I do think that if you put aside the huge mess that is happening in the area because of the construction of the Thomson-East Coast Line, the area around Great World City does have quite a lot of potential. For starters, it will have an MRT station come 2021, there are an existing shopping mall and a whole host of shops and amenities all around the area and it is very close to Orchard Road. In future, it will take commuters just one MRT stop to get to Orchard MRT Station and that will link to the North-South MRT Line.
Pricing (Yet to be released)
The recent new launches in 2019 have all had rather good locational attributes. The Thomson-East Coast Line is a very significant change to this area as it will connect what was once an area where if you did not have your own private transport you would not visit to one that will provide a direct link from Orchard MRT Station to Outram MRT Station. Moreover, travelling to the Woodlands area or to the east will be just a train ride away once the full Thomson-East Coast Line is operational. With the URA making announcements that it would be revitalising Orchard Road and the CBD, an area like Great World City should see increased demand from property buyers and tenants alike. Also, Riviere fronts the Singapore River and waterfront living is somewhat unique in an increasingly built-up Singapore. If it were closer to the MRT Station, this development would receive an even higher score.
As in my previous review about Avenue South Residence, I highlighted the importance of the developer. Many property buyers do not understand this but purchasing from a reputable developer would mean better quality and your property should be handed over on time. There are instances of developments not being completed and developers handing over developments with very poor quality. Frasers Property is a very experienced developer and has developed projects like One Jervois, Martin Place Residences, Soleil @ Sinaran and Seaside Residences among a whole host of other developments. It would be important to note that chances of a large, established developer slashing prices are extremely low. It does protect the interest of those who made purchases during the initial launch that the developer does not subsequently lower the prices for later buyers.
p.s. Disclaimer: I am a licensed real estate salesperson at the point of writing this review. My real estate agency is the marketing agency for Riviere. Buyers can approach me to purchase Riviere and I will earn a commission from the developer. My reason for writing this review is to share my personal view about the developments not as a real estate salesperson but in the neutral context of a buyer and hopefully share some insight to help buyers make a more informed buying decision.
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