Integrated developments: Withstanding the test of time
Integrated developments: Withstanding the test of time. Ms Lau, a Singaporean, believes she was among the first residents to move into Sengkang’s 536-unit Compass Heights condominium when it first opened in 2002. The project’s novelty drew a lot of attention when it first opened in 2001: it was the first private condominium built on top of a shopping mall and an integrated transportation hub with MRT and LRT stations as well as an air-conditioned bus interchange.
The average price during the first two months of launch in 2001, according to URA Realis data, was around $482 psf. Compass Heights units have changed hands in the resale market for about 1.7 times more, at an average of $818 psf, based on transactions from November 2020 to April to date.
The project’s main selling point is its ease of use. “It’s connected to the shopping mall [Compass One], the Sengkang MRT Station, and the bus interchange,” Lau says. “I don’t need to drive if I’m going to Orchard Road or Raffles Place, which have expensive parking.” I can simply take the MRT, which is located just downstairs.”
It’s also perfect for retirees. Lau adds, “My parents aren’t as mobile as they used to be.” “However, the clinic is only two floors down by lift, and the polyclinic is directly across the street from the mall, so it’s still convenient for them.” Lau benefits greatly from having a mall downstairs. “I just need to run down and get a loaf of bread or the last few bak kwa before the shop closes for Chinese New Year,” she says.
The shopping mall integrated with Compass Heights, formerly known as Compass Point, was purchased by M&G Real Estate, refurbished, and reopened as Compass One in September 2016. M&G Real Estate has increased the mall’s net lettable area (NLA) to 272,881 square feet with 209 shops, up from 126 shops with an NLA of 269,546 square feet. “There is a much broader range of eateries than before, with everything from a food court to casual dining and restaurants for celebratory meals,” Lau says.
Compass Heights has a 3.3 percent annual rental yield, which is higher than the other condominiums in the area, according to URA and EdgeProp data for the previous 36 months (see Comparison table above). “It appears that Compass Heights, which was built nearly 20 years ago,” says Ken Low, managing partner of SRI.
Investors have discovered that integrated developments make excellent investments due to their rentability, says Low. According to URA data, when he was marketing the 920-unit North Park Residences in 2015, more than half (486 units) were sold within the first month of launch at a median price of $1,374 psf. Low was sold on the project’s potential and purchased a three-bedroom, dual-key unit. As a result, he can rent out the unit as two separate apartments: a two-bedroom and a studio.
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