ST: A view to thrill

A view to thrill 

Buyers are willing to pay premiums of up to 10% for properties that come with good views 

By Jessica Cheam 


Hong Fok Corp’s upcoming condo will offer views of Kallang River and the new Sports Hub. 


WHAT do home buyers look for in their dream home?


No doubt, it is a combination of an affordable price, the perfect location and other sought-after attributes.


But if there is one factor that often makes or breaks a sale, it is the view.


Property agents agree that all things being equal, a great vista helps to seal the deal for many home buyers.


In fact, in the current softer property market, a captivating outlook might give a home that vital edge to ensure it sells, they add.


Buyers are willing to fork out a premium of anything up to 10 per cent for a home with a great view. For well-heeled home seekers, price is no issue if the outlook is stunning, they say.


As a rule of thumb, analysts say flat prices increase up to 1.5 per cent for each floor in high-rise properties – so a 15th- floor unit might be 15 per cent more expensive than a comparable fifth-storey unit.


Securing that room with a view is particularly relevant for a built-up city such as Singapore.


Recent developments such as The Sail @ Marina Bay – which has two towers, one of which is 70 storeys high – have increasingly catered to Singaporeans’ growing appetite for high-rise apartments with stunning views.


Depending on what type of view you get on the higher floors, another premium of 3 per cent can be added, said Mr Colin Tan, head of research and consultancy at Chesterton International.


To pin down exactly how much a view is worth, a ‘hedonic regression model’ can be used, said Mr Nicholas Mak, Knight Frank’s director of research and consultancy. This method breaks down individual aspects of a home and estimates the value of each characteristic.


‘This is mostly used by academics who want precise values. Developers tend to decide on the value of a view based on experience, or from valuers,’ said Mr Mak. With the model, value is calculated based on past transactions, he added.


A view can change a property’s worth as much as 10 per cent, said Mr Mak. What is difficult, though, is guessing a buyer’s preference.


‘One man’s meat may be another man’s poison. It’s hard to isolate the price difference between, say, a city view and a greenery one,’ he said.


A buyer’s willingness to cough up money for a view depends on individual tastes.


Home buyer Victoria Ho, 25, prefers a city view over a green one any day. ‘I’ll pay up to 10 per cent more for a view, but not much more, because the location matters more than, say, if I were facing barren land or another block.’


But for 26-year-old Hoe Qing An, who is hunting for his dream home, greenery is of the utmost importance.


‘We already live in an urban jungle; a home needs to have that green element and I won’t mind paying for it,’ he said.


So where are the spectacular views in Singapore and how affordable are they?


Property agents told The Straits Times buyers generally look for views such as an ocean outlook, the Central Business District skyline and expansive natural vistas.


The obvious favourites are those from properties on the East Coast, and city homes that provide a bird’s-eye view of prime districts 9, 10 or 11.


For buyers who cannot get a high-floor unit, condos such as The Pier at Robertson allow all owners a view at least part of the time.


They can gaze at the Singapore River against the city skyline while at the gym or during a swim.


Property developer Hong Fok Corp has an upcoming residential project in Beach Road – still unnamed – that offers a stunning view of both the sea and the city.


The two towers, of 40 and 28 storeys and with 360 units, will offer panoramic views of Marina Bay, the sea, the city skyline or the Kallang River, depending on the direction the unit faces.


Prices have not been revealed, but in the vicinity, Southbank in North Bridge Road and Citylights at Lavender have been sold at about $1,000 to $1,200 psf recently.


Then there are homes that offer alternative views such as those near the island’s nature reserves – which can be easier on the pocket.


Orange Tee property agent Vincent Loke, 36, for example, is selling a 13th-floor unit at Parc Oasis in Jurong which offers an expansive view of Jurong Lake. The 1,507 sq ft apartment is selling for about $930,000 – up to $80,000 more than a similar unit with no view.


In densely populated Singapore, greenery is highly sought after by home owners, said agents. Take, for example, the calming landscapes of Bukit Batok’s Little Guilin, from Guilin View.


Property agent Simon Tan, 46, said a 29th-floor unit with a lake view sells for about $850,000. Units in the same block without the view cost about $780,000.


Some HDB flats in Marsiling enjoy an unblocked view of Johor Baru across the strait.


Malaysia can even be glimpsed from as far inland as former HUDC estate Braddell View. Its owners also enjoy panoramic views of MacRitchie Reservoir.


Mr Alan Lim, who owns a unit on a high floor, said he can even spot fireworks set off across the Causeway sometimes. Latest data shows homes at the estate selling for about $500 to $600 psf, or slightly under $1 million.


More affordable sights can also be found in the heartlands.


At Sengkang’s Rivervale Drive, for example, high floor unit owners can look onto the meandering Sungei Serangoon for soothing greenery.


Mr Steven Koh, 48, who is one such owner, bought his five-


room flat for $310,000 in 2000. He reckons it is now worth more than $400,000 and that his view adds at least a few tens of thousands to the value of his flat.


‘But I’m not looking to sell. I consider myself lucky to have such a beautiful view to gaze on every day. You can’t put a value on that feeling,’ he said.


Source: Straits Times

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