Not so “private” private housing in Singapore… a new trend?

May 11, 2015 / By  

Last December, Singapore’s largest private residential development, d’Leedon by CapitaLand, obtained its Temporary Operating Permit (TOP).  With 1,715 residential units and impressive amenities spread over approximately 850,000 sq ft of land, the developer executed a large-scale event highlighted by laser shows and buffet spread to celebrate its completion, which captured much attention from both local and international investors and the media.  More than 1,400 units have been sold so far.

In Singapore, other than public housing projects, such large scale private housing development is quite rare—nearly 30% of the public housing estates contain over 1,000 housing units, compared to only 0.8% of private housing estates, according to JLL’s database. In other Asian countries, however, the concept of large-scale private housing development can be quite the norm, for both luxury and affordable developments. In fact, in Korea, one of the most expensive developments in the country, Tower Palace built in 2002, is also one of the biggest – comprising seven towers with 2,590 units. And the trend to build large residential communities continues with Korean developers.

The reasons are many. Large-scale private developments are often better maintained by top management companies, have dynamic retail shops on the doorstep, and most importantly, offer extensive amenities, sizable leisure gardens, and hiking trails made affordable by the “sharing of resources.”  There are also social advantages that are often not found in smaller developments— a variety of shared facilities attract residents outdoors and encourage social interactions with neighbours, benefitting social, mental, and emotional health.

In Singapore, the appearance of these large condominium landmarks is a recent phenomenon. The eight private developments with more than 1,000 units have all been completed in the last six years, including the comparable developments Reflections at Keppel Bay and Interlace, at 1,129 and 1,040 units, respectively, with lifestyle amenities such as a 3-km jogging pavement and a putting green.  Marina One, to be completed in 2017, will have 1,042 residential units as well as two office towers and a retail podium, with an abundance of lifestyle amenities despite being located in the Central Business District.  With facilities becoming increasingly exceptional with each project, developers, investors and residents in the current market are finding value in projects that offer a lifestyle, rather than their past focus on “exclusivity.”

Singapore, unlike most international cities, has an advantage in the limitless types of both indoor and outdoor amenities that can be fashioned due to its all-year-round tropical climate.  Thus, it will be exciting to see what is in store for the next generation of condominiums.

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