Sentosa cove: the right time to buy?

December 4, 2017 / By

Value buys of ocean-fronting homes on a resort island complete with a private berth for leisure boats can now be found on Sentosa Cove, a 117-hectare waterfront district on Sentosa – a resort island to the south of Singapore.

Conceptualised as an upscale waterfront residential district and modelled after Port Grimaud in France, Sentosa Cove is home to 2,160 waterway condominium and landed residences – mostly with enchanting and panoramic ocean views. Many of the 394 bungalows and terraces also come with private berthing facilities.

Residents are served by upscale retail and resort amenities as well as a world-class marina for 330 yachts in a centralised commercial precinct.

Here, foreigners are eligible to purchase homes, including the landed ones. When land parcels at Sentosa Cove were first released for sale in 2003, competition was tepid due to its untested location on top of lacklusture market conditions then.

With only three bidders, the first parcel for condominium development was sold at SGD 351 (US$261) per square feet (psf) of potential gross floor area (GFA). Landed home parcels reportedly attracted top bids of SGD 178-456 (US$132-339) psf of land.

However, by 2008, land prices had more than quintupled. That year, the last condominium plot on the cove was sold for SGD 1,822 (USD 1,354) psf of potential GFA, while the last bungalow plot was sold for SGD 1,687 (US$ 1,254) psf of land!

Likewise, project launch prices also skyrocketed, from SGD 785 (US$583) psf in 2004 for the cove’s first condominium development – The Berth by the Cove, to above SGD 3,000 (US$2,230) psf by 2009 when seven units in Seven Palms Sentosa Cove were sold for SGD 3,091-3,429 (US$2,297-2,549) psf.

Table 1: Completed Residential Developments on Sentosa Cove
Source : Real Estate Information System, Urban Redevelopment Authority/JLL Research, November 2017

Home prices on the cove have since eased owing to weakened demand on the back of factors such as the global financial crisis in 2008/9, and more recently, the market cooling measures that included the additional buyer’s stamp duty.

Lured by today’s attractive pricing, buyers are returning to Sentosa Cove. Transaction volumes rose from 31 in 2016 to 59 in the first ten months of 2017, with many concluded at bargain prices.  For example, a condominium unit in Seascape was bought in February 2017 for SGD 6.2 million (US$4.6 million), less than half the SGD 12.8 million (US$9.5 million) the seller paid in June 2010, while a bungalow was purchased for SGD 16.6 million (US$ 12.3 million), 30.8 per cent below the purchase price of SGD 24.0 million (US$17.8 million) in 2012.

With Singapore’s overall homebuyers’ sentiment having turned around since 2016, and given the cove’s static home supply, there is potential for Sentosa Cove home prices to recover. It is thus timely for wealthy individuals looking for a permanent or holiday resort homes to consider properties on Sentosa Cove – especially if one meets the right seller.


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