Project Spotlight: Esté Villa sold out within one-week of previews!

By The Folks @PropTalk - November 2, 2011 No Comments

On Oct 7, developer MCL Land held its VIP preview of Esté Villa for former owners, directors and business associates. This was followed by a public preview on Oct 12. By Oct 15, all the 121 units were sold out – even the showflat, constructed within the shell of an actual unit, was sold.

First to be snapped up was the one and only pair of semi-detached houses with strata area of over 5,400sqft, which went for $3.5 million apiece. The other hot favourites were the corner terraced houses, which had strata areas averaging 3,800sqft, and were snapped up at prices of $2.4 million to $2.6 million. Intermediate terraces with strata areas of 3,326 to 3,423sqft, went for $2.1 million to $2.3 million each. The average price achieved was said to be around $680psf.

The main selling point of Esté Villa, says Doris Ong, senior vice-president of ERA Realty, is its “unique product offering, and well thought-out design”. Koh Teck Chuan, CEO of MCL Land agrees. “A lot of buyers were convinced by the product,” he says.

“The project appeals to three-generation families who want to live together because the units come with a private home lift,” says Koh. “A lot of attention has been put into the design and the layout to make sure the units are spacious and efficient.” The private lift is also customised especially for Esté Villa by Schindler Lifts, with glass doors and glass control panels. Beyond aesthetics, the lift is also large enough to fit a wheelchair.

Esté Villa is located within the heart of Seletar Hills Estate, a quiet and affluent neighbourhood, with mainly large bungalows and some semi-detached houses. It is accessible via Seletar Road and Nim Crescent. Esté Villa is a redevelopment of the former Nim Park on Nim Road, which MCL Land had purchased en-bloc for $84 million in 2007. Construction of the new project has already begun, and is scheduled for completion by 3Q2013.

Many new cluster housing and even conventional landed housing developments do not come with home lifts, observes Samuel Eyo, associate director of Savills Prestige Homes. “It costs around $100,000 to install a home lift,” he says. As such, some developers give owners the option of installing one at an additional cost, and most do not even have that option.

Another interesting feature of Esté Villa is the basement, which comes with a 5m ceiling height. It gives owners the flexibility of creating additional space for a home office, or private library, says Koh. Based on the floor plans of Esté Villa, most of the basement levels come with a covered garage with two parking spaces, a home entertainment room and en-suite bathroom, as well as open-air courtyard. There’s also a utility area with a yard, and a separate maid’s room with an en-suite bathroom.

The first level of the house contains the living and dining area, as well as the kitchen. The living room opens out to a patio in front, and the kitchen also features a smaller rear patio, which is an ideal breakfast area. The second level contains the master suite, while the third has two bedrooms sharing a common bathroom. The fourth level is an attic, which can be used as a fourth bedroom as there is an en-suite bathroom. Alternatively, it can be converted into a study or family room.

“The pricing was reasonable, and people saw that it offered good value,” says Chua Chor Hoon, DTZ’s head of research for Southeast Asia. “For that absolute price, you can buy an old terraced house in the Seletar estate or in Teacher’s Housing Estate off Yio Chu Kang Road, or even in the east. But if you’re buying an old house, it means having to tear down and rebuild or embark on extensive renovation work.”

According to Chua, a cluster housing project such as Esté Villa also offers homebuyers the best of both worlds – landed housing with condominium facilities, such as swimming pool, water features, gymnasium, landscaped gardens and clubhouse.

Koh agrees: “In the past, there used to be a stigma attached to cluster housing because you own a strata title and not the land that your house is sitting on. But that is slowly changing, and cluster housing projects appeal especially to the younger generation who like the lifestyle aspects.” He sees families with children who like the security and condo facilities choosing cluster housing over conventional landed homes.

Given the restrictions on foreigners owning landed property, the buyers are all Singaporeans.

Those living in the Seletar area made up around 30% of the buyers, notes Koh. The rest of the buyers came from across the island, with quite a number from the East, and some from the West, as well as from the prime Orchard Road districts.

Demand for landed housing remains strong, says ERA’s Ong. The new Seletar Aerospace Park, attracting the likes of international aerospace players such as Fokker, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt and Whitney, has brought a buzz to the area. Hence, while the majority of buyers at Esté Villa are owner-occupiers, there are also a number of investors, she says.

Residents at Esté Villa will also enjoy complimentary shuttle service to Ang Mo Kio MRT station for the first two years after completion, according to MCL Land. Residents at Seletar including Esté Villa can also look forward to the upcoming Greenwich V by Far East Organization, which is a short drive away and located at the junction of Seletar Road and Yio Chu Kang Road. The 45,000sqft Greenwich V is already fully leased, and shopping and F&B outlets there include Cold Storage, Guardian, 7-Eleven, Kopitiam, Paradise Inn, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Toastbox.

MCL Land is not new to cluster housing or strata landed housing developments. Its first major cluster housing development was Hillcrest Villa, a 163-unit strata terraced housing project. The fully-sold project was completed last year. When it was launched in September 2007, all of the units were snapped up within three weeks at an average price of $871psf, with absolute prices ranging from $2.5 million to $3 million each.


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