SINGAPORE: The highly anticipated luxury freehold condominium development, Watten House, situated in the prime Bukit Timah estate, witnessed an exceptional response during its pre-sales event on Saturday (18 Nov). Developed by the esteemed UOL Group and Singapore Land Group (SingLand), the project sold nearly 60% of its 180 units on the first day of pre-sales.

Watten House, occupying the former site of Watten Estate Condominium in Shelford Road, was acquired by UOL and SingLand through a collective sale in October 2021 for an impressive $550.8 million, equivalent to $1,723 per sq ft per plot ratio.

The development’s strategic location near Tan Kah Kee MRT station, Nanyang Primary School, Raffles Girls’ Primary, and other renowned educational institutions like St Margaret’s Secondary, Hwa Chong Institution, Nanyang Girls’ High School, and National Junior College, contributed to its allure. Additionally, its appeal was enhanced by proximity to popular landmarks such as Coronation Shopping Plaza, Serene Centre, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

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Of the 102 units sold during the pre-sale event, approximately 96 per cent of buyers were Singapore citizens and permanent residents, indicating strong local interest. The family-friendly unit sizes and the proximity to schools were cited as key factors influencing the purchasing decisions of these buyers.

Watten House offers a unique proposition by exclusively featuring larger unit types with no one- or two-bedroom options. Among the 180 units, 140 are rare large-format homes exceeding 1,500 sq ft. Prices start from $3 million for three-bedroom units, while four-bedroom units are priced over $5 million, and five-bedroom units begin at $7.4 million.

The absence of a lease appears to be a notable selling point for Watten House, as freehold properties are increasingly sought after for legacy reasons.

Only 34% of existing new projects across Singapore are freehold, making Watten House a distinctive offering in the market. Over the past two years, resale prices and new freehold properties in prime districts have grown four times faster than their leasehold counterparts.

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Real estate analysts have commended the pre-sales response, noting that it has exceeded market expectations, especially considering the premium nature of the development and its higher price quantum.

UOL Group Chief Executive Liam Wee Sin expressed satisfaction with the outcome, saying, “Watten House has ended the year well for UOL and SingLand. This luxury development is a freehold project with a prestigious address, and we have developed this sprawling 5-acre site into a low-density 180-unit development with high-density greenery.”

Industry insiders suggest that the robust take-up rate at Watten House provides developers with confidence to launch their projects in 2024, indicating positive sentiments in the real estate market.