Since the Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW) was first announced in 2013, it has generated great excitement and interest amongst real estate developers, property investors and homebuyers.
This is because the sale of land for new private residential and commercial developments in the Greater Southern Waterfront would impact the property prices of existing developments in the area in two ways:
- Refresh the area and make it a more attractive place to live, work, study and play
- The sequential launch of projects for sale in the area would be at stepped-up prices and this would help to lift prices of existing properties
This article will highlight some of the major developments taking place in the Greater Southern Waterfront and how they will transform the landscape, as well as their impact on the property market.
- About The Greater Southern Waterfront
- Some Key Developments In The Greater Southern Waterfront
- New Residential Developments In The Greater Southern Waterfront
- CBD Incentive Scheme
- Will Rising Land Prices Spur En-Bloc Interests?
- Telok Blangah HDB BTO Sale
- Conclusion - The Greater Southern Waterfront Property Outlook
- Other Resources
- Reviews of New Property Launches
About The Greater Southern Waterfront
The Singapore Greater Southern Waterfront is a major undertaking by the government, backed by a high-level taskforce, seeking to transform Singapore’s southern coast into a new major gateway. It will comprise 30km of coastline stretching from the Gardens by the Bay East to Pasir Panjang and West Coast Park, stringing together the following areas:
- Gardens by the Bay East
- Cruise Hub & Coastal Park at Marina South/Straits View
- Keppel & Tanjong Pagar Terminals
- Mount Faber
- Pulau Brani
- Keppel, Labrador & West Coast Park
- Pasir Panjang Power District
- Pasir Panjang Terminal
- West Coast Park
The Greater Southern Waterfront will comprise 2,000ha of land or six times the size of Marina Bay and twice the size of Punggol housing estate. It is poised to become one of the most sought-after location to live, work, study and play. To kickstart the mega development, prime land will be freed up for redevelopment after PSA moves its city terminals at Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Pulau Brani to Tuas by 2027, followed by the Pasir Panjang terminal by 2040.
Some of the plans for the Greater Southern Waterfront was revealed at the 2019 National Day Rally by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. These include a slew of housing projects, new attractions and offices (which could potentially create a new Central Business District or become an extension of the existing one).
In addition, Sentosa will be revamped while Pulau Brani will be redeveloped into a leisure and recreational destination renamed as Downtown South. The aim is to turn them into a “game-changing leisure and tourism destination”.
There are also plans to redevelop the two decommissioned Pasir Panjang power stations located beside the coastline of the Greater Southern Waterfront into a mixed-use lifestyle precinct.
Some Key Developments In The Greater Southern Waterfront
The Greater Southern Waterfront development will take place in phases, starting with the Keppel Club, former Pasir Panjang Power District, Mount Faber and Pasir Panjang Linear Park within the next decade. These developments have generated quite a bit of excitement in the property market.
Keppel Club – After the expiry of its lease in June 2022, the vacated 44 ha of land which houses a golf course and club facilities will be used to develop 9,000 private and public housing units (BTO flats). They will be complemented by waterfront promenades, greenery and open spaces.
The new precinct will be served by two MRT stations along the Circle Line – Telok Blangah and Labrador Park.
Given its prime location, the BTO flats are expected to attract very strong demand. A case in point is the Pinnacle@Duxton in Tanjong Pagar launched in 2004 where the priciest unit was sold at over $600k. Today, several of them have changed hands above $1m on the resale market.
But this time round, to prevent a "lottery effect" for those who are lucky enough to secure them through balloting, they will be subjected to stricter ownership terms to limit the potential windfall they will receive when they sell off their flats in the future. These will include a 10-year minimum occupation period (MOP), double that of current flats. Owners who sell after the MOP will also have to pay back HDB a percentage of the resale price.
Pasir Panjang Power District - With its distinctive, red-bricked structure, the Pasir Panjang Power Station is a unique heritage venue unlike any other. Completed in 1952/1953, it is credited as one of the nation’s first engines of power before being decommissioned in the 1980s.
Gazetted as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront, the station and its sprawling surroundings are now earmarked for rejuvenation. Some of the ideas include turning them into hotels and exhibition spaces or a nature-centric mixed-use precinct with parks, water features and recreational facilities.
Meanwhile, a new underground electrical substation, Singapore’s largest, is being built at the site of the former Pasir Panjang Power District. The land above it will be developed into a 34-storey commercial building. Both are expected to be completed in 2024 and they are likely to help spur new developments around it.
Currently, the Mapletree Business Centre and Alexandra Technopark opposite it are already home to many multinational corporations such as Google, Samsung, Cisco, Unilever, Microsoft, Sennheiser, Hewlett Packard and Hitachi, to name a few.
Pasir Panjang Linear Park - The new Pasir Panjang Linear Park will include features that allow visitors to experience the natural and maritime history of the area.
Stretching from Labrador Nature Reserve to West Coast Park and close to the shoreline of the Greater Southern Waterfront, it is expected to be completed by 2026. In the future, the park will also feature a waterfront extension at Pasir Panjang Power District.
To commemorate the history of the park, horn bollards used at the Tanjong Pagar Terminal since 1972, along with other maritime artefacts, will be displayed in the park.
There will also be shipping containers repurposed as shelters. Two of them will exhibit maritime artefacts such as a ship telegraph and a ship anchor from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, as well as an old cannon previously displayed in the old Pasir Panjang Park.
There will also be heritage boards and a heritage gallery featuring old photos of the area contributed by the community.
Four New Nature Parks - As part of the plans to improve wildlife connectivity between Labrador Nature Reserve and its surrounding green spaces along the Greater Southern Waterfront, the Labrador and Alexandra areas will get four new parks. These four new parks will come under a new Labrador Nature Park Network which will cover more than 200ha.
They include the following:
- Alexandra Nature Park
- Berlayer Creek Nature Park
- Park at Keppel Club
- Park at King’s Dock
Of the four new parks, the first to be ready will be the 0.4 ha King's Dock Park which is slated to be completed by 2024. It will be followed by the 2ha Alexandra Nature Park around 2025, which will feature a 500m trail set in a natural forest valley.
The last two new parks will be completed in tandem with upcoming housing developments at the Keppel Club site.
One of the parks - the 6.5ha Berlayer Creek Nature Park - will comprise the existing Berlayer Creek. It will also feature a new 30m wide extension on the side of the creek adjacent to the future housing developments. The extension will act as a buffer for the creek's mangrove habitats.
The final park, at about 7 ha, will be integrated with the new housing developments. There will be four green corridors that run around the site's perimeter and between future housing blocks. The housing blocks will be designed with step-down building heights towards the green spaces to maximise views towards them.
These four parks will form part of the 13 parks in the southern region comprising:
- Alexandra Nature Park
- Berlayer Creek Nature Park
- Clementi Woods Park
- Kent Ridge Park
- Labrador Nature Park
- Mount Faber Park
- Park at Keppel Club
- Park at King’s Dock
- Pasir Panjang Park
- New extension of Pasir Panjang Park
- Telok Blangah Hill Park
- West Coast Park
Three of the 13 parks - HortPark, Labrador Nature Park and West Coast Park - will be enhanced into "destination parks", which are large regional parks developed thematically to feature unique recreational elements.
The rejuvenation of these parks will contribute to the ongoing transformation of Singapore’s southern region and complement NParks’ Labrador Nature Park Network, as well as the URA's longer-term plans for the Greater Southern Waterfront and Southern Ridges and Coast Identity Corridor
Mount Faber – It is part of the Southern Ridges, which also comprises the Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve. It can be reached via cable car from Harbourfront Tower 2 or a short drive up the winding road from Kampong Bahru Road.
A new funicular system to bring visitors from the foothills to the hilltop and cable car station by 2023 has been contemplated. This will provide easy access to Mount Faber and the rest of the 10 km-long Southern Ridges. However, the plan has yet to be approved.
There are also plans to connect the green corridors to the waterfront promenade in the area.
Restoration of 12.5ha Coastal Forest In Labrador Along Greater Southern Waterfront
There are plans to restore a 12.5ha coastal forest in Labrador as part of Singapore's ongoing efforts to conserve its biodiversity for future generations. The restoration of the area - the size of about 17 football fields - will include the planting of 5,000 native trees that are suited to the coastal forest environment found along this part of the Greater Southern Waterfront.
At the same time, there will be a study on enhancing the connectivity between the 22-ha Labrador Nature Reserve and its surrounding green spaces. And under the NParks' Forest Restoration Action Plan till 2030, there will be measures to strengthen the ecological and climate resilience of its habitats. These will comprise a 10-ha coastal hill forest and a coastal beach forest in the 2.5-ha area between the coastal hill forest and the sea.
A new coastal trail will also be introduced as part of the restoration work, where visitors can learn about coastal habitats and their resident diversity. The trail will also provide visitors with views of the sea from vantage points and allow them to learn more about the history of the coastline over the years, the native flora and fauna found at beach forests and rocky shores, how climate change and rising seas levels will affect the environment, and why conserving natural coastal habitats is important to build climate resilience.
Work on its design and development will start in 2022.
The Sentosa-Brani Master Plan
Being part of the remaking of the Greater Southern Waterfront, the Sentosa-Brani Master Plan is a comprehensive redevelopment of Sentosa and Pulau Brani into a “game-changing leisure and tourism destination”. It will be implemented in phases over the next two to three decades.
The masterplan will consist of 5 unique character zones, each offering a captivating experience to local and international visitors alike.
- Vibrant Cluster - A festive and attraction zone, it will feature large attractions and an outdoor performance space.
- Island Heart - At the centre of the entire development, it will have both indoor and outdoor attractions, with views of Mount Serapong.
- Waterfront - The city-facing Waterfront, which will be located closest to the main Singapore island, will retain its port architecture to commemorate its port heritage.
- Ridgeline - For nature lovers, it will offer nature and heritage attractions connecting Mount Faber, Pulau Brani, Mount Serapong and Mount Imbiah to Fort Siloso.
- Beachfront - It will offer water-themed attractions for families.
Besides the above, there will be night attractions with customised digital exhibitions and light events based on the five zones. To provide a seamless experience, an enhanced transport network will ensure greater accessibility throughout the developments.
Pulau Brani Redevelopment (To Be Renamed Downtown South)
Pulau Brani will be transformed into an entertainment and lifestyle destination. Currently, a container port located next to Sentosa, it will be will be renamed Downtown South and will offer new attractions similar to those at Universal Studios.
In addition, there will be a new waterfront promenade and nature trails that connect to Mount Faber and other nearby nature parks to create a green corridor. Under consideration is a plan to erect a barrage around Pulau Brani to form another reservoir similar to the Marina Barrage. If realised, this will offer another venue for watersports enthusiasts.
The Rail Corridor
The Rail Corridor is a former railway line that stretches 24km from the north to the south of Singapore, linking the future Woodlands North Coast and Greater Southern Waterfront. The Rail Corridor will link 1 million people within 1km of it, spurring the development of surrounding lands and the rejuvenation of older districts. These will include new commercial, cultural and entertainment facilities. It will also take visitors on a journey through a variety of nature parks, landscapes, communities and unique experiences.
Ending at the former Tanjong Pagar Railway station, the heritage site will be conserved and turned into a multi-functional community space. These will include a public park named Station Green. It will be integrated with the upcoming Cantonment MRT station along the Circle Line. Commuters emerging from the train station will be greeted by conserved railway tracks of old, an auditorium and an art gallery.
New Residential Developments In The Greater Southern Waterfront
So far, the private residential property market along the Greater Southern Waterfront has not seen that many new launches. Some of the recent ones are Marina One Residences, Wallich Residence, One Bernam and The Reef At King’s Dock. Most of them have been selling very well.
The next one coming up will be Marina View Residences before the end of 2023.
However, this is set to change as the government releases more land parcels for sale while the CBD Incentive Scheme has encouraged existing commercial building owners to redevelop their properties into mixed uses.
Potential Property Hotspots Along The Greater Southern Waterfront
With 2,000 hectares of land spanning the Greater Southern Waterfront, where are the likely future property hotspots?
Perhaps, some clues may be derived from former National Development Minister Lim Hng Kiang’s speech in November 1997 at the official opening of the Singapore Airlines Building. He said:
“We will introduce more housing into the existing Downtown, especially in the Tanjong Pagar area, to create a critical mass for a livelier city centre”.
Mr Lim added:
“Our present Downtown will grow and expand seamlessly into the new Downtown. We will transform the entire waterfront area from Marina Centre to the scenic Marina Bay, where the New Downtown will be built, into an exciting strip”.
Residential Developments At Marina Bay
Subsequently in 2002, a 99-year leasehold site was launched for tender by the government where The Sail @ Marina Bay currently occupies. Following that, a number of residential developments have been built, which include Marina Bay Residences, Marina Bay Suites and Marina One Residences.
Most of them are mixed-use developments as the URA seeks to transform the Central Business District (CBD) into a livelier and more vibrant place to live, work, and play.
Hence, it is little surprise to see more developments will be coming up in the Marina Bay area.
One of the upcoming developments will be Marina View Residences. The site located next to Singapore Conference Hall was sold under the government land tender in September 2021 to Boulevard View, an entity linked to IOI Properties Group.
Up next is the Marina Gardens Lane site located close to the Gardens by the Bay and overlooks the Marina Reservoir and the Straits of Singapore.
Launched for tender in December 2022, it is expected to yield about 790 residential units. It is part of the plan to transform the 45-ha Marina South precinct into a mixed-use neighbourhood consisting of retail, office, hotel and residential developments.
Meanwhile, another site at Marina Gardens Crescent next to it is expected to be tendered by the government in June this year. It is expected to yield around 775 residential units.
Marina South is envisioned to be a sustainable and car-lite precinct with pedestrian-friendly streets, a comprehensive cycling network, a pedestrian mall and an underground pedestrian network that will be linked to the Gardens by the Bay and Marina South MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line.
Tanjong Pagar Port Terminal
Another area for potential housing developments is the former Tanjong Pagar port terminal which was cleared in 2017, well ahead of its lease expiry in 2027. This leads to the expectation that the government would release land within the Greater Southern Waterfront sooner than expected.
And at the nearby Keppel Distripark, the land it occupies currently has been rezoned to "subject to detailed planning".
In URA lingo, this means the land use and plot ratio are yet to be finalized. But, given its prime location next to the upcoming Keppel MRT station along the Circle Line, it will likely be an integrated development.
CBD Incentive Scheme
A new supply of private residential housing is also expected to come from the CBD Incentive Scheme which it encourages building owners to convert existing, older, office developments into mixed-use developments in the Central Business District (CBD).
The plan is to rejuvenate the city centre and will apply to areas around Anson Road, Cecil Street, Shenton Way, Robinson Road and Tanjong Pagar. According to then National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, this is to introduce a broader mix of uses so that the CBD is "not only a place to work but also a vibrant place to live and play".
To entice owners to redevelop their buildings, the scheme will offer an increase in gross plot ratio of 20% or 30% depending on the type of conversion. New developments taking advantage of the scheme include the Realty Centre opposite One Bernam, Fuji-Xerox Towers at Anson Road, and AXA Tower at Shenton Way.
The Fuji-Xerox Towers will be redeveloped as Newport Residences. It will comprise a 45-storey mixed-use development with 246 residential, a super penthouse, Grade A offices, and serviced apartments.
Meanwhile, the AXA Tower will be redeveloped as Skywaters Residences. The 63-storey development with a height of 305m will be the tallest building in Singapore. Also a mixed-use development, it will comprise 215 residential units, retail spaces, offices, and a hotel.
New Housing Supply From En Bloc Redevelopment
New private home supply could also come from the rekindling of en bloc interests. One of the most recent was the collective sale of Gloria Mansion located at 292 Pasir Panjang Road.
Gloria Mansion is a 12-storey freehold residential development comprising 31 apartments located close to the Haw Par Villa MRT station on the Circle Line. It is also accessible by the West Coast Highway and Ayer Rajah Expressway.
It was sold at $70.3 million to Fraxtor Capital and a group led by the family offices of Daniel Teo and his brother Teo Teck Weng, from the Teo family of Tong Eng Group.
With a total site area of 45,742 sqft and a plot ratio of 1.4, it will have a gross floor area without a balcony of 64,039 sqft. This translates to a land cost of $1,234 psf ppr. Potentially, the new development will yield 59 apartment units with an estimated launch price of $2,3xx psf on average.
Prior to Gloria Mansion, another development that was sold en bloc was Flynn Park.
Flynn Park is located at Yew Siang Road, just off Pasir Panjang Road. Sitting on 208,443 sqft of freehold land, it was sold for $371 million to a joint venture between Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments in September 2021 on its second attempt.
The sale price works out to approximately $1,355 per sqft psf ppr, which exceeded the $365 million reserve price, or $1,284 psf ppr. Including the 7% bonus balconies, the land price works out to approximately $1,318 psf ppr.
According to Savills Singapore which brokered the deal, the strong attributes of the site will offer the developer a unique opportunity to create a premium product on the fringe of the city centre and just 350m from the Pasir Panjang MRT station. It is also located right next to lush and mature nature parks.
Relaunched as Terra Hill for sale on 25 February 2023, it sold 102 out of 270 residential units (about 37.78%) at an average price of $2,650 psf.
Before Flynn Park, the properties that have been redeveloped include the Harbour View Gardens in 2016, as well as Redwood West and Vista Park in 2017. Harbour View Gardens and Redwood West were freehold developments located at Pasir Panjang Road while Vista Park was a 99-year leasehold development at South Buona Vista Road.
The former has retained its name while Redwood West and Vista Park are now known as The Verandah Residences and Kent Ridge Hill Residences respectively.
During their launch, the 57-unit Harbour View Gardens was sold at an average price of $1,753 psf, the 170-unit Verandah Residences at $1,810 psf and the 448-unit Kent Ridge Hill Residences at $1,700 psf.
The Harbour View Gardens and Verandah Residences were launched in April 2018 and Kent Ridge Hill Residences in November 2018.
The last project to be launched in the Pasir Panjang area prior to these three developments was Far East Organization’s Bijou in 2014. Bijou is a mixed-use development with 120 residential and 15 commercial units situated right across the Pasir Panjang MRT station and food centre. Units have changed hand around $2,000 - $2,100 psf of late.
These properties are situated very close to the Pasir Panjang Linear Park and the Greater Southern Waterfront coastline, which contributed to their appeal.
Will Rising Land Prices Spur En-Bloc Interests?
En Bloc sales have enjoyed a revival in Singapore after a short lull after the government imposed new property cooling measures in July 2018. This subsequently culminated in the successful en bloc of Flynn Park.
Given the low inventory of unsold new homes, housing developers may continue to look towards en bloc to replenish their land bank, especially attractive sites with good locational attributes and growth potential.
As of 1Q 2023, the unsold inventory of new launches is hovering around 17,000 units. Assuming a take-up rate of about 10,000 - 11,000 units per year, which is the average in the last 20 years, they would be wiped out in less than 2 years.
Therefore, it is unsurprising that recent new launches such as Botany At Dairy (4 March 2023) Farm and Tembusu Grand (8 April 2023) have attracted relatively healthy demand. During their sales weekend, they sold 48.0% and 53.3% of total units respectively despite elevated interest rates and lingering economic uncertainties.
However, there are some short and long-term uncertainties and headwinds that have fuelled some caution and these include the following:
- Economic uncertainty amid the US banking crisis.
- The Ukraine-Russia conflict disrupting the supply chain and increasing geo-political risks.
- Ramification over the effects of new property cooling measures effective 27 April 2023 that saw sharp increases in additional buyers' stamp duties (ABSD), especially for foreigners.
- URA’s revision of the average unit size in non-landed residential projects outside Central Area from 70 sqm to 85 sqm. In some specific areas like Pasir Panjang, they are set at 100 sqm. This may affect developers' unit pricing as larger unit sizes usually translate to lower psf prices, dampening the offer price for en bloc sites.
- Harmonisation of floor areas by URA that will negatively impact the amount of saleable areas by housing developers.
Amid the uncertainties, smaller developments will good locational attributes and investment potential will likely be more attractive to housing developers. This is because they can be sold off more easily before the 5-year ABSD deadline.
Telok Blangah HDB BTO Sale
In the public property market, the sale of the Telok Blangah Beacon BTO flats in May 2021 attracted a huge demand for its four-room flats despite being one of the most expensive in HDB's sales exercise. It witnessed one of the highest application rates in recent years where only one in more than 28 first-time applicants will get a unit. It is even harder for second-time applicants, with more than 412 applicants vying for each available unit.
Prices for the four-room flats, which are located about 10 minutes walk to the Telok Blangah MRT station, ranged from $602,000 to $710,000. The key attraction is its central location in a mature estate and being close to Vivocity at Harbourfront. It is also the first BTO project to be launched at the Greater Southern Waterfront at that time.
Upcoming Keppel HDB BTO Sale
Hence, when the HDB launches BTO flats at the former Keppel Club site situated along the Greater Southern Waterfront within the next three years, strong demand can be expected. This is despite the latest slew of new regulations to ensure the equitable ownership of these flats to prevent social stratification that only the rich can afford.
There will be about 9,000 new housing units at the former Keppel Club site - 6,000 HDB flats and 3,000 private apartments to be built from 2025 onwards. Judging from the strong demand for Telok Blangah Beacon BTO flats and new private property launches around the area, this clearly attests to the attraction and desirability of living at the Greater Southern Waterfront.
The 48-ha Keppel Club site is situated between the Telok Blangah and Labrador Park MRT stations on the Circle Line, and they will be linked by walking trails. Offering unique waterfront living that is close to nature, about 20% of the site (about the size of 18 football fields) will be set aside for parks and open land.
This will include four green corridors running through the estate and serve as recreational spaces, namely the Central Corridor, Berlayer Corridor, Henderson Corridor and the Northern Corridor.
At the same time, housing blocks will be designed with step-down heights towards the green spaces to maximise views.
Conclusion - The Greater Southern Waterfront Property Outlook
The private property market has been resilient during and after the covid-19 pandemic. This can be attributed to several factors:
- Demand for private properties by HDB upgraders on the back of rising prices in HDB resale flats.
- Financial prudence and the absence of property speculation due to government property cooling measures have helped to cushion the impact of rising interest rates.
- Low unsold housing inventory.
- Insufficient government land sales (despite the government trying to rectify the tight supply).
- HDB owners cashing in on high resale prices and upgrading to private properties.
- Revival of foreign interests as Singapore opens due to its safe haven status.
- Sound economy.
According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), private home prices rose 3.2% in 1st Quarter of 2023, compared to a 0.4% increase in the previous quarter (refer to chart).
In addition, there is rising demand from foreign investors. From a low of 3.1% in 1Q 2022, this has increased steadily to hit 6.9% in 1Q 2023, the highest level since 1Q 2018 when it registered 7.3% of total sales.
This could be attributed to the relaxing of borders in Singapore and subsequently in China in January 2023, which saw more ultra-high network individuals (UHNWIs) able to travel out of their country more freely.
To moderate demand, the government has imposed another round of property cooling measures on 27 April 2023. Despite the sharp hike in the ABSD rate to 60% from 30% for foreigners buying private properties, Singapore is still seen to be an attractive destination for the following reasons:
- The inflow of foreign funds and ultra-high-net-worth individuals into Singapore, including the setting up of family offices due to Singapore's safe-haven status.
- Singapore's neutral geopolitical position.
- Macroeconomic uncertainties due to the Russia-Ukraine war pushing investors into safe-haven assets such as properties.
- According to the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index, Singapore remains far from being in bubble territory.
Other than the Greater Southern Waterfront, the other property hotspots include the following:
- Jurong Lake District
- Woodlands Regional Centre
- Tampines Regional Centre
- Tampines North
- East Region
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