Updated: Sep 18
Buyers embraced new launches in 2022, with stellar take-up rates seen for projects like AMO Residences and Lentor Modern, which sold 98% and 84% of its units during the launch weekend. Despite interest rate hikes and cooling measures, the new launch market still appears robust - the first new residential condominium launch of 2023, Sceneca Residence (at Tanah Merah), sold 60% of its 268 units on launch day at an average of S$2,072psf.
Up next is The Botany at Dairy Farm; the preview is currently expected to commence 17 February 2023, with the launch date targeted for 4 March 2023.
The above dates, pricing, and other details remain to be confirmed. Is The Botany a project that you should take a closer look at? In this article, we delve into the locale and help you analyse its pros and cons!
Location and Surrounding Amenities
The word ‘botany’ refers to plant life, or the study of plants. Located at Dairy Farm Walk in the Bukit Panjang planning area, The Botany is surrounded by its eponymous greenery, with the 75-hectare Dairy Farm Nature Park right at its doorstep.
Nearby, the Dairy Farm Mall (part of the Dairy Farm Residences mixed development), is also under construction and will be completed by 2024.
The nearest train station - Hillview MRT on the Downtown Line - is around 800m or a 10-minute walk away. From there, the Bukit Panjang MRT is two stops away, providing easy access to popular malls Bukit Panjang Plaza and Hillion Mall, as well as community services Bukit Panjang Community Club and the Bukit Panjang Public Library. Connection to the Central Business District is a direct train, that takes just under half an hour of travel time. For drivers, the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) is literally a minutes’ drive away.
Younger families may be keen to know that there are two primary schools within 1km of The Botany, these being CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace and Bukit Panjang Primary School. The German European School Singapore (GESS International School) is also just across the road from the development.
Analysis of the Real Estate Market Trend in Dairy Farm Area
The Dairy Farm estate is part of a large private residential enclave sitting right between the public housing estates of Bukit Panjang and two of the largest nature reserves in Singapore - the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
The Botany’s plot sits right in between the 420-unit The Skywoods, launched in 2013, and the 460-unit mixed development Dairy Farm Residences, launched in 2019. Both of these did not enjoy the best of launches - The Skywoods sold just 14 units on its first day, while Dairy Farm Residences sold just 35 units during its launch weekend.
While both projects sold out in around 3 years, why did they see such poor reception initially, and does this bode poorly for the upcoming launch of The Botany? 😱
Reviewing the performance of The Skywoods and Dairy Farm Residences
Rewinding the clock ten years from the present, The Skywoods was launched in September 2013. This was right after some fairly significant events in the history of the regulatory environment for the Singapore property market. Do you remember?
Yes, the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework for property loans was introduced by the MAS in June 2013. Just prior, the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) had also been raised while loan-to-value limits tightened in January 2013.
After a very slow start as buyers adopted a wait-and-see attitude as they digested the new measures, the developer (a consortium of three local property companies) finally decided to cut prices around 2015 to move sales along. Combined with the opening of the Hillview MRT station in December 2015, which significantly improved the accessibility of the area, the project sold out by 2016 at an average PSF of $1,222. Since then, resale prices have steadily trended up as well, alongside prices at nearby new launch Dairy Farm Residences.
Fast forward to 2019, further down the road away from Upper Bukit Timah Road, Dairy Farm Residences saw a tepid launch as well. At around 1km away by foot to Hillview MRT, it was seen as inaccessible and somewhat forgotten by buyers amongst a multitude of other projects on offer islandwide.
Covid-19 hit the world in 2020. After initial fears and a quick dip, the pandemic unexpectedly turned into a strong driver of demand for new homes. A deeper appreciation of personal space also spurred buyers to look for larger homes in the Outside of Central Region (OCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR). The relatively attractive price point of Dairy Farm Residences proved then to be a major draw. Sales and prices rose steadily through 2021, and then project sold out by 2022 at an average PSF of $1,624psf.
What Lies Ahead?
Nearby, the planned Beauty World Integrated Transport Hub will be just one MRT stop away, further improving accessibility and enhancing the vibrancy of the surrounding precinct.
In the immediate vicinity of The Botany, there are also 6 plots for future residential development, giving The Botany buyers a solid early mover advantage. An educational institution is also planned to serve the community in the future.
Is The Botany a Good Buy in 2023?
From a pricing standpoint, The Botany has the potential to be one of the cheapest condo launch of 2023 on a psf basis.
Developer Sim Lian’s purchase price of $347 million or $980 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr) was the lowest amongst all government land sale (GLS) sites sold in 2021 and 2022!
its estimated breakeven stands at just $1,646 psf ppr. Assuming a typical developer's margin of 15 - 20%, Sim Lian can price the development at below $2,000psf on average - a rare Pokemon in today’s market!
The likely highly attractive price point will draw in many buyers to The Botany.
Still, it is not a project that will appeal to every buyer.
According to Singapore’s Land Transport Master Plan, by 2030, 8 in 10 households will live within a ten-minute walk of a train station. While nearer to Hillview MRT than Dairy Farm Residences, The Botany only just about fits into the ten-minute radius.
Another concern may be the quality of amenities within walking distance. The nearest grocery store for The Botany residents will be at the Dairy Farm Mall, which has approximately 40,000sqft of retail space in all. This is a reasonable size but not a large mall by any means at just around 1/6th the size of Hillion Mall, 2 MRT stops away. Comfortingly, however, Dairy Farm Mall will be managed by the developer UEL, experienced in managing other retail spaces in its developments such as UE Square and Rochester Mall.
The Botany is likely a better fit for buyers who are nature lovers, enjoy a slower pace of life, and place more importance on space. Amenities are sufficiently convenient, but may not be the top immediate priority. Moving in at an earlier stage of the area’s development can improve the potential upside for capital appreciation.
If The Botany sounds like the right project for you, register your interest to receive updates and schedule a viewing with us today.
About The Author
In her former life as an equity analyst, Evon analyzed companies and stocks to find the best ones for her investors to put their money in, with over a decade of consistent outperformance. Now as a realtor, she enjoys using her analytical skills to help her client secure the best properties to invest in, and finds the greatest joy in journeying with clients towards their dream homes and ideal units.
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