Why the luxury market is turning to waterfront condos
Our desire to live on the waterfront is now fuelled by the lifestyle benefits and investment returns it brings.
Waking up every morning to tranquil views over the sea. Unwinding at the end of the day while watching boats drift down the river under a fiery sunset sky. The dream of an urban sanctuary close to nature is one that many homeowners share.
Water has long shaped human settlement, and throughout civilisation, societies evolved around water sources. While our dependency on rivers as the major transportation and irrigational lifeline has diminished, our desire to live on the waterfront is now fuelled by the lifestyle benefits and investment returns it brings.
There are only a few coasts in Singapore where seafront living is possible, with many of them concentrated in the East Coast, Harbourfront or city areas. Singapore’s West Coast tends to be used for industry, while stretches of the North coast are more rural than residential. Still, there are hidden gems to be found in the most unexpected of areas.
In the Global Waterfront Report compiled by Knight Frank in 2019, the price premium for waterfront properties in Singapore is 7.7 per cent, well below the 40 per cent average, and the lowest of 12 cities researched for the report. Compared to Sydney, Hong Kong, or Dubai, where waterfront properties command an average of 89.3 per cent, 39.9 per cent, and 50.7 per cent more than their inland counterparts respectively, owning a waterfront property in Singapore is an attractive investment in more ways than just a pretty view.
PROXIMITY TO NATURE
Waterfront homes often provide the luxury of privacy and a serene atmosphere, making them a true retreat for the urban dweller. Units on higher floors generally command a higher price tag to match the priceless views. Better yet, homeowners whose residences are on the water’s edge can be assured of a permanent, unobstructed view.
Another desirable aspect of waterfront living is the proximity to outdoor areas, including pedestrian-friendly promenades and beaches. Parks and nature reserves such as the East Coast Park and West Coast Park offer waterfront residents a recreational and sporting destination close to home, and closer to nature still.
A RESORT LIFESTYLE
For retirees, location-independent workers, holiday homeowners and investors, living on the resort island of Sentosa no longer becomes too much of an inconvenience.
According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), sales of condominiums and landed homes in Sentosa Cove – the only place where well-heeled foreigners who aren’t Permanent Residents can buy landed property in Singapore, and where waterfront houses come with private yacht berths – reached a record 103 transactions this year from January to mid-August, 84 per cent more than the transactions for the whole of 2020.
But what is the price to pay for seafront views, fresh ocean air, and a peaceful neighbourhood? Not as much as you think. According to the PropertyGuru Singapore Property Market Index Q2 2021, the median asking prices for District 1 and District 10 were actually higher than that for the most expensive condo at Sentosa Cove, making it a frontrunner for “The World’s Most Desirable Address” indeed.
As reported in Bloomberg, home prices in Singapore jumped by a record 4.1 per cent in the first half of this year to reach S$32.9 billion in sales, double the sales volume recorded in the traditionally red hot housing market of Manhattan over the same period.
The relative scarcity of waterfront land and the desirability of living by the water, combined with the fact that waterfront properties are considered amongst the most liquid of assets, typically see the highest appreciation, and have higher rental potential than other property types, make them an attractive opportunity for the savvy investor.