The M Launches Amid Virus Outbreak

Yesterday, Wing Tai Asia announced that its most recent condominium development, The M at Bugis, would launch for preview tomorrow Saturday.

It has not yet announced the number of units that will be released for sale during the preview, nor the actual sales date. This is likely because they need to assess buyer response before making those decisions, given the current Covid-19 outbreak.

However Wing Tai has indicated that pricing will not be “very aggressive”, but will be in the range of about SGD$2,200 to $2,400 per square foot (PSF). (This compares to the average of around $2,9xx PSF at Midtown Bay across the road, and possible $2,5xx to $2,7xx PSF for the upcoming Midtown Modern at Bugis station.)

Cushman & Wakefield’s head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia, Ms Christine Li, noted that this is possibly because the M has the advantage of the lowest land price of all the projects in the vicinity.

She commented that, “This could mean that developers for other sites, such as those in Tan Quee Lan Street, Bernam Street (that of One Bernam) and the former Chinatown Plaza, are likely to launch their projects at the same price point, or higher, given the higher land cost.”

”But based on the indicative pricing, The M is considered quite reasonably-priced, given the positive attributes of this project,” she added.


About the M and Neighbourhood

The M will be a 522-unit residential with commercial-at-first-storey project within the Rochor-Ophir neighbourhood, in Middle Road. This places it near the cultural and arts precinct, and within walking distance of the Bugis, Esplanade, and City Hall MRT stations.

Under the URA master plan, the idea is to transform this area into a “car-lite”, vibrant, mixed-use district, complete with pedestrian walkways and cycling paths.

The design of the M adopts the “Home/Work” concept, that allows residents to turn their apartments into home offices as well. There will be a mix of studio, one, and two bedroom units, as well as three-bedroom dual units, ranging in size from 409 to 904 sq ft. The bulk of these, 96%, will comprise the smaller apartments, the studios, and one, and two bedders.

These apartments are spread across four blocks, comprising one short six storey one, and three 20-storey towers. It is expected to complete around the first quarter of 2024.

Wing Tai Asia is targeting both owner-occupiers and investors as its clientele for this project. It is also expecting many of its buyers to be young families and millennials who wish to live near the city centre.

The head of marketing at Wing Tai Property Management, Ms Stacey Ow Yeong, revealed indicative prices that start at just shy of SGD$1 million for studio units. While the one bedders will start from $1 million up, one bedroom + study units from $1.1 million up, two bedders from $1.3 million, two bedroom + study from $1.6 million, and three bedroom dual-key apartments from $2 million up.

Ms Ow Yeong does not expect foreigners to make up a big proportion of buyers here, due to its price point and product type. She explained that, “Foreigners typically buy core central properties in the Orchard/ Nassim area, the S$3,000-to-S$4,000 psf, S$5 million-to-S$8 million quantum kind.”

She expects that any foreigners who might be interested, would be those already working and living in Singapore, or those with young children enrolled in nearby schools. Wing Tai Asia had in fact already engaged agencies in Hong Kong and China to market this project in their respective countries, but these plans had been put aside in view of the Covid-19 situation.


Industry Experts’ Viewpoints

Industry analysts point to the location of the M as its main selling point, with the many amenities and F&B options nearby, as well as ease of access for the site.

Ms Christine Li pointed out that as a basis for comparison, Midtown Bay across at Beach Road has moved 46 units at an average of SGD$2,926 PSF since it started sales at the end of 2019.

Another comparable project is One Pearl Bank in the Chinatown-Outram precinct that has found buyers for 255 units at a median of $2,371 PSF since launching in the 3rd quarter of 2019. Others are the upcoming Irwell Hills Residences on the fringe of Orchard Road, South Beach Residences at Beach Road, and Marina One Residences that sold 78 units since the first quarter of 2019, at around $2,540 PSF.

Mr Lee Nai Jia, Knight Frank’s head of research, observed that Bugis has been evolving since Duo, then South Beach, and Guoco Midtown, now followed by the M and Midtown Modern.

He noted however that, “The M is a bit different from South Beach Residences, which is a high-end luxury product, with more units with larger rooms. The M has more two-bedroom or smaller units, and the quantum and average unit price is lower than that of South Beach Residences. The buyers are likely to be young professionals working in the area.”

See report on the sale results of the M launch.

Source: The Business Times . 14 February 2020