POWER TOWERS: The 1,700-unit d’Leedon complex, in background, by Zaha Hadid Architects, is set to open this year, followed by the 381-unit Leedon Residence, in foreground, by local architect Soo K. Chan, in 2015.
Ying Yi Chua for The Wall Street Journal
In one of Singapore’s most sought-after neighborhoods, two luxury projects going up across the street from one another are locked in a competition for luxury buyers. Both aim to attract wealthy foreigners. And both are facing a slowdown in the wake of recent government cooling measures. The result: potential deals for overseas buyers.
The two projects—the similarly named d’Leedon and Leedon Residence developments—are situated along Leedon Heights, a lush street in Singapore’s District 10 that flanks the city-state’s Botanic Gardens and coveted residential properties. The two are only a five-minute drive from Orchard Road’s high-end shops and restaurants, an affluent area that is home to many single-family, landscaped homes.
A drawing of the d’Leedon
Zaha Hadid Architects
D’Leedon, the larger of the projects with more than 1,700 units, is designed by Zaha Hadid Architects on the site of a former public-housing development. The seven-building complex, to be completed this year, has homes ranging from 592-square-foot, one-bedroom apartments to garden villas of more than 8,000 square feet. Prices start at $1.3 million Singapore dollars, or $1 million, for the one bedrooms and at $6.2 million for the villas.
Leedon Residence, designed by Singapore architect
Soo K. Chan,
has 381 units in 11, 12-story buildings, ranging from 1,044-square-foot, two-bedroom homes to penthouses with more than 8,000 square feet. The project is set to be completed early next year. Leedon prices start at $3 million for three bedrooms and $3.8 million for four-bedroom units. Two-bedroom units start around $1.8 million and penthouses begin at $9.6 million.
Though a majority of both developments are sold, the remaining units face a tougher climate as Singapore’s residential-housing market slows. After years of strong sales in a place that earned the title of the world’s most expensive city by the Economist Intelligence Unit, government cooling measures, including tightened loan policies and additional stamp duties that went into effect last year, are starting to affect the market. Sales of luxury condos fell more than 60% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the first quarter of the year before, according to property consultancy DTZ.
“Some developers of luxury projects could be more willing to negotiate on prices,” says
Keng, Southeast Asia regional head of research at DTZ.
A spokesperson at CapitaLand Singapore, the developer of d’Leedon, didn’t comment on specific price changes at the property, but said “developers have to make necessary adjustments in view of the prevailing market conditions.” Leedon Residence developer
Rev. per Employee
says its property has maintained prices.
A model garden-level unit at d’Leedon towers, which sits on 19 acres. The project’s amenities include two lap pools, a gym, three tennis courts and a basketball court.
While buyers at both projects are mostly Singaporeans, the luxury condos are appealing to foreign buyers who, under law, can’t buy most single-family properties.
The semidetached villas at d’Leedon, for example, offer foreigners the closest option to buying a single-family property, rather than renting one. But the rising stamp duties that some foreigners must pay to buy property (nationals of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the U.S. are excluded from the fees), can increase the price by as much as 18%, stifling some sales, real-estate agents say. Buyers at both projects declined to be interviewed.
A d’Leedon interior.
Public records show 110 homes were sold at d’Leedon from May 2013 to May 2014, with the most expensive home selling for $1,015 a square foot, compared with 836 sales from May 2012 to May 2013, with the highest sale price hitting $1,603 a square foot.
At Leedon Residence, 28 units sold May 2013 through May 2014, with the most expensive sale at $1,987 a square foot, compared with 99 units sold the previous period, with the most expensive sale selling at $1,689 a square foot.
“Buyers are becoming more discerning with their purchases and are quite price-sensitive,” says
Chua Yang Liang,
Singapore’s head of research at JLL. Data of launched but unsold units for both projects as of April 2014 from JLL show d’Leedon with 268 still on the market and Leedon Residence with 100.
The seven, 36-story towers comprising d’Leedon, Ms. Hadid’s first residential foray into Singapore, are on 19 acres. There are 12 semidetached, two-story villas rounding out the back of the property. The developers got an unusual 36-story height variance, allowing unobstructed views of Singapore’s Botanic Gardens and the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
A model unit with pool in Leedon.
The glass and concrete structures grow larger as the building climbs, with eight units to a floor on lower levels and four larger units to a floor higher up—a design the architect, Michele Pasca di Magliano, of Hadid Architects, says is meant to suggest a flower with petals.
Amenities include two pools, a gym, a library, tennis courts and a basketball court. The penthouses have rooftop pools and gardens, and the semidetached villas feature outdoor Jacuzzis, marble flooring and Corian countertops.
Mr. Chan, the architect of Leedon Residence, says his design started with the concept of a lush tropical landscape surrounding a plaza. The buildings have stone, glass and timber cladding and roof terraces.
Units feature 21-foot ceilings and large balconies, some up to 1,500 square feet. Their interiors are decorated in beige marble flooring and light gray wooden floors, dual-sink bathrooms and two kitchens: one for traditional Asian cooking and the other for lighter Western meals.
A rendering of a common space.
A big challenge for Mr. Chan was designing bespoke units in such a large development. “Normally with luxury you don’t have 300 units,” Mr. Chan says, adding that he doesn’t see d’Leedon as a competitor because of its size.
To break up the scale of the buildings, he used layers of hedges, shrubs and trees to provide ample green in common outdoor spaces. Other amenities in the common spaces include a nature trail, a lap pool, a children’s pool and playground, a gym, barbecue areas, tennis courts, a clubhouse, function rooms and pavilions.
Inside, he added touches such as lap pools in most units, fabric-lined walls in bedrooms and intricate lighting around bathroom mirrors. The 12 penthouses also have private elevators, sky gardens and pools.
The challenges both projects face are the changing market conditions and government policies. Says
group managing director at GuocoLand: “They’re not within our control.”
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