Park Nova is a luxury development located in District 10. Aside from its freehold status, the development also offers super spacious units and easy access to MRT stations and nearby amenities.
Project Name: Straits Mansion
Address: 26 Sea Avenue (old Peranakan house opposite Chapel Court condo)
Site area: approx. 18,456.34 sqft
Configuration: One, 5-storey block with 25 apartments
Unit types: 4, 2BR units (721 sqft)
11, 3BR + Utility (1,012 – 1,066 sqft)
3, 4BR + utility (1,249 sqft)
1¸5BR unit (1,355 sqft)
6, 5BR + Utility (1,421 – 1,464 sqft)
Est. TOP: 2020
Propshort: Straits Mansions is dedicated toward preserving that rich Peranakan style and it does this by fusing it with modern luxuries to create spacious and unique looking units.
Straits Mansions is undergoing a closed sale and as such, the information available (or whatever that trickles out from behind shut doors) is minimal.
2BR units are sold out as are the 1,066 sqft 3BR units. These unit types had four and three units respectively and were part of July’s 2016 transaction. The 3BRs have two variants however of which the B2 version has six out of the eight units still available.
The layouts are standard though notably more spacious than other boutique projects. From the floorplan, the 3BR unit feels more like a luxury property than a boutique one. The utility room which is oftentimes a major space waster is used perhaps in the best way here.
It does not appear to eat into the kitchen or the corridor. The dining area is likely large enough for a six-seater table while the living area is decent with a modestly sized balcony next to it.
The décor is attuned to a Peranakan style in respect of its predecessor bungalow but such a style is an acquired taste. The higher ceilings and brighter colours contribute to its overall spacious feel and the area of Sea Avenue, though lined with other condos and landed houses, does get quite a healthy dose of natural light that is fortunately not direct sunlight.
The wider spaces do stand out considerably, especially in places like the kitchen.
The whole suite of appliances is presumably included along with the cabinets. The softer colour palettes usually found in Peranakan households, especially the floral patterns add an antiquated sort of look to a modern development.
The 4BR units aren’t all that different from the 3BR, albeit with a much bigger surface area. In-built wardrobes tend to show the limitations of the common bedrooms and it’s unfortunate that it’s the same here, despite bedrooms appearing much larger.
However, if the owner inserts a single bed instead of a super single or a queen, the space will open up more, thus allowing for additional furniture such as a work table, bookshelves and maybe a mounted television with a hanging shelf.
5BR units are the biggest, at 1,335 sqft and as such, come with a master bedroom, a junior master and three regular sized bedrooms. Its layout is a little pyramidal though the larger kitchen is certainly appreciated. Its structure does put a strain on the dining and living areas but the floor space is likely sufficient to accommodate a more generous placement of the dining table.
Balconies are thankfully modest which means that there’s far more usable space here.
The units certainly look spacious with plenty of promise. The area of Katong is in its own, a gem and living at Straits Mansions certainly feels like reaping two major benefits in one fell swoop.
Propshort: Sea Avenue is located in the Chapel Road vicinity that separates Marine Parade Road and Joo Chiat. As a result, there are modern shopping malls, a cinema, hawker centers, restaurants and much more that are within walking distance. In the near future, the Marine Parade MRT station will add an additional method of transportation to an area that’s already incredibly well-connected.
Sea Avenue is an arterial road that feeds into the larger East Coast Road. It is the middle road, in a row of arterial roads that line the zone from just after Still Road to 112 Katong where it sits at the junction of Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road.
The singular road of Sea Avenue is narrow though it serves as both ingress and egress to East Coast Road. East Coast Road from Sea Avenue however only goes in one direction; toward 112 Katong.
East Coast Road is a two-way road separated by a barricade in the middle so drivers coming from Mountbatten Road will need to drive up further toward Still Road and make a U-turn to get onto the corresponding side of East Coast Road in order to enter Sea Avenue.
Straits Mansions is at the end of Sea Avenue, closer to the little park walkway that links one end of Marine Parade Road (from CHIJ Primary) to the next traffic stop with intersections that bridges the Parkway Parade and 112 Katong.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds, though Sea Avenue is certainly far more accessible by walking or even bus. And in the future, the Marine Parade Station currently being developed less than a minute from it, will add more transport mobility to a destination that’s already more connected than most places in Singapore.
The location sells itself. With two shopping malls – Parkway Parade and 112 Katong –one of them home to a cinema, numerous bars, restaurants, grocery stores and even old delicacies that survived decades, Katong is a historically rich and constantly vibrant area. To drive in this area is a luxury but it’s certainly not required because everything mentioned above and more are walkable distance.
Buses too are numerous, with several going toward Bedok Interchange, Tampines Interchange and even Pasir Ris. Cross the road and there are two straight buses – 36 and 16 – to Orchard. And from the bus stop along East Coast Road (in front of the bank and on the right as you leave Sea Avenue for East Coast Road) there are buses that go to Vivo City and Harbourfront.
Across the road, there are many food places to dine at. These restaurants and hawker stalls are found at both ends, from Mountbatten Road all the way to East Coast Road just before Telok Kurau Road. Another 10 minutes down that way will get you to Siglap Centre.
There is simply a surplus of activity and convenience here. Living in Katong negates having to move elsewhere because there’s almost everything you could possibly need here. The high prices may turn some people off but considering is connectedness and the many shopping malls within acceptable walking distances, you’re not going to be paying more than what the location is worth. You wouldn’t need a car if you lived here.
It is central enough with so many bus services that go almost everywhere on the island that it wouldn’t be incredibly inconvenient to resort to public transport.
And once the Marine Parade MRT station is up and running, that’s another check in the box.
An added benefit of living in this area are the many schools nearby. Two schools – Tao Nan Primary and CHIJ Katong Primary – is about a five-minute walk away while Ngee Ann Primary, St. Patricks Secondary and Katong Convent Secondary (KC Secondary) are two bus stops down. Victoria Junior College is after KC Secondary, one more bus stop down.
To get to any of these schools, there’s a bus stop on the right of Straits Mansions, toward Marine Parade Road. It’s currently blocked by the development fences so the only way to get there is up the stairs near the overhead bridge and then under the sheltered walkway.
CHIJ Primary and Tao Nan Primary are across from each other, about a five-minute walk from Straits Mansions. The schools are just after the Marine Parade Community Centre. The community centre is home to a rather robust library and a small gym that takes annual memberships at a lower cost if you’re cash-strapped.
The gym is also frequented mostly by the elderly that live in the area. However, there is a 24-hour Anytime Fitness gym across the Fairprice in the direction of Parkway Parade if working with heavier weights is your preference.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with living in Katong and Straits Mansion. It may not be a prime location for flipping property but it’s excellent for raising a family.
Sales for Straits Mansions occurred during the month of July 2016, where 10 out of the 25 units available were transacted all on the same day to the total sum of $16,438,000. The only four 2BR units (721 sqft) in the project were fully sold at an average transaction of $1,323,000 with a median PSF of $1,835.
With slightly less than half the units available sold, likely during a private viewing, Straits Mansions can be seen be as having started strongly with its future sales phases controlled by the developer.
Expectedly, PSF value for the units are on the high side and the average PSF of $1,767 is even more so than Coralis’ $1,618 despite Coralis being both bigger and closer to the shopping malls and upcoming MRT station. This is likely a result of inflation with other considerations baked into it.
The PSF values of the transacted units so far are:
The higher PSF values will make it tough for more modest investors but the price point is expected, since Sea Avenue is traditionally a private road of low-rise bungalows. Land sale for the property, which was an old Peranakan bungalow, was at $21.5M according to Roxy-Pacific’s 2015 annual report.
According to URA data, median PSF value for District 15 in the past four quarters is at $3.21. Taking the 721 sqft, 2BR units transacted as a guide for the lowest denominator and adding a 20% new build premium, rental per month comes up to roughly $2,777.
The 2BR units have a median transacted price of $1,323,000 which brings median annual rental yield to 2.51%.
For the 1,066 sqft 3BR units, average monthly rent is $4,106. With a median transacted of $1,871,000, median rental yield comes up to 2.6%. When compared with similar boutique project, The Red House at nearby East Coast Road that has an average rental yield of $3.23%, investors may choose to purchase there instead.
However, it is prudent to note that Straits Mansions is in a predominantly private enclave, while The Red House is not. Furthermore, it is a shophouse surrounded by nearby amenities and faces direct competition with upcoming Marine Blue. Straits Mansions do not have immediate (upcoming) competitors and being located in the fairly private Sea Avenue, unlike the busy East Coast Road, there’s far less congestion, noise and lack of privacy to deal with.
And furthermore, not being a shophouse means having to deal less with structural issues. The Red House is plagued with an abundance of bay windows while Straits Mansions is both large and arguably better designed with a friendlier layout.
For a boutique project in a fairly exclusive area that lacks nothing, with the imminent arrival of a new MRT station within walking distance, Straits Mansions comes across as being rather affordable.
The only sore spot one can think of is that yet another unique and historical bungalow in the Katong/Joo Chiat district is being demolished for the colder, and less distinctive condominium types. Katong has a rich Peranakan culture and to see this culture being washed away slowly or subverted in its home district is painful.
But new investors coming in aren’t likely to be bothered with the historical poignancy of the area. And new home owners get to benefit from living in a culturally rich area that is more importantly well-connected, with an abundance of amenities and schools all within walking distance.
To buy a unit here, either in Straits Mansions or anywhere in Joo Chiat/Marine Parade is to buy heavily into living conveniences.
That it is a great place to raise a family as well is a bonus.