Inspired by one of the brightest stars in the galaxy, The Antares aims to be the most brilliant gem located in the city fringe of District 14.
Project Name: The Red House
Address: 63 East Coast Road S (428776)
Type: Residential with shops
Site area: 17,042 sqft
Tenure: 99-year leasehold
Configuration: 42 units
Unit types: 4, 1BR Loft (764 – 915 sqft)
5, Studio Suite (495 – 614 sqft)
5, 1BR Suites (710 – 829 sqft)
9, 1BR units (441 – 484 sqft)
6, 2BR units (721 sqft)
6, 2BR + 1 units (753 sqft)
2, 1BR Maisonette (872 – 958 sqft)
4, 3BR Maisonette (1,141 – 1,206 sqft)
TOP: 30th June 2016
Propshort: The Red House will be popular mostly for its location but will its bright red façade do more than attract passing interest? It shows promise, albeit one that may appear slightly expensive for layouts that feel cramped. Also, bay windows are included in many units which means useable space is greatly diminished. However, the historical poignancy of The Red House cannot be mistaken and it, like many developments along East Coast Road, offer a great number of conveniences unrivalled in most locations in Singapore.
The Red House Katong is a sort of mixed development. It is predominantly residential but there is a mandate from the developers for a halal bakery and a heritage gallery with artifacts from the old bakery that ran from 1925 to 2003. Other than the new bakery, there will be five other retail spaces that have yet to be spoken for.
Retail spaces aside, the units are what’s important. Being a shop house, there are a few considerations to be made of course. The basic layout of certain units may be a result of existing structural pillars so while bay windows are featured prominently in all the bigger maisonette units, they very well may have been included to offset some of these structural issues.
However, bay windows are still a space waster and as evidenced in places like the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom, they cannibalise a lot of usable room in the home. Due to the bay windows, the configuration of the above unit looks incredibly cramped.
Bay windows can be turned into something useful but it is more important to know if the developers charge for the space that bay windows occupy.
The other units are reminiscent of 1BR or studio apartment units from regular condominiums. Facilities are located on the roof level, where a small gym is alongside an infinity-like pool. However, given the crowded nature of buildings along East Coast Road, regardless of where the pool faces, recliners are going to be looking out toward the overhead bridge or behind which are mostly blocked by other buildings.
As for the overhead bridge, the stairs leading up and down to East Coast Road are so close that it would be possible for the resident with a unit closest to the road to casually throw things onto the steps. They could even reach out of the window and grip the handle of the staircase. This extreme nearness will be off-putting to many residents as it means privacy, when the windows are opened, will be non-existent.
The closeness to the road also may be an issue. Noise being a constant bother while congestion is an occurrence during rush hour. Since that road is narrow, jams happen with some frequency though they do not last very long. The junction ahead is a bottleneck during rush hour so buyers looking at purchasing units that face East Coast Road need to keep these in consideration.
Propshort: East Coast Road is a vibrant stretch filled with a large array of restaurants, cafes, shops and shopping malls, including a cinema. It’s a five-minute walk to Marine Parade Road and Parkway Parade which puts it within convenient range of the upcoming Marine Parade MRT station. Homes in this area are traditionally sought-after and therefore prices are adjusted to portray this popularity.
East Coast Road stretches out from Mountbatten Road all the way to Upper East Coast Road. Its narrow two-way lanes for buses and other vehicles are filled with a large variety of restaurants, bars, shops, shopping malls and the odd residential developments. It’s a rich and historical area and one where there are no shortages of amenities or entertainment.
A cinema in 112 Katong rounds off the array of amenities in this district and while it’s no Orchard Road, it’s no less popular and more importantly, it is cheaper to dine and shop here. District 15 may appear crowded but that has little bearing on the people that live here. Convenience is a luxury that is served in spades with numerous bus services that go everywhere on the island.
And once the Marine Parade MRT station and the new TEL line is up and running, the district’s prominence will only increase. Other than 112 Katong, there’s Parkway Parade along Marine Parade Road.
The overhead bridge next to The Red House (no connection with the alleged haunted red house in Pasir Ris) connects to Roxy Square across the road which gets you close to Parkway Parade should you walk through Roxy Square and Roxy Square 2 (both of which are linked). The bus-stop across the old shopping mall have buses that go toward Marine Terrace, Bedok, Tampines and Pasir Ris.
Many of these buses also pass by schools like CHIJ Primary, Tao Nan Primary, St. Patricks Secondary, Katong Convent Girls, Ngee Ann Primary and Victoria Junior College.
Roxy Square 2 used to be connected via another overhead bridge to the side of the road where Parkway Parade is but that particular link has since been removed. Moving away from The Red House, about a two-minute walk in the direction of Katong Shopping Centre is the once famous 328 Katong laksa.
In Katong Shopping Centre currently there’s a famous chicken rice stall in the hawker centre on the ground floor but the old shopping centre is being considered for en bloc and redevelopment.
Along the way, there are several restaurants like Pigs Fly and many other bars. Directly across from The Red House is the upcoming Marine Blue residential development and next to that is yet another mixed development – shopping mall and hotel – between Marine Blue and 112 Katong.
Other than shopping, there’s a Hindu temple in one of the inner streets as well as a catholic church – The Holy Family – further down East Coast Road toward Upper East Coast and Siglap. Next to the church is extremely popular mainstay confectionary – Chin Mee Chin – where traditional pastries are sold.
According to URA data, The Red House has seen 17 of its 42 units transacted. Starting price was at a low (for the area) $700,000 for a 474 sqft unit while highest was a 753 sqft 2BR+1 at $1,170,000.
The PSF values are in line with how most other larger condominiums are priced, though in this case, they may come across as over-priced due to the smaller size of the units. In the reverse, they can also be considered underpriced for where the location is concerned:
Most of the smaller units are either sold out or close to being sold out, leaving only the larger and therefore pricier bedrooms. The sales are indicative of the first phase of launch, which only 31 units were up for grabs.
The median psf for the past four quarters for the district is $3.32. Taking the above unit size of 474 sqft, monthly rent with added 20% new build premium is $1,888. Considerably low for the area but given the stiff competition it isn’t advisable to over-charge. Rental yield as a result, when taking $700,000 as a base comes up to a strong 3.23%.
The Red House may appear less attractive as an investment than properties like Marine Blue opposite. However, the lower quantum for the small units makes it a more attractive buy. While Marine Blue’s smallest unit is 635 sqft against The Red House’s 441 sqft, the price difference between $1,849 psf and $1,638 respectively is a necessary consideration.
However, Marine Blue is a luxury development and it is next to the entrance/exit of upcoming Marine Parade MRT station. The Red House is not on both accounts, but with a pricing strategy that is similar with nearby Coralis, despite having smaller units.
However, it is located closer to the amenities although that is hardly a factor for the properties in the area since restaurants, shopping malls and MRT station are all within a short walking distance of each other. The Red House’s smaller units offer the best option for investment due to the lower quantum but once the larger units are released for sale, the guiding price of $1.2m for a 2+1 bedroom will increase.
As shop houses are traditionally considered heritage buildings, expect this status to be calculated into the value.
The Red House is a mixed bag and not because of its mixed residential/retail component. It is a historical building with a history that dates back to 1925 in an extremely vibrant and rich area where shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, and convenient public transport are all within walking distance. But this history and convenience lends itself to the higher prices.
Also as shop houses go, the layout can be a hit and miss. Add to that bay windows which may or may not have been built into the units as a means to offset structural problems and the overall perceived value is at odds with its actual worth. With the slowdown in the private property market, The Red House has an uphill battle on its hands.
However, The Red House is still a worthy purchase. The location alone makes it so and when faced with pricier options in Marine Blue and higher resale costs in Coralis, The Red House may indeed be a good stepping stone for individuals interested in moving to the always excellent East Coast Road. The only question remaining is if these interested parties can stomach the real issues of traffic noise (including smell and dust) and the closeness of the overhead bridge (lack of privacy) while living there.