UOL Group Chief Executive Liam Wee Sin Discusses Luxury Trends and Consumer Shifts

27 Feb 2024

Singapore’s luxury residential market has proven to be remarkably resilient despite global headwinds, with new developments poised to continue appealing to long-term investors attracted to strong market fundamentals. Nevertheless, developers must constantly innovate to stay ahead of market trends and consumer demands. 

UOL Group’s recent achievements in this regard are proof that having a visionary approach pays off. Watten House, their recent luxury development featuring spacious low-density units in the prime Bukit Timah neighbourhood, received a strong buyer response during its private preview in November 2023, having sold 57% or 102 of its 180 units on the first day.

3 Watten Main Entrance

The project’s Asian-inspired design has been recognized at the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Singapore) 2023, winning Best Luxury Condo Development, Best Luxury Condo Architectural Design and Best Luxury Condo Landscape Design. UOL also clinched the titles of Best Residential Developer and Best Sustainable Developer in the same Awards – a testament to the Group’s commitment to excellence in its luxury developments.

In this interview, Chief Executive Liam Wee Sin delves into Watten Houses’ success factors, shares key insights into the luxury residential sector and gives us a sneak preview of the Group’s upcoming luxury projects.

1 Mr Liam Wee Sin


1. UOL’s Watten House performed very well during its recent private preview in November 2023. Was it unexpected, and what would you say were some factors that contributed to its success?

Watten House’s performance during its recent private preview was certainly encouraging. We were confident in the inherent strengths of the land parcel, and the team worked very hard to make the project a success.

2 Watten 5-Bedroom Living Dining

The site’s strategic location in Bukit Timah makes it appealing to local and foreign buyers as a long-term investment or heirloom property, particularly due to its freehold status and proximity to excellent schools and amenities. The elevated position also offers captivating long views of the surrounding greenery and residential estates. We created diverse unit attributes that catered to various buyer preferences, contributing significantly to robust sales.

Part of the success can also be attributed to UOL’s unique approach to creating value through strong product and project delivery. We crafted a narrative reminiscent of an Asian-inspired mansion, complemented by timeless architecture and spacious layouts. The landscape and interior designs further contribute to a lifestyle that resonates seamlessly with the site’s unique features.

Our decision to have the preview at the end of 2023 allowed us to capture potential buyers’ attention before their year-end travels. When the market is relatively subdued, luxury residential buyers often tend to gravitate towards a ‘flight to quality’, a trend that we successfully leveraged for the Watten House private preview in November last year.


2. After the private preview, you’ve closed the Watten House show gallery. What can we expect from the public launch in early 2024?

3 Watten Main Entrance

Following the positive response from the preview, we’ve closed the show gallery to take a year-end break and engage in strategic planning. During this time, we have been refreshing the show unit configurations with a new interpretation for the public launch. I think people will be pleasantly surprised by the updates.

We will also be unveiling a sculpture by Han Sai Por, which will find its place within the actual development.


3. Are there any other luxury projects in the pipeline, and would you be able to share more details about them?

The next two additions to our Luxury Collection are the upcoming developments at the former Meyer Park and Orchard Boulevard sites.

The former Meyer Park is located in an exclusive area of eastern Singapore. With its freehold status and the upcoming Long Island master plan, it will enhance its value by capitalising on the area’s future growth story. Similarly, the Orchard Boulevard site has an apex location in Tanglin, enjoying panoramic views of the Botanic Gardens and Dempsey area with the prime connectivity of an Orchard address.

6 Meyer Overview (c) Darren Soh

We believe these two locations are the right place to be, having a good balance between value retention and growth. They are well-positioned to continue our Luxury Collection and will redefine their respective locales for many years.

I am very excited about the launch of the former Meyer Park project, as it will be something different and experiential. We are also exploring a bold concept that will set a benchmark for luxury high-rise living in Meyer.


4. UOL is known for creating market-leading luxury projects such as Nassim Park Residences, Meyer House, Watten House, and the upcoming Meyer Park and Orchard Boulevard developments.  How has the notion of luxury evolved, and what would you say luxury buyers today are looking for?

7 Meyer (c) Darren Soh

The notion of luxury is more broadly defined now. Location is still very important. However, buyers today also look at areas that offer amenities, lifestyle and conveniences that suit their wide-ranging needs. In addition, they are now very discerning and can connect with and appreciate design-centric developments, from the overall architecture, landscape and interior design to the layout of dwelling units. 

For our recent high-end projects, we have transitioned to a new creative process that is much more engaged and immersive, integrating impeccable design with a distinct and differentiated concept.  You will see this in our upcoming Meyer Park and Orchard Boulevard launches. 

Our approach transcends traditional luxury, focusing instead on a meticulously curated experience with dimensionality and storyline. We believe that our buyers can perceive the difference, which our recent market successes have validated. 


5. On a personal level, what inspires you, and where do you draw ideas for new luxury residential launches?

Every design process is a collaborative one, involving and learning from various team members and our creative partners. It helps to keep an open mind that is always brewing new ideas, especially establishing a clear direction without coming to conclusions too early. Leveraging technology is also important, as it allows for the testing of options and solutions quickly. 

At UOL, we are known for our extensive portfolio of biophilic hotels and human-centric designs.  This allows for cross-pollination between hospitality and residential concepts, harnessing the latest design trends and elevating our standards in both asset classes. 

On a personal level, I tend to be a morning person, and I cycle and walk along in the parks and park connectors, so fresh ideas flow during the early hours when distractions are minimal. That’s when I have my handphone ready.


6. Lastly, how would you describe luxury living today?

Luxury means exclusivity, space, comfort, and design in our developments. A luxury development is not just about location; it’s about its design content. This is built over the collaborative execution of many projects with our creative partners. It starts with a rigorous process of visioning and ideation, leading to design iterations and, ultimately, execution and delivery.


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