Sparking Future For Jurong East

February 2, 2022
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“Hi, Mr./Ms. Home Buyer, have you been catching up with the local property market?” Then, have you managed to come across the following Straits Times newspapers headlines published on January 31, 2022,  and titled “MSE studying whether to build new office tower in Jurong Lake District”? Well! If you haven’t, then it might be time to sit up, and stay abreast on the government’s ongoing plans to encourage businesses and employees to start looking for potential work addresses and employment outside of the Central Business District (CBD), and in places such as Jurong East which has often be featured as the next up and coming town for the overall transformation plans of the Jurong Lake District (JLD).

In the Straits Times article, it was reported that the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment (MSE) is studying whether to build a new office tower in the JLD, and that the site under study is at 12 Science Centre Road, which was formerly occupied by the former French-Singapore Institute.

So, you might be wondering where exactly is 12 Science Centre Road, and what the land is to be allocated for. For such answers, let us turn to the latest Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Master Plan 2019 to find out what exactly has the government been planning for that area in the next 10 to 15 years.

Source: URA Master Plan 2019

If you look at the above map of the latest URA Master Plan 2019, you would have noticed that the large area surrounded by Jurong Town Hall Road, Lakeside, the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), is currently being set aside for future redevelopment that has yet to be officially decided by the authorities.

This plot of land which was formerly occupied by Jurong Country Club (JCC) was originally set aside for the development of the High-Speed Railway (HSR) station that serves between Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However, since the plans for the construction of the HSR have been shelved by the Malaysian government, the Singapore government is still trying to figure out how to develop the area.

Now that the government is stepping up its decentralisation efforts, along with two other government agencies, including the Land Transport Authority (LTA), and the Ministry of National Development (MND), which have or are planning to relocate their offices to Jurong East, then both businesses and individuals might want to start paying attention on that area which could potentially be the next focused town in years to come.

So, how has Jurong East been developed so far

Briefly, Jurong East, especially the area surrounding the Jurong East MRT Interchange station that serves both the East-West Line (EWL), and the North-East Line (NEL), has seen a lot of area improvements, particularly with the opening of the two major new malls/office towers like the Westgate Tower, JEM, and public institutions like the new Ng Teng Fong Hospital (NTFH), and NTUC’s Devan Nair Institute and e2i Building.

Moreover, redevelopment plans, and upgrading plans of the JLD area are set to bring about more public and private housing situated close to potential new work places in and around the Jurong East area. With the ongoing development of the Jurong Innovation District (JID) that has been in the works for a couple of years, the entire District 22 (D22) area where Jurong East currently sits, is set to bring about renewed interest among home owners seeking to establish their presence in that area.

What has been the state of the private property market in JLD area

Using the data provided by the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Real Estate Land Information System (REALIS), we have extrapolated the private property transactions data for the past one year from January 2020 to January 2021, and noticed that Jurong Gateway (J Gateway) a 99-year leasehold with 738 units located at Gateway Drive, was completed in May 2017 by MCL Land Limited. The development also saw the one of largest volumes of transactions with 53 units completed as of the end of the time period as of end January 2021.

Source: OneMap

As you can see from the location of J Gateway, it is located approximately 282 metres from the nearest MRT station, Jurong East MRT station, and is close to several amenities including the Jurong East Temporary Bus Interchange, JEM, Westgate Tower, and the Jurong East Regional Library, among others.

URA Transactions Data

Source: URA REALIS

Based on the URA REALIS data, we noted that between January 2020 to January 2021, there were 53 completed transactions at J Gateway, and this figure triumphed the rest of the other private residential developments being transacted during the time period.

According to URA, the median transactions price was $1.16 million, and in terms of per square feet (psf) median price, the figure stood at $1,759. The highest absolute transaction price was $2.12 million, and the lowest was $812,000. Based on the caveats data, the highest transactions price of $2.12 million was tracked to a 34th level unit at one of the blocks. The transaction was completed on 01 October, 2021. The unit comes with a floor size is 1,206 sq ft unit, and price per square foot (psf) is $1,758, which incidentally is close to the median psf indicated earlier.

As for rental listings, based on data obtained from PropNex Research, there were 10 listings for a 3-room unit during the time period between 06 December 2021 to 01 February, 2022. The absolute monthly asking rental price for the 947 sq ft partially furnished unit, with built-in area was marketed at $4,800. This translates to $5.07 psf.

Why is J Gateway so popular

Well! If you looked at the map location for the development shown above, the development is one of the closest private developments to the nearest Jurong East MRT station, and several amenities are conveniently located nearby.

Discounting the impact of potential MRT track noises, and traffic, the development has several common facilities including swimming pool, gym, clubhouse, tennis court, 24-hour round-the-clock security, and carpark.

According to a 01 July, 2013 AsiaOne news report, there were about 736 units out of the 738-unit development being sold on launch day with an average price of $1,480 psf. According to a quote made by the MCL Land chief executive Kok Teck Chuan at that time, he added that the one-bedders went for about $1,778 psf, surpassing the expectations of $1,650 psf, while four-bedders were sold at $1,400 psf. According to Mr. Kok, most of the buyers had local addresses and were comprised of residents living in the Jurong vicinity.

Interestingly, if we were to compare the median price of $1,759 psf, and the launch day average price of $1,480 psf, this could translate to a percentage gain of 18.9 per cent if the buyer chose to hold onto the property since the launch day.

What does the future hold even if HSR project has been shelved

Well! As you can see from the 2019 URA Master Plan, the government has set aside the land that would have been allocated for the construction of the HSR project for other uses, buy is

With the former French-Singapore Institute being one of the first land sites in that area to be designated as the next home for the construction of the new MSE headquarters, we think that there could be more commercial, government, private/public developments that were slated to developed on that area.

The latest news offers hope that there will be more developments to be announced over the next few years regarding the further uses, and intensification of the land space that was formerlyused by the JCC, but is not being transformed the JLD into more vibrant town for many years to come.

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