The Edge Singapore
Klimt Cairnhill’s two- and three-bedders target locals after cooling measures
Singaporean Mr Siah had been house-hunting for several months before zeroing in on an 829 sq ft, two-bedroom unit at Klimt Cairnhill. He finalised the purchase at $2.65 million ($3,197 psf) on April 27 — the day the property cooling measures kicked in. As this is his first home purchase, Siah, who is in his mid-20s, will be spared from paying additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD).
Klimt Cairnhill is a 138-unit, freehold luxury condo by listed property developer and construction group Low Keng Huat. The 36-storey residential tower sits on a freehold site of over 62,000 sq ft. It is targeted for completion in December 2024, with the handover of units scheduled for 1Q2025. “It’s a good timeline for me and my partner,” says Siah.
Part of the condo’s allure is its location on Cairnhill Road in prime District 9: “It’s right in the centre of Singapore,” notes Siah. He likes the history behind the property, for instance, the residents’ clubhouse: an Anglo-Malayan-style bungalow built in the early 1900s, it is being restored and conserved. It is the former home of the late Lien Kwang Wah, a family member of Lien Ying Chow, the founder of Overseas Union Bank.
Low Keng Huat purchased Lien’s bungalow at 67 Cairnhill Road and two adjacent pieces of remnant state land in June 2018 for $100 million – four months after it had purchased the neighbouring Cairnhill Mansion en bloc for $362 million.
That stretch of Cairnhill Road in prime District 9 is “the golden postcode”, as some of Singapore’s most prominent business magnates once had their homes there, says Alvin Teo, executive director of Low Keng Huat Singapore. One of the most illustrious was former OCBC Bank chairman Tan Chin Tuan, whose property, Tan Chin Tuan Mansion, still belongs to his family. His mansion now houses the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, while his descendants live in a 20-storey residential tower behind it.
Another inducement for Siah is the architecture of Klimt Cairnhill by DP Architects, with its gold façade inspired by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. The name of the condo is in homage to Klimt, famous for his use of gold leaf in his paintings.
Four-bedders and penthouses entirely sold
Klimt Cairnhill was soft-launched in August 2021 during the pandemic. It was relaunched on Jan 3. Wealthy Chinese swept up many of the four-bedroom apartments after China reopened its international borders on Jan 8.
Four-bedroom units of 2,056 sq ft, priced from $6.93 million ($3,371 psf) and up to $7.78 million ($3,784 psf), are now entirely sold, as are the 2,368 sq ft, four-bedroom Prestige units that fetched upwards of $9.7 million ($4,096 psf) to $10.098 million ($4,264 psf).
In February, the largest penthouse, a five-bedroom
duplex of 5,920 sq ft on the 35th floor, commanded $27.5 million ($4,645 psf). The buyer was a Chinese national. The second penthouse, a 4,898 sq ft simplex on the 36th floor, was purchased in November 2021 for $26 million ($5,309 psf), the highest psf price achieved at Klimt Cairnhill to date. It was purchased by a Chinese American couple.
With the large apartments fully taken up, Low Keng Huat recently released the smaller apartments – two-bedroom, two-bedroom-plusstudy and three-bedroom units. “The two- and three-bedroom types tend to draw local buyers looking for a home or an investment property,” says Teo. Two-bedroom units of 829 sq ft are priced from $2.65 million ($3,197 psf), while two-bedroom-plus-study units of 893 sq ft start from $2.88 million ($3,225 psf). Three-bedroom units of 1,432 sq ft are from $4.85 million ($3,387 psf).
“In the Core Central Region, there are not many freehold luxury condo units available for sale,” says Teo. “We are one of the few luxury projects launched in the last two years.”
This could explain why the sales gallery of Klimt Cairnhill on Leonie Hill continued to buzz after the cooling measures kicked in. According to Teo, visitors were a mix of Singaporeans, permanent residents (PRs), foreign nationals and Asian Americans.
US citizens are among five groups of foreign nationals, including those from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, who enjoy the same tax treatment as Singapore citizens under Free Trade Agreements. Hence, these buyers are exempt from the 60% ABSD that foreign residential property buyers in Singapore must now pay.
Despite the cooling measures, three units found buyers after April 27: Siah, the Singaporean, purchased a two-bedroom unit; a Korean American citizen bought a 1,496 sq ft, three-bedroom unit; and a Singapore PR purchased a 1,432 sq ft, three-bedroom unit. Only the PR has to pay a 5% ABSD for his first home in Singapore.
“Some foreign buyers, however, may be willing to pay the 60% ABSD,” says Dominic Lee, head of the luxury team at PropNex. “These buyers, for various reasons, may want to maintain their citizenship and do not wish to apply for Singapore PR or citizenship.”
Catering to different segments
Typically, foreigners prefer larger condo units of at least 1,600 sq ft and more than three bedrooms. “With the increase in ABSD, some foreigners with a pre-set budget are open to considering smaller-sized units at a more palatable quantum,” says ERA Realty Network CEO Marcus Chu. As these foreigners are purchasing for their use, they could consider the three-bedroom units at Klimt Cairnhill, he adds.
At 1,432 sq ft to 1,496 sq ft, the three-bedders at Klimt Cairnhill are more spacious than the four-bedders in new project launches in the city fringe and suburbs today, notes Teo of Low Keng Huat.
Even for local home buyers looking to purchase a condo unit in the prime district, “the sweet spot is about $5 million”, notes PropNex’s Lee. And that is where the three-bedroom units at Klimt Cairnhill are priced.
Low Keng Huat’s Teo sees the 893 sq ft, two-bedroom-plus-study units as a good fit for families. The study can accommodate a super-single bed if a third bedroom is needed.
The two-bedroom units will likely favour Singaporeans, especially young home buyers like Siah. “Local young couples who live in the prime districts and have financial assistance from their parents will find this a good time to purchase,” says Teo.
As seen in other project launches, two-bedroom units are popular with local investors. “Foreigners new to Singapore may choose to rent first while applying for PR status,” says Teo. “The anticipated increase in rental demand bodes well for investors over the longer term, even if they have to pay 20% ABSD for a second property, compared to foreigners paying 60% ABSD.”