Integrated developments: Withstanding the test of time

by Albert02

Integrated developments: Withstanding the test of time

Integrated developments: Withstanding the test of time. Ms Lau, a Singaporean, believes she was among the first residents to move into the 536-unit Compass Heights condominium in Sengkang when it opened in 2002. When it first opened in 2001, demand was high due to the project’s novelty: it was the first private condominium built on top of a shopping mall and an integrated transportation hub with MRT and LRT stations as well as an air-conditioned bus interchange.

According to URA Realis data, the average price during the first two months of launch in 2001 was around $482 psf. Based on transactions from November 2020 to April to date, units at Compass Heights have changed hands in the resale market for about 1.7 times more, at an average of $818 psf.


The project’s main selling point is its simplicity. “It’s linked to the shopping mall [Compass One], the Sengkang MRT Station, and the bus interchange,” Lau explains. “If I’m going to Orchard Road or Raffles Place, which have expensive parking, I don’t need to drive; I can simply take the MRT, which is located just downstairs.”

It is also ideal for retirees. “My parents aren’t as mobile as they used to be,” Lau adds. “However, the clinic is only two floors down by lift, and the polyclinic is right next to the mall, so it’s still convenient for them.” Having a mall downstairs is a huge plus for Lau. “I can just run down and get a loaf of bread or the last few bak kwa before the shop closes for Chinese New Year,” she says.

M&G Real Estate purchased the shopping mall integrated with Compass Heights, formerly known as Compass Point, refurbished it, and reopened it as Compass One in September 2016. M&G Real Estate increased the mall’s net lettable area (NLA) to 272,881 square feet with 209 shops, up from 126 shops with a 269,546 square foot NLA. “There’s a much broader range of eateries than before,” Lau says, “with everything from a food court to casual dining and restaurants for celebratory meals.”

Based on URA and EdgeProp data for the previous 36 months, Compass Heights has a 3.3 percent annual rental yield — higher than the other condominiums in the area (see Comparison table above). “It appears that Compass Heights, which was built nearly 20 years ago, has stood the test of time,” says Ken Low, managing partner of SRI.

According to Low, investors have discovered that integrated developments make excellent investments due to their rentability. According to URA data, more than half (486 units) of the 920-unit North Park Residences were sold within the first month of launch in 2015, at a median price of $1,374 psf. Low saw the potential of the project and purchased a three-bedroom, dual-key unit. As a result, he can rent out the apartment as two separate units: a two-bedroom and a studio.

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