First Published: Dec 28, 2020, updated on Jul 15, 2021
This is no small feat for a project of this size, the 2nd largest in Singapore (Only Treasure at Tampines in the East has more units).
Did you know that buyers of the first 800 units are entitled to a lucky draw to possibly win a Mercedes-Benz A-Class 180 Hatchback?
There are 10 on offer and early buyers must be glad to see sales at Normanton Park pass the mark.
The project was previously hit by a “no-sale licence” in January 2019 and it was expected to only be able to commence sales after obtaining its Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP).
That’s a real pinch for the developer which meant having to fork out money from its own pockets for all the construction upfront first before selling any units.
Now, I’m sure they are very happy too.
In fact, demand is so strong that the developers have raised prices a number of times since launch.
I have written plenty about the west, where projects are super-hot.
With Clavon most recently achieving >70% sales on launch day.
Further Reading: Ki Residences vs Clavon
But Normanton Park is another monster itself.
I never wrote about Parc Clematis (another mega project in the West), but Normanton Park is one I can’t miss.
To match the HUGE scale of the project itself, it’s only fitting to make this my most INTENSE review/preview yet.
So, is Normanton Park a Good Buy?
As I usually do, this article won’t cover facts of Normanton Park.
If you’ve not yet got the project info yet, I’ve created a brand new section of my site with the dedicated information of the Project.
Click the image below to reach the project page where you’ll find the Normanton Park E-Brochure, and sections for the Factsheet and Floorplans.
Here’s what I’ll be covering in this article.
- Demand & Supply
- Unique Factors
- Future Potential
- Price Analysis
- Rental & Yield Analysis
- SWOT Analysis
Let’s dive right in!
Demand & Supply around Normanton Park
Have you heard of the Greater One-North?
Normanton Park is located right on the edge of this area, bordering Kent Ridge Park to the South, and Science Park 1 on the west.
If most of the spotlight on commercial hubs have been on the traditional CBD at Raffles/Tanjong Pagar, the 2nd CBD at Jurong, or even the regional centre of the East at Paya Lebar, Normanton Park has shone the spotlight back on an area that has remained comparatively low profile: One-North.
But hey, are property developers & sales agents merely hyping up One-North NOW just to sell units at Normanton Park, or is there really more to it?
If it were really that great, why wasn’t there more coverage on it previously?
Let’s look deeper.
Below is a look at the Greater One-North region from the 2019 Master Plan.
Normanton Park is nestled in the bottom right corner.
To fill you in quickly on the colour legends…
Dark Blue (near the top): Commercial. That’s where you have offices Moe Building and The Metropolis. Some famous companies with offices there include Oil & Gas behemoth Shell and consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble.
Light Blue (multiple patches in the right half): Business Parks. Taken directly from URA, these are for businesses engaged in high-technology, research and development (R&D), high value-added, and knowledge-intensive activities.
Pale Yellow (with the E): Educational Institutions. The large one on the left is the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Fact is, much of the Greater One-North consists of Business Parks.
What comes to mind when you think of Business Parks?
For me, one place is Changi Business Park.
And what’s that associated with?
Back end offices of major Banks.
Not that sexy hur.
So naturally, most marketing hype goes towards places like Jurong which has the Jurong Lake District, Jurong Innovation District as well as still the potential High-Speed Rail terminus.
Or Paya Lebar, with its recent sprouting of numerous commercial buildings, and the future relocation of the Paya Lebar Airbase.
Even Beauty World arguably has people more excited with the huge upcoming integrated transport hub.
As seen from The Linq’s sell-out and general rejuvenation of projects there.
Note: don’t mix up the light blue above with the Business Parks’ blue. The above light blue means mixed commercial and residential zones.
But hey, not sexy doesn’t mean bad investment.
In fact, less hype may mean more sensitive pricing (more on that later in the pricing section).
The Rise of Technology Firms
Have you heard of FAANG?
Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard of each of them individually.
It’s an acronym referring to the stocks of the five most popular and best-performing American technology companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Alphabet (formerly known as Google).
And while this year’s Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many industries, tech is one sector that grew even stronger.
While locally, tech stocks are slowly gaining prominence.
For example, Sea, a leading internet platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, had its stock more than quadruple this year while stalwart DBS barely changed.
Remember I mentioned earlier that Business Parks are businesses engaged in high technology…
Here’s a snapshot of some firms that have recently chosen to set up new headquarters at One-North.
With the continued emergence of tech firms and the decentralisation of offices from the traditional CBD, one should expect this trend to continue…
As the correlations go, more offices = more people = more demand for housing.
Supply in the Region
Pause for a moment and think about these 2 questions:
Regarding the vicinity of the Greater One-North region,
- Is there an undersupply or oversupply of housing?
- When was the last new launch?
Let me provide some information.
Below is a map of the condos/apartments around the One-North MRT station.
As you can see, there are only 4 condos.
Among these, The Rochester Residences is the newest.
And even that was launched way back in 2007, about 13 years ago!
So, what do you think of the supply of housing?
Or how about instead of what you or I think, what does the government think?
Interestingly, even though the government is aware of this upcoming mega launch Normanton Park, as well as the many other projects in the west, it has JUST recently released 2 new plots of GLS land for sale at Slim Barracks Rise.
We still have One-North Eden set to launch too right after Normanton Park!
All this activity since the last launch 13 years ago.
Is this the government’s response to predicted increased demand in the area?
Normanton Park Unique Factors
Amongst stiff competition, having unique attributes that aren’t replicated easily is key for a project to retain long term value.
And Normanton Park is no exception.
Expansive Site Area
Normanton Park lies on almost 685,000 sqft of land.
In terms of sheer size, it is only bested by 1 other new project in the market today, Treasure at Tampines (702,162 sqft).
Other populous projects in the North-Eastern region like Florence Residences and Riverfront Residences, have about 1400 units with a site area of less than 400,000 sqft.
Not simply a statistic, Normanton Park makes full use of its size to house more than 100 facilities, covering almost 80% of the entire site area.
Another site that comes close to Normanton Park’s luscious facilities also happens to be in District 5: Parc Clematis.
Sitting on a land plot of approx. 633,644 sqft, I find Parc Clematis sharing many similar project attributes as Normanton Park.
However, there is a 2nd unique factor of Normanton Park which differentiates the project further.
Words from the developer, the project site layout were planned in such a way to,
- Elevate the development: Level 2 starts from approx. 10 storeys above AYE slip road and 18.8m above ground.
- Maximise distance from AYE: Closest block (45) is approx. 105m from AYE.
- Maximum internal landscape: Up to approx. 202m for the furthest blocks.
- Minimise Site Coverage: Only 20.67% of the total site area for blocks. Almost 80% for facilities.
While also maximizing external panoramic views.
Normanton Park takes full advantage of its unique location by Kent Ridge Park, and mostly low-rise buildings to offer residents far, unblocked views in pretty much all directions.
A little trivia, the nearest condo to Normanton Park is Kent Ridge Hill Residences located on the opposite side of Kent Ridge Park.
Still more than 700m distance away.
The other, further along the AYE to the city, is The Interlace being approx. 1.2km away.
Combined, the exclusiveness of the location, the site’s lush, generous landscaping, as well as the expansive views, position Normanton Park uniquely as an oasis in the middle of the city.
As a bonus, there are also 8 shops (including 1 F&B approved restaurant), which provides added convenience to residents.
Have you heard of the Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW)?
It almost sounds like a broken record… the frequency of which this transformation is mentioned with each project launch in the West/South zones.
No one can deny the potential impact though, given its size: 6 times Marina Bay.
And Normanton Park, if you look carefully, contains hidden connectivity with the GSW.
Try and spot it.
Below are 2 maps, the first, the street directory, and the 2nd, the 2019 master plan.
What differences do you see?
- A dotted lined path looking to potentially link Normanton Park drivers directly through Kent Ridge Park to reach the Pasir Panjang area. An underground tunnel perhaps?
- An extension of Science Park Drive across the length of Kent Ridge Park and Hortpark, exiting at Alexandra Road.
Especially the 1st connection, it greatly enhances the connectivity of Normanton Park to the Southern regions of Singapore, and consequently, the Greater Southern Waterfront.
Additionally, Pasir Panjang MRT station would then become more accessible.
Speaking of which, we can expect by 2025 to have a completed full circle line extension, allowing quicker access to places like Marina Bay, and eastern areas Nicoll Highway or Paya Lebar.
In order to leverage on these future road changes, Normanton Park has even prepared a ‘Future Secondary Entrance’ as part of its site design.
Talk about preparedness!
Normanton Park Price Analysis
The developer has released the indicative prices for the launch.
Or, from only $16XX psf.
It is not straightforward to analyse pricing of a project without any close by comparisons.
Here are 3 different aspects that I selected to illustrate here.
With its unique cascading design with blocks stacked across each other in varying directions, you can’t miss The Interlace when driving along AYE near the Alexandra Road exit.
At more than 800,000 sqft, it is in fact a larger project than Normanton Park!
Albeit with almost half the number of units: 1,040.
Developed by CapitaLand, the project achieved its TOP in late 2013.
Like many projects of that era, units at The Interlace have the following characteristics:
- No 1-bedroom units, smallest are 2 bedrooms starting from 807 sqft
- No big balconies, some layouts don’t even have balconies
- Irregular shapes, Bay windows, and Planter boxes
Below is a snapshot of the recent transacted data at The Interlace over the last 6 months or so.
Healthy transaction volume, as you would expect from a condo of this stature and size.
You might also notice that psf is low at about 1200 – 1300.
Normanton Park on the other hand is slated to be from 16xx psf, a good 30%+ higher.
However, because of the relatively larger sizes at The Interlace, the units are pricey from a quantum standpoint.
For buyers looking at the smaller units: 1 br – 2 br with a budget of below 1.2m…
Which, I expect to be the most popular units at Normanton Park, there is in fact no comparison to be made with The Interlace… as you can barely buy anything with that budget in the latter project.
Despite being 2 similar projects along the same AYE stretch, Normanton Park and The Interlace have totally different unit types with varying price points, making a comparison almost impossible.
Vs Premium Views
Remember earlier I mentioned that good views are 1 of the unique features of Normanton Park?
Sea views to the South…
City Views to the North, East, and West…
How much are buyers today willing to pay for such views?
Let’s look at some recent launches.
The above 3 developments are some of the popular RCR projects commanding premium views.
As the transaction details show, buyers are willing to pay in excess of 2,000 psf for unblocked views.
These 3 projects are very arguably in better locations than Normanton Park; One Pearl Bank and Stirling Residences are close to MRT stations, Avenue South Residences is closer to CBD.
So naturally, people would be willing to pay higher psf prices for those locations…
Let’s look at the nearest competitor right on the other side of Kent Ridge Park.
A low rise, 5-storey high development with prices averaging more than $1,750 psf, and going up to $1,940 psf.
With the above as comparisons, how much is a ‘great’ price to pay for unblocked views at Normanton Park?
Vs other District 5 Launches
Just a short couple of weeks back, Clavon achieved the best first-day launch sales this year.
Parc Clematis has also recently crossed 1,000 units sold.
Especially for the smaller units, the new supply is low.
Rental & Yield Analysis at Normanton Park
For investors looking to rent out their units, this section is important.
While I delved into the demand and supply dynamics earlier in this article, I didn’t provide any rental data.
Here, you’ll see more on that.
Let’s take the rentals of the 2 newer projects as a reference: The Rochester (2011), and One-North Residences (2009).
For ease of discussion here, we will focus only on the 1- & 2-bedroom units.
Notice a 3rd project in there: Commonwealth Towers?
It is a project right by Queenstown MRT station. 2 stops away from Buona Vista MRT, where The Rochester and One-North Residence are located.
I put in Commonwealth Towers to illustrate how being closer to business hubs (in this case the Greater One-North), impacts rentals.
Despite being closer to central Singapore & the CBD, Commonwealth Towers rents on average less than the other 2 projects illustrated.
This breaks traditional thinking of relating closeness to central Singapore/traditional CBD (Raffles Place & Tanjong Pagar), with higher rents.
I don’t think it’s fair to expect rents at Normanton Park to be as high as The Rochester Residences, the units there are bigger after all…
But it certainly wouldn’t be as low as people think despite ‘being not near MRT’.
I think we can expect to see a larger range of rents at Normanton Park, given the larger number of units and the varied facings.
For the 1-bedroom units, I would expect it to be similar to Commonwealth Towers pricing at the lower end of the spectrum and going up to high $2k for the premium facings.
While for 2-bedders, it can be reasonable to expect rents averaging 3.5k at a minimum.
Note: 2-bedroom units at The Interlace average almost $3,800 rental.
Normanton Park SWOT Analysis
I’ve covered mostly good points above.
What about the negatives?
In the SWOT below, I summarize the Strengths and Opportunities, while focusing more on the Weakness and Threats of Normanton Park.
- Situated in a High Growth Area: Greater One-North.
- Low condo supply in the vicinity
- Huge site area with resort-like facilities
- Expansive unblocked views in most directions
- No Schools within 1km
There are many other educational institutions nearby like: Tanglin Trust School, INSEAD, ACJC, and of course NUS…
But for parents wanting to go to a Primary School nearby within 1km, Normanton Park would surely be a miss.
- Developer Track Record
If you haven’t caught it yet, the developer of Normanton Park is Kingsford.
Which, as mentioned at the start of the article, was hit by a ‘no-sale licence’.
Why did it happen and is it worth worrying about?
To elaborate, it was due to issues in the developer’s previous project(s) such as Kingsford Hillview Peak.
There is understandable concern from potential buyers on the finished product at Normanton Park because of this.
The developer has taken steps to mitigate this concern, and in my view, it isn’t all negative.
There are also positive flip sides to this situation.
- No MRT nearby
A glaring miss for a project of this magnitude.
Some marketing messages might say – In the Middle of 3 MRT Stations!
Or in other words, not close to any MRT at all.
The nearest, Kent Ridge MRT to the west is more than a 15-min walk and over a kilometre away.
- New road connections as indicated in the Master Plan 2019.
- Further growth in the region with the tech boom and numerous ‘Subject to Detailed Planning’ land
- The Dover Knowledge District. Taken from URA’s website: As an extension of one-north, the Dover Knowledge District can realise synergies between the nearby business parks, academic and research institutions. It will offer vibrant integrated spaces to create exciting new jobs and learning opportunities, and support Singapore’s long-term economic growth.
- Neighbouring Prices Cheaper
There are vacant land plots near Normanton Park.
Towards the east, is currently low rise landed housing.
Whereas the northeast has plots for future development.
While land sales are typically increasing due to inflation, one cannot rule out the risk of a lower future sale price for future projects at these plots.
- Tech growth does not come
Is the growth of Tech here to stay?
Crossing borders, nations, and cultures, tech firms thrive on globalisation and the openness of economies.
Covid-19 has spurred growth in the short run due to tech being one of the few escapes available to people.
Especially with the rise of protectionism, data privacy, and antitrust laws…
One North, being a business park, has a huge component of tech firms, and any collapse in tech is very damaging to its prospects.
Is Normanton Park a Good Buy? (Conclusion)
Normanton Park has qualities for both being a good investment for rental or a home to enjoy yourself in resort-style facilities.
With a car, connectivity is great to many places.
Nature lovers would also appreciate that it is directly connected to Kent Ridge Park.
Pricing also looks quite competitive for the location and against other new projects.
A huge bonus is the TOP date.
At an expected date of 02.01.2023, it is only 3 years from writing, and much sooner than many other earlier launches.
However, a cloud looms large over the developer’s reputation.
It is something that buyers will need to overlook in a potential purchase.
Is Normanton Park the project for you?
I’m Jim Tay and I represent buyers in making the right decision regarding their property purchases.
I hope this article has value-added you in some way.
Due to agency confidentiality and objectivity, I am limited in the things I can share on this platform.
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Disclaimer: While all reasonable care was undertaken to ensure accuracy in this article, Jim Tay cannot be held responsible for any discrepancy or reliance on this information in a purchase.