Out of the top 50 property searches on The Edge Property web site, apartment and condominium projects in the Geylang area were among the most sought after. While Geylang may be famous for its red-light district and eateries such as those selling beef hor fun and frog porridge on Lorong 17, and 126 Dim Sum or Wan Dou Sek on Sims Avenue, it is also a popular residential area for those who want fairly priced freehold flats near the CBD and the upcoming Paya Lebar Central commercial heart, according to Alan Cheong, head of research for Savills Singapore.
“Buyers of residential units there are generally permanent residents and Singaporeans,” he notes. Tenants, on the other hand, often be foreigners who enjoy the place’s closeness to relatively affordable rents and conveniences, and the city. “Geylang has an unique nature, with its lively nightlife, which you can’t find elsewhere in Singapore,” remarks Cheong. Geylang is on the city fringe and is consequently considered to be in the Rest of Central Region (RCR). The most-searched condominiums are predominantly older projects, like the 218-unit freehold Wing Fong Mansions on Lorong 14, which was finished in 1997; the 338-unit freehold The Shining Spring on Lorong 40, which got its Temporary Occupation Permit in 1998; and the 142-unit freehold The Atrium Residences on Lorong 28, which was completed eight years past.
Wing Fong Mansions has been on investors’ radar due to its affordability and rental yield, says Cheong. The unit sizes are larger than those today, as it was built 19 years ago.
The latest trade at the development was for a 1,141 sq ft, three-bedroom unit, which sold for $820,000 ($719 psf) in September 2015.
While the gross rental return appears to outperform the average for most condominiums in the RCR and even CCR today, Cheong advises potential buyers to check with their banks or finance houses to figure out the loan limit they can obtain for residential properties in Geylang, especially those located in the red light zone, such as Wing Fong Mansions.