Balestier attracts buyers who find city centre pricey

SAVVY home buyers, including expatriates on tight budgets and unable to afford the expensive city centre, are looking to nearby Balestier as a handy substitute.

Balestier homes can be 20 per cent cheaper than some nearby prime areas, yet are still fairly central, experts said. The area is also starting to shed its messy, occasionally seedy, image.

Various new condominiums like Nova 88 have sprung up in the past year, adding more than 400 new homes to the eclectic tenant mix of shophouse eateries, hardware shops and contractors.

A further 1,400 new homes will be ready by 2015.

Rental yields in the nearby Novena and Balestier areas are on par at 3.3 to 4 per cent.
Median monthly rents stood at $3.35 psf in April and May, up from $2.98 psf in December.

Freehold condo resale prices are 15 to 20 per cent lower than in Novena and 7 to 10 per cent lower than in Toa Payoh.

One factor attracting investors and expats is the plethora of shoebox units, especially at small to mid-sized condos like Okio.

Consultants said Balestier's old world charm, good food and attractions like Zhongshan Park, make it appealing to buyers and tourists, boosting its vibrancy.

However, experts said the lack of an MRT station and a tenant mix that includes budget hotels could put some people off.

Source: The Straits Times – 7 July 2012