The Scala Condo Review – latest 2023 review for resale buyer

The scala condo review

Table of Contents

Who is this article meant for ?

Most condo reviews articles are created during the new launch phase of a condo. That is when incentive to produce content is at its greatest, with buyers interest at its peak and property agents addressing it with abundance of reviews and “official” developer microsites.

This article was created with the resale buyer in mind, providing an updated review of The Scala condo development several years after its launch.

While there are many articles out there that talk about amenities and facilities, this article focuses on the money making aspect of the property.

We will tackle the million dollar question every savvy resale condo buyer has in mind. “Will I make money if I purchase this property now”

Property in focus

In our previous article we reviewed Forest Woods, a condo development that was identified as a top performer amongst new launches that have recently achieved its TOP status. The Scala, situated one MRT stop away from Forest Woods came up as a close comparable.

And upon further review, we realise that The Scala holds its own weight as the youngest condo in the Lorong Chuan area. Its unparalleled proximity to MRT puts it in the spotlight of many resale property buyers.

We thought it would be interesting to dive into the numbers to see if The Scala lived up to its hype.

Did existing owners of The Scala make money ? – Historical Performance

Pretext. As this article is meant to review the performance of The Scala as a resale property.

We intentionally removed all transactions that involved owners that purchase the property directly from the developer during the new launch phase. We isolated all transactions that involved a buyer that purchased the property as a resale property and sold it to another buyer down the road.

As an overview, the number of profitable vs non-profitable transactions did not review any abnormalities. It showed that 96% of the buyers actually made money selling their unit in The Scala.

Transaction Count Percentage
Total Profitable / Unprofitable Transaction 228
Profitable Transaction 220 96%
Unprofitable Transaction 8 4%

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What caught our attention is that, on average, resale property owners of The Scala only made $65,195 selling their unit at The Scala after holding for an average holding period of 5.6 years.

Project Name Profit Price Appreciation (%) CAGR (%) Holding Period
Scala 65,195 5.89% 1.08% 5.6

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Diving deeper, breaking down performance by bedroom type, it revealed the 1 bedder units contributed to the sub optimal performance, while the 2 bedder and 3 bedders performance remains lacklustre.

Bedrooms Average Profit (S$) Average Price Appreciation (%) Average of Holding Period (years)
1 29,529 4% 5.6
2 81,994 7% 5.4
3 113,167 8% 6.3

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We will make more sense out of this as we compare The Scala performance with its peers in the section that follows.

How did The Scala fare when compared to its peers ?

Now, let’s map The Scala’s performance against its peers, let’s see if the neighbouring developments performed the same as The Scala.

Springbloom and Amaranda Gardens are two prominent developments that are located at close proximity to The Scala.

They are both older developments that TOP in the 2000s, to ensure we make a fair comparison, we only include transaction data from 2013 onwards. In the early 2000s, due to less stringent cooling measures, profit quantum were much larger and may result in an unfair comparison with The Scala.

Owners of neighbouring developments made more money than owners of The Scala

Interestingly, the owners of both Springbloom and Amaranda Gardens made significantly more profit than the owners of The Scala.

On average if a resale property buyer were to hold their unit for 6 years, they would have gotten away with an average $300,000 gain, with an average price appreciation of 20%, over a 5 year period.

Project Name Lease TOP Profit Price Appreciation (%) CAGR (%) – Annualized Yearly Growth Holding Period
The Scala 99 Year 2013 65,195 5.89% 1.08% 5.6
Spring Bloom Last 10 Years from 2013 99 Year 1999 304,382 20.92% 3.64% 6
Amaranda Garden Last 10 Years from 2013 Freehold 2004 368,359 23.59% 4.14% 6

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Similar trend when comparing The Scala performance with developments in Bishan and Serangoon

We investigated further by comparing The Scala performance with other developments one MRT stop away in Bishan and Serangoon.

It is noted that the pattern remains consistent, The Scala performance was not on par with other developments in Bishan and Serangoon.

Resale property owners purchasing a unit in Sky Vue, Thomson Three or even the much older Sunglade in Serangoon would have netted an average profit of between $111,344 and $176,140. The Scala’s $65,195 average profits remain suboptimal in comparison.

Project Name Lease TOP Profit Price Appreciation (%) CAGR (%) – Annualized Yearly Growth Holding Period
Scala 99 Year 2013 65,195 5.89% 1.08% 5.6
Sky Vue 99 Year 2016 176,140 13.49% 2.96% 4.3
Thomson Three (Exclude Penthouse) 99 Year 2016 111,344 11.39% 3.32% 3.3
Sunglade 99 Year 2003 162,649 14.21% 2.86% 4.7

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If you bought into The Scala Condo today, would you have a chance to make money ?

Now let’s take our analysis of The Scala further. Let’s look ahead and consider if you would make money if you were to purchase a unit in The Scala today.

To do this, we will utilise the following set of evaluation criterias to review The Scala. Quick note. As we consider all the criterias, we will only mention noteworthy ones to keep the write-up concise.

Evaluation Criterias

  • Development’s age – considering the risk of price plateauing due to lease decay
  • Size of development – directly impacting transaction volume
  • Pricing – price competitiveness of development vs comparable properties
  • Quantum – the overall price to be paid for a specific unit, affecting affordability
  • Supply – the no of comparable competing properties in the vicinity
  • Exit audience – the size prospective exit buyers
  • URA Master Plan – future plan or competing properties for the area
  • Proximity to MRT – affects rentability and buyer’s demand
  • Proximity to Reputable School – major factor valued by families
  • Proximity to amenities
  • Rental demand
  • Density of development – consider no. of units sharing common space and facilities
  • Quality of facilities
  • Unit Layout – reviewing for efficiency in layout

Summary – SWOT Analysis, The Scala Condo

Prior to elaborating on the noteworthy factors to consider for The Scala. We shall provide you with the TLDR, summarising the key pointers from a perspective of strength, weakness, opportunity and threat for the development.

Strength

  • Age – Newest development with greatest proximity to Lorong Chuan MRT.
  • Layout – Efficient layout with sizeable, regular shaped living room.
  • Rental – Strong rental demand due to proximity to Australian International School.
  • Proximity to MRT – located next to Lorong Chuan MRT

Weakness

  • Current Supply – abundance of older competing developments with comparable strengths. With several competing developments with freehold tenure.
  • Future Supply – upcoming development of a new launch on a neighbouring plot of land that just got enbloc.
  • Pricing – expensive, The Scala is priced at a premium.

Opportunity

  • New launch pushing up price for The Scala – if upcoming new launch is priced much higher than The Scala, there may be opportunity for price appreciation

Threat

  • Ample competitive alternatives – Given The Scala’s premium pricing, buyers could consider alternative developments in Bishan, Serangoon and Kovan.

General information about The Scala

Before moving on to elaborate on noteworthy evaluation criterias for the development, let’s lay out the general information for The Scala.

Information Details
Address 130 Serangoon Avenue 3 · 554479
District D19
Neighbourhood Serangoon
Property Type Condo
Project Size Medium (468 units)
TOP 2013
Tenure 99 years
No of Block 5
Floor 17
Gross Floor area (sqft) 13,877
Developer Circle Line Pte Ltd

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Elaboration on specific factors that contributes to the SWOT of The Scala

In the sections that follow, we will expand on the factors that had an impact on the future price appreciation of the development.

Age of development

One of the key strengths of The Scala is that it is the youngest development in the Lorong Chuan area. Aside from Cardiff Residence which is a boutique development, the average age of competing developments in the Lorong Chuan areas are between 19 to 39 years old.

As a development that just hit its 10 year mark, potential buyers of The Scala do not need to be worried about price plateauing due to lease decay.

Sidenote, property prices show a tendency to plateau or decline after its passes its 25 year mark.

List of Comparable Developments in the Lorong Chuan Area

Project Name Tenure Completion Age No of units Dist from Lorong Chuan MRT (m)
CARDIFF RESIDENCE 99 yrs FROM 2011 2014 9 163 400
THE SCALA 99 yrs FROM 2010 2013 10 468 149
AMARANDA GARDENS Freehold 2004 19 189 277
GOLDENHILL PARK CONDOMINIUM Freehold 2004 19 390 317
GOLDEN HEIGHTS Freehold 2003 20 53 247
THE SUNNYDALE 99 yrs FROM 1997 2001 22 70 444
THE SPRINGBLOOM 99 yrs FROM 1995 1999 24 372 266
CHILTERN PARK 99 yrs FROM 1991 1995 28 500 211
CHUAN PARK 99 yrs FROM 1980 1984 39 444 106

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Supply – Current

As will all assets, scarcity coupled with demand drives price appreciation. Unfortunately, supply is not in The Scala’s favour.

In the Lorong Chuan area, with an acceptable walking distance from Lorong Chuan MRT, buyers are spoilt for choice. Referring back to the table in the section above, Freehold development Amaranda Gardens and older leasehold Springbloom had proven to be better performers than The Scala.

Supply – Future

Looking into the future. The Scala key proposition as the youngest development in the Lorong Chuan area is threatened by the launch of a new development.

Chuan Park, a 39 year old development, situated 106m away from MRT, just got enbloc. In place of the current Chuan Park, a new condo development will be developed by developers Kingsford and MCC.

Pricing

From a pricing standpoint, we will first compare The Scala with its peer in the Lorong Chuan area.

Comparing The Scala against its older 99 year leasehold counterparts, reveal a price gap of between $239 to $459 psf. Meaning it cost around $400 psf more to purchase The Scala versus its older counterparts like Chitern Park, Springbloom and The SunnyDale.

Price Comparison – Leasehold Developments in Lorong Chuan Area

Project Name Tenure Completion No of units Avg Price (S$ psf) Price Difference vs The Scala (S$ psf)
THE SCALA 99 yrs FROM 2010 2013 468 1,587 0
CHILTERN PARK 99 yrs FROM 1991 1995 500 1,169 418
THE SPRINGBLOOM 99 yrs FROM 1995 1999 372 1,208 379
CARDIFF RESIDENCE 99 yrs FROM 2011 2014 163 1,348 239
THE SUNNYDALE 99 yrs FROM 1997 2001 70 1,128 459

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This price gap remains reasonable, using another younger development Forest Woods price comparison with its older peers in the Serangoon area. You would observe a smaller price gap of around $400 psf

Price Comparison – Forest Woods and other developments in Serangoon Area

Project Name Tenure Completion No of units Avg Price (S$ psf) Price Difference vs Forest Wood (S$ psf)
Forest Woods 99 yrs FROM 2016 2020 519 1,732 0
SUNGLADE 99 yrs FROM 2000 2003 475 1,246 486
THE MINTON 99 yrs FROM 2007 2013 1,145 1,191 541

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Sub-optimal price gap between The Scala and comparable Freehold Developments

The challenge for Scala pricing comes when you compare its pricing with other Freehold developments in the area.

Referencing the table below, you see a very narrow price gap, paying between $2 psf more could land you a Freehold property in Amaranda Gardens.

Price Comparison – Freehold development in Lorong Chuan

Project Name Tenure Completion No of units Avg Price (S$ psf) Price Difference vs The Scala (S$ psf)
THE SCALA 99 yrs FROM 2010 2013 468 1,587 0
AMARANDA GARDENS Freehold 2004 189 1,585 2
GOLDENHILL PARK CONDOMINIUM Freehold 2004 390 1,685 -98
GOLDEN HEIGHTS Freehold 2003 53 1,399 188

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To some extent, this explains the heightened price appreciation experience by Amaranda Gardens. The launch of premium priced Scala, pushed up prices of the freehold and older leasehold developments in the area.

Narrow price gap between The Scala and other developments in Bishan and Serangoon

Another downside to The Scala pricing is that, when compared to other equally young or younger developments in the Bishan and Serangoon area. The Scala being situated further away from the centre is not significantly cheaper from a price per sqft perspective.

In fact, if buyers were willing to pay $142 psf more, they would be able to purchase a unit in Forest Woods which is 7 years younger than The Scala and is walking distance away from MRT interchange, Serangoon MRT.

Price Comparison – The Scala with developments in Bishan and Serangoon

Project Name Tenure Completion No of units Avg Price (S$ psf) Price Difference vs The Scala (S$ psf) Avg Price – Lease reset back to 99 years (S$ psf) Price Difference vs Forest Wood – Lease Reset (S$ psf)
THE SCALA 99 yrs FROM 2010 2013 468 1,747 0 2,011 0
SKY HABITAT 99 yrs FROM 2011 2015 509 1,692 55 1,925 86
THOMSON THREE 99 yrs FROM 2012 2016 435 1,852 -105 2,084 -72
Forest Woods 99 yrs FROM 2016 2020 519 1,889 -142 2,033 -22
SKY VUE 99 yrs FROM 2013 2016 694 1,980 -233 2,202 -191

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Quantum

While price per sq ft, is an important factor of consideration. The overall price tag of purchasing a unit in the development is an important factor that impacts buyer’s affordability and indirectly impacts demand.

From a quantum perspective, The Scala has an advantage over comparable development in both Lorong Chuan and further out in areas like Bishan and Serangoon.

Coupled with its efficient layout, at current average psf pricing, buyers would be able to get their hands on a 3 bedder unit at The Scala within the $1.8 million price range.

We will elaborate further on The Scala’s layout in later sections.

Quantum Comparison – 3 Bedder

Development Size (sqft) Average Price (S$ psf) Quantum (S$) Difference vs Scala (S$)
The Scala 1033 1,710 1,766,430 0
The Springbloom 1302 1,379 1,795,458 -29,028
Amaranda Gardens 1163 1,970 2,291,110 -524,680
Sky Vue 1141 1,937 2,210,117 -443,687
Sky Habitat 1216 1,693 2,058,688 -292,258
Thomson Three 1033 1,810 1,869,730 -103,300
Forest Woods 990 1,859 1,840,410 -73,980

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Quantum Comparison – 2 Bedder

Development Size (sqft) Average Price (S$ psf) Quantum (S$) Difference vs Scala (S$)
The Scala 829 1,710 1,417,590 0
The Springbloom 1119 1,379 1,543,101 -125,511
Amaranda Gardens 990 1,970 1,950,300 -532,710
Sky Vue 678 1,937 1,313,286 104,304
Sky Habitat 721 1,693 1,220,653 196,937
Thomson Three 710 1,810 1,285,100 132,490
Forest Woods 603 1,859 1,120,977 296,613

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Proximity to Reputable Schools

The Scala is within a 1km radius to St Gabriel Primary School, Yang Zheng Primary School and CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel.

This serves as a good selling point for home owners with young children, but as we compare comparables to properties in Bishan and Serangoon like Sky Vue, and Forest Woods, the selling point is somewhat diluted.
The comparison table charting the popularity of different schools in different area, explains the point.

The draw for parents to purchase The Scala due to its proximity to the three schools listed above may not be as strong as the draw to purchase Sky Vue for Catholic High Primary school and the draw to purchase Forest Woods for Maris Stella Primary School.

Comparison Popularity of Different Primary Schools

Development Primary School within 1km radius Ranking (Based on Phase 2B Subscription) Phase 2B Vacancies Phase 2B Applicants % Subscription
The Scala St Gabriel Primary School 61 34 24 71%
The Scala Yang Zheng Primary School 59 22 9 41%
The Scala CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel 62 32 20 63%
Sky Vue Catholic High Primary School 2 20 43 215%
Thomson Three Ai Tong Primary School 10 20 48 240%
Forest Woods Maris Stella Primary School 21 27 45 167%
Forest Woods Payar Lebar Methodist Girls School 38 41 47 115%

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As a sidenote, we have written extensively about finding investment properties around reputable schools. Check out the following article to learn more

Rental Demand

Rental demand is one of The Scala’s greatest strengths, being situated next to the Australian International School, sees great rental demand for units in The Scala.

From a rental yield perspective, The Scala also trumps comparable developments.

Rental Demand Comparison – Scala and other developments

Project Name Rental Vol Rental Yield (%)
THE SCALA 61 4
THE SPRINGBLOOM 13 3.1
THOMSON THREE 51 3.6
Forest Woods 66 3.6
AMARANDA GARDENS 13 2.6
SKY VUE 86 3.9

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Floor Plan

Analysis the floor plan of The Scala with older developments like SpringBloom and Amaranda Gardens.

The Scala shows great efficiency in its layout, the regular rectangular shaped living room, aligned with a single sizable balcony would be much sought after by homeowners.

Inline with older developments both Springbloom and Amaranda Gardens both consisted of planter boxes and bay windows that are deemed inefficient being incorporated into its layout.

Final Words

This concludes our review of The Scala. While the development performed poorly in several factors that have had an impact on price appreciation, it showed strength in factors that affect liveability and affordability.

If you are interested in purchasing a unit in The Scala, identifying a undervalue unit would be ideal to ensure opportunities in future capital appreciation.

Author

  • Jue Wen

    Jue Wen is the content marketing lead. This means he spend his waking hours researching and writing all things real estate. He believes life is a hustle and there is no joy in grinding away daily in our little rat races. He believes making wise moves in real estate investment can be a game changer. Aside from writing all things real estate, you can find him in your nearest bouldering gym.

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Jue Wen

Author

Jue Wen is the property analyst and content marketing lead at decoupling expertise.
He specialises in helping clients overcome the complexities involved in owning their second private property in Singapore.
He had over 10 years of experience in real estate investing and have written over 40 detail guides on decoupling and minimising ABSD. He is a licensed real estate consultant and holds a Bachelor degree in Business Management from the Nanyang Technological University.

Kenji

Co-Author

Kenji is the Group Division Director of ERA Realty Network.
He have got over 20 years of experience in real estate and have successfully helped over 50 couples purchased their second property. He specialises in helping client achieve the best approach towards acquiring their ideal investment properties while minimising ABSD.