It’s a fact: Expats love Robertson Quay so much. And we’re not saying this because we saw masses of them gathering in the area during Circuit Breaker—we have actual numbers, lah.
You see, the latest property data shows that expats are flocking to rent Robertson Quay condos. It’s as if they’re saying: If I can choose where to live to ride out Covid-19, then there’s no better place to call home than Robertson Quay.
Sky-high rental demand for Robertson Quay condos
Within Singapore’s Core Central Region (i.e. the prime districts and city area), Robertson Quay is one of the most popular lifestyle and residential enclave for expatriates.
In the past few years, rental demand for the 18 condos in the Robertson Quay neighbourhood have been outperforming its counterparts in Singapore’s prime District 9. We calculated the data using rental transaction volume adjusted to the number of condo units in each neighbourhood.
Specifically, we compared Robertson Quay with three other popular neighbourhoods (Institution Hill, Leonie Hill and Cairnhill) in the same district. With the exception of Leonie Hill in 2019, Robertson Quay consistently received greater rental demand. Here are the four neighbourhoods on a map for your reference:
According to 2019 official transaction data from Q1 2018 to Q1 2020 inclusive, Robertson Quay is also ranked the second most popular street to live in within District 9, a district that includes the Orchard Road lifestyle and shopping belt. Here’s the rundown:
Most popular addresses to rent in District 9
|Rank||Address||Rental Transactions (Q1 2018 to Q1 2020 inclusive)|
|1||River Valley Road*||1,403|
|3||Leonie Hill Road||892|
|4||Kim Seng Road||876|
*Part of River Valley Road falls in D10. D10 rental transactions are not included.
^Includes only six condos with the Robertson Quay address: [email protected] Quay, Rivergate, Robertson Blue, Robertson 100, Riverside 48 and The Quayside (which makes the statistics all the more remarkable)
Oh, and there’s something particularly attractive about that Robertson Quay address in times of crisis. In April 2020, the month in which in-person property viewings were prohibited as part of Covid-19 restrictions, the six condos with a Robertson Quay address recorded 35 rental transactions. That’s more rentals than the 25 in March 2020 and the 30 for the same month in 2019.
In contrast, the overall Robertson Quay neighbourhood saw rental volume decrease in April compared to March (from 119 to 103 units).
Robertson Quay condos: Who lives there?
Today, most Robertson Quay condos are home to more expats than Singaporean residents. Based on transaction data, we estimate that six out of every 10 residents at Robertson Quay are expat tenants.
The tenant mix of expats at Robertson Quay is diverse. From singles to large families, the type of units rented out at Robertson Quay condos reflects that diversity.
The numbers in the chart above is the secret to Robertson Quay’s popularity—a perfectly-tuned proportion of singles and families in a laid-back riverside environment.
And here’s the thing: Not only do the essential amenities at Robertson Quay cater to all walks of life, the area also fits right into the way expats want to live—whether they are single or not doesn’t matter.
Jamie, an expat resident at River Place condominium and a father of two, told 99.co that “what really appeals to us about living here is that you can tuck the kids into bed at 8 and then hop out for a drink at the bar with the missus.”
Property agent Stuart Chng at Navis Living Group of OrangeTee agrees that Robertson Quay is “well-loved” as “there are not many places with similar attributes.”
“Expats feel very at home with a high population of expats around them,” he noted. “Being able to mingle and drink with their community and not having to drive home is a big draw.”
The rent? It’s surprisingly affordable.
You might be thinking that, with its proximity to the city centre, Robertson Quay will be an expensive place to rent (even for expats).
But we found that part of what makes Robertson Quay attractive to them is the range of price points for renters. There are affordable options below $4 per square foot (psf), and a few higher-end developments that are being rented out around $5 psf or above.
Contrast that to the average rent for condos that are also near to the CBD, and you can get a picture of how affordable rent at Robertson Quay is:
(To illustrate: A 3-bedroom, 1,100 square foot condo unit at $4.21 psf equals to $4,631 per month in rent. The same unit at $4.70 psf would cost $5,170, which is $539 more expensive.)
From the chart above, Robertson Quay is on average 10.4% cheaper per square foot to rent, compared to other areas near to the CBD. Condos on the more affordable end of the spectrum at Robertson Quay include UE Square, The Quayside, Mirage Tower, River Place, and the one-bedroom-only Riverside 48.
On the other end of the spectrum are more upmarket properties such as Up @ Robertson Quay and The Pier at Robertson, which are targeted at expats with slightly looser
surgical masks purse strings. The newly launched Riviere, which will be completed in 2023, will add 455 condo units with a luxury positioning to the neighbourhood.
Robertson Quay Condo Comparison – Units vs Rental Transactions vs PSF Price
|Condo Name||Units||Rental Transactions in 2018||Rental Transactions in 2019||Rental Transactions in 2020 (Jan-Apr)||Rent PSF||Sale PSF|
|Up @ Robertson Quay||70||56||41||14||$6.08||$2,503|
|The Pier at Robertson||201||119||141||34||$5.35||$1,511|
|Watermark Robertson Quay||206||99||91||40||$4.50||$1,303|
(Data correct as of 19 May 2020. Click the links to find out more about each condo. The table might also be useful for property investors *wink wink*.)
Not only does the rent appear ridiculously good value for a central location, residents at Robertson Quay also told 99.co that the convenience of commuting to the CBD is superior to other neighbourhoods.
Martha, an Estonian living at Rivergate condominium and working at Republic Plaza at Raffles Place, told us that she commutes by cycling between her home and workplace daily. “It only takes me 15 minutes. I barely even break a sweat.”
Rob, a single UK expat living at Watermark Robertson Quay, told 99.co that since he moved from his previous Balmoral rented home, he’s been spending far less on transport. “There’s a whole ecosystem here that’s like Darling Harbour in Sydney, I seldom need to go elsewhere for entertainment.”
“I only spent $100 on Grab last month, before it was $500 or even more getting to and fro,” he added.
Jamie sums up his fondness of the area. “Even if my wife and I decide to move out at the end of the lease [of my current apartment], we’ll find another place around here.”
Would you live in Robertson Quay? Let us know in the comments section!
If you found this article helpful, 99.co recommends Will rent go down in a recession? and District 9 Singapore: The in-depth property buyer’s guide
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