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1. Written by News on 04-08-2008 14:39
The bigger, the better
ALL it took was one look at the big balcony spanning the living room and the master bedroom, and the deal was sealed for Mrs Jean Hong. 
The 47-year-old company director bought a three-bedroom unit for close to $1,500 per square foot in the Parc Centennial condominium in Kampong Java Road three months ago and is still gushing about the large balcony to her friends. 
She is planning to rent it out and feels expatriates will appreciate the balcony space. 
‘There is enough space to put some chairs and a small table in the balcony, so that the tenant is able to have a drink or read there without cluttering the place unnecessarily,’ she said. 
Parc Centennial is among a number of new condos that are bucking the trend of developments from the 1990s, which had balconies that were tiny corners with just standing space or irregular-shaped ones that nobody used. 
In contrast, some of the new private housing projects today have large balconies that even extend to the master bedroom or outside the lift. 
SOAK UP THE SCENERY: Cliveden at Grange Road, which offers three-, four- and five-bedroom units, comes with panoramic views of Orchard Road which can be enjoyed from the expensive balconies. 
Projects with generous balconies include completed ones like Residences@Evelyn in Evelyn Road as well as those nearing completion such as Parc Centennial, JIA at 65 Wilkie Road, Lucida in Suffolk Road, Parc Mackenzie in Mackenzie Road and Cliveden at Grange in Grange Road. 
Developers say that buyers prefer units with large balconies because the open space lets in natural light and ventilation and can be used as an alfresco dining area or just an outdoor area to relax in. 
EL Development, the developer behind Parc Centennial , designed its units with large balconies because of the expansive views offered at the site: There are no tall buildings nearby so residents have good views of the surrounding greenery. 
The balcony also serves to screen off the afternoon sun for the west-facing units. 
Similarly for developer City Developments Limited (CDL), the decision to incorporate balconies into the projects depends on their location. 
‘Typically, buyers would like a balcony where there are good views of the surroundings, such as the lush greenery which residents of Shelford Suites or Cliveden at Grange can enjoy, or if there are waterfront views that can be appreciated, which is the case with One Shenton and The Oceanfront@Sentosa Cove,’ said Mr Chia Ngiang Hong, group general manager of CDL. 
Larger balconies are also good for homeowners to keep in touch with their surroundings, says developer SDB. Its first local project here, JIA, is only seven storeys high so owners get to enjoy the greenery nearby from their balconies. 
The developer also designed the balconies with enough depth to put a coffee table. 
About 70 to 80 per cent of expatriates opt for large balconies, according to Mr John Koh, 60, associate director of Huttons real estate group. 
‘Singaporeans are quite kiasu. Some think it is a waste of space and don’t want to pay for it,’ he said. 
Senior executive Kelvin Ho, who bought a flat in Parc Mackenzie, begged to differ. 
‘I don’t understand why people don’t want balconies. I like the open air, space, lights, breeze and view. I think it is usable space,’ he said. 
It is opportune that buyers like him have secured units that come with large balconies as they may become a thing of the past with the recent announcement by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. 
From Oct 7, features such as bay windows, balconcies and planter boxes are no longer exempt from the gross floor area (GFA) calculations. 
This means that developers may scale down balcony sizes since they will be charged for the area, unlike now.

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