Thursday, September 3, 2009

Property 101: Prices Can Go Down

Source : TODAY, Aug 29, 2009

Judging from the brisk sales at launches, it appears many Singaporeans have jumped on the runaway property bandwagon.

But before you get caught up in the sales pitches and showroom euphoria of property agents cheering as each unit is sold, industry players warn that you should step back, take a breath and think twice.




















Enthusiastic crowds at the Optima at Tanah Merah.

This, they say applies to both HDB upgraders as well as those looking for a second property to spruce up their financial portfolio. Here are a few pointers that ought to be at the back of your mind.

1. Do your sums

It may sound obvious but it is often forgotten. Consider upgrading only if there have been significant changes in your credit profile, say, a pay rise and if your appreciating assets are holding up, said PropNex chief Mohamed Ismail.

If you're upgrading from HDB, think about your net proceeds and what you can put into a new property to reduce your loan. Work out how much you need to pay each month. Be prudent and do not over-leverage. Consider the repayment period. Banks typically limit loan repayments to about 40 per cent of your gross monthly income.

Make sure you factor in other debts, expenses and what you need to save.

"Buy a property that will not overstretch your finances while maintaining a lifestyle of your desire," Mr Ismail said.

Choose your home loan carefully. Interest absorption schemes may seem attractive but you may typically end up paying 2-3 per cent more for the entire property.

If you plan to rent out the property, your monthly rental should ideally cover your mortgage instalments.

2. Location, location, location

As an owner-occupier, you should think about transport options. If you're an average HDB dweller, you would do well to choose a property near an MRT station, said Mr Chris Koh, director at Dennis Wee Group.

If you're looking for capital gains or renting out the property, proximity to a MRT station is even more important as tenants (the foreign ones in particular) are looking for convenient public transport options to take them round the island.

Also check out which direction the unit is facing and the project's surroundings.

3. Maintenance and other BILLS

Consider how much you will need to furnish or renovate the new apartment, advised Dennis Wee Group's Mr Koh. Also factor in maintenance charges each month - how much more you will be paying for service and conservancy, parking and other charges.

4. Plan your interim options

Your HDB property may fetch a tidy sum now, but what about in two years when your private property obtains its Temporary Occupation Permit. Unless you intend to keep your HDB flat for rental, you should consider whether you to sell now or later.

If you choose to sell now, you need to think about where you will live in the meantime and the costs you will incur.

5. Be mentally prepared

Be aware that property prices fluctuate and prices may not return to the level at which you bought the property.

"If you can sleep through that, have really no regrets, you like the property and lifestyle, then well and good," said Ngee Ann Polytechnic real estate lecturer, Nicholas Mak. "But don't put everything into a private property thinking that prices will only go in one direction - up."

Marine Parade's Laguna Park For Sale At S$1.2b Reserve Price

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 02 September 2009

The Laguna Park estate in the Marine Parade area is up for collective sale, with an asking price of S$1.2 billion, according to its marketing agent Credo Real Estate.

Laguna Park, Marine Parade Road.

The owners of the current property stand to get between S$2.1 and S$2.3 million each for their apartments. Penthouse owners could get between S$3.5 and S$4.1 million.

This could potentially be Singapore's second billion-dollar en-bloc deal, after Farrer Court in 2007.

Laguna Park, a former HUDC estate, is now home to 528 units spanning a land area of 670,000 square feet.

If the en-bloc sale goes through, this parcel could eventually accommodate about 1,500 units with an average size of 1,200 square feet.

Credo said that it has already received enquiries from major developers and funds. The competition for the 99-year leasehold land parcel is expected to be keen - with the reserve price at $1.2 billion dollars.

"If we do not receive bids above the reserve price, there is still potential for us to sell the site through negotiations, by a private treaty. In the new law we have 10 weeks for that, but I seriously think we don't need that," said Tan Hong Boon, deputy managing director, Credo Real Estate.

The price tag translates to a land rate of some S$844 per square foot per plot ratio.

The successful bidder will also have to pay about S$400 million to top up the lease and a development charge.

More than 80 per cent of Laguna Park's owners have given their consent for the collective sale, Credo said.

According to analysts, the draw for Laguna Park is the size of the plot and its proximity to the sea, which will provide the future development with a good view.

"If you look at the quality of land in Singapore, Laguna Park has got one of the longest stretches of sea, with coastal views. It's about 400 to 500m of seafront view and it's also unblocked on the other side. Very rarely you get a plot of land with such spectacular views," said Christina Sim, director, Investment, Cushman & Wakefield.

Observers said the developers are likely to use the opportunity to replenish their land stocks.

"Since March-April onwards, the absorption rate in the real estate market has been phenomenal. The take up is probably over 10,000 units already this year. It looks like developer stocks are really drying up. And because there's a huge draw down on stocks, the developers balance sheets are reflecting a really fantastic cash flow. They would be in the market to look at land banking again," she added.

Analysts said that the break-even land cost is around S$1,250 per square foot, and the future units are likely to fetch prices higher than that.

The units at The Silversea, another private development in the vicinity, recently transacted for as much as S$1,750 per square foot.

As per the analysts, even if the sale for Laguna Park goes through by the year end - launches shouldn't be expected any time soon. That's because developers will be waiting till after the integrated resorts open in 2010, before launching units for what many analysts call - a jewel in their crown. - CNA/sc

Govt May Be Taking Steps To Calm Down The Property Market, Say Analysts

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 02 September 2009

The government could re-introduce land sales through the confirmed list and analysts said this could mean the government is taking steps to cool down the property market.

Last October, recession woes saw the government suspending land sales through the confirmed list. But now the government said it will consider re-introducing it for the first half of next year.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said: "Now that the market is coming back, demand is coming back and the take-up is strong. There is every likelihood that we will resume the confirmed list."

This means land parcels will be tendered according to scheduled dates and this will translate to more residential property launches. But one analyst said while these changes will ease the market, they will take time to make any impact.

Nicholas Mak, property consultant, said: "This may be the first of actions by the government if they see that the property market shows signs of overheating especially if there is a lot of speculative buying, I think that could prompt the government to take further action."

Public housing prices have gone up by almost 35 per cent over the last two years and the government said it is expecting prices to increase even further. However, it said buyers should not be complaining because these price increases are part of the reason why people invest in the first place.

Mr Mah added: "When you buy an HDB flat, you are investing for your future. We subsidise when you buy, we increase the value of the flat as you live in it and encourage you or facilitate you to cash out when you grow old."

Mr Mah was speaking on Wednesday at the launch of the final skybridge at the Pinnacle @ Duxton, Singapore's tallest public housing project.

He said while public housing remains affordable, with a range of flats to suit people from all levels of income, Singaporeans should continue to buy within their means. - CNA/vm

Joo Chiat Hotel Put Up For Sale

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 2, 2009

A SMALL low-rise hotel in Joo Chiat Road is up for sale at an asking price of $20 million to $22 million.

Its owner, a local investment firm formed by a group of individual investors, is looking to sell now as market conditions are ripe, said Ms Yong Choon Fah, executive director of Credo Real Estate, which is marketing the property.

Joo Chiat Hotel, previously known as Astro Hotel, was put up for sale in a tender in 2004. The asking price was up to $9 million, though market watchers reportedly expected bids of only about $7 million. There were no bids.

The three-storey property - a conserved building approved for hotel use in the conservation district of Joo Chiat - has 68 guest rooms and one pub.

Both are leased by operators at a total gross annual rental revenue slightly in excess of $1 million, she said.

At $20 million, the buyer would secure a rental yield of 5.25 per cent for at least another year.

The $20 million price works out to about $294,000 a room, slightly above the market rate of about $250,000 a room for similar-grade hotels.

The property has a lease of 99 years starting from June 1995 and the total gross floor area is about 22,925 sq ft. The rooms go for about $60 to $80 a day.

The sale tender comes about eight months after a ban on offering hourly hotel rates was put in place in Joo Chiat.

While the area boasts a rich cultural heritage, it has been tainted by vice activities.

Joo Chiat Hotel is one of the nine hotels in the area affected by the ban but Ms Yong said the owner's decision to sell has nothing to do with the ban.

She said the asking price takes into account the limited supply of hotels in the area.

Also, the property is near the growth area of Paya Lebar Central and has 'great potential for the realisation of an improved stream of revenue income and capital appreciation', she said.

The tender closes on Oct 6.

Joo Chiat Hotel For Sale By Tender

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 01 September 2009

A conserved building approved for use as a hotel at Joo Chiat Road has been put up for sale by tender.

The property is owned by a local investment company, which is seeking offers in the range of S$20 million to S$22 million.

Joo Chiat Hotel comprises a 3-storey front section and a 4-storey rear extension, with 68 guestrooms and one pub. These are leased by operators at a total gross rental revenue of slightly over S$1 million a year.

The 99-year leasehold (from June 1995) site is about 708.8 square metres (7,629 square feet), with a total gross floor area of 2,129.8 sq m (22,925 sf).

Joo Chiat was gazetted as a conservation district in mid-1993, and is characterised by architectural styles of the turn of the 20th century as well as many Peranakan shophouses.

Property consultant Credo Real Estate said in a statement that the hotel, which is near Paya Lebar Central, is likely to benefit from appreciation in capital value as the transformation of Paya Lebar Central materialises.

Paya Lebar Central, one of the four targeted growth areas in the Master Plan 2008, promises to be a bustling commercial centre with offices, retail outlets, hotels and public spaces, Credo added.

The tender for the hotel closes at 2.30pm on October 6. - CNA/al

Ripe For An Asset Price Bubble

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 1, 2009

POST-CRISIS REFLECTION

QUEUES can once again be seen at condo launches - a sight that may surprise many, given that the effects of the world financial crisis will last long after countries emerge from the recession.

Are the queues a sign of the start of a new asset price bubble? Will we learn from our mistakes? What can policymakers do to pre-empt future crises?

Sadly, the root cause of financial crises is in our genes. We are genetically coded to survive and to seek a better life for our offspring. In economic terms, this means consuming some resources now and accumulating the rest for a better future.

While the relentless pursuit of wealth may be individually rational, it can become collectively destructive. The role of a government is to put in place a system that can mitigate the destructiveness by constraining the actions of individuals and businesses.

Going back to the condo frenzy, I can understand why people would line up even after being burned by the market recently. Who would want to miss the boat? The price may soon be out of one's reach if one doesn't jump in now.

This line of thinking may create another unsustainable bubble. Of course, desire alone is not enough. There must be enough accumulated capital to set the bubble creation process in motion.

This leads me to my second point. The savings accumulated in Asia, plus the liquidity injected into the world economy by governments in response to the financial crisis, are massive. The macro environment is, in my opinion, ripe for an asset price bubble. A recent indication of this is the tremendous price surge in China's stock and real estate markets. The surge was not accompanied by any noticeable rise in consumer price inflation.

If this financial crisis were a major earthquake, the ensuing asset price bubbles, like the looming one in China, may be preludes to aftershocks of unknown magnitude.

Unfortunately, policymakers are caught between a rock and a hard place. Any cooling measure runs the risk of spooking markets and reversing economic recovery. However, there are things that governments can do, such as setting clear and firm ground rules for investments.

We can learn much from the saga of the Lehman Minibonds and other credit-linked structured notes. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, the whole structured product enterprise collapsed with it. Tens of thousands of investors saw their life savings vanish. They demanded that governments come to their rescue.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) laid down basic principles for handling this difficult matter. Among other measures, it investigated the selling practices of financial institutions and set up a fast-track process in the Financial Industry Dispute Resolution Centre to deal with complaints by investors.

This was a balanced and sensible approach to resolving the fiasco. After all, people invested in the structured notes because of various reasons, including informed risk-taking, greed and misleading sales practices. In many cases, it would be impossible to sift out the reasons. In this instance, the solution had to be a compassionate one based on individual circumstances. But I also hope that individuals will end up shouldering part of the responsibility.

The settlements on credit-linked structured notes announced in July in Hong Kong were generous, with all individual investors getting at least 60per cent of their original investment back. While I am happy for the investors on a personal level, as an economist, I have to say that there is merit in a government not giving in to political pressures to lean on financial institutions.

Let's imagine a government caving in and forcing financial institutions to cover the losses incurred or using public funds to do so. Is this fair to those who did not make similar investments? Moreover, the financial institutions' losses will eventually be transferred to their customer bases.

More importantly, such actions will send a signal that irresponsible investment will not lead to negative consequences so long as people can band together to exert political pressure on the government. This would encourage precisely the kind of herding behaviour that creates bubbles.

Returning to the situation here, 10 financial institutions investigated by the MAS were banned from selling structured products for periods ranging from six months to two years. They were also required to fix their internal processes for providing advisory services concerning investment products. This MAS action was applauded by many but it also stunned industry watchers.

I can see why. Financial institutions operate in a competitive market and are expected by their equity holders to generate handsome returns. If their competitors are involved in a lucrative business line, it would be hard for them not to join in.

However, this is yet another case of being individually rational but collectively destructive. Without external intervention, markets will almost certainly fail to stamp out bad selling practices. Although 10 financial institutions were penalised, their short-term pain will translate into long-term gains for the industry.

It would be naive to think that we will be able to avoid future financial crises. But we should be able to draw valuable lessons from the past. The knowledge accumulated over the years led to the swift worldwide response to the current crisis, thus averting a potentially calamitous depression.

The writer is the Cycle & Carriage Professor of Finance at the NUS Business School and Director of the NUS Risk Management Institute.

Punggol Spectra Launched By HDB

Source : The Business Times, September 1, 2009

THE Housing and Development Board yesterday launched Punggol Spectra under the build-to-order (BTO) system, following strong interest in the recent BTO project, Punggol Residences.

Punggol Spectra will offer 1,142 units, comprising 301 with two rooms, 285 units of three rooms and 556 with four rooms.

Located on Punggol Central, Punggol Spectra is within walking distance of Oasis LRT station and Tampines Expressway is just a short drive away, offering good connectivity to the rest of Singapore, HDB said. The precinct has commercial facilities such as shops, an eating house and a supermarket. The future Punggol Town Centre is minutes away. Educational institutions such as Horizon Primary School and Punggol Secondary School are also nearby.

Prices at Punggol Spectra range from $89,000 to $109,000 for the two-room flats, $151,000 to $179,000 for three-room flats and $234,000 to $293,000 for the four-room flats. These prices are lower than those for similar flats in the market, making them affordable for first-time buyers, HDB said.

Based on the income of flat applicants in the first half of this year, HDB expects first-time buyers will need to use only 20-26 per cent of their monthly household income to meet their housing loan commitment.

Punggol Spectra To Offer New 2- And 3-Room Flats

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 1, 2009

THE Housing Board launched Punggol Spectra yesterday, the third of its build-to-order (BTO) projects in Punggol this year and the first to introduce two- and three-room flats.

Under the BTO scheme, flats are built only when a certain level of demand is reached.

Located in Punggol Central and a short drive from Tampines Expressway, Punggol Spectra will offer 301 two-roomers, 285 three-roomers, and 556 four-room flats.

The two-roomers of 46 to 47 sq m are priced at $89,000 to $109,000, and three-room flats of 69 sq m are selling for $151,000 to $179,000.

Four-room flats of 94 to 96 sq m are selling for $234,000 to $293,000. Similar, smaller standard resale flats sell for $310,000 to $357,000, said HDB.

First-time buyers with an average monthly household income of $5,000 or less can apply for an Additional CPF Housing Grant of up to $40,000.

PropNex corporate communications manager Adam Tan expects Spectra to be very well-received, as it is the first in the area to offer two- and three-room flats.

'Smaller families will be attracted to these units, given their attractive prices,' he said, adding that the median resale prices for two- and three-room flats across Singapore have not seen such affordable levels for more than two years.

Mr Tan expects the Spectra units to be at least four times oversubscribed. This follows the strong interest in the recent BTO project Punggol Residences, which was launched in July and was seven times oversubscribed.

Previous BTO projects in Punggol include Nautilus @ Punggol, launched in March, and premium project Punggol Regalia, launched last December.

According to HDB, this year's total BTO supply is expected to reach 8,000 units, located in towns such as Punggol, Sengkang and Sembawang.

Applications for the Spectra flats can be submitted online at HDB's website www.hdb.gov.sg until Sept 14.

Hotel Site At Joo Chiat For Sale At Around $20m

Source : The Business Times, September 2, 2009

A CONSERVED building in Joo Chiat Road, approved for hotel use, is up for sale at $20-$22 million.

It is owned by a local investment company, says Credo Real Estate, which has been appointed to sell it.

The hotel building has a three-storey front section and a four-storey rear extension. It has 68 guest rooms and a pub, both leased by operators for total gross rent of just over $1 million.

The leasehold site of 99 years from June 1995 covers 7,629 sq ft. The total gross floor area is about 22,925 sq ft. This means the asking price works out to $872-$960 per sq ft of gross floor area.

Joo Chiat was gazetted as a conservation district in July 1993. The hotel, which is near Paya Lebar Central, is likely to benefit from an appreciation in capital value as the transformation of Paya Lebar Central materialises, says Credo Real Estate. Paya Lebar Central is one of the four growth areas in the 2008 Master Plan.

'Prospects for the hotel industry remain strong, with visitor arrivals expected to increase because of the Formula One Grand Prix, the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and the integrated resorts,' said Yong Choon Fah, executive director of Credo Real Estate.

'Given the location of the property and the future development of the Joo Chiat/Paya Lebar vicinity, there is great potential for improved revenue and capital appreciation.'

The tender for the property closes on Oct 6.

Separately, the Housing and Development Board said yesterday it is withdrawing a commercial site in Tampines from the reserve list of the government land sales programme for H2 2009.

The government has decided to withdraw the site, at Tampines Concourse, because it will be affected by future infrastructure works, HDB said. The site was released under the reserve list for application in October 2007.

6 Floors Of Prudential Tower Being Sold

Source : The Business Times, September 1, 2009

K-Reit said to be buying space at about $1,550 psf of net lettable area

IN a deal that could help benchmark office values in the Raffles Place area and smooth the way for more office investment transactions, a property fund is said to be selling six floors at Prudential Tower for about $1,550 per square foot or about slightly over $100 million.

Back in the fold: KepLand group is buying back the property at a lower price than what it sold the space for 13 years ago -- FILE PHOTO

The buyer in the deal being stitched together is believed to be listed K-Reit Asia, which already owns 44.4 per cent of the strata area in the 30-storey building at the corner of Church and Cecil streets.

Prudential Tower is on a site with a remaining lease of about 85 years. Jones Lang LaSalle is said to be brokering the latest sale involving net lettable area (NLA) of about 67,000 sq ft.

As at the end of last year, K-Reit's existing space at Prudential Tower was valued at $224 million, or $2,066 psf based on 108,436 sq ft NLA.

So the price of $1,550 psf that K-Reit is expected to pay for its latest acquisition of six floors is about 25 per cent lower than the end-2008 valuation on its existing space.

Some market watchers described the latest pricing as 'not unreasonable'.

'They seem to be slapping themselves by buying additional floors in Prudential Tower that could affect the valuation of their existing space in the building. But one could argue that the end-2008 valuation was too high in the first place,' one property consultant said.

In any case, an industry observer points out that K-Reit could still use a higher valuation than $1,550 psf for Prudential Tower when it revalues its assets at end-2009.

It also made sense for K-Reit to raise its stake in Prudential Tower and gain control of the building as that could create other strategic options for the Reit.

The latest deal involves the 20th to 25th levels. The seller is Asia Property Fund, sponsored by LaSalle Investment Management and PruPIM. The fund bought the six floors in 2007 for $141 million or just under $2,100 psf from Prudential Assurance Company Singapore. The latter received units in the fund in exchange for selling the floors. Prudential Assurance Co Singapore and PruPIM are part of the Prudential UK Group.

Prudential Assurance Co Singapore still owns the 30th floor of the building, sources say. It had purchased the seven floors in the development in early 1996 for $183 million from Straits Steamship Land, now known as Keppel Land.

That transaction worked out to $2,200 psf. Although this figure was based on floor space and not NLA, property consultants say the dollar psf price on NLA at which KepLand sold the space in 1996 would be higher than what K-Reit (a KepLand unit) is paying in the latest deal.

In short, KepLand group is buying back the space at a lower price than what it sold it for 13 years ago.

Following its sale of the seven floors to Prudential Assurance, KepLand also sold further space in the building to other parties before divesting its remaining 44.4 per cent stake in Prudential Tower to K-Reit, which was created from a de-merger from KepLand and listed in 2006.

410 Units Snapped Up At Trevista Preview

Source : The Business Times, September 1, 2009

Singaporeans make up 87% of buyers; even Swiss nationals among purchasers

NTUC Choice Homes has sold 410 of the total 460 units it released for the preview of its Trevista condo in Toa Payoh last week. The co-operative is expected to release more units in the 590-unit project this weekend when it does an official launch, accompanied by an advertising campaign, for the project.

Worth the wait: More units in the 590-unit project are expected to be released at its official launch this weekend

Singaporeans picked up 87 per cent of the total 410 units. Permanent residents made up 7 per cent and non-PR foreigners, 6 per cent, of buyers.

The majority of PRs and non-PR foreigners were from China; some were also from Indonesia and Malaysia; there were also a few Swiss nationals, an NTUC Choice Homes spokeswoman said.

She said 70 per cent of the buyers have HDB addresses and the other 30 per cent, private addresses.

About 80 per cent of buyers purchased on the normal progress payment scheme. The remaining 20 per cent who opted for interest absorption scheme are being charged a 2 per cent price premium, the Choice Homes spokeswoman said.

When sales in the 99-year leasehold condo began on Friday morning for the first batch of 210 units, the average price was $898 per square foot, but with two subsequent batches of additional units released, prices were adjusted marginally upwards, although this also had to do with the newer units being on higher floors and having better orientation.

The average price currently is understood to be around $920 psf.

What's left are a limited number of two-bedroom units, with the majority of what's available being three- and four-bedroom apartments, BT understands. The remaining 130 units in the condo are expected to be released this weekend and they include prime pool-fronting units.

Trevista is being marketed by CB Richard Ellis and ERA.

Over at Ridgewood Close in the Mount Sinai area, Singapore Land is understood to have sold slightly more than 100 units at its preview of Trizon, a 289-unit freehold condo.

Two of the project's three blocks have been released for sale. The units were priced between $1,250 psf and $1,550 psf and buyers are understood to be mostly Singaporeans with some foreigners (predominantly Indonesians).

A typical three-bedroom unit of 1,550 sq ft costs about $2.12 million.

SingLand is selling the 24-storey project with only the normal progress payment scheme. It will hold an official launch of Trizon this weekend.

Merchant Sq, Katong Bungalows Up For Sale

Source : The Business Times, September 1, 2009

MERCHANT Square in the Clemenceau Avenue area and four freehold strata bungalows at Bournemouth Road in the Katong locale are among the latest offerings in the property investment sales market.

The guide price for Merchant Square is about $48 million - or 34 per cent lower than the $73 million sought for the property in February last year.

Its owner, carpet manufacturer Jackson Carpet, did not get its asking price then for the property, which comprises offices, some shop space and 76 car park lots.

BT understands that the latest price reflects a net property yield of close to 4 per cent, based on Merchant Square's current passing income.

The latest $48 million guide price is about $955 per square foot, based on Merchant Square's 50,262 sq ft net lettable area. This compares with about $1,450 psf, based on last year's $73 million price tag.

Merchant Square was completed in 1996 and is on a site with a remaining lease of about 83 years. It comprises a four-storey office tower, two blocks of shophouses, and a couple of basement levels for carpark lots. CB Richard Ellis is marketing Merchant Square through an expression of interest exercise that closes on Oct 6.

Separately, Credo Real Estate has launched a sale through tender of four strata bungalows at 61 and 63 Bournemouth Road with a price tag of $24 million to $26 million.

The bungalows have a total freehold site area of 24,443 sq ft, and are being sold by three parties - one of whom owns two units and the other two, one bungalow each.

The sale is not being pitched as a redevelopment site as the bungalows are relatively new and in good condition; they were completed around 2000.

The development, originally known as Sayang Villa, will be ideal for extended families, or groups of friends who would like to be neighbours, or simply investors looking to occupy one or two units and lease out the rest.

'Should the buyer choose to redevelop the site in the medium term, he or she could build five conventional detached or strata houses,' Credo said. The tender closes on Oct 8.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Laguna Park En-Bloc Sale

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 2, 2009

EAST COAST condominium Laguna Park was put on en-bloc sale for $1.2 billion on Wednesday.

The condo, which made headlines in the past year for its spate of vandalism cases due to disputes in its en bloc sale process, reached the 80 per cent consent level last December.

The Laguna Park condo, which made headlines in the past year for its spate of vandalism cases due to disputes in its en bloc sale process, reached the 80 per cent consent level last December. --ST PHOTO: ADELINE ONG

Its marketing agent Credo Real Estate said the tender was put on hold until now 'as major developers have only recently returned to the land market with confidence.'

If it succeeds in finding a buyer, Laguna Park wil be the second billion-dollar en bloc deal in Singapore, after the 618- unit Farrer Court which was sold to a CapitaLand-led consortium for $1.3388 billion.

Like Farrer Court, Laguna Park is an ex-HUDC estate in Marine Parade and was privatised in 2007.

At the current price tag, owners of the apartment units will receive sale proceeds ranging from S$2.1 million to S$2.3 million, while the penthouses will gain between S$3.5 million and S$4.1 million.

It is also one of the few sites that come under the amended Land Titles (Strata) Act meant to tighten the en bloc sales process, which came into effect in October 2007.

Laguna Park has a land area of about 677,493 sq ft and a gross plot ratio of 2.8 under the current 2008 Master Plan, with a building height of up to 36 storeys, subject to relevant approval.

Credo's deputy managing director Tan Hong Boon estimates that the buyer would be able to build close to 1.9 million sq ft of gross floor area or some 1,500 apartments with an average size of about 1,200 sq ft.

At $1.2 billion, the land price for the condo works out to about $844 per sq ft per plot ratio.

This includes an estimated cost of about $400 million payable to the Government for maximising the plot ratio of 2.3 and the topping up of the current 67 year lease term to 99, said Mr Tan.

'At $844 per sq ft per plot ratio, the successful purchaser may work towards breaking even at around $1,200 to $1,250 psf, with a view of pricing the new units at $1,400 to $1,600 psf,' he added.

HDB Resale Prices To Rise

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 2, 2009

HDB resale flat prices - already at record high levels - are likely to continue rising this year, said National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan on Wednesday.

HDB resale prices rose 1.4 per cent in the second quarter to a record high. --ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

'The flat prices would probably go up ... by 1 per cent, 2 per cent,' said Mr Mah. 'It will just keep on going up if the economy recovers as people expect, and if confidence returns but affordability will always be there.'

HDB resale prices rose 1.4 per cent in the second quarter to a record high.

Resale flat prices go up in tandem with a very strong market, Mr Mah told reporters at the launch of the final skybridge at The Pinnacle@Duxton on Wednesday.

'We subsidised you when you buy and we increased the value of your flat when you live in it and... facilitate you to monetise it when you grow old. This is the best form of investment and welfare for the people,' said the minister.

Standing at 50 storeys, The Pinnacle@Duxton is Singapore's tallest public housing development.

It sits on the site of the area's first two HDB blocks, which were built 50 years ago. It was the first project in which an international architectural competition was called to get the best design ideas.

Govt May Restart Land Sales

Source : The Straits Times, Sep 2, 2009

THE Government is considering reinstating the 'confirmed list' of new sites for sale at its year-end review - a move seen by experts as a measure to cool the buzzing property market.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan (left) said: 'As far as (private home) prices are concerned, we want to make sure the property market do not become overheated.' --ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said on Wednesday: 'As far as (private home) prices are concerned, we want to make sure the property market do not become overheated, that there is no excessive speculation.'

'The government is monitoring the market very closely. If there's any necessity, obviously we will take certain actions. One of the things we are looking at is the Government land sales,' he told reporters at the launch of the final skybridge at Singapore's tallest public housing project The Pinnacle@Duxton. It has 1,848 units, of which 111 are unsold.

Bringing back the confirmed list is a 'a definite possibility', said Mr Mah.

The Government suspended the confirmed list of sale sites last October when the property market was in the doldrums and Singapore slipped into a recession.

'Now that the market is coming back, demand is coming back and the take-up is strong, there's every likelihood that we will resume the confirmed list,' said Mr Mah, adding: 'It's a question of how much we put on the confirmed list.'

Restarting the confirmed list was a measure suggested by property developer Kwek Leng Beng as a possible Government move to cool the market.

Singapore's market for new home sales have shot through the roof recently, with some projects sold at benchmark levels.

Resale prices of many popular projects have also risen from the lows early this year.

In tandem with the recovery in the Singapore economy, Mr Mah said HDB resale flat prices will continue to rise this year - by perhaps 1 or 2 per cent.

Property Run-Up May End In 2010: UK Group

Source : The Straits Times, September 02 2009

But CapitaLand remains bullish and will launch two new projects soon

THE run-up in Singapore’s private home prices may fizzle out next year, as several obstacles are still impeding global growth momentum.

That is the view of London-headquartered Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), which represents and regulates property professionals and surveyors.

It issued a report on Monday concluding that the sharp residential market rebound here may peter out. It cited higher unemployment in Singapore as a potential risk factor that could undermine the property rebound here.

In contrast, top local developer CapitaLand remains bullish in its outlook for Singapore, and will soon launch a 1,000-unit condo in Gillman Heights and 165 resort-style homes at the former Char Yong Gardens site. CapitaLand’s upbeat outlook on the market here was reflected in slides presented by its vice-president of investment Anson Lim at a CapitaLand CEOs forum held yesterday.

The current market upswing is being driven by positive sentiment and supported by long-term fundamentals, according to the slides. CapitaLand expects the Urban Redevelopment Authority price index to recover between 5 per cent and 10 per cent for the rest of this year, from the trough in the second quarter. The index showed a fall of 4.7 per cent in the second quarter.

The Rics report was rather less optimistic. It said while an upturn in activity is already well under way in the residential market, significant risks present a challenge to the market in the medium term.

“Labour market indicators, such as unemployment, certainly point to a less benign story,” it said. Unemployment in Singapore looks set to rise sharply in the coming quarters. Based on previous relationships with the world trade index, unemployment could easily climb to 5 per cent before the year is up, it said.

Singapore’s unemployment rate was 3.3 per cent in June. Labour chief Lim Swee Say said last month that the jobless rate this year was unlikely to match the peaks of past downturns. The rate peaked at 4.3 per cent in 2003.

In the short term, residential prices may be propelled higher on an improved global economy into the fourth quarter, said the Rics report.

However, the duration of previous downturns indicates further declines in prices may well occur, should global trade momentum fall short in the medium term as high debt and rising real interest rates weigh on the strength of the global growth recovery, it said.

This, it added, would temper buoyancy in the Singapore labour market and in turn would prevent a return to previous highs in the property sector.

The Rics report also noted that the run-up in office prices has been less acute, compared with residential prices’.

“Despite improved signs that economic activity in Singapore has passed its worst point in the cycle, the global economy will once again be pivotal in dictating the sustainability of that upturn, with real property prices unlikely to surpass recent highs in the coming quarters,” it said.

新楼盘上周末 虽逢“鬼节”仍然热卖

Source :《联合早报》September 1, 2009

除了大巴窑共管公寓Trevista,一些新楼盘,例如新加坡置地在西乃山(Mount Sinai)一带发展的Trizon,以及Bravo集团在景万岸(Kembangan)地铁站附近发展的The Lenox,也都在上个周末的“鬼节”期间取得不错的销售成绩。

德意志摩根建富证券(DMG & Partners)分析师李开安昨天发表的一份周末楼市报告书说,The Lenox在上个星期五一口气卖出了52个单位,其中一些单位还因为有几方人马争购,而必须以抽签的方式来决定买家。

这个位于樟宜路396号的项目,共有76个单位。李开安说:“至今已经售出60个单位,大多是面积介于334至463平方英尺的一两卧房式单位。”

“虽然首两天的需求相当好,达79%,不过还是比不上最近发售的一些‘迷你’项目。例如拥有60个单位的Kembangan Suites和70个单位的Airstream,都在它们的发售第一天就取得100%的销售率。”

据了解,The Lenox有大约43%的单位属于面积少于500平方英尺的“迷你型”单位,因此,其尺价虽然介于1100至1200元,但单位价却大多在50万元以下。

并非每个楼盘都热卖

当然,不是每一个楼盘都有同样热烈的销售反应。受访的产业经纪透露,特别是一些推出已有一段时间的旧项目,销售速度其实有在过去几个星期放慢了下来。

一名不愿具名的房地产顾问说:“特别是职总安居以每平方英尺平均898元来推出Trevista,附近的项目肯定会面对竞争压力。例如宏茂桥的Centro和玛丽蒙台的Trasalveo,现在的成交价分别介于每平方英尺1200元和1000元。”

截至星期天晚上,职总安居已经卖出了410个Trevista共管公寓单位,这相等于九成的推出单位。

职总安居发言人告诉本报:“我们只会在这个星期六的正式推出日,才开放新的单位让买家选购。”

职总安居自上星期五起,已经推出了460个单位,这也就是说,这个拥有590个单位的项目只剩下130个单位还未发售。

它在上星期五发售的第一期210个单位,平均推出价格为每平方英尺898元,第二期发售的190个单位,以及第三期的60个单位,价格都分别调高了2%至4%。这个99年地契共管公寓,位于大巴窑2巷和3巷之间,相当靠近布莱德地铁站。

李开安认为,买家不讳“鬼节”,照样涌到示范单位,一方面是因为几个销售反应良好的楼盘,都将售价定在每平方英尺900元至1500元之间,另一方面是因为有新的项目被供应到市场上来。他相信,未来几个星期,手头上握有中低档私宅项目的发展商,应该还是会加紧筹备工作,尽快将项目推出市场销售。

德意志摩根建富证券的报告书也说,新加坡置地的The Trizon在上个周末的预售活动中推出大约200个单位,大约100个已经在上周末找到买家,每平方英尺成交价介于1300元至1500元。

这个项目共有289个单位,李开安说:“买家中,印尼人和新加坡人的比率均等,它们包括居住在武吉知马和荷兰一带的居民和投资者。组屋提升者应该不多,因为最小的两卧房式单位约1012平方英尺,要价约150万元。”

这幅位于冈林弄(Ridgewood Close)的地段,其实就是欣美阁(Himiko Court)原址。它是新加坡置地在2007年5月,以3亿3600万元,或容积率每平方英尺821元买下的集体出售地段。市场人士估计,新加坡置地在这个项目的成本大约是每平方英尺1250元。

楼市升温声中 出乎市场预料 非有地住宅发展费下调2%

Source : 《联合早报》September 1, 2009

尽管本地楼市在过去半年里已恢复“升”气,政府昨天却出乎意料地把公寓与共管公寓(非有地住宅)未来半年的发展费(development charge)平均下调2%。

此外,接下来六个月里,政府也只对商业地段、酒店与医院用地以及工商业区商业用地稍微作出调整,平均下调4%,其他用途土地的发展费则保持不变。

市场人士认为,从小幅度调整来看,政府相信很难为前景不明的楼市估价,也不愿干预,因此选择采取谨慎的调整。不过,对于非有地住宅土地发展费的下调,一些分析师感到不解。

卓登新达(Chesterton Suntec)研究部主管陈瑞谨说:“过去几个月,我们一再见证私宅市场升温的情景。新项目叫卖、价格一再被调高的情况不是孤立个案,而是如鸟群般涌现。在这样的情况下,政府为何选择继续将公寓土地的发展费下调?再来,2%至4%的调整微不足道,不会吸引发展商进场,这可能反映了政府对本地楼市前景不是很有把握。”

戴德梁行(DTZ)研究部主管蔡楚芬则指出,上半年有地和非有地住宅的价格同样年比下跌4.7%,但在这次的发展费调整中仅有非有地住宅下调,而且与新公寓项目热卖的情况背道而驰,令人百思不解。

在这一次的调整中,有地住宅的发展费几乎都保持不变,但非有地住宅土地的发展费则下调了2.7%至16.7%。

对此,国内税务局的首席估价师在回答本报询问时表示,只针对一些土地用途作出调整是由于在1、2月份的检讨中,市场信息不足,因此一些土地的发展费并没有获得妥善调整。

首席估价师也指出,土地价格一般落后楼价一至两个季度,因此过去两三个月的楼价是否将带动地价上涨,将在未来几个月明朗化。

国家发展部每年调整发展费两次,一次在3月1日,一次在9月1日,以便更好地反映市场的土地价值增长情况。这次的调整今天生效,有效期至明年2月28日,并将影响已获得临时准证(provisional permission)的项目。国家发展部是在征询首席估价师的意见和根据现行市场价格,才对被划分出来的118个地区的不同用途土地作出调整。

这个土地“价目表”广为房地产界人士留意,因为它不但反映了政府对房地产价值的看法,也会影响发展商在重建项目时的成本,甚至影响集体出售交易。

今年3月,为反映楼价下跌的趋势,政府将全岛多个地区的非有地住宅、商业地段和酒店与医院用地的发展费平均下调介于4%至15%。非有地住宅发展费平均下跌15%,其中升涛湾(Sentosa Cove)以及第9和10邮区黄金地带的调整幅度最大,下调介于25%至30%。

这一回,升涛湾、纽顿和里峇峇利等黄金地带的调整继续最为显著,分别为16.7%、15.8%和14%,但丹戎巴葛一带的下调则从上一次的11.8%,减少至2.7%。

2007年,本地楼市最红火的时候,政府不但把土地发展费从50%调高到70%,而且在当年9月份将非有地住宅发展费平均调高58%、有地住宅则起11%。商用地和酒店与医院用地的发展费也分别起42%和23%。

资深房地产顾问麦俊荣指出,由于目前楼市红火的情况不知是否能持久,楼价上涨的情况也只是在过去两个月较为显著,政府其实很难为未来六个月的土地价格估值,因此选择小幅度的调整,以避免左右市场。

世邦魏理仕执行董事李晓和则指出,发展商是在7月份开始寻找发展地段,有四个政府备售地段被“勾”出招标出售,之前仅有一些小规模的私人土地被出让,因此政府不打算过于调整私宅的发展费。

同样的,尽管办公楼和工业厂房需求最近开始恢复,麦俊荣预料,4%的下调不足以吸引发展商进场。他指出,市场上供应充足,目前有1100万平方英尺的办公楼在建设中。

半数是二房和三房式单位 榜鹅再推出预购组屋

Source : 《联合早报》September 1, 2009

市场对榜鹅预购组屋(BTO)反应热烈,建屋发展局打铁趁热,推出另一个规模更大预购组屋项目,其中半数单位是较小型的二房和三房式。

名为Punggol Spectra的这个项目,也是建屋局今年在榜鹅推出的首个设有二房和三房式单位的预购组屋。

Punggol Spectra是今年建屋局在榜鹅推出的首个设有二房和三房式的预购组屋。(建屋局构想图)

受访的房地产经纪相信,由于这批新组屋售价相当便宜,应该会特别受到低收入家庭、年轻夫妇和年长者欢迎,而且数量相当大,多少有助于舒缓市场对转售组屋需求高涨的压力。

Punggol Spectra共有1142个单位,是今年推出的首个超过千个单位的预购组屋项目;其中301个是二房式、285个三房式及556个四房式,预计可在2013年第一季建好。

它们的面积从46平方米至96平方米不等,二房式售价介于8万9000元至10万9000元,三房式15万1000元至17万9000元,四房式23万4000元至29万3000元。

四房式售价比不久前超额认购六倍的预购组屋Punggol Residences来得低,后者售价介于26万4000元至32万2000元。同区同类转售组屋则要卖31万元至35万7000元。

建屋局说,新一批组屋售价比市场上同等类型单位来得低,是第一次购屋者负担得起的价格。

它说:“根据今年上半年组屋申请者的收入来看,第一次购屋者预计只需动用到家庭月入的20%至26%来偿还房屋贷款。”

昨天是Punggol Spectra接受申请第一天,截至傍晚5时,1142个单位已有233份申请。

新组屋位于榜鹅中路,靠近榜鹅东轻轨环线的绿洲站(Oasis),离淡滨尼高速公路不远,仅离未来榜鹅镇中心几分钟路程。附近除设有零售和小吃店及超市外,也靠近励众小学和培道中学等学校。

博纳(PropNex)集团总裁伊斯迈受访时说,建屋局推出这批预购组屋正合时宜,他相信市场反应会很热烈,尤其是二房和三房式的需求很高,因为当局已有好一段日子未推出小型预购组屋单位。

他说:“最近组屋转售价上涨不少,转售指数已创下历史新高,加上溢价上涨,转售组屋价格已攀升到不是许多新婚夫妇能负担得起的水平,新推出的预购组屋相信可应付他们的需求。”

伊斯迈指出,Punggol Spectra售价比同区转售组屋便宜至少30%,“相信它的认购率会超出五倍”。

ERA助理副总裁林东荣指出,由于新组屋有一半是四房式单位,多少会影响同区四房式转售组屋价格。

根据ERA最近完成的交易价,榜鹅四房式转售组屋平均售价介于30万元至35万元,溢价至少超出5000元至1万元。

他说:“新组屋售价这么便宜,那些认为转售组屋价格太贵的买家,应该会对新组屋有兴趣。”

但OrangeTee橙地产业执行董事陈道俊不认为Punggol Spectra售价,会对同区转售组屋售价造成太大压力,“虽然两者价格有些差距,但仍处于可接受水平”。

公众可通过建屋局网站(www.hdb.gov.sg)提出新组屋申请,并可到大巴窑建屋局中心3楼展示厅参观及索取销售资料,截止日期是本月14日。

Monday, August 31, 2009

Older Properties Find Buyers At Auction

Source : The Business Times, August 29, 2009

As prices of new homes rise, investors are turning to auctions and the resale market.

INVESTORS who are put off by the exuberant prices of late for newer properties are turning to auctions to pick up older properties that have not quite appreciated in the same way.

GOING, GOING - Two three-bedroom apartments at Four Seasons Park (left) were sold at auction this week for more than $2,100 per square foot each

Two apartments at Four Seasons Park near Orchard Road and an apartment at The Waterside in Tanjong Rhu have changed hands at auctions this week.

Colliers International sold the pair of neighbouring three-bedroom apartments at Four Seasons Park, on the fifth floor of the development's Autumn block, for more than $2,100 per square foot each.

The apartments, each of 2,260 square feet, were put up for sale by a mortgagee bank on vacant possession basis. Unit #05-01 was sold for $4.8 million or $2,124 psf, while the next door #05-02 fetched $4.84 million ($2,142 psf).

The two units were bought separately by Singaporeans.

BT understands that the same mortgagor had owned the two properties. According to caveat records, the units were purchased at $3.25 million each, one in August 2001 and the other in January 2002.

In June this year, a 3,821 sq ft unit on the 20th level of Four Seasons Park changed hands at $2,146 psf. In April, a 19th floor unit sold for $1,637 psf.

Jones Lang LaSalle at its auction yesterday sold a 14th floor unit at The Waterside condo in Tanjong Rhu for $2.55 million or $1,190 psf. It was also a mortgagee sale.

At another auction this week, conducted by DTZ, a three-bedroom apartment on the 22nd floor of Spottiswoode Park was sold for $630,000 or $496 psf. The development is on a site with a remaining lease of 66 years.

'Buyers are turning to the resale market, whether through private treaty or auction, to pick up properties that are more than 10 years old as their prices have not escalated as much as prices for newer properties,' says Knight Frank executive director and auctioneer Mary Sai.

Landed homes have also been in good demand at recent auctions. A strata bungalow, 261 Northshore, in Ponggol Seventeenth Avenue sold for $1.87 million at Knight Frank's auction on Aug 20. The freehold property's built-up area is about 5,500-5,600 sq ft. The property was sold by its owner, who is also in the midst of negotiating the sale of the next door bungalow at 263 Northshore after it was withdrawn at the same auction.

Colliers deputy managing director and auctioneer Grace Ng said: 'The frustration being faced by those shopping for landed homes is that when they make an offer, sellers often increase their asking prices, which thus becomes a moving target. In contrast, at an auction, once the seller's target price has been reached, there is certainty the property will be sold to the highest bidder.'

At its auction on Wednesday this week, Colliers sold a freehold semi-detached house at 102 Sunbird Circle, off Upper Changi Road, in District 16 for $1.98 million or $565 psf based on the land area of 3,506 sq ft. The two-storey house has five bedrooms.

At its auction yesterday, JLL sold a third level shop at Sim Lim Square for $2.95 million or $4,282 psf. The 689 sq ft shop (comprising two units - front and back) is near a lift. Sim Lim Square has about 73 years remaining lease.

Also transacted at the same auction were 16 and 18 Tanjong Pagar Road, at $2.48 million. The ground floors of the two-storey conservation shophouses are currently leased to a pub/karaoke lounge while offices occupy the upper level.

The shophouses, which have a single title, have a land area of 1,976 sq ft and have about 90 years remaining lease.

Two Stages Of Circle Line Start Ops Next Year

Source : The Business Times, August 31, 2009

All 11 stations from Dhoby Ghaut to Bartley on track to get TOP by year-end

STAGES 1 and 2 of the Circle Line are set to commence operations in the first half of 2010, while Stages 4 and 5 will open in 2011.

Stages 1 and 2 - from Dhoby Ghaut to Bartley - consist of 11 stations, of which five have already achieved temporary occupation permit (TOP), while the remaining stations are on track to achieve TOP status by the end of this year.

Preparing to roll: The above-ground works for Stages 4 and 5 - with 13 stations from Marymount (left) to HarbourFront - will be completed by end-2010


Meanwhile, Stages 4 and 5 - from Marymount to HarbourFront - consist of 13 stations. The above-ground works for these two stages will be completed by end-2010.

And in an effort to improve the bus network, from next month the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will begin consulting and gathering feedback from advisers and grassroots leaders about the bus services in their constituencies. The consultation exercise is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.

Speaking at a dialogue session in Bukit Panjang yesterday, Minister for Transport Raymond Lim pointed out that while the existing bus system is a good one, there is still room for improvement.

Separately, the LTA announced on Saturday that the off-peak car (OPC) scheme is being tweaked in response to feedback from motorists in hopes of making it more attractive.

Currently, the restricted usage hours stand at 7am-7pm on weekdays, 7am-3pm on Saturdays and 7am-3pm on the eve of five public holidays (New Year, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali and Christmas).

By end-January 2010, OPC users will enjoy unrestricted use of their cars on Saturdays and on the eve of the five public holidays. However, as a result of the extended hours, the road tax discount offered to those who opt for the revised scheme will be lowered to $500, down from $800.

Also, those who choose to drive during peak hours generally have to display a supplementary day licence which costs $20.

But in a move to make purchasing a day licence more convenient, e-licences will replace paper licences come November 23.

And instead of physically having to purchase the licence from LTA or selected outlets, motorists will soon be able to buy it online, via an SMS service as well as from AXS stations.

11 Stations Open In 2010

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 31, 2009

ANOTHER 11 MRT stations on the new Circle Line will open in the first half of next year, cutting the travel time for commuters between the east and the north as well as north-east parts of the island.

11 MRT stations on the new Circle Line will open in the first half of next year, cutting the travel time for commuters between the east and the north as well as north-east parts of the island, announced Transport Minister Raymond Lim (right). -- ST PHOTO: SHAHRIYA YAHAYA

The timeframe was announced on Sunday by Transport Minister Raymond Lim. These stations, which stretch from Dhoby Ghaut to Bartley via Paya Lebar, will spare MRT commuters the extra journey they now must make through the city centre before reaching their destination.

Also, these stops will bring the MRT for the first time to residents in estates such as Mountbatten and MacPherson.

Their opening adds to the five already in operation and marks the completion of 16 of the 29 stations on the Circle Line.

It will ease crowding on existing lines and encourage more people to take public transport, an outcome that is in line with a government masterplan to reduce travelling times and avoid road congestion.

In making the announcement, Mr Lim said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will give the actual date closer to the opening of the stations.

Meanwhile, tests are being done 'to ensure the system is reliable and safe before they open it to the public', he added.

Mr Lim was speaking at a dialogue with about 500 Bukit Panjang residents after a ministerial visit to the single-seat ward helmed by Dr Teo Ho Pin.

Commuters like bank officer Kenny Ng, 27, who lives near Lorong Chuan station, welcomed the improved connectivity, saying 'going down to town will be much easier and faster'.

By June, a train journey from Bishan to Paya Lebar, for instance, will take 17min instead of the 33min to 35min now. This is because the journey will bypass the city centre and not require a transfer.

Read the full story in Monday's edition of The Straits Times.

Development Charge Rates Cut

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 31, 2009

THE Government on Monday announced cuts of 2 to 4 per cent on average to the development charge (DC) rates that developers pay for enhancing the use of sites.

The new rates will apply from Sept 1 to Feb 28, 2010 and will apply to projects which have been granted provisional permission. The revised rates take into account current market values and are reviewed every six months.

The DC rates for commercial use, business zone comercial use as well as for hotel cum hospital use have dropped by 4 per cent, while that for non-landed residential sites is down 2 per cent, said the National Development Ministry in a statement

There are no changes to the use Groups and the number of geographical sectors.

Punggol Waterway On Course

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 31, 2009

THE development of the Punggol Waterway is progressing smoothly into the next phase and is on track to be ready by end of next year.

The Housing Board on Monday awarded a $58.9 million contract for the construction of the second part - comprising 1.8km - of the 4.2 km waterway to Koh Brothers Building and Civil Engineering Contractor (Pte) Ltd.

� The first part of the waterway, comprising 2.4km, was also awarded to Koh Brothers in January.

Since the groundbreaking in April, works on the waterway are progressing well, said the HDB in a statement on Monday.

'With the award of the construction works for Part 2 of the Waterway, HDB is committed to complete the Waterway, which is a key element to realise the Remarking Our Heartland plans for Punggol 21+, on schedule by enD-2010,' said the board.��

� Besides engineering works on the remaining 1.8 km of the waterway, a key component of Part 2 of the Punggol Waterway works will see the construction of a 10m promenade on both sides of the Waterway, which will allow residents to take leisurely stroll and enjoy other activities along the waterway when works are completed.

Besides providing fun-filled and exciting recreational activities such as water sports in the heart of Punggol Town, the Waterway sets the stage for 21,000 homes that will eventually be built along it in an environment nestled by weaving water and lush greenery.

1,142 Punggol Flats For Sale

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 31, 2009

HDB is putting on sale 1,142 units of flats at Punggol Spectra under the Build-To-Order (BTO) system today, following strong interest in the recent BTO project, Punggol Residences.

--PHOTO: HDB

The flats comprise 301 two-room units, 285 three-room units and 556 four-roomers.

The prices range from $89,000 to $109,000 for the two-room flats, $151,000 to $179,000 for the three-room flats and $234,000 to $293,000 for the four-room flats.

These are priced below similar flats in the market and are affordable to first-time flat buyers, said HDB in a statement on Monday.

Situated along Punggol Central, Punggol Spectra is within walking distance to Oasis LRT station.

The Tampines Expressway is a short drive away, thus offering good connectivity to the rest of Singapore.

The precinct offers commercial facilities such as shops, eating house and supermarket. The future Punggol Town Centre is just minutes away. Educational institutions such as Horizon Primary School and Punggol Secondary School are also located in the vicinity.

HDB said based on the income of flat applicants in the first half of this year, it is expected that first time flat buyers will only need to use between 20 to 26 per cent of their monthly household income to meet their housing loan commitments if they buy a flat at Punggol Spectra.

'This is well below the 30 per centinternational benchmark for affordable housing,' it said.

On top of a market subsidy on the selling price, eligible first-timers whose average monthly household income is $5,000 or less can also apply for an Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) of up to $40,000. The AHG can be used to offset the initial downpayment.

Including this exercise, HDB has offered about 4,800 flats under BTO and other sales exercises this year.

Flat buyers can look forward to more BTO projects ahead, said the board. These projects will be located in towns such as Punggol, Sengkang, and Sembawang.

More details will be provided when the projects are launched.

The total BTO supply for this year is expected to reach 8,000 units.

'HDB will continue to monitor the market situation closely, to ensure that there is adequate and affordable supply of public housing,' said the statement.

Applications for the BTO can be submitted online from Monday to Sept 14.

For enquiries, the public can e-mail hdbsales@hdb.gov.sg or call the Sales/Resale Customer Service Line at 1800-866 3066 on weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm.

They can also visit the HDB Sales Office to speak with Customer Service Officers during office hours (Mon to Fri 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday 8 am to 1 pm).

Sub-Sales Triple In Second Quarter

Source : The Straits Times, August 30 2009

Mass-market and mid-tier projects are hot, but it is taking longer to sell investment properties

The upbeat sentiment in the new private home market has lured out the sellers in the sub-sale market.

Sub-sales - the sale of uncompleted homes by their buyers - of non-landed private properties tripled to 1,200 units in the second quarter, according to a DTZ quarterly report.

This time, though, it is mainly the mass-market and mid-tier projects that are popular sub-sales. In 2007, it was the higher-end projects that found favour with buyers.

Also, the sellers are taking longer to sell their investment properties.

The DTZ study found that a few mass-market projects made their way to the Top 10 list of projects with the most sub-sales. These included Casa Merah, located near the Tanah Merah MRT Station, The Centris in Jurong West and The Quartz in Compassvale.

For instance, there were 54 sub-sales in Casa Merah in the second quarter, and the median sub-sale price rose from $658 psf in the first quarter to $734 psf in July and August.

The most popular sub-sale project in the second quarter was Rivergate, located at Robertson Quay.

The median price of its sub-sale units rose from $1,200 psf to $1,400 psf, and 105 of its 545 units changed hands in the second quarter alone. Prices have since risen further - deals done in July and August ranged from $1,400 to $1,880 psf, according to caveats lodged.

Two perennial favourites are The Sail @ Marina Bay and Icon, prime projects in the central locations of Marina Bay and Tanjong Pagar respectively.

Despite being launched between 2003 and 2005, they still remain popular in the sub-sale market. Their median prices rose 27 per cent and 17 per cent respectively from the last quarter.

Sub-sale buyers tend to be true investors, said HSR Property Group executive director Eric Cheng.

Upgraders, he said, prefer not to buy sub-sales as they do not wish to pay a premium. Those who do, however, find mass- to mid-tier market projects more affordable.

Analysts say that the higher number of sub-sales could be due to the many units that were completed this year.

Ms Chua Chor Hoon, DTZ's head of South-east Asia research, says there is normally a high level of sub-sales for a project when it is nearing, or just after, completion.

'In 2006, 6,250 units were completed. This year, 11,367 units are expected to be completed,' she said.

Mr Cheng pointed out that projects sell out very quickly in today's market, and some buyers who missed out on the chance of buying a unit do not mind paying a small premium to get a unit if the price is not too far away from the launch price.

These buyers often have compelling reasons, said Mr Cheng. They might have family living nearby, or even on the same unit level.

Despite the higher number of sub-sales now, the number of properties bought and sold within a short span of time is not as high as during 1996 or 2007, said Ms Chua.

'The number and percentage of units bought and sold within a six-month period in the first half of the year is a lot less than those in 2007 and 1996,' she said.

Citing data from Realis, she said 88 units were 'flipped' in the first half of this year, compared to 517 in 1996 and 835 in 2007.

Flipping occurs when someone buys a property and resells it quickly for a profit.

'Buyers now tend not to buy another unit so quickly because they often have a choice of other surrounding units that are being sold as well,' said Mr Cheng.

'There are a lot of short-term investors who would like to resell for a profit, but might not be able to because they ask for too much. There are also a lot of launches coming up.

'Market fundamentals are not that strong even though market sentiment is, and we might see a pull-back effect,' he said.

职总大巴窑公寓推出单位卖得七七八八

Source : 《联合早报》August 30, 2009

为了应付买家的需求,大巴窑共管公寓Trevista昨天下午4时又再推出另外60个单位,将总推出单位提高至460个。

职总安居(NTUC Choice Homes)主席黄思绵昨天也到Trevista销售现场了解情况,他在下午3时接受本报访问时说:“我们对销售反应相当满意,我们推出了400个单位,到目前为止已经卖出了330个,达到了预期的水平,我们很高兴有这么多新加坡人支持我们。”

Trevista昨天第二天继续热卖,一个个小红点代表了售出的公寓单位。(邬福梁摄)

坐落在大巴窑二巷和三巷的Trevista,相当靠近布莱德地铁站。职总安居原本打算在前天的预售活动中,开放210个单位供买家选择,平均尺价为898元,后来因为销售反应非常热烈,所以在前天傍晚7时加推了190个单位。

据了解,第二批190个单位的推出价格比第一批抬高了2%至4%。第三批60个单位的价格也因为楼高和面向的关系,调高了2%。

过去几个星期来,Trevista的定价一直都是舆论的焦点。这个99年地契共管公寓前天以每平方英尺平均898元开盘,虽然有不少买家认为并不便宜,也有人认为比他们原先想象来得低。一些发展商甚至暗指职总安居破坏行情,希望Trevista赶快将单位清掉,自己的项目才有机会“动”。

据了解,房屋经纪之前开给潜在买家的指示价格是每平方英尺1100元左右,一些两卧房式单位叫价甚至达到每平方英尺1200元。

黄思绵:会确保人们负担得起

黄思绵昨天向本报重申,职总安居的创立目的是为新加坡人建造负担得起的私人住宅,因此它在定价时必须有这一层考虑。

“我们是一个合作社,不是一个纯粹的盈利机构,我们的目标是为新加坡建造人们负担得起的私人住宅,所以在拟定价格时,会根据市场的价钱做一定的调整,确保我们的单位是人们负担得起,而且质量优良的。”

由于Trevista的卖楼现场采取先到先得的方式,一些买家虽然愿意付较高的价钱,也买不到心仪的单位,所以不少人猜测,这个项目很快就会出现二手楼花。

对此,黄思绵说:“我们希望大多数买我们房子的人,都会在这里组织他们的家庭,所以希望炒作方面会比较少。由于我们的价钱,比市场报道的预测价格来得低,避免不了有些炒家要来这里做一些炒作,不过我们希望这只是少数。”

楼市从上星期四起已经进入农历七月,Trevista却偏偏不忌讳俗称“鬼节”的中元节,选择在这个时候推出。黄思绵认为,农历七月虽然是公司拟定推出日期时的一个考虑因素,不过不是最重要的因素:“根据以往的经验,我们自己的项目或其他发展商的项目,有很多也在七月推出,反应还相当不错。”

黄思绵:职总安居提供合理住屋 也为会员提供合理回报

Source : 《联合早报》August 30, 2009

职总安居主席黄思绵认为,职总安居不但为人们提供了合理的住屋,也为工会会员提供了合理的回报率,在这两方面起了很大的功用。

他表示,Trevista虽然只有590个共管公寓单位,但职总安居自1995年11月创立以来,已经兴建了5931个住宅单位。这为至少四五千个一般民众的家庭,提供了价钱比较合理的住屋。

黄思绵:单靠Trevista的590个单位,确实很难对整体楼市发挥太大的影响力,不过还是会有一定的作用。(唐家鸿摄)

对工会会员来说,职总每年也会派发将近5%股息,职总安居也在这方面让他们享受到了合理的回报率。

黄思绵昨天发表的上述谈话,相信主要回应本报两个星期前的一篇评论文章。

这篇以《杯水车薪,岂能灭火?》为题的文章提到,即使职总安居有意将Trevista的价格压低到每平方英尺1000元以下,单靠它一己之力,也不可能对最近飙涨的楼价起冷却或制衡作用。

文章指出,全国职工总会确实通过职总平价,对本地的物价起了很好的稳定作用。不过,要在房地产方面发挥同样的作用,却不是一件简单的事情,职总安居是否还会继续背负其社会使命,以人们负担得起的价格来推出Trevista?

黄思绵昨天重申,职总安居的创办目的是为新加坡人建造人们负担得起的私人住宅,它是隶属于职总旗下的合作社,并非纯粹的盈利机构,所以必须确保所兴建的房子是人们负担得起的。

在拟定价钱时,它也必须将成本考虑在内,但是它并没有特权,必须跟发展商在公开市场上一起投标地皮。“我们也必须跟其他发展商竞争买地,所以我们的土地成本跟其他发展商基本上差不多一样,我们只能尽量增加建筑效率,用不同方法来减低成本。”

黄思绵承认,单靠Trevista的590个单位,确实很难对整体楼市发挥太大的影响力,不过还是会有一定的作用,例如数百个家庭能够以低于市场预期的价钱买到房子。

他昨天也透露,职总安居的累积资金已经从最初的7800万元,累积至3亿元,这将方便它将来扩大市场权,为新加坡人建造更多人们负担得起的房子。

“不过,我们会以一贯谨慎的手法来进行未来的投资。我们肯定会再投标一些新的地段,不过我们会选择一些好的地段——地价和造价要符合我们的原则,这点我们会特别小心、谨慎,毕竟我们的资金来自各个工会。”

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Buyers Snap Up Flats At Trevista Condo In Toa Payoh

Source : The Business Times, August 29, 2009

320 of 590-unit project taken up; co-op to release more at weekend

IF it's priced attractively, it still sells. Hungry home buyers yesterday bought around 320 units at the 590-unit Trevista condo in Toa Payoh.

HOT PROPERTY - Some agents were seen armed with blank cheques from clients who had given them authorisation to book units

By around 3pm yesterday, buyers were said to have snapped up some 190 of the total 210 units released in the first phase of the preview, resulting in developer NTUC Choice Homes Co-operative releasing a further 190 units in the early evening to satisfy demand. BT understands that the price was raised by about 2-3 per cent for the second batch from the initial phase's average price of $898 per square foot (psf). However, some of the price gain also reflects the fact that units in the second batch are on higher floors and have better orientation.

While many people will baulk at this price for a 99-year leasehold project, what has been drawing buyers to Trevista is that the psf pricing is about 20 per cent lower than the closest competition from a comparable recently launched project - Far East Organization's Centro Residences next to Ang Mo Kio Hub, which was released last month at an average price of $1,150 psf. However, Trevista's units are generally bigger than Centro's so in absolute dollar quantum per unit, the price difference between the two projects may be less.

The smallest units at Trevista - studios and apartments with one bedroom plus study - were the first to sell out yesterday. Some agents were seen armed with blank cheques from clients keen to secure the better units and who had given them authorisation to book units on their behalf.

Choice Homes CEO Margaret Goh had noted on Thursday that Trevista is the first private condo to be launched in the mature Toa Payoh estate since 1996. That was when City Developments Ltd launched the freehold Trellis Towers at an initial average price of $900 psf, according to newspaper reports at the time.

With 400 units or two-thirds of the total units in Trevista released by yesterday evening, Choice Homes stopped issuing queue numbers after 9pm and told those streaming into the showflat site to return the next day.

The co-op is expected to make further units available over the weekend to cater to demand. Trevista comprises a total of 590 units in three 39-storey towers. It is being marketed by CB Richard Ellis and ERA.

Developers sold 10,017 private homes in the first seven months of this year - more than double the 4,264 units in the whole of 2008 when home buying dried up due to the global financial crisis. The unexpectedly strong sales pick-up since February this year came about after developers cut prices. However, they have since been raising prices for some projects - and that has resulted in generally slower take-up.

Property Transactions For Districts 14 To 28 With Contract Dates Between Aug 5th - 11th, 2009

Home Buyers Ignore Ghost Month

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 29, 2009

Toa Payoh condo draws keen interest; developer releases extra units

WHAT ghost month? The traditional lull in home-buying activity during the Hungry Ghost month has been swept aside amid the current property market frenzy.

Buyers were out in force on Friday at the preview of Trevista, a new 590-unit condominium in Toa Payoh, a traditional heartland area. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

Buyers were out in force on Friday at the preview of Trevista, a new 590-unit condominium in Toa Payoh, a traditional heartland area. A queue had formed at least 20 minutes before the showflat doors opened at 2pm. By 5pm, all 210 units released for sale had been snapped up by buyers.

Developer NTUC Choice Homes had said it would release just those units for sale this weekend at an average price of $898 per sq ft (psf). However, the response was so strong that it released another 190 units at higher prices just after 8pm, said a spokesman. She could not say how much higher the prices were.

Of the 210 units, the two-bedders averaged $830,000 while the three- and four-bedroom units averaged $1.065 million and $1.43 million respectively under the normal payment scheme. Owner-occupiers were eyeing the bigger units while investors were mostly keen on the small units.

The 99-year leasehold Trevista, within walking distance of both Braddell and Toa Payoh MRT stations, has 44 one-bedroom units, from 463 sq ft to 721 sq ft. Other units are 861 sq ft to 2,002 sq ft.

The market was expecting big crowds at Trevista as it is the first condo to be launched in the mature Toa Payoh estate since 1996. ERA and CBRE are marketing agents. There was talk that plenty of blank cheques were collected prior to the preview. Some agents expect a sell-out.

It appears that the Hungry Ghost month from Aug 20 to Sept 18 is not an issue for these buyers even though many Taoist households in Toa Payoh burn incense during the month in the belief that this will appease the spirits. Many buyers would have been from the local area.

The property market traditionally goes into a lull during this period as some Chinese consider it inauspicious to buy a house at this time. But in recent years, practicality has often overridden superstition, agents say.

'Some developers may want to wait until the end of the ghost month to launch but those with launch-ready projects will want to capitalise on the buying momentum,' said Savills Residential director Phylicia Ang. 'There are a lot of young buyers who are not very superstitious.'

Also, when the market is slow, buyers may stick to their superstitious beliefs but when the market is hot and a good investment opportunity presents itself, they will not hesitate to jump in, lest they miss the boat, explained Ms Ang.

Another project that previewed yesterday also saw fairly strong demand. The Lenox, a freehold five-storey project along Changi Road, sold 52 units.

It has 76 units - the studio units are just 334 sq ft in size while the three bedders go up to 872 sq ft, and three shops.

Sources said it was priced around $1,000 to $1,100 psf, but the total quantum is low as the units are small.

Another freehold project, Trizon @ Mount Sinai by Singapore Land, will start its public preview today at $1,300 psf to $1,500 psf.

Some units have been sold as a staff preview and a sale exhibition in Jakarta was held recently, sources said.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Initial Phase Of Trevista Condo Going At $898 PSF On Average

Source : The Business Times, August 28 2009

This is about 20 per cent lower than Centro Residences, priced at $1,150 psf on average

NTUC Choice Homes Co-operative is pricing the initial phase of its Trevista condo at Toa Payoh, which previews today, at an average price of $898 per square foot. This is about 20 per cent lower than Far East Organization's Centro Residences next to Ang Mo Kio Hub, priced at $1,150 psf on average and released last month.

Centro Residences by Far East Organization is priced lower than NTUC Choice Homes’ Trevista condo. – Far East Organization

However, as Trevista's units are generally larger than Centro's, the price differential in absolute terms may be less.

Far East has sold only about 100 units - an outcome some market watchers see as due to price resistance.

Both projects are on 99-year leasehold.

Trevista is near Braddell MRT Station and within walking distance of shopping and other amenities at HDB Hub and Toa Payoh Central. Centro, a 34-storey project with 329 units, is right next to Ang Mo Kio Hub and opposite Ang Mo Kio MRT Station.

The $898 psf and $1,150 psf average prices for the two projects are for normal progress payment schemes. Buyers who opt for the interest absorption scheme will pay 2 per cent more at Trevista and 4 per cent more at Centro. So far, none of Centro's buyers has opted for interest absorption.

NTUC Choice Homes said yesterday that the absolute price quantums at Trevista on average are about $830,000 for a two-bedroom unit, $1.065 million for a three-bedder, and $1.43 million for a four-bedroom apartment, on a normal progress payment scheme.

The developer is releasing 210 units this weekend, comprising mostly two, three and four-bedroom apartments. The project has a total of 590 units in three 39-storey towers.

Choice Homes has invited business associates, NTUC union members and members of the public who have registered interest in the project for today's preview. The co-op is extending special benefits to union members for a 'limited period during the preview'.

Each member who buys a Trevista unit will be given 55,000 LinkPoints as well as one of three other benefits, each worth up to $6,000 - a free NTUC Income Mortgage Protection Plan; an integrated fridge; or a family cash rebate for union members living near their parents or children residing in Toa Payoh or for multiple family-purchases of units.

Trevista is being marketed by CB Richard Ellis and ERA.

Over in the Mount Sinai area, Singapore Land is previewing its freehold Trizon condo this weekend at between $1,300 and $1,500 psf. However, prices are likely to be lower for ground-floor units with private enclosed space.

SingLand is offering only a normal progress payment scheme. It is developing the 24-storey condo, which will have 289 units, on the former Himiko Court site that it bought in May 2007 for $336 million. This works out to $821 psf of potential gross floor area, including an estimated $1.07 million development charge.

职总大巴窑公寓 平均尺价未过千

Source : 《联合早报》August 28, 2009

备受瞩目的大巴窑共管公寓Trevista,售价定得比市场原本预期来得低,平均尺价不但不超过千元,而且还低于900元。

职总安居(NTUC Choice Homes)昨天宣布,将这个99年地契共管公寓的平均尺价定在898元。它将在这个周末的预售活动中,推出首210个单位供买家选购。

Trevista将在这个周末的预售活动中,推出首210个单位供买家选购。

对于这个定价,一些市场人士猜测,职总安居是否为了尽其社会责任,而特意将平均售价压低下来?

职总安居总裁吴莉莉昨天说:“我们认为这是个物有所值的定价,也是一个人们负担得起的价格(accessible pricing)。至于销售反应就让市场来决定吧!”

一名ERA产业经纪告诉记者,她的同行已经在过去几个星期收到了许多空白支票,因此她相信今天的示范单位将会“爆满”,场面也会非常“混乱”。她透露,她也在几天前收到一张空白支票,客户愿意出百多万元来预订一间两卧房式单位。

公众要明天才能参观示范单位

Trevista的预售活动将在今天下午2时优先开放示范单位给工会和基层领袖参观,3时则开放给职总会员,以及事先向房屋经纪登记的买家进场。一般公众要等到明天才能够参观示范单位。

位于大巴窑2巷和3巷之间的Trevista共管公寓,相当靠近布莱德地铁站,共有590个单位。它最近受到市场的高度瞩目,主要是因为许多市场人士相当关切,职总安居会怎么为这个市郊的99年地契共管公寓定价?

大巴窑已经十年没有新的共管公寓推出,再加上两个地铁站以外的中景峰(Centro @ Ang Mo Kio),最近以每平方英尺1150元“起跳”,创下历来邻里组屋区99年地契共管公寓的新高,令人咋舌,所以不少人关注,这个“地点大众化”的邻里共管公寓,尺价是否一点也不大众化?

在这之前,房屋经纪开给买家的指示价格,一直都在每平方英尺大约1100元左右,一些小型单位的价格甚至叫到每平方英尺1200元。

不过,本报一个多星期前的一篇评论曾指出,全国职工总会在1995年11月创立职总安居的目的,是为新加坡人提供他们负担得起,而且物有所值的房子,因此,职总安居或许会为了其社会使命,而故意压低Trevista的价格,以不超过每平方英尺1000元来发售这个项目。

根据职总安居昨天发表的文告,Trevista的两卧房式单位平均售价大约是83万元,三卧房式单位的平均售价大约是106万5000元,四卧房式单位的平均售价则是143万元。

Trevista两卧房式单位面积介于861至1249平方英尺;三卧房式单位面积介于1098至1615平方英尺;四卧房式单位的面积介于1561至2002平方英尺。

一名潜在买家(胡小姐,33岁)说:“照这个价钱来看,两卧房式单位的尺价大多应该是在960元左右,尺价在900元以下的应该是阳台比较大的单位。这个价钱虽然比我原本想象中低,不过也不便宜。”

一些读者之前也向本报反映,职总身为一家非牟利机构,实在不应该希望赚取暴利,以千元以上的尺价来发售Trevista。

本报之前的评论指出,如果职总安居以每平方英尺1100元来推出Trevista,将能赚取1亿5000万元的暴利。这是因为一些分析员估计,职总安居在这个项目的成本大约是容积率每平方英尺800元。

昨天,相关人士表示,由于Trevista的楼高达39层,停车场又建在地下,所以建筑成本会比一般共管公寓来得高,并不只每平方英尺800元,而是较接近每平方英尺850元。

职总安居这次将Trevista的实际推出价格,定在每平方英尺平均898元,远远低于市场预测,估计盈利应该是在两三千万元左右。

Friday, August 28, 2009

Median Non-Landed Subsale Price Rises 18%

Source : The Business Times, August 27, 2009

THE median subsale price of non-landed private residential properties increased 18.1 per cent from $813 psf in Q1 this year to $960 psf in Q2, an analysis of caveats by DTZ shows. It attributed the increase to more higher-end properties transacted in Q2 as well as price appreciation in the quarter.


















The most popular subsale project in the April to June 2009 period was Rivergate, with 105 units changing hands - or nearly a fifth of the total 545 units in the freehold project located in the Robertson Quay area. The project obtained Temporary Occupation Permit in Q1.

Rivergate's median subsale price increased from $1,200 psf in Q1 2009 to $1,400 psf in Q2. Caveats for subsales in July and August are starting to stream in and the deals have been done at prices ranging from $1,400 to $1,775 psf, or a median price of $1,600 psf.

The next most popular subsale project in Q2 was City Square Residences at Kitchener Road - with 57 deals done at a median price of $893 psf, up 13 per cent from the $791 psf median price on 43 units transacted in the first quarter. In July to August, three units at the freehold condominium were sold, at prices ranging from $1,000 psf to $1,104 psf.

Median subsale price at Casa Merah, a 99-year leasehold condo near Tanah Merah MRT Station, has gone up from $658 psf in Q1 to $691 psf in Q2 to $734 psf in July to August. The latest price is 11.6 per cent above the Q1 level. Twenty subsales were done in the project in July to August - probably helped by the sellout preview of Optima @ Tanah Merah nearby a few weeks ago.

Over in the Buangkok MRT vicinity, 11 units were sold at The Quartz in the subsale market in July to August at a median price of $699 psf, 15.7 per cent higher than the Q1 median subsale price of $604 psf.

In the Katong area, the median subsale price for One Amber rose from $830 psf in Q1 to $1,015 psf in July to August - or a 22.3 per cent price gain. In the same period, the median subsale price for Icon in the Tanjong Pagar area appreciated 26.2 per cent from $1,144 psf to $1,444 psf.

Subsales are secondary market deals in projects that have yet to obtain Certificate of Statutory Completion.

Homes Of Over $1.5m Cut Bigger Slice Of Q2 Deals

Source : The Business Times, August 27, 2009

They make up 22% of total transactions, compared with 10% a quarter earlier

Improved sentiment in the private residential sector has filtered from the mass market to the upper tiers in the second quarter of this year, an analysis of caveats shows.

The proportion of caveats in Q2 for private housing transactions above $1.5-million was bigger than in Q1.

A study by DTZ shows that 22 per cent of transactions in Q2 were for deals above $1.5 million, compared with just 10 per cent in Q1.

Also, the number of transactions in the $1,500-1,999 per square foot (psf) range jumped more than 10 times, from 34 units in Q1 to 369 in Q2. And the number of deals for units costing $2,000 psf or more rose from just 10 in Q1 to 67 in Q2.

Another indicator of activity spreading to the higher end of the market is that a quarter of caveats lodged in Q2 were for properties in the prime districts 9,10 and 11, up from 14 per cent in Q1.

Buyers with private addresses accounted for 56 per cent of private home purchases in Q2, up from 44 per cent in Q1. This reflects a spillover of buying from the mass market to the upper tiers, DTZ said.

Conversely, HDB upgraders' share of caveats lodged for private home purchases slipped from 56 per cent in Q1 to 44 per cent in Q2.

'HDB upgraders have been able to participate in the current home buying wave due partly to the wealth effect brought about by rising HDB resale prices,' said DTZ South-east Asia research head Chua Chor Hoon.

'As well, wages went up in the past few years prior to the stagnation and wage cuts seen last year and this year. As a result, prices of entry-level private condos are generally still quite affordable for HDB upgraders.

'But if developers keep on increasing prices, mass-market private condos will become less affordable again to HDB upgraders.'

DTZ's analysis shows that 75 per cent of total private housing deals involving buyers with HDB addresses were at or below $1 million in Q2, down from 87 per cent in Q1.

Also, 37 per cent of buyers with HDB addresses picked up properties in the $600,001-800,000 band in Q2. In contrast, 60 per cent of buyers with private addresses purchased units costing above $1 million.

DTZ found that buyers with HDB addresses acquired smaller homes than buyers with private addresses.

It said that 77 per cent of purchases involving HDB upgraders were for homes up to 1,400 sq ft, compared with 52 per cent of transactions by buyers with private addresses in Q2.

The property consultancy also said that 88 per cent of purchases by HDB upgraders were for homes outside districts 9, 10 and 11. HDB upgraders bought mostly mass-market condos. Their most popular picks were Mi Casa in Choa Chu Kang and Double Bay Residences in Simei, with respective median selling prices of $633 psf and $663 psf.

Looking ahead, Ms Chua reckoned that activity will continue to filter to the upper levels of the private housing market for the rest of this year in tandem with a general improvement in the Singapore economy.

'As well, most economies seem to have seen their worst and are improving,' she said. ' That will help to bring back more foreign buyers to the Singapore property market.'

Some market watchers said that whether the upper end of the market sees more transactions hinges partly on developers' willingness to launch more high-end and luxury projects.

But Knight Frank executive director (residential) Peter Ow reckoned that the likelihood of a significant pick-up in launches over the next few months in these segments is slim.

'We can see that for the mass-market and mid-tier projects, the take-up rate slows when developers raise prices,' he said.

Property Transactions For Districts 1 To 22 With Contract Dates Between Aug 5th - 11th, 2009

2 GCBs At Queen Astrid Park To Be Auctioned

Source : The Business Times, August 27, 2009

They are to be sold together as the land is yet to be divided into 2 titles

Two good class bungalows (GCBs) at Queen Astrid Park will be auctioned together by TM Asia Life Singapore as part of its plan to dispose of non-core assets.

'We are seeking offers in excess of $36 million, which works out to $890 per sq ft of the land area,' said Irinn Lee, auctioneer and director at Credo Real Estate, which will conduct the auction.

'Going by recent sales of GCBs and the condition of the houses, which overlook lower-lying bungalows, we believe they may even be knocked down at auction well above $36 million.'

The bungalows - numbers 29 and 29A Queen Astrid Park - sit on a sprawling 40,453 sq ft site.

They are for sale to one buyer as the land is yet to be sub-divided into two titles.

The bungalows were built around 1999 and each has a built-up area of about 8,500 sq ft. The auction will take place on Sept 24.

Ms Lee said that the values of GCBs in Queen Astrid Park have held up well, even during down markets.

In June last year, a 10-year-old house at No 1 Queen Astrid Gardens, on a 15,680 sq ft site, was sold for $20 million or $1,276 psf.

And in November last year, an old bungalow at No 25 Queen Astrid Park, on 38,549 sq ft of land, was sold for $31.8 million or $825 psf.

Sales of GCBs have picked up over the past few months as high-net-worth individuals stepped up purchases.

The action started in April when $56 million of GCBs were transacted. It gathered steam in May and June, when $188 million of deals were done each month.

Then in July, more than 20 GCBs changed hands for more than $300 million.

In contrast, GCB sales totalled only $27.5 million in the first quarter of this year.

GCBs are the premier form of housing in Singapore.

They are confined to 39 designated areas and there is an estimated total stock of about 2,500 units only.

More Buyers Now Going For Pricier Homes

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 27, 2009

THE property boom is fast spreading to the upper reaches of the market, with more people buying premium-priced homes, according to data from property consultancy DTZ.

The DTZ data highlights that 25 per cent of property hunters snapped up homes in the prime 9, 10 and 11 districts in the second quarter, up from 14 per cent in the first quarter. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

The firm's analysis of caveats lodged shows that 22 per cent of total private home sales in the second quarter were for homes priced above $1.5 million, compared to 10 per cent in the first quarter.

Buyers living in private residences bought 4,651 homes between April and June, more than the 3,710 homes purchased by HDB-based buyers. DTZ said that this showed a spillover of demand from the mass market to the mid- and higher-tier segments.

It is a turnaround from the first quarter, when HDB upgraders and first-time buyers outnumbered buyers living in private homes. Seven in 10 buyers of new private homes in the first three months of the year had Housing Board addresses.

















The DTZ data highlights that 25 per cent of property hunters snapped up homes in the prime 9, 10 and 11 districts in the second quarter, up from 14 per cent in the first quarter. It was the first time in 11/2 years that sales in prime districts exceeded 20 per cent of total sales.

DTZ head of South-east Asia research Chua Chor Hoon said: 'We have definitely seen more investors coming back in recent months... As private home prices have corrected 10 to 33 per cent from their 2007 peak to the lows of the first quarter of 2009, Singapore households have ploughed savings accumulated during the prosperous years in 2004 to 2007 into the property market.'

Resilient HDB resale prices have created a wealth boost for HDB upgraders, causing the proportion of buyers with HDB addresses in the second quarter to reach 44 per cent. Though a smaller proportion than in the first quarter, this was well ahead of the 29 per cent seen in 2006 when the market started to pick up, notes DTZ. HDB upgraders and first-time homebuyers typically buy into mass market condominiums, which are usually lower-priced homes in suburban areas.

In the second quarter, about 75 per cent of buyers living in HDB flats bought homes for less than $1 million. Nearly half spent from $600,001 to $800,000. In comparison, some 60 per cent of buyers living in private homes bought units costing more than $1 million.

A larger group of buyers living in HDB flats bought smaller units of 1,400 sq ft or below. This can prove to be more affordable as the total quantum price can be relatively low, even if the per sq ft price is on the high side, experts said.

Keen buying interest spilled into the secondary market, with sub-sales of non-landed homes trebling to 1,200 units in the second quarter. The sub-sale price of these homes rose 18 per cent to $960 per sq ft (psf) from $813 psf, said DTZ.

Foreign buyer numbers rose, but they still bought only 15 per cent of private homes priced above $1,110 psf in the second quarter, compared with 29 per cent for the whole of 2006. Such buyers are increasingly moving to mid-tier properties on the city fringes, DTZ observed.

Ms Chua predicted more units to be transacted at $1.5 million-and-above in the current quarter, as more projects in the $1,500 psf to $2,000 psf price bracket came onto the market in July and August.

But if private home prices continue to move far ahead of HDB resale prices, HDB upgraders could be forced to pull back, said Jones Lang LaSalle's head of research for South-east Asia, Chua Yang Liang.