Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Address: 950 - 962 Dunearn Road
Type of Development: Condominium
Tenure: 99 years from 09/09/1999
District: 21 Exclusive Bukit Timah Area
No. of Units: 318 in 7 Towers
Year of Completion: December 2006
Developer: YHS Dunearn Pte Ltd (Far East Organization)
Unit sizes: 818 - 1,442 sq ft

Gardenvista is a hidden paradise, a sanctuary designed with 4 themed gardens: Colour, Fragrance, Texture, Sound Nestled along Dunearn Road in the exclusive Bukit Timah district.

Gardenvista is discreetly located via a small quiet leafy road, spread out in a fan-shaped alignment that slowly unveils its gardens of different sensory delights. The residential tower blocks are designed in such a way that you are hardly aware of the towers that rise between the garden walls. Rising ten storeys high, they form the perimeter of the overall central "Secret Garden" space and become the backdrop for the garden. The tower blocks are oriented to capture and maximise views of the garden from the units. Their cool glass cladding reflects the sky and gardens, thereby amplifying them and becoming a perceptual extension of the gardens itself.

Overlooking the gardens are Gardenvista’s 318 beautiful apartments with sizes ranging from 818 sqft for a 1-bedroom with study unit to 1,442 sqft for a 4-bedroom unit. Thoughtfully planned with attention to every detail, the units are completed with quality interior finishes to suit a definitive lifestyle, from the East meets West fusion to the cosmopolitan and contemporary “Manhattan” styles.

Price : From $1300/psf

Gardenvista is minutes away from Clementi MRT Station with easy access to the rest of the island via the Pan-Island Expressway.


Bukit Timah Market Hawker Centre
116B Upper Bukit Timah Road Singapore 588172
How Far? 0.58 km

Bukit Timah Market Hawker Centre
116A Upper Bukit Timah Road Singapore 588172
How Far? 0.58 km

Clementi Avenue 2 Block 353 Market And Food Centre
353 Clementi Avenue 2 Singapore 120353
How Far? 2.79 km


Dover MRT Station (EW22)
200 Commonwealth Avenue West Singapore 138677
How Far? 2.91 km


Bukit Timah Plaza
1 Jalan Anak Bukit Singapore 588996
How Far? 0.24 km

Beauty World Plaza
140 Upper Bukit Timah Road Singapore 588176
How Far? 0.66 km

Beauty World Centre
144 Upper Bukit Timah Road Singapore 588177
How Far? 0.69 km

Bukit Timah Shopping Centre
170 Upper Bukit Timah Road Singapore 588179
How Far? 0.78 km

Turf City
200 Turf Club Road Singapore 287994
How Far? 1.43 km


Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School
7 Pei Wah Avenue Singapore 597610
How Far? 0.48 km

Ngee Ann Polytechnic
94 Kismis Avenue Singapore 598269
How Far? 0.51 km

Methodist Girls' School (Secondary)(Independent)
11 Blackmore Drive Singapore 599986
How Far? 0.62 km

Methodist Girls’ Primary School
Raffles Girls’ Primary School
Nanyang Girls’ High (Independent)

Gardenvista has full resort-style facilities including a 50-m lap pool, a garden pavilion pool, a fun pool and many more. It is close to good schools like Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School, Methodist Girls’ School and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Recreational FACILITIES AT Gardenvista

Water Features & Gardens
1. Texture Garden
2. Colour Garden
3. Sound Garden
4. Fragrance Garden

Outdoor Activities Areas
1. BBQ Pits
2. Playground
3. Putting Green
4. Tennis Courts
5. Jogging Trail
6. Outdoor Fitness Station

-Swimming Pool
-Wading Pool
-Spa Pool
-24 hrs Security
-Car Park

Dunman View

Tenure : 99 years (from 24 October 1997)
No. of Units : 148 units in 2 Towers
TOP : 27/7/2005
Developer : Dunman Heights Pte Ltd (Far East)

Unit sizes:
2 bedrooms: 79 sq m
3 bedrooms: 109 - 115 sq m
4 bedrooms: 124 - 125 sq m
Maintenance Fee : $260/mth

Price : $950/psf - 3Bdrm 1109 sqft

A luxurious condominium located at Dunman Road and Haig Road A short walk to Paya Lebar MRT station. Choice schools nearby like Victoria Junior College, Tanjong Katong Girls’ Secondary School, CHIJ Katong Convent and Chung Cheng High School .

Nearest amenities includes City Plaza, Parkway Parade Shopping Centre and the rows of shophouses along Geylang Serai and Tanjong Katong Road.

Chinese Swimming Club, East Coast Park and numerous eating establishments like Dunman Food Couurt are just nearby Katong and East Coast Road.

It takes only 10 minutes drive to the airport via the East Coast Parkway and is also nearby Paya Lebar, Ubi and Kaki Bukit industrial estates.

District : 15
Address : 100, 102 Haig Road (Junction of Dunman road & Haig Road)


Tanjong Katong MRT Station
Currently under construction
How Far? 0.83 km

Paya Lebar MRT Station (EW8)
30, Paya Lebar Road Singapore 409006
How Far? 1.02 km

Eunos MRT Station (EW7)
30, Eunos Crescent Singapore 409423
How Far? 1.30 km


Galaxy Towers
32, Onan Road Singapore 424484
How Far? 0.57 km

Joo Chiat Complex
1, Joo Chiat Road Singapore 420001
How Far? 0.70 km

City Plaza
810, Geylang Road Singapore 409286
How Far? 0.70 km

Odeon Katong Shopping Centre Complex
11, East Coast Road Singapore 428722
How Far? 0.75 km

Paramount Shopping Centre
30, East Coast Road Singapore 428751
How Far? 0.89 km


Tanjong Katong Secondary School
130, Haig Road Singapore 438796
How Far? 0.15 km

Tanjong Katong Girl's Secondary School
20, Dunman Lane Singapore 439272
How Far? 0.24 km

Tanjong Katong Primary School
10, Seraya Road Singapore 437259
How Far? 0.58 km

Maju Secondary School
4, Dunman Road Singapore 439189
How Far? 0.60 km

Haig Girls' School
51, Koon Seng Road Singapore 427072
How Far? 0.66 km

-Swimming pool
-Wading pool
-Children's Playground
-BBQ Pavilions
-Multi-purpose hall
-Outdoor Fitness Station
-Covered Car park
-24 hours security

Parkway Life Reit Aims To Double Asset Size

Source : The Business Times, 8 Aug 2007

PARKWAY Life Real Estate Investment Trust (Parkway Life Reit), which launched its initial share offering yesterday, hopes to double its asset portfolio size in two years’ time, the Reit’s manager told BT yesterday.

Right now, the Reit’s portfolio comprises three private hospitals and medical offices in Singapore worth $774.6 million in total.

Justine Wingrove, chief executive of the Reit’s manager, aims to double the portfolio size to about $1.6 billion by end-2009.

A new acquisition could be expected in the next six months, Ms Wingrove said.

‘We have four key markets that we are focusing on - Singapore, Malaysia, India and China,’ she said. ‘There are more immediate opportunities in Singapore, but we are also looking at opportunities elsewhere.’

The trust, she said, can easily draw from sponsor Parkway Holdings’ asset base. Parkway, which is Asia’s largest listed healthcare operator, has some 17 hospitals and medical centres across Asia under its umbrella, including the three being divested into the Reit.

Also, the trust is looking to buy from third-party vendors, Ms Wingrove said.

For the initial share offer, the trust is offering 288.9 million units at $1.28 apiece - raising about $369.8 million.

Some 253.6 million units will be placed out to institutional and other investors, of which 14.6 million units are reserved for subscription by the directors, management, employees and business associates of Parkway Holdings.

Another 5.9 million units are being offered to the public. In addition, 29.4 million units will be allocated to the Singapore registered shareholders of Parkway Holdings on the basis of one unit of the Reit for every 20 shares in Parkway.

There is also an over-allotment option for up to another 43.3 million units.

Assuming the option is exercised, Parkway will hold some 30.1 per cent of the Reit, while the free float will account for another 55.9 per cent.

The rest of the trust (14.0 per cent) will be held by ‘cornerstone investor’ TPG Capital, which also holds a substantial stake in Parkway.

The trust forecasts an annualised yield of 4.7 per cent for the 2007 financial year. This is expected to increase to 4.9 per cent in 2008 and 5.0 per cent in 2009.

Ms Wingrove said that despite the recent downturn in market sentiment, the Reit has seen strong demand from institutional investors. The placement tranche is about 13 to 14 times oversubscribed, she said.

Parkway shares closed four cents up at $3.72 yesterday.

URA Clarifies Office Property Data In Report

Source : The Business Times, 8 Aug 2007

We refer to the article, ‘URA’s new office data draws mixed reaction’ (BT, July 28), which compared the new office property data made available by URA on July 27, 2007 and those reported by some property consultants.

Your report highlighted that the office vacancy rate figures released by CB Richard Ellis were lower than that released by URA, but omitted the explanation we had given to your reporter. As explained, URA’s office vacancy rate figures are computed solely based on the physical occupation of space.

In contrast, property consultants usually also factor in office space that has been pre-committed to tenants but not physically occupied yet. This does not give the actual current physical vacancy and may also result in double-counting, as the tenants may be vacating other buildings when they shift to their new premises.

The differences in methodologies used by URA and property consultants hence could result in variances in office vacancy rates. The attention of the public should be drawn to this so that they can be more discerning when they make reference to the data.

The article also reported comments from a property consultant that the new office data could be improved by naming the specific buildings in ‘Category1′ and ‘Category 2′, and that ‘Category 2′ is a broad definition and information related to office space in this category may not be meaningful to the public.

The main purpose of releasing data for ‘Category 1′ and ‘Category 2′ office space is to allow the public to have a general gauge of the differences in rentals and vacancy rates between the two office segments as well as the changes of rentals and vacancies over time within each segment.

Hence, it is not necessary for us to name the specific buildings in each category. It is also not appropriate for the government to attach a label to any building which might have a quality connotation, as it can affect its market value. We had in fact given this explanation to your reporter.

By providing a separate set of median rental data for ‘Category 2′ office space, which accounts for about 80 per cent of the total stock of office space in Singapore, URA is also showing the level of typical rents being paid by the majority of office space users in Singapore.

The article also said that the market can easily absorb four million square feet of office space in one year. This is misleading. The average annual absorption or increase in occupied stock between 2004 and 2006 was only 2.4 million square feet per year.

In the history of Singapore, there was only one year, that is, 2000, since URA started compiling such data in 1990, when the increase in occupied stock exceeded four million square feet.

We wish to reiterate the importance of providing the public an accurate explanation of the methodologies and rationale so that the public can better understand the fuller context and be more discerning when they make reference to the new data released by URA.

Choy Chan Pong, Director Land Administration for Chief Executive Officer Urban Redevelopment Authority

URA Launches Tender For Kovan Condominium Plot

Source : The Business Times, 8 Aug 2007

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday launched the tender for a 99-year-leasehold condo plot next to Kovan MRT Station and the Kovan Melody condo, which is expected to be much sought after by developers.

The nearly 190,000 sq ft site can be developed into a condo with about 555 units, according to official estimates in the second-half 2007 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme statement issued in June.

CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho reckons top bids for the latest plot could come in close to $400 per square foot of potential gross floor area, or a lump sum of $265 million. ‘We expect that units in the new condo on the site can be marketed at $750 to $800 psf, when it is launched in mid-2008,’ Mr Li said. Apartments at Kovan Melody were changing hands in the resale market at $600 to $700 psf in June-July 2007, he noted.

Farther away, next to Buangkok MRT Station, newly released units in The Quartz condo are being sold by developer GuocoLand at an average $680 psf. Market watchers expect strong interest from developers for the latest plot being offered by URA. ‘The presence of premier schools such as Rosyth, Maris Stella High and Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ will be a pull factor (for a condo on the site) for families with young children. With the recent upturn seen in the suburban market, developers are likely to vie for this site,’ Mr Li said.

And given that Kovan Melody has sold out, there could be pent-up demand for new homes in this location, he reckons.

URA said the tender for the latest plot on Simon Road closes on Oct 2. It is one of 10 confirmed list sites under the H2 2007 GLS Programme. Sites in the programme can potentially yield about 8,000 private homes, of which about 3,000 will be generated from sites on the confirmed list and the remaining 7,000 from reserve list plots.

The government launches reserve sites for tender only upon application by developers with an undertaking to bid at a minimum price acceptable to the state. Confirmed list plots, on the other hand, are released for sale according to a pre-stated schedule, regardless of demand.

OCBC Q2 Net Profit Down 33%

Source : The Straits Times, August 8, 2007 Wednesday

SINGAPORE - OVERSEA-CHINESE Banking Corp (OCBC) said on Wednesday net profit in the second quarter to June fell 33 per cent from a year ago due to the absence of exceptional gains.

For the three months to June, net profit totalled $532 million, down from $795 million last year which included exceptional gains of $482 million from a property sale and other divestments.

Despite the 33 per cent decline, OCBC's June quarter net profit of $532 million were above analysts projections of $402 million to $480 million.

Excluding one-time gains, core earnings in the second quarter were up 65 per cent to $518 million compared to $314 million last year, OCBC said. The jump was due to higher net interest income and non-interest income.

Net interest income - the difference between interest paid to depositors and interest earned from borrowers - in the April-June period was $558 million, an increase of 28 per cent from last year.

Non-interest income, which includes fees and commissions, rose an annual 50 per cent to $493 million, the bank said.

'Our first-half performance is underpinned by strong growth across all our key business segments and geographies,' said chief executive David Conner.

'This reflects not only the healthy business environment but also the significant investments we have made over the years to grow our customer businesses, including wealth management, insurance and asset management.'

For the half-year ended June, net profit grew 6.0 per cent to $1.17 billion. -- AFP

OCBC's Q2 Profit Up 65% To S$518m

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 08 August 2007

SINGAPORE - Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) on Wednesday said its quarterly profit rose 65%, helped by strong loan growth and higher fee income on the back of buoyant capital markets.

OCBC, the smallest of Singapore's three banks, reported a net profit of S$518 million for the April-June period, excluding exceptionals.

This was up from S$314 million a year ago.

OCBC has lagged behind its larger rivals in capturing loan growth in recent quarters despite a strong local economy and booming construction market.

United Overseas Bank, Singapore's second-biggest lender, on Tuesday reported a 32% rise in quarterly profit, excluding exceptional gains, as a construction and property boom fuelled strong loan growth.

DBS Group Holdings, Singapore's biggest lender, last month reported a 21% jump in quarterly net profit, excluding one-offs, due to higher loan income and strong fees. - CNA/ir

She Wins Court Battle But Loses Out On En-Bloc Windfall

Source : The New Paper, 8 August 2007

WHEN she saw the penthouse at Leedon Heights in late 2005, she saw the potential of a good investment.

So businesswoman Alison Elizabeth Urbina, 40, put down the 5 per cent deposit for the $1.53-million apartment.

Then she realised five unauthorised modifications had been made to the apartment, and wanted out of the deal. However, the owners refused to refund the deposit.

So she took them to court. And won.

But her victory has been bittersweet. The prime Holland Road property was sold en bloc this year.

If Mrs Urbina had gone ahead with the purchase, she would have easily doubled her investment.

In April, Leedon Heights smashed the record for the largest collective sale in Singapore, fetching $835 million from developer GuocoLand.

DTZ Debenham Tie Leung, which brokered the sale, said that most owners of its 314 units would get about $2.35 million each.

But penthouse owners in the 23-year-old estate were reported to reap almost double that, which is also more than twice the last open market price, The Straits Times reported.

Mrs Urbina, who was represented by lawyer Mark Goh, said: 'I am thrilled with this victory, but I would rather have bought the apartment.

'If the owners were given permission for the modifications, I would have owned the unit and would have benefited from the en-bloc sale.

'I could have made $2m from it.'


Mrs Urbina had viewed the 15th-storey unit, which was about 3,000 sq ft, in October 2005. It was one of several units she had inspected at the condo.

The British citizen, who is a Singapore permanent resident, said she liked the large area and was thinking of renting the place to other expats after she bought it.

The mother of a 2-year-old girl has lived in Singapore for about 14 years and said she has invested in property in other cities like London, Bali and Sydney.

She figured that investing in Singapore would not be a problem because of the country's reputation for transparency.

The unit belonged to Madam Lee Tee Mui and Mr Gee Keong Jung, a couple who were going through a divorce.

Mrs Urbina said that to make sure everything was above board, she included a clause in the terms of sale.

This clause was central to the case, and one that district judge Thian Yee Sze highlighted in her grounds of decision on 13 Jul.


It stated that the sale depended on there being no unauthorised additions or renovations made to the property.

If there were, the sellers must get the necessary approval before the sale is completed. Otherwise, the sale would not be completed and the sellers must refund any money paid.

Mrs Urbina wanted this clause so she would not be responsible for any unauthorised modifications that she may have to fix after the purchase.

She said: '(Building) regulations are there for the benefit of Singaporeans. They are there for sound structural and economic reasons.

'If people don't respect them, then why have regulations?'

Court documents showed that problems arose in late December 2005.

Mrs Urbina complained about the construction of a new staircase, a structure on the roof terrace, the installation of awnings, closure of the balcony, and construction of an extension over a void area in the unit.

She took the matter to court to reclaim the 5 per cent deposit of $76,500.

The penthouse was eventually sold to another party.

District judge Thian noted that the couple never denied that the modifications were not authorised.

But she found it 'inexplicable' that they still insisted they did not breach the clause even though they had admitted that such approvals were necessary.

She found them to be in breach of the clause.

She added: 'In the circumstances, the purchaser was entitled to refuse to complete the sale.'

She ordered that they return the $76,500 to Mrs Urbina, with interest at 5.33 per cent a year with costs.

The couple are appealing against the judgment and they have up to 17 Aug to state their case. Their lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Seoul Remains Costliest Asian City For Expats: Survey

Source : Today, Wednesday, August 8, 2007

SEOUL remains the most expensive place to stay in Asia for expatriates due mainly to the stronger won, while living costs in Japan have eased because of a weaker yen, a survey released yesterday showed.

Seoul, which retained its ranking as Asia’s costliest city from last year, ranked seventh globally, human resources firm ECA International’s cost of living survey showed.

Within Asia, Tokyo placed second followed by Yokohoma, Kobe, Hong Kong and then Taipei.
Rounding up the top 10 rankings were Beijing in seventh spot followed by Shanghai, Singapore and Jakarta.

The stronger won has seen foreign expatriates living in the South Korean capital paying 10 per cent more for the same items compared to their counterparts in Tokyo.

The differentials between Singapore and the rest of Asia have also narrowed significantly as living costs in the city-state have risen, said ECA.

“A combination of weaker currencies and lower inflation in a number of historically more expensive locations ... means that the cost of living differential between Singapore and many of its neighbours is narrowing,” said Mr Lee Quane, the general manager of ECA. “While increases in living costs between surveys tend to be low, above-average increases in recent years has seen Singapore close the gap on these locations.”

Expatriates and foreign workers in Singapore have also been hit hard by the booming property sector which has seen landlords raising rents.

Strong Profits For UOB

Source : Today, Wednesday , August 8, 2007

Bank moves to allay concerns over its exposure to CDOs

UNITED Overseas Bank (UOB) returned a strong $1.1-billion net profit for the first half of this year. Excluding a one-time gain of $689 million in the same period a year earlier, this is a 25-per-cent increase from $882 million.

Interest income rose 15 per cent to $1.5 billion compared to the first half of last year. Non-interest income from foreign exchange securities also surged 46.6 per cent to $968 million.

“We remain positive about the region’s prospects despite shortterm uncertainties,”said Mr Wee Ee Cheong (picture), chief executive officer of UOB. “I am particularly heartened by the strong growth in our non-interest income.”

Mr Wee added: “We will continue to build capabilities on that front.”

CLSA analyst Thilan Wickramasinghe said: “I’m glad to see this sort of growth.” “On the interest income side you aren’t going to get this sort of margin improvement.”

While the bank returned better-than-expected results, its shares had been hit by problems over the US sub-prime mortgage market.

The bank clarified yesterday that it does not have direct exposure to US sub-prime mortgages. UOB’s investments in collaterised debt obligations (CDOs) stand at $392 million, of which $301 million is in higher-rated corporate CDOs.

The remaining $91 million are exposed to high-grade asset-backed securities (ABS) CDOs.

UOB said it does not own any riskier mezzanine ABS CDOs in its portfolio, nor were there any downgrades in its investments.

UOB explained that since 2004, it had been liquidating its exposure to CDOs, paring it down from $580 million to current levels. The bank made a $34-million impairment charge for its CDO investments as of end-June, and an unrealised loss at current prices of $15 million is expected as of end-July this year.

Bank shares were roiled recently by concerns over their exposure to these risky products, and banks have been disclosing their holdings in a bid to allay those ears.

UOB shares gained 30 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to close at $20 yesterday

Horizon Towers Unit Owners Could Lose More Than Their Homes

Source : Today, 08 August 2007

Unit owners of Horizon Towers may have won the latest battle to halt its en bloc sale — but they may be at risk of losing a whole lot more than their homes, with a potential lawsuit for breach of contract hanging over their heads.

In the worst-case scenario for these sellers, the buyers — Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Qatar Investment Authority — could move to claim up to $1 billion from the owners of the 173 units who signed the deal.

This works out to $5.78 million per unit — more than the $2.3 million to $4 million offered for each apartment in the en bloc deal.

"I think they are panicking — wouldn't you, if you might lose everything? If the damages are $5 million, they would have to give up the apartment and pay up to $3 million on top of it," said one party who declined to be named, as lawyers from both sides met yesterday.

The unit owners have until 3pm today to respond to the buyers — but may well miss the deadline, as the sales committee is still consulting with lawyers and will hold meetings with residents over these two days, reported Channel NewsAsia.

On Monday, the three buyers had sent a letter through law firm Allen and Gledhill to lawyers representing the sellers, alleging breach of contract. This came after the Strata Titles Board (STB) rejected an application for a collective sale order last Friday due to technical irregularities.

The sellers have at least three options: Extend the deadline for the completion of the sale by four months and file a fresh application to the STB for a collective sale order; appeal to the High Court to reconsider STB's decision; or be sued for breach of contract.

One property analyst told Today: "The buyers have deep pockets and the means to pursue a lawsuit. Are the more than hundred sellers willing to band together on a long, and possibly costly, legal process?"

Lawyer Shriniwas Rai, who represents some of the majority owners in favour of the sale, said a fourth option is to file an Originating Summons with the High Court to decide if the sales and purchase agreement is still valid — even while HPL is suing the sellers.

Unit owners who had earlier opposed the $500 million en bloc deal, however, would not be affected by the move, which is the latest twist in a long-drawn saga.

Under the deal, the 199 apartment owners would have pocketed about $2.3 million each and the 11 penthouse owners at least $4 million each.

However, some minority owners had objected to the sale, saying they were unhappy with the sales committee's performance and procedural irregularities.

As en bloc sale prices across the island skyrocketed, owners who had originally supported the deal crossed to join the dissenting voices — pointing out that the deal no longer reflected the condominium's "true value".

Months of drama ensued and, with the original sale deadline of Aug 11 looming, came the STB's ruling on Friday.

Channel NewsAsia quoted director of research and consultancy at Knight Frank, Nicholas Mak as saying: "The en bloc market is watching very closely developments in this Horizon Towers saga. The wider implication for the market is that buyers, sellers, their agents and lawyers, now have to be very, very careful. They have to look at their legal documentation, and make sure that procedures are followed very clearly." - TODAY/ra

Standard Chartered Bank's Profits Rise

Source : Channel NewsAsia 07 August 2007

LONDON : Standard Chartered, the emerging markets bank, said on Tuesday that net profit jumped by almost a third during the first half of 2007, helped by strong performances in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The Britain-based bank said profit after tax grew by 27 percent to US$1.399 billion (1.014 billion euros) in the six months to June 30, compared with the first half of 2006.

Pre-tax profit grew 30 percent to a record US$1.980 billion, beating analysts' consensus forecast of US$1.833 billion.

"I am pleased to report that Standard Chartered has had an excellent first six months in 2007 driven by strong organic growth in both Consumer Banking and Wholesale Banking," group chairman Mervyn Davies said in the earnings statement.

"Over the last few years we have consistently produced record results while building a strong foundation for growth. Today we are seeing the rewards of our balanced and diverse business, leading the way in the dynamic markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East," he added.

The bank, which since the start of 2007 has been led by new chief executive Peter Sands, added that bad debts - or loans that have been written off - climbed by 3.4 percent to US$361 million during the first half.

However Standard Chartered said it saw no major credit problems in its markets despite a troubled mortgage sector in the United States.

"As I travel around and talk to experienced bankers and investment managers, it is quite clear they share our concerns over the level of asset prices, the amount of debt in leveraged deals, loose covenants and the degree to which some people believe this market will last forever," Davies said in the results statement.

"We know that risks can emerge quickly: the sub-prime (mortgage) lending issue in the US is a classic example of this. We are not exposed to that and, indeed, we are seeing no significant credit deterioration in our markets.

"However we need to be vigilant and we remain extremely disciplined on our loan and credit standards," Davies added.

Standard Chartered added on Tuesday that group income increased 28 percent to US$5.26 billion during the first half of 2007.

The group declared an interim dividend of 23.12 cents per share, up 11 percent. Following release of the results, Standard Chartered's share price stood at 1,593 pence, up 1.46 percent.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares, on which Standard is traded, jumped 1.00 percent to 6,251.20 points. - AFP/de

Conservancy Workers To Benefit From Training, Better Pay Under New Initiative

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 07 August 2007

Come 2008, 1,100 full-time local conservancy workers would have benefited from training and better pay, thanks to a new initiative by 14 PAP Town Councils, NTUC and the Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

Roshidi Bin Othman has been engaged by a contractor to wash the corridors and void decks of HDB flats for a year now.

He will be one of the first batch of 300 Town Council conservancy workers to go for a four-day course next week on the cleaning of residential estates.

Currently drawing a salary of $900, Roshidi hopes to get an increase of 10 percent after the course.

"After the training, I hope to upgrade myself to become a foreman or supervisor," said Roshidi.

The PAP Town Councils, NTUC and WDA say the course aims to make the cleaning profession more attractive to Singaporeans.

Under Manpower Ministry regulations, Singaporeans must make up 70% of the total number of conservancy workers. The remaining 30% are foreign workers who are mostly refuse collectors.

But any pay increase is not likely to affect the service and conservancy charge as cleaning makes only a small part of it.

What town councillors are more concerned with are the other components which are facing rising costs.

"For example, building materials have gone up quite a lot. And when we do building repairs, maintenance of the various building services, there are a lot of cost pressure on the town councils," said Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District.

"But the PAP town councils have always been committed to the residents, to try our best to keep S&C (Service and Conservancy) charges as affordable as possible," added Dr Teo.

To emphasise the quality of the cleaning, town councils will now award contracts not just based on the tender price. They will also consider the contractor's track record and financial position. - CNA /ls

Markets Edgy As Banks Calm CDO Fears

Source : The Business Times, Aug 08, 2007

Local banks tried once again yesterday to reassure investors that their exposure to collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) is small, but the stock market - which had battered their share prices on Monday - refused to respond. It ended the day in negative territory even though Wall Street had rebounded smartly just hours earlier.

It was a clear indication that caution still reigns over the state of the US credit market and the problems related to the sub-prime mortgage market.

After OCBC had tried to put fears about its CDO exposure to rest on Monday, DBS Bank followed suit yesterday. Meanwhile, United Overseas Bank (UOB) revealed that mark-to-market losses of $15 million were expected as at end-July and would be charged against the balance sheet. The bank has been scaling back its CDO exposure.

The market, however, remained wary. UOB hit $20.70 during the day but ended just 20 cents higher at $20 while DBS touched $21.60 but fell back to $20.70 for an eventual 20 cents loss.

DBS had tried to clear the air on its CDO exposure. It said its asset management unit has three retail funds with a tiny amount of exposure to CDOs while some affluent clients have bought CDOs directly though its Treasuries priority banking where the minimum investment is $25,000.

In a letter to DBS Asset Management (DBSAM) clients, it said the CDO exposure in three unit trusts was limited to between 1.02 and 5.33 per cent, amounting to a total of $17 million. The three funds are its highly popular Shenton Income Fund, DBS Enhanced Income Fund and Horizon S'pore Fixed Income Fund. DBSAM assured clients that the CDOs are strictly investment-grade with underlying securities credit rating of BBB- or higher by Moody's.

'The net asset values per unit of these portfolios have also been relatively stable during the last nine days even though world markets were fluctuating considerably due to the reassessment of credit risks,' DBS said. It added that the CDOs have no exposure to US sub-prime mortgages.

DBS Bank yesterday further disclosed that DBSAM manages two CDO portfolios worth US$1.03 billion. Neither CDO has underlying assets with exposure to US sub-prime mortgages.

The bank has also distributed a total US$1.7 billion of structured products including those from third parties involving CDOs backed by AA- to AAA-rated collateral to institutional, private banking and sophisticated retail investors. None of these have exposure to US sub-prime mortgages.

UOB disclosed that, over the years, provisions of $34 million have been made as at end-June 2007 for its CDO holdings. Currently, the bank has $392 million of CDOs, of which $91 million are in asset-backed securities and $301 million are in corporate CDOs. 'Further mark-to-market losses of $15 million are expected as at end-July and will be charged against the balance sheet,' said Terence Ong, senior executive vice-president.

He said, at the peak, UOB had US$580 million of CDOs. He was speaking at UOB's second-quarter results press briefing which was dominated by questions on the bank's CDO exposure.

UOB Asset Management (UOBAM) currently manages S$11.7 billion of CDOs, or 43 per cent of total assets under management (AUM) of $27 billion. These CDOs are distributed to institutional investors. Mr Ong said the CDOs are high-grade and there have been no downgrades.

UOBAM at its peak managed $21 billion worth of CDOs but it began selling them from 2004. It earned about $20 million fees per year for managing CDOs. 'Fees we earned (managing CDOs) make up less than 20 per cent of UOBAM's income and we see that figure going down,' said Mr Ong.

He said UOBAM decided to trim its CDOs because credit spreads had narrowed, the portfolio had become too big, we 'have to digest' and it was also a matter of taking profit.

Falls in the banks' share prices had led a 3.7 per cent plunge in the ST Index on Monday and it appeared briefly that the trend would be reversed yesterday.

The STI first jumped 58 points before eventually closing 6.98 points weaker at 3,302.01. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index also surrendered a 240-point rise to end 28.74 down at 21,907.99. The same up-down trend manifested itself in most regional markets.

Since hitting an all-time high of 3,665 on July 24, the ST Index has now fallen 363 points or 10 per cent in 10 trading sessions.

Helps Pours In For Affected Residents

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 08, 2007

AFTER the trauma of the fire, help has been kicking in for the eight families left overnight without their homes.

Their one-room rental units in Block 105, Jalan Bukit Merah had been badly burnt as a result of last Friday's fire caused by an explosion in a flat.

Mr Chan Fook Seng, 73, in whose unit the explosion occurred, was badly burnt. He died on Saturday.

The Housing Board moved in swiftly to relocate the eight families - two in vacant units in the same block and the others elsewhere.

New homes will need new furniture and even necessities like pots and pans.

And help has indeed been forthcoming - not least from within the community.

Yesterday, the affected families received brand new beds, cupboards and other items, as a result of a donation drive by the Sarah Seniors Activity Centre and the Kim Tian West Residents' Committee.

The centre is located on the ground floor of the block, while the RC office is in the opposite block.

Sarah's programme executive, Mr Edmund Soh, 68, said: 'There have been many calls from people who want to help.'

Meanwhile, Madam Chan Soo Ngan, 79, who suffered severe smoke inhalation injuries and is still in Singapore General Hospital's intensive care unit, has regained consciousness.

Madam Chan, whose unit was opposite Mr Chan's, is in a stable condition.

The affected families have been picking up the pieces.

For Mr Juan Kai Tiong, 45, it took him at least 15 trips before he got most of what he managed to salvage from his gutted flat to his new flat at Bukit Merah View.

Mr Juan, a scrap collector, reckons that it will take him at least four to five more trips, with his trusty trolley, to complete his move.

The HDB has told the affected families they can keep their new flats or move back to their old units once repairs are completed in two to three months' time.

But Mr Juan has already made up his mind. He said in Hokkien: 'I don't want to move back to the old place. An old friend has died, so it is full of sad memories.'

The affected residents have also been given help in the form of $100 FairPrice vouchers and $100 cash from the welfare fund of the area's community development council.

On Monday, Kim Tian West Residents' Committee chairman Ho Hoy Fong, 49, had gone round asking the eight families what they needed.

She said the items requested ranged from clothing like T-shirts, furniture like beds, cupboards and bedsheets, to appliances like rice cookers, radios and washing machines.

Madam Lim Soo Kiow, 58, had moved in barely a year ago into her rental flat, which was directly above the late Mr Chan's unit.

The part-time odd-job worker said in Mandarin: 'Things like my cupboards were brand new and it breaks my heart to see them destroyed.'

Govt Should Intervene In Property Market

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 08, 2007

NATIONAL Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said on TV last week that the Government does not need to intervene in the property market yet, because prices have not risen to 1996 levels.

I disagree. In that year, we were forced to leave our home because of an en-bloc sale.

We spent many months looking for a replacement flat. At that time an HDB executive maisonette in Bishan was going for $650,000; a Lakeview HUDC unit, $800,000; and one at Braddell View, $640,000.

A private freehold flat of 1,600 sq feet in Devonshire Road was advertised at $1.05 million while a Cavenagh Court high-floor unit was selling for $750,000.

We are now obliged to find a new home again.

HDB five-room flats and executive maisonettes are going for over $750,000; the point blocks near the Farrer Road market, $800,000; Braddell View is now being offered for $1.25 million.

Private 99-year-leasehold property like Queens on Commonwealth Avenue are priced at $1.1 million, while prime developments like the one at Orchard Turn opposite Tangs are being booked at over $4,000 per sq ft.

All these are way above the 1996 prices.

Thousands are being turned out of their homes because of the en-bloc craze. The money paid to us means either a downgrade or a move to the very borders of Singapore. It is time for government intervention.

Lucy Huang (Ms)

UOB Beats Forecasts With Second-Quarter Profit Of $585m

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 08, 2007

STRONG loans growth and sales of wealth management products helped to drive second-quarter net profit at United Overseas Bank (UOB) to a higher-thanexpected $585 million.

The result compares with the $1.13 billion net profit posted for the three months ended June 30 last year, when massive one-off gains from the sale of assets boosted the bottom line. Excluding those gains, UOB's net profit would be up 32 per cent this year.

Its performance trumped the average forecast of $528 million by four analysts in a Reuters poll.

UOB declared a special dividend of 15 cents per share and an interim dividend of 20 cents a share.

The robust result and the bank's reassurance yesterday that its exposure to collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) was 'immaterial', prompted investors to push the counter up 30 cents to close at $20. CDOs are instruments backed by loans and asset-backed bonds.

UOB released its results at lunch time.

Half-year net profits were at $1.1 billion, down 30 per cent from $1.57 billion a year ago. Earnings per share rose 26 per cent to $1.42. Net asset value per share rose 4.5 per cent to $10.95 at the end of June.

Against the current backdrop of 'uncertain times' and 'volatile markets', UOB deputy chairman and chief executive Wee Ee Cheong noted at a press conference yesterday that the bank is diversifying its regional portfolio and sources of income.

The bank saw particularly strong growth in non-interest income, which rose 73 per cent to $536 million during the quarter. This segment comprised 39 per cent of total income in the first half of this year.

A star performer in the fee income pool was UOB's fund management business, which rose 136 per cent in the second-quarter to $99 million, and climbed 77 per cent in the first half.

Mr Terence Ong, UOB's senior executive vice-president for global markets and investment management, noted that UOB Asset Management makes fees of less than $20 million from managing portfolios of CDOs each year.

Mr Ong said fee income from UOB Asset Management may see a decline going forward, due to shrinking risk appetite among investors for CDOs amid concerns about these securities. 'It is a temporary setback but there will not be a very big impact on UOB Asset Management's profit and loss.'

UOB has made cumulative provisions of $34 million for its exposure to the CDO market as at the end of last month. It made $20 million of provisions last year, and the rest in previous years.

During the quarter, net interest income rose 13.4 per cent to $761 million. Loans totalled $82.5 billion at the end of June, up 17.5 per cent from a year ago.

UOB's impairment charges more than doubled to $81 million. About half was due to a drop in value of its Thai and Malaysian operations, while the remainder was a result of the lower value of the investment portfolio of its life insurance business UOB Life.

Patient-Friendly: Hallmark Of New Yishun Hospital

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 8, 2007

THE best thing to have in a hospital ward? A toilet.

And that's what even C-Class patients will get when the new 550-bed hospital in Yishun is ready in 2010. It beats having to trudge 50m outside the ward to do the necessary, as is the case for some C-Class wards now.

The 10-bedded C-Class wards will be divided into two sections, each with its own toilet and shower facilities. B2 wards will have five instead of the usual six beds - and a toilet and shower too.

Mr Liak Teng Lit, chief executive of Alexandra Hospital who will head the new hospital, promises to have amenities within easy reach and clear directions. 'There is only one drop-off spot, and every place will be within line of sight,' he told The Straits Times yesterday.

Nobody will have to walk very far to get from one place to another. For example, the distance from the drop-off point to the emergency department will be just 20m, while the distance to the specialist clinics will be between 20m and 40m.

Tenders for the second phase of construction were called last week and will close in November. About 10 construction firms have indicated interest, and were at the site inspection on Monday.

Convenient and green (PHOTO: MINISTRY OF HEALTH)

Key features of the new hospital in Yishun:

Only one drop-off point and it is close to the emergency department and specialist clinics. Patients will not have to walk far.

'Fins' along the building's walls to channel the prevailing north-east winds into it, thereby enhancing air flow by 20 to 30 per cent.

Sunshades to protect patients from the direct glare of sunlight.

No protruding sinks or cupboards in the wards so patients will be less likely to hurt themselves.

The contract on this $300 million phase will be awarded in January next year and work is expected to begin shortly after.

Mr Liak, known for his green thumb, wants an environmentally friendly hospital as well.

The building will use 50 per cent less energy than other recently constructed hospitals such as Tan Tock Seng, Changi General and KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

This means savings of more than $1 million a year on its utilities bill.

A team of seven National University of Singapore dons led by Associate Professor Lee Siew Eang came up with the idea of 'fins' along the hospital walls to channel the prevailing north-east winds into the building. Prof Lee said: 'We did wind tunnel tests in our laboratories and found it would enhance the air flow by 20 to 30 per cent.'

There will also be sunshades over the windows to protect patients from the direct glare of sunlight. The shades will re-direct the light towards the ceiling 'so it will look bright and cut down the need for lights in the ward'. Large fans in public areas will be powered by solar panels on the roof.

Mr Liak's team, which has been working on the concept of this hospital for several years now, had canvassed the views of patients before drawing up the specifications.

Besides asking for convenient toilet facilities, patients also said they preferred not to have protruding items like sinks and furniture. These have been known to injure patients, even causing fractures in the frail elderly.

The design of the wards got the thumbs up from Government Parliamentary Committee for Health member, Dr Lam Pin Min.

'Having showers and toilets within the ward is definitely a correct move... This is especially so when many of the subsidised patients are elderly.'

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the change will cost more, but it will improve infection control, 'a lesson learnt during Sars'.

For Mr Ong Kian Pang, 80, who was in a C-class ward following a heart bypass, the projected change is very welcome. He recalled: 'It was risky to walk the long distance to the toilet soon after surgery.'

Higher Pay For Cleaners, Higher S & C Charges?

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 7, 2007

Higher productivity and in turn higher pay - that's what cleaners and conservancy workers in HDB estates can look forward to under the latest Job Recreation Programme.

For residents, it could mean cleaner estates, since contractors must now send their staff for training to secure contracts with town councils.

But will cleaner estates mean higher conservancy charges?

Ng Kai Ling finds out.

Video Link - [ The Straits Times Video News]

Horizon Towers Owners Try To Head Off Lawsuit

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 8, 2007

Following aborted collective sale, failed buyers' extraordinary claim works out to as much as $5.78 million for each unit


OWNERS at Horizon Towers fear they could lose millions of dollars each in a lawsuit over their condominium's aborted collective sale.

Who's who

Sellers: 173 owners at Horizon Towers (right) in Leonie Hill who signed the agreement to sell

Buyers: Hotel Properties Limited, Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Qatar Investment Authority

Objectors: Owners who did not sign the agreement

The authorities: Strata Titles Board (STB)


August 2006: Horizon Towers tender fails to attract offers at the $500 million reserve price

February 2007: Hotel Properties and partners agree to buy Horizon Towers for $500 million or about $815 per sq ft (psf) of potential gross floor area

Late April 2007: Grangeford Apartment tender sets record asking price of $2,016 psf of potential gross floor area

May 2007: A group of owners who feel shortchanged by the sale, because prices have soared, attempted to reverse it

Late May 2007: Mediation hearing at the STB held

June 2007: Overseas Union Enterprise inked conditional deal to buy Grangeford at $1,810 psf of potential gross floor area

Early August 2007: STB dismisses the Horizon Towers collective sale on technical grounds

The parties who intended to buy the estate said they will sue the 173 owners who backed the sale for breach of contract and are claiming up to $1 billion in lost profits.

The extraordinary claim works out to about $5.78 million for each unit.

Minority owners - those who voted against the sale - will not be sued but they also fear the legal fallout could see them forced to sell their homes.

'Horizon Tower owners are very concerned with the purchasers' lawyer's letter to sue them,' said the deputy chairman of the sales committee, Ms Doreen Siow.

'We are trying to protect the interests of individual home owners and are in discussions with our lawyers on how to proceed.'

Legal teams were locked in lengthy meetings with the sales committee yesterday trying to devise a response, which the buyers want delivered today.

The threat to sue is contained in a letter delivered on Monday demanding that the sellers extend the sale deadline - it is due to expire on Saturday - by four months.

This would allow a new sale application to be made to the Strata Titles Board (STB) - one without the procedural errors that caused the initial application to be axed last Friday.

The buyers - Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Qatar Investment Authority - also said the sellers could appeal to the High Court over the STB decision.

If the demands are not met, the buyers have threatened to sue for lost profits, estimated at between $800 million and $1 billion.

The STB dismissed the $500 million collective sale of the two 99-year leasehold blocks - comprising 199 apartments and 11 penthouses - on technical grounds, and not because of any merits in the case.

It said that 'statutory requirements' had not been met but did not elaborate.

Lawyers for the majority owners, Tan, Rajah & Cheah, have asked the STB for the reasons for its decision, in what has become the most contentious collective sale in years.

The deal struck in February eventually triggered protests from some owners, who felt the price was far too low.

Many owners were only too happy to see the deal fail even though they had earlier supported it because prime property prices have risen significantly since.

They cited the Grangeford estate next door, which was put up for sale a few months later with an asking price well above that achieved by Horizon Towers. Grangeford was sold last week at a level not far from its asking price.

Months of wrangling, meetings and ballooning legal costs led to last Friday's STB hearing.

The Horizon Towers case is highly unusual in that it is thought to be the first time that a buyer has threatened to sue the sellers.

It is also one of the few collective sales to be thrown out on technical grounds.

The wrangle is also striking for the number of top-flight legal eagles it has attracted.

HPL has Senior Counsel K.Shanmugam and Mr William Ong of Allen & Gledhill on its team.

Majority owners are represented by Senior Counsel Jimmy Yim of Drew & Napier and Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah of Tan, Rajah & Cheah.

Two small groups of objectors to the sale assigned Mr Kannan Ramesh, senior partner of Tan Kok Quan Partnership, and Mr Phillip Fong, senior partner of Harry Ellias Partnership.

A company that owns several units appointed Dr S.K.Phang, who then enlisted Senior Counsel Michael Hwang.

Pearlbank Apartments, Mitre Hotel Up For Sale

Source : The Business Times, 7 Aug 2007

PEARLBANK Apartments in the Chinatown area and Mitre Hotel off Killiney Road have been launched for sale.

And on Friday last week, MCL Land said it had bought Dynasty Garden Court 1 in Sixth Avenue for $80 million or $1,160 per square foot of land area. The freehold site is designated for three-storey mixed landed housing. The collective sale was brokered by Credo Real Estate.

Knight Frank says it expects at least $750 million for Pearlbank Apartments. This reflects a unit land price of $1,445 per sq ft of potential gross floor area including an estimated $137 million the developer will have to pay the state to restore the lease on the 82,376 sq ft site to 99 years from a balance of about 62.

In the Killiney Road area, the Mitre Hotel and a two-storey outhouse that sit on freehold land of 39,972 sq ft are expected to fetch about $200 million, or close to $1,800 psf per plot ratio, including an estimated $700,000 development charge.

Jones Lang LaSalle is marketing the property, which is being sold by public tender after a court order was made following a dispute among the Chiam family members who own it.

The site is zoned for residential use with a 2.8 plot ratio - the ratio of maximum potential gross floor area to land area - and a 10-storey height limit. The tender closes on Sept 12.

Pearlbank Apartments, next to Pearl’s Hill City Park, was built on land sold in 1969 under the Third Urban Redevelopment Authority Sale of Sites programme. It was the first all-housing project built on a URA land parcel.

The development has 280 apartments and eight commercial units. Knight Frank says owners representing more than 80 per cent of share values have signed the collective sale agreement. The project has an existing gross floor area (GFA) of 613,530 sq ft, equivalent to a 7.447 plot ratio - higher than the 7.2 designated for the site under Master Plan 2003.

Knight Frank’s price expectation of ‘at least $750 million’ is based on the assumption that the developer can retain the existing GFA in a new project.

‘Based on an average unit size of 1,200 sq ft, 500 new apartments can be built on the site,’ the firm says. Because of the site’s elevation, even lower-level units will have unblocked views of the city skyline, it adds.

Developers have until Sept 18 to submit offers.

Horizon Towers’ Failed Buyers Allege Breach Of Contract

Source : The Straits Times, 7 Aug 2007

In the wake of a scuppered Horizon Towers deal, the failed buyers have sent a letter to lawyers representing the majority owners who signed the original sales deal, alleging the sellers are in breach of contract.

The three joint buyers - Hotel Properties Limited, Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Qatar Investment Authority, the investment arm of the Gulf Arab state of Qatar - estimate their loss arising from the aborted deal to be in the region of $800 million to $1 billion.

Hotel Properties’ group executive director Christopher Lim confirmed yesterday that the letter had been sent to law firm Tan Rajah & Cheah.

The consortium of buyers are urging the sellers to consider alternative courses of action. These include extending the deadline for the sales option beyond this Saturday.

There is currently provision for the sales committee to extend the deadline by four months. This would enable a fresh application be filed with the Strata Titles Board.

The move is the latest twist in the contentious collective sale of Horizon Towers. The sale was aborted late last week after months of bitter wrangling between neighbours and lawyers.

Last Friday, the Strata Titles Board ruled in favour of the protesting minority owners of the two tower blocks in Leonie Hill, which were due to be sold for $500 million to the developers.

The ruling in favour of minority owners was the first such ruling in seven years, and came after the board decided that the proper sales procedures were not followed.

The saga began soon after the neighbouring Grangeford condominium was sold en bloc at a far higher asking price per sq ft than the price offered for Horizon Towers.

Unhappy Horizon Towers residents banded together to call an extraordinary general meeting to replace their sales committee. Several of the original members subsequently resigned.

UE Considers Retail Reit Backed By Malls

Source : The Straits Times, 7 Aug 2007

UNITED Engineers (UE) is mulling over starting a retail real estate investment trust (Reit) backed by malls in its new mixed development in one-north and UE Square.

Alternatively, it could sell the retail space of about 100,000 sq ft at the mixed development to an existing Reit or another party, its managing director and chief executive officer, Mr Jackson Yap, told The Straits Times yesterday.

UE Square is a mixed development with 78,737 sq ft of retail space.

He said this after the builder announced that it has sold all 366 homes at The Rochester, which is located at the same 99-year leasehold development as the one-north mall.

The residential units were sold at an average price of $1,300 per sq ft (psf), UE said in a statement yesterday. Prices ranged from $900 psf to about $1,600 psf.

The Rochester, designed by famed architect Paul Noritaka Tange of Tange Associates, is the second condominium to be marketed at the 200ha research hub one-north.

The first - the 405-unit One North Residences - was sold in March at $850 psf to $950 psf on average. Like the first condominium, The Rochester was bought mainly by locals. Its nine penthouses that come with private lap pools, however, were purchased mostly by foreigners, at $4 million to $8 million each.

UE’s one-north mixed development also consists of 125 service apartments and a 250-room hotel. The company last launched a residential project - at UE Square - more than a decade ago. But more will come, said Mr Yap.

For now, UE is focusing on its next project, a high-end one located at Balmoral Crescent.

It plans to launch and market this 40-unit development in Hong Kong and Jakarta at about $2,500 psf in October.

UE had tied up with Kajima Overseas Asia to buy the Balmoral site in a collective sale last August for $52 million or just $733 psf of potential gross floor area, inclusive of development charge