Friday, June 20, 2008

Government Releases Eight Confirmed Sites For Sale

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 19 June 2008

Capitol Centre at Stamford Road may be demolished to make way for a new hotel to meet demand for hotel rooms. The location is one of eight confirmed sites that have been released for sale, under the Government's Land Sales programme.

The Ministry of National Development also announced on Thursday that it will release enough land to potentially build nearly 8,000 private residential units, in the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, Capitol Building, Capitol Theatre as well as Stamford House have been gazetted for conservation. The Urban Redevelopment Authority said the sale of the site they are on, will not only facilitate the restoration of the conserved buildings, but also add vibrancy to the area.

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All in, a 1.45 hectare land parcel at the corner of North Bridge and Stamford Roads will be released under the confirmed list of the government land sales programme for the second half.

The successful bidder has the option to demolish Capitol Centre to build new and higher-yielding properties.

These include a 600-room hotel, which will increase the number of hotel rooms in the vicinity.

Analysts expect this site to generate a lot of interest.

Nicholas Mak, Director, Consultancy & Research, Knight Frank, said: “If you look at the entire area, I think it is located in a jewel of a location. The location is prime and is located very close to Raffles City, the MRT and has excellent exposure with potential re-development for one component of it, which is Capitol Centre. So, again there's a lot of imagination. It will certainly attract world class developers.

Another 100-room hotel is slated at a confirmed site at Bukit Chermin.

This is timed to coincide with the completion of the Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk in 2011.

Tay Huey Ying, Director, Research and Advisory, Colliers International, said: "This particular locality is going up very nicely into a tourist attraction as well as drawing more businesses and residents to this locality. I think the availability of this site in the GLS programme will probably generate a fair bit of interest because sites for hotel development in this locality is generally very limited."

She added that the four black and white bungalows would also add character and ambience to the hotel development.

Other sites up for sale are residential sites at Yio Chu Kang, Seletar Road, Sembawang Greenvale, New Upper Changi Road, Tanah Merah Kecil Avenue,
Punggol Field, Punggol Road which is marked for the building of executive condominiums

Although the site at Yio Chu Kang, Seletar Road will have commercial activities, property analysts are not expecting developers to bite

The latest programme also includes two new sites which will transform the Jurong Lake District and Kallang Riverside into a destination for work, life and play. - CNA/vm

Road Upgrading Project To Cut Travel Time From City To Northeast By 60%

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 19 June 2008

The massive road intersection between Serangoon and MacPherson Roads will be upgraded at a cost of 130 million Singapore dollars and will be completed in 2011.

The Woodsville Interchange is one of the busiest in Singapore. In each hour during peak periods, over 8,500 vehicles ply the four arterial roads that form the intersection. The roads are Serangoon, Upper Serangoon, Bendemeer and MacPherson Roads.

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As that’s close to full capacity, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it's time for an upgrade.

Over the next three years, LTA will build a series of road tunnels.

One will join Serangoon Road to Upper Serangoon Road. Another links Upper Serangoon Road to Bendemeer Road. A third connects MacPherson Road to Bendemeer Road.

The first two tunnels are two-lane roads and the third is a one-lane road.

There will also be a flyover from the PIE slip road to Kallang Way.

These improvements will raise vehicle capacity by 30 per cent and cut travelling time in the area by 60 per cent.

Other works include rebuilding and adding more pedestrian overhead bridges and bus-stops in the area.

This road project is said to be one of the most complex ever undertaken by the LTA. One reason is because the three vehicular tunnels are going to be constructed just five metres above the existing northeast MRT line. This means that if digging is not done properly, the entire area will be compromised.

LTA has said that safety will be paramount and the site will be monitored round-the-clock.

Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive, LTA, said: “We studied all the infrastructures, for example, at the major holding points for the PIE above ground. We also studied the types of soil conditions the different depths and orientations of the North-East Line tunnels, the other tunnels and the deep sewage tunnels.”

The LTA is aware of the inconveniences that come with construction of such scale.

So for the first time, it has set up a Project Community and Control Centre near the site to handle queries from those working and living nearby.

It's known as PC-cube and it will be open 9am to 5pm on weekdays. It will showcase the project's progress.

The centre will also monitor traffic flows at the interchange to ensure that traffic is moving at a satisfactory pace during the works. - CNA/vm

M'sian Builders Struggling To Cope With Higher Costs

Source : The Business Times, June 19, 2008

They'll try to pass on extra costs to buyers, but market already showing softening

WOULD-BE home buyers are keeping a close eye on new launches after Malaysian developers warned that construction costs will surge as much as a third because of hefty hikes in fuel and power charges.

But how much more can be squeezed out of buyers - given the segment was noticeably softer in the first quarter of the year - remains to be seen.

Regroup Associates managing director Allan Soo reckons developers will try to pass on the additional costs, but he is unsure whether buyers will bite. 'They'll try. But with today's climate and sentiment, it may be difficult to sell,' he says.

Regroup's Klang Valley Housing Property Monitor, which keeps track of the secondary market, showed a slight decline - even in prime areas. Compared with 2007, when foreigners lapped up many offerings, Mr Soo said this segment 'all but evaporated in the first quarter' of 2008.

Location is the key to whether developers can ask higher prices, says Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (REHDA) chairman Ng Seing Liong. According to him: 'Just because the cost of materials goes up does not mean the price of homes will also go up.'

After a flat first half, Mr Soo expects the outlook in the third quarter to remain uncertain, citing fuel price increases and political worries.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi could face a vote of 'no confidence' next Monday after threats by the small Sabah Progressive Party that its two Members of Parliament will back such a motion against the embattled premier, whose ruling National Front coalition did badly in the March general election.

Local demand has waned, said Mr Soo; it is price-sensitive now. Most developers will likely have to accept lower profits, and smaller ones without strong reserves may not survive the shake-up he sees coming.

Stronger developers are undaunted. In June, Sunrise completed a transaction that analysts place at close to RM180 million (S$76 million) for Wisma Angkasa Raya, on 0.63 hectare of freehold land.

This works out to some RM2,600-2,700 per square foot, given that it has to sell back some of the new space to the original owner at a discount.

The Malaysian developer paid a third more than the previous benchmark set by YTL group for real estate in the vicinity of the Petronas Twin Towers. But Sunrise's view from Wisma Angkasa Raya is quite unmatched: directly opposite the iconic towers.

In the popular Mont Kiara area, Bukit Kiara Properties plans to launch the third of four residential blocks of its high-end Verve Suites, which come completely furnished.

In March 2006, the first block was launched at an average RM570 psf, rising to RM650 in February last year when the second block was launched.

Management indicated that the third block would be priced 'substantially higher'. Industry executives say it is likely to be in the RM800- plus psf range, but expect it to sell well even then.

Although foreign buyers from traditional markets are more cautious now, new ones have emerged from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Russia, says Mr Soo. Koreans, many of whom have settled in Malaysia under the Malaysia My Second Home programme, remain positive about the country.

Another group still keen on Malaysian assets are institutional buyers, with 35 funds showing interest in a building that Regroup is now pitching.

Tycoon Sees Hard Landing For Developers In Russia

Source : The Business Times, June 19, 2008

Mikhail Prokhorov says he is looking to acquire distressed firms

(MOSCOW) Russia's property market, facing soaring materials and credit costs, risks a hard landing that could cause many developers to collapse, the country's fifth-richest man said yesterday.

Mr Prokhorov: Studying nine property projects worldwide, including an elite resort development in South-east Asia

In an interview with Kommersant newspaper, tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov said he was looking to acquire distressed companies and was studying nine property projects worldwide, including a big elite resort development in South-east Asia.

'Many (Russian) developers will collapse because of rising project costs and worsening access to capital markets. It will become possible to buy some firms,' he said, adding that firms with projects of over 500,000 square metres were most at risk.

Moscow has become the world's second-most expensive city after London, based on the price of a square metre, and many analysts say the rise could continue because the market depends little on mortgages and is driven by cash-rich buyers as the country enjoys record revenues from oil, gas and metals exports.

According to Reuters calculations, Mr Prokhorov is estimated to have around US$10 billion in cash after selling some companies following a split of assets with former business partner Vladimir Potanin.

Mr Prokhorov said he would also invest in elite property around the world. Lack of space and liquid assets are making investment difficult in Europe and more feasible in Asia.

'If you make elite property your only business, then you can get trapped because it is illiquid. But if it is a small division, in the area of US$1.5 billion, then it is OK and is also very convenient as collateral,' said Mr Prokhorov, estimated to be worth US$22.6 billion by US Forbes magazine.

'As part of diversification and to hedge risks I want to develop elite property projects. It will be a separate company,' said Mr Prokhorov, who is already a large shareholder in property developer Open Investments.

'One of the projects will be in South-east Asia. We are looking at a total of nine projects,' he added. -- Reuters

Property Transactions With Contract Dates Between 2nd - 7th June, 2008

Capital Inflow To Asian Real Estate To Climb

Source : The Business Times, 19 June 2008

Asian market being powered by longer-term investments: report

The ongoing credit crisis in the US and Europe has put pressure on a decade of sustained growth in global real estate but the inflow of capital to Asia's real estate market is accelerating, says a report.

The report - which was released yesterday by KPMG, the FTSE group and the Asian Public Real Estate Association (Aprea) - says that Asian real estate is being powered by a combination of opportunistic and increasingly longer-term investments, coming off the back of a prolonged period of steady growth. Returns in Asia are projected to remain higher than the global average for the coming year, according to the report.

Also, it says that that the slowdown in the US and European markets is unlikely to cause an immediate negative impact on Asia in 2008 - although banks will tighten credit policies, limiting financing options for real estate investments.

'Despite the current tightening of credit by banks, the deals will continue to happen, but they may take longer, the price may cost more and lead to a temporary slowing of the supply cycle,' says Andrew Weir, partner-in-charge of property and infrastructure for KPMG in China and Asia-Pacific.

However, the current sub-prime fallout elsewhere may well act as a catalyst for the inevitable further development of Asia-Pacific as a centre of property and investment management, he adds.

According to the report, total investment in the region has continued to increase, growing by over 27% in 2007 to reach US$121 billion.

Within the region, Japan remains a dominant force, not only accounting for half of last year's real estate transactions but also experiencing the strongest growth. China also grabbed a number of headlines last year as it continued to produce attractive returns for investors.

Looking ahead, Japan continues to be viewed as an attractive market to look into, particularly for the lower-risk investor, while analysts still view China as a popular place to look at as large volumes of capital chase more limited investible stock, the report said.

Real estate funds remain the dominant source of capital for real estate investments in Asia into 2008, KPMG, FTSE and Aprea observe.

The proliferation of single-market high-return funds such as those based on China and Vietnam continue to service the needs of the short-term speculative investor. But long-term funds are generally taking a 'wait and see' approach following the dampened sentiment in US markets, the report said.

It also notes that the potential for new real estate investment trust (Reit) listings is being affected by the dull market sentiment.

Work Begins On $130m Woodsville Interchange

Source : The Business Times, June 20, 2008

To be completed in 2011, it has flyover and 3 road tunnels

CONSTRUCTION of the $130 million Woodsville Interchange began yesterday with a groundbreaking ceremony at Serangoon Road near the former Serangoon fire station.

The new interchange is the largest and most expensive road upgrading project that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is undertaking. When completed in end-2011, it will feature three road tunnels and a flyover to seamlessly connect Serangoon Road, Bendemeer Road, Upper Serangoon Road and Macpherson Road.

Road works: The Woodsville project is complex because of its proximity to the PIE flyover, the North-east MRT Line tunnels and the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System

These four roads and their connecting slip roads to and from the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) make up the Woodsville Interchange - a key artery linking the north-east sector to the city but whose current peak hour traffic volumes are close to capacity.

The groundbreaking ceremony was officiated by LTA chairman Michael Lim, who called the project one of the most complex that the authority has undertaken to date because of its close proximity to the existing PIE flyover, the North-east MRT Line tunnels and the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System.

'We are operating at four levels - viaduct, surface road, tunnel and MRT - making for a truly complicated effort,' he said.

The work includes the construction of a two-lane vehicular tunnel from Serangoon Road to Upper Serangoon Road; a two-lane vehicular tunnel from Upper Serangoon Road to Bendemeer Road; a one-lane vehicular tunnel from Macpherson Road to Bendemeer Road; and a one-lane flyover from the PIE slip road to Kallang Way.

In addition, the existing road junction will be reconfigured to improve the overall traffic flow.

'When this massive project is finished in 2011, the result will be a much improved traffic situation,' said Mr Lim.

'But I wouldn't be telling you the whole story if I did not also advise that this project will come with some temporary disruptions.'

To that, LTA chief executive Yam Ah Mee added: 'As outlined in our Land Transport Master Plan, we have lined up a series of infrastructural developments to the road network over the next 10 years.'

He said that 'to bring these developments to fruition in our heavily built-up environment, we may have to tolerate some inconveniences, even with our best efforts to keep them to a minimum'.

CDL Sells Commerce Point For $2,200 PSF

Source : The Business Times, June 20, 2008

Morley Fund Management said to be paying $181m for 19-storey building

CITY Developments Ltd (CDL) is believed to have sold the 19-storey Commerce Point near Raffles Place MRT Station for about $181 million or $2,200 psf of net lettable area. The buyer is said to be Morley Fund Management, part of the Aviva group.

The $2,200 psf achieved is lower than the $2,736 psf fetched for One Phillip Street next door in February. Both buildings are 999-year leasehold.

Industry observers attribute the lower price to greater caution in the Singapore office market. Arguably, One Phillip Street has a more prominent frontage, at the corner of Phillip and Chulia streets. 'Perhaps CDL sees an office glut building up in future and does not mind selling a fairly peripheral asset in its office portfolio,' an observer said.

BT understands that Jones Lang LaSalle brokered the Commerce Point sale. The building, completed about 10 years ago, has a total net lettable area of 82,160 sq ft.

It is the second office block that Singapore's Hong Leong Group, parent of CDL, has sold in the past 12 months. In June last year, Hong Leong sold the freehold 1 Finlayson Green for about $231 million or $2,650 psf based on its existing net lettable area of about 86,500 sq ft. The buyer was a unit of UK-based property fund group Develica.

Develica has since refurbished the building for $2 million and increased net lettable area by 7 per cent by leasing to one tenant per floor. Seller Hong Leong is understood to have deliberately kept the building roughly half vacant when it sold it, to allow the new owner to tap rising office rents as it signs new leases. Develica is said to be leasing space in the building at a monthly rent of about $13 to $16 psf.

1 Finlayson Green is more than 80 per cent leased and negotiations are taking place to lease the rest of the space.

Back on Phillip Street, Lippo unit Auric Pacific sold One Phillip St to UK-based New Star International Property Fund for $99.02 million or $2,736 psf of NLA in February this year. That price was about 2.6 times the $37.6 million Auric paid for the 16-storey building about two years earlier when it bought it from Kewalram Group. Interestingly, Kewalram bought One Phillip Street from Lippo in early 1996 for $76.8 million.

F1 Hotels Still Have Lots Of Room

Source : The Straits Times, June 20, 2008

Trackside hotels: Only one out of 11 checked is fully booked

Non-trackside hotels: Some are less than half-full for race period

Rates lowered: Expect to pay about $200 to $500 less

SINGAPORE plays host to the first Formula One Grand Prix night race in just three months, but hotel rooms are not filling up as quickly as expected.

Yesterday, a Straits Times check with 11 hotels alongside the downtown track showed just one, the 507-room Conrad Centennial Singapore, already booked up.

A survey of 10 other non-trackside hotels showed that there are plenty of rooms still available, with some major establishments less than half-full for days around the Sept 26-28 race.

Hotels were banking on big profits during the Grand Prix, which is expected to draw up to 100,000 visitors and add from $100 million to $150 million to tourism coffers.

An industry player, who declined to be named, said that the latest reservation numbers are a let-down.

'The big demand surge that hoteliers expected never quite materialised,' said the player.

To deal with the weak demand, hotels appear to be dropping their prices. The Straits Times understands that average room rates have fallen from over $1,500 a night to around $1,300 for trackside hotels.

For others, the range has moved from between $550 and $1,500 to between $350 and $1,000.

One chain, which declined to be named, said that rates have been lowered by 30 to 35 per cent.

Meanwhile, some hotels are adding perks, like a free breakfast, to attract guests. Royal Plaza on Scotts, which is about 45 per cent full, is throwing in free shuttle services to the race site as part of its $960-a-night package.

Others have lowered the minimum number of nights guests have to stay.

'People are being more flexible and realistic. They are looking at the demand and supply issue,' said Grand Mercure Roxy's general manager Kevin Bossino.

Previously, expectations were high. But now, faced with empty rooms to fill, hotels may adopt other strategies, he said.

Those in the tourism trade pin the blame for the relatively low take-up on the high hotel room rates. In turn, hoteliers finger the levy imposed by the Government as the reason behind their prices.

Trackside hotels have to pay 30 per cent tax on their room revenue for the five nights surrounding the race and non-trackside hotels will have to fork out 20 per cent.

However, a report on other F1 host cities suggests that there is no need to be overly concerned about the slow take-up rate.

Last September, hotel revenue management consultancy Integrated Decisions & Systems International released a study of Grand Prix weekends in Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne. It showed that bookings can come in as late as 30 days before guests arrive.

Its director of services, Mr Klaus Kohlmayr, said that Singapore hotels have nothing to worry about yet.

Still, many are far from reassured. Hoteliers are worried that there will be a replay of 2006's International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings where over a third of the 11,000 rooms reserved for overseas delegates were unsold.

A hotelier who declined to be named gloomily predicted: 'I think there will be a repeat.'

Capitol Site And Two New Growth Areas Up For Sale

Source : The Straits Times, June 20, 2008

They are among 40 sites across Singapore to be offered in second half of the year

THE iconic Capitol Theatre, Singapore's first cinema, and nearby century-old Stamford House finally have a chance for a new lease of life.

The Government yesterday announced that it will sell the huge 1.45ha prime site housing these historic buildings in December. Any development must include a hotel.

It is also offering developers the first sites in the new growth areas of Jurong and Kallang as part of its half-yearly release of land for sale.

Altogether, 40 sites across Singapore will be offered in the second half of this year.

The North Bridge Road plot featuring the Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building, Stamford House and Capitol Centre is one of eight confirmed sites.

That means these sites go on sale while the rest, on a reserve list, do so subject to pre-sale interest from developers.

The Ministry of National Development said in a statement yesterday: 'The sale of the site will facilitate the restoration of the conserved buildings and add vibrancy to the area through the introduction of new entertainment, retail and hotel uses.'

The successful developer may demolish Capitol Centre but will have to keep the other three, which have all been gazetted for conservation.

The neo-classical-style Stamford House, boasting the same designer as Raffles Hotel, was built in 1904; Capitol Theatre in 1929; and Capitol Building, previously known as Shaw Building, in 1933.

As well as being Singapore's first cinema, the Capitol Theatre featured top-line cabaret performances over the years and was even a food depot in World War II.

The four buildings currently have about 250 retail and office tenants, most of whom will move out by next May.

The site, which can accommodate 600 hotel rooms, is arguably the choicest of those on offer, but the conservation requirements could lift costs, consultants said.

'Although this site may attract keen competition, the higher risk associated with undertaking such conservation projects may affect the tender bids,' said Colliers International's director of research and advisory Tay Huey Ying.

In line with recently announced plans to transform the Jurong Lake District and the Kallang Riverside, the Government is offering sites in these areas.

In Jurong East, it will release a new site in November to help kick-start the development of the commercial hub at Jurong Gateway.

A hotel site at Kallang River with a beachfront location will also be offered. Both are on the reserve list.

One unusual site is a confirmed hotel plot at Bukit Chermin Road, which comprises four black-and- white bungalows set in hilly terrain.

Property consultants highlighted the smaller number of confirmed sites, particularly residential ones.

There are 32 reserve-list sites and eight confirmed ones, compared with 26 reserve and 11 confirmed sites in the first half.

'This system would be preferred by developers as it would give a more accurate gauge of what true demand is,' said Jones Lang LaSalle's managing director (South-east Asia) Chris Fossick.

Choice GLS Sites Could Still Generate Interest

Source : The Business Times, June 20, 2008

Market conditions may lead to more developers bidding 'opportunistically', says Chesterton

The Government Land Sales (GLS) programme for H2 2008 has been released, with several new choice sites identified, including those at Dakota Crescent and Serangoon Avenue 3. And with land prices expected to be more attractive, the momentum of land sales could still be maintained.

While no sites on the reserve list were triggered from the H1 2008 GLS programme, four non-landed sites on the confirmed list were sold, with a further two sites tendered and pending award.

And compared with the eight sites that were awarded from the H2 2007 GLS programme, of which five were from the confirmed list, it would appear that the global economic slowdown has not stopped developers from buying land, as long as the price is right.

For the H1 2008 GLS programme, a site at Choa Chu Kang Drive was awarded to the highest bidder with a bid of $203 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), even though market expectations were higher at between $230 and $270 psf ppr.

Chesterton International head of research and consultancy Colin Tan believes that current market conditions could lead to more developers bidding 'opportunistically'.

So far, a site at Choa Chu Kang Road was not awarded this year because the top bid of $162.40 psf ppr was considered too low. Also this year, a landed housing site at Westwood Avenue was not awarded for similar reason.

But pinpointing the bottom in terms of property prices will not be easy. Mr Tan said: 'Prices are weakening but not in a great way because the volume is low.'

Mr Tan reckons that apart from the sites mentioned, the site at New Upper Changi Road also looks attractive, not least because it has been carried over from the previous reserve list and is now on the confirmed list.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) also revealed how keen it is to sell the site when it said in a statement yesterday that the sale of the site 'will expedite the development of land around the (nearby) Rapid Transit System station(s) and help to increase the ridership catchment for the rail system'.

Knight Frank estimates that this site could eventually fetch bids of between $240 and $280 psf ppr.

Interestingly, the URA also demonstrated that it was prepared to expedite the sale of sites when it repackaged a reserve list site on Yio Chu Kang Road and put it on the confirmed list after saying it had 'received market feedback that a larger residential site with a small component of commercial space is more attractive than the original smaller commercial and residential site with a limited number of residential units'.

The forthcoming site at Dakota Crescent, which is expected to be available in November, is likely to receive a lot of interest too, especially as it is close to the new urban hot spot - Kallang Riverside - as identified in the Draft Master Plan 2008.

It is also next to Dakota Residences, which is being built on a GLS site that was awarded in June 2007 for $524 psf ppr.

Saying that there could be an investment opportunity here, Knight Frank director (research and consultancy) Nicholas Mak said that given the current market conditions, the new Dakota Crescent site (from GLS H2 2008) will likely be lower compared with the land price for Dakota Residences.

Interestingly, Mr Mak said that the profit margins need not necessarily be slimmer now. 'The market could pick up over the next two years. Developers may also be factoring in a higher profit margin to compensate for the higher risks today.'

Also favouring the Dakota Crescent site as a 'top pick' is Savills Singapore director (marketing and business development) Ku Swee Yong, who believes that bids for the site when it is launched eventually could be between $350 and $400 psf ppr.

'Given the current market conditions, developers are prepared to err on the side of caution,' he added.

However, Mr Ku did also pointed out that much will depend on how well Dakota Residences does when it is launched soon. The indicative launch price is said to be around $950 psf.

Another plum site is a white site at Jurong East Street 13, in what is expected to be a new sub-metropolitan centre called Jurong Gateway.

The site can yield an estimated 385 residential units, but the URA has also stipulated that 63,840 square metres of space must be set aside for commercial use.

Developers Get More Wriggle Room With H2 Land Sales

Source : The Business Times, June 20, 2008

Latest slate sees sharp cut in supply from confirmed list, while that from the reserve list is up

The government yesterday effectively delivered a sharp cut in state land sales that should give some relief to the current soft property market. Supply from the confirmed list of the Ministry of National Development's (MND) H2 2008 land sales programme is less than half that in H1.

Although the supply on the H2 reserve list has been increased so that the total on both lists is about the same as in H1, market watchers reckoned that it is a fair bet that not many reserve list sites will be triggered for release.

Not one reserve list site in H1 has so far drawn a successful application by a developer. In the face of weak home sales, developers held back from applying for reserve sites. Tight financing for property and a construction bottleneck could see them continue to hold back in H2.

'With most sites in the Government Land Sales Programme on the reserve list, the government will allow the market to activate supply in accordance with actual demand,' the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said when queried about the latest programme.

Agreeing, CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho said: 'Given the uncertainty in the wider market and the global economy, the government appears to be responding to feedback by allowing developers to decide the pace of development through the reserve list.'

In all, MND is offering 40 sites in H2. Eight are on the confirmed list, down from 11 in H1, and 32 are on the reserve list, up from 26.

The latest confirmed list will yield about 1,120 private homes, 50,000 square metres of gross floor area (GFA) of commercial space and 700 hotel rooms. This is less than half the H1 confirmed list supply of 3,000 private homes, 176,581 sq m of commercial GFA and 1,670 hotel rooms.

The overall H2 programme will generate 7,960 private homes, 400,000 sq m of commercial GFA and 5,750 hotel rooms.

This is similar to the H1 quantum - 8,250 private homes, 436,581 sq m of commercial GFA and 5,850 hotel rooms.

'The government is mindful of current market conditions,' said DTZ executive director Ong Choon Fah. 'They've announced a very measured programme, so as not to upset the market.'

However, one area of concern is MND's decision to release another two 15-year leasehold transitional office sites through the confirmed list - at Mohamed Sultan and Mountbatten roads. Market watchers are concerned that the completion of developments on further transitional sites will come closer and closer to the completion of major office projects such as Marina Bay Financial Centre, 50 Collyer Quay and Ocean Financial Centre.

URA, however, said that it has received market feedback that there is demand for transitional office sites from businesses that need office space urgently but not a city centre location.

The two plots are among 13 new sites MND is offering on its H2 slate of 40 plots. A plum new site comprises the existing Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building, Stamford House (all gazetted for conservation) and Capitol Centre, which may be torn down and redeveloped. A minimum quantum for hotel use will be stipulated. Another choice new site on the confirmed list is a hotel plot on Bukit Chermin Road next to Keppel Club. The three hectare site includes four black-and-white bungalows on hilly terrain. 'The sale of this site for hotel development is timed to coincide with the completion of the Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk nearby in 2011,' MND said.

It is also offering subdivided landed housing plots under the third phase of Sembawang Greenvale.

New plots on the reserve list include a white site next to Jurong East MRT Station, which will have a minimum office component and could also generate about 385 homes, and two hotel sites - one a beachfront plot along Kallang River and the other on Short Street in the Selegie area. Several new condo sites are also on the reserve list - including one next to Lorong Chuan MRT Station and another next to the Dakota Residences project, which will be previewed tomorrow.

MND also highlighted additional sources of space that the government will make available in H2 2008 - including about 143,000 sq m GFA of commercial space from sources such as interim use of vacant state buildings and small land parcels for commercial use; retail space at the mixed-used development at Lavender Street by JTC Corp; about 240 hotel rooms; and 20 private homes.

Giving an update on the supply pipeline, MND said that about 1.11 million sq m of GFA of office space, 435,000 sq m of business park space, 565,000 sq m of shop space and 11,161 hotel rooms are scheduled for completion between Q2 2008 and 2011.

In the private residential sector, some 56,500 new private homes are expected to be ready between Q2 2008 and 2011, of which 23,300 are in the Core Central Region.

Fewer Confirmed Govt Sites Put Up For Sale

Source : The Straits Times, June 20, 2008

Only eight sites for outright sale; move follows poor sales in first half of year

THE Government is cutting back on the number of development sites being released for outright sale over the next six months.

The move follows poor sales of the 37 sites that have been available since the start of the year.

Only five sites on the confirmed list have been sold while four other plots have yet to be sold or launched.

None of the 26 sites on the reserve list has been put up for tender. These sites go on sale only if a developer makes a minimum bid.

The Government decided not to award one residential site as the bids were too low, and it withdrew an unsold hotel plot in Race Course Road after it failed to attract an offer.

CBRE Research executive director Li Hiaw Ho said: 'Given the (economic) uncertainty, the Government appears to be responding to feedback by allowing developers to decide on the pace of development through the reserve list.'

Even with the reduced number of new sites for the second half, developers will still have a wide choice.

In addition to the 13 new sites, there will be 27 carried over from the first half of the year. Of this batch of 40 plots, eight are on the confirmed list, with the rest on reserve.

'The existing supply is more than adequate to meet the market's medium-term needs and to address the Government's concern about supply,' said a developer.

'In such a volatile and uncertain market, force-feeding the market with a large, confirmed list may create opportunistic bids that are not indicative of true values.'

Chesterton International's head of research and consultancy, Mr Colin Tan, said the Government is forcing developers to be more reasonable with their pricing by pushing out sites on the confirmed list.

'While the overall numbers do suggest there is a good chance of a glut occurring, there are also pockets of pent-up residential demand, especially among owner-occupiers.'

If all the residential sites stay on the reserve list, developers can opt not to bid. But with no cheaper alternatives in the pipeline, homebuyers may have to stretch themselves and fork out the premiums demanded by developers, said Mr Tan.

There are 21 residential sites for sale, similar to the first six months, but just four are on the confirmed list. There were eight in the first half of the year.

There are some prime sites on the reserve list, including at Serangoon Avenue and Dakota Crescent, which are near new MRT stations.

Ms Tay Huey Ying of Colliers International said: 'Despite the attractiveness of these sites, they may not be triggered for sale in view of the subdued sentiment.'

But Mr Nicholas Mak, Knight Frank's director of research and consultancy, said the reserve list sites will help to ensure flexibility in the sales programme if the market picks up later this year.

13 New Sites Added To Government Land Sales Programme For H2

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 19 June 2008

The Ministry of National Development (MND) on Thursday announced the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme for the second half of 2008.

Under the latest programme, two new sites will transform the Jurong Lake District and Kallang Riverside into a destination for work, life and play.

And as part of the government's drive to open new growth areas, a new white site at Jurong East St 13 has been set aside to kickstart the development of a commercial hub at Jurong Gateway.

In total, 13 new sites have been added to the land sales programme. These comprise six residential, three commercial, three hotels and one white.

26 unsold sites from the first half of 2008 and one unsold site from the second half of 2007 will be carried over to the second half land sales programme.

This means there are 40 sites in total for sale in the second half. These comprise 21 residential sites that can yield about 7,960 private residential units, six commercial sites which make up 400,000 square metres gross floor area, 11 hotel sites that can produce 5,750 hotel rooms and two white sites.

Eight sites will be sold under the confirmed list - of which six are new and two are carried over. The six new ones include three commercial sites which are the existing Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building, Stamford House and Capitol Centre.

Both Capitol Building and Stamford House have been gazetted for conservation. The other commercial sites are at Mohamad Sultan Road and Mountbatten Road.

Meanwhile, two new residential sites have been released at Yio Chu Kang Road and Sembawang Greenvale. There is also a confirmed hotel site at Bukit Chermin Road.

A total of 32 sites will be placed on the reserve list for the second half of this year. Seven are new while 24 were carried over. The reserve list includes two hotel sites at Kallang River and Short Street.

MND said this will provide flexibility for the market to adjust the supply to meet the demand. - CNA/vm/ac

Govt Offers Fewer Confirmed Sale Sites In Uncertain Mkt

Source : The Straits Times, June 19, 2008

THE Government is cutting back on the number of development sites being releasing for outright sale over the next six months.

Its move follows poor sales of the 37 sites that have been available since the start of the this year.

Only five sites on the confirmed list have been sold while four other plots on this list have yet to be sold or launched.

None of the 26 sites on the reserve list have been triggered for tender.

These sites go on sale only if a developer makes a minimum bid.

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

房地产市场疲弱 政府下半年减少售地

《联合早报》Jun 20, 2008

环球经济前景不明朗,我国房地产市场疲弱,近期几幅政府售地反应不理想,为避免市场“消化不良”,政府计划减少发售新地段,把更多地段列入备售名单(reserve list)。

在今年下半年的政府售地计划,政府计划发售八幅正选地段(confirmed list),为市场增添约1120个私宅单位、5万平方公尺的商业楼面,以及700间酒店客房。








莱坊(Knight Frank)研究部主管麦俊荣指出,政府考虑到目前的市场情况减少即时供应是审慎的做法,有助于缓和供应过剩的顾虑,而把更多地段列入备售名单则能让售地计划变得更灵活,如果市场在下半年恢复,不会出现供不应求的情况。




高力(Colliers)国际研究部主管郑惠匀则表示,在正选名单上的地段都“具战略意义”,能应付我国长期发展的需求,列入备售名单的新地段也非常具吸引力,尤其是裕廊13街的白色地段,是裕廊商业区的第一个项目,而实龙岗三道和达歌打弯(Dakota Crescent)的私宅地段,非常靠近地铁站。不过,基于目前低迷的市场情绪,郑惠匀认为它们被“勾”出的机会不大。

除了减少推出新地段外,市建局也宣布将于跑马埔路(Race Course Rd)和武吉知马路交界处,从售地计划中的正选名单中抽出来。这幅位于小印度地铁站上方的酒店地段,上个月截止招标时,连一份投标书也没有收到,跌破市场人士的眼镜。该局最近一次从备售名单中抽出地段是在去年10月。