Friday, December 19, 2008

Property Auctions Of $83.7m At 11-Year Low

Source : The Business Times, December 19, 2008

WITH the last two property auctions for the year concluded this week, the final tally of the value of properties sold at auctions in 2008 is $83.7 million - the lowest in 11 years, according to Colliers International.

This year's figure is 79 per cent below last year's number of $407.4 million and 38 per cent less than the $135.7 million plumbed in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis.

Colliers pointed out that the 2008 auction sales value of $83.7 million was worse than two trough points reached in 2001 and 2004, when auction sale values dropped to $160.5 million and $155.4 million, respectively.

All property sectors experienced a decline in their total sales value at auctions in 2008, with the residential sector registering the biggest drop of 88 per cent to $25.2 million from $202.4 million in 2007.

This decline was marked by a plunge in activity in the high-end residential segment in 2008. The year saw just three prime district properties worth a total $4.62 million changing hands at auctions - against 24 properties that sold for $106.1 million at auctions in 2007. In contrast, mass market and mid-tier properties dominated the list of of residential properties sold under the hammer this year.

Colliers' deputy managing director and auctioneer Grace Ng attributed the drop in auctions sales this year to cautious buying sentiment amid the worsening economic outlook. 'Additionally, sellers are also holding on to their asking price. This resulted in a stalemate between buyers and sellers, contributing to the decline in sales value,' she added.

She predicts an increase in mortgagee sale properties at auctions next year against the backdrop of worsening economic outlook and expected rise in unemployment.

This could lead to a potential rise in loan default rates and raise the number of forced sales.

Rival property consultancy Knight Frank projects an increase in the number of properties offered for auction next year as there could be some investors who bought their properties with the deferred payment scheme and would need to sell their properties quickly as the completion dates draw nearer.

New Yishun HDB Flats Up For Grabs At Below-Market Resale Prices

Source : The Business Times, December 19, 2008

THE Housing and Development Board (HDB) has launched Dew Spring @ Yishun where a good number of units are smaller two and three-room flats.

Prices range from $76,000 to $90,000 for each of the 144 two-bedroom flats.

There are 216 three- room flats and these have been priced at $120,000 to $146,000. HDB says that prices of nearby resale flats (which are about 20 years old) are about $175,000 to $180,000 (on a pro-rated basis with units of the same 65 square metre size).

As such, HDB has priced the three-room flats at about 20 to 30 per cent less than comparable resale prices.

There are 504 four- room flats and these have been priced between $197,000 and $238,000.

HDB says that resale prices are between $225,000 and $257,000 (on a pro-rated basis with units of the same 90 sq m size) for the four-room flats nearby. As such, Dew Spring four-room flats are about 7-12 per cent cheaper.

HDB did not have comparable resale prices for two-room flats.

The board said that in pricing new flats, it considers several factors such as location, individual attributes of the flats, design of the project and the prevailing market conditions.

'To ensure public housing is affordable for first- time home buyers, new HDB flats are priced below their equivalent market prices,' it added.

Including Dew Spring, HDB has launched a total of 883 units of two-room and three-room flats this year and plans to launch another 100 smaller flats soon. It also plans to offer about 4,000 smaller units over the next two years.

The launch of Dew Spring follows National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan's announcement in Parliament on Nov 18 that lower-income families and those who need to downgrade to smaller flats can look forward to a steady supply of smaller flats.

PropNex chief executive officer Mohamed Ismail believes that HDB's launch of the smaller units is timely, considering the 'current economic uncertainty'.

He added: 'These flats are priced very attractively. The smaller units are actually going at below $200 psf, which is very much below the median resale prices for that area in the last quarter.'

As the units are situated not far from a golf course and a reservoir, Mr Ismail expects an oversubscription for these units of about four times.

HDB has so far launched 6,600 units under its Build- to-Order system in 2008. It plans to launch another 1,180 units by the end of the year.

Global Economy To Contract 0.4% In 2009: IIF

Source : The Business Times, December 19, 2008

WASHINGTON - The global economy likely will contract next year for the first time in decades as the credit crunch bites, leaving the financial sector on life support, an international banking group said on Thursday.

Charles Dallara, the managing director of the IIF said that the weakening of economic activity and intense financial market strains are feeding on each other and are reinforced by the global synchronization of the slowdown

The Institute of International Finance (IIF), a Washington-based association representing more than 375 of the world's major banks and financial institutions, projected the world economy would shrink 0.4 per cent in 2009, after a 2.0 per cent gain this year.

'It should be emphasized that an overall contraction in the global economy is a truly weak outcome, and the first time this has happened in the post-1960 period,' the IIF said in its monthly Global Economic Monitor report.

Charles Dallara, the managing director of the IIF, called it 'the most severe, globally synchronized recession in modern economic history.' He said the economy was mired in a negative feedback loop.

'The weakening of economic activity and intense financial market strains are feeding on each other and are reinforced by the global synchronization of the slowdown,' the IIF head said.

Philip Suttle, the IIF macroeconomic analysis director, said that data as far back as the early 1950s do not show a contraction in the world economy.

The IIF said that the mature economies already gripped in recession - the United States, the 15-nation eurozone and Japan - would contract a hefty 1.4 per cent amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Those advanced economies were seen growing a mere 0.9 per cent this year as the global credit crunch that erupted in August 2007 flared in mid-September with the collapse of Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers.

The US economy, the world's largest and the epicentre of the financial tsunami, would shrink 1.3 per cent in 2009 after growth of 1.2 per cent this year, according to the IIF projections.

The eurozone would contract more sharply, by 1.5 per cent from 0.9 per cent growth, and Japan would shrink 1.2 per cent after zero growth.

The sharpest markdown was for the emerging economies, including powerhouses China, India, Brazil and Russia.

Those engines of global growth had resisted the impact of the credit crunch gripping the advanced economies until the mid-September financial firestorm, the IIF said.

The IIF forecasted economic growth in emerging markets would brake to 3.1 per cent in 2009 after a 5.9 per cent gain this year.

'Emerging Asian growth has slowed sharply, but should hold up better than in other regions,' it said.

China's growth would drop to 6.5 per cent in 2009 from 9.3 per cent this year and 11.9 per cent in 2007, while India's deceleration would be less steep, to 5.0 per cent from 6.2 per cent.

The IIF said 'particularly weak growth' was forecast for central, eastern and southern Europe, with economic output of just 0.3 per cent likely for 2009 after 4.5 per cent in 2008.

Since the start of 2007, the reported losses at financial institutions has topped US$1 trillion, the IIF said. Institutions have raised about US$930 billion since mid-2007, with more than one third coming from the public sector.

Hung Tran, head of the IIF's capital markets and emerging market policy department, warned that those losses would increase amid the economic slowdown.

'The weakening economy will increase credit losses, continuing to put pressure on bank capital. This underscores the point that capital injection alone will not be sufficient to strengthen the banking system until the economy and financial markets stabilise,' Mr Tran said.

Mr Dallara recommended measures including the purchase of troubled assets and relief of credit bottlenecks, and said an increasing number of financial institutions were making progress in reforming operations to address the exposed problems.

But he said actions by central banks to cut rates aggressively and take other steps to get credit flowing will help foster a recovery.

'We trust that coherent fiscal and monetary policies throughout Europe and in Japan will play their full parts in restoring conditions conducive to the resumption of sustained global growth,' he said. -- AFP

URA Releases Data Of Private Homes Sold Under DPS

Source : The Business Times, December 19, 2008

Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday released information of private homes sold under the Deferred Payment Scheme (DPS).

A total 10,450 units in uncompleted projects were still under the DPS as at Nov 30, 2008.

'This number may change over time as the developers may not extend the scheme to sub-purchasers when the original purchasers sub-sell the units. It also depends on whether the buyers of the remaining units that are not launched or sold yet are offered the DPS or choose to take up the scheme private homes sold in uncompleted projects,' URA said in its release.

URA also gave a breakdown of the 10,450 units still under DPS by three geographical locations and expected year of completion. Some 413 units are expected to be completed by the end of this month. The bulk of the stock, or 4,560 units, is slated for completion in 2009, followed by 2,540 units in 2010.

Ascendas-Frasers Centrepoint JV Clinches Site In Changi Business Pk

Source : The Business Times, December 19, 2008

A joint venture between Frasers Centrepoint and Ascendas has clinched a 60-year leasehold site next to Expo MRT Station on which they will build a retail, hotel and business park project.

The 4.7-hectare site is located within Changi Business Park (CBP). The tender for the plot was launched in June this year. It was the first time developers were invited to submit proposals to design, build and operate a mixed use development in CBP.

The tender was conducted by JTC Corporation.

Groundbreaking for the project is expected by June 2009.

Ascendas president and CEO Chong Siak Ching said: 'This project will set a new benchmark for business parks in Singapore. When completed, we fully expect the development to inject a fresh vibrancy to the area and offer a unique alternative to companies seeking high quality business space outside the Central Business District.'

Sale Of Kallang River Hotel Plot Delayed

Source : The Business Times, December 19, 2008

URA says release of the site will be deferred to June 2009

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has deferred the release of a hotel site along Kallang River from this month to June 2009. The site was originally due to be made available for December 2008, as part of the government's plans to transform the Kallang Riverside into a waterfront lifestyle precinct by the edge of the city.

'URA is currently working with other agencies to finalise the detailed planning and development conditions of the Kallang River site to relate to the broader plans for Kallang Riverside and, as more time is needed, the release of this site at Kallang River on the reserve list will be deferred to June 2009,' the agency said yesterday.

The deferment 'makes sense' as the site is unlikely to be triggered in the current market conditions even if it is made available, market watchers said.

URA also announced yesterday that a commercial site at the corner of Stamford Road and North Bridge Road is now open for application under the reserve list system.

The site contains three historical buildings - Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building and Stamford House - that are to be retained and restored for use. The Capitol Theatre, for one, is required to be restored into an arts orentertainment-related performance venue, said URA.

And to strengthen the hotel cluster in the area, the developer of the site will be required to develop a minimum of 40 per cent of the total gross floor area (GFA) for hotel use as well.

Analysts said that the site is unlikely to see interest anytime soon. 'This is an irreplaceable site in terms of its location and heritage value but the timing may be inappropriate to realise its full potential,' said Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore.

'I don't think the site will be triggered in the next six months,' said Nicholas Mak, director of research and consultancy at Knight Frank.

Other than the poor economic outlook, potential bidders are also likely to be deterred by a few other factors, he said. For one, the conservation element might put off some developers. Others are likely to be deterred by the fact that some of the GFA has to be devoted to hotel use.

Developers are also not too keen on the 'two envelope' system, under which the site is being sold, Mr Mak said. Under such a system, the government first picks out developers whose concepts gel with its vision, then awards the site to the highest bidder.

Analysts also expressed concern that if the government keeps releasing sites on the reserve list, there could soon be too many sites on the list.

4,000 Smaller HDB Flats Coming Up

Source : The Strait Times, Dec 19, 2008

SMALLER flats are making a comeback, with the Housing Board (HDB) ramping up supply to around 4,000 over the next two years to meet surging demand.

It marks a dramatic turnaround for a style of flat that had not been been built for about 20 years.

Next year 2,000 three-room and smaller flats will be built, almost double the amount put up this year, with a further 2000 earmarked for 2010.

The HDB move will mean a steady supply of smaller flats for lower income families and homeowners who need to downgrade amid grimmer economic times.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan flagged the strategy in Parliament last month.

HDB deputy chief executive Tan Poh Hong said yesterday that the board has revived smaller flats on a large scale as 'there are are more people who will need to downgrade, as well as first-timer families who would also like to start with smaller flats to be financially prudent'.

Analysts anticipate a good take-up as 'difficult economic conditions' encourage homebuyers to 'start small'.

Buyers like nurse Liu Li, 29, a home-hunter on the look-out for such affordable flats, said: 'A bigger pool of new, small flats will widen choices for first-timers like me.'

Prices will start from as low as $76,000 for the new small units.

The HDB stopped building two- and three-roomers in the 1980s as growing families fuelled demand for bigger flats.

But they were re-introduced in 2004 and two years ago, the HDB said it would resume building two-roomers to meet increasing demand.

Demand for smaller flats has been red hot recently. HDB sales have attracted over 10 times more applicants than homes available. An October sale of 150 small flats was swamped with 2,426 applications in just a week.

Mr Kelvin Wang, who recently bought a three-roomer in Tiong Bahru, said he had difficulty finding the home, his first, because there were so few small ones around.

'The increased supply will help ease demand for such homes,' said the 24-year-old engineer.

Some of the new smaller flats form part of a new standard project launched by the HDB yesterday.

Dew Spring @ Yishun at the junction of Yishun Ring Road and Yishun Street 41 offers 504 four-room, 216 three-roomers and 144 two-room units.

The build-to-order (BTO) project has the largest number of smaller flat types among HDB's BTO launches this year. BTO projects are built only when a certain level of demand is reached.

HDB's Ms Tan stressed that the homes will be kept affordable.

Two-roomers at Dew Spring start at $76,000 to $90,000; three-roomers go for between $120,000 and $146,000 with four-roomers at $197,000 to $238,000.

For the first time, the HDB has released comparable prices of resale flats in the same area to show the affordability of the new flats being launched.

Prices of 20-year-old three-roomers nearby of similar size, for example, are selling for $175,000 to $180,000 - higher than the launch price, the HDB said.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said that Dew Spring flats 'are priced very attractively. The smaller units are below $200 psf (per square foot), which is much lower than the median resale prices for that area in the last quarter'.

The HDB has launched 6,600 homes this year under its BTO scheme, of which 883, or 13 per cent, were two-room and three-room flats.

It plans to launch a further 1,180 units in the next two weeks, which will include 280 studio apartments, two-room and three-room homes.

10,000 Homes On DPS

Source : The Straits Times, Dec 19, 2008

SINGAPORE said on Friday there were 10,450 uncompleted private homes purchased under the country's deferred payment scheme, revealing for the first time the potential number of homes that may be returned to developers.

The scheme, which was withdrawn in 2007, allowed buyers to buy property under construction without lining up bank financing in advance so long as they made a downpayment of 10-20 per cent. --PHOTO: BT

About 4,560 of these homes are scheduled for completion next year while another 2,540 will be ready in 2010, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said in a statement.

Singapore introduced the deferred payment scheme in 1997 in a bid to boost the then-moribond property market. The scheme, which was withdrawn in 2007, allowed buyers to buy property under construction without lining up bank financing in advance so long as they made a downpayment of 10-20 per cent.

The recent fall in Singapore home prices, coupled with the financial crisis that has made banks reluctant to lend, has led to concerns about a jump in the supply of unsold homes due to the failure of buyers to get loans.

'The data is provided to enable the public to make a better informed assessment of the private housing market,' URA said. -- THOMSON REUTERS


Source :《联合早报》December 19, 2008

建屋发展局在义顺推出名为“Dew Spring”的预购组屋项目(BTO),售价比附近组屋的转售价便宜10%至40%。其中近一半是两房式和三房式的小型组屋,是建屋局今年推出最多小型组屋的发展项目。


位于义顺的“Dew Spring”预购组屋,有864个标准单位,售价比附近组屋的转售价便宜10%至40%。

Dew Spring预购组屋是建屋局过去一年来在义顺推出的第三个预购项目,位于义顺环路和义顺41街交界处,毗邻建屋局过去一年推出的前两批预购项目“JadeSpring”和“Jade Spring@Yishun Phase 2”。







根据建屋局提供的数据,Dew Spring的售价比附近组屋的转售价来得低。比如,附近面积相若的三房式组屋的转售价介于19万7000元至20万3000元之间。四房式的转售价则介于21万零400元至34万元。



伊斯迈估计,由于义顺Dew Spring的预购组屋地点适中,靠近蓄水池和高尔夫球场,因此反应将会很不错,可能出现四个人争购一个组屋单位的局面。



今年房地产拍卖所得锐减 跌至10年来最低

Source :《联合早报》December 19, 2008


高力国际(Colliers International)最新发表的数据显示,今年在拍卖会上卖出的房地产,总拍卖所得仅为8367万元,较去年的4亿零743万元来得少79%,也比1998年亚洲金融危机时的1亿3570万元低了83%。



此外,成功售出的单位数额也锐减。今年上半年共有38个、总值3864万元的房地产成功以拍卖方式出售,下半年则有34个、总值4503万元,包括土地管理局于8月份成功拍卖的四幅腾空地段(infill sites)。

另据莱坊(Knight Frank)发表的数据,今年的拍卖交易总额为6990万元,较去年的4亿2230万元低了83%,而注册拍卖的房地产数额也从去年的1302个,减少至852个,跌幅为35%。







同样的,统一大厦(King's Mansion)的一个14层楼单位今年8月以每平方英尺842元拍卖出,而类似的单位却在4月份以991元售出,售价跌幅为17%。



抵押逼卖项目 10年来最低纪录




莱坊也预测,明年注册拍卖的房地产将激增,一方面是抵押逼卖项目可能增多,另外以延迟付款计划(deferred payment scheme)买下单位,或房子即将落成的业主可能因为无法申请到贷款,或无法负担贷款而必须脱售,拍卖售屋是最快的途径。