Monday, April 20, 2009

178 Sign Up For HDB Lease Buyback Scheme

Source : The Business Times, April 20, 2009

Govt may consider making option available to 4 and 5-room flats too

THE Housing Board's Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) has attracted interest from some 178 households since applications opened last month, and the government may consider extending it to include four-room and five-room flats later.

Speaking at an LBS outreach session in Ang Mo Kio yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that opting to join the LBS plan 'is an important decision which flat owners should consider very carefully'. 'Therefore, it is more important to help them understand the scheme so that they can make an informed decision,' he added.

The scheme, which aims to help the elderly monetise their flats, was first unveiled by Mr Lee at the 2007 National Day Rally.

Under the LBS plan, HDB will buy back the tail-end of a flat lease at market valuation, leaving a 30-year lease for the household.

So, for example, if a flat has a remaining lease of 70 years, HDB buys 40 years of the lease from the flat owner.

It pays market rate for the lease it buys and this money goes to the new CPF Life annuity in the flat owner's name.

In addition, the government will also provide a $10,000 subsidy for anyone eligible for the scheme who signs up.

Some $5,000 will be paid immediately in cash, while the other $5,000 goes into the CPF Life annuity.

If the LBS lessee dies before the 30-year lease period is over, his family members who are sharing the same flat can opt to live there for the remaining lease period, or return the flat to HDB for a refund.

Also, if there are beneficiaries of his annuity plan, they will be given the full refund of the unused premium from the annuity plan.

Prior to yesterday's event, HDB has conducted at least five other outreach programmes that 'managed to reach out to about 81 per cent of the eligible households'.

This scheme is available to about 25,000 low-income households in Singapore, and is currently only for those aged 62 and above and who own two- or three-room HDB flats.

Of these, some 2,800 are in Ang Mo Kio GRC, and another 800 in Yio Chu Kang, said PM Lee yesterday.

He added that some elderly owners of four or five-room flats have requested to join the scheme, saying 'this is something we can consider later on'.

More information on the scheme is available at

Early Birds Flock To Parc Lumiere

Source : The Straits Times, April 18 2009

Developer says it may open bookings today if queue grows longer.

HUNDREDS of potential buyers queued overnight at the Parc Lumiere site in Simei hoping to secure one of the new condo-like apartments that are not due to go on sale until next Tuesday.

This is the first time buyers can purchase DBSS apartments on a first-come first-served basis. -- ST PHOTOS: AZIZ HUSSIN.

An estimated 200 people had joined the line by 5pm, hoping to land a unit in the latest project developed under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS).

Buyers do not have to chance a ballot like in usual DBSS developments but can book a unit on the spot. The average selling price at the Parc Lumiere is $425 per sq ft.

Two tents sheltering rows of chairs have been set up outside the project's show flat - one for those interested in 'booking' a flat and one for those who want a viewing.

The booking tent was teeming with interested buyers yesterday.

Developer Sim Lian Group, which brought in extra cooling units and gave those queuing free lunches, planned to start bookings on Tuesday but may end up opening bookings today if the queue lengthens.

'I'm overwhelmed,' said Sim Lian executive director Diana Kuik. 'We didn't expect them to come on Friday before seeing the show flat.'

The walk-in-selection process - a first for new flats in recent years - involves a basic pre-screening process while certain conditions must be met before buyers can book a unit.

They must then pay a deposit of 5 per cent of the purchase price. The final confirmation of a buyer's eligibility will be determined by the HDB.

Flats will be booked on a first-come first-served basis, which is why potential buyers like Ms Florence Lim turned up at 8am yesterday.

The assistant sales manager, who is in her 40s, took leave to queue and was intending to stay overnight, taking turns with her husband and son. She was first in line and hopes to get a five-room flat.

'I've aimed here for a long time, ever since I applied for The Premiere (at Tampines) but was unsuccessful,' she said.

Ms Queena Tan, 30, who works in advertising, said she preferred a new DBSS unit to a resale HDB flat, adding: 'I like this area as it's rather peaceful and accessible.'

Ms Tan and her fiance will take turns to queue and they plan to stay in line until the booking period begins, even if it is not brought forward to today from next Tuesday.

'With the upcoming university and the development of Changi Business Park, we expect increases in the prices of houses in this area. That's why we feel it is a good investment,' she added.

Some in the queue jumped at the chance to buy a flat that did not require too much extra work.

'We want the balcony and the fittings, and it's in move-in condition so we don't need to fork out extra to renovate,' said bank executive Cheong C. H., 30.

Ms Kuik of Sim Lian believes the small number of units available - 240 five-roomers and 120 four-room units - 'maybe makes some buyers anxious'.

'There could also be some pent-up demand as there have been no new HDB flats in Simei and Tampines for the past 12 years, with the exception of The Premiere @ Tampines,' she said.

Knight Frank director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said the strong response 'is another indication that the buying interest in the mass market is still quite buoyant'.

He added that the purchasing power of some first-time buyers may limit the take-up rate of the four- and five-room flats.

'It's going to be interesting, seeing as there are no three-room flats. Four-room flats will probably sell quite well but five-room flats may need some demand from HDB upgraders.'

The four-roomers at 1,012 sq ft each are priced at between $378,000 and $425,000. Five-room flats range from 1,152 to 1,195 sq ft and are priced at between $462,000 and $575,000 each.

March sales of private homes revealed that HDB upgraders were the most active group of buyers. It may be that this group is also interested in DBSS projects, which offer condo-like fittings at what is perceived to be a slightly lower price.

City-Fringe Units Not A Sure Bet

Source : The Sunday Times, April 19, 2009

Fall in prices in first quarter greater than that for properties in city centre, suburbs

Values for city-fringe homes are typically thought to hold up better than those in the suburbs, but the fall in prices in the first quarter means that this belief may no longer hold true, at least temporarily.

An artist's impression of The Arte at Thomson Road. City-fringe properties may not be the best buy for those hoping to cash out. -- PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY DEVELOPMENTS

These homes are in areas which are not attractive to institutional investors and are also not within the reach of many HDB upgraders.

In view of these dynamics, the question is whether the areas still present good buys.

The city-fringe areas are what the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) terms RCR, or rest of central region. They are sandwiched between the core central region (CCR) - which comprises districts 9, 10, 11, Sentosa and the Central Business District - and the outside central region (OCR).

RCR areas include Paya Lebar, Geylang, Amber Road, Lavender, Toa Payoh, Tiong Bahru and Telok Blangah.

URA data shows that last year, prices of non-landed properties in the city centre, city fringe and suburban areas fell by 5.6 per cent, 4.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively.

But first-quarter flash estimates show that prices of city- fringe flats slipped by 17.2 per cent - more than the 15.2 per cent drop for city centre flats and the 7.5 per cent fall for suburban ones.


The price index reflects the rate of growth for each region, said Ms Jacqueline Wong, head of residential at Jones Lang LaSalle.

That the RCR experienced the steepest first-quarter price drop based on the flash estimates may just imply that the region is undergoing a greater price correction as prices might have been inflated during the property market boom, she said.

In terms of pricing, RCR pales in comparison to CCR as the latter's branding and location are better, she said.

It is thus fair to say that RCR is 'a poorer cousin to CCR', added Ms Wong.

In some parts of the RCR nearer to the city, developers tend to leverage on prime areas when they sell their projects, said Chesterton Suntec International's Mr Colin Tan.

He said: 'It'll be a discount from prime areas rather than a premium over suburban areas.'

But a price correction is happening now in the RCR, as with other areas.

'At the moment, it is probably perceived as overpriced. Investors may want to wait for it to come down to a more realistic level,' said Mr Tan.

Prime beats RCR

In general, where investors are concerned, prime areas are the best, experts said.

'If you can afford it, buy prime. Depending on the type of properties you buy, there is a better chance for capital appreciation when the market recovers,' said Knight Frank's Mr Nicholas Mak.

'If you cannot, buy a property near an MRT station farther away or in the suburbs if your objective is to cash out.'

Mr Tan said a price recovery, when it comes, will be quicker in an established area like Orchard.

The RCR has quite a few new residential areas, so it may take time for the value in these areas to rise, he said.

City centre properties generally enjoy 'unrivalled prestige, exclusivity and locational advantage', and are hence extremely popular with expatriates, particularly those with higher budgets, said Ms Tay Huey Ying, director for research and advisory at Colliers International.

As prices of these properties have eased substantially from their stratospheric levels in 2007, they would certainly be worthwhile investments for those who can afford it, she said.

A mixed bag

Nevertheless, the RCR is not a write-off, experts stressed.

'Properties in RCR will, however, continue to be attractive to those who remain priced out of the high-end market, or those with a lower risk appetite,' said Ms Tay.

'The RCR is definitely an area not to be forgotten,' said Ms Wong.

February and March sales data has proven that RCR projects such as the sold-out Alexis at Alexandra Road and The Arte at Thomson Road are in strong demand, she said.

'In terms of the leasing market, developments in RCR remain popular among tenants as they are more affordable compared to those in prime areas,' said Ms Wong.

The good thing about RCR is that there is a higher probability that the properties are freehold, Mr Mak said.

Condos in the suburbs next to MRT stations tend to be 99-year leasehold properties.

But unlike the case in most suburban estates, not many RCR projects are near MRT stations.

'The RCR is a mixed bag. For instance, there is Tanjong Rhu which is quite popular and not too far north, and there is Geylang, an area that some people will not touch with a 10-foot pole.'

Condo Units Turned Hotels

Source : The Straits Times, April 18, 2009

Rental of such rooms may have adverse effect on other residents: URA

'Condotel' rooms, such as this one at Soho 188 condominium, are being rented out at between $40 and $150 per day each. They are said to be popular with students, people here for medical treatment and business travellers. -- ST PHOTO: ALBERT SIM

SOME entrepreneurial owners of condominium units are renting out and marketing their properties as hotel rooms, going against regulations set by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The Straits Times knows of at least four condominium developments with units being rented out on a daily basis.

Marketed as 'condotels', 'holiday apartments' or 'hotel-style apartment room accommodation', the rooms are advertised freely on hostel directories online and personal websites.

One website, claiming 'award-winning service', even indicated check-in and check-out times, a $70 key deposit and free wireless Internet.

Advertised as the Soho 188 Condotel, it is actually known as the Soho 188 condominium development in Race Course Road, near Little India.

Other accommodation can be found at Parkview Condotel, officially known as Parkview apartments in Bukit Batok; Braddell Road's Braddell Regalia and Serangoon's Avon Park.

These rooms are being rented out at between $40 and $150 a day and are popular with students, people here for medical treatment and vegetarian business travellers from Bangladesh who want a kitchen to cook their own food.

These lodgers typically rent for a few days, although it can go up to a month.

'For properties approved for residential use, they are intended for long-term residential stay,' said a URA spokesman, adding that the use of such properties for transient accommodation is similar to how hotels operate. 'The leasing of such properties on a daily, weekly or monthly basis is not permitted.'

He added that the URA needs to assess the appropriateness of such accommodation and if it has an adverse impact on neighbouring residents.

Condominium managers agree that this arrangement may spell trouble. 'The concept of a condominium is for home living, not short-term living,' said Avon Park's manager Haroon Aisree, who will be discussing the matter with the property's management.

His worry: Tenants may be irresponsible and not take care of facilities because they have no ownership.

'We definitely have to take a stand and protect the interest of residents,' he said, adding that he did not know such a business was going on.

Owners of these units, like Mr Roger Pay, said they did not know they were doing anything wrong.

The owner of four units at Avon Park started renting out his 20 rooms half a year ago when he 'received calls from people saying they wanted daily or weekly stay'.

The 41-year-old, who told The Straits Times that all but two rooms are currently occupied, charges about $50 to $90 per room each day and has seen 'increased popularity over time'.

It is the same story for a 75-year-old owner who did not want to be named.

He has been renting out units to lodgers who fork out $70 daily. 'I didn't know that it was wrong,' he said. 'If the authorities give me a letter to tell me to stop doing this in black and white, then I will stop.'

Mr Surendra Kumar Sinha, who is in Singapore for colon cancer treatment, rents a room at a condo unit at Soho 188.

He and his wife, both from Bangladesh, pay $130 a night. Depending on how intensive treatment is, his stay could last from two weeks to a month.

'It's rather expensive for us, but it is still cheaper than hotels and other studio apartments,' said the 59-year-old, who arrived in Singapore earlier this month.

For Miss Crystal Deleon, who is on a 13-day trip to visit her Singaporean boyfriend, her condotel room brings many benefits.

'It's cheaper than a hotel and near my boyfriend's house, so he can send me back after work,' said the Philippine national, who pays about $70 daily for a room at Braddell Regalia.

The URA is currently investigating the matter.
Source : The Straits Times, April 18, 2009

Rental of such rooms may have adverse effect on other residents: URA

'Condotel' rooms, such as this one at Soho 188 condominium, are being rented out at between $40 and $150 per day each. They are said to be popular with students, people here for medical treatment and business travellers. -- ST PHOTO: ALBERT SIM

SOME entrepreneurial owners of condominium units are renting out and marketing their properties as hotel rooms, going against regulations set by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The Straits Times knows of at least four condominium developments with units being rented out on a daily basis.

Marketed as 'condotels', 'holiday apartments' or 'hotel-style apartment room accommodation', the rooms are advertised freely on hostel directories online and personal websites.

One website, claiming 'award-winning service', even indicated check-in and check-out times, a $70 key deposit and free wireless Internet.

Advertised as the Soho 188 Condotel, it is actually known as the Soho 188 condominium development in Race Course Road, near Little India.

Other accommodation can be found at Parkview Condotel, officially known as Parkview apartments in Bukit Batok; Braddell Road's Braddell Regalia and Serangoon's Avon Park.

These rooms are being rented out at between $40 and $150 a day and are popular with students, people here for medical treatment and vegetarian business travellers from Bangladesh who want a kitchen to cook their own food.

These lodgers typically rent for a few days, although it can go up to a month.

'For properties approved for residential use, they are intended for l

Opportunity And Timing Are Key

Source : The Business Times, April 20, 2009

Is it time to invest in the property market? If it is, what segments of the market should investors be looking at? If not, when would be a good time to go in?

Thio Shen Yi
Head, Litigation & Joint MD
TSMP Law Corporation

THE current economic crisis has taught us that the best and most informed predictions can still go horribly wrong. As markets went up, we lost sight of the intrinsic value represented by the actual properties. They got sliced and diced into more and more complex products. It's time to invest in real value, and to think long term. I'd ask a simple question: Is this a property worth investing in, can you hold it long term if you need to, or is this merely a speculative flip?

If you are buying a place to live in, then the next 12 months may be a good time to buy the property that you really want, which you can afford, and which has inherent value to you and your family. Then the direction of the market becomes irrelevant. It sounds extremely conservative, but given the sub-prime implosion, is this a bad thing?

Strategy and planning

Gary Harvey
ipac wealth management Asia

INVESTING in property is always a popular topic. The past year has shown that the property investment scene has the ability to change dramatically. The 'easy money' that was once promised by property has, for many, become a difficult investment. Timing the market is not a task I would advocate.

Investing in your home should be a lifestyle choice and this should be combined with a portfolio of other assets that are well diversified. Property is illiquid and generally held for the long term.

All investments carry risks. Investing in property means looking for the best possible deal. However, too many investors find a property that they like and buy it without doing the proper homework.

Before investing in any asset, assess whether this decision fits well with your overall investment strategy. If you do not have an investment strategy, then it is time to develop one and evaluate if property investment suits this plan. Consider all the factors and have an exit strategy should the need arise.

All types of investments have cycles of profitability and losses. These cycles can last for years. Ask yourself if you are prepared to take the risks and ride the waves of volatility when they happen.

Darren Thomson
President & CEO
Manulife (Singapore) Pte Ltd

THE value of private residential, commercial and industrial properties has come down between 5 per cent and 35 per cent in the first quarter. Does this signal opportunity or uncertainty? I believe that it goes both ways.

Buying a property is a long-term commitment from a financial planning perspective, and this has been complicated by the state of the banking sector. Leverage therefore, may be difficult in view of the fact that most banks are cautious with loan approvals, placing more risk with the investor.

Are you buying the property as a home or for investment returns? Investing in a home can be an emotional affair while investing for yields is purely business. Don't confuse the two.

If investing for returns, my call would be that commercial property may have further to fall as commercial rentals tend to have longer tenure and the falls and rises lag the residential sector. Residential property, on the other hand, can be more sensitive and therefore volatile. As such, timing the market is more critical, with greater potential gain for more risk, so no surprises.

Dora Hoan
Group CEO
Best World International

ON the road to recovery, it will be well for us to consider that the global community remains confident of Singapore's strong economic fundamentals. Despite the meltdown, we are still viewed as among the first nations to pull through the crisis. I believe that over the medium and long term the prospect for real estate investment in Singapore holds a lot of promise. Crisis or not, we are on track and should remain focused on our country's bid to establish itself not just as a regional hub but a global city.

That is no empty rhetoric. Significant investment has already been infused into infrastructure and tourism-related projects.

For investors in general, Singapore remains a top choice for its good national leadership and friendly tax regime for business. When it comes to property investment, there is more to be gained from a friendly ownership environment where there are no capital gains tax, no tax on foreign-earned income, no estate duties and a low mortgage rate.

In general, provided that an investor is actively engaged in reviewing and assessing investment opportunities, this financial crunch may surprisingly be the best time to pick up and profit from good investment. It is always wise to consider a value proposition. Diversification is the keyword. It will be well for investors to remember to spread their investment dollars. At the end of the day, smart entrepreneurs will not wait for the turnaround before they make their move. After all, one does not win in business by putting on the brakes altogether. The business savvy will always consider market timing and opportunities for greater investment success.

Adrian Tan
The Ad Planet Group

PROPERTY prices have dived by 40-50 per cent from their peak. Singapore's property bull made a run from mid-2004. I will be shy of buying if the prices are anything above 10 per cent of their launch price. I will also make my decision based on the time horizon of my investment. If it is short term of up to 18 months, I will wait. If it is mid to long term of four to six years, it will be prudent to enter the market now for the advantage of choice and location.

As to what properties, I will avoid the 99-year condominiums as I think there is still a supply overhang in that segment. I will also only consider properties priced no more than $2,300 psf, even in the best location, as anything above that has a high element of speculative pricing. My choices would be narrowed to landed property, given that in Singapore, we have no more than a total of 40,000 to 50,000 units including terraces, as well as new freehold condominiums in the choicest locations.

Buy now...but no rush

Wee Piew
HG Metal Manufacturing Ltd

WHILE timing is important for any investment, what is more important is your own investment horizon. Unlike equities, properties are fixed assets and investors need to have a longer time horizon. As an asset class, property is also subject to less volatility than equities.

I believe property is a good investment in Singapore if your time horizon is long. It is an undeniable fact that land is scarce in Singapore. It is also an undeniable fact that the city's population can only increase with the stated long-term goal of 6.5 million people. Coupled with the fact that interest rates are at all-time lows and are likely to stay low in the forseeable future, I believe now is as good a time as any to invest in property.

Cindy Lim
Executive Director
Hiap Hoe Ltd

IT is probably a good time to invest in a prime residential property today. Nobody knows whether property prices have bottomed out, but given that home prices in prime districts have fallen as much as 40 per cent, the downside should be limited against the potential for good returns on a longer time horizon of three to five years.

Furthermore, the supply of prime developments is limited in land-scarce Singapore, particularly as government land sales and en bloc transactions are practically at a standstill today. Property prices can rebound as quickly as the equity market and it is thus easy to miss a golden opportunity.

Irman Khusaini
Finance Manager
First Resources Ltd

GIVEN the drop in residential property prices in Singapore, especially those in the high-end range located in the central area, it would be wise for those with sufficient free cash flow (whether individuals or companies) to consider investment in property. This is especially so given that the potential returns from property are higher than from equities or fixed income.

The right time to invest in property is between now and mid-2009, probably until August. The decline in prices for the aforementioned properties would slow down in Q2 2009 compared to Q1 2009, followed by the beginning of an increase in Q3 2009. The reasons for the above can be seen from the improvement in confidence as the actions of the Obama administration as well as the Singapore government begin to take effect.

Already, there are small but sure signs that the equity markets as well as the financial institutions may have reached the bottom; this can be seen from the recent five-week rally in the S&P 500 as well as the profits announced by Goldman Sachs recently. Even the housing market in the US has improved as can be seen from the recent slowdown in foreclosures.

For corporations or individuals which have managed to accumulate huge reserves in the past, this presents a great opportunity as they should adopt a 'counter-cyclical' approach and invest in such properties, and reap the fruits of their labour in the mid-term horizon.

As for specific properties to invest in, the upper end of the housing market looks good, given its steep decline from peak prices, as compared to the lower to medium range.

Nevertheless, for people who intend to upgrade from HDB flats to their first private property, this may also be the right time as HDB resale prices, which have thus far remained resilient during this recession, have already started to show a decline. Despite that, the gap between HDB resale flats and lower end private property is still narrower than the peak years of 2006 and 2007.

In addition, a few developers have interesting and attractive schemes such as deferral of the first instalments of the bank loan upon TOP (temporary occupation permit) rather than on signing of contract. This is on top of lower bank loan rates to entice new buyers.

However, prices for retail and office space, especially near central Singapore, look set to stay within their current price levels or drop further as they suffer from a supply glut, mainly caused by relocation of companies to cheaper areas such as Tuas, Kranji and Jurong as well as new office space such as the Marina Bay Financial Centre. This may all change depending on the positive impact from the opening of the new integrated resort in Marina, on investors as well as companies who wish to set up new offices in Singapore.

Benedict Soh
Executive Chairman
Kingsmen Creatives Ltd

SINGAPORE'S glut in new properties is the result of three factors. They are: the view of a positive economic outlook, which include the integrated resorts, the country's long-term plan of having a larger population, and liquidity, a result of booming stock markets in the last 10 years.

Currently, it is hardly surprising that the high-end property market has dropped by 30-40 per cent from its peak. Condo prices, during the downturns of the 1980s and 1990s exhibited the same trend of dropping by 40-50 per cent.

Lower-end condos have sold well recently, more because of the narrowing of the pricing gap between public and private housing. It's now a buyer's market so if the location is suitable it can be a good time to buy.

However, I would not rush into it as there is still serious economic weakness, as well as many more new launches. These factors may further dampen the property market.

T Chandroo
Modern Montessori International (MMI) Group

THE local property market had experienced hyper-buoyancy over the last two years, but the latest financial crisis put a damper on things. The downtrend in property transactions brought about by stagnation in manufacturing and financial services is a reality check for investors.

Personally, I would put my money in commercial projects, whose prices have dipped (maybe even more in the next three months) and can fetch better yields amid a glut of stock.

Public homeowners looking to trade in their HDB units for condominiums or small terraces will also find this an opportune time to do so, because, while newly launched private properties are still holding up well, bargains are considerably better for residential projects that are five years and older.

Start looking

Leong Horn Kee
CapitalCorp Partners Pte Ltd

SINCE the world economic turmoil started in the US in October last year, the Singapore property market has dropped by 30 to 50 per cent from the top. The mid-tier segment has decreased by some 20 per cent, while the low end suffered the least.

The property market is expected to continue its downtrend for another six to 12 months. The speed of recovery is dependent on the upturn in the stock market in the first instance. The stock market usually leads the property market by about six months.

One can never be so precise as to catch the very bottom of the market. Since the stock market has shown some signs of recovery recently, the property sector will begin displaying nascent signs of bottoming out.

For those interested in investing in property, this is a good time to start hunting, especially in the residential sector. If one can't afford to buy a property, then consider cherry picking some property stocks.

Loi Pok Yen
Group CEO
CWT Distribution Ltd

I JUST had lunch with an old classmate who happened to be back in town for some meetings. He's based in China and still has his investment bank job. I am very happy for him.

As usual, the conversation drifted towards investments. It's interesting talking to this friend of mine because of his twisted views about how the world works. In a nutshell, he sold his apartment in River Valley sometime last year near the peak and, just as quickly, picked up another apartment in the same area last week. The difference in price was about S$600 per sq ft in his favour.

His reason for buying? Residential property is a good long-term investment that has enhanced returns due to the ability to leverage and prices have dropped sufficiently to limit downside risks. That's the logical reason that he put forward. After some probing, he admitted that he just wanted to make sure he was ahead of the 'sheep'. He says there are too many people waiting on the sidelines to get back into the market.

Personally, I belong to the minority of Singaporeans who view property as an expense item. The vast majority view property as a must-have investment and therefore, emotions rule when decisions are made whether to buy or sell. Thus, if you love residential property, are comfortable with the downside, have a stable income and are not over-leveraged, maybe you should start looking around. For the rest of the sectors, you are probably much better off picking Reits or property stocks.

One last thing: Being the 'leader of the pack' could also mean that you are the first one into the slaughterhouse.

Not time yet

Lim Soon Hock
Managing Director

I DO not think it is time to invest in the property market, especially the high-end sector in prime districts. That said, I will continue to review the situation periodically over the next six months to a year.

I believe that the prices of high-end property which reached dizzying heights before the sub-prime crisis, were driven more by speculation than real demand. What goes up irrationally must come down; and this applies to speculative pricing, especially in today's trying times. This is evident from the recent successful launches of lower-end condos at more reasonable prices.

My benchmark for property prices has always been landed property. To me, it does not make sense to pay two to three times more for a condominium than a landed property on a per-square-foot basis.

If I were to invest now, it would be in the landed property sector, for long-term capital gains in land-scarce Singapore.

Teng Yeow Heng Michael
Managing Director
Corporate Turnaround Centre Pte Ltd

REAL estate prices in Singapore will continue to slide further. However, we will not see the same price plunge as during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 because the factors then were more adverse. The current over-supply is not as bad and developers have deeper pockets.

However, I believe that this is still not a good time to enter the market as prices are expected to decline further, especially for luxury apartments and offices. These are the segments which are highly reliant on foreign investors who are expected to scale down their operations in Singapore due to the financial problems back home.

Inflation is expected to rear its ugly head again as most of the central banks around the world have launched fiscal stimuli and are printing money. I expect this to happen towards the end of the year when real estate prices are expected to hit bottom and inflation starts to kick in. This is the time to start looking as property is normally a good hedge against inflation.

Shalabh Mittal
Managing Director & CEO
Mercator Lines (Singapore) Ltd

I FEEL it would be prudent for investors to wait for more fundamental economic data to signal that a bottom is in sight. Singapore property does have a lot of fundamental strengths in the long term and it's an asset class worth keeping track of.

It would be advisable for investors to keep a close eye on good properties and enter the market when it has passed the bottom and is on a slight upward trend even if it means not buying at the bottom. Middle to upper tier residential property could be a good bet.

Perhaps later

Peter Barge
Jones Lang LaSalle

SEASONED investors understand the cyclical nature of the Singapore property market - which from top to bottom in most cycles typically spans two to three years. On this basis, the bottom may be some 12 months away, but we are already seeing signs of investors taking advantage of low interest rates and price declines of up to 40 per cent.

Investors know the best assets are never available at the bottom of the market, particularly in Singapore where forward-looking sentiment plays a huge role in driving prices. Hence, many are starting to look now with a view to investing over the next six months.

Direct real estate returns are looking attractive against other fixed income options and with the relative strength of currency, late 2009 appears an ideal time to start taking advantage of the likely upturn in pricing of the residential and commercial sectors.

David Leong
Managing Director
PeopleWorldwide Consulting Private Ltd

THE volatility of the property market has shown signs of abating and if there is any restoration of confidence, we'll increasingly see the 'bet-on-prime' phenomenon. Tier one high-end property in Orchard Road will generally have greater price elasticity in a rebound.

Other factors like the lower Singapore inter-bank offered rate (Sibor) will mean cheaper mortgage rates which will in turn spur investors' appetite for property in Singapore - which over the long term will surely climb back from the low floor. The simple reason is that with the scarcity of land coupled with a burgeoning population, land prices can only trend up.

I believe that the property market will remain buoyant with bargain hunting and a bottoming out of prices likely to be in the second or third quarter. Generally, property in Singapore is unlikely to lose its lustre for too long a time.

Sam Yap SG
Group Executive Chairman
Cherie Hearts Group Int'l Pte Ltd

WITH the prevailing economic uncertainty globally, it is still unclear when we can expect to see an economic recovery. In addition, the property cycle typically lags the rest of the economy by about two quarters.

As such, my take is that the property market has not seen its bottom yet. This will probably take place either towards the end of this year or next year, depending on how things unfold over the next two quarters. I believe that we will be able to see a clearer picture by the end of the third quarter this year.

Harish Nim
Chief Executive
Emerio Corporation Pte Ltd

I BELIEVE that the property market is nowhere near the bottom. I expect the market to go down much further as the global recession worsens. It is sad, but that's the way I see it.

My advice to people would be to hold on to their precious cash for at least another three quarters before committing themselves to property. As usual, prime properties are the ones that ought to be targeted.

Liu Chunlin
K&C Protective Technologies Pte Ltd

I KNOW the market is beginning to stir again. As reported, the prices of high-end condominiums have fallen significantly from 2008 highs - enough to entice some buyers.

But I subscribe to the thinking that we have not reached the bottom yet and the worst is to come. I believe the current rally in the stock market expresses some restless optimism, but I doubt the fundamentals are strong enough to sustain this and the property market uptake.

Hence, I would not invest in properties till say, six to nine months later. While high-end condominiums and good class bungalows or properties on Sentosa Cove sound attractive, I would not sink capital into these. Instead, I would place my bets on Reits, especially those which are gearing up for the upturn with a war chest.

Keiichi Hirano
Managing Director & Global Head - Real Estate
SG Private Banking

INVESTORS should generally consider investing in real estate in late 2009 as the economic decline tapers off and the benefits of government stimulus measures kick in from 2010.

Alternatively, they can consider investing by cash, without a big hope for fantastic financing by debt providers, in opportunistic single properties whose valuations have declined significantly. Our newly established Centre of Expertise in Global Real Estate helps our high net worth clients to diversify and increase their exposure in this sector, through direct purchases or via ad hoc vehicles.

Condo Sub-Division Without Tears

Source : The Business Times, April 18, 2009

A look at the pitfalls and tax considerations when slicing and dicing apartment space

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority has said that when processing applications to sub-divide apartments, it is guided by whether sub-division will change the character of a development and diminish the amenities of other people living there, such as families.

GRANGEFORD - Given the credit crunch, developers are looking for ways to conserve cash. Hence, the advent of a master tenant willing to lease all or many apartments in an en-bloc development bought during better times is welcome news

The authority was responding to a follow-up report in The Business Times after the recent case of Grangeford condo, where a master tenant sub-divided 140 apartments into 600 smaller units with a layout resembling a dormitory.

URA told BT earlier this week this is not allowed because the site is zoned for residential use only, and that it and other government agencies will take enforcement action against any party responsible for any unauthorised use and for not complying with requirements.

Some industry observers say that owners of apartments in other developments have carried out similar sub-divisions, though on a much smaller scale than at Grangeford.

URA outlined three scenarios.

In the first scenario, which it has encountered over the past two to three years, there have been a few cases where a handful of apartments were converted into a larger number of mini-apartments.

'These are essentially smaller, but independent residential apartments with self-contained facilities like kitchen, living room and bathroom,' a URA spokeswoman said.

'Where the conversions were able to comply with planning requirements, URA followed up with the owners and they obtained approval from URA.

'For those that were not able to comply with planning and other technical requirements, URA followed up and took enforcement action.'

Such conversions require planning approval from URA and consent from the development's management corporation.

In the second scenario, apartments are split into a dormitory-style layout. The split units are essentially bedrooms, without their own kitchen, toilet or living room.

URA approval is needed for a change of use from residential to non-residential use - for instance dormitory or boarding house use. As a rule of thumb, URA will not approve such a conversion in a residential area, the spokeswoman said.

BT quizzed URA about a third scenario, in which an apartment is not sub-divided but is sub-let to several unrelated tenants. For example, several students might join forces to rent an apartment.

The URA spokeswoman said that sub-letting for residential use on a unit basis is allowed, but URA may have concerns if this is done on a large scale.

'It goes back to the fundamental considerations of whether such a sub-letting exercise will change the character of the development or cause disamenities to, say, families living there,' the spokeswoman explained.

Apartment sub-division is becoming an important topic, especially for developers who bought entire residential projects in Singapore's prime districts through collective sales during the property bull-run from 2006 to 2008 and have had to defer redeveloping these properties because of the massive slide in the value of high-end homes.

Developers also face the burden of footing the property tax bill, with the annual value (AV) of the property based on 5 per cent of the freehold market value of the land.

Following representations by developers last year, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) agreed in September to a different basis for assessing AV for en-bloc properties where developers have changed their intention by renting out apartments instead of redeveloping the site.

The property tax for such properties will be based on the estimated total annual rent that can be fetched by all the apartments in the development - provided at least 25 per cent of the apartments have been leased on tenancies of at least a year, and on an arm's length basis, to parties not related to the developer. Also, there must not be any provision in these tenancy agreements to evict tenants within the tenancy period.

Let's take the case of Grangeford. Assuming the 193 apartments fetch an average monthly rent of $4,000, the AV would be $9.3 million ($4,000 x 12 months x 193). Based on the 10 per cent property tax rate, the property tax bill would be $930,000.

This is much lower than if Grangeford's AV was assessed at 5 per cent of the estimated freehold market value of the land.

The site had a remaining lease of 66 years when Overseas Union Enterprise bought it in 2007 for $625 million. Let's assume the freehold value of the site today is about $520 million, taking into account lower property values. The AV would be 5 per cent of this, or $26 million, and at 10 per cent property tax rate, OUE's tax bill would be $2.6 million.

Given the credit crunch, developers are looking for creative ways to conserve cash. Hence, the advent of a master tenant willing to lease all or many apartments in an en-bloc development bought during better times is welcome news - as it allows the developer to qualify for the more favourable AV formula if at least a quarter of the apartments are leased to the master tenant for minimum period of one year.

Given the tough market for the high-end residential sector, it would be an uphill battle for a developer to try to find tenants for individual apartments. Also, some tenants may want short-term leases of a few months, so that would not comply with the condition of a minimum one-year lease set by IRAS. A master tenant willing to sign a longer lease of one or two years solves this problem for developers.

These were probably some of the considerations that OUE weighed for Grangeford when it signed a two-year master lease with Ideal Accommodation for 170 apartments with effect from Jan 1, 2009. Of these 170 apartments, Ideal split 140 apartments into a total of 600 units. In the process, most of the units have been left with unventilated corridors and without access to rubbish chutes. The former kitchen and living room areas have been boarded up to create new units. Tenants of some units have to share toilets.

'Once a developer brings in a master tenant, there is the possibility that it may lose some control of the environment and ambience,' says DTZ executive director Ong Choon Fah.

'When the environment becomes different - a lot of en bloc properties that developers can't develop now are in prime locations and very desirable residential areas - it may create social issues. It's not just as far as families in apartments in the developments are concerned, but also families living in the surrounding area who may have the perception that the neighbourhood is no longer the same because of transient neighbours.'

Fitch Affirms S'pore's 'AAA' Ratings

Source : The Business Times, April 18, 2009

External finances remain strong and the government has neither foreign-currency nor external debt, the agency says

CITING Singapore's strong finances, flexible government policies and stable political scene, Fitch Ratings yesterday affirmed the country's 'AAA' sovereign ratings.

The rating agency said that it affirmed Singapore's long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings (IDRs) at 'AAA'. It also affirmed the country's short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F1+' and its country ceiling at 'AAA'. Fitch's outlook on the ratings remains stable.

'Singapore's external finances remain strong and the government has neither foreign-currency nor external debt,' Fitch said in its release.

In fact, the country's international reserves (including gold) continued to grow and reached a record US$174 billion as at end-2008 - equivalent to five months of current external payments, it noted.

Singapore's net external credit position also remains solid, Fitch added. While 'the high short-term external debt (80 per cent of gross external debt), especially those of non-bank private-sector entities, could pose a risk amid the tight liquidity conditions', recent government policies to support domestic credit growth could improve the situation, it said.

Fitch noted that furthermore, Singapore's public finances are prudently managed. The general government fiscal surplus (including revenue and payment streams of the Central Provident Fund) was equivalent to 13.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in FY08/09, which is 'far better than the 'AAA' median'. However, Fitch expects this ratio to drop to 3.9 per cent in FY09/10 due to a sizable fiscal stimulus package.

'The country's public finances are structurally strong despite the current cyclical weakening amid the adverse effects of the global economic recession,' said associate director of Asia sovereign ratings Vincent Ho.

The government on Tuesday cut its 2009 economic forecast to a contraction of 6-9 per cent. Fitch projects that Singapore's economy would contract by 12.6 per cent this year before recovering to grow by 2.2 per cent in 2010.

Despite the positive views on Singapore's public finances, Fitch expressed concerns about the 'transparency of past reserves and balance sheet details of the government and its sovereign wealth fund'- issues which are 'uncommon among 'AAA' sovereigns', it said.

GuocoLand Q3 net profit soars as condo relaunch pays off

Source : The Business Times, April 18, 2009

GUOCOLAND, the Singapore-listed property unit of Malaysian tycoon Quek Leng Chan, saw a near doubling of its net earnings for the third quarter ended March 31 as it booked profits from sales of its residential project, The Quartz, which it launched in May 2006.

Net profit for the quarter rose 91 per cent to $4.9 million, from $2.6 million a year ago. Earnings came mainly from development profits from sales of The Quartz, GuocoLand said.

The group achieved gross profit of $34.6 million - against $11 million a year ago - but the Q3 results were marred by a net foreign exchange loss of $24.6 million. Earnings per share rose to 0.60 cent from 0.31 cent.

Revenue for Q3 rose 21 per cent to $126.1 million, from $104 million a year ago. Revenue was also boosted by The Quartz.

GuocoLand successfully relaunched the remaining 182 units in The Quartz in February 2009. The relaunch was well received and The Quartz was almost fully sold, it said in its report yesterday.

For the nine months ended March 31, 2009, GuocoLand saw net profit dive 95 per cent to $2.9 million from $63.2 million a year ago. This came on the back of a net loss of $2.8 million in Q1, which was followed by a Q2 net profit of just $861,000.

Nine-month earnings were also hit by a net foreign exchange loss of $46.7 million comprising primarily of unrealised translation loss on US$270 million bank loans as the US dollar appreciated against the Singapore dollar.

Revenue for the nine months also fell 26 per cent to $373.8 million, from $506.1 million for the corresponding nine months a year earlier. This was attributed to lower sales recognised from development properties in China.

Looking ahead, GuocoLand said that it will continue to review its business strategies in this challenging and volatile operating environment.

'The group intends to defer development of certain unlaunched projects as construction prices are expected to ease further,' it said. 'The group will monitor property markets closely and time new launches when opportunities arise.'

GuocoLand shares gained one cent to close at $1.29 yesterday.

Remaking Goes Oo In Good Times And Bad

Source : The Business Time,s April 18, 2009

New round of reviews begins this year on blueprint for Singapore's long-term physical development

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will begin this year a new round of reviews for Concept Plan 2011, a blueprint that maps out the long-term vision for Singapore's physical development.

URA's review, which will be done with various ministries and government agencies, will examine Singapore's land use and infrastructure needs to cater to an increased population and also the changing profile of its resident population and economy.

The Concept Plan review's 'ultimate aim must be to ensure that we will continue to have a good quality living environment in Singapore, one that will take into account the needs of not just the young, but also of the old, and a growing population which will consist of people from many, many different parts of the world', said National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan.

As part of Concept Plan 2011, URA will also actively seek views from the public, Mr Mah said in his keynote speech at the URA Corporate Plan Seminar yesterday.

He also highlighted that one of Singapore's key strengths is its long-term integrated planning approach. 'Few cities in the world have a holistic planning framework like ours . . . ,' Mr Mah said. He cited a case in point. Despite the dismal economic climate when URA started planning the development and infrastructure for Marina Bay, just before the start of the last downturn in 2000, the government remained focused on building up Marina Bay. 'And because we planned ahead, we were able to attract foreign investments into the Bay when the economy started to pick up and then when it boomed,' Mr Mah said.

He also also stressed that efforts to remake Singapore must continue in both good and bad times if the island is to be a key node in the network of global cities. It was as a result of forward planning, and effective and consistent implementation that a new Singapore city is taking shape fast. He painted a picture of the 'new iconic signature skyline' emerging at Marina Bay. The double helix bridge, Art Park, Gardens by the Bay and new waterfront promenade will be progressively completed by 2011. Then, there are the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and the first phase of Marina Bay Financial Centre which will be operational by 2010. The government has invested nearly $5.7 billion in infrastructure works in Marina Bay so far and will continue to pump in more money to support its future growth and boost connectivity with the existing city, Mr Mah added.

The prime Orchard Road shopping belt is also being rejuvenated with new malls. Singapore will have a new generation of regional commercial districts, such as Jurong Lake District. And the island will become an even more exciting playground with a wider range of leisure and recreational options. Singapore's park connector network will be tripled to 300 km over the next five to 10 years, joining up into a continuous loop around the island. URA is also developing scenic walks along Singapore's coastline.

The Ministry of National Development and URA will be launching a programme called 'My New Singapore' to encourage Singaporeans to rediscover Singapore.

'The programme will comprise a series of events and activities which will reach out to Singaporeans. We invite everybody to see the new developments and visit new leisure destinations. We will show Singaporeans the plans that we have for their neighbourhoods, bring them to see the new Marina Bay, let them enjoy the parks and park connectors. And I hope that when Singaporeans rediscover Singapore, they will realise what a special little city we have, and perhaps, we will love our city even more,' Mr Mah said.

He even suggested Singaporeans may want to shop, eat and sightsee in Singapore. 'Perhaps during this downturn, it is timely for Singaporeans to take time to get to know our city better. Enjoy what we have to offer here in Singapore, and maybe save a little bit of money at the same time.'

URA will hold the 'My Endearing Home' roving exhibition at major malls between May and August this year to present Singaporeans a chance to learn about plans for their immediate neighbourhoods and for the city, and 'discover that there is much to treasure on our island'.

A Marina Bay Festival will be held in the later part of 2010 that will showcase the waterfront promenade and new developments to both locals and foreign visitors.

NParks will also press on with its efforts to green Singapore and conserve the island's natural heritage.

Paris Tops Europe Office Rents

Source : The Straits Times, April 20, 2009

LONDON - THE City of London has been knocked out of Europe's top three most expensive office locations by Geneva and Paris, research by property consultants NB Real Estate and ONCOR International showed on Monday.

Average office rents in the City business district - Britain's historic financial heartland - have fallen 38 per cent in the last 12 months to 593 euros (S$1,160) per square metre, making it Europe's sixth most expensive office district.

City of London rents are now 157 euros cheaper per square metre than in the Triangle d'Or area of Paris, the neo-classical neighbourhood between the Champs-Elysees and the River Seine, which is often compared with London's Mayfair district.

The West End of London remains the most expensive office district in Europe despite experiencing the largest fall in office rents in the past year, with 45 per cent wiped off its office rental values to 961 euros per square metre.

Office rents in Moscow and Geneva, Europe's second and fourth most expensive business locations, are now 873.3 euros and 623.1 euros per square metre respectively. Dublin takes fifth spot, with average rents of 600 euros per square metre.

Geneva and Zurich saw the biggest growth in rents in the last 12 months, the report said. Geneva has seen a 14.6 per cent increase in the rental cost of office space and Zurich a 5.5 per cent increase in rents.

'Swiss banks may have taken the axe to their London based investment banking operations but as a whole their private banking sector has held up relatively well,' said James Crisp, director at NB Real Estate.

'Whilst the City of London and the West End now have a substantial overhang of spare office space, that does not seem to be the case in the major Swiss cities,' he added.

Less than half the 16 European office locations covered by the report posted growth in rents in the past year, the weakest overall performance since 2004. With the exception of London, Moscow office rents suffered the largest fall in Europe in the last 12 months, dropping 15 per cent on average.

'Rents for prime offices in Moscow are still amongst the most expensive in Europe - how well Russia deals with its latest economic crisis will determine whether it stays in that position,' Crisp said. 'Depreciation of the rouble suggests rents have further to fall,' he said. -- REUTERS

200 Elderly Signed Up

Source : The Straits Times, April 20, 2009

HDB Lease Buyback Scheme

Proceeds used to pay for annuity from CPF Board

DRAWN by the promise of an income for life, caretaker Adali Sadap, 74, was one of several Ang Mo Kio residents who signed up for the HDB's Lease Buyback Scheme on Sunday.

Madam G. Yap, 69, seated beside Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, was among the Ang Mo Kio GRC residents considering the Lease Buyback Scheme yesterday. With them are GRC MPs Balaji Sadasivan and Lee Bee Wah. The scheme, which is for owners of three-room or smaller flats, offers those who qualify for it an income for life. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

About 200 elderly Singaporeans in all have taken up the offer since its launch last month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at a roadshow pitching the scheme to his constituents.

Those who qualify will sell to the Housing Board (HDB) the tail-end of their lease at market rate, and the proceeds will be used to buy an annuity from the Central Provident Fund Board.

This annuity could give Mr Adali and his wife, who is 69, a total of about $600 a month throughout their life.

'I consulted my family, and they all feel the scheme is beneficial to us,' said the father of 11 who bought his three-room flat in 1981 for $21,900.

It is now worth $248,000, he said, adding that he makes about $600 a month as a mosque caretaker.

The rise in value of HDB homes over time was also noted by Mr Lee in his speech at Nanyang Polytechnic to some 1,000 elderly constituents.

He said the Lease Buyback Scheme was possible because of Singapore's highly successful home ownership programme.

'Even now, in an economic downturn, everybody not only has a roof over their heads, but a property which has appreciated in value over the years,' he noted.

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

How the HDB scheme works

Who qualifies?

# Singaporeans who own three-room or smaller HDB flats where the remaining mortgage is $5,000 or lower.

# They must be aged 62 or older, have a household income of $3,000 or less and owned the flat for at least five years.

# They must not own or have owned a larger property. Also, they must have received only one housing subsidy.

What they get

# A monthly payout that can range from $470 to $800, depending on their age and the flat's market value.

# A $10,000 subsidy: $5,000 in cash and $5,000 towards the Central Provident Fund annuity.

# If the owner dies before his remaining lease runs out, his family gets a refund of the balance and the unused annuity.


Source : 《联合早报》Apr 19, 2009



















大巴窑和四美私人组屋 业者:各有吸引力不存在竞争

Source : 《联合早报》Apr 19, 2009


负责销售The Peak@Toa Payoh的HSR经纪行董事刘凯丽,以及负责发展Parc Lumiere的森联集团执行董事郭新玲昨天受访时异口同声地说,两批组屋完全迥异,所以根本毫无竞争可言。


她们说,The Peak主要吸引想要住在靠近市区的公众,而Parc Lumiere要锁定的买家是那些对东部情有独钟的公众。




偏爱大巴窑The Peak的也大有人在。李拔萃(27岁,公务员)说,大巴窑比较靠近市区,上下班方便多了,因此从来没有考虑住在东部。

除了地点外,昨天到Parc Lumiere参观后再到The Peak的林欣乐(28岁,银行分析师)也发现一些细微的分别。



另外,伊斯迈指出,两个项目的规模也不同。他说,四美的Parc Lumiere是私人组屋当中单位最少的,仅推出360个单位,大巴窑则推出1203个单位,根本无从比较。

林欣乐也同意说:“The Peak有40或42层楼,高楼耸立,看起来很摩登壮观;Parc Lumiere则高12楼,整体设计显得较温馨。”

由此可见,大巴窑和四美各有各的吸引力。刘凯丽透露,The Peak至今吸引1万6000人参观,反应比同个发展商去年推出的City View@Boon Keng私人组屋还踊跃。郭新玲则透露,共有3500人参观了四美示范单位,反应也出乎意料。




目前住在裕廊西的曾资晴(30岁,自雇者)偏爱东部的环境和基础设施,一心只想购买Parc Lumiere的四房式单位。她于是前天早上11时特地到四美示范单位排队,成为第15名加入人龙的买家。




今天才开放 昨天就有200多人排队 四美私人组屋未卖先热

Source : 《联合早报》Apr 18, 2009


四美私人组屋“Parc Lumiere”破天荒让公众以先到先得的方式直接选购(walk-in-selection),而不是以传统的抽签选购方式推售,果然吸引了不少有兴趣的买家。



“Parc Lumiere”发展商森联集团的执行董事郭新玲昨天受访时说,示范单位星期六才开放让公众参观,下星期二(21日)才让公众直接选购,但如果在这之前出现排队的状况,可能会把预购期提前。“我们没料到公众的反应会如此热烈,今天(星期五)单位还没供参观,就有那么多人排队,我们也一直接到不少询问电话。”







在购屋抽签时碰了两三次钉子的许也(45岁,教师)知道“Parc Lumiere”以“先到先得”的方式售卖后,放学后就前来排队,希望不会再度失望。

Parc Lumiere建在四美路,靠近四美地铁站和东福坊购物中心,共有360个四房式和五房式单位,平价售价每平方英尺425元。


Source : 《联合早报》Apr 18, 2009




“双螺旋桥”(The Double Helix)、艺术公园(Art Park)和滨海湾公园和步行环道,将在2011年前陆续完工。滨海湾金沙综合度假胜地(IR)和第一期的滨海湾金融中心(MBFC)也预计在明年前启用。



本地最旺的购物大街——乌节路也将注入新的活力。政府在2005年和2006年发售的三幅地段,未来几个月内将出现三座霸型商场—乌节弯(Ion Orchard)、乌节中央城(Orchard Central)和313@Somerset。

乌节中央城设有路边咖啡厅,让人们在逛街逛累时停下来“叹咖啡”;313@ Somerset则辟有270公尺长食街。多美歌地铁站上端的空地也重新开放,成为露天雕塑剧场和餐饮汇点,可举办表演和其他公共活动。









南部濒水地区也会在武吉慈明(Bukit Chermin)和港湾城一带增添更多休闲景点。由于亨德申波浪桥(Henderson Waves)和亚历山大拱桥(Alexandra Arch)非常成功,市建局已决定建造兴建公园连道和木板走道,连接拉柏多公园与南部山脊,这个计划后年完成。

在圣淘沙,名胜世界明年开业,为整个地区带来许多改变。除环球影城主题公园(Universal Studios),这家综合娱乐城也设有海事博物院和海洋生物园,不同的场地也将展开多个表演活动。

圣淘沙发展机构也会引进新的景点,包括模拟滑浪和跳伞经验的Wave House和Sky Venture设施。