Monday, August 31, 2009

Older Properties Find Buyers At Auction

Source : The Business Times, August 29, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two units were bought separately by Singaporeans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Stages Of Circle Line Start Ops Next Year

Source : The Business Times, August 31, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 Stations Open In 2010

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 31, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Development Charge Rates Cut

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 31, 2009

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

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

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

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

Punggol Waterway On Course

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 31, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1,142 Punggol Flats For Sale

Source : The Straits Times, Aug 31, 2009

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More details will be provided when the projects are launched.

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

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

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

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

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

Sub-Sales Triple In Second Quarter

Source : The Straits Times, August 30 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Source : 《联合早报》August 30, 2009


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












黄思绵:职总安居提供合理住屋 也为会员提供合理回报

Source : 《联合早报》August 30, 2009