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Continued momentum in the high-end residential property segment

THE first month of 2017 saw a continued momentum in the high-end residential property segment, with resale prices in the Core Central Region (CCR) making a 1.9 per cent rise from a month ago and 2.7 per cent increase from a year ago, based on SRX Property estimates.

This helped to lift SRX Property's overall resale index for the private residential market by 1.1 per cent month on month in January and 0.3 per cent from a year ago. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael Thirty Eight , Fivenine condo , Sixteen35 Residences and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences.

In the city-fringe or Rest of Central Region (RCR) and suburban areas or Outside Central Region (OCR), resale prices also rose by 1.5 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.

But compared to a year ago, resale prices in the RCR and OCR recorded a fall of 0.1 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively last month.

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Twin Vew Condo

Twin Vew condo is a brand new 99 years leasehold condominium located along West Coast Road and West Coast Vale of District 5. Factoring in construction, advertisement and miscellaneous cost, the Twin Vew price is expected to be around an average of $1300 per square foot and a premium will be expected for high floor units facing Pandan Reservoir. Sighting the lack of supply and the massive development in this region, it is expected that Twin Vew review will garner a positive response among dwellers in the area. Functional layout – The Twin Vew floor plan is expected to be extremely functional with no wastage of space. Sighting their previous completed projects, there should be a wide range of unit mix from 1 bedroom to 5 bedroom accommodating to buyers who are looking to build a home with their families or for investors looking to reap some profits. Please kindly fill in the Contact Us form or Call us @ 6100 8987 to register for an appointment to view the Twin Vew showflat NOW!

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Home prices continued to fall last year

Prices of homes in both the HDB and private markets continued to fall last year, data out yesterday showed. Housing Board resale prices dipped 1.6 per cent, but the decline has likely stabilised as values in the fourth quarter actually rose a modest 0.1 per cent.

Private home prices slipped 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, making it a full-year decline of 3.7 per cent. In the private market, the figures may indicate that some buyers are dipping their toes cautiously into the market, but the ongoing stock market volatility may temper some of that enthusiasm if it persists, analysts said. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael 38 , Five Nine condo and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael 38 prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

Market watchers are concerned about the large number of new private homes - estimated to be 22,000 - to be completed this year. These will come as the vacancy rate of the private property market already stands at 8.1 per cent, the highest in a decade.

Landlords of private homes will also be in for a challenging year.

Data showed that private home rents fell by 4.6 per cent last year. Suburban rents of non-landed homes led the decline, falling 5.6 per cent, followed by those at the city fringe, which dropped 4.9 per cent, while core central region rents were down 3.8 per cent.

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UOL associate to buy Nanak Mansions

Nanak Mansions, located at 92-128 Meyer Road, occupies an area of about 10,185 square metres. The freehold site, with a gross plot ratio of 1.4 based on 2014 Master Plan, is earmarked for residential development.

The bid from UOL's associate, Secure Venture Development (No. 1) Pte Ltd, was accepted on Thursday by all the subsidiary proprietors of the units in the development. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael Thirty Eight , Fivenine condo , Sixteen35 Residences and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael 38 prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

Secure Venture Development (No. 1) will pay up 10 per cent of the consideration, including the S$1 million tender fee paid on bid submission, within seven business days from the acceptance of the offer. The other 90 per cent of the purchase consideration will be paid up on legal completion of the deal.

Secure Venture Development (No. 1) is a 50:50 joint-venture (JV) company between UOL Venture Investments Pte Ltd and Kheng Leong Co (Pte) Ltd.

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ECs were the driving force behind sales

SINGAPORE: Sales of private homes last month fell 57.3 per cent from the previous month in the traditionally quiet year-end period, even as 2016 saw a continued uptick in sales, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday.

Excluding executive condominiums (ECs), developers sold 367 new units in December, down from the 860 units sold in November. Year-on-year, the number of new units excluding ECs sold last month was 4.4 per cent lower than the 384 units sold in December 2015. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include
Parc Life , Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

Including ECs, 580 new units were sold last month, down from 1,110 units the previous month. However, this was 14.2 per cent higher than the 508 units sold the same month a year before.
The month-on-month decline in sales comes as developers scaled back new launches during the traditionally quiet year-end period. Excluding ECs, only 90 units were launched in December, compared to the 1,363 units launched in November.

2016 SALES HIGHEST IN 3 YEARS

However, yearly sales continued to climb steadily, with the total number of new homes sold in 2016 reaching its highest in three years.

A total of 12,408 new private homes - including executive condominiums (ECs) - were sold last year, a 21.7 per cent increase from the 10,199 units sold the previous year. In 2014, 9,026 units were sold.

ECs were the driving force behind sales in 2016, real estate company PropNex said. Excluding ECs, there were 8,364 new units sold last year - slightly higher than the 7,625 units sold in 2015 and 7,437 units sold in 2014.

Sales in the core central region also saw a spike of 67.2 per cent, from 431 units in 2015 to 721 last year. PropNex's chief executive officer, Ismail Gafoor, said current price points of units in the region were 20 to 25 per cent cheaper compared to previous peaks for some developments.

He added that this was due to aggressive marketing by developers to avoid paying the extension fee if they fail to sell all their units within two years of obtaining a temporary occupation permit after completing a project.

Mr Ismail predicted that new private home sales would remain similar this year. "Unfortunately due to the global uncertainty, political situation as well as the impending interest rate hikes, I think 2017 will witness a similar volume of transactions in the tune of 12,000 to 13,000. Therefore, I'm not expecting a repeat of another 20 per cent increment come 2017."

CBRE Singapore gave a similar outlook, but added that favourable prices and good quality projects would continue to drive demand in 2017, as they have over the past two years.

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Transaction volume rose for second straight month

SINGAPORE — Activity in the Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale market continued to pick up in August, with the number of transactions surging from a month earlier as prices rose, showed flash estimates from SRX Property on Thursday.

A total of 1,957 resale HDB flats were sold last month, as transaction volume rose for the second straight month. The volume was 9.6 per cent higher than July’s and up 3 per cent from August a year earlier, showed the SRX Property report. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life , Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

Resale HDB prices recorded an uptick of 0.1 per cent, ending a four-month falling streak. Year-on-year, HDB resale prices have decreased by 0.7 per cent from August last year, and are down 12.1 per cent since the peak in April 2013, said SRX Property.
Analysts said the pick-up in volume may be attributed to some buyers closing deals ahead of the Hungry Ghost month, typically seen by many to be an inauspicious time to make home purchases.

Based on the lunar calendar, the Hungry Ghost festival spans Aug 22 to Sep 19.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of the Research & Consultancy Department at integrated asset manager ZACD, said: “A possible reason for the increase is that some buyers may be rushing to seal the transaction before the start of the Ghost month.” He added that the number of deals was within the six-month range of transaction volumes, which ranged from 1,753 to 1,985 flats.

Mr Mak said the marginal increase in HDB resale prices from the previous month pointed to the continuing stabilisation of the market.

According to the SRX flash estimates, the overall median Transaction-Over-X-Value (TOX) — an indicative measure of how much a buyer is underpaying or overpaying for a unit — was zero in August, compared with negative S$1,100 a month earlier.

Among the towns with more than 10 HDB resale transactions last month, Serangoon was the best-performing with a median TOX of S$11,000. Hougang was the worst, with a median TOX of negative S$7,000.

International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong pointed to a two-tier market forming even while overall sentiment improves.

“Flats in the outlying areas such as Yishun and Sembawang remain under price pressure as homeowners upgrade to more central areas, which in some cases have been seeing record-setting million-dollar transactions,” he said.

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Developing expressions to give identity and elegance to estates

SINGAPORE: Pulling into the foyer at Waterway Cascadia, you would be forgiven for thinking it is a private condominium.

The name of this public housing estate in Punggol is emblazoned across the foyer wall. Its double-storey car park is well-camouflaged. Instead, visitors are greeted by a sprawling green space that sits atop it. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include
Parc Life , Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

This community space, surrounded by eight tastefully designed blocks containing 1,009 units, is dotted with lush flora, fitness corners and ample shelters and benches.
Waterway Cascadia, designed by ADDP Architects, is a Build-to-Order project launched in July 2012. This year, it clinched the Housing and Development Board (HDB) Design Award in the housing category.

A total of 12 HDB Design Awards and 12 HDB Construction Awards were given out this year to recognise industry partners for building quality homes. Other winners include Hougang Meadow (HDB Construction Award) and the upcoming Bedok Beacon (Innovative Design Award).

HDB’s director of landscape and design Brian Low said Waterway Cascadia is a good example of “new generational" public housing with greenery and open spaces.
Referring to the blocks' exterior, he added: “You can see the scale of the architecture as they try to frame up the buildings to make it more special, and behind they have cascaded the design so it drops down to eight storeys before it opens up to a beautiful view of the waterway."

To that end, the blocks are fitted with frames resembling white boxes and scattered with recessed balconies at regular intervals. In addition, their heights are staggered to maximise views of Punggol Waterway. About a third of units there enjoy views of the waterway.

Commenting on the design, 2017 HDB Awards jury panellist and architect Tan Kok Hiang said: “It is now a given for new HDB designs to have well-connected and beautiful community spaces. Another important aspect is developing expressions that give identity and elegance to the estates.”

But Waterway Cascadia is not only pretty. The estate boasts eco-friendly features like bio-retention basins that treat and regulate rainwater runoffs and a centralised dual refuse chute. These have earned it the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) Greenmark Gold Plus, the highest green rating for public housing.

Following in its footsteps is Keat Hong Pride in Choa Chu Kang, another HDB Design Award winner this year. Designed by Surbana Jurong Consultants and launched in May 2012, the centrepiece of this 1,143-unit estate is a vast roof garden above its car park. The garden, which is longer than a football field, contains playgrounds, pavilions and fitness corners.

Keat Hong Pride also bagged the HDB Construction Award after achieving a Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) score of more than 90, above the national average of 88.7. CONQUAS is a BCA indicator that measures the quality of buildings.

“It is very encouraging that HDB continues to champion construction innovation and quality, setting higher benchmarks in quality standards each year,” said HDB Construction Awards jury panellist and Singapore Institute of Architect's First Vice-President Seah Chee Huang.

“This will help to significantly elevate the quality of our public housing and infrastructure, ultimately ensuring better quality homes and environments for our community,” Mr Seah said.

Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee will give out the awards at a ceremony on Wednesday.

When it comes to building new estates, HDB looks at "basic design principles" like how blocks are oriented in terms of wind flow and sunlight, its director of landscape and design Brian Low said.

"HDB living is about naturally lit, naturally ventilated environments," he said. "Because of that, we don’t want to rely on a lot of mechanical means to achieve comfort. Basically, all these features have to be passive."

Beyond design, however, residents are asking for facilities like ATMs and convenience stores in new estates. And that is something HDB is working towards, Mr Low said.

“In the new projects, we are putting more and more facilities that are commercial, (for example), coffee shops and shops,” he added.

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Quiet nights at Sentosa Cove

If solitude and silence are part of high living, then some Sentosa Cove residents are getting more than they bargained for. When The Sunday Times visited the Cove on Thursday night, many units of the private estates there were dark.

At The Residences at W, a 228-unit development completed about five years ago, an online search shows 209 units are up for rent. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael 38 , Fivenine , Sixteen35 Residences and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael 38 prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

At The Coast - a 249-unit development - 45 units are listed for rent. At 200-unit The Berth by the Cove, online listings show 25 units are up for rent. A resident of The Residences at W, who wanted to be known only as Robert, says: "There are usually more people around in the day. At night, the place does feel quite empty when the non-residents return home.

"If I just look at my block alone, I'd say it is probably around 70 per cent occupied." The 41-year-old American expatriate moved into his rental four-bedroom unit early last year and pays around $8,000 a month. Read also: High vacancy rates in parts of Singapore In the Core Central Region (CCR), which includes Sentosa, the private home vacancy rate at the fourth quarter last year was 9.6 per cent, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

This number is derived from the utility consumption levels of all completed private residential units in the CCR. Mr Wong Xian Yang, head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee, says this is the closest indication of the vacancy rate in Sentosa. But he offers another reason why so many units are unoccupied. "Many Sentosa Cove residences would be left empty for most of the year as they are holiday homes for the owners, so Sentosa would likely have a higher vacancy rate than the rest of the CCR," he says.

Based on his observations, International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong estimates about 30 per cent of units in the Cove are vacant. Says Mr Ku: "Assuming a 70 per cent occupancy, that would mean around 650 units of the 2,200 homes and apartments there are empty." Sentosa Cove had a poor 2016 - 15 out of the 21 resale transactions last year ended up in the red, with the 15 transactions making an average loss of $1.35 million, according to data from property portal SRX. A unit at Sentosa Cove condo Turquoise went for $3.8 million last year. The seller had bought it at $7.16 million in 2007.

Another apartment at Seascape was resold at $6.35 million last October. That owner had paid $11 million in 2011. But the area remains popular with visitors. Restaurant staff at Quayside Isle, a marina-front dining enclave in the middle of the luxury homes, say business is brisk despite the small residential population. Says Ms Rachel Guerra, manager of Miska Cafe: "There are still residents and non-residents, as well as guests at the nearby hotel coming to eat here. Right now, we're still doing well."

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Resale prices of HDB flats declined

SINGAPORE: Resale prices of Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats declined by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous quarter, according to flash estimates released by HDB on Monday.

The resale price index - which provides information on the general price movements in the resale public housing market - is estimated to have slid to 133.8 from 134.6 the previous quarter, HDB said. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael 38 , Five Nine condo, Sixteen35 Residences and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael 38 prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

HDB plans to launch about 4,600 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in Woodlands, Yishun, Bidadari and Geylang in May. It will also offer about 3,000 balance flats in the same month, it added.

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Singapore property losing some shine

Singapore is less likely to be on the radar of institutional real estate investors this year compared with other developed regional cities, especially those in Australia and Japan, said a UBS report.

It cited the oversupply in the office and logistics sectors here amid weak consumer sentiment and a housing market dealing with cooling measures. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael Thirty Eight , Fivenine condo , Sixteen35 Residences and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael 38 prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore noted last November that property transactions, prices and mortgages could have been higher by as much as a third had these measures not been implemented.

Mr Graham Mackie, managing director and head of global real estate for Asia Pacific at UBS Asset Management, said yesterday that there is certainly no rush to exit Singapore and some global investors still perceive the country as a relatively safe market.

Real Capital Analytics data noted that while capital of about US$28.7 billion (S$39 billion) from Singapore was invested in overseas real estate last year, up 49 per cent from 2014, total inbound capital rose 157 per cent to US$3.4 billion.

Globally, investors are increasing their exposure to real estate, Mr Mackie noted. Property traditionally formed about 5 per cent of investors' portfolios but this seems to be going up to 10 to 15 per cent.

The report said there appears to be greater capital value in Australia and Japan now, relative to Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

Property yields in Australia are significantly higher than risk-free rates in the market.

Mr Mackie said: "It is a relatively efficient market with strong rule of law... The Australian dollar has depreciated significantly against the US dollar and investors who are more swayed by currency considerations see Australia as relatively cheaper."

In Japan, while negative interest rates will be a short-term "sugar rush", propelling asset price inflation, offices in Tokyo are still attractive and will outperform on the back of strong rental growth, said Mr Toh Shaowei, director of research and strategy (Asia Pacific) for global real estate at UBS Asset Management.

Inbound tourism in Japan continues to be strong, thanks to the cheap yen, which should prop up retail real estate, he added.

"Especially in Tokyo, the residential market still has some runway. The Tokyo resident population has been growing, but 45 per cent of households there do not own their own dwelling - (presenting) a huge room for rental opportunities and residential sales to grow."

Economic conditions in the region will remain challenging over the near term, the report said.

Easier credit conditions could lead to a rise in asset prices that may not be backed by fundamentals, while Asian currencies could fall further in the next six months to a year.

But Asia's growth continues to be higher than the rest of the world, and its dynamics - the rising middle class and increasing proportion of working age adults in some of its cities - will still be very supportive of real estate, said Mr Toh.

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Closing stamp duty rate differential

SINGAPORE — From Saturday, all transactions involving the transfer of property from one entity to another will be subject to stamp duties, regardless of whether the transaction is carried out directly between buyer and seller, or through a third party.

On Friday, the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament to introduce a new Additional Conveyance Duty (ACD) on the indirect buying and selling of residential properties through corporate vehicles. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael Thirty Eight and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael 38 prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said the new measure seeks to address the stamp duty rate differential between direct property transactions and indirect real estate deals conducted through property holding entities (PHEs). PHEs are defined as entities whose primary tangible assets — meaning at least 50 per cent — are in residential properties in Singapore.

Previously, the acquisition of shares in companies was subjected to 0.2 per cent stamp duty based on the purchase price or the value of the shares. There was no stamp duty on the acquisition of equity interest for other types of entities such as partnerships and trusts, or the disposal of equity interest in all types of entities, including companies. This treatment applied even when the entity’s assets mainly comprise residential properties in Singapore.

In comparison, the purchase of residential properties in Singapore attracts Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) of between 1 and 3 per cent, and Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) of up to 15 per cent based on the purchase price or the value of the properties. The sale of residential properties in Singapore may also be subject to Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD).

Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong told the House: “With the ABSD and SSD remaining relevant in our property market, we have decided it is timely to close this stamp duty rate differential.” Mr Wong had first flagged on Tuesday that the Government would address the loophole in response to a suggestion by Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Yee Chia Hsing.

By subjecting the sale and purchase of equity interest in PHEs to ACD, the Government effectively closes a loophole in real estate transfers where buyers could previously purchase stakes in companies that own property and, as a result, avoid BSD and ABSD.

In January, United Overseas Bank chairman emeritus Wee Cho Yaw made headlines when media reports revealed that he had bought all 45 unsold units at The Nassim for S$411.6 million through his family’s private real estate arm, Kheng Leong. Mr Wee’s bulk purchase represented a discount of about 18 per cent.

Under the new regime, indirect property transactions will be subject to the new duties. Sellers of shares in PHEs will be made to pay an ACD equivalent to the SSD, while buyers will have to pay the share duty as well as the ACD which is equivalent to the ABSD and BSD.

For direct property transactions, sellers will continue to incur the SSD, albeit at a lower rate, and the holding period is reduced to three years from four years. Buyers will still be subject to the ABSD and BSD.

Mr Wong emphasised that the measure will not impact the ordinary buying and selling of shares by retail investors in equities listed on the Singapore Exchange.

“The ACD will apply to acquisition or disposal of equity interest by owners with significant equity interest in a PHE. To be considered a significant owner, one has to either presently hold at least 50 per cent equity interest in a PHE, or hold at least 50 per cent interest after the equity acquisition,” said Mr Wong.

To mitigate any potential attempt to circumvent the 50 per cent threshold, the MOF will take into account the equity interest held by associates, including a parent company and subsidiary, or in the context of individuals, a father and his children, husband and wife, he added.

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Average booking rate of 83% for 3Gen flats

SINGAPORE – Mr Tan Chow Hua had longed to have his wife and children spend more time with his mother but simply could not afford the space and have her move into their five-room flat in Jurong West.

As of Dec 31 last year, the HDB has offered 1,100 of such 3Gen flats across 18 projects. Between 2013 and 2015, there was an average booking rate of 83 per cent, with families booking 651 out of 786 units, said the HDB in a media fact sheet. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael Thirty Eight ,Sixteen35 Residences and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael 38 prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

Three projects in Yishun, Punggol BayView and Tampines GreenRidge – 84, 52 and 56 units respectively – were fully taken up. Among these 651 units, 47 per cent were taken by first-time buyers while the remaining units were booked by second-timers.

So when applications for the Housing and Development Board’s three-generation (3Gen) flats opened in 2013, he jumped at the opportunity. It also came at a time where his 86-year-old mother’s health had begun to deteriorate.

“I wanted my wife, two daughters (and my mother) to stay together to have a closer bond, all along I wanted that. But because of that space constraint… we could not ask her to come over,” said the 49-year-old education officer. When his mother’s legs started to give her problems, it further cemented his decision to have his family living under one roof, added Mr Tan.
In 2013, the HDB piloted these new type of flats targeted at multi-generation families who wanted to live together. Each 115sqm flat – slightly larger than the five-room flats – has four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

To be eligible, the applications must form a multi-generation family that includes at least a married or courting couple and their parents. There is also a minimum occupation period of five years during which the rooms cannot be sublet. Thereafter, the flats can be resold to only other eligible multi-generation families.

Mr Tan and his family will be among the first to move into the completed 3Gen flats in Boon Lay View, where occupants have started collecting their keys since Dec last year.

Currently, Mr Tan and his wife, as well as his two teenage daughters – 15 and 17 years old – have taken up two of the three bedrooms at their five-room flat while the last room is being used as a study room. His mother and her domestic helper live in a 4-room flat, also in Jurong West.

Not only will his mother be able to move in with them, he pointed out that the extra room with an attached toilet at the new unit will be more convenient for his mother who has walking difficulties.

Each of his daughters will also have a room to themselves.

“(The new flat) fits into our needs. In terms of personal space, everyone has their fair share,” he added.

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PRICES of non-landed private homes in the resale market inched up

PRICES of non-landed private homes in the resale market inched up 0.3 per cent last month, compared with February, SRX Property estimates.

This was buoyed by the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR), which posted 0.1 per cent and 1.3 per cent price increases respectively. Resale prices in the Core Central Region (CCR) however slipped 1.7 per cent last month. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael Thirty Eight , Fivenine , and Kandis Residence , Sengkang Central condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael Thirty Eight prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

For the overall resale non-landed private market, SRX Property revised its estimate for February from a price decline of 0.3 per cent to a deeper fall of 0.6 per cent.

Based on its estimates, resale volume of non-landed private residential transactions jumped 47.6 per cent from a month ago to 577 units in March.

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Providing more job and recreational options in the heartlands

SINGAPORE: More than 100,000 new jobs will be created and 20,000 homes built in the 360-hectare Jurong Lake District, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said on Friday.

The Jurong Lake District project - set to be completed after 2040 - was first announced in 2008 as part of URA's efforts to provide more job and recreational options in the heartlands. This will benefit nearby EC residents such as those from Inz Residence EC. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life , Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

The Government has said it plans to transform the area into Singapore's second central business district.

The new jobs will be created in sectors such as the maritime industry, with the future Tuas mega port; infrastructure development, due to the neighbouring Jurong Industrial Estate; and in the technology sector with the Nanyang Technological University and the planned Jurong Innovation District nearby, URA said.

New residential developments will also be built in this western corridor, which will be a mixed-use business district. However, the exact mix of private and public development has not yet been determined, the authority said.

The district has been divided into two precincts - Jurong Gateway, the commercial hub where redevelopment has already begun, and Lakeside, where the future Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High-Speed Rail (HSR) terminus will be located.

To cater to the changing needs of developers and businesses, URA said it will adopt a grid structure for land parcels sold through the Government land sales programme so that it can adjust the size of land parcels put up for sale more easily.

These land parcels will be "white zoned", meaning that they can house a mix of uses under certain conditions. Developers will have more freedom to decide on the uses of each site, which could range from apartments to museums.

Speaking at the launch of an exhibition to showcase the draft master plan, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the project will create a "better, smarter and more sustainable centre for businesses", which will provide more jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans.

The development of the district, which will take at least 15 to 20 years, will start with the area around the HSR terminus as it is expected to begin operation by end-2026, he added.

COMMUTER-CENTRIC FEATURES

URA also announced several features to make Jurong Lake District "car-lite". For example, there will be roads solely for public transport, and every street within the Lakeside precinct will have a dedicated path for cyclists and personal mobility device users.

The bus network serving the Jurong Lake District will also be expanded, with every development no more than 400m or a five minutes' walk away from a bus stop or an MRT station.

The aim is for more than 80 per cent of all commuter trips in the district to be via public transport, higher the current islandwide average of 66 per cent, URA said.

URA also said it hopes to cut the number of freight vehicles on the roads by at least 65 per cent - it plans to develop offsite logistic centres so that companies can consolidate their goods deliveries before entering the district.

GOING UNDERGROUND

To free up ground space, more underground spaces will be used. For example, URA will build at least four "consolidated" car parks - with each development 200m to 400m from a car park instead of each building having its own car park.

These underground spaces could also be used to house energy and waste systems such as a centralised waste collection point and a district-wide cooling system, the statutory board added.

The district-wide cooling system will serve the entire area, including residential developments, unlike the network currently used at Marina Bay which only serves commercial buildings.

An integrated district management platform could also be set up so that facilities managers can tap on real-time data to diagnose and fix problems quickly, URA said.

GREEN SPACES

The plans for Jurong Lake District include sprucing up 116 hectares of greenery and open spaces, including a new park above the HSR terminus, URA said.

The 90-hectare Jurong Lake Gardens is also currently being renovated and could provide activity spaces for the new Science Centre. A water channel on the east side of the lake will also be formed to provide more waterfront space for leisure and retail activities, it added.

Proposals for the Jurong Lake District were developed by a team of consultants led by Dutch design firm KCAP Architects&Planners.

URA said it hopes to finalise the details of this master plan by 2019, and hold townhall sessions and focus group discussions among both businesses and residents to gather feedback on the proposals.

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Higher development charges for residential and commercial properties

SINGAPORE — From today, developers of residential and commercial real estate will have to pay higher development charges, with the biggest increase seen in residential non-landed property. Analysts noted that this could temporarily cool the en-bloc sale fever.

Last month, Tampines Court — a former Housing and Urban Development Company estate — was sold for S$970 million in the largest collective sale in a decade. Upcoming 
executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove Residences while existing ones include Parc Life , Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

The development charge is a tax levied on developers when planning permission is granted to carry out development projects that increase the value of land, including rezoning to a higher value use and increasing the plot ratio of the property.
The rates are reviewed every six months, in consultation with the Chief Valuer at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

The development charge rates for residential non-landed property have increased by 13.8 per cent on average.

Some 116 out of 118 sectors saw increases in development charges, ranging from 6 per cent to 29 per cent. The largest increase of 29 per cent applies to the Tampines Road/Hougang/Punggol/Sengkang area.

With bullish land prices paid by developers in the last six months, analysts were not surprised with the rise in development charges.

“This was the highest average increase since September 2007 when the average increase was a massive 57.8 per cent,” said Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director, ZACD group.

“The latest round of increase in the development charges for non-landed residential properties could temporary cool the en-bloc sale fever. Depending on the location, the increase in development charges could have a greater impact on the en-bloc sale of 99-year leasehold projects as it could increase the charges payable for increasing the floor area of the new development as well as topping up the 99-year lease of the land.”

Recent en-bloc transactions, such as the sale of Rio Casa for S$575 million, and the strong launch of Park Place Residences, which sold all 215 of its Phase 1 units for an average price of S$1,900 per square foot (psf), are likely to have prompted the upward revision in development charges, said Ms Christine Li, director of research at Cushman & Wakefield.

In the first half of the year, the total commercial and residential transactions recorded S$6.9 billion and S$6.2 billion, reflecting a 23 per cent and 130 per cent increase respectively, she noted.

“Developers paid an average of 29 per cent premium over comparable sites for the first five months of the year, a marked increase when premiums were sub-zero in late 2015 and early last year. The increasingly bullish bids by developers in recent land tenders is a testament that home prices are likely to increase when these projects reach the market,” added Ms Li.

The latest round of rates revision are not expected to have a significant impact on the landed property market as the development charge rates for this group increased by just 0.3 per cent on average and only five out 118 sectors are affected by the changes, said Mr Mak.

The development charge rates remain unchanged for all other classes of real estate, including land designated for hotel and hospital development, industry, places of worship and civic and community institutions.

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Competitive Pricing at the Latest Launch

E-applications open on Friday for Westwood Residences - a new executive condo (EC) project in Jurong West which will be officially open for bookings on May 30. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat showflat will be available shortly.

The 480-unit development at Westwood Avenue is the first EC to be affected by changes to resale levy rules. The resale levy now applies to EC buyers who had previously bought HDB flats or ECs. The other EC that would be affected by the resale levy includes The Brownstone EC and The Vales EC.

Westwood has an indicative pricing of S$800 per square foot (psf). That is about six per cent lower than what another executive condominium (EC) project in the area - Lake Life EC - went for, S$850psf, when it was launched in November last year.

Said Mr Francis Koh, group CEO of one of the EC's developers, Koh Brothers Group “We have to consider the market. When compared to the nearby executive condo, what will buyers think of our condo? So we have to price it very competitively."

Westwood Residences is hoping to attract homebuyers by going big on cyclist-friendly features. It will house some 500 parking lots for bicycles - with a bicycle maintenance area - and an outdoor mini velodrome.

One analyst said it may be too early to say if the new EC project will benefit from the upcoming makeover for Jurong Lake District.

"This project is closer to NTU (Nanyang Technological University), and the Cleantech Park,” said Mr Sing Tien Foo, Deputy Head at the Department of Real Estate in the National University of Singapore. “For the Jurong Lake District area, the project may be located at the fringe of the Jurong Lake District. Although over time, when the area develops, we will probably see the spillover effect. Probably, this will take a while."

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New launch located near jurong lake district

Imagine heading out of your executive condo on your bicycle to explore Singapore’s next hot spot that has been earmarked to bring the city closer to where you live.

Imagine heading out of your executive condo on your bicycle to explore Singapore’s next hot spot that has been earmarked to bring the city closer to where you live.

Where are you? Westwood Residences, an executive condominium set in the Westwood landed estate that offers views unobstructed by HDB blocks. Located near jurong lake district, which has been identified as Singapore next exciting development, Westwood brings a diverse mix of offices, shops, hotels, F&B, sports, recreation and medical facilities, parks and community space to your doorsteps. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia condo showflat will be available shortly.

As Singapore’s first bicycle themed development, Westwood executive condominiums has some interesting offers of its own too. For starters, is has Singapore’s first mini outdoor velodrome and kids traffic garden. Westwood executive condo is also the first residential development to have a covered bike garage with biometric view scanner access and cctv monitoring.

Bicycle storage is no issue at Westwood where there are close to 500 bicycle parking lots and lockers. There is also a maintenance are where you can wash, air dry and pump you bicycle tires.

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More Foreigners Buy Resale Executive Condo

Increasing numbers of foreigners are snapping up executive condo in the resale market and helping to push prices to record levels.

Foreigners, including permanent residents (PRs), bought 321 ECs or 33 per cent of all resale homes last year, said Savills research and consultancy, with Indian nationals by far the biggest segment. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia while existing ones include Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botania showflat will be available shortly.

This is up from 18 per cent in 2004, when PRs were first eligible to buy exec condos, the poshest form of public housing.

The foreign market presence was even higher in the first two months of the year with foreigners comprising 45 per cent of transactions in the exec condo resale sector.

Foreigners made up 34 per cent of buyers in the private mass-market resale segment in the same period, indicating the increased appeal of exec condos.

This interest, coupled with the booming property sector, is also affecting values. The average price of a resale exec condo unit hit $634 per sq ft (psf) in the first two months of the year - up 31 per cent on the previous peak in the third quarter of 2008.

Executive condo, like other Housing Board (HDB) flats, are subject to a minimum occupation period of five years. After that, they can be sold only to Singaporeans and permanent residents. They become private property after 10 years and can then be sold to foreigners.

PRs can have their pick from about 9,494 executive condo units while non-PR foreigners have about 6,318 units open to them, Savills said.

Some of these units are in Bishan Loft, The Eden in Tampines and Simei Green condominium.

Foreign interest in resale exec condos is also expected to remain strong as many cannot buy an HDB resale home under the new property rulings, added Ms Christine Sun, senior manager at Savills research and consultancy.

The rules introduced last year require that those who buy an HDB resale flat on or after Aug 30 must dispose of their private property - including any overseas - within six months of the purchase.

Savills also said sales data showed Indian nationals have bought 296 resale exec condos since 2004, making them the biggest group of foreign buyers.

Malaysians were next with 276 units while buyers from China accounted for 222 units.

Woodsvale in Woodlands is the most popular estate with 138 transactions since 2004. Northoaks - also in Woodlands - and Simei Green condominium are slightly behind.

But Bishan Loft holds the price record with a 1,991 sq ft unit selling for $944 psf last October.

Price gains have been moderating lately with values inching up just 1 per cent in the first two months of the year compared with the last quarter, Savills said.

This could be down to the recent property measures, price resistance and an increased mass-market home supply from the bumper release of state land, the firm added.

Experts noted that exec condos are often value-for-money purchases as they can be up to 25 per cent cheaper than private mass-market homes.

'New mass-market home prices have surged to record highs in recent quarters... Resale ECs that are more affordable than mass-market homes offer good alternatives for most of these buyers,' Ms Sun said.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said exec condos are also often relatively new and in reasonably good condition as most are less than 10 years old.

'Most foreigners might have been relocated here and would buy exec condos for owner-occupation, often with a mid- to long-term perspective,' he added.

Global Property Strategic Alliance chief executive Jeffrey Hong added that exec condos are more popular when the gap between public and private housing widens, as has been the case over the past year.

He expects interest from foreigners to continue increasing as more exec condos reach their 10-year mark and become eligible for purchase by foreigners.

Mr Marc Grange, a Singapore PR who works in the electronics sector and rents a flat in Bishan, said he would consider purchasing an exec condo unit as prices at new condos are out of reach for him and his fiancee.

'Exec condos are a good middle ground. But their limited numbers mean finding a suitable place that's in a good location is the hard bit,' he said.

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Elderly applicants opting for shorter leases

SINGAPORE — Given a choice, many elderly applicants are opting for shorter leases under the Two-room Flexi Scheme, figures from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) show.

And with the encouraging response so far, the board will launch more Build-To-Order projects with such flats. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael Thirty Eight and Kandis Residence while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

In BTO and Sale of Balance Flats exercises for which flat selection has been completed, 85 per cent of elderly buyers who have booked flats under the scheme opted for short leases, said the HDB.

Since the scheme’s introduction in the November 2015 sales exercise, the HDB has offered about 10,000 two-room Flexi flats, and the application rates have ranged between 1.2 and 5.3.

Of the BTO and Sale of Balance Flats exercises that have been completed as of end-January, 87 per cent of these 6,070 two-room Flexi units on offer were booked.

Nearly half the buyers, numbering 2,467, were aged 55 and above, and 2,101 of them opted for shorter leases. The most popular was the 40-year lease, followed by the 35- and 30-year leases, according to the HDB.

Mr Low Su Miang, 93, and Mdm Tan Siang Keng, 90, were among the 32 buyers who opted for the shortest lease of 15 years. The couple had their wish to own a flat fulfilled by their four children. They applied for their Sengkang flat in November 2015, and it is estimated to be ready in the third quarter of 2019. They are living with their daughter in the meantime.

Calling the response to the scheme “very encouraging”, particularly among elderly flat buyers, the HDB said it will launch more BTO projects with two-room flexi flats in locations islandwide.

For elderly buyers, the scheme means being able to have a new home “even as they monetise more from their existing property”, said the board.

Last month, in the first sales exercise this year, the 713 units of 2-room Flexi flats offered in Punggol received 2,894 applications, with an application rate of 4.1, said the HDB.

The Two-room Flexi Scheme merged and replaced the previous two-room flat scheme and the Studio Apartment scheme, which was launched in 1998.

Under the new scheme, first-timer and second-timer families as well as first-timer singles are offered 99-year flats. Elderly buyers aged 55 and above may also opt for leases of between 15 and 45 years.

The short-lease flats must be bought using cash or Central Provident Fund savings, and not a mortgage loan, so that the elderly do not get into debt.

The flats cannot be resold or sublet, and owners who no longer need the flats return them to the HDB, which will refund them the value of the remaining lease of the flat.

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HDB resale prices down 0.1%

SINGAPORE: The resale prices of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats fell 0.1 per cent month-on-month in March, according to a local property index on Thursday.

The price decline was the largest for executive flats, whose resale prices fell by 1.6 per cent, according to flash estimates from SRX Property. Three-room flat resale prices dropped by 0.8 per cent, while four-room flat prices decreased by 0.2 per cent. In contrast, the resale prices of five-room flats increased by 0.7 per cent. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia , Carpmael Thirty Eight and Kandis Residence while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Carpmael 38 prices, 38 Carpmael floor plans, Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

Overall, prices have increased by 0.1 per cent from the same period a year ago and declined by 11 per cent since the peak in April 2013, SRX Property said.

A total of 1,651 HDB resale flats were sold in March this year, a 37.6 per cent rise from the 1,200 transacted units in February. Compared to a year ago, resale volume was 22.5 per cent higher, SRX Property said.

The overall median Transaction Over X-Value (TOX), which measures whether people are overpaying or underpaying SRX Property’s estimated market value, was zero last month, an increase of S$2,000 compared to February.

For HDB towns with more than 10 resale transactions with TOX, Clementi reported the highest median TOX of S$10,000, followed by Bukit Panjang with S$8,500. This means that the majority of the buyers in these towns purchased units above the computer-generated market value.

The lowest median TOX for HDB towns with more than 10 resale transactions with TOX were the Central area at -S$12,000 and Serangoon at -S$8,000. This means that the majority of buyers in these towns purchased units below the computer-generated market value.

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