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Underlying demand is still present

Investors reading the tea leaves on the state of the private residential market can expect fresh clues to emerge this weekend with three new projects on preview.

The trio are neatly spread across the main regions and price points, with boutique development 38 Jervois in the prime District 10, Queens Peak on the city fringe, and Parc Riviera in the suburbs. 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.

Going by brisk sales at recent launches Forest Woods and The Alps Residences, analysts expect home hunters to pick up smaller units again at upcoming projects.

"The underlying demand is still there, but buyers are looking for value. It is still a play on unit sizes and overall quantum," said Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research for Singapore and South-east Asia.

Consultancy Knight Frank said the encouraging sales at Forest Woods - near Serangoon MRT station and Nex shopping mall - on its first weekend "reflect a possibly new price acceptance level for projects with strong attributes".

"There could be more interest for new project launches going forward, especially projects on the city fringes, where they present the dual attributes of close proximity to the city centre and lower prices compared with prime district projects," noted Knight Frank Singapore research head Alice Tan.
The city-fringe project being previewed this weekend is Hao Yuan Investment's 736-unit Queens Peak in Dundee Road, which has direct access to Queenstown MRT station.

Indicative average prices at the 99-year leasehold project range from $1,430 per sq ft (psf) to $1,830 psf, with starting prices ranging from $680,000 for a one-bedder to $2.96 million for a five-room unit.

Hao Yuan Investment said yesterday that the project will be grouped into two collections - Botanic Collection, comprising one- to three- bedroom units from the eighth to 26th floors; and Skye Collection, with three- to five-bedders and single-storey penthouses from the 28th to 44th floors.

Buyers with deeper pockets might look to freehold 38 Jervois being developed by Prominent Land. The preview will be held at The Luxe Art Museum in Handy Road.

The 27-unit project has 21 one- to three-bedroom units and six penthouses, with an average price of $2,100 psf onwards, the developer told The Straits Times yesterday.

Unit sizes range from 474 sq ft for a one-bedder to 1,098 sq ft for a two-bedroom plus study penthouse. Prominent Land said the starting price for a one-bedder is $1.08 million; for a two-bedder it is $1.48 million; and for a three-bedroom unit, it is nearly $1.81 million.

It had acquired the site with a detached house at 38 Jervois Road from a person understood to be Mr Eng Fook Hoong in February last year for $25 million, or $1,686 psf.

The mass market project to be previewed this weekend is the 99- year leasehold Parc Riviera in West Coast Vale by EL Development.

The average price of units is expected to be about $1,250 psf, with a total of 752 units up for sale, about 64 per cent of which are one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Market watchers expect these project launches to push new home sales past 1,000 units a month this month and next, but it is too soon to declare that the property market has turned a corner. "I think the trough is very near... the market will see a comfortable landing, but don't expect it to take off quickly. It's likely to be a U-shape recovery," said Mr Sim of CBRE Research.

For investors looking for overseas exposure, CapitaLand is launching its latest Vietnam residential development in Ho Chi Minh City - D1Mension - at The St Regis Singapore tomorrow.

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CDL first in asia to adopt pre-fab technology

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First-timers to enjoy higher priority

SINGAPORE — The first batch of 1,000 Built-To-Order (BTO) flats that come with a shorter waiting time of two-and-a-half years will be launched in in Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun in the second half of next year.

Buyers can expect to get their keys between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, which is shorter than the usual waiting time for BTO flats of about three to four years.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.

These flats will come with floor finishes, internal doors, and sanitary fittings - reducing the renovation works required and enabling buyers to move in sooner. Where the layout permits, the units will also come with an open kitchen concept.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong first said in October last year that the Government was looking to shorten the wait for public housing. Releasing the details of measures to help young couples get their new flats faster, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said yesterday that it will also roll out a new way for home hunters to apply for balance flats from next month.

Under a new Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise, all flats that remain unsold at the end of the previous Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise will be pooled together and put up for sale.

“This will help those with more urgent housing needs and/or are less particular about location and attributes to have quicker access to a flat,” said the HDB.

Applicants will be shortlisted using a computer ballot, and will get the chance to select any available ROF unit, regardless of flat type and location, based on their queue number.

The first ROF exercise will offer 1,394 of 5,008 unsold flats from last November’s SBF exercise, with at least 95 per cent of the flat supply reserved for first-timer families and up to five per cent for second-timer families. ROF exercises will be held twice a year, in February and August, alongside BTO launches, HDB said. After the first few rounds of ROF exercises, the Government will review whether there is a need to adjust the frequency of such exercises.

Mr Wong noted on his blog that the SBF exercises are a “popular option among households, as the flats are nearer to completion or even completed, and spread across various towns”. Nevertheless, after every SBF exercise, “there are usually some flats left unsold”, he said.

In terms of pricing, Mr Colin Tan, director of research and consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, felt that flats offered in the ROF exercise should be cheaper than their original prices, given that these units have been unsold after previous rounds.

Nevertheless, Mr Chris Koh, director of property firm Chris International, noted that balance flats may not necessarily be left on the shelf because they were unpopular. (It’s) not because they cannot sell but they were already taken by, say, a couple who are planning to get married and then later they change their mind (and) they forgo the flat,” said Mr Koh, noting that sometimes there are units in good locations and on high floors which are available in SBF exercises.

On the inaugural batch of BTO flats that come with a shorter waiting time, property analysts felt that the flats in Sengkang and Yishun will see keen demand.

International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong pointed to the younger demographics in the northeastern part of the island. Referring to Sengkang, he said: “As a non-mature estate, (it) is probably the best equipped (with facilities) to take care of children.”

Mr Koh felt that the Yishun new flats could attract the strongest interest, as the estate has adequate infrastructure is there and is “not so far north compared to Sembawang”. However, civil engineer Mr Jacon Ong, who is looking to apply for a BTO flat, said the locations on offer were not appealing to him, as both he and his fiance work in the Central Business District (CBD). “The estates are far from the CBD,” said the 26-year-old.

HDB said first-timers will enjoy higher priority for the flats with a shorter waiting time, with at least 95 per cent of the four-room and larger units set aside for them. This is 10 percentage points higher than the existing quota for non-mature estates. The construction work for these flats are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

A total of 300 units at Sembawang and 400 units at Yishun are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020. The new flats at these two estates range from three- to five-room types. At Sengkang, 300 four-room and five-room flats are slated for completion in the first quarter of 2021.

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Jurong Lake District to offer flexible and adaptable work spaces

SINGAPORE — Five out of 35 teams have been shortlisted for the next stage of the Request for Proposal (RFP) exercise to develop a master plan for the Jurong Lake District, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday.

In July, the Government launched its RFP for transforming the Jurong Lake District into the Republic’s second Central Business District, which will be anchored by the upcoming Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) terminus. It has six goals for the district, including offering “flexible and adaptable work spaces” in the core area around the HSR terminus, being a car-lite district and having innovative urban infrastructure to cater to the needs of different developments in the district. This will benefit nearby EC residents such as those from Sol Acres EC. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, River Cove 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.

In Stage 2 of the RFP, the five teams will have 10 weeks to develop and submit their conceptual master plan and proposals for the district by the end of this year.

A panel, comprising senior representatives and practitioners from government agencies, academia and industry, will then evaluate the proposals and select one of the teams as the appointed consultant by January next year. The selected team will work with the URA and other agencies to refine the plans, before submitting final detailed proposals for the Jurong Lake District.

The five shortlisted teams, consisting of tie-ups between local and international firms, “scored the highest for their track record and quality of their submitted statement of planning and design intent and approach”, said the URA.

“The statements set out the direction and strategies the teams intend to take in developing the Concept Master Plan for Jurong Lake District, as well as their analysis of key constraints and challenges for the area and how these could be overcome,” said the URA. “Through these statements, teams demonstrated their understanding of the requirements, master planning issues, challenges and opportunities in Jurong Lake District.”

Other factors considered were a team’s “collective experience and ability to master plan for a good quality, high-density mixed use urban district centred around a high-speed rail station, with a focus on transport planning and integration”, as well as innovation shown in past projects.

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More developments encouraged to go en-bloc

SINGAPORE — In what could be the biggest collective sale of a former Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) estate since 2007, a bid for Tampines Court came in for S$970 million yesterday — above the asking price of S$960 million.

Located at Tampines Street 11, the plot of land, at 702,164 square feet, is able to yield 2,500 units with each unit an average 900 sqf, according to real estate company Huttons Asia, the appointed marketing consultant for the collective sale. 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 EC, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove EC floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

If successful, each owner of the 560-unit Tampines Court would get between S$1.7 million and S$1.75 million, Huttons said.
It acquired the approval of 83 per cent of the residents to put the property up for a collective sale, in what was the third attempt.

It would be the biggest en-bloc sale since Farrer Court went for $1.34 billion in 2007.

Huttons, however, declined to reveal the identity of the developer, citing ongoing discussions involving sale conditions.

It hopes to conclude the deal in the next few days.

“The tender concluded with a satisfactory result above the reserve price, considering the sprawling land size Tampines Court sits on,” said Mr Terence Lian, head of Investment Sales at Huttons Asia.

With the bid price at S$970 million, and additional estimated fees of S$318 million to top up the lease to 99 years and to enhance the intensity for the site’s use, the buyer would be looking at a price of S$655 per square feet, said Mr Lian.

Built in 1985, the 101-year leasehold property has 69 years left. The development is comprised of 14 blocks with units ranging from 154 sqm to 161 sqm.

In 2008, its first attempt at an en-bloc sale — at an asking price of S$405 million — was dismissed by the Strata Titles Board due to a failure to meet the deadline. A second attempt in 2011 failed to draw the required approval from residents.

Analysts said yesterday that this pending sale showed the optimism in the property market and expected more en-bloc sales.

Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty Network, said: “This shows the confidence of the developer to take on a project of such scale … and the risks associated with it. More importantly, their optimism that the market recovery is well on track.”

Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research (Singapore and South-east Asia), said that the strong demand for land parcels might mean more developments may be encouraged to go en-bloc in the coming years.

“There are more developers than there are land parcels. In the last land sales, there were more than 10 bidders. A lot of developers are hungry for land.”

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Boosting sentiment in the market

After a long, plodding downtrend, Singapore's housing market may be gathering forces for a rebound.

Sigrid Zialcita, managing director for Asia Pacific research at Cushman & Wakefield, told CNBC's "The Rundown" last week that she expected a turning point in prices "very soon."

She pointed to the government's recent move to ease some of its curbs on the sector as the reason for the market's changing fortunes.

"That actually boosted sentiment in the market. We've seen an increase in foot traffic and it's incentivizing a lot of buyers," she said.
Others also noted that the government's decision to loosen the reins may be spurring more property activity. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life EC, Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence EC, 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.

Hari Krishnan, CEO of website PropertyGuru, pointed to more optimism, with the number of property listings in the first quarter rising 2.0 percent on-year and 2.4 percent in March.
"These increases could be indicative of an uplift in seller sentiment," he said via email this week.

That hasn't been reflected in prices yet. In the first quarter, overall private home prices fell 0.5 percent on-quarter, the 14th straight quarter of declines. This time around, however, the bulk of the decline was in relatively small landed property segment, while non-landed prices were steady.

The city-state's housing prices surged more than 60 percent from 2009 through 2013, propelled by rock-bottom global interest rates and quantitative easing in developed economies, even as the government enacted a series of cooling measures from 2011 to prevent a bubble from forming.

The measures, including an Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty which could add as much as an additional 15 percent to the price, appeared to have eventually met with some success, with the property price index falling around 11 percent from the peak in the third quarter of 2013 through the end of 2016, according to data from Deutsche Bank in January.

Now, the government may have a more sanguine view, taking moves in early March to scale back some of the curbs, including lowering the seller's stamp duty and shortening the minimum holding period to avoid it.

In a note late week, analysts at Citi also pointed to a sudden "sentiment uplift" after the policy easing, although it added that the "exuberance" might be overdone.

Indeed, the note indicated that while it would be more economically rational for potential buyers to wait for more substantial policy easing or for further discounts from developers running up against government-mandated sales deadlines, "the market sentiment in Singapore tends to work the other way – sidelined buyers rush back to the market at the first hint of easing, for fear of losing out."

Citi noted it was "impossible" to determine how much of an impact the move had on recent sales volume, but it pointed to one launch last week, of Park Place Residences, which sold its entire phase one, initially set at 40 percent of the 429-unit total before being raised to 50 percent, within a day.

To be sure, the development boasted a strong location and was arguably priced competitively.

Other indicators also suggested the pickup in interest from potential buyers may pre-date the policy easing.

Data released by Singapore's central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, last week showed that consumer housing and bridging loans in February, before the rules were relaxed, rose 4.0 percent on-year to 192.8 billion Singapore dollars, marking 12-straight months of on-month increases.

Property investor Alexander Karolik Shlaen, an economist and CEO of Panache Management, a luxury brands and investment adviser, said that while he'd noted sentiment toward the market had been improving for a while, he didn't expect the changes would affect most buyers.

But he noted that for a few buyers, specifically those who already hold a property and are looking to upgrade, only needing to wait three years, instead of four, to avoid the seller stamp duty may spur them into the market.

Shlaen also noted that while the easing could help individuals, the government had also moved to tighten loopholes allowing bulk-buyers of properties to side-step some taxes.

That could take those buyers out of the market, he said.

It wasn't clear how much further any sentiment pickup could run.

Citi noted that buyers betting the government may further relax property-sector curbs could run up against a negative feedback loop: If the recent easing pushes up volumes and prices faster than economic fundamentals, that would dampen the chances of further policy easing.

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Families to enjoy priority for flat selection

SINGAPORE: A total of 5,291 flats were put up for sale by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (Aug 1), and it also marks the launch of the first Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise.

Under the Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise, 3,897 flats were put up for sale, and these range from two-room Flexi to five-room flats. They are spread across three projects in the non-mature towns of Bukit Batok and Sengkang, the housing board said in its press release. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life EC, Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence EC, 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 two projects in Bukit Batok are Sky Vista @ Bukit Batok and West Scape @ Bukit Batok where a two-room Flexi costs from S$87,000 while a five-room flat costs from S$353,000, both prices excluding grants.

The project in Sengkang is Rivervale Shores, where a two-room Flexi will cost from S$78,000 while a five-room unit will cost from S$317,000, both excluding grants, HDB said.

As for the inaugural ROF, 1,394 unsold flats from the November 2016 Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise are being offered again. They comprise 110 two-room Flexi flats, 384 three-room flats, 624 four-room flats, 260 five-room flats, seven 3Gen flats and nine executive flats across various towns and estates.

HDB said it will set aside at least 95 per cent of the flat supply for first-timer families and up to 5 per cent for second-timer families. The elderly may apply if they meet the prevailing eligibility conditions to buy a two-room Flexi flat, while families will enjoy priority for flat selection.

The ROF was first announced in July, and it pools together all flats that remain unsold after an SBF exercise. This is aimed at helping those with more urgent housing needs, or are less particular about location and attributes to have quicker access to a flat, the statutory board said then.

Application for new flats launched in this month's exercise can be submitted via the HDB InfoWeb portal from Tuesday to Aug 7, and applicants can apply for a flat under either the BTO or ROF exercise, but not both. For those who apply for a ROF flat, they do not have to indicate their preferred flat type and town/estate in their applications, the agency said.

HDB also said it will offer about 4,800 flats in Geylang, Punggol, Sengkang and Tampines in November's BTO exercise, which will be held concurrently with the SBF exercise. This would bring the total BTO supply for this year to around 17,500 units, it added.

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ECs to offer residents smart home technology

SINGAPORE - The 531-unit Hundred Palms Residence is the second EC to hit the market this year. E-applications for an upcoming executive condominium (EC) in Yio Chu Kang Road open next Tuesday, amid a rallying property market. Other 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.

It follows the 497-unit iNZ Residence in Choa Chu Kang, which attracted more than 450 e-applications the weekend it opened in February. By May, the developer had sold 249 units, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority records.

Both ECs offer residents "smart home" technology, with doors and electronics that can be controlled by an app.

The indicative price for three-bedroom flats in Hundred Palms Residences, which is developed by Hoi Hup Realty, ranges from $715,000 to $975,000.

Four-bedders could go for $1.03 million to $1.13 million, and five-bedroom units from $1.19 million to $1.29 million.

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Record S$1 billion bid for GLS site

SINGAPORE — A plum private housing land parcel near Queenstown MRT Station has attracted a top bid of more than S$1 billion, the first time that a purely residential site on the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme has exceeded that price quantum.

The large 99-year leasehold site at Stirling Road, first made available on the Reserve List of the GLS programme in March 2010, was launched for sale by public tender last month. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove Residences while existing ones include Parc Life EC, Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence EC, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC.Rivercove EC floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

The site, which sits on 227,221 sq ft of land, has a gross plot ratio of 4.2, translating into a maximum permissible gross floor area of 954,327 sq ft. This can be developed into about 1,110 homes.

The top bid of S$1.003 billion, which translates into S$1,050.71 per sq ft (psf) of gross floor area, was submitted jointly by units of China’s Nanshan Group and Hong Kong’s Logan Property, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data showed on Thursday (May 18).

Ms Christine Li, director of research at property consultancy Cushman & Wakefield, said: “It is the first time that a purely residential site in the GLS has crossed the S$1 billion mark. The S$1.003 billion price tag is also almost 50 per cent (46.7 per cent) higher than the previous record — a site that has been developed into Costa Del Sol condominium, which was sold at S$682.8 million or S$457 psf per plot ratio (ppr) in January 1997.”

“The sheer amount of the liquidity in the market, despite the capital controls put in place by the Chinese government, has not seemed to temper the appetite of aggressive Chinese players, as a total of S$11 billion went after this plum site,” she added.

In all, there were 13 bids, many of them from large developers or consortiums, the URA data showed, due to the site’s large size and the heavy financial commitment required to bid in this tender.

While Nanshan is a well-known player in the market, being an active participant in recent GLS tenders, it is Logan’s first foray into the Singapore market, Ms Li said. The joint bid from Nanshan and Logan of S$1,050.71 psfppr was 8.3 per cent more than the second highest bid of S$970 psfppr by MCL Land, which recently secured the nearby Margaret Road site at S$998 psfppr in December last year, she noted.

“The strong top bid in excess of S$1,000 psfppr, despite the Stirling Road site being four times as large as the Margaret Road site, signals developers’ strong confidence in the Singapore residential market and their belief that prices could return to growth soon,” she said.

Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director and head of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants, said: “It is quite uncommon for GLS bids for residential land to exceed S$1,000 psfppr ... The good sales performance from nearby condo projects, such as Queens Peak, as well as the recent easing of the Seller’s Stamp Duty have lifted the confidence of bidders when they were bidding for the site.”

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Largest mall in northern Singapore to open at end of year

SINGAPORE: A total of 1,108 private home units - excluding executive condominiums (ECs) - were sold last month on the back of more project launches, according to the latest figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday. The figure is a 35.1 per cent increase from the 820 units sold in June, which saw stronger-than-expected sales despite it being the school holiday period.

Including ECs, property developers sold 2,086 units in July, almost double of June's 1,064 units. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove Residences EC while existing ones include Parc Life EC, Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence EC, 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 EC floor plans and Rivercove EC details will be available shortly.

Of the sites launched, Hundred Palms Residences - an EC in Yio Chu Kang - showed the strongest sales by selling all 531 units it launched in the same month. This was followed by Martin Modern in Martin Place, which sold 109 units, and The Santorini in Tampines, which sold 82 units.

Including ECs, developers launched 1,223 units in the last month, compared with just 159 units in June.

Private home sales - excluding ECs - have increased by 50 per cent in the first seven months of the year compared with the same period in 2016, according to ERA key executive officer Eugene Lim.

"The strong buying interest observed in the first half of 2017 is clearly keeping its momentum into the second half of the year," he said.

Mr Lim added that buyers are expecting the property market to recover in 2018, and are choosing to make their purchases now "in hopes of catching the market on its upswing".

The upward trend in land prices in recent months could also be a contributing factor. "Many buyers are deciding to commit to a purchase now rather than later, as prices for these projects from recent land sales are likely to be priced higher when they are launched next year," Mr Lim explained.

ERA noted that developers are starting to launch their projects in phases to capitalise on this wave of buying demand. These include Park Place Residences at PLQ, Martin Modern and Le Quest at Bukit Batok.

"We are expecting total developer sales to be in the range of 10,000 to 12,000 units and EC sales of 3,500 to 4,000 units for 2017," Mr Lim added.

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Catching the market on its upswing

SINGAPORE: A total of 1,108 private home units - excluding executive condominiums (ECs) - were sold last month on the back of more project launches, according to the latest figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Tuesday. The figure is a 35.1 per cent increase from the 820 units sold in June, which saw stronger-than-expected sales despite it being the school holiday period.

Including ECs, property developers sold 2,086 units in July, almost double of June's 1,064 units. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove Residences while existing ones include Parc Life EC, Signature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence EC, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC, The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. RRivercove Residences EC floor plans and Rivercove EC details will be available shortly.

Of the sites launched, Hundred Palms Residences - an EC in Yio Chu Kang - showed the strongest sales by selling all 531 units it launched in the same month. This was followed by Martin Modern in Martin Place, which sold 109 units, and The Santorini in Tampines, which sold 82 units.

Including ECs, developers launched 1,223 units in the last month, compared with just 159 units in June.

Private home sales - excluding ECs - have increased by 50 per cent in the first seven months of the year compared with the same period in 2016, according to ERA key executive officer Eugene Lim.

"The strong buying interest observed in the first half of 2017 is clearly keeping its momentum into the second half of the year," he said.

Mr Lim added that buyers are expecting the property market to recover in 2018, and are choosing to make their purchases now "in hopes of catching the market on its upswing".

The upward trend in land prices in recent months could also be a contributing factor. "Many buyers are deciding to commit to a purchase now rather than later, as prices for these projects from recent land sales are likely to be priced higher when they are launched next year," Mr Lim explained.

ERA noted that developers are starting to launch their projects in phases to capitalise on this wave of buying demand. These include Park Place Residences at PLQ, Martin Modern and Le Quest at Bukit Batok.

"We are expecting total developer sales to be in the range of 10,000 to 12,000 units and EC sales of 3,500 to 4,000 units for 2017," Mr Lim added.

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Residential Sites in Hougang and Punggol Up for Sale

SINGAPORE - The Housing & Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday launched tenders for two residential sites - at Yio Chu Kang Road and Sumang Walk.

The Yio Chu Kang Road site, which was released for sale by public tender under the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales Programme for the second half of the year, comes with a 99-year lease period. 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.

The 198,302.3 square foot parcel has a maximum permissible gross floor area of 555,246.3 sqft and can yield about 520 residential units.

The tender for the land parcel will close at 12pm on Feb 18.

The 99-year leasehold Sumang Walk site, under the reserve list, spans 291,232.4 sq ft. The plot has a maximum permissible gross floor area of 873,697.2 sq ft, and is able to yield about 820 housing units.

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Resale prices of private apartments up 0.4%: NUS index

SINGAPORE - Resale prices of completed private apartments rose marginally for a second straight month, according to the latest monthly edition of the NUS Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI).

Prices were up 0.4 per cent in February from the previous month, after rising 0.2 per cent in January. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia condo details and Parc Botannia prices , showflat will be available shortly.

Completed private apartments in the central region led the rise with a 0.5 per cent increase, while those in non-central regions rose 0.3 per cent.

However, prices of small private apartments - those with an area of not more than 506 square feet - fell 1.1 per cent in February.

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Architecturally significant structures catch the eye of conservation experts

Last July, two stately bungalows which had fallen into disuse after housing the defunct Grand Hotel in Marine Parade for decades were converted into pre-schools following a $5 million makeover.

Earlier this month, The Sunday Times visited three abandoned abodes which have intrigued their neighbours, urban explorer groups, and heritage experts such as siblings Charles and Raymond Goh. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia condo prices and
Parc Botania showflat will be available shortly.

In Singapore, such "abandoned" properties are not tracked.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) tracks the vacancy rate for private homes that are completed, while the Ministry of Law's Public Trustee' s Office administers the estates of deceased persons. The Singapore Land Authority manages state land and state properties.

SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak said owners of such properties might hold on to them as they may not need the money and have no plans for the estate.

He said: "In land-scarce Singapore, the value of these properties will only increase, especially if they are freehold. Owners keep hold on them as a form of investment or for the next generation. These are usually their spare properties and not their main place of residence."

In other cases, the properties might be contested by descendants or part of court tussles and cannot be sold, he added.

Unoccupied for decades, a villa dating back to the 1920s has stood the test of time in the quiet neighbourhood of Bedok, near Upper East Coast Road.

Records show that it was owned by businessman "Abdul Hadjee Kahar Bin Abdul Ramee". According to heritage blog Remember Singapore, he had purchased land there from a Chinese nutmeg plantation owner for about $7,000 in 1910.

The house changed hands after the family was forced by the invading Japanese army to sell it. It was unoccupied for years and photographed in a state of disrepair in 2005.

According to research by the National Heritage Board, Villa Kahar was later sold to Dr Lee Choo Neo, Singapore's first female doctor. Dr Lee was the wife of prominent businessman Teo Koon Lim and grand-aunt to Singapore's first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

The board described the architecture as a "fine example of a synthesis between traditional and imported styles" for it stands on stilts like kampung houses, but features neo-Rococo influences at the same time .

The Sunday Times understands that the building, currently registered to Livet Company, which is owned by the descendants of Dr Lee and Mr Teo, was recently spruced up and could soon be rented out to a ballet or pilates studio. The original interior, which had eight rooms, has been largely re-configured. When contacted, the Teos declined to comment.

The building now boasts a relatively fresh coat of yellow paint, green louvred windows and decorative ceramic work on its front facade.

A book by Professor Hadijah Rahmat, called Kilat Senja, notes that many operas and parties used to be held at the villa.

Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of South-east Asia research at Edmund Tie and Company, said the price for the site could be around $700 per sq ft given its development potential.

Prime districts are also home to such abandoned properties.

Take, for instance, 67 Cairnhill Road, tucked among soaring condominiums. The aged property is shrouded by tall trees, overgrown ferns and plant roots that creep across a boundary wall. The building itself appears to be a raised one-storey structure and wears a weathered coat of mint-green paint.

Steps leading up to the house are old and broken, and a string of colourful Christmas lights can be spotted on one side of the facade.

A resident in Cairnhill Mansions next door, who wanted to be known only as Ms M. J., 65, said she had always wondered who owned the house as she had never seen anyone going in. She said: "It's not nice to see such a building with rotten leaves lying all around in a prime area. It's quite unsightly."

Research by the Goh brothers, who brought the issue of abandoned property to the attention of The Sunday Times, found that it last belonged to Mr Lien Kwang Wah, who died in 2008. The Sunday Times understands that the property has been held in the family of the brother of tycoon Lien Ying Chow, the founder of Overseas Union Bank.

The home was purchased in 1912 by Boey Chuan Poh, the sole proprietor of the Union Times, a Singapore newspaper. Mr Boey also built a villa off Balestier Road that is known as the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall today. Mr Charles Goh said: "The house was known as Fernbank and it was re-numbered from 44 to 67 Cairnhill Road based on the 1930 map of Singapore."

Architecturally or historically significant structures often catch the eye of conservation experts.

Take the case of the 1938 Chee Guan Chiang bungalow at 25 Grange Road, which suffered from vandalism and poor maintenance for years. It was conserved by the URA in 2008. The building was designed by one of the leading architects of the Modern Movement in Singapore, Mr Ho Kwong Yew, who also designed the now demolished Haw Par Villa residence.

Another bungalow which bears some similarity to the Chee Guan Chiang house is the property at 9 Claymore Road, just behind Pacific Plaza in town. It is owned by Mr Tan Kheng Chuan, who reportedly owned Hiap Ann Sago Factory, which has since been deregistered.

The Goh brothers estimate that the building, which has curved walls and extensive windows, has been abandoned since the 1970s. A 2007 report pegged its value at $151.5 million.

Other intriguing homes, which have remained empty for years that were highlighted by heritage community members such as blogger Jerome Lim, include the abandoned premises of the former Pohsan Dance Studio at 263 Outram Road which dates back to 1937.

It used to be the workplace and living quarters of Mr Low Poh San and his wife, Ms Jenny Quek, who were Singapore professional ballroom dance champions in the 1940s and 1950s. It is now part of the conserved Tiong Bahru estate.

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New Futura Condo

Seamless Connectivity –  New Futura location is superb beyond doubt. This is especially true for tenants or home occupiers who commute by way of public transports. The nearest MRT station is about 500 meters away at Somerset that serves the North-South line and Orchard station that serves the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line other than North-South line. Exceptionally for New Futura Leonie Hills.


New Futura review has it that the facilities is extremely comprehensive to cater to the wide range of dwellers within. It should have a good size 50 meters lap pool for adult swimmers and children’s play pool for the kids. There will be a gymnasium and BBQ areas for the gathering of family and friends. On top of all these, they will feature abundance of greeneries to create a tranquil environment perfect for city living.

Besides the successful launch of Martin Modern condo, analysts believe that buyers are coming back to the market sighting the high liquidity and the relatively low housing supplies presently. Also from the excellent sales in premium market properties such as Gramercy Park(also by CDL) that saw pricing from $2600 to $2800 psf, it is safe to comment that the New Futura price of $2700 psf is fair considering its location is the closest to Orchard shopping belt among the rest.

 


CDL has a wide range of projects from Executive Condominiums, Luxury Condominiums and the Ultra Luxury Condominiums such as the New Futura condo. Their latest project will be the nearby Gramercy Park condo @ Grange Road. This brand new development is suitable for buyers seeking for an abode with state-of-the-art facade that is furnished with only the most luxurious fittings and finishing, while near to the city center from the prestigious address at Leonie Hills. Allow us to arrange an appointment to view the New Futura showflat today!

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Buyers prompted to relook properties in Sentosa Cove

They may boast Singapore's most prestigious address, but Sentosa Cove properties are far from the guaranteed money spinners their wealthy owners may imagine.

Of the 30 Sentosa Cove transactions in the past 12 months, many recorded losses, according to data from Knight Frank. Of the total, 16 suffered losses when they were sold, and 11 notched profits. There was no data available on the previous transactions for three of the properties. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia condo showflat will be available shortly.

The largest loss was at Seascape, where a seventh-floor unit chalked up a loss of $6.6 million. The 378 sq m apartment was put up for auction in January and sold through private treaty to a buyer with a HDB home address for $6.2 million in February. It had been purchased for $12.8 million in June 2010.

The next largest loss was also at Seascape - $4.65 million in the red. The previous owner bought the unit for $11 million in December 2011, but in October last year, the eighth-floor unit went under the hammer for $6.35 million in a mortgagee sale.

However, it is not all doom and gloom in the exclusive enclave. One savvy investor with staying power made a $4.1 million profit for his landed property at 184 Ocean Drive.

The owner sold the 316 sq m terrace house for $6.8 million in May last year, after purchasing it for just $2.7 million in February 2005.

Sentosa Cove is the only place in Singapore where foreigners who are not permanent residents can buy landed property.

But this unique feature does not bring with it a guarantee of profit - the only other terrace house transaction in the past 12 months recorded a loss of $200,000.

The second-largest profit recorded was at The Azure, where a 294 sq m unit was sold in May last year for a profit of $1.158 million - 10 years after it was purchased.

The 30 properties were sold for between $1.68 million and $6.8 million. The average profit of the 11 profitable transactions was about $820,900, while the average loss of the 16 loss-making transactions was about $1.67 million.

Prices at Sentosa Cove have been falling. In the core central region, which takes in Sentosa, private non-landed home prices continued on a downward trend, falling by 0.4 per cent for the first quarter of this year, compared with a 0.1 per cent increase in the previous quarter. Overall, prices fell by 1.2 per cent in the core central region last year.

Analysts said Sentosa Cove property prices have been falling across the board over the last 12 months. The area also suffers from the perception that Sentosa Cove is not as accessible as the other prime residential properties in areas such as Orchard Road and Bukit Timah.

However, Knight Frank Singapore head of consultancy and research Alice Tan said that while some Sentosa Cove transactions may have suffered losses, inquiries from home hunters are on the rise.

"Sentosa Cove non-landed home prices have fallen to very attractive levels, which has prompted buyers to relook the properties there, whether for own use or for investment," said Ms Tan.

CBRE head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia Desmond Sim said he was surprised that about 40 per cent of property transactions were profitable. He attributed the profitability to the time that the homes were purchased, noting that newer properties tend to rack up losses.

"Going by market sentiment, people may be seeing more value in Sentosa Cove properties, but it is not going to be a strong upward trend. It's too early to tell if there will be a price recovery, as potential buyers could still be held by property cooling measures and the interest rate environment."

 
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Integration with greenery and the Jurong Innovation District

The main draw of Tengah new town is that its announcement comes amid rejuvenation plans for the west of Singapore, property experts have told The Straits Times.

That, along with the low prices expected for flats there, should offset any inconveniences from the nearby military airbase. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botannia condo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

But they also noted that Tengah's relatively remote location in the west could result in lower interest, especially compared with more central estates such as Bidadari.

Plans for Tengah new town were mooted as early as 1991 in a concept plan for Singapore's future.

On Monday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong revealed in Budget plans that it will be a "Forest Town", integrated with greenery and the Jurong Innovation District, although he did not give a date for when it will be built.

Experts said the latter - a 600ha area bringing together researchers, students and industry - and the slightly farther Jurong Lake District will be key factors in encouraging people to move to Tengah.

OrangeTee research manager Wong Xian Yang said: "The success of these two districts will spur job creation in the vicinity and attract people to live in Tengah."

With Jurong Lake District planned as Singapore's second Central Business District, there could be a spillover effect on Tengah, with high property demand from workers who commute there, according to PropNex Realty chief executive officer Ismail Gafoor.

Although the nearby airbase could mean noise and building height restrictions, experts do not expect it to detract from the area's charm.

Suntec Real Estate Consultants director of research and consultancy Colin Tan said: "Tampines was also affected by the nearby Changi Airport but did it diminish the attractiveness of the town? I would say the infrastructure and amenities are more important.

"At the moment, Tengah sounds very ulu (deserted)."

Tengah's location in the far west means new flats are likely to have low prices, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Yet, it will not be inaccessible. The Jurong Region Line, to be completed by about 2025, will serve Tengah.

Mr Ong expects interest to come mainly from existing residents in the west and north-west, those employed nearby or "prudent home buyers" who prize affordability.

SLP International Property Consultants research head Nicholas Mak thinks it will take time for people to "warm up" to Tengah. "Some might feel they are better off in towns with established amenities."

Chief executive of Century21 Ku Swee Yong agreed: "If I were working in Jurong Innovation District, I'd rather live in Jurong East or Jurong West, where there are already hospitals, polyclinics and schools."

 
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Property sector is on the rebound

A freehold plot in Katong has been put up for sale - another sign that the property sector is on the rebound.

Analysts expect keen interest for the site at 12 Amber Road, which is sandwiched between condominiums Amber Skye and King's Mansion. It is near the upcoming Tanjong Katong MRT station that will be on the Thomson-East Coast Line due for completion in 2023. Upcoming new launch condo include Parc Botanniacondo while existing ones include Kingsford Waterbay, Seaside Residences and Grandeur Park Residences. Parc Botannia prices and Parc Botannia showflat will be available shortly.

Marketing agent JLL said it anticipates offers between $56.6 million and $61m for the 22,800 sq ft plot. That would translate to about $1,199 to $1,268 per square foot per plot ratio.

Ms Yong Choon Fah, national director at JLL, said development charges were estimated to be in the region of $20m.

Prices of apartments in estates next to the site range between $1,800 and $2,000 psf.

"This plot stands out as one of the last remaining undeveloped plots along the stretch of Amber Road, a location known for its high-rise apartments and seaside living," said Ms Yong.

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