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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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Capitalising on undulating site topography to create terraced landscape

SINGAPORE — [email protected] and Waterway Ridges in Punggol are among the public housing projects being recognised by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) for “design and construction excellence” at an annual award ceremony this Thursday.

A winning project is Waterway Ridges by Surbana Jurong Consultants. Designers capitalised on the undulating site topography to create a terraced landscape, where the orientation and heights of the housing blocks were staggered to give the effect of “ridges” and to allow more views of the Punggol Waterway.

The Terrace EC is by the Punggol Waterway. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

A total of 23 projects by architectural consultants and building contractors won accolades this year — 11 for design and 12 for construction — with high-rise gardens and a terraced landscape enabling views of a waterway among the winning design features.

At SkyVille @ Dawson near Margaret Drive, there is a variety of community spaces designed in a park-like setting at different floors, for residents to interact with each other while enjoying the greenery, and clusters of homes share naturally ventilated gardens on high floors.

On the 47th floor, there is a roof garden with a 400m jogging track and seating areas, where residents may exercise while taking in views of the Queenstown estate.

Waterway Ridges is also the first public housing development with a large-scale integration of “water-sensitive” design elements, where there is an environmentally sustainable network of vegetated swales, bio-retention basins, and other features which help to treat surface run-off and enhance biodiversity, for example. This Built-to-Order (BTO) project has a network of footpaths and sheltered linkways as well as viewing decks, to enable residents to stroll or mingle within the development safely.

Apart from new housing projects, the HDB awards also recognise design work done to rejuvenate older estates. This year, the winning projects are two neighbourhood centres that were upgraded under the Remaking Our Heartland programme for the East Coast area, as well as the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme for Simei Street 1.

Under the construction award category, the HDB said that seven housing projects achieved Construction Quality Assessment System (Conquas) scores of over 90, above the national average of 88.5. This measure takes into account aspects such as workmanship, structural and mechanical and electrical works.

One winner in this category is Keat Hong Axis, a BTO project located at the junction of Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1 and 7, which has 1,130 flats and a multi-storey car park with a roof garden.

More efficient work processes and the use of precast components for the roof features instead of casting them on site helped to enhance construction productivity and quality, the HDB said. The project was undertaken by China Construction (South Pacific) Development Co, which achieved a Conquas score of 93.6.

The other five winners of the construction award include the building of Tanah Merah Staging Ground, a mechanised parking system at Bangkit Road and Yishun Avenue 4, as well as three upgrading projects.

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Private home sales rose to a three-year high

SINGAPORE — Private home sales in Singapore rose to a three-year high in 2016 as sentiment and demand improved on the back of 13 consecutive quarters of price declines.

For the entire 2016, an estimated 4,069 ECs were sold, 55.7 per cent higher than the 2,613 ECs sold in 2015. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC while existing ones include Parc Life EC , Signature EC 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.

“The improvement in EC sales for 2016 (versus) 2015 is due to both the effects of pricing cutting by developers from S$800 psf or more to about S$750-S$780 psf, and the benefit of the revision of income ceiling to S$14,000 implemented from August 2015, which increasingly flowed through and is more visible in 2016,” said Mr Ong Kah Seng, director of R’ST Research.

Developers sold an estimated 8,136 new private homes last year, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data showed on Monday (Jan 16), an increase of 9.4 per cent from the 7,440 homes sold in 2015 and the highest since 2013 when the Total Debt Servicing Ratio framework was introduced.

The Outside Central Region (OCR), or suburbs, led sales last month with 231 units sold. The Rest of Central Region (RCR), or city fringes, followed with 112 sales and the Core Central Region (CCR), or city centre, registered 24 transactions.
The best-selling development was The Santorini along Tampines Street 86, which offloaded 26 homes at a median price of S$1,047 per sq ft (psf). This was followed by Queens Peak on Dundee Road, which clocked 25 sales at a median price of S$1,652psf.

December’s transactions in the executive condominium (EC) segment also fell to a 10-month low, with developers selling 213 units, 15.1 per cent lower than the 251 sales in November but a 71.8 per cent increase from the 124 units in December 2015.

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Executive Condo (EC) market posted spectacular sales growth

DEVELOPERS sold 8,136 private homes last year, up 9.4 per cent from the 7,440 units they moved in the previous year - and the best showing in three years. The pick-up is a reflection of improved sentiment and demand, say analysts.

The executive condo (EC) market posted even more spectacular sales growth. Preliminary government numbers show that developers found buyers for 4,018 EC units last year - up 57.6 per cent from the 2,550 units in 2015 and a four-year high. Realistic pricing by developers has been cited as a key factor for the improved primary-market sales of ECs, which are a public-private housing hybrid. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

The 2016 sales figures are preliminary, based on the December developer housing sales data released on Monday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The numbers will be finalised on Thursday next week when the URA releases its full Q4 2016 private housing statistics.

For this year, property consultants polled by The Business Times mostly forecast sales of 8,000 to 9,000 private homes and 2,300-3,500 EC units in the primary market.

In terms of developers' pricing strategy for 2017, "affordability will rule the day", as JLL national director Ong Teck Hui put it. "Developers will have to be mindful about pricing because it's still a price-sensitive market on account of the property cooling measures and rising interest rate environment..."

CBRE Research head of Singapore and South-East Asia Desmond Sim, too, noted that unemployment is expected to rise in 2017 while GDP (Gross Domestic Product) will see muted growth.

"I think the pricing strategy for developers remains pretty much a quantum play. You need to hit the sweet spot of S$1 million or below to achieve sales volumes. Given that land prices have risen in the past 12 months, the clear denominator to play around with would be the unit size - in terms of maintaining the sweet spot," Mr Sim reasoned.

Cushman & Wakefield Singapore research director Christine Lim pointed to a "silver lining" for developers who paid for higher land prices last year and are now stuck with less elbow room to price their projects attractively: "Construction costs have fallen due to the slow economy, which helps to alleviate cost pressures for developers."

Agreeing, a developer who declined to be named said that construction costs have eased about 10 per cent in the past six months as contractors are hungry for work. "So where the construction cost used to be S$300 per square foot (psf) on gross floor area half a year ago, it is now S$270 psf." He also noted that "projects in good locations and priced reasonably can still move".

URA's latest data - collated from licensed housing developers - shows that they sold 367 private homes in December 2016, less than half the 860 private homes in November 2016 but close to the 384 units in December 2015.

Despite the subdued December sales figure amid the year-end holiday period, the preliminary number of private homes sold by developers in Q4 2016 was 2,480 units - the strongest quarterly volume since Q2 2014.

Coupled with the 9.4 per cent increase for the whole of 2016, "this reflects a moderate strengthening in demand - driven by a perception of the market bottoming out, pent-up buying, more realistic prices and acceptance of the cooling measures as a norm", said Mr Ong.

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Parc Botania

Accessibility – Parc Botania location is stupendous. It is easily accessible for both motorists and for residents who take the public transport. Nearby to major expressways such as the Tampines Expressway(TPE) and Central Expressway(CTE), it is a breeze to travel to and fro Parc Botannia from any parts of Singapore. The TPE will take drivers to places like Changi airport and Singapore Expo while also connected to the Pan Island Expressway(PIE) and Seletar Expressway(SLE). CTE is one of the busiest and best connected expressway that links drivers to Orchard shopping belt, Novena where the future health city resides and the Central Business District(CBD) area such as Outram Park, Tanjong Pagar and Shenton Way.

Amenities – Parc Botannia review has it that it is nearby to a myriad of amenities and convenience. The nearest shopping malls to this new launch condo will be the new Seletar Mall which is within a 10 minutes walking distance or 1 LRT stop away. In fact, this is the first and only shopping mall with a Cinema in the whole of Sengkang and Punggol estate before the establishment of Punggol Waterway Town. Additionally, there is the Compass Point located in the central of Sengkang(currently known as Compass One) featuring hundreds of shops, eateries, restaurants, supermarket and clinics to serve dwellers of the estate. 

Affordable entry – It is noted that the land price is at $287.1 million translating to $517.03 psf ppr. Factoring in the construction, advertisement and miscellaneous cost, the Parc Botannia price should start at around $4xxK for the smallest unit, $6xxK for a 2 bedroom and $8xxK for a 3 bedroom. With the recent government land sales and extremely aggressive en-bloc sales this year, the land price is considered the one of the lowest among all upcoming new condo launches.

Developer – Parc Botania developer Sing Development is not new at all to local Real Estate development. Their past projects have seen them involved in mostly higher end projects located in districts 09, 10 and 15. Such as The Laurels @ Cairnhill Road, BelleRive @ Keng Chin Road, Meyer Residences @ Meyer Place, 38 Draycott Drive, EastGate at East Coast Road and East View @ Brooke Road, Waterwoods in Punggol and Robin Residences @ Robin Drive. Founded in 1964, they are a subsidiary of Sing Holdings Limited which is a property development and investment group listed on Mainboard of the Singapore Exchange. As a testament to deliver quality homes to buyers, they have earned themselves several prestigious awards such as FIABCI Singapore Property Awards 2015 in the Residential (Mid Rise) Category for The Laurels at Cairnhill and the BCA Green Mark Award (Gold Plus) for Waterwoods.

Renowned Educational Institutions – Parc Botannia condo is home to many good schools for parents to send their kids to. Such as Fernvale Primary School, Sengkang Primary School, North Spring Primary School, Rivervale Primary School, North Vista Primary School, Palm View Primary School, Compassvale Primary School, Hougang Primary School, Nan Chiau Primary School, Anchor green Primary School, Sengkang Green Primary School,  Pei Hwa Secondary School, Nan Chiau Secondary School, Compassvale Secondary School, North Vista Secondary School, Sengkang Secondary School, CHIJ St Joseph’s Convent, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls School, Anderson Junior College, Nanyang Polytechnic. Catering to the pool of expat tenants in Parc Botannia Fernvale, there are Chatsworth International School and Lycee Francais de Singapur within close proximity to support the demand.



Quick! Call us and make an appointment to view Parc Botannia showflat now!

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Promoting a sustainable residential property market

Singapore is cutting stamp duties sellers are required to pay on residential properties and easing some rules on borrowing thresholds, as part of a slight relaxation of property curbs imposed since 2009 to rein in the market. Volumes of transactions in the private residential property market were healthy, with firm demand for private housing, the government said, however, so it would retain the current rates of additional buyer's stamp duty and loan-to-value limits.

"The current set of property market measures remain necessary to promote a sustainable residential property market and financial prudence among households," Singapore's ministry of national development, finance ministry and the central bank said in a joint statement on Friday. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC.

The measures take effect from Saturday.
Shares of Singapore real estate developers, including City Developments Ltd and CapitaLand Ltd, rose on the news. The real estate index was up 1.7 per cent at 0526 GMT.

Stamp duty is a tax on documents relating to property, which has to be paid by both buyers and sellers.

Singapore said it would cut by 4 per cent points across each category the stamp duty now imposed on residential properties sold within four years of purchase. It will also cut the holding period to three years. The new rates apply to all residential properties purchased on and after Mar 11 this year. Rules on the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework will also be relaxed, the authorities added, reflecting feedback from some borrowers that the measure limited flexibility to borrow against the value of their properties and raise cash.

"It shouldn't be viewed as a broad-based easing, but it should help support the property market a bit," said Michael Wan, an economist at Credit Suisse. Singapore has adopted several rounds of property cooling measures since 2009, including higher stamp duties and tougher mortgage conditions, to clamp down on speculative buying.

The measures helped drive down private residential property prices by 3.1 per cent last year, after a drop of 3.7 per cent in 2015.

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Developers to ride on the current momentum

DEVELOPERS have sold 6,388 private homes in the first six months of this year - just 20 per cent shy of the 7,972 units they moved in the whole of last year.

The strong showing came about despite a 21.1 per cent month-on-month decline in the number of units sold in June amid the school holiday lull. Sales are expected to improve this month with the start of bookings later this week at GuocoLand's Martin Modern, a 99-year leasehold condo project in District 9. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC while existing ones include Parc Life EC, Signature EC 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.

The indicative price was earlier reported to be about S$2,300 per square foot on average but now, word on the ground is that the developer might be prepared to offer an early-bird discount of up to 5 per cent. Units on lower floors of the 30-storey development are below S$2,000 psf, BT understands.

That said, GuocoLand might not release too many of the 450 units in order to ride on an anticipated recovery in private home prices next year.

Indeed, observers say that the substantial recovery in transaction volume of new private home sales in Q2 and H1 this year underlies the strengthening belief that Singapore's private housing market is bottoming, spurring those who had been waiting on the sidelines to make a commitment before prices turn around.

Besides an overall sentiment improvement especially after the tweak to the seller's stamp duty in March, another reason for expecting prices to rise is the bullish land prices paid by developers this year which will translate to higher launch prices when the projects on these sites make their way to the market from next year, say property consultants.

Based on preliminary figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Monday, developers moved 3,426 private homes in Q2, up 15.7 per cent from 2,962 in Q1 and 51.9 per cent more than the 2,256 in Q2 2016.

The preliminary tally for the first half of this year is up 73.8 per cent year on year.

On a quarterly basis, the Q2 2017 figure is the strongest since Q2 2013, just before the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework took effect, JLL noted.

And the 6,388 units sold in H1 2017 mark a significant recovery from the 2,907 units transacted in H2 2014, although the figure is below the 9,950 units sold in H1 2013 before the TDSR was rolled out.

"This analysis points towards a market that has regained confidence and recovered substantially in transaction volume," said JLL national director Ong Teck Hui.

Last month, 820 private homes were transacted in the primary market - down from 1,039 in May but 53 per cent higher than the 536 in June 2016, reflecting the more sanguine mood compared to a year ago.

"With no major new project launched in June 2017, the primary market sales volume was expected to be low," said ZACD Group head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak. He noted that June sales were slightly over five times the 159 new units released for the month.

Just one new project was launched in June: Park 1 Suites in Lorong 40 Geylang, with just two units sold. The bulk of the buying action continued to come from earlier launches.

June's top-selling private housing project was The Santorini in Tampines, with 75 units sold at a median price of S$1,026 psf, followed by Parc Riviera in West Coast Vale, where 55 units fetched a median price of S$1,218 psf. City Developments sold 47 units at Commonwealth Towers, at S$1,899 psf median price, while Hoi Hup found buyers for 44 units at its Sophia Hills project at a median price of S$1,978 psf.

In the executive condo market, the top-selling project in June in the primary market was MCL Land's Sol Acres in Choa Chu Kang Grove. Forty-one units were transacted at a median price of S$829 psf, leaving only 88 of the project's 1,327 units available. At The Visionaire in Sembawang, 35 were moved at S$811 psf, while at Signature at Yishun, 30 units fetched S$757 psf.

In all, developers found buyers for 244 EC units in June, down 35.3 per cent month-on-month but a 5.2 per cent year-on-year increase. No new projects were launched last month.

This weekend, all eyes will be on Hoi Hup's Hundred Palms Residences EC in Yio Chu Kang Road, with sales bookings scheduled to begin on Saturday. Some observers expect the average price could cross S$800 psf. The 531-unit project has three, four and five-bedroom units.

In Q2 this year, developers sold 992 EC units - lower than the 1,072 in Q1 2017 and the 1,105 in Q2 2016.

The H1 tally of 2,064 is slightly over half the 3,999 for full-year 2016. PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor predicts this year could end with about 3,500 sold in the primary market. ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim predicts 3,000-4,000.

Excluding ECs, he expects sales of 10,000-12,000 private homes. Mr Ismail believes the number will cross 11,500, given the current positive market sentiment. Mr Ong of JLL, who reckons the figure could reach 12,500, predicts that URA's benchmark private home price index could bottom at year-end or early next year. Based on URA's flash estimate, the Q2 index reflects a quarter-on-quarter drop of 0.3 per cent - the smallest of the 15 quarters of decline since the peak in Q3 2013. In all, the index has shed 11.8 per cent. The final Q2 index will be released later this month.

Other upcoming launches include Qingjian Realty's Le Quest in Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, which will have 516 units. Sales bookings are scheduled to begin on Aug 5.

Desmond Sim, CBRE Research head of South-east Asia, said: "Developers may want to hasten their launches in the second half to ride on the current momentum."

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ECs continue to find favour with buyers

SINGAPORE — Developers sold 473 new private homes in August, down 56.6 per cent from July and 7.8 per cent from the same month last year, showed Urban Redevelopment Authority data on Thursday. It was also the lowest volume since February this year, when 303 units changed hands.

"In the absence of new launches, buyers turned to existing projects for their purchases... ECs continue to find favour with buyers, possibly due to their lower prices and slightly more spacious sizes," noted ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

New private home sales sank to a six-month low last month, as buyers stayed on the sidelines during the Hungry Ghost Festival and developers refrained from launching new projects during a time considered by many as inauspicious.

Last month's top three selling projects were all ECs: Treasure Crest in Anchorvale Crescent moved 56 units at a median price of $745 per sq ft (psf); Sol Acres in Choa Chu Kang sold 46 homes at a median price of $781 psf; and 37 units were transacted at Bellewoods in Woodlands at a median price of $769 psf.

“There are two broad reasons for the subdued buying sentiment. Firstly, it coincided with the Hungry Ghost Month, which is typically seen by many to be an inauspicious time to make home purchases. Secondly, there was a lack of mass market launches with developers holding back their launches to a later date,” said PropNex Realty chief executive Ismail Gafoor.

There is also an inertia among buyers to commit as they anticipate further price declines with the property cooling measures remaining in place, he added.

In terms of geography, the Outside Central Region (OCR), or suburbs, dominated with 60.2 per cent of August’s sales or 285 units, followed by the Rest of Central Region (RCR), or city fringes, with 139 transactions, and the Core Central Region (CCR), or city centre, with 49 deals. No new private home projects were launched in August, although 590 units from previously-launched developments were released.

“There was no new private residential project launched last month as the developers might want to avoid launching their projects in the Hungry Ghost month period. In addition, six new residential projects were launched in July. The market will need some time to absorb the new supply,” said Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research & consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants.

Lake Grande in Jurong, launched in July, continued to top the chart with 35 homes sold at a median price of S$1,317 per square foot. Notably, many projects sold in August have been on the market for quite some time, including The Trilinq, The Glades, Sims Urban Oasis and Kingsford Hillview Peak.

“With fewer launches in the pipeline due to the tapering of the Government Land Sales programme, buyers’ choices have narrowed, and demand has gravitated towards existing launches,” said OrangeTee analysts in a report.

During the next few months, said analysts, volume is likely to pick up as developers rush to launch their projects before the year-end holiday season, which is another lull period. The pre-launch marketing activities for Forest Woods in Serangoon Central and The Alps Residences in Tampines are now under way, and they could be launched before November.

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Residential land sales to remain active?

En bloc fever is getting even hotter with privatised HUDC estate Florence Regency in Hougang likely to be put up for collective sale soon.

The approval level from owners at the 336-unit project is over 75 per cent. The Straits Times understands three other former HUDC developments - Laguna Park, Pine Grove and Ivory Heights - have also started the collective sale process. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

Six residential projects, including three privatised HUDC estates - Rio Casa, Eunosville and Serangoon Ville - have been sold en bloc since May in a resurgent market.

Florence Regency in Hougang Avenue 2 will likely hit the market in the coming months, although marketing agent JLL had declined to reveal the owners' asking price.Consent from at least 80 per cent of owners must be obtained for a collective sale tender to be called.

Florence Regency has a land area of 389,236 sq ft, with a remaining lease term of 71 years. The estate was privatised in 2014, and this is its first shot at selling en bloc. Property agents say several privatised HUDC estates - built under the Housing and Urban Development Company scheme in the 1970s and 1980s - are jumping on the en bloc bandwagon, given the rising optimism in the property market and developers' hunger for sites.

Of the 18 HUDC estates, which have all been privatised, 10 have been sold en bloc. Farrer Court fetched the highest price at $1.34 billion when it was sold in 2007 to CapitaLand. "HUDC developments appeal to developers because most of them are in established residential estates, which means there will be demand for the (new) projects when they are launched," noted Dr Lee Nai Jia, research head at Edmund Tie & Company.

A tender for the 560-unit Tampines Court in Tampines Street 11, closing in two weeks, will offer the latest indication of the market for the collective sale of former HUDC estates. Owners at Tampines Court had asked for $960 million for the property, which would be the biggest such collective sale in a decade if the deal goes through.

Three other developments have elected their collective sale committee: the 660-unit Pine Grove near Ulu Pandan Road, the 654-unit Ivory Heights in Jurong East Street 13 and the 516-unit Laguna Park in Marine Parade Road. The Straits Times understands that owners at the 136-unit Chancery Court in Dunearn Road will be holding an extraordinary general meeting later this month to appoint a sales committee to start the en bloc proceedings.

CBRE capital markets director Galven Tan said: "If you look at the public land tenders, there are consistently 13 to 14 bids each time. Those who don't win will still be out there looking for sites... residential land sales should remain quite active for the rest of the year."

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Punggol North to be designated as an enterprise district

Punggol North will be designated as an "enterprise district", home to digital and cyber security industries.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong told Parliament: "Punggol will be a key area for us to drive our Smart Nation initiatives... where we try out several new planning concepts." This will benefit nearby residents such as those from The Terrace EC in Punggol. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

Punggol North will be the first of such districts, where new planning concepts will be applied. This includes appointing a master developer which will take charge of the entire district.

In Punggol North's case, the JTC Corporation will be appointed.

Under this arrangement, JTC has a freer hand to develop the large tract of land in a holistic manner, rather than follow zoning rules - such as on land use and density - imposed on individual land parcels by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

This could translate into benefits, such as having different users share facilities. In Punggol North, the new Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) campus is located right next to JTC's business parks.

Said Mr Wong: "Since SIT's campus and the JTC's business parks are located side by side, we can have closer integration of the facilities."

For instance, SIT and the business parks can share research labs, incubator spaces and learning facilities. The university could also host industry research and development facilities and start-up spaces.

Another benefit is a more comprehensive design of pedestrian connectivity and public spaces

Plans are also afoot to introduce this master developer idea to other new residential and mixed-use districts, added Mr Wong.

One possibility is Kampong Bugis, a new residential precinct, which will form part of "larger rejuvenation efforts" for the Kallang River.

This will be done in a way that is sensitive to the heritage and biodiversity of the river and, over time, bring vibrancy to the area, he said.

Local consultants, architects, engineers and contractors are also encouraged to take part in these rejuvenation projects, he added.

Said Mr Wong: "In some instances where it is a big master planning project, we would even require that a foreign firm participating in the design of the master plan partner a local firm which has local knowledge of the environment."

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Strong response on first day of sales

Singapore - The latest project by Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Le Quest drew a strong sales response on Saturday, the first day of its launch. 280 units were sold at mixed development Le Quest by the end of Saturday.

Le Quest comprises 516 studio and one- to four-bedroom units and over 6,000 square metres of commercial space. Studio to three-bedroom units were the most popular among buyers who booked their units on Saturday. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC while existing ones include Parc Life , Signature EC 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.

The residential units were transacted at an average of $1,280 per sq ft. Homebuyers were drawn to living in the region at affordable prices. Homebuyer Ms Chen Si, 26, was one of the first to purchase a unit today. The three-bedroom buyer said: "I plan to stay at Le Quest with my parents. We are drawn to the prospect of living close to new developments like the Jurong Lake District and Tengah. The price is reasonable considering the convenience of having everything we need in the development."

Another homebuyer Mr William Yeo, 37, an auditor who is based in Vietnam flew in specially to book his unit.

Deputy general manager of Qingjian Realty Ms Yen Chong said that the company "was glad that many homebuyers have chosen to journey with us and we will continue to support homeowners towards their desired lifestyles."

"Bukit Batok is an area with large growth potential - with Le Quest and the full slate of plans for the West of Singapore. Not many new developments are expected to launch in the area in the short term, so that is definitely a main factor in buyers' consideration," said senior director of research & consultancy at Savills Alan Cheong.

Chief executive officer of PropNex Ismail Gafoor said: "Its Bukit Batok location is a huge draw with its proximity to up-and-coming projects like the Singapore-KL High Speed Rail Terminus and the rejuvenation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)'s Master Plan."
Details on the next phase of sales will be announced later.

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Response overwhelming from second-timer applicants

SINGAPORE — The first Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercise of the year came to a close on Monday, with flats in the Punggol and Clementi projects drawing the most interest.

The five-room flats at Punggol Northshore Cove saw the strongest demand relative to supply, with 958 applications for 170 units, or a subscription rate of 5.6, according to figures on the Housing and Development Board (HDB) website published on Tuesday. Also popular were three-room flats at Punggol Waterway Sunrise II (with an income ceiling of S$6,000), which saw 402 applications for 95 units, or 4.2 applications for each unit available. Upcoming executive condo launches include Yio Chu Kang EC, Inz Residence EC, Choa Chu Kang EC, Anchorvale Lane EC, while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone EC, The Vales EC, Parc Life EC , Sol Acres EC, The Visionaire, Bellewoods EC, Signature at Yishun, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC .

Over at Clementi, the five-room and 3-Gen flats at the Clementi NorthArc and Clementi Peaks projects were the most popular, with 2,501 applications for 619 units, translating to a subscription rate of 4.
Response was especially overwhelming from second-timer applicants, with 31.1 applications for every unit available to this group.

Overall, for the 3,343 three-room and bigger flats launched in Punggol, Clementi and Tampines, there were 11,001 applications, or 3.3 applicants for every unit.

Demand from second-timers outpaced first-time applications, with 12.2 applicants for every unit available to them, compared with 2.4 for first-timers. For the 713 two-room Flexi flats launched in Punggol, there were 2,894 applications, or a subscription rate of 4.1. The flats launched last week, spanning six projects — the first of 17,000 flats to be launched this year to help ease waiting times for home-buyers, especially young couples looking for BTO units.

Those in Clementi were priced more steeply: The 3-Gen flats had indicative prices of S$549,000 to S$709,000, five-room flats were from S$571,000 to S$694,000, and four-room flats were between S$432,000 and S$550,000.

In Punggol, five-room flats went for S$383,000 to S$498,000, while the four-room flats were from S$257,000 to S$365,000.

Three-Gen flats in Tampines were priced between S$409,000 and S$475,000, five-room flats at S$397,000 to S$469,000, and four-room flats at S$299,000 to S$347,000.

The exercise was also open to the families on the Fresh Start Housing Scheme for the first time.

The scheme aims to help second-timer families with young children to own a flat again, and this group could apply for the two-room Flexi flats.

In response to queries, the HDB said at the close of the exercise, four families who are under the scheme have done so.

Among them is Mdm Chia, 51, a divorced mother of three who has lived in a rental flat for some six to seven years. The security officer, who did not want to reveal her full name, was ineligible for HDB grants for first-timers to buy a flat after her divorce. Meanwhile, banks turned down her loan applications as her income was too low.

“I have been paying about S$270 every month for years, but the flat is not mine,” said Mdm Chia in Mandarin. “This (scheme) is a chance to fulfil my wish of having a home of my own again.”

In May, the HDB will be offering 4,600 flats in Bidadari, Geylang, Woodlands and Yishun, while around 3,000 balance flats will be offered in a concurrent Sale of Balance Flats Exercise.

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Stiff competition from developers for new land parcel

SINGAPORE — A private housing land parcel at Woodleigh Lane has attracted a top bid of more than S$700 million in a hotly contested tender under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme.

The 99-year-leasehold site next to the Woodleigh MRT station sits on 210,402 sq ft with a maximum allowable gross floor area of 631,206 sq ft that can be developed into about 735 homes, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

The tender, which closed on Tuesday, drew a total of 15 bids, with CEL Unique Development, a unit of mainboard-listed builder Chip Eng Seng, submitting the highest bid of S$700.7 million, URA data showed.
That narrowly beat the second-highest joint bid of S$695 million from Corson and Wingjoy Investment, and the third-highest joint bid of S$688.1 million from Verwood Holdings and Logan Property.

The top bid translated into S$1,110.10 per sq ft per plot ratio (psfppr), with the top five bids in the tender exceeding S$1,000 psfppr, underlining the keen competition for the plot.

“The stiff competition from developers is also reflected in the top bid. Even though this is not a mixed-use site which typically commands a premium, the top bidder seems to be taking the cue from the winning bid of the Upper Serangoon Road site which was already above market expectation,” said Ms Christine Li, director of research at property firm Cushman & Wakefield.

In June, a mixed commercial and residential GLS site along Upper Serangoon Road drew a winning bid of S$1.132 billion from Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Kajima Development, translating into S$1,181.07 psfppr.

The top bid submitted in the latest tender means the developer will have to price the property close to the future selling price of units built on the Upper Serangoon Road site — in the S$1,700 to S$1,800 psf range, Ms Li said.

“Such selling prices are currently not supported in the vicinity. Based on URA Realis data, the median transacted price in 2017 for [email protected] and [email protected] were at S$1,260 psf and S$1,241 psf, respectively. Even uncompleted new launches such as Poiz Residences and Forest Woods were transacted at median prices of S$1,377 psf and S$1,385 psf, respectively,” she noted.

“As the incumbents (i.e. SPH and Kajima) did not contest in the latest tender, this could pose some competition to each other’s project should they be launched around the same time. Given that SPH and Kajima are aiming to build 600 large condo units for the Upper Serangoon Road project, the developer could probably consider planning something of a more compact size so as not to compete head on with the adjacent project,” she added.
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Review needed to steady the rate of growth

CITY Developments' executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng once more called for the government to ease land-banking measures for property developers, even as residential prices seem to recovering.

Asked at the group's results briefing for his thoughts on the Singapore property market and recent aggressive prices paid in government land tenders, he reiterated his stance expressed in the media release, where he had said: "We remain hopeful that the Qualifying Certificate (QC) policy can be reviewed in due course, so that developers can look towards both government land sales and private sales for land replenishment and avoid a dangerous upward spiral in land cost and property prices that is not in line with the growth of the economy." Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC while existing ones include Parc Life EC, 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.

At the briefing at M Hotel at Tanjong Pagar, he said a review is needed "in order to steady the rate of growth" in price increases. He compared land to raw materials used in manufacturing. "When you don't have the raw material, you want to let your whole factory do nothing? Therefore you have no choice but to go and bid for the land. Yet, if you bid for the land cheaper because you think it's the right price, you will get nothing.

"We have to watch out. If the prices keep going up, this is not good. What we want and what we have been told correctly so is that prices need to be growing in accordance with the economic growth… If the economy grows better, we should see better prices."

"It is my hope that the government will look into this again because at a certain point of time, especially now, many countries are just beginning to see the booming situation (in their home property prices), (and they have) just introduced measures of control. But we have been looking at it since 2008 at the peak of the market. Our scenario, our cycle is different, so we have to be looking at it from a different angle."

He also believes that political uncertainty in the world will help to temper property prices. He believes that if the QC policy is removed, prices may rise for a while, but rationality will soon take over, and developers will become less aggressive in their land bidding behaviour.

"I think what we observe (a possible jump in land prices) can be a temporary reaction, but if you sit down and start to think about it, you will realise that since you can land-bank, you don't need to be so frightened that pricing will go through the roof," he said.

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Singapore remains a popular residential investment destination

There has been good demand from foreigners for Singapore's private residential property this year, and real estate consultancy JLL expects the recovery in foreign demand to continue into 2017. It also expects properties in the prime city centre to be the preferred choice.

According to findings from a JLL study released on Tuesday, the number of foreign buyers, excluding Singapore permanent residents, in the first nine months of 2016 rose 11.7 per cent compared to the same period last year, driven by nationals from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

The Chinese buyers were the most active, accounting for 29.4 per cent of all foreign purchases from January to September.
Indonesians were second, accounting for 14.6 per cent of all foreign purchases during the same period.

"Chinese buyers have overtaken Indonesians as the top foreign buyers of private homes in Singapore since 2010 and this can be attributed to the wealth growth of the Chinese and their increasing familiarity with the Singapore residential market," the study pointed out.

It noted the interesting growing prominence of buyers from the US with 57 transactions in the first three quarters of 2016.

They took fourth spot and accounted for 7.3 per cent of foreigner purchases - a significant increase in proportion, relative to the 1.1 per cent in 2011.

"US nationals are exempt from additional buyers' stamp duties under the free trade agreement, which partly explains their purchases, although the absolute number attributable to them was even higher in 2013, at 119," the study added.

Among the top foreign buyers in the first nine months of 2016, Indonesians have higher budgets, with most of their deals around S$3 million.

They have a strong preference for pricier properties above S$1,400 per square foot (psf) and located in the core central region.

In comparison, Chinese and Malaysians are more budget-conscious as a higher proportion of the properties they picked up were priced below S$1.5 million and within the range of S$750-S$1,700 psf.

In terms of geographic preference, the Chinese are more active in the suburban property market while Malaysians, like the Indonesians, prefer the core central region.

Ong Teck Hui, national director of research and consultancy at JLL Singapore, said Singapore is well-placed to tap on the foreign demand for real estate driven by the growth in local and regional wealth.

He said: "Singapore has remained a popular residential investment destination for foreigners due to its fundamentals and prospects of long-term capital gains.

The deterrent effects of the cooling measures is subsiding as the market gradually accepts them as the new norm.

"Moreover, the recent imposition of additional stamp duties on foreign purchases by other popular residential investment destinations such as London, Melbourne, Sydney and Vancouver has levelled the playing field.

To top it off, prime home prices in popular residential investment destinations such as Hong Kong, London and New York has continued to climb over the past few years, while those in Singapore have corrected, which has widened the price gap between prime residential properties in Singapore and these cities.

"This has further enhanced the attractiveness of Singapore's prime homes from the perspectives of relative pricing and capital gains potential."

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Flatter prices spur more resale deals?

The resale price of Housing Board (HDB) flats dipped by 0.3 per cent last month, reversing the 0.2 per cent rise recorded in the previous month, according to flash estimates released yesterday by property portal SRX Property.

Fewer flats also changed hands: 1,364 homes, or 13.9 per cent, fewer than in November, a decline in line with the usually quiet year end. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC while existing ones include Parc Life EC, Signature EC 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.

The slip in last month's price is marginal across all flat types and housing estates. Prices fell 0.1, 0.2, 0.9 and 1 per cent respectively for three-, four-, five-room and executive flats. In mature estates, prices fell 0.2 per cent while in non-mature estates, the drop was 0.4 per cent.

SRX Property is Singapore's only portal that publishes transaction data on a monthly basis.

With its latest monthly figures, the full-year resale price index of public flats is down 0.2 per cent, close to the 0.1 per cent full-year decline shown in HDB's official flash estimates released on Tuesday.

The bigger contributor to the decline seen in the SRX full-year index is the price drop in non-mature estates, where the fall is 1.2 per cent year on year, compared with a 1 per cent increase in mature estates.

Experts said the latest numbers confirm the trajectory of resale prices, which have gone on a gradual decline since 2013 and are now relatively stable. R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said last month's "price correction" was one of several last year. For example, last July, the monthly price rose 0.7 per cent but went down 0.7 per cent in August.

"All these affirm HDB resale prices are stabilising - they gravitate towards zero per cent change across two to three months," he said.

Flatter prices could, in turn, spur more resale deals this year, which observers said could rise by 15 per cent. SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak said the uncertain economic climate could cause potential buyers of private housing to turn to HDB flats: "If buyers hit financial difficulties but have taken an HDB loan, HDB will try to assist them."

But International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong cautioned sellers in non-mature estates that prices may still dip: "HDB flats in prime areas such as Boon Keng or Queenstown may still cross the $1 million mark, but those on the outskirts are competing with a massive supply of private residences."

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Top-selling projects are Executive Condominiums

SINGAPORE: The private home market returned to the doldrums in August, with sales of new condominiums down 56.6 per cent from the previous month, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) released on Thursday.

Excluding executive condominiums (ECs), property developers sold 473 units in August, less than half of the 1,091 units sold in July. Including ECs, 805 units were sold, down from July’s 1,921 units. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

The lacklustre sales came as developers launched 590 units, down from the 1,486 units (624 excluding ECs) launched in July. No new EC projects were launched in August.

According to URA, the five top-selling projects in August were: Treasure Crest EC, Sol Acres EC, Bellewoods EC, Lake Grance and The Trilinq. Treasure Crest EC sold 56 units in August 2016.

Real estate agency PropNex said transaction volumes fell in August due to the Hungry Ghost Festival and the lack of major new launches.

"There is also an inertia to commit as buyers remain on the sidelines due to ongoing measures and/or an anticipation of further price declines,” said Mr Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty.

With no changes to Government curbs on the horizon in 2016, PropNex said the private residential market is expected to remain soft.

"We expect new private home sales volume to be about 700 units per month, or exceeding 8,000 units for year 2016. Transaction volume will continue to be launch-driven; largely dependent on the price and location of the project," the real estate company said.

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Limited land up for grabs in state tenders

A CONSORTIUM led by Oxley Holdings has acquired Serangoon Ville, a former HUDC estate in Serangoon North Avenue 1, for S$499 million in a collective sale.

Offers of S$400 million to S$430 million had been expected.

This collective sale brings the year's number so far to seven, in deals worth S$2.5 billion; for the whole of last year, only three deals worth S$1 billion were closed. The rest of the year is likely to yield another few billions more as the collective sales market roars back to life, amid a transactions-led property recovery and limited land up for grabs in state tenders. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane 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.

Oxley takes up a 40 per cent stake in the consortium; the balance is equally split among Lian Beng Group, Unique Invesco Pte Ltd and Apricot Capital. Unique Invesco is a 37.5 per cent indirect associate of KSH Holdings; Apricot is the private investment firm of Super Group's Teo family.

Speculation is now rife that the Oxley-led consortium will take part in the public tender for the Serangoon North Avenue 1 site offered under the confirmed list of the government land sales (GLS) programme. This tender closes on Thursday.

The four companies - Oxley Holdings, Lian Beng Group, KSH Holdings and Apricot - had in May teamed up to acquire Rio Casa, a former HUDC estate in Hougang, in a collective sale for S$575 million.

The purchase price for Serangoon Ville works out to a land rate of close to S$835 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), given the estimated differential premium of S$195 million payable to the state for a top-up to a fresh 99-year lease and for the intensification of the 296,913 sq ft site to a gross plot ratio of 2.8.

Owners at the 244-unit Serangoon Ville are expected to pocket S$2 million on average, said ERA Realty, which brokered the deal.

Locational attributes were key considerations for the bid, Oxley Holdings executive chairman and chief executive Ching Chiat Kwong said.

Some 1,200 units are expected to be built on the site. "The project will provide affordable condominium housing for the masses," he added.

Notably, Serangoon Ville is near Hundred Palms Residences, the 531-unit executive condominium along Yio Chu Kang Road which sold out within seven hours on Saturday.

Colliers International Singapore managing director Tang Wei Leng described the purchase price for Serangoon Ville as "aggressive and bullish", reflecting the sentiment for Singapore's property market.

ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said: "This serves as yet another indication that developers are of the view that the property market's down cycle is almost over."

Having diversified actively outside of Singapore in recent years, Oxley is making a swift comeback in the Singapore market, where it has acquired three other plots this year.

Besides snapping up Rio Casa through a consortium, it acquired in May a property at 494 Upper East Coast Road from its owner for S$10.5 million; this month, it acquired a freehold property at 231 Pasir Panjang Road for residential redevelopment for S$121 million.

JLL regional director for capital markets Tan Hong Boon said: "The en bloc fever will go on for a while as developers still cannot find sufficient land. The second-half 2017 GLS is probably not enough to satisfy their appetite." Former HUDC sites tend to be popular with developers, since their locations are preferred by upgraders, who now form the majority of the end-buyers, Mr Tan said.

Owners at another privatised HUDC estate, the 336-unit Florence Regency in Hougang, as well as at the freehold Amber Park condominium have crossed 70 per cent consensus for their collective sales agreement. Both projects are marketed by JLL.

Knight Frank said on Wednesday that owners of the 12-unit freehold Dunearn Court in the prime District 11 are asking for S$38.8 million in a tender to be launched the following day. This will translate to a land rate of around S$1,443 psf ppr.

Ian Loh, executive director and head of investment and capital market at Knight Frank, noted that redevelopment sites are now highly sought after, particularly boutique redevelopment sites with gross development value (GDV) of below S$100 million.

He said of Dunearn Court: "The purchaser could potentially configure the maximum permissible gross floor area (GFA) of approximately 26,884 sq ft into 32 apartment units with an average size of 753 sq ft, subject to the Urban Redevelopment Authority's approval." The tender for Dunearn Court closes on Sept 6.

Already up for sale is the freehold Villa D'Este condominium in Dalvey Road, launched by CBRE last week. Owners are asking for S$96 million for the prime District 10 property comprising 12 apartments; this translates to about S$1,730 per sq ft on the land area of 55,480 sq ft.

At Tampines Court, which is also launched for sale, owners of the privatised HUDC property are eyeing S$960 million, with each owner standing to receive about S$1.7 million from the sale.

The revival in the en bloc market has stoked more property owners into thinking of making a windfall from their ageing homes.

Normanton Park owners are due to meet this Saturday to approve the collective sale agreement with a reserve price of S$800 million, unchanged from its initial attempt in October 2015, said S S Chopra, who chairs the collective sales committee.

Over at the iconic Pearl Bank Apartments in Outram, owners are looking at a reserve price of S$728 million for the 288-unit building. Colliers is working on this, on top of Jervois Gardens, Parkway Mansion, City Towers and The Balmoral.

Owners of Lakepoint condominium near Lakeside MRT station are said to have formed a collective sale committee, a news report from online portal PropertyGuru said on Wednesday.

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