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18 August 2012

18th August, Saturday




New buzz soon for quiet Hillview

Source: The Straits Times

The sleepy Hillview enclave between Bukit Batok and Bukit Panjang is about to get a shake-up with a range of new projects to be completed over the next few years.

Property consultants say the new additions will boost the desirability of the upper-middle class area among home seekers, given that many condominiums there are now at least a decade old.

At least 1,500 new homes are expected to be completed in the next few years, including units to be built on a plot in Hillview Avenue that can yield 534 units. Kingsford Development bought the 99-year-leasehold site in March.

Other projects include Far East Organization's The Hillier, which has sold 506 units out of a total of 528 at an average price of $1,267 per sq ft (psf) since its launch in January. The mixed-use development includes the hillV2 mall, which will be ready in 2014, while the flats will be completed by 2016.

About 120 units have also been sold at The Lanai, also by Far East. The 214-unit condo, launched in 2010, has been selling at an average price of $1,354 psf this year. It will be ready in 2014.

The 193-unit Natura@Hill-view, a joint development between Macly Group and Roxy-Pacific Holdings, sold 157 units by July at a median price of $1,318 psf. It was launched in the first quarter of this year.

Mr Lee Sze Teck, Dennis Wee Group's senior manager of training, research and consultancy, noted that Hillvista is the newest condo in the area, having been completed in 2010.

Most non-landed projects are either freehold or 999-year-leasehold.

Zoned originally for industrial use, Hillview was re-zoned for residential use in the early 1990s, resulting in a wave of redevelopments, Mr Lee said.

While new launches were priced at between $1,300 psf and $1,500 psf, median resale prices were lodged at between $750 psf and $1,000 psf.

Still, prices have generally been on the uptrend in the past three years, lifted partly by buyer interest for suburban homes, said another analyst. But Hillview resale home prices can be up to about 7 per cent lower than those in Upper Bukit Timah.

Those looking to rent in the area can expect reasonable value, said one analyst. For instance, the monthly median rent at Parc Palais is $2.43 psf while for Glendale Park, it is $2.40 psf.

"The outlook for the Hillview area is definitely positive, due to increasing buyers' preference for a well-positioned, quaint living environment... a fairly young profile of new residents can also energise the neighbourhood," he added.


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Developers dangling rental guarantees as a draw

Source: The Straits Times

Some developers are turning to rental guarantees as a carrot to attract buyers for properties in Singapore and emerging markets in the region.

As competition hots up, these schemes are used to sweeten deals, with some helping investors to secure tenants and ensure they get a minimum predetermined yield.

But some experts warn that buyers need to examine the details carefully before signing up - and realise that a rental guarantee may already be built into the price.

They add that these enticements can amount to an indirect discount and are often dangled for overseas projects to attract investors to emerging and unfamiliar markets.

But the offer is also made during times of market weakness by developers convinced of a property's long-term potential.

They believe this will entice buyers to bite, as an alternative to lowering prices, which might depress the value of a project.

An analyst said these guarantees give buyers some level of confidence and reassurance.

Another analyst cautioned that developers might price the cost of the rental guarantee offer into the selling price of a project.

Buyers also need to know the specifics of the rental guarantee, noted one other analyst. They need to know whether the guaranteed return will be given as a lump-sum payment or if the unit needs to be leased out first. Buyers need to be wary of problems that might arise in these details, he said.


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S'pore ranks high on luxury property list

Source: The Straits Times

Monaco’s luxury home market ranked as the world's most expensive last year, according to a recent report.

US$1 million (S$1.24 million) buys only 17 sq m - or 183 sq ft - of luxury living in the city state, where the average price was a jaw-dropping US$58,300 per sq m as of the end of last year.

In Singapore, which made the list at No. 13 out of 63 cities in the rankings, that US$1 million would buy you more than double the space at 39 sq m.

The average home price of the luxury segment in Singapore came in at US$25,600 per sq m, putting it behind cities like Hong Kong, London, Geneva and Paris.

Singapore is, however, ahead of cities such as Zurich, Manhattan, Moscow, Sydney and Shanghai.

The report noted that there are many factors affecting global luxury property markets.

Against an ever-widening backdrop of influences, growing volatility and divergence in performance can be expected.


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