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30 August 2012

30th August, Thursday




28 barred from registering as agents

Source: Today

As of this month, 28 people have been barred from registering as housing agents, according to the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA).

Revealing this figure in its inaugural e-newsletter CEAnergy, the council said half of those debarred had earlier convictions and were stopped from registering with the CEA.

The others were existing agents whose licences were up for renewal, but were struck off due to convictions for various offences.

The CEA ensures that unregistered agents do not work. To date, it has prosecuted three unregistered agents. They pleaded guilty and were sentenced to fines and/or jail terms.

In the coming months, more people will be charged for doing estate agency work without being registered, said the CEA, adding it will continue to work with enforcement agencies to take errant salespersons to task.


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Homes near TSL stations may see rise in prices, say analysts

Source: Channelnewsasia

Residential properties near the Thomson Line stations may see an initial rise in prices of up to 10 per cent, according to analysts.

While residents may have to tolerate inconveniences during construction, they can expect to see further upside to their home prices when the stations start operations.

Prices of residential developments near the Woodlands MRT station and the future interchange for the Thomson Line are set to see a surge in prices, according to analysts.

Home prices in estates that are up north along the Thomson Line, which now have poor access to rail transport, could also see a jump.

These include areas surrounding the Lentor, Springleaf, Mayflower and Sin Ming stations.

But residents will first have to endure years of construction work, which some analysts said will result in a drop in rentals by 30 to 50 per cent.

Property owners may have to wait for a while before they can enjoy the full benefits of the Thomson Line, with its three phases to be completed between 2019 and 2021.


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CDL to sell huge Kranji industrial plot for $240m

Source: Business Times

City Developments Ltd (CDL) and an unlisted sister company in the privately held Hong Leong Group are understood to have inked a deal to sell their nearly 500,000 sq ft freehold tract of industrial land in Kranji for $240 million.

The buyers are believed to be linked to property development group BS Capital.

The land, along Jalan Lam Huat, off Kranji Road, is near SMRT's Kranji depot and across a canal from Kranji Industrial Estate in the Sungei Kadut location.

The property is currently used as an open-yard storage area under a lease which is expected to run out in a year. The new owners are expected to redevelop the site - most likely into strata industrial facilities, and possibly some landed factories.

The site is zoned for Business 2, which means it can be used for a range of uses, such as light industry, general industry, warehousing, utility or telecommunications.

Based on a 2.5 plot ratio, the property can be developed into a maximum gross floor area of about 1.17 million sq ft. The $240 million price for the land reflects a unit land price of around $205 per sq ft of this potential gross floor area. No development charge is thought to be payable.


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Pricing of industrial space baffles newbies

Source: Business Times

As property investors turn their attention to the industrial segment following the introduction of the additional buyer's stamp duty late last year, they would do well to note the differences between investing in industrial property and residential property.

Several potential buyers may have misunderstood the pricing at some new industrial property launches, Business Times (BT) has learnt.

To shed some light on the rationale behind the pricing - developers in Singapore tend to base the per square foot breakdown of an industrial unit on the total floor area as well as the potential mezzanine level that can be built within a high ceiling unit (also known as void space), potentially offering the owner twice the floor area.

However, as the actual unit is usually not delivered with a built-in mezzanine level upon TOP, some argue that the pricing strategy adopted by the developer could be somewhat misleading - especially to new investors.

In response, a spokesman for the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said: "The total floor area in the strata title is the total sum of the gross floor area and other areas such as air-con ledges and void areas . . . However, advertising units for sale based on total floor area for sale indeed does not give prospective buyers a clear picture of the gross floor area of the property."

Explaining why there has not been an amendment to the rules to address this potentially grey area, the URA spokesman said: "Traditionally, industrial and commercial properties buyers are more sophisticated and discerning investors from the business sector. We have therefore not amended our rules to mandate a more detailed breakdown of floor areas as we had done for private housing."

Purnima Shantilal, director of licensing and investigations at the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) said: "Under the CEA's Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care, estate agents and salespersons must not perform estate agency work unless they have the relevant knowledge to perform the work that they are engaged to perform. Hence, a salesperson must possess the necessary knowledge of the industrial property sector before undertaking the marketing of an industrial property."

One consultant told BT: "It is of utmost importance that agents should be well equipped with knowledge of industrial spaces and their allowable uses. Unfortunately, it is not regulated by the CEA or relevant authorities that agents marketing such industrial properties need to be trained . . . plainly put, any CEA-licensed agent would do."

Industry watchers concur that the authorities should address this matter soon, given the segment's growing number of retail investors who are clueless about pricing practices.

Consultants suggested that the authorities impose a rule requiring a more detailed and accurate breakdown of each saleable unit by developers, to prevent further misunderstandings from occurring.


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Soilbuild Group wins bid for Bukit Batok site

Source: Today

Soilbuild Group Holdings has won the tender for an industrial site at Bukit Batok Street 23 after submitting the highest bid of S$32.33 million, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority Wednesday.

The top bid for the site, which had received four bids, works out to about S$80 per sq ft of gross plot ratio.

The 30-year leasehold site was part of the 16 industrial sites announced for sale under the Confirmed List of the first half 2012 Industrial Government Land Sales Programme.

Zoned Business 1, the 161,578-sq-ft site has a maximum permissible gross plot ratio of 2.5 and can be developed for a variety of uses, including clean and light industries.


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