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29 December 2012

29th December, Saturday




Resale non-landed private home prices up

Source: Today

Prices of completed non-landed private homes surged 1.9 per cent last month from the previous month, accelerating sharply from October's 0.8-per-cent rise, according to the advance estimates of the Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) released Friday.

According to the SRPI, developed by the National University of Singapore's Institute of Real Estate Studies, homes in the Central region led gains with a 2.6-per-cent price rise. Prices of homes in the Non-Central region increased 1.3 per cent. The SRPI Small index, which covers units with areas of up to 506 sq ft, rose 1.7 per cent.

Mr Lee Sze Teck, Senior Manager for Training, Research and Consultancy at DWG, said there were fewer new developer launches last month and this led to buying interest flowing into the resale market.

He added: "The narrowing in gap between Central and Non-Central region property prices saw some buyers switching to the Central region for better deals. This resulted in Central region prices increasing at a faster rate than those in the Non-Central region."


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Govt keeping close eye on ECs

Source: The Straits Times

The National Development Ministry (MND) has warned that it is closely watching developments in the executive condominium (EC) segment and will consider further measures if needed.

It was responding to The Straits Times' queries on whether sky-high prices for some EC units at recent launches are of concern.

Industry players have raised suggestions such as imposing a minimum number of units to be built on an EC site - or a maximum size for an EC apartment.

An analyst said more measures are needed if developers overstep the limit. "We get this feeling that ECs are now going to buyers who can well afford a private home... I think developers should always bear in mind the social responsibility involved when it comes to ECs," he added.

Another analyst said the authorities could consider caps on the price of an EC unit so they are "reasonably priced" for a household meeting the $12,000 monthly income ceiling for ECs. "I think home buyers with a budget of more than $1.5 million should purchase private homes instead of depriving a genuine sandwich-class household of an EC unit," he noted.


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Sleepy enclave's leafy retreats lure buyers

Source: The Straits Times

If a small and quiet retreat close to nature sounds like home, then the Chestnut and Dairy Farm areas might be the place to be.

The Chestnut Avenue enclave comprises a low-density area with landed houses, including good-class bungalows, and a high-density zone, with mature and upcoming condominium developments. Both sections are near leafy spots such as the Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Recent new launches such as SP Setia's 483-unit Eco Sanctuary - where buyers have snapped up more than 160 units at a median price of $1,050 per sq ft (psf) - have created even more buzz in the sleepy estate.

More than 1,800 new homes in five projects are expected to be completed by 2018, Dennis Wee Group (DWG) noted.

Experts say the flurry of activity began with the launch of City Developments' 429-unit Tree House in April 2010 - a time when the market was still untested. The success of the project - it has sold out - set the stage for others to take flight, such as Eco Sanctuary, the 496-unit Foresque Residences, and the 40-unit landed project Michaels' Residences.

A Dairy Farm Road site that can yield about 390 homes was sold in September this year.

Prices of new flats have risen from the $800 psf to $900 psf range in early 2010, to between $1,150 and $1,300 psf now for similar-sized apartments, according to an analyst. That is a 44 per cent increase in just under three years. Selling prices at the recently transacted Dairy Farm Road site are also expected to top $1,400 psf when launched, he said.

Similarly, resale prices for freehold properties have risen in tandem, jumping by up to 10 per cent in the past year, another analyst added. Prices are generally on the uptrend, as both buyers and sellers anticipate improved accessibility once the Downtown MRT line is completed, he said.

However, rental demand is more subdued, as Cashew MRT station, which will increase accessibility to the city centre, will not be completed until 2015.

Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior manager of training, research and consultancy at DWG, said non-landed housing rents range from $2.20 to $2.50 psf a month, giving a gross yield of 2.4 to 2.7 per cent.

"But then the existing developments are almost 20 years old and are larger in size. The newer developments with smaller units should be able to fetch higher rentals," he added.

"The area tends to attract more owner occupiers than investors because of the living environment and distance from major employment centres. The lack of an MRT station at the moment also affects the draw of the area to tenants."

Shoppers have Rail Mall and Bukit Panjang Plaza, while the area's schools include CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace, Chestnut Drive Secondary School and Bukit Panjang Primary School.

Although the area is a quiet estate, an analyst points out that it could get congested once all the residential sites are sold and completed. There are also two parcels zoned for education that could add to the congestion.

But the completion of the Downtown MRT line and the rejuvenation of the western part of Singapore bode well for the area's potential.


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Strong start to CDL's Echelon launch

Source: Business Times

The launch of Echelon along Alexandra Road, the last one among residential developments for the year, appeared to have gone swimmingly Friday.

Before the end of its first-day preview, 80 per cent of the 250 offered units had been snapped up.

The development will have 508 units in all.

With the early-bid pricing averaging at $1,700 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr), the prices of units in this 99-year leasehold private condominium start at $800,000 for a one-bedroom unit. Two-bedders are going for $1.19 million. Three-bedroom units, with prices starting at $1.34 million, come in four sizes: compact (861 sq ft), standard (1,001 to 1,130 sq ft), premium (1,292 to 1,313 sq ft) and suite (1,346 to 1,475 sq ft). A four-bedroom suite starts at $2.13 million; the penthouse costs $7.15 million.

The joint project of City Development Limited (CDL), Hong Leong Group's Intrepid Investments and Hong Realty's Garden Estates was designed by SCDA architects. The 43-storey twin towers will have a glass facade, with the units offering views of the Alexandra precinct and Orchard Road.

The project is slated for completion in 2016.


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Nearly 150 units snapped up at launch of Woodlands EC

Source: The Straits Times

Close to 150 units were sold at an executive condominium (EC) launch in Woodlands Friday, property agents estimated.

A mixture of upgraders and first-time potential buyers showed up at the showroom for Forestville, a 653-unit development.

MCC Land said the average price was about $710 per sq ft, but declined to reveal sales figures.

The Straits Times understands from sources that the three-bedroom and four-bedroom dual-key apartments were the most sought after.

Developed by Hao Yuan Investment but managed by MCC Land, Forestville comprises 14 blocks of 13-storey apartments, with 29 penthouse units. The project will have a mix of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom units.

Forestville is the first EC to be launched in Woodlands since La Casa in 2005.

It is expected to be completed in mid-2016.


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Rents for top-grade offices fall

Source: The Straits Times

Average rents of Grade A offices in the Central Business District (CBD) declined a modest 0.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, propped up by steady demand amid limited supply, said a consultancy.

The property consultant noted in a report Friday that the creme de la creme office space, also known as Grade AAA, in the Marina Bay precinct once again showed the highest quarterly drop of 3.4 per cent to $10 per sq ft (psf) per month. This takes the fall for top-grade office space in Marina Bay to 14.9 per cent for the whole year.

On the other hand, other Grade A building rents softened by 3.3 per cent year-on-year on the back of healthy occupancy rates.

Overall, the monthly rents of all Grade A offices averaged $8.31 psf during the quarter, representing a dip of about 5 per cent from $8.72 psf a year ago.

An uncertain economic outlook for next year will continue to cast a pall over the office leasing market.

A total of about 2.5 million sq ft of office space, mainly from The Metropolis and Asia Square Tower 2, is expected to enter the market next year. So far, these new developments have a pre-commitment level of only about 20 per cent. As a result, the office leasing market is expected to face some challenges when these two developments are completed in the second half of 2013.

Grade AAA office rents are expected to weaken by a further 5 to 10 per cent next year, it said.


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Woodlands industrial plot on reserve list

Source: Business Times

A 3.9-ha industrial plot at Woodlands Ave 12 has been made available for application on the reserve list of the Government Industrial Land Sales Programme.

The site, which is zoned Business 1, can be developed for various uses, such as light industry, clean industry, utilities or telecommunications. The 30-year leasehold site has a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of about 1,055,645.3 sq ft and a maximum building height of 61 metres above mean sea level.

Under the government's reserve list system, the land parcel will be released for sale only if the criteria for triggering of the site are met. However, consultants say that it is unlikely the site will get triggered.

Lee Sze Teck, senior manager, training, research and consultancy, at DWG, said the size of the site and the upcoming supply of industrial space in the area, based on sites sold, may stand in the way of the subject site being triggered.

Located along Woodlands Ave 12 are three sites - Woodlands 11, which was sold to Boon Keng Developments in April 2010 (GFA 868,628 sq ft, abutting sites Woodlands Horizon and Primz Bizhub, which were sold to OKH Holdings in 2011 (combined GFA of about 1.06 million sq ft). All three sites have a 60-year leasehold tenure and are zoned Business 1.

Earlier this month, a site off Woodlands Ave 10 (GFA 288,069 sq ft) received a top bid of $31.7 million from Bohai Investments (Sengkang) and Punggol Drive Investments.

"(Based on) the size of the subject site, I don't think it will be triggered ... (Combined with the four sites previously sold), you are looking at over two million sq ft of space coming up. If this gets triggered, another one million sq ft GFA of industrial space will be added to the area," said Mr Lee.

Another analyst said he expected potential bidders to watch sales at the outstanding sites. Beyond the three sites listed above, there is also Ark@Gambas, a nine-storey light industrial building that is developed by HLS Development, he said. He agreed that the site will not be triggered soon unless the supply of 60-year factory space has been depleted and there is still great demand in the northern area.

If the subject site gets triggered, analysts expected the trigger bid to be in the price range of $50-$126 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr).


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