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11 July 2012

11th July, Wednesday




Property market stable and more sustainable: Khaw

Source: Business Times

The property market is "moving towards a stable and more sustainable path" following rounds of cooling measures, but the government remains ready to take further action should the situation call for it, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Mr Khaw said that measures, such as the ABSD and the ramp-up in both public and private housing supply, have produced "encouraging results".

For one thing, the proportion of private residential properties bought by foreigners and companies has "fallen sharply" to 7 per cent in the first six months of this year, from last year's 20 per cent.

Then there are private home prices, which Mr Khaw said have "moderated significantly", rising by 0.3 per cent in the first half of the year compared with the 6 per cent increase for the whole of 2011.

Short-term property speculation has also fallen sharply, as indicated by the relatively low volume of sub-sales.


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Housing subsidies bigger than they seem: MND

Source: The Straits Times

Flat-buyers receive subsidies that are bigger than they seem at first glance, said the National Development Ministry (MND).

This is because the Housing Board generally makes a loss on its build-to-order (BTO) flat projects.

Using the example of Waterway Banks, a BTO project in Punggol launched last November, the ministry said the 1,016-unit development cost HDB $279 million to build, while sales proceeds totalled $240 million.

HDB therefore incurred a loss of $39 million, it said, by pricing the BTO flats substantially below the market price of comparable resale flats in the same area.

So, each family actually receives 'a much higher subsidy' than the cash grants HDB hands out.


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HDB to consider measures to discourage enclaves

Source: Today

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will consider measures to discourage the formation of significant foreign-worker enclaves in HDB estates, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament Tuesday.

Mr Khaw said the HDB was monitoring the situation and that it does not have the equivalent of the Ethnic Integration Policy or Singapore Permanent Resident quota policy in the management of the number of foreign workers who rent HDB flats or rooms.

He said this was because, unlike the sale of HDB flats for longer-term occupation, the renting of a flat or room is a temporary housing arrangement.

Foreign workers renting flats or rooms from HDB lessees form about 5 per cent of the total population that lives in public flats. This includes holders of employment passes, S passes, professional visit passes and some work-permit holders.

However, Mr Khaw said there were subletting rules that limit the number of subtenants allowed for each type of flat. Flat owners who sublet their flats or rooms are also required to observe the terms and conditions of subletting, he added.


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Prime industrial rents keep rising in Q2

Source: The Straits Times

Rents of prime industrial spaces continued to inch up in the second quarter amid better business sentiment - in a sign of a generally vibrant sector, according to a consultancy.

Sentiment improved despite increased fears over the euro zone crisis towards the end of the second quarter. The leasing market was abuzz with renewals and businesses that had expanded or relocated operations. But price-sensitive tenants kept rent growth in check.

Average monthly rents for prime factory space on the ground floor rose 0.4 per cent from the first quarter to $2.40 per sq ft (psf). Space on the upper floors averaged $2.10 psf, a 1 per cent rise from the previous quarter.

Factories aside, rents at prime conventional warehouses hit new peaks in the quarter.

For instance, gross rent for ground floor spaces averaged $2.50 psf, a 1.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase. Rents for units on the upper floors were going for $2.06 psf, a rise of 1 per cent from the first quarter.

In the high-specifications industrial segment, a reduction in available vacant space in the quarter led to higher rents of $3.22 psf.

Business park space - averaging $3.90 psf - was the only industrial category where prices stayed stagnant.

The average capital values of prime freehold factory space rose at a faster pace for the ninth consecutive quarter.

Ground- and upper-floor factory space rose 5.1 per cent and 7.1 per cent, to $665 psf and $600 psf, respectively. Similarly, ground- and upper-floor warehouse space notched 4.3 per cent and 5.3 per cent gains, to $608 psf and $533 psf, respectively.

This growth in capital values is expected to continue to outpace the rise in rents till the end of the year.

The slashing of leases of new industrial sites will also boost the demand - and prices - of longer leasehold properties in the short term. 'Prices of prime industrial properties are forecast to increase by up to 9 per cent in the second half of the year,' the report said.

Rents could rise by only 0.5 per cent in the second part of the year, compared with the 2 per cent seen in the first six months.


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