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14 June 2012

14th June, Thursday




Six more EC plots confirmed for year

Source: The Straits Times

First-time home buyers and aspiring upgraders will have a wider range of executive condominium (EC) units to choose from, going by the Government's latest land sales programme.

Six plots in heartland areas such as Pasir Ris, Punggol and Sembawang are on the confirmed list for the second half of the year. These sites could yield a total of 3,100 units, augmenting the 2,900 from five EC plots placed on the confirmed list in this half of the year.

An analyst said the best of the six new plots is the one at the corner of Pasir Ris Drive 3 and Pasir Ris Rise, as it is near the sea and lifestyle amenities. He added: 'I don't expect the bids to be aggressive, given the number of developments under construction in the area... 'It is possible that developers will price the units competitively, but it depends on market conditions.'

Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior manager of research and consultancy at Dennis Wee Realty, noting that some of the sites are in Punggol and Sengkang, said: 'Some of the flats in these towns could be reaching the minimum occupation period of five years, and the household income of these families could have breached $10,000.

'To provide an avenue to satisfy the upgrading aspirations of these households, the Government is pushing out sites for private residential development, including ECs.'

He added that the Commonwealth Avenue plot was the choicest of the other plots slated for private projects as it is opposite the Queenstown MRT station and relatively close to town.

Mr Lee said that another site slated for commercial and residential use - in Yishun Ring Road - is also attractive 'as it plugs a gap in the neighbourhood', which has a need for amenities. The nearest mall, Northpoint Shopping Centre, is some distance away.


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Big boost for suburban commercial centres

Source: The Straits Times

New commercial land sites are to be released for sale to help boost commercial centres taking shape outside the city centre.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) released a slew of land parcels for sale in key suburban areas such as Jurong and Paya Lebar.

For instance, a 1.2ha commercial site in Venture Avenue in the Jurong Gateway area will be available in December as part of the government land sale programme for July to December. Another site in Jurong Town Hall Road, for a hotel with an estimated 510 rooms, is also being offered on the reserve list.

Other suburban areas earmarked for future growth are also set to see their skylines change, with new sites being offered.

A 2.07ha commercial site in the Paya Lebar area, for instance, is up for sale on the reserve list. The site, at the junction of Tanjong Katong Road and Sims Avenue, can yield an estimated 86,940 sq m of commercial space, although the developer will also have the option of building some homes on the plot.

Residents of Punggol can also look forward to enjoying a new recreational area, with a commercial site at Punggol Point 'envisioned to be developed into a rustic seaside dining destination'.

It will be put up for sale in December as part of the URA's plans to transform the area into an attractive waterfront promenade for sports and recreation.


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Victoria St/Ophir Road hotel site likely to be triggered

Source: Business Times

Given its attractive location, the new hotel site at Victoria Street/Ophir Road, which was added to the 2H 2012 government land sales programme reserve list, is likely to be triggered, say most consultants.

The 0.77 hectare site, which has a proposed gross plot ratio of 4.2, is expected to house around 785 rooms.

The site (formerly Victoria Street Wholesale Centre) is likely to do well because of its location and the area's heritage, said Lee Sze Teck, senior manager, research and consultancy, at Dennis Wee Group.

"We expect this site to be triggered because of its attractive location. It is also near to Singapore's largest street shopping area, Bugis Street. But because of the developable size, the bidders could be restricted to the larger developers," he said.

"Together with the South Beach project and M+S project, it will rejuvenate the Bugis/Beach Road area," he added.

This is in addition to the hotel sites carried over from the H1 2012 programme, including the 0.82 ha site at East Coast Road (beside 112 Katong), which is expected to contribute about 600 rooms, and the 0.61 ha site at Sturdee Road which can yield about 445 rooms.

The new site is expected to be triggered "sooner rather than later, possibly within the course of this year", said another analyst. "A hotel on this site would likely be occupied by a significant volume of medical tourists using the facilities at Raffles Hospital," she said.

But another analyst said hotel developers may adopt a "wait-and-see mentality" before triggering any sites in the reserve list.

"The hospitality sector is taking a breather with some 12,000 hotel rooms in the pipeline. With tourist arrivals remaining strong, hotel occupancy rates still high and average room rates climbing, the global uncertainty and upcoming new supply will inevitably ease some pressure off the current crunch," he said.


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