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16 June 2012

16th June, Saturday




New private home sales drop 31.8% in May from April's high

Source: Business Times

New private home sales in May fell to its lowest since the beginning of this year, breaking developers' three-month long streak of over 2,000 units sold monthly, since February.

This is despite private residential launches picking up 2.4 per cent month-on-month, supported by an 85.4 per cent jump in the rest of central region (RCR).

According to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) figures, developers sold 1,702 private homes, excluding executive condominiums (ECs) in May, a drop of 31.8 per cent from April's record 2,496 units.

Most consultants concur that the lower sale numbers can be attributed to there being no major launches of commercial-residential projects.

The 530-unit Flo Residence in Punggol was the only large project launched in the outside central region, of which a total of 226 units out of the 338 released found buyers. The 60-unit Vibes@Serangoon was fully launched, with 44 units sold; Shiro, a 16-unit landed housing project in Telok Kurau was half sold; and the fully launched 10-unit Shoreline Residences sold four units.

Notably, developers have stepped up launches in the Core Central Region (CCR) and the Rest of the Central Region (RCR).

In the CCR, the total number of launches increased by 36.7 per cent month-on-month to 309 units. Sales activity fell however, down 30.1 per cent to 135 units.

In the RCR, 1,005 units were launched, the highest monthly launch total since April 2010. Of this, only 362 units were sold, down 53.6 per cent month-on-month.

New projects that were favoured by buyers include Flo Residences (266 units sold at a median price of $863 psf), Seahill (200 units at $1,383 psf) and Eight Riversuites (192 units at $1,340 psf).


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'Sky Habitat effect' lifts sales in other estates

Source: The Straits Times

Increasing numbers of buyers are turning their interest back to some housing projects that seemed to have run out of puff, thanks to what some agents are calling the Sky Habitat effect.

Sky Habitat is the CapitaLand's 509-unit project in Bishan Central that grabbed headlines in mid-April with record high prices of about $1,700 per sq ft (psf).

That level of pricing put it on a par with prime condos and while sales have been tepid since its launch, it seems to have ignited interest in some estates launched before Sky Habitat hit the market.

City fringe and city centre projects with comparable or lower prices now look increasingly attractive while similar suburban estates have also gathered more attention.

While new home sales were buoyant in March and nearly hit a three-year high in April, consultants do say that if a new project is launched at a record price it often creates a ripple effect which lifts both new sales and resales in neighbouring developments.

The irony is that Sky Habitat itself has not been a star performer.

The condo, designed by renowned Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, moved 125 units during its first weekend of launch in mid-April but sales have since flatlined with only an additional four units sold as at the end of May.

Last month, some buyers also had a change of heart, returning 10 units they had bought.


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Far East woos buyers with 'special discounts'

Source: The Straits Times

Home buyers considering properties by Far East Organization might get to enjoy a small discount as the developer celebrates its solid sales record this year.

It said it is offering celebratory discounts ranging from 1 to 3 per cent for several projects, including euHabitat, this month.

Setting a new sales record of 2,200 units in the first five months of the year gave the company something to cheer about.

An analyst said Far East 'probably exceeded its targets' and wanted to build on the momentum to generate more sales.

Property consultants said it is unlikely that Far East is pushing out its stock in anticipation of possible cooling measures in the property market.


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Sharp fall in Sentosa Cove home sales

Source: The Straits Times

Once a hot spot for well-heeled home hunters, Sentosa Cove seems to have lost a bit of its lustre amid sluggish sales and a general slowdown in the luxury home sector.

Property consultants attribute the change in mood to the lack of new launches on Sentosa, attractive deals elsewhere and foreign buyers being deterred by the additional buyer's stamp duty.

Since the start of last year, there have been about 30 transactions for landed homes on Sentosa, compared with 62 in 2010 alone, said an analyst.

Including non-landed homes, there have been 101 transactions since last year, which pales in comparison with the 203 in 2010.

But fewer Singaporeans are buying Sentosa homes. The proportion of foreigners has risen - possibly as it is far easier for them to buy landed homes there than on the mainland.

Overall, there is still interest in Sentosa properties, with some buyers willing to pay hefty prices to own a unit, experts said.


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JTC puts Tuas plots up for sale

Source: Business Times

Singapore’s largest industrial landlord, JTC Corporation, has launched five land plots along Tuas South Street 7, 8 and 9 for tender under the Industrial Government Land Sales (IGLS) Programme.

All the sites come with a lease of 23 years and are zoned Business-2 (B2).

Sites with a B2 zoning cater to heavy industries, which tend to have a much greater impact on the environment and where the users will need to impose nuisance buffers of more than 50 metres. These industries are almost always located a distance away from housing estates, in areas such as Tuas.

In terms of area, the plots range from 0.30 to 0.57 hectares and have a maximum gross plot ratio of 1.0.


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International Markets


UK home prices up in May but brokers see no rebound

Source: Business Times

UK house prices rose the most in nine months in May, according to a report, which said the gain may not signal the start of a rebound by the country's property market.

The average price of a home in England and Wales climbed 0.5 per cent from April to £223,207 (S$443,842). From a year earlier, values gained 1.9 per cent.

Further gains may be limited by higher mortgage rates as banks' funding costs increase and by mounting threats to the economy from the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

Out of the 10 regions tracked, all apart from London, Wales and East Midlands saw their average values decline in the last three months compared with the same period a year earlier.

The report said the number of transactions in May was probably 60,000, which is 67 per cent of the long-term average for the month.


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