Real News‎ > ‎2012‎ > ‎November 2012‎ > ‎

05 November 2012

5th November, Monday




Developers unfazed by deadline

Source: The Straits Times

New rules limiting the number of shoebox units a developer can build on suburban sites kicked in Sunday but there was little sign of a scramble by developers to submit last-minute projects.

One reason is that the authorities had already been clamping down on projects with these popular tiny homes, usually 50 sq m or smaller, for some time. Developers said that for the past year, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has been stricter in granting approvals as the number of new shoebox units sold soared.

Developments with too many shoebox units were encouraged to increase the size of their units before provisional permission for the project was given, they added.

Industry players also pointed out that the rules do not completely stop the building of such units. They are merely a cap on the maximum number of such units. This gives developers flexibility to decide on the unit mix for each development.

Many developers had already expected a first round of rules introduced last year to be extended. Those rules set minimum plot sizes for apartment blocks and restricted the number of homes built on certain sites such as plots in Telok Kurau.

But an even tighter cap, already in place in Telok Kurau, is being extended to Kovan, Joo Chiat and Jalan Eunos, where the average unit size is 100 sq m. These rules took effect Sunday.

A URA spokesman said the guidelines have been calibrated judiciously.

"We anticipate that the new development proposals will have a good mix of unit sizes after the guidelines come into operation," he added. "We will continue to monitor and review the guidelines periodically to ensure that the supply of housing units can cater to the diverse needs of all segments of the market."


Link to the story:  



SDP proposes a class of 'non-open market' HDB flats

Source: The Straits Times

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Sunday unveiled a housing policy paper proposing a new class of flats that they say could be priced as low as $70,000.

These "non-open market" (NOM) flats would be priced by the Housing Board only to recover the cost of administration and construction. That is, the land that the flats are built on should not have to be paid for by flat-buyers, said the paper, launched at an event at the Quality Hotel.

The SDP calculated that NOM flats could be priced at $70,000 for a two-room unit and up to $240,000 for a five-room. It said these prices would allow a family to pay off a housing loan over nine to 15 years, on payments of no more than 20 per cent of gross monthly income.

NOM flats could only be sold back to HDB, said the SDP, with no chance of capital gains.

Separately, open-market flats - that is, akin to normal flats now - would continue to be built. These would continue to be priced on the basis of recovering land costs as well, and would be allowed to be bought and sold for capital gains.

The party also said the new system would be phased in slowly so as not to crash the current market. Existing flat-owners would be given the option to convert their flats to NOM ones - and receive cash and CPF reimbursements from HDB on the amount they have paid above the new flat prices.

Aside from NOM flats, the SDP paper also called for the Housing Board to build a buffer stock of flats to meet unanticipated demand, and to give priority in the ballot to families with young children.


Links to the story:



HDB has to 'keep up with aspirations of Singaporeans'

Source: Today

While the transformation and changes have been "remarkable", the country's public housing has to keep pace with the rising aspirations of Singaporeans.

This, former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew says, will ensure that Singapore's older estates and flats do not fall behind newer ones, in both facilities and design.

Speaking Sunday at a community event to celebrate the completion of seven new blocks of replacement flats at Havelock View, Mr Lee noted how Tanjong Pagar residents have benefitted from a wide range of estate renewal programmes, even though the constituency is one of the oldest public housing estates in Singapore.

The 1,218 units at Havelock View were designated as replacement flats under the Housing Board's Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme for those who previously lived at Blocks 88 to 92 Zion Road, which were built in 1973. Standing between 25 and 40 storeys high, some higher floor units at Havelock View boast views of Orchard Road and the Botanic Gardens.

A total of 600 units were taken up by former Zion Road residents, while the remaining were offered for sale under HDB's Sale of Balance Flat exercises.

An HDB survey of 256 households found that residents were generally satisfied with the project. Close to eight in 10 of the respondents (79.3 per cent) were satisfied with the overall flat design, while almost nine in 10 were pleased with the facilities in the precinct.

While the HDB has made a difference in people's lives, allowing Singaporeans to own a home, Mr Lee cautioned owners against selling their homes for a profit thinking that they can buy or rent another one, as these are assets that will appreciate in value year after year. For those who held on to their homes, their property values have gone up by many folds, he said.

Even as authorities here do more to spruce up the estates, Mr Lee also urged Singaporeans to uphold the value of good neighbourliness. "If neighbours don't cooperate to keep a bond of ownership of the place, it will not succeed," he added.


Links to the story:





Changi: More shops, eateries as retail space grows

Source: The Straits Times

There is now more to buy and eat - for both passengers and visitors - at Changi Airport.

With the completion of Terminal 1's four-year upgrading in July and the more recent revamp of the public areas at Terminal 3, the airport has expanded its commercial space by about 10 per cent. The total retail space is now more than 74,000 sq m - about the size of 10 football fields.

This makes the airport one of Singapore's biggest shopping malls, the largest being VivoCity, which is about 30 per cent bigger.

Post-upgrading, T1 has 110 restaurants and shops, while at T3, the number of outlets has jumped by about 60 per cent to 50. The third floor in T3, which the public can access, is now home to two anchor stores - The Planet Traveller and Electronics Hub @ T3.

Like other major airports, Changi aims to expand its commercial takings so that charges levied on airlines, ground handlers and other aviation firms can be kept competitive, vis-a-vis rival airports.

To encourage more people to visit the airport, CAG provides free shuttle services from Bedok and Sengkang MRT stations on weekends and public holidays.


Link to the story:





Govt pledges enough land for needs of industry

Source: The Straits Times

There will be enough land released to satisfy the needs of industrialists, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) pledged Sunday.

The Government also said it will maintain efforts to ensure that the space is not misused by non-industrial users, which could be driving up prices and rents.

The Government has rolled out a bumper supply of industrial land with a total of 47.69ha this year - about 1.4 times last year's total - in areas such as Tuas, Ubi, Serangoon and Woodlands.

There have been some government attempts to rein in prices.

The latest was in July, when lease terms for industrial sites under the government land sales programme to be sold till December were capped at 30 years. More sites of smaller size and shorter tenure will continue to be released to meet the needs of industrialists who might prefer to build their own facilities rather than rent.

The MTI spokesman also said it will consider developing separate indexes for different industrial property segments. This would give the market a better idea of price movements and raise the level of transparency in the market.

"The Government will study the availability of data and explore this possibility moving forward," the MTI spokesman said.


Link to the story: