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10 November 2012

10th November, Saturday




Non-landed private homes' resale prices up 7.3% in Jan-Oct period

Source: Business Times

Resale prices of non-landed private homes rose over the first 10 months of the year, even as transaction volumes fell 10.2 per cent.

The latest Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) Residential Property Flash Report released Friday indicated that overall resale prices gained 7.3 per cent to $1,133 per sq ft (psf), up from $1,056 psf in the year-ago period.

DWG's senior manager of training, research and consultancy Lee Sze Teck said prices of resale homes were playing catch-up with those of new homes, which have tended to command a premium over resale properties, especially in areas that had project launches.

He added that the property sector launched fewer new projects in 3Q, which turned the attention of buyers and investors to the resale market. "The momentum continued into October, pushing up prices of resale homes in the process," he said.

Resale prices in the outside central region (OCR), where mass-market, suburban condos are located, rose 8.7 per cent to $902 psf. The next largest price jump was clocked by properties in the rest of central region (RCR), which rose 7.7 per cent to $1,152 psf; properties in the core central region (CCR) went up 3.2 per cent to $1,718 psf.

The 10.2 per cent dip in resale volumes of non-landed private homes came from the 10,559 properties sold in the first 10 months of the year. The figure includes the caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the non-caveated transactions registered with the SRX.

An analyst believes the latest cooling measures - specifically the seller's stamp duty - have worked to dampen resale volumes. "Property owners are less likely to sell their properties within three to four years," he said.

Looking ahead, DWG's Mr Lee expects volume in the resale market to continue easing in 4Q, as the record number of new homes launched for sale from January to October has diverted some demand away from the resale market.

Due to strong price gains and relatively weaker performance in the rental market, overall gross rental yield fell to 3.87 per cent in October, compared with the yield of 4 per cent in 3Q.


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Cash premium for HDB resale flats rises again

Source: The Straits Times

The cash premium that buyers of HDB resale flats pay on top of valuation has continued to climb in the fourth quarter after it had risen in the third quarter.

The COV, or cash over valuation, had fallen for three straight quarters before the third quarter.

Numbers from data-crunching firm Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), which collates sales from major property agencies, indicate that overall cash premiums have climbed to $33,000 now, compared to $30,000 in the previous quarter.

In the same time period, the overall median resale price also rose 1.1 per cent to $455,000.

Analysts point to two possible reasons: fewer HDB resale flats on the market as well as sellers sticking to higher asking prices.

An analyst said the number of resale flats has gradually fallen due to policy tweaks. Chief among them, he noted, are the greater restrictions linked to a second concessionary HDB loan, implemented in 2010, which requires buyers to use 50 per cent of the cash proceeds of the sale of their existing flat to buy the next.

Another analyst said another possible reason is the rise in private property prices which has caused aspiring HDB upgraders to stay put.

As for rising COVs, Dennis Wee Group spokesman Lee Sze Teck said this is due to sellers not budging on asking prices following record transactions recently.

It was reported in September that an HDB flat had hit the $1 million mark for the first time. The executive unit in Queenstown had a cash premium of $195,000. "Sellers are holding out for a good deal, and taken together with the limited resale supply, this helped maintain resale prices," he said.

While the HDB is launching a record 27,000 Build-To-Order flats this year, one analyst noted that demand from second-timers, or those who have already enjoyed a housing subsidy, is still not being met.

An analyst added that the resale market is likely to cool down in a few years when buyers get the keys to their BTO homes. "Demand and prices are pushed up because people need houses to stay right now. The impact of new BTOs and all the other measures will only come later when these units are completed."


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Elder-friendly housing scheme off to slow start

Source: The Straits Times

The Housing Board's plan to make life easier for elderly residents has got off to a muted start in the two pilot towns where it has been launched.

Only about 120 out of the 16,000 eligible households in Kallang/Whampoa and Bukit Merah have gone for the heavily subsidised ramps, grab bars and non-slip tiles offered under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) scheme.

These two towns were selected by the HDB as they had the highest number of homes with residents aged 65 and above.

A HDB officer said during a site visit that the low figures were due to a lack of awareness among the elderly about the details of the plan. HDB would be stepping up its efforts to engage them, he said.

Ease is expected to cost about $260 million and benefit 130,000 HDB households.


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House hunters head for Seletar Hills

Source: The Straits Times

It is easily overlooked but the quiet private residential enclave of Seletar Hills, with its bungalows and semi-detached houses, is poised for take-off.

The estate, nestled between major transport arteries, is on the doorstep of the upcoming Seletar Aerospace Park, perfectly placed to reap the benefits when the project is completed around 2018.

It is dominated by low-rise landed homes, mostly bungalows and semi-detached houses on freehold or 999-year leases.

"The landed enclave is popular with buyers who buy over the land with the view of building their dream home on the plot," said Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior manager of training, research and consultancy at DWG.

Recent launches include the uncompleted Luxus Hills, which has semi-detached and terrace houses and is being launched in phases. The terrace homes were launched at $1,612 per sq ft (psf) on average this year. Other uncompleted projects include Este Villa, a 121-unit strata landed development that is fully sold.

Another analyst said the prices of semi-detached houses in the area have grown 14 per cent this year, while those of terraces have shot up a stunning 49 per cent, mainly due to new sales at Luxus Hills.

There are only a few condominium projects in the estate. The two defining condo projects in the area are the 276-unit Seletar Park Residence and the 319-unit The Greenwich. Both have not been completed. The Greenwich is right next to two-storey shopping mall Greenwich V, which has Cold Storage and Kopitiam.

Several other condos in the area are fairly old. Mimosa Park was completed in 1979, Nim Gardens in 1986 and Serenity Park in 1995.

Condo prices in the estate have increased by about 12 per cent this year to around $1,603 psf on average. Most transactions were at Seletar Park Residence, The Greenwich, Mimosa Park and Serenity Park.

In general, developments in the Seletar area are well received by investors, Mr Lee said, noting that more than 1,000 units are due for completion within the next five years.

Luxus Hills' developer had sold 252 out of 288 available units as at 30 September. At The Greenwich, 313 out of 319 units were moved and Seletar Park Residence had 200 out of 276 units sold. Mr Lee said rental yields range from 3.5 to 3.8 per cent for condo units and 2.5 to 2.8 per cent for landed homes.

The aerospace park being built nearby is expected to boost demand for housing even further.

One analyst expects to see more residential and commercial developments in the next few years due to the 320ha development, which includes Seletar Airport. It will attract more local and foreign professionals, who in turn create leasing and buying potential for property within Seletar Hills, he said.

Transport and amenities are limited, but the Greenwich V mall has opened, and The Seletar Mall, which will be completed by 2014, will provide residents with more retail options, Mr Lee said. There are also eateries on Jalan Kayu, just a stone's throw away, he added.


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Spooner Rd flats available for HDB rental

Source: Channelnewsasia

Two blocks of flats at Spooner Road that previously housed the Malayan Railway staff are now available for some interim use.

Writing on his Facebook page, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the termination of the Malayan Rail at Woodlands had a surprising outcome for the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Mr Khaw described it as "a pleasant surprise".

There are 318 units in the two blocks of flats. Mr Khaw said HDB decided to spruce them up for HDB rental. The first batch of tenants will move in next month.

Mr Khaw said the 1-room and 2-room flats will meet the needs of lower income families under the Public Rental Scheme.

The 3-room flats will be available under the Interim Rental Housing Scheme.


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