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22 November 2012

22nd November, Thursday




HDB launches 6,463 BTO flats in 7 projects

Source: Business Times

The Housing & Development Board (HDB) has launched 6,463 new built-to-order (BTO) flats, bringing the total number of BTO units offered this year to 27,084, the largest BTO supply ever launched in a year.

Together with the 7,153 balance flats offered earlier in the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) Exercises, HDB has launched a total of 34,237 new flats in 2012.

This influx of units is designed to address demand, particularly in the resale market, said Lee Sze Teck, senior manager, training, research and consultancy, at DWG, noting that this move was coupled with more leeway for second-timers to buy BTO flats.

"At the same time the government is cognisant of the fact that if they supply too many units they may create an imbalance in the resale market some years down the road, which may be why they've scaled back their BTO launches for next year," he added.

HDB said it is planning for at least 20,000 BTO flats in 2013. The board added that it will roll out about 3,320 BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Kallang Whampoa, Tampines, and Yishun in January.

The seven BTO projects launched Wednesday are located in two non-mature towns (Choa Chu Kang and Sengkang), and three mature towns (Bedok, Queenstown, and Toa Payoh).

In the non-mature town of Sengkang, two projects - Compassvale Mast and Rivervale Delta - are expected to feature 928 units and 884 units respectively.

According to Mr Lee, the Compassvale Mast site is the most attractive given that it is the only site located next to an MRT station. He added that he expects Compassvale Mast to see a subscription rate of 2.5.

Keat Hong Mirage, in Choa Chu Kang (opposite Keat Hong LRT station) will feature 1,159 flats.

Said Mr Lee: "All the BTO launches in Choa Chu Kang this year are near to each other and there will be another BTO launch in January 2013. Buyers who want to stay in Choa Chu Kang will have plenty of options and there is little incentive to wait for the next BTO since they are near to each other."

The remaining four launches - Fengshan GreenVille in Bedok (featuring 1,058 units), Ghim Moh Edge which is bounded by Commonwealth Ave West and Ghim Moh Link (1,179 flats), Toa Payoh Crest (1,007 flats), and Joo Seng Green which is bounded by Upper Aljunied Road and Joo Seng Road (248 units) - are located in the mature estates of Bedok, Queenstown, and Toa Payoh.

"The offering price for units in the mature estates is considerably higher than those in the non-mature estates, even though the projects in the mature estates are not near MRT stations," pointed out Mr Lee.

"Buyers have to weigh the advantages of staying in a mature estate yet still far from amenities in the town centre. For example, the Ghim Moh Edge is a relatively new area. The earlier BTO launch in the area was just completed this year. It is a distance away from the Holland area where the amenities are."

Mr Lee expects an overall subscription rate of between 1 and 2 for the other estates.


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A 'presidential suite' at new EC project

Source: The Straits Times

A vast penthouse nearly as big as four HDB five-room flats combined is spicing up the attractions at the upcoming CityLife@ Tampines executive condominium (EC).

The 4,349 sq ft "presidential penthouse suite" at what the developers brand "Singapore's first luxury hotel-style" EC is a sign of the intense competition to attract EC buyers.

But some property experts are questioning if such a large and plush unit is appropriate for EC projects. "It's really too big," said an analyst, who said 1,800 sq ft was enough for a multi-generation household. Building such a large unit was "not in line with the original intention of introducing ECs" - meant to cater to young families who can afford more than a HDB flat but not private property, he said.

DWG analyst Lee Sze Teck said the target market for the penthouse and other larger units were probably second-timers or those with a lot of cash, and some might be private property downgraders. Mr Lee estimated that the penthouse would likely cost between $550 and $600 per sq ft (psf).

If the 4,349 sq ft penthouse costs $550 psf and its buyer gets a 30-year loan of 80 per cent at an interest rate of 1.2 per cent, the monthly instalment would be $6,332 - more than half the $12,000 monthly income ceiling for EC buyers. The 20 per cent out-of-pocket cost would be nearly $480,000.

The 514-unit CityLife, which is being built by Amara Holdings, Kay Lim Holdings and SingXpress Land, will have an infinity pool and four- to five-bedder "Skysuite" units with open terraces.

CityLife is next to another EC project, The Tampines Trilliant, launched in January and expected to be completed in 2016.

EC developers are pulling out all the stops as the pool of eligible buyers dwindles, said an analyst.

Analysts said some buyers would be keen on such fancy projects as these gilt-edged features were relatively rare and ECs were still up to 25 per cent cheaper than mass market condos.

E-applications for CityLife can be made from 29 November. Bookings open next month.


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Investment Sales


Cathay unit buys Upper Paya Lebar industrial building

Source: Business Times

A unit of Cathay Group is understood to have bought an eight-storey freehold industrial building in Upper Paya Lebar for $31.8 million.

The price being paid for Tropical Industrial Building along Little Road, about 400m from Tai Seng MRT Station, works out to about $632 per sq ft (psf) based on the building's total strata area of about 50,300 sq ft. Going by the building's existing gross floor area of 62,375 sq ft, the price works out to $510 psf.

The buyer, Keris Investments, is said to be looking at using at least part of the premises for its own film operations and storage use.

Seven of the building's eight storeys are now leased. Leases for four floors run out in 1Q next year; the last lease expires in June 2014.

Tropical Industrial Building is being sold by an entity controlled by the Ng family that owns the Tat Hong group. The property, which received its Temporary Occupation Permit in September 1998, is on a site zoned for Business 1 use, which includes light industrial and warehouse use. It has a 2.5 plot ratio. The property has eight strata titles, one per floor; its basement houses 20 parking lots.

Separately, 700 Beach, sited between Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower and near Nicoll Highway MRT Station, is back on the market.

This time, its owners Fine Grain Property Consortium (Singapore) Pte Ltd and international interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates, are marketing the property themselves through a tender, which will close on 10 December.

The pricing expectation remains around $115 million or $1,759 psf based on its existing net lettable area (NLA) of 65,374 sq ft.

The property is on a site with a 99-year-leasehold tenure that started in April 2004. It was earlier marketed through an expression-of-interest exercise which closed in July.


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