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28 November 2012

28th November, Wednesday




More second-time buyers opt for BTO

Source: The Straits Times

The last Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise of the year closed Tuesday, with 2.7 applications for each HDB flat on offer. This is slightly higher than the 2.4 overall rate of the previous exercise in September, as more second-timers made a pitch for the homes in five estates.

There were 12.7 applications from these second-timers for each flat, a rise from 11.5 in the previous round. In contrast, applications from first-timers for the 6,463 flats stayed low, dipping marginally to 1.7 from 1.8 in September.

Analysts told The Straits Times that the higher prices of HDB resale flats may be driving second-timers - a group that includes those upgrading to larger flats - into the BTO market.

Senior manager Lee Sze Teck, of property firm Dennis Wee Group, said there was little room to negotiate the prices of some resale flats, forcing some upgraders to turn to BTO flats.

Resale prices have been persistently high because they are supported by demand from private property owners who are downgrading, permanent residents and singles who are not eligible for new HDB flats, said another analyst.

Mr Lee said that more second-timers prefer flats in mature housing estates over those in new areas.

The most sought-after flats are the larger units in the mature estates of Bedok and Toa Payoh. Six applications were received for each five-room flat available in Fengshan GreenVille in Bedok, and almost five for each four-room Toa Payoh unit.

At the same time, the BTO flats on offer in the new estate of Sengkang proved popular as well. Nearly six applications were received for each of the 104 three-room Compassvale Mast units. This was expected since the flats will be next to the Sengkang MRT station.

The Housing Board plans to offer at least 20,000 more BTO flats next year.


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Tough call on H1 2013 residential land supply

Source: Business Times

It will be a tough call for Ministry of National Development (MND) to determine the supply of land for private housing development for H1 2013, as it balances the risks of looming oversupply amid an economic slowdown with record home sales by developers and their voracious appetite for land.

One school of thought reckons that clipping land supply could be the medicine to cure property binging, as current strong home sales are supply-led, ie, by developers' launches - at a time of negative real interest rates, strong liquidity and as investors seek a safe anti-inflation hedge in property.

Analysts believe that MND will probably stick to the current half's quantum of residential land for the H1 2013 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme - on both confirmed and reserve lists.

In both H1 and H2 this year, the GLS Programme provided land for about 7,000 private homes, including executive condos (ECs), under the confirmed list plus the same quantum on the reserve list. Confirmed-list sites are launched for tender according to a pre-stated schedule, while sites on the reserve list are launched only upon application by a developer, accompanied with an undertaking of a minimum bid that is acceptable to the state.


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Westgate mall draws healthy interest

Source: Business Times

The mall in the upcoming Westgate development in Jurong East has seen healthy interest a year ahead of its targeted opening in December next year.

CapitaMalls Asia (CMA), CapitaMalls Trust and CapitaLand, which own the mixed development through a joint venture, said Tuesday that to date, about half the retail space has been pre-leased.

Among the Westgate mall's anchor tenants are Isetan, which will run its first supermarket outside Orchard Road, and Food Republic; other tenants include Yamaha music school, Paradise Dynasty restaurant and Paul Bakery.

The mall will have a thematic playground designed by an American theme park designer who has worked on attractions at Universal Studios and Disneyland.

It will also have a gym, a childcare centre and a naturally-ventilated area called the Courtyard, a covered outdoor shopping area bathed in natural light and cooled by jet blowers and air diffusers.

Besides the seven floors of shops of this family and lifestyle mall, Westgate will have a 20-storey office building called Westgate Tower, into which the CapitaLand Group will move from end-2014.


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