Real News‎ > ‎2012‎ > ‎October 2012‎ > ‎

17 October 2012

17th October, Wednesday




Punggol to have 7 new waterfront districts

Source: The Straits Times

The Housing Board has unveiled the next phase of development for Singapore's hottest new estate, Punggol, which is also known for being the first eco-town.

Estimated to be twice the size of Ang Mo Kio when it is complete, the eco-precinct is expected to boast seven new districts for waterfront housing, as well as abundant greenery to soften its projected high density.

Last night at the HDB Awards gala at Marina Bay Sands, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan painted the next phase of Punggol as part of the Government's plan to progressively raise the standard of HDB living while catering to a growing population.

There are 26,400 completed HDB flats in the area, and about 6,400 private homes which are in the works.

The total number of HDB flats and private homes is projected to be 96,000 when development ends, which could happen in the next 15 years or so, depending on demand and economic conditions.

The first two to be developed within the next five years will be the Northshore and Matilda districts. The former will boast the tallest residential buildings in the area - at 29 storeys, and overlooking the Strait of Johor - while the latter will draw inspiration from the rich history of the area such as the iconic Matilda House.

Other districts which will come on stream later include Crescent, Punggol Point and Canal. Work at Waterway East and Waterway West has already begun.

The town centre will be expanded into a new "Punggol Downtown", which will have a waterfront market village, a learning corridor which will house educational institutions, and a creative cluster for commercial use relating to lifestyle needs.

Flora will also play a bigger role in the nation's first eco-town. The existing waterway will be enhanced with green spaces extending northwards. Coupled with the town centre, a new sports complex and the learning corridor, this area will form the "green heart" of the town.

"Green fingers" - or paths lined with greenery - will extend from the "green heart" to reach the coastal promenade and Coney Island, where a park is expected to be completed by 2014.

The 1.5km Old Punggol Road will be one such "finger". It will be closed to traffic and converted to a heritage trail for pedestrians.

Cycling tracks will also be built in tandem with new roads to encourage a clean commute, while the Western LRT loop is expected to start operations in tandem with development in the area.

An exhibition on the proposed plans has been put up for public consultation at HDB Hub, starting today and continuing until 28 October.


Links to the story:



Punggol likely to have more private homes than other areas

Source: The Straits Times

The fast-growing area of Punggol could end up with a greater proportion of private homes than in other parts of the country.

Private units average about 18 per cent of the housing mix across the country but one expert tips that it could go as high as 25 per cent in Punggol "as aspirations of people grow".

This would work out to about 24,000 private units given that Punggol is expected to host around 96,000 homes eventually. Currently there are also just over 100 landed completed homes in Punggol as of the second quarter, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

But URA did not say how many more private homes will be added to the mix eventually.

But all the new homes could add stress to the infrastructure in the area, said Mr Lee Sze Teck, Dennis Wee Group's senior manager of training, research and consultancy. "Higher than estimated number of residential homes means added stress on the transportation network," he noted, adding that the nearby expressways and the North-East MRT Line "are already pushing the max capacity during peak hours".

Still, consultants said the "waterfront living lifestyle" Punggol offers should prove a draw.

"This concept... coupled with newer and better designed flats in Punggol, might lead to higher cash over valuation (COV) being asked by sellers," Mr Lee said.

Another analyst added: "It's too early to say but the future generation might like living here... This estate will be much newer than say, Tampines."


Link to the story:  



Housing site near Tanah Merah MRT gets S$434.6m top bid

Source: Today

The tender for a housing site in New Upper Changi Road attracted 11 bids by the close yesterday, with Keppel Land unit Sherwood Developments submitting the top bid of S$434.6 million, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said.

Located within an established private housing estate and close to Tanah Merah MRT Station, the 99-year leasehold site has an area of 343,171 sq ft and a maximum gross floor area of 549,078 sq ft.

"When awarded the site ... Keppel Land plans to develop about 700 homes ranging from 500 to 1,400 sq ft in one- to four-bedroom configurations," said the developer, whose bid translates to S$791 per sq ft per plot ratio.

Mr Lee Sze Teck, Senior Manager of Training, Research and Consultancy at DWG, noted that Sherwood's bid was 7.1 per cent higher than the second best bid from Bayfront Land, a joint venture between Fragrance Group and World Class Land.

The latter two won a tender for a housing site in nearby Tanah Merah Kechil in August at S$676 psfppr, and the higher prices bid for the New Upper Changi Road site underlined the confidence of developers in the property market, he said.

The estimated breakeven is between S$1,150 and S$1,200 psf, while the selling price could be in the range of S$1,400 to S$1,450 psf, higher than the average selling price of S$1,300 to S$1,400 psf at eCO at Bedok South, he added.


Links to the story:$434,6m-top-bid



No plans for more HDB executive maisonettes: Khaw

Source: Today

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said there is no need for the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to build executive maisonettes (EMs) again, as executive condominiums (ECs) already include double-storey units similar to EMs.

HDB stopped building EMs in 1995, when the EC Housing Scheme was rolled out.

EMs range from 138 to 243 square metres in size while ECs range from 69 to 324 square metres.

Mr Khaw noted that ECs typically come with more unique design features than EMs. He said the EC is better placed to meet the diverse needs of Singaporeans, removing the need to re-introduce EMs.


Link to the story:



Same valuation basis for all HDB flats: Khaw Boon Wan

Source: Channelnewsasia

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said home buyers are currently paying above the value assessed by professional valuers as it is "a seller's market".

Mr Khaw said the basis of valuation for all HDB flats are the same, whether they are resale flats transacted in the open market, flats affected by Selective Enbloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), or flats that are compulsorily acquired.

"Their values are assessed by a panel of professional valuers, based on established valuation principles (which comprise factors) such as location, size, storey height and the extent of renovations," said Mr Khaw.

According to Mr Khaw, HDB advises buyers to think carefully before committing to a price which is substantially above what the professional valuers have estimated.

"Resale prices are determined by willing buyers and sellers; the government cannot intervene to determine the transaction prices for buyers and sellers," Mr Khaw added. "We help players make informed decisions through the timely release of pricing data via the HDB website."


Link to the story:



Fewer singles buying HDB resale flats

Source: Channelnewsasia

Singles are buying fewer Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flats in the recent four years.

Between 2007 and 2011, singles bought an average of 4,300 units a year. That is down from a yearly average of 5,600 between 2002 and 2006.

The ministry also said three-room units are the most popular flat type among singles. The trend holds true even after the rule was eased in 2004 for singles to buy any flat type, rather than three-room or smaller units on the resale market.

But the authorities say the proportion of singles buying four-room and five-room flats has increased.

In 2005, 60 per cent of singles bought three-room flats, 26 per cent bought four-room flats, and 9 per cent bought five-room flats.

In 2011, 48 per cent of singles bought three-room flats, 33 per cent bought four-room flats, and 13 per cent bought five-room flats.


Link to the story:  





URA tries to limit small shops in new complexes

Source: Business Times

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) could be looking to discourage an over-concentration of small strata shops in new developments, Business Times (BT) understands. It is also trying to steer them towards a certain size mix.

BT understands that URA is recommending that at least 50 per cent of the retail portion in a development should comprise units of at least 60 sq m (645.83 sq ft) each. A maximum 40 per cent may be allocated to 25-59 sq m units, and no more than 10 per cent to 15-24 sq m units. It seems URA is discouraging units below 15 sq m (161.46 sq ft).

When contacted, URA declined to confirm the recommended unit size mix. But its spokeswoman, while acknowledging the need for flexibility to cater to diversity of business needs of different market segments, added: "A development consisting predominantly of small units may pose problems, for example, carpark shortage and traffic congestion, to the local area."

An analyst suggests that a key reason for URA's advice on strata unit-size mix could be to keep a lid on investment demand for strata shops, which have been fetching eye-popping prices.

Some developers have taken to minting smallish shops to keep lump-sum prices affordable to potential buyers, but in the process, setting high per sq ft (psf) prices. For example, earlier this year, eight street-level cafe units ranging from 398 sq ft to 807 sq ft at Oxley Tower at Robinson Road were sold at $6,200-$7,200 per sq ft. At the nearby EON Shenton, all 23 street-level shops fetched $4,000-$4,980 psf. The shops are 129 sq ft to 377 sq ft.

A common perception in industry circles is that for office units, URA is leaning towards 100 sq m as either a minimum or average unit size.

URA's spokeswoman noted that businesses have very diverse needs and budgets. "Some small commercial and retail units exist in the market today to cater to businesses that do not require a big space... When evaluating commercial development proposals, we take into consideration the planning intention for the area and the potential impact on the surrounding environment and local traffic conditions.

DWG senior manager Lee Sze Teck highlights that a mixed development, Suites at Bukit Timah, has a shop unit as small as 5 sq m based on caveats data. "If there are too many small shop units being built, it begs the question whether ultimately all these units can be rented out. If tenants find them too small, they could be left empty - a wastage of resources. Of course, potential operators could source for a few adjacent units and combine them into a larger space."

Another analyst said some owners may end up using their tiny retail units for storage if they can't find retail tenants. "An aggregation of small units in a mall could also lead to an unusual mix of operators, like massage outlets, nail salons, 4D booths and others, which could dilute the original intention of the planners for the site," he added.


Link to the story:



No speculative signs in HDB shophouse prices

Source: Business Times

Figures released by the government Tuesday showed that there is no speculative element in the prices of HDB shophouses given the low percentage of resale transactions.

Minister for National Development (MND) Khaw Boon Wan highlighted that resale transactions involving HDB-sold shops made up only 3 to 7 per cent of the total stock of HDB-sold shops.

From January to August 2012, there were 216 such transactions and of these, 14 shops, or 6 per cent, were resold within one year of purchase.

Given the fact that HDB- sold shops are transacted in the market on a willing- buyer-willing-seller basis, without restrictions and in accordance with demand, Mr Khaw said that MND will not be imposing new restrictions such as stricter citizenship eligibility on transactions.

There are currently 8,700 HDB-sold shops. Singaporeans and Singapore-owned companies own about 95 per cent of the sold shops. The remaining 5 per cent are owned by permanent residents (PRs), foreigners and foreign- owned companies.


Links to the story: