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11 September 2012

11th September, Tuesday




HDB will continue to find ways to cut waiting time for BTOs: Khaw

Source: Channelnewsasia

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will continue to explore ways to further reduce the delivery time for its building projects, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Typically, BTO projects of 20 storeys and below now take 29 months to complete, down from 32 months in 2009.

Mr Khaw said that time reduction is possible through greater use of standardised fittings, including doors and windows, which will allow for easy fabrication.

More pre-cast components are also being used for faster installation on site.

HDB has also been bringing forward the preparation of building designs for tender so that construction can begin soon after the project is launched.

Mr Khaw emphasised however, that construction safety and quality must not be compromised in order to reap time savings.


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1,135 couples who booked flats over past 3 years cancelled their bookings

Source: Channelnewsasia

4.3 per cent, or 1,135 couples, who had booked a flat from 2009 to 2011 and the first half of 2012, cancelled their bookings and had to forfeit their deposit.

Among these couples, 367 cited relationship break-up including annulment and divorce as the reason for the cancellation.

In 2009, 14,682 couples applied for the Fiance/Fiancee Scheme. In 2010, 12,202 couples applied and in 2011, 13,640 couples applied. 7,936 couples applied in the first half of 2012.

Of these 48,460 couples who applied, 37,537 were invited to select and 26,174 booked a HDB flat.


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URA keeping an eye on industrial sector

Source: The Straits Times

The authorities are keeping a close eye on the transparency of marketing material in the hot new area of industrial property.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) says it may look at extending to the industrial market the practice in the residential sector of ensuring buyers get detailed information on floor areas.

It has also urged developers of commercial and industrial properties to provide more information to buyers to help them make their decisions.

Some investors are unhappy that property agents market the total floor area of some strata-titled industrial properties - which includes void areas - even though this space often cannot be used.

While it is legal to include void areas in advertising, URA wants to ensure buyers get clear information, especially as less sophisticated investors enter the market.

Experts say void areas are often found in high-ceiling units, giving owners the option to double the floor area, as a mezzanine level can be built in some cases.

Some developers, therefore, base the per sq ft (psf) price of an industrial unit on the total floor area - which includes the gross floor area and other areas such as air-con ledges and void space.

But confusion arises when the developer has maxed out the total gross floor area of a project and a buyer will not be able to build the mezzanine level after all, even after paying for the void space.

Experts say selling void space like this is allowed. However, buyers must be clearly informed about what exactly is usable area, especially now that many retail investors have entered the industrial market in response to residential cooling measures.

Ms Purnima Shantilal, director of licensing and investigations with the Council for Estate Agencies, said it has received 35 complaints relating to industrial properties since the start of last year. However, most of these involve the wrongful marketing of industrial units for office use.


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