Real News‎ > ‎2013‎ > ‎February 2013‎ > ‎

01 February 2013

1st February, Friday




Singapore offers a glimpse of its future

Source: Business Times

A couple of days after projecting that the population could rise to up to 6.9 million by 2030, the government Thursday revealed how they might be accommodated without Singapore feeling the squeeze.

Reclamation alone will raise the land area by up to 5,200 ha or 7.3 per cent - much of it in Tuas Port, Pulau Tekong and Jurong Island. Some of the existing 10,000 ha stock of reserve land will be tapped. Old industrial areas and some golf courses will be recycled to achieve higher land productivity. Infrastructure permitting, land use can be intensified.

Singapore's current population of about 5.3 million live on 71,400 ha of land. By 2030, some 76,600 ha could be available.

The proportion of Singapore's projected land area in 2030 that will be used for housing will be 17 per cent, up from around 14 per cent currently. Industry and commerce's share of Singapore's land supply too will rise from roughly 13 per cent to 17 per cent to power Singapore' economic growth.

The Marina Bay area can support the expansion of the Central Business District by at least another one million sq m gross floor area of prime office space. Currently, the Central Area which includes the CBD (which in turn includes Marina Bay) has six million sq m of prime office space. There will be capacity to increase the figure to more than 11 million sq m by 2030 in the Central Area - if there is demand. Singapore will develop a "North Coast Innovation Corridor" spanning Woodlands Regional Centre, Sembawang, the future Seletar Regional Centre, and the learning corridor and creative cluster in Punggol.

To support the growth of the manufacturing sector, sufficient land will be set aside in Woodlands, Sengkang West, Seletar, Lorong Halus, Pasir Ris and Tuas. By 2030, Singapore will also develop more commercial centres outside the city, amounting to 13 million sq m to provide more employment and amenities close to where people live.

As part of the plans to boost the island's stock of homes by 700,000 units to 1.9 million by 2030 to support a rising population, the Republic is planning for new housing estates in the Central Region - at the former Bukit Turf Club, Kallang Riverside, the waterfront area around Keppel, and Bukit Brown.

In the longer term, a "Southern Waterfront City" with commercial and housing projects will be developed after the existing container port facilities in the City Terminals and Pasir Panjang Terminal are consolidated and relocated to 1,700 ha of reclaimed land in Tuas Port. This will be one of three major land reclamation sites, along with Pulau Tekong (2,000 ha) and Jurong Island (600 ha). Existing military training areas across the island will be moved to the expanded Pulau Tekong, freeing up land for other uses such as housing.


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700,000 new homes by 2030: too many or too few?

Source: Business Times

More homes will be built in the central region, including the former Bukit Turf Club, Kallang Riverside, Bukit Brown, and the waterfront area around Keppel, as part of the government's long-term plan to roll out 700,000 new housing units by 2030.

Of these, almost 200,000 homes, comprising 90,000 private units including executive condominiums, and 110,000 public homes, are expected to be completed by 2016.

According to the Land Use Plan released Thursday, three new towns will be carved out: Bidadari which will have about 11,000 homes (both public and private housing), Tampines North which will have about 21,000 homes, and Tengah which will see about 55,000 homes.

More housing estates are also being planned within the central region. The number of housing units released will depend on various considerations, including achieving a good mix of housing types. The sites will be staged for development by 2030 pending demand.


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BTO prices not pegged to resale flats

Source: The Straits Times

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan Thursday made clear he has delinked prices of the Housing Board's Build-to-Order (BTO) flats from resale flat prices to keep new flats affordable, especially to first-timers.

This new pricing policy has been in place since he took over the housing portfolio after the 2011 General Election, he told journalists.

"Although the resale market is going up, I've stabilised BTO prices, by increasing the government subsidy," he said in Mandarin, to back up his assurance that public housing will remain abundant and affordable even with population projections of 6.9 million by 2030.

Mr Khaw also said he has directed HDB to continue with this new pricing policy for as long as "property remains hot".


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Business buzz to fan across Singapore

Source: Business Times

By 2030, commercial activity will fan out across Singapore to more regional hubs, instead of being concentrated in the west and central areas as it is now, the Ministry of National Development envisages.

The target to provide at least 13 million sq m of commercial space outside of the city laid out in its Land Use plan is to help move more jobs closer to home and ease traffic congestion during peak hours.

One notable development is the North Coast Innovation Corridor from Woodlands to Punggol. This will encompass expanding Woodlands Regional Centre into a major commercial hub, setting aside land for new industrial clusters in Woodlands and Sengkang West, as well as additional commercial space in Punggol and Serangoon.

Beyond 2030, MND sees further expansion along this corridor, with the growth of Seletar Regional Centre and the adjacent Seletar Aerospace Park. Land for new business activities will also be freed up along the Sembawang coastline once existing shipyard operations are phased out.

Furthermore, another 925 hectares of waterfront land stretching from Keppel Channel to Pasir Panjang Terminal will open up once the City Terminals and Pasir Panjang Terminal complete their move to Tuas. The land will be redeveloped for housing and commercial use as part of the Southern Waterfront City, which consultants are watching keenly.

The expansion of land for business use will not be limited to just the northern and southern parts of Singapore.

In the east, the MND expects to enlarge commercial centres such as Changi Business Park and Tampines Regional Centre, and build up industrial activity at Lorong Halus by 2030.

Areas already earmarked as growth centres, such as the Jurong Lake District, one-north and Paya Lebar Central will also be developed further.

In central Singapore, too, there will be enough land to support growth.

The six million sq m in gross floor area of prime office space currently in the Central Area, which includes the Central Business District (CBD) and areas such as Orchard and Outram, can be ramped up to more than 11 million sq m by 2030 if demand calls for it.


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Two JTC industrial sites put up for tender

Source: Business Times

JTC Corporation has launched two plots of industrial land at Buroh Crescent and Tuas Bay Walk for sale by public tender.

The two plots are the first to be launched out of the 13 sites in the confirmed list under the Industrial Government Land Sales (IGLS) programme for the first half of 2013, JTC said Thursday.

The land parcel at Buroh Crescent has an area of 1.77 hectares (ha) and is zoned for Business 2 use. It has a 30-year lease and a maximum permissible gross plot ratio of 2.5.

The 0.58-ha site at Tuas Bay Walk is also zoned for Business 2 food development. It has a 30-year lease and a maximum permissible gross plot ratio of 1.7.

An analyst said the two tenders will be an "acid test" for market demand of industrial land, following the recently introduced seller's stamp duty (SSD) to rein in market speculation.

He expects bids of between $70 and $100 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr) for the Buroh Crescent site.

As for the Tuas Bay Walk site, which is zoned for food industries only, he said that while there were few similar transactions under the IGLS programme that he can compare against, he would estimate bids to be between $60 and $80 psf ppr.

He said: "This is a specialised site, not for general industries but only for food, which is quite rare in the market. Since it is also a smallish plot with a gross floor area of just about one hectare, I would imagine the bidders will be end-users themselves, so they may bid more conservatively for their own use."

Both tenders will close on 14 March at 11am.


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Construction starts on new P&W facility in Seletar

Source: Business Times

Aero engine giant Pratt & Whitney (P&W) underscored its determination to ramp up its presence across Asia and the Pacific by breaking ground yesterday for its new 180,000-sq ft fan blade and high-pressure turbine manufacturing facility at Seletar Aerospace Park.

This comes exactly a year after it started operations at its Singapore Component Repair Centre, just next door.

With the two facilities, which are a stone's throw away from rival Rolls-Royce's huge engine and component making facility down the road, P&W would have pumped in some $110 million in Singapore.

The new facility will create an additional 132 jobs, bringing P&W's Singapore-based workforce to over 2,500.


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International Markets


UK house prices rise on lending boost from BOE

Source: Business Times

UK house prices rose last month as the Bank of England's credit-easing programme helped loosen the mortgage market, Nationwide Building Society said.

The average cost of a home increased 0.5 per cent from December to £162,245 (S$317,214), the Swindon, England-based customer-owned lender said Thursday. Prices were unchanged from a year earlier. Data on Wednesday showed mortgage approvals rose to an 11-month high in December as the central bank's Funding for Lending Scheme eased conditions in the homeloan market. The BOE is counting on the programme to encourage lending and provide a boost to an economy that's close to slipping back into a recession.

In the three months to January, price growth slowed to 0.4 per cent from 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter. Nationwide said that a drop in first-time buyers to an average 20,000 a month from 32,000 before the financial crisis is a "cause for concern" on the outlook for residential property.


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