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29 January 2013

29th January, Tuesday




Central Region condos saw biggest price fall in December

Source: Business Times

Prices of completed private apartments and condos generally fared worse in December over November, according to latest figures from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The university's December flash estimate for the Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) series showed that the most marked price deterioration was in Central Region, which is defined as Districts 1-4 (including the financial district and Sentosa Cove) and the traditional prime residential districts of 9, 10 and 11. The sub-index for Central Region (excluding small units) fell 1.3 per cent month-on-month in December, reversing a 2.2 per cent gain in November.

The sub-index for Non-Central Region (again excluding small units) rose 0.5 per cent in December, a more modest gain compared with November's 1.3 per cent rise. According to the flash estimates, prices of small units (up to 506 sq ft) islandwide remained unchanged in December. In November, they rose 1.1 per cent.

Commenting on the sharp reversal in the Central Region sub-index between November and December last year, NUS said: "Our SRPI Central Region sub-index had been boosted in November 2012 by several transactions in areas that had been relatively quiet for much of the year, such as in Sentosa. Hence, there was an increase in the Central Region sub-index on a marked-to-market basis. In December 2012, the price signals were generally subdued."

The SRPI series tracks prices of completed non- landed private homes but excludes executive condos, which are a public-private housing hybrid.

DWG's senior manager Lee Sze Teck predicts that the small unit sub-index for January 2013 could see a rise because of the lower loan-to-value (LTV) limit for individuals taking their second or subsequent housing loans implemented on 12 January under the latest cooling measures. "Buyers are likely to adjust their budgets downwards because of the lower LTV ratio and look to buy smaller units," he added.

An analyst said the price gap between completed homes in the resale market and new launch prices by developers could narrow this year as developers are expected to adopt more competitive pricing strategies to move units.

Another analyst said that on the whole, the higher level of completion of private homes this year (more than 16,000 units versus an average of about 11,000 in 2011 and 2012) will exert some pressure on home prices in 2013, as buyers tend to offload properties in the sub-sale market around the time when a project receives Temporary Occupation Permit.

"However, prices are not expected to fall sharply due to developers' strong balance sheets and owners' holding power. Buying demand will still be healthy albeit lower - due to the current low-interest rate environment and tight employment market," she added.


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Feb launch for units at Tg Pagar medical centre

Source: Business Times

Far East Organization is banking on upcoming commercial developments and residences in the CBD area to fuel demand for medical services as it readies to launch 48 units in its Mediplex@SBFCenter for sale next month.

Located near Tanjong Pagar MRT station, the Mediplex@SBFCenter on Robinson Road will occupy the third to fifth levels, with units ranging from 667 sq ft to 1,292 sq ft in size.

Marketing efforts are expected to commence from the middle of next month while the medical centre is slated for TOP by end-2016.

Aside from the medical centre, the SBF Center will feature 197 offices consisting of 192 smaller strata units ranging from 592 to 1,442 sq ft and 10,549 sq ft for five floor plate offices. The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) will relocate its offices as a major tenant and partner.

The medical units in the private healthcare centre are reportedly being marketed at between $3,800 and $4,000 per sq ft (psf) under a 99-year lease.

"Coupled with the vibrant working population of about 200,000 professionals in the CBD and limited available supply, we see the potential for a dedicated medical suite development to fill the growing demand for medical and healthcare services from both the working and residential population in the heart of the CBD," said Chia Boon Kuah, chief operating officer (property sales) for Far East.

Far East, which has a healthcare portfolio that includes Novena Medical Center and Novena Specialist Center, is also setting up another medical centre this year at Pacific Plaza called Scotts Medical Center.


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Retail rents in S'pore up 2% in 2012

Source: Channelnewsasia

Prices of shop space rose 2.0 per cent in 2012, while rentals dropped marginally by 0.3 per cent according to the latest statistics from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Yields of retail units have dropped last year, but most market experts Channel NewsAsia spoke to are optimistic about the demand for retail space in Singapore from both investors and retailers.

An analyst said: "Rentals are not keeping up with price increases, meaning there will be yield compression. We also noticed that strata title units sold was about 1,274 sq ft (in 2010). Last year, it was only 430 sq ft. There is shrinkage in the average size of retail units."

But market experts note that vacancy rates at 5.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012 is at a 15-year low.

Unlike residential private property where an oversupply may be expected in the next few years, analysts believe demand for retail space is still strong.

Another analyst said: "The future supply coming on stream will be spaced out for the next four to five years. And a large number is concentrated in Jurong East where there will be creation of several thousand new jobs in two hospitals."

Prime rents like those on Orchard Road are expected to stay resilient. In the worst case scenario, analysts expect a mild correction of up to three per cent. This is because of the strengthening Sing dollar and a slower Singapore economy in 2013.


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