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11 June 2013

'No broker' Gilstead Court tender closes

At least one bid put in for freehold condo with reserve price of $150m

Source: Straits Times | Money
By Cheryl Ong

THE pioneering bid by the owners of Gilstead Court Condominium to do away with a broker and run the $150 million collective sale process themselves took a further step last week when the tender closed.

At least one bid was submitted before the tender for the freehold estate near Novena and Newton MRT stations closed last Monday, The Straits Times understands

The do-it-yourself approach has never been tried before but owners wanted to avoid the rows and court cases that so often seem to follow en bloc deals.

A statement on a website set up for the tender said that such deals often end up with the marketing agent and committee negotiating a price while the owners are left in the dark.

"This opaque way of conducting a sale tends to give rise to conflicts and disharmony among owners," it added.

The process began when a sales committee of seven residents was elected in April 2008. Since then it has garnered backing for a deal from 43 owners of the 48 units at Gilstead Court, allowing it to launch the tender last month.

Former Supreme Court judge Warren Khoo is the executive committee's secretary and personally drafted the terms and conditions of the tender and the collective sales agreement.

Under the terms drawn up by Mr Khoo, no member of the sale committee has the authority to negotiate a sale with bidders.

That bars private negotiations between developers and the committee, so the successful bid will be selected from the tender box.

The agreement states that "the sale committee is not bound to accept the highest or any tender; nor is it obliged to provide any reason for the non-acceptance of a tender".

It also specified that sellers and developers cannot make "ex-gratia" preferential payments to incentivise reluctant owners.

The owners were very clear about what they wanted: Offers above the reserve price of $150 million for the estate while stating that "expressions of interest or offers to negotiate terms will not be entertained".

Although no lawyers have been engaged to oversee the tender, solicitors will be appointed to assist with the conveyancing, "for technical if not for other reasons", the committee added.

The committee's price guide of at least $150 million seems reasonable, said Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong, "given its attractive location".

However, he added that the development's five-storey height restriction could be a drawback.

The guide price of $150 million takes into consideration that no development charge will be levied for the development of the site up to a maximum gross floor area of 116,238 sq ft, said the committee.

The reserve price works out to be about $1,290 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). Transactions at the nearby Buckley Classique over the past year have ranged from $1,728 psf to $2,300 psf.

Resale prices at Morimasa Gardens and Residences @ Evelyn over the past two years were between $1,375 psf and $1,889 psf.

Gilstead Court has a land area of 75,479 sq ft.

Just one property launch over weekend as pace slows

Source: Straits Times | Money

THE pace of new launches has slowed, with only one project, Cambio Suites, hitting the market over the weekend.

Launched officially on June 8, the project at Lim Tua Tow Road in Kovan, sold 24 out of 53 units at an average price of $1,450 per sq ft (psf).

Cambio's developer is a joint venture between ACT Holdings, Nobel Design, and Pinnacle Assets.

The project has a mix of two-bedroom, three-bedroom and penthouse units, ranging from 506 sq ft to 1,744 sq ft.

Mr James Toh, managing director of ACT Holdings, said that one penthouse of 1,615 sq ft was sold at $1.81 million.

As well, 13 two-bedroom units and 10 three-bedroom units were bought, mostly by first-time buyers, added Mr Toh.

At Jewel @ Buangkok, which was launched the previous weekend, another 27 units were sold. This brings the total number of units sold at the project to 230. City Developments estimated that 82 per cent of buyers were Singaporeans, with foreigners and permanent residents making up the remainder.

The 616-unit project is near the Buangkok MRT station, and is priced at about $1,150 psf.

At another project that was launched last month, the 380-unit Stratum in Pasir Ris sold 10 units, at an average price of $920 psf to $930 psf.

They included two penthouses and three three-bedroom units.

One of the penthouses, spanning 1,768 sq ft, was sold with a price tag of about $1.5 million.

To date, 296 out of 360 units released have been sold, with Singaporeans making up the bulk of the buyers. All three-, four- and five-bedroom units have been sold.

Units at the 99-year leasehold development range from 432 sq ft for a studio to 2,446 sq ft for a five-bedroom duplex penthouse.