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13 March 2013

13th March, Wednesday




Two-room flats may not appeal to many singles

Source: The Straits Times

Going by the numbers alone, the next launch of two-room Housing Board flats in July could be massively over-subscribed as a result of the recent move to allow singles to buy the units.

Eight in 10 working singles - some 150,000 Singaporeans - are now eligible to buy the smaller flats, which make up only a small fraction of the units launched each year.

But property watchers and singles themselves also say many of those eligible may give the flats a wide berth because of their small sizes and far-flung locations.

But an analyst pointed out that someone earning $5,000 - the income cap for singles who want to buy a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat - could get a mortgage loan for up to $350,000. This would cover the price of three-room resale flats in most areas, he noted - big enough to entertain friends and host guests.

Some singles agree. Mr Desmond Goh, 37, for example, is eschewing the new flats. He is likely to hunt for a three-room flat on the resale market instead. Ms Stacey Cheo, 34, who works for a non-profit organisation, said the flats for singles should also be located in mature, central estates.

It is unclear how many two-room flats will be launched in July now that singles are eligible, but they have traditionally been in short supply from HDB. Last year, out of 27,000 flats launched, only 424 were two- room units. The bulk of them were in non-mature estates. In its Sale of Balance Flats exercises last year, 1,755 flats out of 7,153 from HDB were two-room.

Even so, only about half are taken up at initial BTO launch on average, said HDB.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, HDB said it is still working on details of the singles scheme, and will monitor the response to the new projects in July. It will consider building more two-room flats if demand is strong, said its spokesman.


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Flurry of property launches

Source: The Straits Times

The pace of property launches has picked up in the past week as developers seek to tap a resurgence in market activity following the January cooling measures and last month's Chinese New Year.

The latest are City Developments' (CDL) 912-unit condominium D'Nest in Pasir Ris and Far East Organization's mixed use commercial property SBF Center in Tanjong Pagar.

CDL told The Straits Times it intended to launch units at D'Nest for $990 psf on average. But units will be priced at an early bird price of $920 psf after a 7 per cent direct discount, given that some buyers may need to pay additional buyer's stamp duty, it said.

Far East's 31-storey SBF Center in Robinson Road will have the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) as a major tenant. Office unit prices start at $3,200 psf. Since preview sales began on 25 February, 113 of the 138 office units released have been sold. Far East said 65 per cent of the office buyers are firms, entrepreneurs, professionals and investors.

The medical suites are at least $3,800 psf and over 55 per cent of the 48 suites have been sold.

Condo projects launched last week include Tuan Sing Holdings' Sennett Residence and The Trilinq in Clementi, developed by IOI Group.

Sennett Residence sold 175 units at its launch last Wednesday. As of Tuesday, 70 per cent of the 332 units in the 99-year leasehold condo had been sold. Units there are priced at $1,450 psf on average.


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Contractor's woes may hit projects

Source: The Straits Times

Several hundred million dollars worth of projects could be delayed after soaring costs forced Poh Lian Construction to seek breathing space from creditors.

The long-established player whose office is near Paya Lebar was granted an interim judicial management order last week. This is a temporary court-supervised rescue plan that will give the firm more time to sort out its affairs.

Poh Lian's website shows that it is the main contractor for several local developments. Based on earlier announcements, the contract values are estimated at several hundred millions.

Among them are H2O Residence being developed by City Developments (CDL), GuocoLand projects Sophia Residence and Goodwood Residence, and two Housing Board Build-to-Order (BTO) projects in Bukit Panjang.


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Venture Ave plot draws strong response

Source: Business Times

The top bid for a 99-year leasehold commercial site at Venture Avenue in Jurong East has far exceeded consultants' expectations, demonstrating a pent-up demand for strata titled offices.

The 1.2-hectare site, with a maximum permissible gross floor area (GFA) of about 650,000 sq ft, drew a top bid of $701 million, or $1,009 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr), from Sim Lian JV (Vision) under the Sim Lian Group.

"The bid price sets a new benchmark for suburban commercial land," said an analyst.

Sim Lian's offer was 9 per cent higher than the second-highest offer from Victory One of $643 million, or $925 psf ppr, and 10.6 per cent higher than the third-highest bid of $634 million, or $912 psf ppr from Harvestland Development.

The Venture Avenue site has to be 90 per cent developed for office use and can yield about 25 storeys.

Analysts believe the potential for strata subdivision may have driven the aggressive bidding. Developers may also have been attracted by the future potential in the Jurong East area.

Upcoming developments include the JEM and Westgate retail and office developments, and the site is located near the International Business Park and is a short distance from Jurong East MRT station.

The breakeven price is expected to be between $1,700 and $2,000 psf, consultants said.


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SBF Center sells 75% of 186 units released

Source: Business Times

SBF Center has seen healthy sales, with 75 per cent of the 186 units released - 138 office units and 48 medical suites - finding buyers.

Of the office units, 113 have been sold with prices starting from $3,200 per sq ft.

Some 65 per cent of office buyers are companies, entrepreneurs and professionals offering services spanning trading, legal services, consulting and secretarial services, and financial advisory.

The 31-storey project, which is located at Robinson Road/Cecil Street, has enjoyed brisk sales, particularly its small office units, since last week when Far East Organization began sales at the development.

SBF Center is made up of 196 office units with sizes ranging from 592 sq ft to 1,475 sq ft, which are located on the 10th to 28th levels, three full-floor offices of 10,850 sq ft each, and the Mediplex@SBF Center comprising 48 medical suites sized from 678 sq ft to 1,302 sq ft.

On the medical suite front, 27 of the 48 suites have been sold. Prices for medical suites, which are located at levels 3 to 5, start from $3,800 psf.

Far East Organization will launch SBF Center tomorrow. The project is a joint venture between Far East Organization and its listed vehicle, Far East Orchard Limited. When completed in 2017, SBF Center will be situated about 400 metres from Tanjong Pagar MRT Station.


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