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16 March 2013

16th March, Saturday




Property agent suspended, fined after breaching code of ethics

Source: Channelnewsasia

A property agent has been convicted of three charges of breaching the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care in handling the property transaction for his clients.

54-year-old Chua Cheng Thian Benny has been suspended for six months and fined S$10,000. Fixed costs of S$1,000 were awarded to Council of Estate Agencies.

The council's disciplinary committee (DC) said Chua is a registered salesperson of ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd and has been practising as a salesperson for about 17 years.

He was appointed by his clients as their salesperson to sell their property on an exclusive basis.

Chua advertised and marketed the property, contrary to his clients' best interest, through his understudy salesperson on a 'Buyer only' (no co-broke) basis. He also stated a wrong block number on the advertisement to sieve out unrepresented buyers from salespersons.

Further, he did not disclose to his clients that he had a personal interest, by way of overrider, in having the property sold to his understudy's clients.

Under CEA's disciplinary framework, salespersons who breach the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care may face disciplinary action. The DC may, upon determination of the breach, revoke or suspend his registration and/or impose a financial penalty of up to S$75,000 or reprimand the salesperson.


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Curbs bruise February private-home sales

Source: Business Times

After a solid showing in January, the private residential market beat a sharp retreat last month, as both homebuyers and developers took pause amid a double whammy of new cooling measures and a traditional lull period during Chinese New Year.

Data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Friday showed that new private-home sales in February, excluding Executive Condominiums (ECs), fell to 708 units, down 65 per cent from the 2,016 units sold in January.

This was the lowest volume since December 2011, URA data showed.

Developers also held back launches, offering just 261 units - the fewest since January 2009. This was 86 per cent lower than the 1,802 units in January 2013.

Mass-market residences continued to drive sales, with 341 units sold located in the Outside Central Region (OCR). Another 198 units were from the Core Central Region (CCR), with the remaining 169 units from the Rest of Central Region (RCR).

OCR made up a smaller share of sales, at 48 per cent, compared with the 64 per cent in January. CCR gained ground to a 28 per cent share, up from 17 per cent, while RCR edged up to 24 per cent from 19 per cent.

"These sales figures show that the cooling measures have discouraged cash-strapped homebuyers in the mid-tier and mass-market segments from overextending themselves," said an analyst.

Including ECs, a total of 917 new private homes were sold in February, compared with 2,272 units the month before. Sales of EC units eased to 209 from 256 in January. No ECs were launched last month.

Analysts reckoned that developers were being cautious and assessing the impact of the cooling measures.

"Developers probably took the chance to adjust their pricing and allowed more time for marketing efforts before launching their projects in March 2013," said Lee Sze Teck, senior manager for training, research and consultancy at DWG.

The best-selling development in February was CapitaLand's d'Leedon, which moved 166 units at a median price of $1,540 per sq ft (psf). Other popular projects included Q Bay - by Frasers Centrepoint, Far East Organization and Sekisui House - which sold 74 units; and CapitaLand's The Interlace with 33 units sold. For ECs, the top seller was Kheng Leong's The Topiary, with 84 homes sold at a median price of $730 psf.

The highest psf price was achieved by a unit at Wing Tai Holdings' Le Nouvel Ardmore, at $4,372 psf.

Market watchers expect sales to rebound in March to anywhere between 900 and 2,000 units.

Some projects launched this month include Tuan Sing Holding's Sennett Residence and IOI Group's The Trilinq. City Developments' D'Nest and Urban Vista by World Class Land and Fragrance Group both launched for preview Friday.

For the rest of the year, most analysts agree that sales will moderate from the record numbers achieved last year.

"The increased purchasing and holding costs, and lower rental yields, stemming from the recent cooling measures and new property tax measures, coupled with ample supply conditions, will continue to put downward pressure on the new sale private residential market," said an analyst.

But while buyers will be cautious, "value buys" such as well-located suburban condominiums that are attractively conceptualised and priced should still do well, said another analyst.


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Buyers flock to City Development's D'Nest

Source: Business Times

Previews of both D'Nest and Urban Vista saw overwhelming response Friday. More than 350 units of the 450 released at City Developments' (CDL) D'Nest, which previewed, have been snapped up.

The project, which was launched in tandem with joint venture partners Hong Leong Holdings and Hong Realty, was offered at a special early bird selling price of about $920 per sq ft (psf).

Take-up rate was good across the range of apartment sizes and unit types, said CDL. The 99-year leasehold development, which comprises 912 units, is located at Pasir Ris Grove and is within walking distance of Pasir Ris MRT station.

Separately, the preview for Fragrance Group and World Class Land's Urban Vista saw 180 of the 230 units rolled out snapped up. Units were priced at an average of $1,350 per sq ft.

Located at the junction of New Upper Changi Road and Tanah Merah Kechil Link, Urban Vista comprises 582 residential units ranging from one- to four-bedroom suites, soho units, apartments, dual-key units, garden homes, and penthouses.


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For her, a three-room resale flat For others, there's a new option

Source: The Straits Times

To design consultant Thomas Tan, 38, HDB's announcement this week that it will soon launch two-room flats for singles like him has come as a lifeline.

He has been keen to buy his own property for a while, but effectively had no options as the rising resale flat market put prices out of his reach.

A 35-year-old single making about $5,000 a month can secure a mortgage of $330,000 to $390,000, said a mortgage broker. This would allow him to buy a three-room flat almost anywhere in Singapore, or a four-room flat in a suburban neighbourhood such as Woodlands, Yishun or Choa Chu Kang. It would also allow him to buy a private shoebox apartment - units smaller than 500 sq ft - in developments outside of the central region.

According to analysts, while singles are generally more cash-rich than families, they usually go for resale three-room flats over private shoebox units as they can get more space for less cash.

Shoeboxes, observers say, are more often bought by investors to rent out, than by singles to live in.

"If they buy a resale flat, they can also use cash saved to do extensive renovations. A lot of them knock the walls down to create a bigger living area," said DWG senior manager Lee Sze Teck.

Of the 4,000 singles who buy resale flats every year, over 80 per cent buy three- or four-room flats, said HDB. Most singles bought three-roomers last year.

Despite the new two-room unit option, observers expect the three-room resale flat segment to remain the top choice for singles. Besides the unit being bigger, singles can also get the keys to a resale flat immediately, in contrast to the two- to three-year wait for a Build-To-Order flat.


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Potong Pasir set to get infusion of new life

Source: The Straits Times

Potong Pasir has long been something of a backwater but it is likely to spring to life in the next few years, with as many as 1,000 new homes set to be built there.

The new condominiums which will boost the supply of private homes in the neighbourhood are Nin Residence, 18 Woodsville, Sant Ritz, and the newest kid on the block - Sennett Residence.

Although it is primarily a residential estate, Potong Pasir does not have many amenities, experts say.

But a mixed-use site at the corner of Upper Serangoon Road and Meyappa Chettiar Road that was sold in September last year is expected to yield more retail amenities for residents in the area.

The area's proximity to the city centre still makes it an attractive neighbourhood for investment.

“Investors will find the rentability of homes here higher than those in the north-east area, as they are better located and the profile of occupiers is less owner-occupier, ” said an analyst.

The area is also expected to be a popular alternative for expatriates who want to move out of the expensive central region to save on housing costs.

Potong Pasir is located next to the upcoming new town of Bidadari, and is also near popular schools such as St Andrew's Junior College and Cedar Girls' Secondary School, as well as the Stamford American International School.


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Jan sales: 5.5% of buyers returned homes

Source: The Straits Times

January’s official figures on new home sales may have been strong but 5.5 per cent of buyers had a change of heart, returning the homes they signed up for even after lodging a deposit.

They returned 126 units out of the 2,272 homes sold, including executive condominiums (ECs), to developers at projects such as d'Leedon and Q Bay Residences, according to a report.

This is well up from the 2.9 per cent return rate in December.

The return rate is defined as the number of returned units as a percentage of total non-landed sales the previous month. These rates mainly stay under 6 per cent.

The January rate is the highest since last April when 5.7 per cent of buyers returned their homes. Both figures are, however, still lower than the 8.9 per cent in December 2011 when the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) was first introduced. Experts say the rate rise could be due to the seventh round of curbs, including tighter loan limits for investors, that took effect on 12 January.


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