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23 March 2013

23rd March, Saturday




Govt may offer several land sites for sale at one go

Source: The Straits Times

In a bid to rein in rising property prices, the Government is looking at offering multiple sites for sale to developers in a given area at around the same time.

The idea is that if a few sites near each other - or possessing other common features - are offered in one go, developers may put in lower bid prices, which may mean lower home prices in the long run.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) flagged this possible tweaking of the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme earlier this week.

The URA said the first trial could be tenders for three EC sites. One is in Yuan Ching Road, Jurong, and the other two in Punggol Central and Punggol Drive. They are on the Housing Board's GLS list of sites confirmed for sale in the first half of the year.

The sites would be released for tender with the same closing date, though the current different launch dates will not change. The Punggol Central site tender is set for launch in April, while the other two are slated for June.

Developers say the move would help to dampen property price increases, while the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore said it supported refinements to the land tender system that could help moderate prices.

But boutique developer EL Development's managing director Lim Yew Soon said releasing several nearby sites could raise pressure for land tenders. "The competition will be very keen. The big players would likely tender for all the adjacent plots together."

Still, analysts mostly say the move could ease land price rises.

DWG senior manager Lee Sze Teck said the proposal would "put a check on developers submitting overly optimistic bids".

However, another analyst said it could deplete the supply of new sites faster in mature estates.


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Yields dip as prices outpace rents in Q4

Source: The Straits Times

Yields for city-centre apartments dipped slightly in the final quarter of last year as prices edged up at a quicker pace than rents.

Non-landed homes in the segment recorded gross yields of 3.1 per cent in the final three months of last year, down a tad on the 3.2 per cent in the previous quarter, according to a report.

Rental growth has been poor, with median rents inching up a mere 2.6 per cent to $4.81 per sq ft (psf) per month in the fourth quarter since the start of last year. Average resale prices rose 4 per cent in the same period.

Overall yields of homes in the city centre were the lowest of all non-landed private housing segments at 3.1 per cent. City-fringe homes posted yields of 3.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, while suburban apartments netted yields of 3.8 per cent.


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From red-light area to red-hot property

Source: The Straits Times

Balestier is shrugging off its unsavoury red-light reputation and luring buyers with some new projects.

A key move in the area's makeover was the refurbishing of the Sun Yat Sun Memorial Hall and the integrated hotel-park complex comprising Zhongshan Mall, Zhongshan Park, and the Days and Ramada hotels.

An analyst said the neighbourhood's eclectic mix of land uses - food and beverage outlets, home fixture shops, religious sites and hotels - is an attraction.

Buyers, including expatriates on tight budgets forced out of the city centre, see Balestier as a handy substitute given its proximity to the centre of town but with prices below those for neighbouring Novena and Toa Payoh.

Average prices of new homes hovered between $1,400 per sq ft (psf) and $1,530 psf for a unit smaller than 700 sq ft last year. Prices in the Novena area were around $2,000 psf.

Prices for resale homes have been rising in the past two years. Last year, they rose by between 4 and 7 per cent following increases of between 5 and 10 per cent the previous year.

The redevelopment of sites in Balestier will probably result in a gradual gentrification of the neighbourhood.


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Brisk sales at Bartley Ridge on launch day

Source: The Straits Times

The Bartley Ridge condominium being built near the upcoming new Bidadari township development proved popular with buyers on launch day yesterday.

The Straits Times understands that more than 200 units were sold by 4pm.

About 900 people turned up with their agents at 11am to enter a ballot for flats at the 99-year leasehold project between Serangoon and Paya Lebar.

Developers Hong Leong Holdings, City Developments and TID released 300 units under phase one. The project will have 868 units in all.

They offered an early bird discount of 15 per cent, which will offset the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD).

The Bartley Ridge condo is a two-minute walk from Bartley MRT station on the Circle Line. The expected temporary occupation permit date is 2018.


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Investment Sales


MapletreeLog sells Woodlands property for $15.5m

Source: Business Times

Mapletree Logistics Trust's (MLT) planned divestment of its property at 30 Woodlands Loop to a new buyer has been granted in-principle approval by JTC Corporation, after a deal with another prospective buyer fell through last year.

The new buyer, Advanced CAE, a unit of Advanced Holdings which supplies process equipment and clean-energy technology solutions, has entered into an option-to-purchase agreement with MLT's trustee, HSBC Institutional Trust Services, to buy the property for $15.5 million.

The sale price represents a 50.5 per cent premium over its 2007 purchase price of $10.3 million, and a 40.9 per cent premium over its year-ago valuation of $11 million.

Advanced Holdings plans to make the four-storey factory building its new permanent home, by moving in its operations now sited at 29 Senoko South Road.

The 30 Woodlands Loop property under JTC Corp sits on a 5,400 sq m plot and has a built-up area of 8,300 sq m. It has a leasehold tenure of about 60 years from 1 May 1995. The transaction is expected to be completed by May 2013, by which time it will have 42 years left on its lease.


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