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26 March 2013

26th March, Tuesday




Brisk weekend home sales boost March tally

Source: The Straits Times

March is likely to be the top month for new home sales this year, if last weekend's action is anything to go by. Despite lingering unease over the January cooling measures, developers shifted another 300 units from four recent launches.

DWG senior manager Lee Sze Teck said: "We are expecting close to 2,000 units to be sold this month."

That could make March the sales pacesetter for this year, if it trumps January's 2,016 sales. Last month, only 708 units were moved, mainly because of the Chinese New Year lull. But this month's figures stand at more than 1,700 units across just six projects, and analysts say the momentum is almost certain to slacken going into next month.

"(Sales) will be moderate in April at about 1,500 units due to fewer launches," said Mr Lee.

Another analyst described this month's sales as "a real test" of the cooling measures introduced in January, adding: "I would say that the projects have performed beyond expectations, and the demand is largely driven by genuine home buyers."

However, he noted that projects were not selling as quickly as before. "The days when condos are sold out within two to three months will no longer be the norm. There will be a higher take-up rate during the preview launch, but it will take up to a year for the remaining units to be sold."

March has hosted six large suburban launches, including D'Nest, Urban Vista, Bartley Ridge and Hillion Residences.

A City Developments (CDL) spokesman said yesterday that more than 600 units at D'Nest have been sold. More than 75 per cent of the buyers were Singaporeans, while foreigners and permanent residents who bought units came mainly from Malaysia, China and Indonesia.

Urban Vista is another popular project in the east. It sold 90 units at the weekend, taking sales to 330 of the 400 units released in the first phase. Buyers paid an average of $1,400 psf to $1,550 psf for all units, ranging from one- to four-bedroom apartments.

Buyers also headed for Hillion Residences in Bukit Panjang, an integrated project sitting on a mall and connected to a transport hub. It shifted 125 units on launch day last Thursday and 50 more since then. More than 90 per cent of buyers were Singaporeans, and most resided in the west, said a spokesman for the developers, Sim Lian Group and Sim Lian Development.

Bartley Ridge in Mount Vernon was another project that had home hunters reaching for the cheque book. The Straits Times understands that more than 260 units had been sold, indicating that 60 were moved at the weekend.

On Friday, Kingsford Hillview Peak in Upper Bukit Timah will open for preview - making it the seventh project launched this month.


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Investment Sales


Property investment sales slide 39% in Q1

Source: Business Times

Investment sales of property - which refer to transactions of $10 million and above - have fallen sharply this quarter from the high base in the preceding quarter, according to preliminary figures provided separately to Business Times Monday.

The figure so far this quarter is estimated to be at just over $5 billion (although the final tally including yet-to-be-recorded caveats may be slightly higher), down 39 per cent from $8.25 billion in 4Q last year.

While the 1Q 2013 figure is just ahead of the $4.96 billion in the same year-ago period, this is one of the lowest levels since 1Q 2010, when the market started to recover after the global financial crisis in 2009.

Deals originating from the private sector have slumped 52 per cent or $2.5 billion Q-on-Q to $2.3 billion so far in 1Q, while those emanating from the public sector slipped 22 per cent or $739 million to $2.7 billion.

Investment sales in the residential sector declined 31 per cent Q-on-Q to $2.3 billion. Transactions of private homes costing $10 million or more nearly halved, from 50 deals totalling $835 million in 4Q last year to 27 deals ($456 million) in 1Q. Demand, especially for high-end condos, has been dampened as foreigners and permanent residents (PRs) stood back to assess the higher additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) rates.

Investment sales of commercial property ebbed 46 per cent Q-on-Q to $1.6 billion in 1Q. The biggest private-sector transaction was Goldman Sachs' sale of its remaining 51 per cent stake in 16 Collyer Quay to NTUC Income for $336.6 million or around $2,400 psf on net lettable area. The sale of two units on Level 13 of Samsung Hub for $19.2 million or $3,150 psf was concluded recently - surpassing the previous $3,000 psf record for the building. Qatar Airways picked up the vacant units from Arch Capital.

Industrial property investment sales rose 8 per cent Q-on-Q to $608 million in 1Q. Major deals include A-Reit's acquisition of The Galen in Science Park II.


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Freehold Kismis flats sold en bloc for $84m

Source: Business Times

Kismis Lodge, a development comprising a pair of freehold, walk-up apartments near Toh Tuck Road, has been sold through a collective sale to a consortium of private investors.

Newfort Alliance (Cairnhill) paid $84.18 million, slightly under the $90 million the mixed landed site was expected to fetch when it was put up for sale earlier this year.

The sale price works out to $1,198 per sq ft (psf) over land area. Kismis Lodge, built in the '70s, has a land area of 70,283 sq ft, and is zoned for a three-storey mixed landed development under the 2008 Master Plan. No development charge is payable.

The deal is the third collective sale this year.

The buyer, Newfort Alliance (Cairnhill), is linked to Newfort Realty, which late last year purchased the freehold Chateau Eliza on Mount Elizabeth through a collective sale for $92.2 million. Talk in the market is that Newfort Realty's owners include the Tan family, who control the Fortune Group.


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Two floors in Geylang industrial building for sale

Source: Business Times

The seventh and eighth floors of One Sims Lane have been put up for sale by expressions of interest by Savills Singapore and Chesterton Suntec International.

One Sims Lane is a freehold Business 1 zoned development. The eight-storey building is located along Lorong 23 Geylang off Sims Avenue.

The two floors up for sale have strata floor areas of about 22,500 sq ft each, with a combined strata area of approximately 48,739 sq ft.

The building is a five- minute walk from Aljunied MRT station, a 15-minute drive from the CBD, and a 20-minute drive from the airport, making it also fairly accessible.

The expressions of interest period ends at 4pm on 26 April.


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International Markets


England home prices rise most in three years

Source: Business Times

House prices in England and Wales posted their biggest month-on- month gain in three years in March, driven by increases here, a survey showed Monday.

House prices rose 0.3 per cent from February, the biggest increase since March 2010. In year-on-year terms, house prices were flat, the first time they have not fallen since September 2010.

Britain's housing market has been given a boost by the launch last year of the Funding for Lending Scheme under which the Bank of England provides banks with cheap funding to increase loans for homebuyers and businesses.

Prices here jumped 0.7 per cent in March from February and in the rest of England and Wales, they rose in a fifth of postcode areas, the highest percentage for three years. Prices fell in only one region, the north east.

Driving up prices was a 19 per cent increase in demand - as measured by the number of potential buyers registering with estate agents - in the past two months while the number of homes for sale rose 13 per cent in the same period.

Its survey is based on responses from estate agents and surveyors across England and Wales.


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