Here’s our summary of the important residential, commercial and industrial news this week. We hope this helps you to save time catching up on the news!

Residential News

NUS Singapore Residential Price Index rose in April

The NUS Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) rose 14.1% in April year-on-year for the Non-Central Region and 5.6% for the Central Region. There is also an increase of 1% month-on-month and 10.4% year-on-year for the overall SRPI for April. The sub-indices for the month-on-month gains for Non-Central and Central Regions in April were 1.1% and 0.8% respectively. The Non-Central Region sub-index is 23.6% beyond its pre-global financial crisis peak in January 2008, while the Central Region sub-index is 0.8% below its November 2007 pre-crisis high. The overall index in April stood at 13.6% above its pre-crisis peak in November 2007.

BTO projects may not be introduced in all mature estates: Minister Khaw

Due to better amenities and transport networks, flats in mature towns tend to be more popular. For example, there were almost 8,000 applications for the 4,000 new BTO flats that HDB launched recently and according to Minister Khaw, the projects in mature estate Tampines has the highest application rate for 4-room and 5-room flats. By increasing the supply of flats in mature estates, Minister Khaw hopes that this will increase young couple’s chance to secure their own units in new towns such as Sengkang.

But not all mature estates will see the introduction of BTO projects (at least in the short-term) because estates such as Tanjong Pagar are already substantially developed and have limited space for public housing development. However, he stressed that mature towns such as Tampines and Kallang will see BTO launches next year. Newer estates such as Sengkang and Punggol will also see greater opportunities for BTO projects.

Government policies likely to lead to moderation in residential sector: Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse mentioned that the recent government policies to make public housing more attractive may affect the demand for mass-market private houses. However, prices for private houses are unlikely to fall in short term. A sensitivity analysis by the bank showed that the completion of an average of 14,500 private houses in the next few years will still have its demand, if immigration growth stays at 70,000 and above per year and assuming a household size of 5 persons. The demand-supply over the next 3 to 5 years in the residential sector will be more balanced with the new policies.

Eunosville HUDC has been privatized

Eunosville HUDC, which is situated along Sims Avenue and consists of 330 flats, was privatized yesterday. The individual owners in the estate now own their respective strata units and common property such as car parks and open landscaped areas. The Marine Parade Town Council ceased its responsibility in managing and maintaining the common properties of the estates, and it will be taken over by The Management Corporation Strata Plan No 3642.

MND to prioritize housing needs of young couples, divorcees, and family with low income: Minister Khaw

With the rapid economic recovery, housing prices are rising sharply in Singapore. The new National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan mentioned that his policies for the near future will focus on the housing need of groups such as young couples, divorcees with kids, and families with low income.

HDB to increase housing supply in 2011 from 22,000 units to 25,000 units

Currently under the BTO scheme, HDB will only call a tender for its flats after 70% of orders have been confirmed. With the new policy, a tender will be called when architectural drawings and tender documents are ready. This is expected to increase the supply of residential units under HDB in the whole of 2011 from 22,000 to 25,000 units, when HDB brings forward the projects planned for Q1 2012 by a few months. According to Minister Khaw, this scheme will allow more young couples to buy their houses from HDB directly and prepare HDB for the upcoming increase in demand when the income ceiling of $8,000 on HDB flats is increased. Sale of land sites for 4,000 DBSS flats and 4,000 EC units for 2011 are expected to be scheduled. Apart from the 4,000 new flats rolled out in Punggol, Pasir Ris, Tampiness and Woodlands, HDB will introduce about 12,000 new BTO flats.

Supply of rental flats to increase: MND

MND will be increasing the supply of rental flats for single parents. According to Minister Khaw, supply of rental flats should increase by tens of thousands as soon as possible. The scheme is aimed to solve the under-supply problems of rental flats. Minister Khaw noticed that HDB registered an average of 2,700 rental applications per year in the past three years, while there are only about 45,000 rental flats in Singapore today. This scheme will benefit people who do not have the financial capability to purchase their own flat and have to rely on rental flats, such as single mothers and divorcees.

Austral View sold for $81 million and a site in Hillview sold for $45 million

Brokered by DTZ, Austral View that is situated in Tanjong Rhu on a 30,540 sq ft site has been sold for $81 million through a collective sale. The price worked out to $1,342 psf ppr, including a DC that is slight above $5 million. Also, Mequity (Hillview) Pte Ltd (a Roxy-Pacific group’s associated company), bought 7 adjoining factories that are situated on a 49,164 sq ft land area in the Hillview area. The $45 million deal that equates to $662 per sq ft of potential gross area included a DC of approximately $17.5 million to convert the place for residential purpose with a plot ratio of 1.92.

Dragon Mansion up for sale at $150-$156 million till 5th July

The freehold residential development Dragon Mansion, which is located near CBD, is up for sale at a price of $150-$156 million, or $1,340-$1,392 psf ppr. The site, which consists of Dragon Mansion and a substation, has an area of 39,176 sq ft. It houses 68 units of 123 sq metres each currently and has the potential to be developed to house 112 apartment units with an average of 950 sq ft each. Zoned for residential use, the site has a gross plot ratio of 2.8 and has the potential to be built up to 36 storeys. Even though no DC is to be paid, marketing agent Jones Lang LaSalle mentioned that successful bidder may have to foot a land premium of approximately $1.22 million for the alienation of some 1,167 sq ft of state land.

The Viridian priced at an average of $1,550 psf and Wing Tai Holdings sold more than 140 units in its Foresque Residences

Global Orion Properties will develop its freehold project The Viridian on an industrial site at Jalan Ampas. The Viridian, which will be 23-storey high and consist of mainly one- and two-bedroom units, is priced at an average of $1,550 psf. The overall price for a single-bedroom unit will begin from $785,000. Apart from that, Global Orion Properties will launch its Hougang project near the end of the year. The Hougang project will have larger units and its main target purchasers will be HDB upgraders. At Upper Bukit Timah, Wing Tai Holdings sold more than 140 apartments in its 496-unit Foresque Residences.

Pasir Ris DBSS site awarded  at a bid of $123.9 million

Kay Lim Holdings and a unit of Singapore-listed SingXpress Land were awarded the Pasir Ris DBSS site with a top bid of $123.9 million, or $281 psf ppr at a tender. The top bid, which was more than the market’s speculation of $250 psf ppr or less, was 19% above the second highest bid of $103.7 million ($235 psf ppr) made by Yuan Ching Development. The site, including a 48-month construction period, has a lease term of 103 years. The site, which has a maximum gross floor area of about 441,000 sq ft, can house about 410 units.


Commercial News

DTZ’s report shows that Singapore, ranked top 5 among Asia Pacific cities, is a ‘hot’ choice for property investment

Similar to the findings in Q4 2010, DTZ revealed that offices, retail and industrial property markets in Singapore still bear great potential for investments. The DTZ FVI score for Q1 2011 for Asia Pacific stood at 65, and the Singapore office market is ranked top five among the Asia Pacific cities covered in DTZ’s study. DTZ saw a recovery of sales in secondary markets and private houses volumes in Singapore for March and April. However, DTZ also mentioned that the increased supply of residential houses introduced into the market may cause a fall in prices and rentals in the next few years.

Singapore prime retail rents ranked 16th globally: CBRE

The average prime retail rent in Singapore in Q1 2011 was US$470 psf per annum, which was S$49.20 psf per month. As compared to the average super prime rent of US$473 psf per annum (S$51.80 psf per month) in Q3 2010, Singapore prime retail rents dropped from 15th to 16th on the global stage. Despite the decline, CBRE stressed that Singapore prime rents will remain competitive as around 523,000 sq ft of retail space along Orchard Road is expected to be completed between Q2 2011 and 2013. The rents in Orchard Road will remain stable in the medium to long termif economic growth remains stable.

77 Robinson Roadmay be up for sale soon

77 Robinson Road, a 35-storey office tower situated on a site with remaining lease of approximately 82 years (expires in 2093), is speculated to be put up for sale soon. The site, with a total NLA of around 295,000 sq ft and 180 parking lots, was said to have reached its maximum development potential. Property consultants have speculated that the site, which is zoned out for commercial use with an 11.2+ plot ratio, may not be able to further its lease; this thus ruled out the possibility of using the site for residential development. However, some analysts believed that the site will be able to draw interested investors based on its current use and balance site lease.

Capitamalls Asia, CMT and CapitaLand to develop their Jurong site in a $1.5 billion project

After being awarded the plot in Jurong Gateway in a $969 million bid, Capitamalls Asia, CMT and CapitaLand plan to develop the site into a 25-storey retail-cum-office project. The total development cost for the site, which has a maximum permissible gross floor area of 957,780 sq ft, is estimated to be approximately $1.5 billion. 60% of the site will be used for retail space which is likely to be of 5 storeys high, while the remaining 40% will consist of offices of 20 storeys. Rents for retail spaces are expected to be around $16-$18 psf while rents for office spaces are $8 psf.

Site at Paya Lebar Central to fetch bids of $860-940 psf ppr; most popular out of the 3 sites added to reserve list.

Three new 99-year leasehold sites were being offered under the reserve list: i) 2.07 hectare mixed-use site at Paya Lebar Central, ii) 0.38 ha hotel spot at Little India, and iii) an EC housing parcel at Upper Serangoon View. Analysts mentioned that the site at Paya Lebar Central, which can produce around 935,600 sq ft of GFA, is the most popular and will be able to sell for $860-$940 psf ppr. The hotel spot at Little India has a maximum GFA of approximately 145,000 sq ft. Analysts mentioned that it can be sold for about $72-$87 million, or $500-$600 psf ppr. Analysts think that the EC site, which has a maximum GFA of 466,900 sq ft and can house 420 flats, is the least favorable due to sufficient supply of EC projects in North-East area. However, it can fetch a price of $250-$390 psf ppr.

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