Singapore Property News This Week #48

Residential

125 Sky Habitat units sold

125 of the 180 released units at 509-unit 99-year leasehold Sky Habitat project at Bishan have been sold so far. 81% of the units sold were two- and three-bedroom units, and 83% of the buyers are non-investing Singaporeans. The project comprises two 28-storey towers, private terraces and public gardens and three sky bridges. The average price for a four-bedroom unit is $1,642 while a one-bedroom unit costs $1,747 psf on average. An incentive scheme offers a 3% discount for all buyers, an additional 1% discount for existing owners of Capitaland homes and another 1% for buyers living in Bishan.

High private home transaction volumes

Private homes sales (excluding ECs) fell by 1% to 2,393 in March. This is nevertheless a 73% increase from the same period in 2011. With this, Q1 2012’s figures hit 6,682, 41% of the total home sales in 2011. This is likely due to the large number of units (2,582 units) launched in March. EC sales also remained high at 639 units in March. Despite being lower than the 725 units sold in February, it is four times that of the figure in March 2011. The total number of private homes sold in March including ECs came up to 3,032 units, with purchases from new launches in March as well as those launched earlier.

There are also more home buyers purchasing units in the above $2,000 psf range in March, twice the number in February. Units in the $1,000 to $1,500 psf range nevertheless remained the most popular. Most of the sales are driven by outside central region (OCR) mass market, with 1,825 homes excluding ECs sold in March. However, demand may fall if prices continue to increase.

With such strong sales, the government will have to increase the land supply to meet demand. More cooling measures have also been considered given the strong sales.

Would the release of more land be an efficient cooling measure?

With the release of seven new residential sites under the GLS, there are speculations on whether releasing more land would help to cool the market down.

The seven 99-year leasehold sites that could potentially yield 3,000 private homes includes three confirmed list sites (near SengKang MRT Station, Buangkok MRT Station, and at Pasir Ris Drive 3), one former reserve-list site near Jurong East MRT station that was triggered for launch, and three reserve-list sites (near Redhill MRT Sation, Farrer Road MRT station and Botanic Gardens MRT station).

The plot near Sengkang MRT Station can yield 710 homes and is expected to attract a top bid of $400-550 psf ppr while the Buangkok plot which can yield 580 homes may have a top bid at $320-500 psf ppr. For the Pasir Ris Drive 3 site could also attract a top bid of $300-460 psf ppr. The Jurong East site is expected to be fairly popular, and can potentially attract six to 10 bids with the top bid at $500-570 psf ppr. The reserve-list plots, if triggered, may attract top bids of $690-930 psf ppr for the Farrer Road and Farrer Drive plots and $660-750 psf ppr for the Redhill plot.

A record of 6,682 private homes (excluding ECs) were sold in Q1 2012, which may mean that more land may have to be released under the GLS to meet the increasing demand. Reserve sites near MRTs and new growth areas may also be triggered if the confirmed-list sites do not offer sites with as much potential. However, some feel that releasing more sites will not help to cool the market down; instead, it will do the opposite since it will result in more buying as demand increases with more launches.

UOL to launch Katong Regency

Freehold 244-unit Katong Regency, the residential component of the mixed development including three-storey One KM retail mall, is to be launched by UOL. It consists of three residential towers with 80% of the units being one- or two bedroom units. Unit sizes range from 549-581 sq ft  for the 126 one-bedroom or one-bedroom-plus-study units, 1,389-1,464 sq ft for the 58 two-bedroom or two-bedroom-plus-study units, 1,389-1,464 sq ft  for the 36 three-bedroom or three-bedroom-plus-study units ranges from, 840sq ft  for the 18 one-bedroom sky suites and 1,959 sq ft for the six three-bedroom penthouses. Units cost an average of $1,700 psf for one-bedroom units and $1,450 psf for two- and three-bedroom units.

Freehold Harbour View Gardens on the market

The three-storey residential development located at 211/A to 223/A Pasir Panjang Road is asking for $36-38 million or $836-883 psf ppr. The 14 units (seven 2,411 sq ft maisonettes and seven1,195 sq ft walk-up apartments) sits on a 30,745 sq ft plot zoned “residential” with a 1.4 gross plot ratio. It can potentially be redeveloped into a five-storey residential project with 50 775-sq ft units and is expected to popular since it near the central business district (CBD), VivoCity and Resorts World Sentosa and within walking distance to Pasir Panjang Village, the 24-hour Pasir Panjang Food Centre and the upcoming mixed-development, Viva Vista. The tender will close on May 16.

Sculptura Ardmore to have 35 spacious apartments

SC Global Developments, the developer of the Sculptura Ardmore, the luxury development at 8 Ardmore Park has offered some preview into what will be offered at the upcoming development. The 36-storey freehold tower will comprise 35 apartments ranging from 2,800 sq ft to 11,000 sq ft on its one-acre site with 140,000 sq ft GFA. There will be 19 smaller units (2,800-3,000 sq ft) on the 5th to the 16th level, another 12 units of sizes 3,200 sq ft to 4,000 sq ft. The largest units occupy a single floor and offer private lap pools; the smallest of which is a 4,200 sq ft four-bedroom unit and the largest a 11,000 sq ft penthouse. The development also offers two sky terraces located on the 6th and 17th floors that are furnished with a private clubhouse, entertainment areas, a gymnasium, sky gardens and jacuzzis. Prices are expected to start from at least $5,000 psf but no official indicative pricing has been released, nor has the launch date been set.

New conditions on showflats

In the new conditions laid out by URA, showflats will now have to accurately reflect the spaces that the homebuyer will get when they make the purchase. This meant that developers have to provide drawn- to-scale location plans and show how the floor area of a unit is demarcated into different components. The developers will also have ask for buyer’s consent for any changes to the layout of a property and offer more information on the project before issuing the option-to-purchase. This is especially since the rise of sales in shoebox units resulted in concerns as to whether homebuyers are aware of the size of these units. Nevertheless, the new conditions are not expected to have a large impact on the shoebox units market. These conditions will come into effect from May 18.

Freehold Green Lodge up for sale in the collective sale market

151,075 sq ft freehold Green Lodge at Toh Tuck Road is back on the market again after two failed attempts. It is now asking for $195 million, or $846 psf ppr, inclusive of the bonus 8.9 per cent balcony space for which no development charge is payable.  The site with 1.4 gross plot ratio can be potentially redeveloped into a five-storey condominium project with 210 1,000-sq ft residential units assuming a building efficiency of 90%. It is located near established landed housing estates such as Toh Tuck Garden, Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary and the upcoming Beauty World MRT Station.

Recent launches attract local buyers despite high prices

Recent property launches have been seeing strong sales despite some being priced higher than their neighbours. Free 244-unit Katong Regency sold 70% of its units at an average price of $1,500-1,600 psf, with smaller one-bedroom units selling at $1,727 psf. 99-year Sky Habitat sold 125 units out of the 180 launched despite being priced higher than its neighbours. Singaporeans have been driving the demand for private homes and there are concerns that the strong sales might mean more cooling measures in the market.

Commercial

Top bid of $151.005m for hotel plot on Farrer Park MRT station

The 99 year-leasehold hotel site above the the Farrer Park MRT Station attracted 10 bids, with the top bid from RB Capital at $151.005 million or $1,078.81 psf ppr based on the 140,000 sq ft maximum gross plot ratio. The 33,326 sq ft site can be potentially developed into a mixed development with 60% reserved for hotel and hotel-related use, and the remaining 40% for retail, office, medical suites or serviced apartments. The popularity of the site is likely due to its location and high occupancy rate in hotel rooms. RB Capital could potentially develop the site into a 300-500 key four-star hotel with a retail segment, and possibly also a medical suite segment.

No plans on minimum strata sizes for office and retail units in the near future

There are worries that URA may set guidelines on the strata sizes for office and retail units, especially with the recent introduction of conditions on strata subdivision of industrial units. However, this is unlikely to happen in the near future since there URA perceives a need for small units for small firms and retail start-ups. Nevertheless, URA will look at planning intention for the region and the impact a development might make in the surrounding region when looking at commercial development proposals.

Kaki Bukit Rd 5 industrial site up for tender

The 30-year lease hold 1.31 hectare industrial site at Kaki Bukit Road 5 has a 1.4 maximum gross plot ratio and is zoned “Business 2”. It is not expected to be popular since it faces competition from two other developments launched last year which has yet to be fully sold and is likely to achieve a top bid of $100 psf ppr. While there is no restriction on strata sub-division, the maximum GFA of a unit should not be less than 150 sq m. It is expected to attract genuine industrialists or developers who want to expand or replenish their land banks.

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