HDB explores possible measures to ensure affordability of flats

To ensure that flats remain affordable, the government is considering possible measures such as reinstating the old policy where public flats can be sold only back to HDB, increasing the minimum occupation period and shortening leases. MND will also be looking into bring prices of new flats down by 30%. Other than ‘delinking’ prices of BTO flats from resale flats by offering discounts to first-timers, the government will also try to bring the prices of BTO flats down from 5.5 years of salary to four years of salary.

(Source: Business Times)

Over 80% of singles above 35 to benefit from Singles BTO scheme

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan explains the rational for setting the income cap at $5,000 for first-timer singles under the Singles BTO scheme which allows singles above 35 to purchase new two-room flats in non-mature estates directly from the HDB, saying that 80% of the singles above age 35 will benefit from the scheme and the income cap is part of the first step. He explained that a higher income ceiling may result in a need to ration and ballot, and those who need it more may not be able to get a flat. However, the income ceiling could be raised if subscription rates are manageable.

(Source: Business Times)

Existing HDB owners not affected by any new HDB curbs

One possible measure to help ensure the affordability of public housing that was highlighted by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan at a community event on Saturday was to restore an old rule where owners can only sell their flats back to HDB instead of the open market. However, he had clarified further in a blog post that if such a rule is to be implemented, it would apply only to new buyers, and not existing flat owners.  For new buyers, this would mean that their flats would no longer be seen as a tradable asset. This might result in the creation of a wealth gap since existing home owners can have a chance at upgrading when they sell their flats on the open market while new owners may not be able to do so.

(Source: Business Times)

February private home sales take a hit

New private home sales (excluding ECs) fell by 65% from 2,016 units in January to 708 units in February as a result of the latest cooling measures, the Chinese New Year holiday and the month being a shorter one. Launches also fell by 86% from 1,802 units in January to 261 units in February. OCR made up the 48% of the sales with 341 units (64% in January) while CCR and RCR made up 28% with 198 units (previously 17%) and 24% with 169 units (previously 19%), respectively. No ECs were launched in February though 209 units were sold, compared to 256 units in January. Thus, including ECs, 917 new private homes were sold in February, a fall from the 2,272 units in January. Looking ahead, the market is expected to improve in March to 900-2,000 units, given major launches in the month though the year is expected to end with lower figures than 2012.

(Source: Business Times)


Demand for industrial space fall following cooling measures

Following the introduction of the SSD, demand for strata factory units fell from 133 to 118 units in 28 days. The monthly average demand for strata factories also fell from 321.8 transactions per month on average from H2 2012 to Jan 11, 2013 to 173 transactions in the period from Jan 12. While demand for speculators seemed to have subsided, there is still demand from end-users and investors willing to wait out the three years specified in the SSD and hold the units for rental income in the meantime (in the secondary market). Further, sellers in the secondary market are more open to adjusting their prices than developers.

While demand has fallen, prices remained stable, as can be seen in the prices of 60-year leasehold strata factories (which make up the largest proportion of sales) where it remained stable at an average $420 psf. Prices in the resale and subsale markets also remained stable.

(Source: Business Times)

99-year Venture Ave commercial site attracts $701m top bid

The 1.2-hectare site at Venture Avenue in Jurong East attracted nine bidders, with the top bid of $701 million or $1,009 psf ppr from from Sim Lian JV (Vision) under the Sim Lian Group, exceeding earlier expectations and reflecting a pent-up demand for strata titled offices. It has a maximum permissible GFA of about 650,000 sq ft which can be developed into a 25-storey project and 90% of it must be for office use. The popularity of the site could be attributed to a lack of strata office supply, investors’ shift of interest towards the commercial sector following cooling measures in the residential sector and its location – near the upcoming JEM and Westgate retail and office developments, the International Business Park and Jurong East MRT station. Its expected breakeven price is $1,700-$2,000 psf.

(Source: Business Times)

SBF Center sells 75% of its released units

75% of the 186 released units at SBF Center have been sold, with 113 of the 138 office units being sold with prices starting from $3,200 psf. The remaining 48 units are medical suites. Of these, 27 have been sold at prices starting from $3,800 psf. The 31-storey SBF Center located at Robinson Road/Cecil Street consists of 196 office units (592-1,475 sq ft) on the 10th to 28th levels, three yet-to-be-released full-floor offices (10,850 sq ft each), and 48 medical suites (678-1,302 sq ft )at the Mediplex@SBF Center on the third to fifth levels. It is located near Tanjong Pagar MRT Station.

(Source: Business Times)

43 S’pore Shopping Centre units up for collective sale

The strata shop and office spaces (total: 22,980 sq ft ) in seven-storey Singapore Shopping Centre located  at 190 Clemenceau Avenue were put up for collective sale via an expression of interest exercise that will close on April 16. It is asking for $38 million or $1,650 psf for the units that make up 19.8% of the share value of the building which sits on a site with a remaining lease of 34 years. While the owner would prefer selling to a single buyer, he is open to selling the units in three lots at a price of $1,650 psf as well. This would include an 8,654 sq ft parcel consisting of 16 adjoining units on the fourth floor, as well as a 10,797 sq ft parcel with 18 adjoining units and a 3,529 sq ft parcel with nine adjacent units, both on the sixth floor. It is expected to see much interest given its potential gross rental yield of 3.55% assuming a price of $38 million and the current occupancy rate of 77.5%, its proximity to Dhoby Ghaut MRT and the scarcity of such space near Orchard Road. There are 44 lots in the car park.

(Source: Business Times)

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