Singapore Property News: 16th to 31st March 2015

Real Estate News

Property Market Activities

Resale prices of Singapore non-landed private homes slip 0.3% in Feb: NUS SRPI (ST, 30 March 2015)

Resale prices of non-landed homes in Singapore slipped 0.3 per cent last month, dragged down by softer prices of units in the city centre. This was still an improvement from the dip of 0.9 per cent registered in January, when private home resale prices fell 0.9 per cent from December. Earlier estimates had indicated a 1.6 per cent drop in January prices. Prices of private apartments in the city centre softened by 0.7 per cent, after shedding 1.2 per cent in January. Shoebox units – defined as those with floor areas of up to 506 sq ft – lost 0.2 per cent in February after a 0.2 per cent improvement from January. Prices of suburban units were the only outlier as they remained unchanged from January, after a 0.7 per cent slip in that month.

SIBOR rises above 1% in sign that mortgages could rise further (CNA, 24 March 2015)

The three-month Singapore interbank offered rate (SIBOR) at 1.00129 per cent is the first time it rose above the 1 per cent mark in more than six years. A key benchmark lending rate rose above the 1 per cent level for the first time in more than six years, indicating that mortgage rates will increase further in coming weeks. Many home loans in Singapore are pegged to SIBOR. For instance, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) has a home loan package that charges an interest rate 0.85 percentage point above three-month SIBOR. If SIBOR rises, the interest rate will also increase. OCBC will review the rate every three months based on movements in SIBOR. Singapore interest rates have been on the rise, in line with expectations that the US Federal Reserve will increase interest rates this year.

Amber Skye in Katong relaunched (ST, 23 March 2015)

Amber Skye, a freehold residential project near Katong Shopping Centre, has been relaunched following tepid sales during its first launch last September. As at late October, the project had sold six units. The developers said one of the attractions of the project is the number of larger units on offer, at a time when many condo developers are tending to downsize. The developer said the project was “perfect for multi-generational living”. Amber Skye is expected to receive its temporary occupation permit in the middle of 2017. Indicative pricing at the relaunch ranges from $1,680 per sq ft (psf) to $2,500 psf, the developer said. In September last year, some units sold for $1,800 and $1,900 psf.

Homes near Rail Corridor could see price gains (ST, 20 March 2015)

Owners of property near the old Malaysian railway track could reap some benefit when the area is refreshed. Prices in some areas might enjoy a lift once the 24km path from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands, known as the Rail Corridor, is revamped. Six areas would come in for special attention: the former Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar railway stations, the old Bukit Timah fire station, two areas near the Kranji and Buona Vista MRT stations and a stretch near Sungei Pang Sua canal in Choa Chu Kang. That could give home owners potential gains to look forward to, although the residential areas near the old track are mostly already pricey private landed houses in the Bukit Timah district, including Holland Road and Rifle Range Road. However, values typically only appreciate after announcements such as the latest one from the URA, though additional gains may be expected as new capital investment takes form.

New Bartley condo opens for viewing (ST, 21 March 2015)

The Botanique at Bartley has opened for viewing with over 70 per cent of its units priced below $1 million, although some of them are small in size. The 797-unit project in Upper Paya Lebar Road has nine 17-storey towers of one-to three-bedders. The 200 one-bedders range from 495 to 689 sq ft each while the 382 two-bedroom units are 657 to 958 sq ft. The 215 three-bedders are from 926 to 1,356 sq ft. This gives an overall pricing of just below $1,300 per sq ft (psf). This could be slightly higher than the median launch prices of $1,260 psf at nearby Bartley Residences in February 2012, and $1,296 psf at Bartley Ridge in March 2013. The project should be completed in 2019 and sales starting early in April.

Q1 new home sales heading for lowest since financial crisis (TODAY, 17 March 2015)

The private housing market continues to lack vigour, with analysts saying that total new home transactions in the first quarter are in danger of falling to their lowest since the global financial crisis. Analysts said unless sales increase significantly this month, total transactions in the first three months this year will hit a new quarterly low since the final quarter of 2008. With the cooling measures such as tighter loan restrictions, and the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty, these challenging conditions will only mean that buyers will continue to stray away from the city centre. Last month, the city fringes led sales with 183 units sold, mainly from the sole debut project in February — Sims Urban Oasis, where 112 units were sold at a median price of S$1,397 psf. The suburban region followed with 173 transactions, while 26 units in the city centre found buyers.

Government Land Sales

Bullish bid tops 16-way tussle for prime Jalan Besar site (ST, 25 March 2015)

The residential site in Sturdee Road has beaten analysts’ expectations – and the sombre market mood – by attracting a top bid of $181.2 million in a 16-way battle royale among developers. Analysts had expected keen interest for the 65,784 sq ft parcel off Jalan Besar because of its size and location but the leading offer trumped predictions. The number of bids also surprised. SL Capital (1), a unit of Sustained Land, lodged the highest bid for the Sturdee Road plot, at $787 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio (ppr). While Singland Homes, a unit of Singapore Land, at $168.8 million – or $733 psf ppr. Wee Hur Development was third with $161.9 million – or $703 psf ppr. The estimated break-even price for the new condo on the site is expected to be between $1,260 psf and $1,1310 psf.

Private residential site in Tampines up for sale (ST, 18 March 2015)

A residential site in Tampines that could yield 490 units was put up for sale by the Government recently. The 99-year leasehold plot in Tampines Avenue 10, also known as Parcel D, is part of the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme for the first half of the year. Analysts said developers will be cautious with their bids given the moribund state of the private residential market. They expect three to six offers for the 15,660 sq m site, ranging from $203 million to $245 million – or $430 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio (ppr) to $520 psf ppr. This would mean the selling prices for the new project could be about $1,000 psf. However, investors might not be attracted to the new project because of the larger number of new condominium units in the vicinity. The tender for Parcel D closes on April 28.

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