Singapore Property News: 17th to 31st May 2016

Real Estate News

Property Market Activities

Prices of completed private apartments up 0.3% in April (BT, 31 May 2016)

Prices of completed private apartments rose a marginal 0.3 per cent last month from March, according to flash estimates from the NUS Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI). None of the indices – for units in the central region, non-central region and small units of up to 506 sq ft – rose more than 0.5 per cent from March. April’s rise was led by the central region, with unit prices up an estimated 0.4 per cent from March. Prices rose 0.2 per cent for units in the non-central region and for small units.

50% of Gem Residences sold in a day (BT, 28 May 2016)

Around 50 per cent of new condo Gem Residences was sold in a day, ahead of its public launch. Such a successful sales result has not been seen in over a year, but experts noted that this likely reflected the appeal of this particular project. At the VIP launch, queues started forming early in the morning and, by 6pm, about 300 of the 578 units had been sold at an average of $1,426 per sq ft (psf).

CityDev CEO says it’s a good time to buy commercial property (BT, 26 May 2016)

Developers will be given incentives to provide facilities such as bicycle parking, showers and locker rooms in their new buildings, as part of a new government plan to encourage people to cycle. They may not have to pay for the floor area occupied by these facilities, as the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has said it is prepared to grant gross floor area (GFA) exemptions for such facilities. This is part of an overall effort to make cycling more attractive for the first and last mile of trips.

Resale condo prices, volume up again in April (BT, 11 May 2016)

City Developments Ltd, Singapore’s second-largest developer, may seek to buy offices this year as rising interest rates makes such assets cheaper worldwide. Grant Kelley, chief executive officer of City Developments, note that it is a very good time for acquisitions as the long term trend line for assets for the next 12-24 months could be deflationary because as interest rates go up, fixed income will become more attractive and maybe liquidity will drain from real estate assets a little bit.

Stars of Kovan units fetch even less than expected (BT, 23 May 2016)

Cheung Kong Property Holdings has sold around 60 units of its private condominium project Stars of Kovan at an average price of S$1,408 per square foot – lower than the average pricing that it had indicated ahead of the VIP pre-sale weekend. The developer has decided to offer the VIP discount of 5 per cent until May 29 and said that it may revisit the offer or discontinue it anytime it deemed fit.

Rising interest rates worrying for Singapore economy: economists (BT, 23 May 2016)

Even as the economy tries to shake off these woes, economists foresee another looming on the horizon, and one that may just make it worse for Singapore: rising interest rates. This will result in Singapore’s economy entering into a second straight year where real interest rates exceed real growth, making debt unsustainable.

Warehouses may hit crisis-level vacancy in coming quarters (BT, 23 May 2016)

According to JTC, about 578,000 square metres of warehouse space is due to be completed in 2016, and 775,000 sq m in 2017. The vacancy rate of warehouses in Singapore could hit close to 12 per cent in the coming quarters – around global financial crisis levels and up from the current 9.6 per cent in Q1 2016. That said, this will be “very short-term” and is no cause for alarm.

Singapore is 4th priciest logistics market: CBRE (BT, 20 May 2016)

According to CBRE’s inaugural Global prime Logistics Rents report, Singapore is the fourth most expensive prime logistics market in the world with rentals of US$10.91 per square foot per year (or S$1,25 psf per month). This is just the rental for the physical space. The total occupation cost could go up to S$1.50 to S$2 psf if the tenant also wants to use the warehouse’s automation systems. Singapore comes after Hong Kong (US$28.94 psf per annum), Tokyo (US$16.74 psf) and London (US$16.36 psf).

More time needed to study short-term stay: URA (BT, 19 May 2016)

Results of a public consultation on short-term stays in private residential properties were split, with no clear consensus, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), adding that more time is needed to study this issue. Current URA guidelines require that private residential properties be rented out for no less than six months. Private home offenders can be fined up to S$200,000 and jailed for up to a year.

Next stop: underground mall linking Marine Parade station (BT, 18 May 2016)

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will develop an underground linear retail space next to the future Marine Parade station on the Thomson-East Coast Line. The space, to have 12,370 square metres (133,000 sq ft) of gross floor area in a single storey, is seen as a way of getting more mileage from public infrastructure investment and optimising land productivity. The underground retail space will sit above part of the tunnel connecting the Marine Parade and Marine Terrace stations.

April new private home sales down 11.6% (BT, 17 May 2016)

After surging to an eight-month high in March, developers’ sales of private homes eased last month. What piqued most analysts, however, is the broad-based demand for existing projects rather than the take-up for new launches in April. Urban Redevelopment Authority data released showed that developers found buyers for 745 private homes in April, down 11.6 per cent from 843 units in March this year and a 36.2 per cent drop from 1,167 units in April last year. The March figure had sparked talk of an improvement in sentiment.

Public Housing

Big flats in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok draw BTO buyers (BT, 25 May 2016)

As of 30th May 5pm, there were nine applicants for each of the 234 four-room flats, more than eight applicants each for the 200 five-room and three-generation (3Gen) flats in Ang Mo Kio on offer. The 247 four-room flats in Bedok were the next most contested, with each drawing over six applicants. Experts said the higher demand for flats in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok stems from their convenient locations and developed infrastructure.

3,770 BTO flats launched for sale (BT, 25 May 2016)

A total of 8,940 flats were launched for sale by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) under the build-to-order (BTO) and sale of balance flats (SBF) exercise in May, with one-quarter of the BTO flats located in the popular mature estates of Ang Mo Kio and Bedok. The current BTO launch comprises 3,770 BTO units across four projects in Bukit Panjang and Sembawang, and two projects in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok; along with this is the launch of 5,170 balance units across 25 towns or estates.

Government Land Sales

Consultants have mixed views about reserve site in West Coast Vale (BT, 26 May 2016)

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) released a residential reserve site in West Coast Vale, a 99-year leasehold under the first-half of the 2016 Government Land Sales (GLS) programme can potentially yield up to 520 residential units. Some noted positive attributes of the site while some are expecting mediocre turnout (5-7 bids) given the wide choices of resale private homes available in the entire stretch of West Coast locality.

Investment Sales

Straits Trading Building may fetch record psf price (BT, 31 May 2016)

Indonesian tycoon and philanthropist Tahir is said to be in exclusive due diligence with a view to purchase the 28-storey, 999-year leasehold building for S$560 million. This translates to slightly more than S$3,520 psf based on the net lettable area (NLA) of 158,897 sq ft. The psf price would bust the current record of S$3,125 psf set in April 2008 for Commerz Real’s purchase of 71 Robinson Road, while it was still under construction; at the time, the site had a balance lease term of only about 85 years.

Last units of Starlight Suites sold (BT, 26 May 2016)

The developers of Starlight Suites yesterday sold the remaining 23 units for about $48 million in a bulk sale to an entity associated with Evia Capital, just in time to beat the Qualifying Certificate (QC) sales deadline at the end of this month. The sale price works out to about $1,670 per sq ft (psf), compared with average prices of about $2,000 psf when the project was launched in 2010. The deal was done via a sale of shares in the development company, Meadows Property (Singapore).

Shunfu Ville sold for S$638m to Qingjian (BT, 20 May 2016)

Shunfu Ville was sold to developer Qingjian Realty for S$638 million, marking the largest collective sale since 2007. This is lower than the reserve price of at least S$688m during a relaunch in January after a failed attempt in Sept. This translates to a total land cost of S$747 per square foot per plot ratio on potential gross floor area, after factoring in differential premium payable to the state to top up the lease to a fresh 99-year lease and for intensification of the site.

Freehold site in Novena up for sale for S$26m (BT, 19 May 2016)

A freehold site at 2 Derbyshire Road, nestled in Novena within an established residential enclave, the 6,768 sq ft site comes with an existing four-storey building and its current gross floor area is about 8,742 sq ft. The guide price is about S$26 million. Located just off the main junction of Thomson Road, the site is zoned for “civic and community institution”. It is served by various transport nodes with easy accessibility to town, and is within walking distance from Novena MRT station.

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