Singapore Property News: 1st to 15th September 2014

Real Estate News

Property Market Activities

Tiong Bahru condo draws good response (BT, 15 September 2014)

Keppel Land, which started closed-door sales of its Highline Residences condominium recently, said it has received a good response to the project, possibly due to pent-up demand for private housing in Tiong Bahru. More than 80 percent of the 160 units – or over a quarter of the 500 units available in total – released were sold, at an average price of S$1,900 psf after discount. Discounts ranging from S$28,000 to S$68,000 were offered during the preview weekend. Sales at the condominium is widely watched given its prime location diagonally opposite Tiong Bahru MRT Station and Tiong Bahru Plaza mall.

More owners of luxury condos selling at a loss (BT, 15 September 2014)

A larger percentage of high-end luxury condo homes on the resale market are selling at a loss and a smaller percentage at a profit, as the tide of the once-rosy property market recedes and reveals those who have been “swimming naked” – that is, those without adequate holding power for their extravagant purchases. According to data compiled by from URA Realis, 7 percent of transacted units in the prime districts 9, 10 and 11 sold at a loss in the first eight months of this year, up from 5.5 percent over the same year-ago period.

St Patrick’s Road set to ride on ‘MRT effect’ (ST, 13 September 2014)

The residential enclave around St Patrick’s Road in the prime District 15 looks set to be another long-term winner from the “MRT effect”, consultants said. They forecast that the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line will bring increased buying interest and capital gains in the wake of the area’s greater accessibility. The line, which will be fully operational by 2024, will have a station in Marine Parade near St Patrick’s Road so travel time to the central city and the northern part of Singapore will be cut significantly. Currently, the area has not seen much activity with only a few units changing hands over the past year, due in part to stringent curbs on home loans which kicked in last year. However, rents have been fairly stable in the last year and area’s investment outlook is promising with a good range of amenities as one of its main draws, noted a property consultant.

Major Chinese developer eyes Singapore market (ST, 12 September 2014)

A major Chinese developer is setting its sights on Singapore as it continues to build its overseas portfolio. Shanghai-based Chiwayland International sees plenty of potential here but is wary of the lacklustre market. Executive chairman Kevin Qian told The Straits Times recently: “We hope to enter the Singapore market in about two to three years’ time but it will still depend very much on whether the returns on investment are totally satisfactory.” Mr Qian added that he is open to undertaking projects with local partners, who would be “more familiar with the business environment and market here”. The firm mainly develops residential and commercial property in Shanghai and other parts of the Yangtze River Delta region but is now looking farther afield.

Marina Bay taking on residential tone (ST, 6 September 2014)

The appeal of living near the Central Business District (CBD) will get a major test next weekend with the launch of the 1,042-unit Marina One Residences. The area, best known as a fast-growing office centre, is shaping up as a significant residential precinct as well. And while rents in the vicinity have fallen over the past year, investors may find the area a good buy now that cooling measures have restrained overly high prices, consultants say. Developer M+S said it is looking to price Marina One at an average of $2,600 per sq ft (psf). According to a property analyst, that given current market conditions, its initial selling price may crowd out a considerable group of potential buyers… (But) in the longer term, Marina One will likely see more active deals due to its advantageous location and good designs, which are highly valued by busy owners and tenants.

Suburban shoebox units: Bottom falling out of sector? (ST, 2 September 2014)

Shoebox apartments outside the city centre could lose their cachet once the flood of new homes hits the market next year. Experts note that tenants are enjoying greater choice, and that will only get better as the pool of available real estate deepens. That trend spells bad news for suburban shoebox homes, which have a limited appeal given their location and relatively cramped living space. Of the 53,900 new condo units expected to come on the market in the next 30 months, the experts point out, most will be small or shoebox apartments – with a floor area of up to 506 sqft. Landlords of such flats in less accessible locations will likely find it “challenging” to let out their units. Since 2009, when shoebox units became popular, the bulk of transactions in this category has been outside the city centre, noted a property consultant.

Public Housing

HDB fleshes out Smart Town framework (BT, 12 September 2014)

Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB) recently announced a smart town framework and said it will pilot selected initiatives in Punggol Northshore to assess their viability and suitability, before extending them to other estates. The framework will leverage on Information and Communication Technology to make HDB towns and estates “more liveable, efficient, sustainable and safe for our residents”, said HDB’s CEO, Cheong Koon Hean. The framework – which maps out how HDB intends to introduce the “smart” element to its towns and estates – focuses on planning, environment, estate and living. HDB said that an example of a smart planning technology is a decision-making modelling tool to help planners understand the trade-offs involved when introducing new sustainable features into HDB towns. To create a smart environment, HDB will wire up estates with a network of sensors that will capture real-time information such as temperature, humidity and wind-speed to create a more pleasant environment.

HDB details plans for three new housing districts (BT, 10 September 2014)

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) recently unveiled detailed plans for the first housing projects in Bidadari and Tampines North, as well as for Punggol Northshore – one of seven new waterfront housing districts in Punggol. Punggol’s Northshore District will be the next one to be developed after the Matilda District. It will offer about 6,000 new flats, with the first project slated to be launched in 2015. New technologies will be employed to make the district “smart and sustainable”. In fact, Northshore will be the first district to test-bed smart technologies in public housing. It will feature intelligent car parks, smart lighting and smart waste management. The smart waste management system will also be set up in the first housing precincts in Bidadari and Tampines North. The Northshore District will also have varied building heights to capitalise on the sea views and a seafront commercial centre. Its blocks will also be installed with solar ready roofs.

Government Land Sales

Sim Lian tops bids for EC site, beating market expectations (BT, 5 September 2014)

The latest state tender for an executive condominium (EC) site in Choa Chu Kang Drive shows that developers would still make a beeline for attractive sites. Located about 550 metres from Choa Chu Kang MRT Station and Bus Interchange and Lot One Shoppers’ Mall, the 1.9-hectare plot drew eight bids, with the highest at S$361.08 psf ppr from Sim Lian Land – slightly above market expectations. One consultant had expected the site to draw 5-6 bids with the winning bid at S$320-350 psf ppr. However, he added: “I see a mix of both caution and optimism. The optimism is in the top bid being higher than expected; the caution is the top bid being pretty close to the S$357 psf ppr average price for the two adjacent Choa Chu Kang Grove EC plots sold in February – despite the latest site being more attractive.

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