Singapore Property News: 4th to 16th May 2016

Real Estate News

Property Market Activities

Condo rents flat, rental volume slumps 10% in April: SRX (BT, 12 May 2016)

Rentals of private condominiums and apartments were flat in April, compared with March. But rental volume fell 10.3 per cent to about 3,953 units in April, compared with 4,405 units in March. Data released by SRX Property showed that when broken down by sectors, rents in the city area remained the same; those in the city fringe rose 0.1 per cent, while those in the suburbs experienced a decrease of 0.1 per cent.

Job fears, cooling moves will continue to hurt home sales: FCL CEO (BT, 11 May 2016)

In response to the dismal showing of Parc Life EC project in Sembwang, Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (FCL) chief executive Lim Ee Seng deems it a “no-brainer” that residential demand will continue to dwindle as buyers become increasingly jittery about job security and property cooling measures remain intact. Many potential EC buyers, who fall within the S$14,000 monthly household income bracket, are not only starting their careers but feeling insecure about the jobs market, he opined.

Developers to get incentives to provide cycling facilities (ST, 11 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)

Based on flash estimates for April by SRX Property release, prices in the Central Region increased last month, on a month-on-month as well as year-on-year basis. On the other hand, prices in the suburbs fell over both periods. SRX Property flash estimates also show prices rose in CCR and RCR but fell in OCR, m-o-m and y-o-y.

More newly-completed units going on the block (ST, 10 May 2016)

Mortgagee sales include homes being built as market takes a hammering from oversupply. A total of 12 properties either completed in the past three years or still being built have been put up for mortgagee sale so far this year, according to JLL data. This is close to the same number as for all of last year – 13 – and a sharp rise from just three in the same period last year.

Fall in prime office rents spurs flight to quality (Today, 10 May 2016)

Companies are taking advantage of the continued decline in rents for prime office space to relocate to Grade A+ buildings in the Central Business District (CBD), at the peril of traditionally premium offices in the area. The average vacancy rate of Grade A+ office buildings in Raffles Place/Marina Bay fell to 5.5 per cent in the first quarter this year from 6.3 per cent in the fourth quarter last year, a report by property consultancy Knight Frank showed. Conversely, the traditional Raffles Place/Marina Bay Grade A buildings saw their overall vacancy rate rise to 2.9 per cent from 2 per cent over the same period.

Developers still gloomy about prospects (BT, 7 May 2016)

Developer sentiment remains weak, according to the latest NUS-Redas Real Estate Sentiment Index, with the composite sentiment index remaining below 5. A score below 5 indicates deteriorating market conditions while a reading above 5 indicates improving conditions. Developers were largely cool towards the government’s stance to keep current property cooling measures in place. About 58.4 per cent of respondents indicated that property market conditions will worsen further, with 55.8 per cent saying the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) and total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) dampen demand.

EC e-applications not translating to sales (BT, 6 May 2016)

The strong interest expressed for recent executive condominium (EC) projects in the form of e-applications have not resulted in actual launch sales – a trend industry players say is pointing to a potential supply overhang of ECs in the short-term, one which could take one to three years for the market to digest.

Price cuts at some housing projects help boost sales (ST, 5 May 2016)

Some developers have been reducing prices for their projects, encouraging sales in the process. Ardmore Three in Ardmore Park has sold about 20 units since relaunching last month at effective prices of about $2,600 to $2,700 per sq ft (psf) – after factoring in a 15 per cent cash rebate. This is below earlier launch prices of $3,400 to $3,500 psf. Sales are decent considering most units at the project go for about $5 million.

Muted response to launches of two residential projects (ST, 4 May 2016)

The launches of two residential projects over the long weekend were met with muted response, Parc Life EC sees 8% take-up rate over the long weekend; nine units sold at Sturdee Residences.

Large office spaces up for lease in Jurong (BT, 4 May 2016)

SIM Lian Group announced it would release approximately 200,000 square feet of large office spaces for lease at Vision Exchange, at a rate of S$6.80 to S$7.20 per square foot per month. The spaces will be spread out across the top eight floors of the 25-storey mixed-use integrated development located in Jurong Lake District. Each level spans approximately 25,000 sq ft, with the minimum subdivision starting from 2,000 sq ft.

Commercial property rents, values seen falling further (BT, 4 May 2016)

On the occupier market front, demand fell last quarter across all sectors even as available space continued to rise. About 64 per cent of surveyors expect rents to fall further over in the next quarter, and 65 per cent expect the downward trend to continue into next year. In response, developers are putting the brakes on development projects, particularly for retail and industrial properties.

Public Housing

HDB resale volumes in April hit 3-year high as prices stabilise (BT, 6 May 2016)

Resale volumes of HDB flats rose to a record monthly high since November 2012, according to SRX Property estimates. HDB resale data compiled by SRX Property showed that an estimated 1,828 HDB resale flats were sold in April. That’s a 10.3 per cent increase from the 1,657 transacted units in March, and 13.5 per cent higher than a year ago.

HDB clarifies rule change on flat ownership transfers (BT, 4 May 2016)

Under the eligibility conditions that kicked in since April 1, changes in flat ownership are allowed only on grounds of marriage, divorce, death of an owner, financial hardship, renunciation of citizenship and medical reasons.

Investment Sales

Serangoon Road shophouse up for sale via auction (BT, 13 May 2016)

A conserved shophouse at Serangoon Road has been put up for sale at an indicative price of $6 million. The unit at 486 Serangoon Road, off Race Course Road and Beatty Road, is being sold through an auction on May 25 at The Amara Hotel. The existing development consists of a two-storey shophouse and an attic. It is accessible via an external staircase to the upper floor. The second floor has been permanently converted for residential use. The freehold property has a total land area of about 2,096 sq ft and a gross floor area of about 4,000 sq ft.

Yishun 10 ground-floor podium for sale at $48m (ST, 11 May 2016)

Property firm Bonvests Holdings is selling the ground-floor retail podium at Yishun 10 at an indicative price of $48 million. The retail segment is part of the four-storey Yishun 10 complex, which comprises a 10-hall cineplex on the upper floors operated by Golden Village. DTZ, which is the sole marketing agent for the sale of the retail podium, is inviting offers for the property via an expression of interest exercise closing on June 21.

Stanley Quek companies sell 7 shophouses for S$81.4m to 8M Real Estate (BT, 10 May 2016)

Five of the shophouses are adjoining properties at Nos 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23 Tanjong Pagar Road; they are changing hands for S$57.4 million. This works out to S$2,166 per square foot on the estimated gross floor area of 26,500 sq ft spanning four floors and a mezzanine level. The five shophouses are on 8,902 sq ft of land with about 77.5 years’ balance lease. The internal space in the five adjacent properties is contiguous.

The other two shophouses that 8M Real Estate is buying from Dr Quek-controlled entities are 18 Gemmill Lane and 71 Neil Road. The Neil Road property, on a site with a balance lease term of 72 years, is being transacted for S$13 million or S$1,912 psf based on the GFA of 6,800 sq ft. The Gemmill Lane property is being sold for S$11 million or S$2,511 psf on GFA of 4,380 sq ft spread over three levels and an attic.

DRB-Hicom calls off sale of The Verge (BT, 6 May 2016)

More than four months after it announced the proposed sale of The Verge mall in Little India, DRB-Hicom has officially called off the deal. The termination was due to the inability of the buyer, a Singapore-incorporated vehicle controlled by Keith Tang, to fulfil its contractual obligations on the agreed completion date, DRB-Hicom said in a regulatory filing with Bursa Malaysia on Thursday.

Chopard siblings pay S$25m for Tong Building space (BT, 5 May 2016)

The brother-and-sister pair that runs Swiss luxury watch and jewellery house Chopard has picked up an office floor at Tong Building in Orchard Road for S$25.5 million. The price works out to S$3,713 per square foot on freehold strata area for the 13th floor of the 19-level building located between Lucky Plaza and The Paragon. The last previous sale in the building was that of half of the 18th floor, which is a duplex unit (leading up to half of the 19th floor). It changed hands for S$3,389 psf in 2010.

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