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Less optimistic outlook from Developers?

- April 30, 2011 No Comments

Property players are a bit less optimistic about the market than they were previously, according to an industry measures.

The sentiment index has weakened to 4.9 from 5.7, while the mood for the months ahead also slipped as compared with the fourth quarter, a likely reflection of the recent market cooling measures.

The index, which is compiled by the National University of Singapore’s Department of Real estate, consists of scores ranging from 0 – the most pessimistic – to 10, which registers a high level of optimism.

As part of the quarterly survey, developers were asked about their expectations of the new private property launches.

As a sign of weakening outlook towards the property sector, 62% of developers surveyed expect more residential units to be launched over the next six months compared with 74% in the previous quarter.

About twice as many developers – around 69% - as compared with the fourth quarter also expect prices to remain flat.

Only 35% of respondents anticipate greater interest in the collective sale market, down from 52%.
* Source: The Straits Times

So will this really translate to lesser new launches, "saner" prices at new projects and fewer en bloc sales? Watch this space!


NUS study: Last 2 rounds of cooling measures more effective

- April 29, 2011 No Comments

A study by NUS’s Institute of Real Estate Studies suggests the two latest rounds of property cooling measures on Aug 30 last year and Jan 13 this year may have been more effective in taming prices of completed non-landed private homes than the earlier two series of tightening measures in September 2009 and February 2010.

NUS’overall Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) has inched up about 0.19% on average per month since the January measures were introduced. It also increased only about 0.12% on average from the time the end-August 2010 measures were introduced till December last year.

In contrast, the September 2009 and February 2010 cooling measures were followed by average monthly increases in the SRPI of 1.13% and 1.23% respectively.

The index covers only completed non-landed private homes.

Average monthly sales volumes of non-landed private homes – covering transactions in both the primary and secondary markets but excluding executive condos – have shrunk to 1,391 after the latest Jan 13 cooling measures (based on URA Realis caveats data up to April 21).

The monthly sales volume following last August’s tightening package was 2,490 units, while the figure after the February 2010 cooling measures was 2,907.

NUS’s latest flash estimates for its March 2011 SRPI also showed that prices of completed apartments and condos fared better in suburban locations than in the poshest areas.

The SRPI sub-index for the Central Region, which covers district 1 – 4 and 9 – 11, dipped 1.9% month-on-month in March, according to NUS’s flash estimates. This sub-index has appreciated 2.6% since the end of last year and 8.6% year on year.

In contrast, the sub-index for the Non-Central region, where suburban mass-market condos are located, appreciated 1.7% month on month in March. The flash estimate for March was up 3.8% year to date and 14.4% year on year.

As a result, the overall SRPI rose 0.1% month on month in March; the March flash estimate reflected price gains of 3.3% year to date and 11.9% year on year.
* Source: The Business Times


New Project Launching: The Foresta @Mount Faber

- April 28, 2011 3 Comments

For those who are seeking a freehold (albeit smallish) property near Mount Faber.

Project Name : The Foresta @ Mount Faber

Developer : Hoi Hup Realty Pte Ltd

Description : Proposed Condominium Housing Development Comprising 5 Storey Residential Flats (total 141 units) with an Attic, a Basement Car Park and Provision for a Swimming Pool 

Tenure : Freehold

Location : 100 - 108 Wishart Road 

District : 4

Site Area : 65,480.64 sqft

TOP (Est) : 31 June 2015 

Total Units : 141 

Car Park Lots : Basement Parking 144 lots (including 3 handicap lots)

Facing : North-South Orientation

Site Plan:

Unit Type:
• 1 Bedroom : 431sqft - 506sqft (43 units)
• 1+Study : 538sqft - 624 sqft (11 units)
• 2 Bedrooms : 667sqft - 947sqft (54 units)
• 3 Bedrooms : 1,076/1109/1,238sqft (4 units)
• 1+Study Penthouse : 775 sqft (11 units)
• 2 Bedrooms Penthouse : 958sqft (3 units)
• 2+Study Penthouse : 1,195sqft (4 units)
• 3+Utility Penthouse : 1,356/1,378/1,453sqft (10 units)
• 4 Bedrooms Penthouse : 1,755sqft (1 unit)

The wife and I understand that registration for VVIP Preview (sometime in May) has already begun. And in order to register, the following documents are COMPULSORY:
1) Particular of Purchaser form
2) Letter of Authorization
3) Photocopy of buyers’ NRIC
4) Signed cheque with payee to developer's project account

So... we are reverting back to the good 'o days of cheque collection. Deja vue  indeed!


Enbloc News: 2nd try for Laguna Park

- April 27, 2011 No Comments

The Straits Times today reported that the sales committee at Laguna Park has secured the 80% mandate for a collective sale last Thursday. This is two years after an earlier bid was called off.
Laguna Park

While the asking price has not been fixed yet, it is believed owners of the 258 units have been told they could receive up to $2.3 million per unit.

That would make the price for the 99-year leasehold estate in Marine Parade around the $1.2 billion they demanded in 2009.

A potential deal for the former HUDC estate then was called off when the sales committee was too pressed for time trying to get the minimum consent level from owners for a proposed lower price.

Sources say the tender for the 677,463sqft site could possibly be rolled out as early as the middle of next month.

There have been a number of large estates put up for sale en bloc in the past three months.

Pearl Bank Apartments at Outram was put on the market for $750 million while the owners of Pine Grove condominium in Ulu Pandan are asking $1.7 billion.

The tender for Pine Grove closed on April 19, but the marketing agents have not revealed the outcome.

The tender for Pearl Bank closes on May 25.

Hawaii Tower and Tulip Garden, with reserve prices of $700 million and $650 million, respectively, have yet to seal any concrete deals.

Property market observers doubt any concrete deal will surpass the $1 billion mark this year.

The East Coast area has seen some success but on a smaller scale. Two condominiums near Laguna Park Marine Point and Amber Glades – were sold earlier this year for under $120 million each.

Some analysts say developers may be shying away from larger sites, preferring smaller, more affordable plots that carry a lower risk if the market turns.

Again, this is one that the wife and I would not be holding our breath for. And come May 25, we have this strange feeling that it'll be all quiet at Pearl Bank too...


More new homes in mature estates - Government says

- April 25, 2011 No Comments

The Government has announced plans to inject thousands of new homes into mature estates. Under the plan, more than 10,000 new private and public homes will be built in Commonwealth, Queenstown and Bishan in the next 10 to 15 years.

The Government aims to use high-rise housing to help increase the population density in these areas.

Some undeveloped sites in the Bishan and Queenstown estates have been made available through the first half of this year's Government Land Sales (GLS) programme.

Two prime plots in Stirling Road have been set aside under the reserve list.

But this could also mean prices for private homes in those areas could be significantly higher with developers bidding competitively for a slice of the action.

In February, a plum site next to Bishan MRT station attracted 19 bids. The plot was acquired by CapitaLand for $550.1 million, or $869psf ppr.

The wife and I are quite convinced that the apparent spike in resale prices for projects such as Clover by the Park over the past 2 months can partly be attributed to the CapitaLand bid.

And speaking of the two Stirling Road plots, these bring back fond memories for yours truly, as it is in one of the 3-room HDB flats located on Parcel A that I have lived through my early childhood and primary school years.

The block I used to stay in (Block 175) was directly across the road from Queens (a condominium project completed in 2002). The 12-storey block sits on elevated ground and back in the old days before Queens, offers unblocked view even from the 5th floor. The block was demolished in 2006 along with several other blocks located behind it, and the plot became what is now known as Parcel A & B.
Stirling Road - Site Map


Thinking about a home loan?

- April 24, 2011 3 Comments

The WEEKEND TODAY ran an article on what you should look out for when shopping for a home loan.

Below is information that we find particularly helpful:

1. For every 1% increase in interest rate, the monthly instalment will rise by about $500 for a $1 million loan stretched over 30 years.

2. Ideally, home owners should have a holding power of at least two to three years and ensure that monthly loan repayments are not more than 35% of the gross monthly household income.

3. While the current low SIBOR (Singapore Interbank offer Rate)/SOR (Swap Offer Rate) -pegged home loans allow home buyers to capitalise on lower interest rates, such loans are more volatile in nature. Borrowers’ monthly instalments will vary with the constant changes in cost of funds and would be first to be affected by higher repayments in a rising interest rate environment.

4. Floating board-rate loans offer more stability as the mortgage rates do not vary with SIBOR/SOR. In addition, packages with no lock-in periods give home owners the flexibility to do partial repayments at no additional cost, without having to time the partial repayment at the SIBOR/SOR re-pricing date.
In a rising interest rate environment, such packages are advantageous over loans pegged to SIBOR/SOR as the impact on the cost of funds is not immediate.

5. Fixed rate loans offer the most stability. However, such loans come with a premium and home owners could be tied to a higher fixed rate while cost of funds remains low. These loans are suitable for owner occupiers and those with a longer investment horizon as partial repayments are generally restricted with penalty.

6. Home owners may consider splitting their loan into a fixed rate loan and a floating rate loan to hedge against any increase in interest rates and allow greater flexibility in repayment under the floating rate loan.

7. Other factors to consider include penalties for partial prepayment or redemptions and conditions for refund of legal fee and valuation fee subsidies granted during loan take-up.

The wife and I certainly find the need to "time the partial repayment for SIBOR/SOR loan at the re-pricing date” somewhat of a hassle. First you have to know/remember when these dates occur (e.g. loan pegged to 3-month SOR will be re-priced at the end of every 3 months), then make a note to give the bank 1 - 3 months’ notice of partial repayment (depending on the contract terms) prior to that date. More often than not, you will find yourself missing the re-pricing date… at least we did, twice!


Are you living in the Pine Grove area?

- April 22, 2011 1 Comment

The wife and I found this rather interesting report by Kim Eng Research while scouring the web for certain information about Cavendish Park & Astor Green.

Kim Eng Research (14042011)

We now know that there is over 3,300 private apartments around the Pine Grove area. Included in the report are the secondary market prices for developments in the area over the past 12 months (only 2 resales for The Trizon??).  It also provided information about the existing land banks of some of the major developers in Singapore. But conspicuously misssing from the list is Far East.

While on the subject of Cavendish Park and Astor Green, we believe the plot ratio for both is 2.1 (similar to Pine Grove). But can anyone tell us what is the land size for these two developments respectively?


d'Leedon (Review)

- April 21, 2011 54 Comments
District:   10
Location:   Farrer Road/King’s Road/Leedon Heights
Developers:   CapitaLand/HPL
Tenure:   99-year Leasehold wef 8th April 2010
No. of Blocks:   7 Blocks of 36-storey each
No. of Units:   1715 residential units (including 12 villas) + 8 retail shops
Expected TOP:   2015

The wife and I first visited the sales gallery of d’Leedon about 3 weeks ago, and have since posted photos of the Garden House and 3-Bedroom showflat in our blog. However, we were dragging our feet abit in writing our thoughts on the project.

So to ensure that we still have our facts right, we decided to go down to the showflat again yesterday to refresh our memories.

d’Leedon warrants little introduction, as most of you would have heard of this iconic mega project designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid.  It sits on a humongous site of more than 840,000sqft formerly occupied by Farrer Court. The project started previewing in Nov 2010 and only 2 out of the 7 blocks (i.e. Block 11 & 13) are released for sale at the moment.
Location Plan

d’Leedon offers a full range of 1- to 4-bedroom units and penthouses. In addition, there are also “Garden House” units (which consist of 3-levels: basement, ground and first) and twelve semi-detached “Garden Villas”.   
Block 11
Block 13

Facility-wise, d’Leedon is probably second to none. You will find everything you expect of a full-facility development (including 3 tennis courts and even a basketball court!) and more. Two of the offerings that particularly caught our eyes are:

• The 5 “Themed Gardens”
• Mini Race track – for all you remote-control car fanatics

Parking lots are all in the basement, with the standard ‘1 parking lot per household’ applies. This is with the exception of the Garden Houses and Villas, which come with 2 dedicated parking lots.

There are 2 entrances into d’Leedon – the main entrance is along Leedon Heights, while a second entrance is along King’s Road. A covered walkway that leads to a side gate will bring you to the Empress Road Market/Food Centre and the upcoming Farrer Road MRT station, both of which are located just outside the development.
 Site Plan

For our review purpose, we will stick to the 4-bedroom showflat. This is a 1744sqft Type D1a unit.
Type D1a

It may be of interest to note that only 2 out of the 10 units of 4-bedders in each block are Type D1a, while the rest are of Type D1. And the main differences between the two unit types are:

• Type D1a is slightly bigger in size – 1744sqft versus 1615sqft for Type D1

• Type D1a has an open terrace next to the Junior Suite, which is missing from Type D1

• The walkway from the main door to the living/dining area for Type D1a is almost twice the length of Type D1 (to accommodate the open terrace). So you lose out more on the walkway space for the former.

All the 4-bedroom units are located between the 25th - 34th floors of both blocks.
Type D1

As you enter the unit, the first thing you see is the kitchen. Unlike the 4-bedders in many other projects, you do not get a dry kitchen. The kitchen is a rectangular strip of space, which is spacious enough for two (or even three) people to work in, It comes furnished with “Bosch” hood/hob/oven and “Hansgrohe” faucets. All the kitchen cabinets/drawers are fitted with “anti-slam” mechanism.

The Yard area is located at the far end of the kitchen around the corner. This is a square-shaped area with barely enough space for doing your laundry/ironing. A large window provides good ventilation and natural lighting to this area. The developers have included an additional sink here, which is especially useful if you have stuff that needs to be hand-washed.

The yard also houses a bathroom and utility room. The utility room is quite small and narrow, with a pillar that sticks out on one side taking up quite a bit of space. So if you intend this to be the maid’s room, you will probably have to custom-fit the bed. But one thing we really like about the utility is that it actually comes with a window. This is unlike apartments with home shelter that is fully enclosed, which can be rather claustrophobic for the maid.

The living/dining area is L-shaped and seems quite small for a 1700+sqft unit. The developers have deliberately converted one of the adjoining common bedrooms into the dining room, which will at least gives you a decent-sized living and dining area. And as per CapitaLand/HPL ‘s other mega project – The Interlace – you only get homogenous-tile flooring in the living/dining area, which is rather disappointing for a project that has generated so much hype for its avant-garde design.  The balcony/planter area is quite small compared to current standard (less than 100sqft?). And from the floor-plans, it seems like the balcony/planter area for Type D1 is actually bigger than Type D1a.
Bedroom 4

The common bedrooms are small and the bay windows make it a double-whammy. This is probably why the developers have resorted to a “mini” Single-bed, which will allow for more space in the room but probably rather uncomfortable to sleep on. All the bedrooms come with timber-strip floors and your standard-size (read: small) wardrobe.
Bedroom 3

The common bathroom is spacious. You get homogenous tiles for the floors and walls, “Bravat” wash basin/toilet bowl and “Hansgrohe” bathroom fittings. A window within the shower stall (which is a standard feature for all the bathrooms in the unit) provides ventilation and natural lighting to the bathroom. But more importantly, it helps dissipate the stale smell that normally associates with fully-enclosed bathroom - a "flaw" (if you can call it that) we found in the 4-bedroom showflat at The Interlace.

The Junior Suite is located across from the other bedrooms, separated by the living/dining area. The room is good-sized, so you still get quite a fair bit of space after fitting a Queen bed inside.
 Junior Suite

The attached bathroom is again quite spacious and looked almost like a replica of the common bathroom.
Junior Bath

The Master Bedroom is rather odd-shaped and with bay windows on 2 sides. However, it is surprisingly huge compared to many other recent projects that we have seen.
Master Bedroom

The Master Bathroom is again irregular shaped but spacious. You do not get a long-bath even for the 4-bedder, and thus have to make do with the huge standing shower-stall. We like the nice egg-shaped toilet bowl but disappointed with the tiled walls/floors.
Master Bath

Pricing wise, here is a sample of prices for the 4-bedroom units that we believe are still available:
• Block 11, #26-30 (1744sqft Type D1a, faces Bukit Timah) - $3,278,100 or $1,879psf
• Block 11, #27-30 (1615sqft Type D1, same facing) - $3,131,000 or $1,938psf
• Block 13, #26-47 (1744sqft Type D1a, faces Farrer/Holland Road) - $3,278,100 or $1,879psf
• Block 13, #27-47 (1615sqft Type D1, same facing) - $3,131,000 or $1,938psf

Some may say that it is not an "apple to apple" comparison, but units of around 1700 – 1800sqft at the neighboring Waterfall Gardens (completed in 2011) and Parvis (TOP in 2013) have been selling at $1,700+psf & $1,600+psf respectively. And both of these developments are freehold!

What we like:
• All seven blocks are well-spaced apart to offer unblocked view from the living room of your apartments. The actual “view” that you get will largely depend on how “high” your unit’s at, but at least you will not be staring into the unit of the guy living in the opposing block.

• More thoughts have gone into the apartment designs too – we like the spacious and functional kitchen and bathrooms, the smaller balcony (which translates into more interior living space), the windows in the bathrooms/yard that allows for ventilation and even windows for the utility room. If our memory serves us right, the common bathroom for the 4-bedder unit at The Interlace is fully enclosed, which may result in some rather interesting smell after awhile.

• Location – 15 minutes’ drive to CBD, 5-minutes’ to Orchard Road and even less to Holland Village. In addition, the Empress Road Market & Food Centre and upcoming Farrer Road MRT are right at your doorstep!

• Parents with primary school-heading children will be pleased to know that both Nanyang Primary (co-ed) and ACS (International) are within 1-km of d’Leedon. However, you probably still need to ballot for places at Nanyang and pay through your nose if you are thinking about ACS (International).

What we dislike:
• The living/dining area and the common bedrooms are too small for our liking. And if you do sacrifice one bedroom for the dining area, your unit effectively becomes a 3-bedder!

• For an “iconic” project such as d’Leedon and especially given the price, the wife and I are rather disappointed with the furnishing/fittings that are provided. What’s with the homogenous floor tiles in the living/dining area and less than impressive kitchen appliances?!
Floor Tiles
We recalled being similarly unimpressed with The Interlace - the other mega project by CapitaLand/HPL. Then again, the price at that time (Dec 2009) was $1,000psf not $1,900psf!

• The wife and I were told that blocks 11 and 13 have a total of 300+ apartments each. We can appreciate the reason why (else how to fit 1,700 units into 7 blocks?!) but 300 units is like the entire estate in many other developments! We wonder if anyone has considered the fire-hazard aspect of housing so many units within a single 36-storey block…

In summary, the wife and I have mixed-feeling about d’Leedon. There are certainly aspects of the project that we really like (the iconic design, the facilities, the location, MRT at your doorstep etc) but these are not compelling reasons enough for us to consider shelling $3+ million for a 1700+sqft apartment. This is especially when you take into account of the quality seen in the showflats, the 99-year leasehold status and having to cope with 1,700 other households living in the same (albeit huge) estate.

We believe the same amount of money will probably get us better buys at some of the other projects (freehold even) nearby. Maybe this is also the reason why only 50% of units in the 2 blocks are sold thus far, after the initial euphoria at the private preview…


The Boutiq: 75% of unit released sold at soft launch

- 1 Comment
HEETON Holdings, KSH Holdings and TEE International have sold 39 apartments at their high-end Killiney Road residential project, The Boutiq, at an average price of $2,350psf.
the-boutiq copy

The companies said yesterday that 75% of the 52 units released in the first phase of sales have been sold in a soft launch. The freehold District 9 project near Somerset MRT station has 130 units in all.

Heeton chief operating officer Danny Low said that the developers are now giving buyers a discount of about 10% off the list price. Prices will go up when subsequent phases are launched as the discount is scaled back and more choice units are released.

“With its prime location, five-star hotel facilities such as porte-cochere (coach gate), concierge, welcome lounge, and well-designed lifestyle spaces, The Boutiq will be a compelling proposition for young professionals and cosmopolitan globe-trotters – anyone who appreciates the finest things in life,” said Mr Low.

The architectural design of The Boutiq draws inspiration from chic boutique hotels around the world. The project’s architect is Broadway Malayan Asia.

Units in The Boutiq range from 506sqft to 2,853sqft in size. The bulk of the units are one and two-bedroom apartments.

Heeton, KSH and TEE hold stakes of 45%, 35% and 20% respectively in the development project. The three partners bought the site of the former Mitre Hotel in 2009 for $121 – 122 million – or almost $1,100psf ppr including a development charge.
*Source: The Business Times


Enbloc News: Latest on Pine Grove

- April 20, 2011 170 Comments

According to the TODAY paper, the marketing agent Jones Lang LaSalle declined to comment if any bids were received for the tender, or when the results of the tender will be released. This is after the tender for Pine Grove - possibly the most expensive property to go en bloc - closed yesterday.

Are we being too presumptuous to think that if a bid was received at the $1.7 billion asking price, someone would have made an announcement by now....?

Pine Grove Status


Sales Status: Eight Courtyards, Hedges Park, Centra Heights etc...

- April 19, 2011 No Comments

Eight Courtyards
Fraser Centrepoint and Far East Organization have sold 202 of the 280 apartments released at Eight Courtyards, a 99-year condo in Yishun priced at $795psf on average. The price is noticeably lower than recent new mass market launch prices and therefore attractive to buyers, say some experts.

A one-bedroom unit costs $423,000 to $564,000, a two-bedder is between $637,000 and $751,000, while three-bedder would set a buyer back by $703,000 to $1.03 million.

Eight Courtyards comprises 654 apartments and two shop units. Preview for the project began last Friday.

Frasers Centrepoint said that Singaporeans and permanent residents picked up 92% of the 202 units sold at Eight Courtyards. Foreigners – mostly from China and Indonesia – accounted for the other 8% of buyers.

Frasers Centrepoint also dished out other statistics of the buyer profile: 63% were HDB upgraders; and half of the buyers live in Yishun, Sembawang or Woodlands.

All 30 one-bedroom units in the development have been snapped up. The project also includes two, three and four-bedroom units as well as dual-key units.

Hedges Park
Tripartite Developers sold 130 of 200 units that it has released at the 501-unit Hedges Park, a 99-year leasehold condo at Upper Changi Road. The average price is $850psf. The project has started its preview last Friday.

Singaporean picked up 90% of the 130 units sold.

Prices start from $466,000 for a one-bedroom apartment of 484sqft and prices of four-bedroom unit start from $1.06 million for a 1,345sqft unit.

Centra Heights
All 90 units at freehold project Centra Heights in Sims Avenue were snapped up during its preview yesterday. Mr Melvin Ho, managing director of developer Fission Group, said the average price was about $1,250psf.

H20 Residences
City Developments has sold 35 units at H20 Residences in Sengkang so far this month, after selling 255 units in March. This takes total sales to 290 units. The developer has so far released 350 of the 521 units in the project. The average price is $920 - $940psf.

Skysuites 17
EL development’s 115-unit Skysuites 17 sold 9 units over the weekend, to bring its total sales to 99 units.

Skysuites 17 is a freehold project located along Jalan Rajah in Balestier.

*Sources: The Straits & Business Times (19 April 2011)


Enbloc News: Leong Bee Court... what's the deal?

- April 18, 2011 No Comments

Some of you may have seen the advert in either The Straits or Business Times today.

As far as we know, the tender dateline was supposedly not till April 27.

So... did some developer offered an obscene amount of money to take the purchase private, or is it a case of "an offer in hand (although not quite the asking price) is better than none in the bush"?

Hopefully, the wife and I will have some answers over the next few days...

UPDATE (18/4/2011, 1:29PM): 
Thanks to one of our Anonymous readers, we now know that Leong Bee Court was sold to SP Setia for $65 million in a private deal. This is within the $60 - $65 million asking price. Click on below for the report.$65-million

The wife and I wonder why the above was not reported in any of the "major" newspapers today. Too busy with the GE hype maybe...?!

Please include a name/nickname to your comments!

- 1 Comment

The number of "Anonymous" comments, while appreciated, make it rather confusing to read and a slight challenge to respond to. This is especially if we get a couple of these on the same day.

To include your name/nickname, just scroll down to the "Comment as:" box and select "Name/URL".

Thank you in advance for your kind cooperation!

New private home sales up 25.4% in March, but...

- April 16, 2011 No Comments

Despite a month-on-month spike in developers’ sales in March, sales of both the primary and secondary markets eased in the first quarter, according to latest figures from URA.

Official figures yesterday on primary market activity show that developers’ sale of private homes excluding executive condos (ECs) rose 25.4% month on month to 1,386 units in March, buoyed by higher sales in Core Central Region and Rest of Central Region, as well as a s a bigger proportion of transaction in higher price bands.

However, the 3,595 units which developers sold in the first quarter (excluding units sold in the first two months of this year which have been returned to developers) were 15.2% below the 4,241 units sold in the preceding quarter and 17.9% lower than the 4,380 units they sold in Q1 2010. It is also the poorest quarter for new home sales since the fourth quarter of 2009.

The decline is possibly due to the weeding out of speculators as the cooling measures take effect, experts say.

Suburban homes were the most popular, comprising 46% of the total sales last month, indicating sustained demand from HDB upgraders.

In addition, CB Richard Ellis’ analysis of URA Realis caveats data reflects a slowdown in secondary market sales in Q1. The number of private homes transacted in the resale market, which involves projects that have received Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC), fell to 3,168, down 24% from the previous quarter.

Subsales – secondary market deals involving projects that have yet to receive CSC and which are often seen as a proxy of speculative activities – also slipped, down 25.5% quarter on quarter to 550 units.

Year on year, the Q1 resales volume was down about 36% and subsales fell around 45%. However, analysts say that the final resale and subsale numbers for Q1 may be higher as more caveats are lodged.

They also note that despite the drop in both primary market and resale deals in Q1, the figures remain above the 3,000-unit mark, keeping prices firm.

URA figures yesterday show that including ECs (a hybrid of public and private housing), developers’ sale totalled 1,543 units in March, 25.2% more than February’s 1,232 units, The 1,246 units (including ECs) they launched in March were down 27.1% from 1,710 units in February.

CBRE expects developers to sell about 3,000 – 3,500 units in the second quarter, with prices remaining stable.

Last year, developers sold a record 16,292 private homes (excluding Ecs), up 10.9% from the preceding year.

URA’s flash estimate earlier this month reflected a 2.1% q-o-q rise in the overall private home price index, which climbed 17.6% for the whole of 2010.

Colliers noted that the sales volume (excluding ECs) in Core Central Region – which includes prime districts 9, 10 and 11, the financial district and Sentosa Cove – climbed 85.2% month on month to 263 units in March, while the figure for Rest of Central Region (which covers locations such as Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Geylang, Toa Payoh and Katong) posted a 119.6% m-on-m sales increase to 492 units. However, the volume of mass-market homes in Outside Central Region recorded a 14.6% m-on-m drop to 631 units. Further evidence of interest returning to pricier properties was seen in a jump in the proportion of new sales at above $2,000psf from 8% in February to 15% in March.

*Source: The Straits & Business Times


Hedges Park to preview today

- April 15, 2011 2 Comments

As reported in TODAYonline, Hong Leong Group says the 501-unit Hedges Park in Flora Drive, in Changi, will be open for a preview today.

A project by Tripartite Developers, the 99-year leasehold development will have a mix of one- to four-bedroom apartments, with unit sizes ranging from 484 to 1,798sqft. Prices for one-bedroom units start from $466,000.

Hong Leong is a member of the Tripartite joint venture, together with City Developments and TID.

Hong Leong said water is a key element in the project, with a custom-built 50m waterway running through the landscape.

"The project aims to make home not just a place to rest but also a place to rejuvenate by being an enjoyable getaway - literally outside your doorstep," said Ms Betsy Chng, head of sales and marketing, Hong Leong.

Nearby amenities include a Giant supermarket, IKEA and Tampines Mall, while Temasek Polytechnic and Singapore's fourth university are also close by.

You can find out more about Hedges Park and get the floor plans by clicking on the link below:


Let's talk about Collective Sales & SSD...

- April 14, 2011 1 Comment

Consider this scenario: You have just bought a resale apartment in an old estate in February 2011, spent $150K on renovations and for all intention and prupose, have decided to make this your home for the foreseeable future (or more than 4 years at least).

But less a year after your purchase, your estate decides to commence a collective sale process and managed to garner the necessary 80% approval in a relatively short time. And before you know it, your estate is about to be sold to a developer in less than two years after you purchased the apartment.

You decide to do a search on the IRAS website and discover that you are liable to pay the Seller's Stamp Duty (SDD), which equals 12% of your collective sales proceeds. This is irrespective of whether you have objected to the sales or otherwise. And when you sit down to do the maths, you realize that the proceeds you will be receiving from the collective sale is actually less than the purchase price plus SSD. Your situation is made even worse if you take into account the $150K that you have spent renovating the apartment less than 2 years ago.

Two questions come to mind here:
• Can you include the renovation cost (prorated at least) as part of your unit purchase price?
• If you suffer a financial loss because you have to pay the SSD, can you file an objection with STB on such basis?

While the answer to the first question is quite straight forward (i.e. NO, although I am in the opinion that the renovation cost should be pro-rated, say based on a 4-year depreciation scale of 96% for Year 1, 92% for Year 2, 88% for Year 3 and 84% for Year 4, in line with the SSD. This is applicable for those who bought a property on/after 14th Jan 2011 and provided he has all the necessary paperwork to substantiate the renovation claim), the answer to the second question is not so forthcoming.

According to the Strata Titles Board's (STB), a unit owner who has not agreed to the sale can file an objection with the board. He has to do so in writing, within 21 days of the date of the notice for sale.

The board may not approve the sale if it is found that the transaction was not entered into in good faith, after taking into account:
• The sale price for the whole development
• The method of distributing the sale proceeds
• The relationship of the purchaser to any of the flat owners.

Other factors for non-approval: If the objecting unit owner suffers a financial loss, or the sale proceeds are not enough to redeem any mortgage or charge against the flat.

The Act also says that an owner in an estate subject to an en-bloc sale will be deemed to have incurred a financial loss if the sale proceeds, after any deduction allowed by the board, are less than the price paid for the property.

So the question becomes: Is SSD considered a deduction that is "allowed" by the STB??

The wife and I have combed the websites of STB, MND and IRAS for an answer, but have came out none the wiser. Any property/legal expert out there that can help enlighten us on this matter will be much appreciated.

Click on below to read the official press release from MND on the latest round of cooling measures:

Click on below to read the IRAS FAQ on SSD:

We also welcome your views on the subject!


YTD 2011 Enbloc Tally: 12 sealed and counting...

- April 13, 2011 24 Comments
According to The Straits Times, a total of 12 en-bloc sales have already been sealed in 2011.

More are in the pipeline, as around 24 collective sales tenders have entred the market this year - the latest being Pearlbank Apartments, which was launched yesterday.

Some observers say that between 10 and 20 more sale sites could hit the market this month and next. Other expect the total number of collective sales this year to beat last year's figure in terms of volume and total value.

Last year, 34 sales worth $1.7 billion were sealed.

So...a show of hands from those of you who think that the Pine Grove collective sales will be sealed when tender closes next Tuesday (April 19)?


Enbloc News: Pearlbank Apartment

- April 12, 2011 2 Comments

The Business Times today reported that Pearlbank Apartments, a 99-year leasehold development on Pearl’s Hill near Chinatown, has been launched for collective sale with a $750 million price tag.
pearlbank apt

This is the third time that the 37-storey development has been put up for en-bloc sale. The site was last marketed in 2008 with the same price tag, but there were no takers then.

The asking price translates to a land price of $1,495psf ppr, including an estimated charge of $167.2 million to top up the lease to 99 years. There is no development charge payable for the site.

Built in the 1970s, Pearlbank Apartments has a potential gross floor area of about 613,530sqft. The project currently comprises 280 residential apartments and eight commercial units.

The successful developer can build around 500 – 520 new homes on the site, assuming an average unit size of about 1,200sqft, said Nicholas Wong, head of investment at Knight Frank. Knight Frank is marketing the development.

The site has a land area of about 82,379sqft. Under the 2008 Master Plan, the land is zoned for residential use with a 7.2 plot ratio.

“With its elevation on Pearl’s Hill, the site offers fantastic day and night unblocked 360 degree views of the city skyline even for the lower level units. It is a hidden gem in the city, offering developers an opportunity to reshape the skyline,” Mr Wong said. The site is also next to the Outram MRT station, he added.

If the asking price is met, owner of the 280 apartments will walk away with between $1.8 million and $4.9 million per unit, while owners of the eight commercial units will get between $1.2 million and $6.9 million per unit.

The tender for the site will close at 3pm on May 25.

The wife and I will be keeping our eyes peeled for the tender outcome of this development. This is not only because Pealbank Apartments is supposedly one of Singapore’s architectural landmarks, but also the fact that there seems to be quite a few dissenting voices amongst existing owners concerning the en-bloc process...


New projects launching this week: The Hedges & The Boutiq

- No Comments

According to The Business Times today, 2 new project launches are expected this week:

The Hedges Park Condominium
Tripartite Developers – a joint venture between Singapore’s Hong Leong Group, City Developments and TID – is expected to begin sales later this week for its Hedges Park Condominium along Upper Changi Road.

The 99-year leasehold project’s average price is likely to be in the $850 – 900psf range, say market watchers.

Units in the nearby freehold Ferraria Park Condo, which was completed in 2009, have changed hands in the high-$800psf range in recent months.

Hong Leong is behind seven large condo projects in the location over the years on a huge tract of land acquired mostly in the 1970s by the Group – Azalea, Ballota, Carissa, Dahlia, Edelweiss, Ferraria Park, and The Gale condos.

The Hedges, however, will not be part of that historic land tract. Instead, Tripartite will be developing the 8-storey project, which will have 501 units, on a site clinched at a state tender in April last year for $321psf ppr.

The Hedges will have one- to four-bedroom units and penthouses. The one-bedders are 484sqft although ground-floor units with a private enclosed space are larger at 570sqft.

Two-bedroom units start from 764sqft; three-bedders begin from 1,000sqft, while four-bedders are 1,345sqft, though four-bedders with a private enclosed space are 1,538sqft.

Interestingly, the URA is scheduled to launch for tender under the confirmed list later this month another 99-year leasehold condo plot in the location, next to Ferraria Park. The 2.7-hecture (about 290,600sqft) site can generate about 380 units.

The Boutiq
Developer Heeton is expected to rollout The Boutiq this week. This is a development at Killiney Road on the former Mitre Hotel site.

The freehold District 9 project will have 130 units in two 10-storey blocks.

All units in the project – including penthouses – will have either one or two bedrooms. The average price is expected to be in the $2,200 - $2,300psf range.


Enbloc News 2: Cairnhill Mansions

- April 11, 2011 No Comments

And in the Business Times today, Cairnhill Mansions – a plum District 9 freehold residential development plot – has been put up for collective sale.

The reserve price for the 43,103sqft site is $361.5 million or about $2,308psf ppr. This is lower than the guide price of $443.6 million, which would have worked out to about $2,833psf ppr for the property in an earlier en bloc sale attempt in late 2007/early 2008.

No development charge is payable for Cairnhill Mansions, which is zoned for residential use with 2.8 plot ratio and 36-storey maximum height under Master Plan 2008. The new owner of the site can build up to Cairnhill Mansions’ existing gross floor area of 156,581sqft, which reflects a plot ratio of 3.6327.

Analysts estimate that based on the $2,308psf ppr reserve price for Cairnhill Mansions, the breakeven cost for a new project on the site could be about $3,000 to $3,100psf.

A new project in the location could sell at an average price of about $3,500psf if it were to be launched today, reckon property consultants.

In February, a 3,057sqft apartment at the nearby Ritz-Carlton Residences sold for $3,762psf, while a larger unit of 6,501sqft in the same project fetched $4,307psf. At Tomlinson Heights, a 2,734sqft unit sold for $3,238psf and at Scotts Square, a 947sqft apartment achieved $4,626psf in the same month, according to caveats data.

The highest price paid for freehold residential land in Singapore was $2,525psf ppr for the collective sale of Westwood Apartments at Orchard Boulevard, inked in November 2007.

CB Richard Ellis is handling the tender for Cairnhill Mansions’ collective sale, which closes on May 31.

Cairnhill Mansions, which is 40 years old, comprises 60 apartments of about 2,024sqft each, and a penthouse of 8,525sqft. Owners of the apartments should pocket about $5.7 million each while the penthouse owner will receive around $15.1 million, based on the reserve price.


Enbloc News 1: Amber Towers sold for $161.6 million

- No Comments

As reported in the Straits Times today, Amber Towers – a 35-year-old freehold residential project in the Katong area – has been sold to Resource International Holdings, a unit of China Sonangol Land, for $161.6 million.
Amber Towers3

This works out to a price of $1,118psf ppr, said Savills Singapore, the agency that brokered the deal through a tender exercise that closed on March 28. Each owner will potentially receive up to $4.4 million, depending on the size of his unit.

The sale of Amber Towers is the biggest transacted residential collective sale site in dollar terms over the past 3 years.  While the final sale price is lower than the previous indicative guide price of $168 million to $172 million, it is higher than the owners’ reserve price.

The District 15 site, which currently contains 54 apartments, is 40,708sqft. It can be redeveloped into a high-rise condominium with a gross floor area of 145,813sqft. The plot could yield about 110 units, each about 1,200sqft in size.

Analysts say District 15 is now considered an alternative to the prime property districts of 9, 10 and 11, with some units at new project launches commanding prices of above $2,000psf.


That dream condo for HDB upgrader is becoming just that... a dream?!

- April 7, 2011 2 Comments

The Strait Times today ran a special report on the dilemma of HDB upgrader trying to buy that suburban condominium home: Standing in the way is the double whammy of record prices and cooling measures by the Government, which have made it more unaffordable and riskier for these buyers to leap into the private market.

The situation along Bedok Reservoir is perfect illustration of the problem facing HDB upgraders, given the rapidly rising condominium prices around the area.

Accordingly to property consultancy DTZ Research, seven in ten buyers of private homes in the first quarter of 2009 were HDB upgraders - the highest number since the 86% figure achieved in the second quarter of 2002.

But by last year, the number had halved to about 3.5 buyers out of 10. The proportion has remained about the same in January and February this year.

And if private property prices continue to climb in the following months, the figure may dip even lower...


New Project Launch: Eight Courtyards

- No Comments

The wife and I have received word about the impending launch of another new project in the northern part of Singapore - Eight Courtyards, which is jointly developed by Frasers Centrepoint and Far East (yet again!).

Given the encouraging response for Canberra Residences, it will be interesting to see how this one will fare.

For those interested in this project, you know who to call...



Emerald Garden: A gem within the CBD..?

- April 5, 2011 60 Comments

Emerald Garden is probably one of the most overlooked residential properties in the CBD. Located amid conservation shophouses on Club Street near Chinatown, the 265-unit residential project completed in 1998 was probably the first downtown private apartment development. It is within walking distance of both Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar, and also the Tanjong Pagar, Chinatown and Raffles Place MRT stations.
Emerald Garden

The development could increasingly be on the radar screens of potential investors, with the upcoming Telok Ayer MRT station, also within walking distance, expected to be ready next year, says Darren Teo, a senior team director with ERA.

Teo reckons Emerald Garden has been eclipsed by the newer 99-year leasehold high-rise condominiums in Tanjong Pagar, for instance Icon on Gopeng Street, Lumiere at Mistri Road and 76 Shenton Way, and the shiny new towers at Marina Bay, also of the 99-year leasehold variety, such as One Shenton, The Sail @Marina Bay and Marina Bay Residences. As such, apartments at Emerald Garden have not been as actively traded as those in Tanjong Pagar and Marina Bay.

What’s more, Emerald Garden, located in a conservation shophouse neighbourhood, has a 999-year leasehold status and is made up of six low-rise blocks, unlike the high rises found in Tanjong Pagar and Marina Bay. “Many of the owners are perhaps aware that it’s the only property with 999-year leasehold status, which is equivalent to a freehold status, and are therefore holding on to their units,” adds Teo.

Based on the caveats lodged with URA, from March 8 to 15, two units at Emerald Garden changed hands at prices of $1,582 and $1,568psf. A 980sqft, two-bedroom unit on the 11th floor went for $1.55 million ($1,582psf), giving the seller a hefty 50.2% gain, as he had purchased the unit for $1.03 million ($1,053psf) from the developer a month after the project was launched, in April 1996.

The other transaction involved an 829sqft studio apartment on the second floor that went for $1.3 million ($1,568psf). This represents a 57.6% gain for the owner, who had also purchased the unit in 1996 for a mere $825,000 ($995psf).

In addition to their 999-year leasehold status, the units at Emerald Green are also larger than those in newer developments, with studio apartments sized at 721 to 829sqft; two-bedroom apartments, 926 to 1,119sqft; three-bedroom apartments,1227 to 1,346sqft; and four-bedroom units, 1,507 to 1,991sqft.

Emerald Garden’s monthly rental rate is around $4psf, while the latest asking prices are in the $1,600 to $1,700psf range. This compares with asking prices of above $1,800psf at the 646-unit Icon.

Even at the peak of the market, the highest price achieved at Emerald Garden was $1,731psf, when a 1,259sqft apartment changed hands for $2.18 million.

* Above is extracted from a report in this week’s TheEdge Singapore.

With the lower psf price (for the moment, at least) compared to newer projects around the area and the bigger-sized units, Emerald Garden does sound like a pretty good buy for those who enjoy living within the CBD. This is especially with Club Street enjoying a revival of sorts recently – you should check out the various new F&B joints along that stretch of road leading towards Ann Siang Hill. Most of these are crowded, even on weekday evenings!


En Bloc News: Fortredale sold for $65 million

- April 4, 2011 No Comments

A collective sale is said to have been linked for the freehold Fortredale at Tanjong Rhu. The price is believed to be about $65 million, which works out to about $1,342psf ppr.
Fortredale copy

The buyer is a low-profile Chinese developer which is developing a project in the Balestier area.

The en bloc sale of Fortredale – which has a freehold land area of 23,020sqft – was brokered by CB Richard Ellis through a tender which closed on March 29.

Market watchers expect the transaction to provide a price benchmark and pave the way for the en bloc sale of Austral View next door, which is on a site of 30,540sqft and also being marketed by CBRE.

Analysts say they would not be too surprised if the same party that is buying Fortredale also emerges as the buyer of Austral View, as it would then be able to amalgamate the two sites into a combined freehold land area of about 53,560sqft.

The combined plot could then be potentially redeveloped into a new condominium project with a total gross floor area of about 112,476sqft. This would be sufficient for a project with about 108 units averaging 1,000sqft, say analysts.

Both the Fortredale and Austral View sites are zoned for residential use with a 2.1 plot ratio (ratio of maximum potential gross floor area to land area) and 24-storey maximum height under Master Plan 2008.

* Report courtesy of The Business Times today.


URA Q1 2011 Flash Estimates

- No Comments

In a sign that the property cooling measures are taking effect, URA’s overall private residential price index posted a 2.1% quarter-on-quarter increase in Q1, compared with a q-on-q increase of 2.7% in Q4 last year, latest government flash estimates show.

"The rate of increase has moderated for 6 consecutive quarters since Q4 2009," URA said in its release.

URA’s sub-index for prices of non-landed private homes posted a q-on-q gain in Q1 2011 of 0.9% for Core Central Region (which includes the prime districts 9, 10 and 11, as well as the financial district and Sentosa Cove) – a smaller hike than the 2.2% q-on-q rise for Q4 2010.

However, the index for the Rest of Central region (which covers places like Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Geylang, Toa Payoh and Katong) increased 2.2% in Q1 over the preceding quarter – a bigger gain than the 1.9% q-on-q gain in Q4 2010. The index for Outside Central Region (covering suburban mass-market locations like Woodlands, Clementi, Jurong, Hougang, Tampines and Bedok) posted a 3.1% q-on-q rise for the first three months of 2011, after rising 2.1% q-on-q in Q4 2010.

Credo Real Estate executive director Ong Teck Hui said: “The cooling measures did not affect genuine home buyers as much as they did investors and speculators. And demand for OCR is sustained by genuine buyers.” Some market watchers suggest there may be some diversion of investment demand from high-end property to lower-priced segments as the cooling measures stretched budgets.

However, some analysts point out that the rate of q-on-q price increases for OCR had moderated in Q3 and Q4 last year before rising again in Q1. And the Q1 flash estimate for the region reflected a year-on-year appreciation of 13.6%; this figure has been easing since peaking at 36.1% in Q2 last year.

CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho attributes the 3.1% rise in the Q1 flash estimate for OCR to projects like Waterfront Isle along Bedok Reservoir, The Lakefront Residences near Jurong Lake, and The Tennery in Bukit Panjang which registered strong take-up at median prices (in the first two months of this year) of about $990psf, $1050psf and $1200psf respectively. “These projects attracted home buyers mainly because of their proximity to an MRT station,” Mr Li said.

He attributed the 2.2% appreciation in the RCR’s price index to Spottiswoode 18 and The Cape - both transacted at a median price of about $2000psf – as well as projects with small-format units like Palmera East ($1225psf).

URA said that as at end-2010, there were about 33,000 yet-to-be-sold private homes in uncompleted projects with planning approval – of which 40% is in OCR. In addition, there were 1500 executive condominium units that were still unsold.

The above supply figures do not take into account new sites that were recently sold (which can generate about 8,100 units) or which will be made available for development through the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme in H1 2011 (which can generate about 5,360 units). Additional supply may also come from private land sources, such as enbloc sales.

*Above is extracted from a report in last weekend's Business Times


d'Leedon: Photos of 3-bedder showflat

- April 3, 2011 1 Comment
Below are photos that the wife and I took of the 1281sqft, 3-bedroom (Type C2) showflat.

We will try to post the review for d'Leedon by tomorrow soon.

Floor Plan (Type C2)
Living & Dining
Master Bedroom
Master Bedroom Wardrobe
Master Bath2
Master Bath1


d'Leedon: Photos of the Garden House

- April 2, 2011 1 Comment
The wife and I were at the sales gallery of d'Leedon this morning.

And just like the project itself, the sales gallery is a humongous building that houses showflat types ranging from 1-bedder to the 4-bedroom unit.

But the showflat that really caught our eyes was the "Garden House" unit, which is an apartment consisting of THREE floors - basement, lower and upper levels.

And if you feel like you have just stepped into one of those futuristic home from the movies, join the club!
Garden House

Living & Kitchen

Junior Suite

J.Suite Bath



Master Bedroom

Master Bath