Latest Posts

New project info: Riviera 38 to preview next Thursday!

- September 30, 2011 No Comments

Robert Kuok’s Singapore property unit Allgreen Properties will preview on Thursday next week a 102-unit development at Mar Thoma Road near Toa Payoh/Bendemeer area.

The 999-year leasehold Riviera 38 will have a range of unit sizes, strating from 452sqft for a one-bedroom apartment to 1,980sqft for a penthouse with three-bedrooms and a private swimming pool.

Allgreen says absolute unit prices will start from about $530,000 for a 452sqft one-bedder on the seventh floor. The developer has yet to finalise pricing, but word on the street is that the average price indication being given to prospective buyers is about $1,200psf. A property agent not involved with marketing the project told BT that an “average price of about $1,100-1,200psf would be reasonable”.

Riviera 38 will have 20 one-bedders and another 21 one-bedroom-plus-study units. The remaining units in the development are two-bedders, two-bedroom-plus-study units, three-bedders and penthouses.

DTZ is the sole marketing agent for the project, which will be developed on the former Hup Cheong Mansion site.

Riviera 38 will have a single tower of 27 storeys. Apartments will start from the sixth floor. Facilities in the project will include an infinity-edge swimming pool, children’s pool, jacuzzi, children’s play area, barbecue pavilion, gym and function room.
Source: The Business Times


We did say it's too good to last...

- No Comments
Reference: "3-month Sibor on the rise amid market turmoil" - The Business Times

Some of you may think to yourselves: even with SIBOR at 0.5%, the interest rate is still way to cheap to pass over on that THIRD investment property. Didn't KF said just yesterday that private home prices will continue to go up?!

Well, good luck with that...

Click below to read our previous post on the anticipated rise in interest rates:


Will we see $1,000psf average price for mass-market homes soon?

- September 29, 2011 No Comments

Even as ongoing concerns for the EU and US economies have affected sentiments for high-end properties, prices for mass-market homes are fast approaching the psychological barrier of $1,000psf.

It is against a mise-en-scene of falling sales volumes – Knight Frank expects primary market sales volume, excluding executive condominiums (ECs), to fall by some 7%, quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) – that Outside Central Region (OCR) bucks the trend, projecting sales numbers of approximately 2,868 for Q3 2011, a 5.9% increase from Q2 2011.

Accounting for approximately 70% of new sales transactions, these mass-market homes are expected to remain the main focus this quarter.

With an average transacted price of $941psf in Q3 2011, prices of suburban home (non-landed private residential properties, excluding ECs) have increased 2.5% q-o-q, higher than the 1.7% rise in the OCR property price index in Q2 2011.

Notably, prices of mass-market homes are fast approaching the psychological $1,000psf barrier, while average prices exceeded the $1 million level in Q2 2011, Knight Frank says.

Within the Core Central Region (CCR), which includes the prime districts, CBD and Sentosa Cove, sales volume is expected to decrease by 45.4% to an estimated 287 units in Q3 2011, compared to 526 units the previous quarter.

Prices of these properties fell by 3.6% q-o-q, transacting at an average of $1,800psf in Q3 2011.

Meanwhile, Rest of Central Region (RCR) is expected to see sales drop by 10.2% q-o-q, from 1,090 units to an estimated 979 units in Q3 2011. Transacting at an average of $1,300psf, prices of homes in RCR increased 1.6% q-o-q in Q3 2011, compared to 1.1% in Q2 2011.

Overall, Knight Frank estimates that 4,134 units – excluding ECs – will be sold in the primary market in Q3 2011, a decrease in sales volume of some 7% q-o-q.

On the rental front, high-end and mass-market segments saw rental increases of 1.9% and 0.4% q-o-q respectively, compared with 6.5% and -1.4% q-o-q in Q2 2011.

Rent in the mid-market segment, represented by properties in East Coast and Lower Bukit Timah areas, increased 2.3%, as contrasted to -3.3% in Q2 2011.

Slowdown in property price appreciation and tightened immigration policies may moderate residential rental growth, notes Knight Frank. In conjunction with more newly completed residential homes being pushed out, the company postulates that average residential rental will remain flat, or increase by less than 2% for the rest of the year.

For Q4 2011, Knight Frank expects new sales (excluding ECs) to hit at least 16,000 units, with mass-market homes continuing to see strong sales, and high-end homes continuing to see selective buying. Overall volume is not likely to spike substantially.

“If the economic performance turns unexpectedly for the worse by a large magnitude, private home prices are expected to moderate albeit any corrections are expected to be marginal and not more than 5% yearly. Otherwise, private home prices in general should hold or increase marginally at less than two to three per cent q-o-q in Q4 2011,” it said.
Source: The Business Times

So prices of private homes are still expected to increase (at a smaller %) despite an anticipated decrease in sales volume, attributed largely by the perceived continual strong demand for mass-market homes.

Does this necessarily mean that the government need to roll-out even more public housing before we can stamp the rise in private home prices, since the bulk of demand is in the mass-market sector?


Shoebox prices peaking...?

- September 28, 2011 No Comments

The price of shoebox units are on the rise but concerns over affordability in this segment could see prices softening.

The Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) by the National University of Singapore (NUS), which tracks the price movement of new small apartments, rose 3.1% in August (month-on-month), after falling 0.5% in July.

The increase is more significant when compared to the overall SRPI which remained flat in August and July.

Small units are defined as being no bigger than 506sqft. The SRPI Small for small units was created in July. At the time, NUS' Institute of Real Estate Studies said that "this is important market information which will help us understand the price behaviour of different segments of the market."

The popularity of shoebox units is a relatively new trend that appears to be correlated with housing affordability.

Jones Lang LaSalle's head of research and consultancy Chua Yang Liang said that the increase in the SRPI Small was underpinned by the housing needs of young and small families. "Affordability is an issue," said Dr Chua.

Investors are also price sensitive, it seems. "You also can't discount the fact that some are buying for investment," Dr Chua added.

Because this segment of the market is tied to the quantum price of the property, prices are not likely to keep rising, because the units cannot feasibly get any smaller.

"There will be a point when prices cannot get higher," Dr Chua added.

Looking at the segmental index, the SRPI Central (central region), excluding small units, fell 0.7% while the SRPI Non-Central, excluding small units, rose 0.5%.

Giving insight on the overall property market, Nicholas Mak, head of SLP International Research, said: "The price range is reaching a plateau with no increase. The growth from sub-sectors like non-central and smaller units implied a stronger demand while the central district, suffering from three months of contraction, showed the opposite."

Mr Mak also added that due to the current economic slump, the market becomes very "uncertain" and there is a need for investors to be "selective".
Source: Channel News Asia


Are you living in a 99-year leasehold condo that's nearing 30-year old? (Part 3)

- No Comments

Here's the third and final part of the cover story published in this week's THEEDGE SINGAPORE.

Bite-sized deals dominate
So far this year, developers seem to favour the lower- to upper-middle tier of the residential segment, with a ballpark figure of $200 million. “All the deals that have taken place this year have been below $200 million,” says Credo’s Singh.

The most recent transaction was announced on Sept 21, namely the en-bloc sale of Hong Leong Garden Shopping Centre to listed Oxley Holdings and a consortium of niche developers. The mix-use development located in West Coast was sold for $171.1 million. The 956-year leasehold site sits on a land area of 150,816sqft.

“This is the largest collective sale this year in terms of quantum price and the largest in four years in terms of land size,” says Singh. “During the last en-bloc fever in 2006 to 2007, $171 million would have been considered a small deal. How things have changed.”

According to Credo, so far this year, a total of 37 sites worth close to $2.24 billion have been sold in en-bloc deals, compared with 36 totalling $1.77 billion for 2010. “None of the deal for the big, freehold sites went through, and the 99-year leasehold sites offered for sale this year were all large,” says Credo’s Singh. “For en-bloc sale of a large project, the market outlook must be very positive. When sentiment is mixed, developers tend to prefer small, bite-sized projects.”

Location, site attributes and differential premium
The “most ideal location” for a property going en-bloc sale is next to an MRT station, says Stella Hon, head of investments at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). “To developers, the differential premium – which includes topping up the lease – is very important. If they are confident about the site, they would not focus on the differential premium. But if they are not so [confident], then it becomes important. It’s also a matter of timing.”

The measures introduced by the government earlier this year have also affected market sentiment and cooled the demand for residential property. With effect from Jan 14, the seller’s stamp duty (SSD) increased from a tiered rate of 3%, 2% and 1% for those who sell within the first, second and third year of purchase, respectively, to a hefty 16%, 12%, 8% and 4% for those who sell within the first, second, third and fourth year of purchase. The result has been slower sales at new project launches and a longer holding period for developments, says Knight Frank’s Loh.

The success rate of collective sales has been low this year, says CBRE’s Lake. “It’s a function of both quantum price and price psf per plot ratio,” he says. “The success rate in 2006/07 was about 90%; now, it’s probably 20%.”

The main difference is that in 2006/07, land prices escalated quickly and developers were able to meet the rise in reserve prices, explains Lake. “The reserve price is always based on forward price. And if developers don’t see any substantial price increase in the future, they will just sit tight.”

Even the large freehold en-bloc sites have failed to find buyers, for instance, Tulip Garden at Farrer Road, which was launched for sale at $650 million and later reduced to $600 million; Hawaii Tower on Meyer Road, which had a price tag of $700 million; and Brookvale Park at Sunset Way, which was offered for collective sale at an indicative price of $550 million.

But there’s no stopping the queue of collective-sale hopefuls from entering the market. On Sept 22, PropNex put up for tender at $500 million Cavenagh Gardens, a freehold site in prime District 9.

And JLL is marketing Parkway View, a 26-unit condo along Marine Parade Road for $81 million. JLL’s Hoh is also planning to launch for collective sale Faber Garden, a 233-unit condo developed by UOL Group in 1984. The project sits on a large elevated freehold site and has already achieved 80% consensus from its owners to proceed with a collective sale. In the pipeline are also two adjoining plots at Kim Keat Lane in Balestier, as well as another site in the northeast region. “All these sites are freehold,” notes JLL’s Hoh.

The rate of success for collective sales may be low, especially for large sites. And given developers’ lack of interest in large collective-sale sites, “owners’ expectations have to be tempered in order to bridge the price gap,” says CBRE’s Lake. “However, if the price premium is not large enough, there’s little incentive for owners to go through a collective-sale process. Replacement cost for owners has also gone up. Therefore, at different points of the property cycle, it may not be viable to do a collective sale.”

The [3-part] cover story, in addition to highlighting the predicaments of “older” 99-year leasehold estates, has certainly provided a good insight into the en-bloc market for 2011 thus far. Given the current state of the World economy and the sentiments in our property market, the wife and I will go out on a limb here and predict {yes, we did say we will stay away from making predictions, but we just cannot help it!} that none of the collective sales that are asking for $500 million and above will go through this year. The timing and market conditions {as we see it} are just wrong, so we really question if there is any point in rushing to sell now and be utterly disappointed with the results. And to repeatedly lower the reserve price after each unsuccessful en-bloc attempt is a sure sign of desperation {to us anyway}, which the developers will certainly exploit to their advantages in a buyers’ market.


Are you living in a 99-year leasehold condo that's nearing 30-year old? (Part 2)

- September 27, 2011 11 Comments

Here is the second part of the cover story published in this week's THEEDGE SINGAPORE. We will post the third and final part tomorrow.

Collective sale hopefuls
The future isn’t all that bleak for ageing 99-year leasehold condos, even for places with just 30 or 40 years left on their lease. “If they are well maintained, they can still fetch good rental rates,” says Chuan Park’s Chan.

Mortgage financing for condos such as Chuan Park and The Arcadia is also not an issue for now. “DBS does finance properties with less than 60 years’ lease, as long as the remaining lease is at least 20 years at loan maturity,” says Liu Su Kian, managing director and head of deposits and secured lending at DBS Bank. “The key considerations for approving such loans, as with all mortgage loans, are the customer’s commitment and ability to make repayments.”

Chia Siew Cheng, head of loans division at United Overseas Bank, says: “We look into several factors when reviewing a loan application. The loan quantum that a borrower would qualify for does not only depend on the age of the property, but on other factors as well. These would include regulatory requirements and the profile and creditworthiness of the borrower.”

There is, however, a restriction on CPF usage for properties with less than 30 years remaining on the lease, which in turn may affect the resale value, notes DBS’s Lui.

It’s not just Chuan Park and Chiltern Park that are exploring the possibility of a collective sale. There are more than twenty 99-year leasehold condos that have crossed the 25-year mark, and these may be put up for collective sale, says Susie Mok, director of investment sales at Savills Singapore. In the east, Tampines Court is in the midst of a second collective-sale attempt, while Bayshore Park, Mandarin Garden and Loyang Valley are also some of the large 99-year leasehold condos that are potential collective-sale candidates, according to Mok. There’s also Thomson View at Sin Ming; Sherwood Tower above Bukit Timah Plaza in Upper Bukit Timah; and Lakepoint Condo, a five-minute walk from the Lakeside MRT station. In the prime districts, Mok says Orchard Bel-Air on Orchard Boulevard and Chancery Court on Dunearn Road are likely candidates.

Is this the right time?
“Most of the owners at the older, 99-year leasehold developments must be wondering what their options are,” says Karamjit Singh, managing director of Credo Real Estate. “Is it a good idea to spend more money in retrofitting or should they think of a collective sale? But even then, not all projects crossing 30 years may be ideal for a collective sale. You need certain market conditions to fall in place for a collective sale to be viable.”

In fact, owners of some of the older, 99-year leasehold condos have already approached property consultants with the intention of pursuing a collective sale. “But they have to form a collective-sale committee first,” says Knight Frank’s Loh.

Often, after setting up the committee, the sale could still be aborted because of various factors such as pricing and timing. “The timing must be ideal. Sentiment also plays a part and so does the health of the global economy, as well as developers’ appetite,” says Loh. Getting the 80% consensus to facilitate a collective sale is also a challenge for large sites, he adds.

“Currently, developers’ appetite for large leasehold en-bloc sites is weak,” says Jeremy Lake, executive director of investment properties at CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). “Large developers that still have an appetite for big sites will target 99-year leasehold sites in the GLS [Government Land Sales] programme as there is greater certainty of completion and they can launch the site far more quickly than buying a collective sale site.”

And the government has been injecting a lot of new supply of 99-year leasehold development sites through the Confirmed List of the GLS programme. In 1H2011, it released 17 sites on the Confirmed List that could yield 8,100 residential units. Including 13 sites on the Reserve List, a total of 30 sites that could generate 14,300 residential units were offered in 1H. In 2H2011, another 17 sites were offered on the Confirmed List, which could also yield 8,100 residential units. Together with those on the Reserve List for 2H, the total supply was 14,200 residential units.

That has not stopped large, 99-year leasehold collective-sale sites from being rolled out this year. The largest was Pine Grove, a privatised HUDC estate in Ulu Pandan that was put up for tender with a price tag of $1.7 billion in March. Laguna Park at Marine Parade Road was put on the market for $1.33 billion by Knight Frank in May. This was after a failed attempt in 2009, when its asking price was $1.2 billion.

Early this month, Park West Condo was put up for collective sale, with an asking price of $803 million. The differential premium and topping-up of the lease is estimated to be $230 million. This will bring the total price tag to about $1.033 billion. The existing project comprises a 432-unit condo and four commercial units and sits on a 99-year leasehold site measuring 633,644.39sqft. With a plot ratio of 2.1, 1,000 to 1,200 units can be built on the site, assuming an average size of 1,200sqft for the new units, says ERA Realty Network, the marketing agent for the development. The tender closes on Oct 20.

In April, Pearl bank Apartments, a high-rise residential block on Pearl’s Hill, near the Outram MRT station, was put up for en-bloc sale with a price tag of $750 million. The tender closed at end-May. Knight Frank will be re-launching the site for sale a second time next month at a slightly reduced price of “over $700 million”, says Loh.

In May, Vista Park, a large, 99-year leasehold condo located off Pasir Panjang Road was also put up for collective sale, with an indicative price of $338 million. The sale was also handled by Knight Frank.

Another collective-sale attempt was that at Peace Centre and Peace Mansion at 1 Sophia Road. Savills Singapore marketed the property a third time, at a reduced price of $675 million. The tender closed on Aug 3.
{To be continued}


Living in a box, living in a (Shoe)box...

- No Comments
Shoebox units outperformed other condos as an investment last month, according to website

Prices for the minute flats, normally measuring less than 500sqft, rose 14% to an average $1,549psf in August 2011 from a year ago.

In contrast, psf prices increased 4.9% for condominiums measuring between 501 to 1,500sqft; and rose 9.9% for condos of more than 1,500sqft.

The hotspot for shoebox units was District 15 with 513 apartments transacted, while the lowest was in the non-prime area District 21 with only 11 of the total 197 deals crossed in August.

Shaun Di Gregorio, iProperty Group CEO, said the shoebox "present attractive investment opportunities," despite the steep pricing and market uncertainties posed by European and US debt crises.

Some analysts such as Mr Ku Swee Yong, the CEO of International Property Advisor Pte Ltd, speculate the rise demand for shoebox apartments in August may be due to the spike in such properties being developed during that period.

"We cannot assume that the strong take up of shoebox units is due to the popularity of investors because it is a relatively new market," said Mr Ku.
Source: Channel News Asia

Whether you are a convert or skeptic on the issue of rising popularity of shoeboxes, there are always two sides to a coin (unless you are Harvey "Two-Face" Dent, of course). Below is an article in The Straits Times today whereby the writer seems perfectly happy living in her shoebox unit and professes that "the popularity of small apartment living is an index of a city's sophistication."

So, what do YOU think?


Are you living in a 99-year leasehold condo that's nearing 30-year old? (Part 1)

- September 26, 2011 11 Comments

Racing against time - As more 99-year leasehold condo approach the 30-year mark, owners are increasingly looking at collective sale. The question is timing, given developers'weak appetite for lareg sites and the release of a slew of government land sites.

Last month, six owners of units at Chuan Park got together to conduct a poll to gauge fellow owners’ interest in pursuing a collective sale. The 452-unit condominium sits on a 99-year leasehold site and with the lease starting from 1980, this means it is already 31 years old.

One of the reasons given in favour of a collective sale in a letter circulated to the owners is that “it will be increasingly difficult for new buyers to secure a full loan and [use] their CPF to fund a purchase in our estate as our property ages. We will face a possible property-decay situation where our homes, however priced, would have a diminishing pool of buyers”.

The letter also cited the case of The Arcadia, which was reported in May to have failed in its attempt to top up its lease to 99 years without going through a collective sale. This was despite having obtained 100% consent from the owners of the 164-unit condo, who were even willing to foot the bill for the top-up if permission was granted.

Chuan Park’s land area is 402,995sqft and it currently has a plot ratio of 2.1, which means a new development with a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 846,289.5sqft can be built on the site. It was also estimated that based on the current average market transaction price of $850psf and assuming a 40% premium, the collective-sale price would be around $1,200psf.

The sale price of $1,200psf was probably benchmarked against the average launch price achieved at The Scala, a 468-unit condo across the road from Chuan Park, says a source. Launched by developer Hong Leong Holdings at the end of July last year, the 99-year leasehold condo had 75% of its units snapped up by balloting at an average price of $1,150psf on the first day of its public preview.

The site is located next door to the Lorong Chuan MRT station and has a plot ratio of 2.8, which is higher than the plot ratio of 2.1 of existing condos in the neighbourhood such as Chuan Park, Chiltern Park and Springbloom.

According to sources, about half of the more than 100 respondents registered interest in a collective sale at Chuan Park. “If 25% of the owners based on the number of units, or 20% by share value, express interest in a collective sale, they can call for an EOGM and form a sales committee, which will be the first step in the collective-sale process,” says Ian Loh, associate director of investment at Knight Frank.

Chan Chee Keong, 68, is a retired Singaporean businessman who has lived in Chuan Park for 11 years. He is also chairman of the Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) at Chuan Park. “As chairman of the MCST, I want to remain neutral and keep an open mind,” says Chan. “When residents approach me to advise them, I tell them this is something they have to decide for themselves; it’s a very personal decision. To be honest, when people ask you if you want to sell [your property], it’s very difficult to answer. Where is the tipping point? What is the price threshold?”

Chan adds, “A lot of people think money is the only consideration [for the owners], but it’s not true. The location is very convenient – it’s near the Serangoon Garden Market, the [Lorong Chuan] MRT station and, for those who drive, the CTE is nearby.”

Quite a few owners at Chuan Park moved into the condo recently after selling their landed homes in the Serangoon Gardens housing estate nearby. “Many adult children moved to the area to be near their parents,” says Chan. “So it doesn’t make sense for the parents to move.” Chan’s son, for instance, recently relocated his young family to within 1km of Chuan Park. Previously, he lived 10km away.

In any collective sale, residents tend to fall into two camps, observes Chan. He understands the position of those in favour of a collective sale. “Their view is that at the current all-time-high market price, it’s perhaps a good time to consider a collective sale, as years down the road, when the lease run low, prices could drop,” he says. “So, both sides have a valid argument.”

Watching the en-bloc attempt at Chuan Park closely are the owners of units at the neighbouring Chiltern Park, a 500-unit condo that was completed in 1995. The 99-year lease on the site starts from 1991, which means it’s in its 20th year.

PS Lee, a 60-year-old businessman, owns two units at Chiltern Park. One is a 1,259sqft, three-bedroom apartment on the ninth floor that he purchased four years ago at $760,000 ($604psf) and uses as his residence. The other is a 915sqft, two-bedroom apartment on the 10th floor that he bought for $720,000 two years ago and rents out at $3,500 a month. “The units have high ceilings and I have unobstructed views of Marina Bay Sands and the city skyline even from the ninth floor,” says Lee.

He reveals that he has received offers of up to $1.2 million for his three-bedroom apartment and more than $900,000 for the two-bedroom unit, but he is not selling. Besides being located across the street from the Lorong Chuan MRT station, Chiltern Park and Chuan Park are also near the Stamford American School, Australian School and the New Tech Park coming up near the MRT station, he notes. “As such, units here are a draw for buyers, both homeowners and investors.”

Some of the residents at Chiltern Park are also considering doing a similar poll to the one conducted at Chuan Park to find out residents’ interest in a collective sale, says Lee. “In district 19, Chiltern Park and Chuan Park are the two condo developments with the greatest en-bloc-sale potential.”
{To be continued}


For those looking at Punggol, Sengkang & Pasir Ris...

- September 23, 2011 1 Comment

Oversupply risks in Outside Central Region
by Ku Swee Yong
The outlook for the Singapore residential property market lacks clarity and the murkiness does not seem to be clearing any time soon. Investors are looking for signals, direction and leadership. One major topic of discussion that has gained traction over the past year is pipeline supply.

It began with a discussion about the Urban Redevelopment Authority's quarterly reports on the expected completion of units, and recently, there seems to be wider acceptance that the coming supply will be massive. But questions remain as to where the potential oversupply will be and whether it will lead to price declines.

In my previous contributions to Today, "Massive Supply to hit outskirts" (June 24) and "Let's take a closer look at the numbers" (July 8), I highlighted concerns that the oversupply in 2013-2015 will be weighted towards the mass market segment, or Outside Central Region (OCR). Since end 2009, price increases in the OCR have outpaced the other two areas: Core Central Region (CCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR). The price increases were partly caused by new launches in the OCR that were priced at a premium to the neighbouring projects.

OCR market hots up
The rising prices in the OCR fed upon themselves. Almost all of the Government Land Sales were concentrated in the OCR and as the new projects launched sold fast and prices achieved new highs, developers were more willing to bid higher for land. These led to higher costs which meant that the new launches had to be priced even higher.

Data compiled by property agency Singapore Condo shows 3,931 apartments and condominium units changed hands in the OCR in 2Q2011. Some 28 per cent of these transacted at $1,000 psf or higher and the average price per unit in OCR rose past $1 million. Mr Vince Chen, chief investment officer of Singapore Condo, said 175 units, or more than 4%, sold above $1,300psf and that more than half of the properties transacted were still under construction.

Investors are used to seeing residential prices around $1,000psf across Singapore. However, most would be surprised that significant numbers transacted in OCR have increased to these levels. During the previous peak four years ago, OCR locations were transacted at $600psf on average and today, they are at $887psf.

Punggol, Sengkang and Pasir Ris stand out
The numbers in Table 2 and Table 3 indicate continued strength in OCR transactions and prices. Yet the risks seem compounded when we view the rising prices alongside the threat of oversupply in OCR. Three adjacent planning areas, when taken together, stand out as having the highest concentration of residential units in the pipeline: Punggol, Sengkang and Pasir Ris.

Some 25%, or 8,102 units, of the private home supply within OCR (32,751 units) is concentrated in these three areas. The proportion rises to 38% (estimated 28,000 out of 74,185 units) when we include the strong supply of public housing.

We must be mindful that this is a simple snapshot of the seemingly high supply and a casual observation that the concentration of this supply falls within the three planning areas of Sengkang, Punggol and Pasir Ris. Without a detailed look at population growth and potential demand, we are not able to infer that it may translate into downward pressure on prices.

However, one point does worry me: With 28,000 households coming up in Sengkang, Punggol and Pasir Ris, will the quality of life be compromised? Will there be enough schools and medical facilities in these neighbourhoods? Also, will the already stretched transport infrastructure in these areas be tested to the extreme?

I leave you to digest the data and draw your own conclusions about the risks. In the next few years, I will be sticking with the 5- to 10-year-old properties in the central regions.

Ku Swee Yong is founder of real estate agency International Property Advisor, specialising in property services for high-net-worth clients. He is the author of Real Estate Riches: Understanding Singapore's Property Market in a Volatile Economy.
Source: TODAYonline


And yet more enbloc news: Cavenagh Gardens

- September 22, 2011 3 Comments

Reference: "Fresh en bloc bid by condo in Cavenagh Rd" - The Straits Times, 22 Sep 2011

Yes, Cavenagh Gardens' expected price of between $1,620psf ppr and $1,688psf ppr may be "reasonably attractive" compared to Cairnhill Mansion's reserve price of  $2,308psf ppr, but that is probably one reason why the later is still unsold after the May 31st tender dateline.

With developers showing extremely low appetite for redevelopment plots of more than $500 million, and given that the largest collective sale for 2011 to date is a mere $171 million, the wife and I cannot help but wonder if it is an opportune time to re-launch the en bloc bid for Cavenagh Gardens now. But PropNex may know something that we don't - the expected price of Cavenagh Gardens is a tad below $500 million after all - or is it just a case of "don't try, don't know"?

Time will only tell...


More enbloc news: Parkway View

- No Comments

Parkway View, a freehold residential redevelopment site located along Marine Parade Road, has been put up for collective sale by tender with an indicative price of $81 million or $1,496psf ppr.

Marketing agent Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said in a press statement yesterday that the redevelopment site has an area of 25,787sqft. It is zoned for “residential” use with a gross plot ratio of up to 2.1, and has a maximum height limit of 24 storeys.

JLL said the potential gross floor area (GFA) of up to 59,568sqft, inclusive of a 10% bonus GFA for balcony space, could potentially yield some 125 apartments with an average size of 450sqft each. No development charge is payable on the subject site.

The $81 million indicative price works out to $1,360psf ppr, if the 10% bonus gross floor area allowed for balcony space is included.

Parkway View is currently a 15-storey development with 26 units ranging from 129sqm to 322sqm each. The site is opposite Parkway Parade and Marine Parade Centre, and is in close proximity to the upcoming 112 Katong.

Stella Hon, JLL’s national director and head of investments, says the site offers the potential buyer an opportunity to acquire a bite-sized freehold land in a prime residential location, and should generate strong response.

The tender will close at 3pm on Oct 27.
Source: The Business Times.

Enbloc news: Hong Leong Garden Shopping Centre (Updated)

- No Comments

As reported in the 9.30pm news on Channel 5 tonight, Hong Leong Garden Shopping Centre has been sold in a collective sale to a consortium led by Oxley Holdings. The transacted price is said to be $170 million, which translates to about $800psf ppr.

This is supposedly the largest en bloc deal in 2011 so far in terms of dollar value.

Click below to read our previous post on this en bloc sale:


Project spotlight: Reflections at Keppel Bay

- September 21, 2011 No Comments
Keppel Land’s Reflections at Keppel Bay, the developers’ iconic waterfront property, is likely to receive its temporary occupation permit (TOP) at year-end. And that may have stoked sales of late, say property experts. The 1,129-unit Reflections, designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind (most famous as master planner for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site in New York), sits prominently at Keppel Bay and overlooks Marina @Keppel as well as Sentosa Island. Units on the high floors offer encompassing views of the sea and the city.

From Aug 23 to 30, two units at Reflections were transacted, according to data downloaded from URA Realis as at Sept 14. A 1,270sqft three-bedroom apartment on the 15th floor of one of the six high-rise glass towers at Reflections was recently sold for $2.92 million ($2,300psf). In the same tower, two floors down, a 786sqft studio unit changed hands in a sub-sale for $1.8 million ($2,301psf).

To date, developer Keppel Land has sold 821 out of the 830 units launched to date. Transaction prices at these levels are “reasonable”, given the development’s location next to the giant VivoCity mall, and Sentosa Island, where the Resort World Sentosa integrated resort is located, says Margaret Thean, DTZ’s executive director of residential. DTZ is a joint-marketing agent of Reflections with CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). “It’s for the super rich who want a different lifestyle. With its location right at the waterfront, residents can easily enjoy activities at the sea. Some of the buyers also own yachts, which they can berth at the marina.”

Interestingly, the highest price achieved for the project to date was $3,025psf and it was for a 2,949sqft, four-bedroom apartment that was sold for over $8.9 million at end-July. It is also the sole transaction to date to have crossed the $3,000psf threshold. Another similar-sized unit on the third level of the same tower was sold for close to $8.75 million, or $2,966psf, in July. This was the next highest price psf achieved.

Reflections has attracted local high net-worth individuals and those from China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, says Joseph Tan, executive director of residential services at CBRE. Tan adds that the project was recently showcased in an exhibition in Malaysia, and saw good response.

“An increase in transactions is expected when a property nears its TOP date,” says Tan. He says buyers who do not want to wait for construction to be completed, and who prefer to move in immediately, will likely buy a property closer to its TOP date. “Some buyers are more comfortable purchasing a property when it’s almost completed, so they know exactly what they are buying into,” he adds.

Institutional funds had also purchased block units in the development in 2007. For instance, Keppel Land sold two low-rise waterfront apartment blocks at Reflections, or 56 units, to Kuwait fund the Al-Nibras Islamic Real Estate Fund, for $286 million. The fund is holding the units as long-term investments.

Reflections is gaining international recognition because of Libeskind, who, besides the World Trade Center Site, is also famous for his iconic buildings such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin. “Its architecture adds to its uniqueness and that may matter to some buyers looking for a trophy asset,” says CBRE’s Tan.

However, Tan reckons Reflections’ location, amenities and spectacular views also play a key part in driving demand. It is located next to Keppel Land’s other condominium development, the 99-year leasehold 969-unit Caribbean at Keppel Bay, which was completed in 2004, and launched that same year. In August, there had been several transactions there with prices above $1,500psf. Next to Caribbean is the HarbourFront precinct, with a mix of office towers and shopping malls including VivoCity, still the largest shopping mall in Singapore.

The mall is linked to the HarbourFront MRT Interchange and station, and is also just one train stop away from the Resort World Sentosa integrated resort on Sentosa Island.

Positioned as an upscale condo project, Reflections has penthouses ranging from 7,000 to 13,300sqft. The development also contains a mix of units from studio apartments of 732sqft to four-bedroom units of up to 3,993sqft. Its six towers vary in height from 24- to 41-storeys, with each tower crowned by a sky garden. Sky bridges also connect the towers and act as communal spaces for residents. There are also another 11 low-rise apartment blocks directly fronting the bay with amazing sea views.

In neighbouring Telok Blangah, developer Bukit Sembawang estates launched the freehold 283-unit Skyline Residences, which will sit on the site of the former Fairways Condo. The launch has also drawn homebuyers and investor interest to the Telok Blangah neighbourhood. To date, about 175 units have been sold at an average price of $1,900psf.

No doubt transactions have slowed as sentiment has been affected by the US and European debt crisis, and fears of a global recession. However, there is still homebuyer interest in locations where buyers see value, and potential for future growth.

The wife and I must admit that Reflections is really quite a sight to behold – the developer have certainly done a good job in delivering the necessary “curves” in the project as promised.

However, we do question about some of the practical aspects of the development:

• The towers are definitely good to look at, but will they become “greenhouses” with all the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, especially given our kind of (hot) weather? Then again, we reckon that owners can probably afford to keep their units air-conditioned most of the time.

• Most of the unit layouts (at least those that were featured in the sales gallery when we last visited some 3 years ago) have fully enclosed home shelter that is located in the living room itself. This may not be an issue if you are using the home shelter as a store room or wine cellar, but it less than ideal if you need to house your domestic helper in there.


Interest rates to go up in 6 months' time?

- September 20, 2011 No Comments

Interest rates in Singapore may rise - from their lowest levels in 40 years - as early as March next year, according to analysts.

They say home loan refinancing is surging, but bank profitability and the rising cost of funds offshore may force the banks' hand.

Banks could be forced to raise their home loan interest rates as early as six months from now.

Low rates have hurt their profitability and they will not bear the razor-thin margins for ever.

Dennis Ng, CEO of said: "Banks may be forced to increase the interest margin on their housing loans. (With the three-month SIBOR at 0.35 per cent, even if they add in an interest margin of 0.6 or 0.7%, the total interest rate would be about one per cent - and that, to a lot of banks, means that profitability is affected."

This means that home loans, which are currently in the range of 1 to 1.2%, may go up as much as 0.3 percentage points by early next year. That is even if the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate, or SIBOR, component of home loans remains low.

Banks such as UOB, DBS and Maybank have stopped offering Swap Offered Rate (SOR) pegged loans as SOR rates turned negative earlier this year, while foreign banks have to deal with potentially higher borrowing costs offshore.

Tai Hui, regional head of research, SE Asia, Standard Chartered Bank, said: "It's also worth noting that the low interest rate environment will not last forever, even though it may be for the next year or two.

"So I think it's interesting to find an opportune time to lock in low interest rates once we start to see some degree of stabilisation and some degree of return in confidence."

The low interest rate environment has fuelled a resurgence in home loans refinancing.

According to loans consultancy HousingLoanSG, home loans refinancing rose 30% in the first half of this year, compared to the same period a year ago.

Borrowers have been particularly attracted to packages that protect them from future SIBOR increases. For example, DBS Bank has a loan pegged to the three-month SIBOR, with a spread of 0.85% for the first three years. This means that the interest rate is capped at 1.49% for the first three years.

It is loans growth that is keeping banks profitable and not the rates they charge, which is giving borrowers an unrealistic sense of cheap money.

Analysts say a better gauge of affordability is to factor in rates of 3 or 4% - an indication of where rates are headed as early as next year.
Source: Channel News Asia

Those who have been following our blog will know that the wife and I are skeptics about the sustainability of the current low interest rate environment. We have also raised concerns about possible rate hikes in the foreseeable future. It looks like even the analysts are singing the same tune now.

Some may argue that a 0.3% increase is peanuts given the low rates that are still being offered by our banks. However, such "small" increases will stack up pretty quickly once the banks decide to move their rates up every couple of months...

Current major projects/ Possible new launches

- September 19, 2011 No Comments
Here's the list according to Property 2011:


Weekend sales status: A Treasure Trove, The Luxurie & The Meyerise

A Treasure Trove
Sim Lian is understood to have sold a further 105 units over the weekend (up to 6pm yesterday), taking total sales in the 99-year leasehold condominium near Punggol MRT Station to 625 units.

The developer released another 200 units on Saturday, which means that 790 of the total 882 units in the condo have now been released for sale.

The average price for the newly released units is said to have been raised slightly from the original $866psf. Sim Lian began previewing the project on Sept 8.

The lost popular units in the development are two- and four-bedroom apartments.

The Luxurie
Keppel Land’s The Luxurie stood at 202 units as of 6pm yesterday. Based on the 151 units KepLand sold in the project in August – as stated in URA’s compilation of developers’ monthly sales data – KepLand has sold 51 units in The Luxurie so far this month. It has not revised its pricing, which has averaged $980psf since it began selling the project on Aug 26. To date, it has released 250 units in the 622-unit, 99-year leasehold condo for sale.

Market watchers say that The Luxurie’s higher pricing has sent most buyers to Sim Lian’s project, which is one MRT stop away. However, they note that the higher price for KepLand’s condo reflects its superior finishings and location a stone’s throw away from Sengkang MRT/LRT stations and bus interchange, Compass Point mall and other amenities.

The Meyerise
Hong Leong Holdings had sold 108 units as of yesterday. It released a further 30 units for sale in the freehold condo over the weekend, taking total units released to 150 units in the 239-unit project. The Meyerise will comprise two- to four-bedroom units as well as penthouses housed in two blocks of 31 storeys. The project was previewed early this month.

Hong Leong has previously listed the project’s unit prices as ranging from $1,400 to $2,540psf. It is developing this project on a site of about 115,302sqft which it bought from Della Lee in 2007 for about $201 million.
Source: The Business Times


More Government land sites up for sale!

- September 16, 2011 No Comments
Three residential property sites in suburban areas have been put up for sale by the Government in a move that could yield well over 1,300 new homes.

This is among the largest number of potential new homes in a single release of residential sites so far this year.

The three 99-year leasehold sites are in Punggol, Upper Bukit Timah and Yishun.

The largest plot is at the junction of Punggol Central and Edgedale Plains. The 218,035sqft site has a plot ratio of 3.0 and can be built up to a maximum of 654,105sqft.

Located in the eastern part of Punggol Town, it could yield up to 610 homes. Experts say the site could fetch a top bid of up to $210 million or $320psf ppr. The tender closes on Nov 3.

Another site at Chestnut Avenue has been tipped by analysts to be a favourite among developers because of its location within the popular Upper Bukit Timah neighbourhood. The 201,285sqft plot of land can be built up to 422,710sqft, yielding about 380 homes.

Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director of research at SLP International, expects the site to attract several major developers, with a top bid of up to $195 million, or $460psf ppr. The tender for this site ends on Nov 24.

The third site is at Yishun Ave 1 and is 181,910sqft. With a maximum gross floor area of 382,011sqft, the plot could yield 355 units.

SLP’s Mr Mak said the site could fetch a winning bid of $130 million to $145 million, which translates to $340 to $380psf ppr. The tender ends on Nov 15.

Fears about an oversupply of homes hitting the market over the next few years appear to have injected at least some caution into the property industry.

But new home sales figures released yesterday indicate that buyers are still keen to buy, with 1,348 new homes sold last month.

Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property Adviser, said this is one of the reasons why he remains positive developers will still be interested in Government land sites.

Another site – at Bishan Street 14 – has been made available through the Reserve List. This means the land will come up for sale only when any interested developer commits to bidding for the site above or at a set minimum price.

The Bishan land parcel is next door to a site that was bought by CapitaLand earlier this year for a whopping $550 million or $869psf ppr, an amount that exceeded analysts' expectations.

While some analysts feel this plot will not be triggered for sale soon, others said it could catch the attention of developers looking to increase their land banks.
Source: The Straits Times


More on the August 2011 private home sales figures

- No Comments
It looks like the August figures have given some cheers and renewed optimisim to the private home market.

But the wife and I wonder if the current developers' strategies of "launch-as-fast-as-they-can", coupled with the increasing number of state land parcels that the Government is putting out for sale, will add to the woes of oversupply of private homes expected in 2013.

Then again, we can always count on overseas monies seeking safe-haven and failing which, our immigrant population to take up the slack... right?!

Reference: "Sales of up to 16,000 private homes by year-end forecast" - The Business Times, 16 Sep 2011


August private home sales drops 3.6%

- September 15, 2011 No Comments

Private home sales in Singapore dipped 3.6% in August. This follows the 17% rebound in July.

The dip comes after the government increased the income ceiling for public flats and executive condominiums (ECs) in August.

Some 1,348 units were sold in August, excluding ECs. That's 50 units fewer than the 1,398 units sold in the previous month.

More than eight in ten units - 1,114 of the total units sold in August - were sold in the suburbs, while 169 units came from city fringe areas with 65 units sold in the city centre.

The most expensive unit sold in August was at The Marq on Paterson Hill in District 9, which went for $6,394psf.

Source: Channel News Asia


Enbloc news: Ceylon Flats

- No Comments

Ceylon Flats, a three-storey walk-up residential development located at 22 – 28C Ceylon Road, has been put up for collective sale by tender.

The 21-unit property sits on a regular-shaped site of about 23,168sqft. It has a 999-year leasehold tenure. Marking agent Colliers International said in a press statement yesterday that under the Master Pan 2008, the site is zoned for “residential” use with an allowable gross plot ratio of 1.4.

Tang Wei Leng, Colliers’executive director of investment services, said that the indicative price for the subject site is in the range of $25.75 million to $27.39 million, or about $800-$850psf ppr.

A development charge of approximately $176,000 is payable to the state to maximize the allowable gross plot ratio. The tender will close on Oct 12.

Based on the indicative price, each owner could receive between $1.22 million and $1.3 million from the sale.

Ms Tang said in the press statement yesterday that the sale site should appeal to small- and mid-sized developers who appreciate a short turnaround time.

It can be redeveloped into a five-storey residential development accommodating either 50 units of 650sqft each or 29 units of 1,100sqft each.

Similar boutique-sized developments in the vicinity, such as Sycamore Tree and Moda @East Coast Road, are selling at $1,400psf to $1,600psf.
Source: The Business Times


Good news for developers, not so great for resellers/subsellers...

- No Comments

While private home sales by developers have held up despite global economic gloom, the secondary market has turned noticeably sluggish.

This could point to investment demand slowing down and January’s cooling measures hitting speculative activity.

Credo Real Estate’s analysis of URA Realis caveats shows that 9,194 caveats were lodged for resales of private homes (excluding executive condos) in January – July 2011, down 21.1% from the same period a year ago.

Subsale caveats declined 24.2% to 1,601 over the same period.

The drop was much smaller in the primary market, with the number of caveats lodged for units sold by developers down 9.5% to 7,324.

Primary sales have been helped by competitive pricing of late, while subsales have been hit by January’s cooling measures.

Market watchers expect URA numbers today to show that developers sold in August close to 1,386 private homes (excluding executive condos) transacted in July. This is on the back of strong sales from new projects released last month such as euHabitat in Jalan Eunos (426 units sold in August), Boathouse Residences in Upper Serangoon (202 units sold last month) and The Luxurie in Sengkang.

Developer sales for September may pip the August figures – with sales at Sim Lian’s A Treasure Trove, released last week, already said to have surpassed the 500-unit mark.

It’s been a different story in the resale market. One agency said that the volume in the first 14 days of September is up about 5% in the same period last month but 60% lower than the same year-ago period.

ERA Realty’s key executive officer Eugene Lim said the volume of resale private residential deals brokered by ERA in August was 20% lower than in July, due partly to the slowdown during the Hungry Ghosts Month and the stock market slide. “In the past years, we have seen a strong recovery after Ghosts Month, but so far in September, there’s been only a slight pick-up from August.”

PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail said his firm achieved a marginal month-on-month increase in resale volume of private homes in August, supported by sales of completed mass-market condos. “However, sales of high-end homes costing above $5 million have not been as brisk as before,” he added.

Resales are secondary- market transactions involving projects with a Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC), while subsales refer to secondary-market deals in projects that have yet to receive CSC.

Explaining the relatively more robust performance in the primary market, Credo executive director Ong Teck Hui said: “The new sales market has been dominated by projects in the Outer Central Region, where buying is supported by HDB upgraders purchasing their first private home, typically for their own occupation.

“On the other hand, there is greater element of investment demand in the resale market, and this may have been affected by the seller’s stamp duty as well as a lower loan-to-value limit for investors who could be making their second or third property purchase.”

January’s measures could also have hit subsales.

Those buying a private home on or after Jan 14, 2011, will have to pay a seller’s stamp duty of 16,12, 8 and 4% respectively if they sell their property in the first, second, third and fourth year of purchase respectively.

Knight Frank chairman Tan Tiong Cheng says most buyers who don’t need to move into a new home straightaway, prefer new launches. This lets them take a mortgage slightly later, given the progressive payment schedule. "Most people are drawn by showflats. “This is the lifestyle I want; therefore I buy.”

Also, developers are pricing projects more attractively. Sim Lian released its Treasure Trove (about 220 metres from Punggol MRT Station) at an average price of $866psf – compared with H2O Residences (next to Layar LRT Station but about 1.6km from Sengkang MRT Station), released at an average of $910-920psf in March.
Source: The Business Times

Many market watchers (yours truly included) have expected that the August new home sales would not go beyond 1,000 units. So much for making predictions!

We will post the official URA data once it is released today.


Property spotlight: The Orchard Residences

- September 14, 2011 No Comments
The 175-unit The Orchard Residences saw two transactions from Aug 12 to 23. The 54-storey condominium tower sitting on top of the ION Orchard mall is the new landmark on Singapore’s famed shopping strip, and was developed by CapitaLand and Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai Properties. The Orchard MRT station sits underground and is linked to the neighbouring malls.

Completed late last year, the landmark 99-year leasehold condo contains a mix of three- and four-bedroom apartments of 1,808 to 2,800sqft, as well as penthouses of about 4,200 to 5,000sqft each and garden units measuring 4,500 to 6,500sqft. “In the development, you have a mix of owner-occupiers, investors who prefer to leave it vacant rather than accept a lower rent, and foreign buyers who intend to use it as a holiday home,” says Jacqueline Wong, head of residential at Jones Lang LaSalle. “For many of these buyers, it’s a trophy asset.”

The Orchard Residences is also a hit with wealthy Asians, including those from Indonesia and China, and has seen strong interest from Singaporeans. “The Indonesian buyers, in particular, like it because of the location above ION Orchard, where there are many luxury boutiques such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Prada, “says Daphne Lean, team director at ERA Realty Network, “There are also a lot more facilities in The Orchard Residences compared with other luxury properties in the Orchard area.”

So far, 160 units have been sold, with only 15 still available from the developer. The latest recorded transaction, according to URA data, was on Aug 15, when a 2,174sqft apartment on the 46th level with three bedrooms and a study was sold for $9.35 million, or $4,299psf, by the developer.

Three days earlier, a smaller three-bedroom unit on the 20th level, measuring 1,808sqft, was transacted at $6.33 million, or $3,499psf. “Some buyers prefer to buy from the secondary market rather than from the developer, because they think they can get a better deal, but even individual sellers are still holding on to their asking prices,” notes Wong.

For many of the buyers at The Orchard Residences, the premium has been the panoramic views from the high-floor units. Generally, investors can also achieve rental yields of 3% to 3.5%, according to property agents.

Patrick Lai, director of residential leasing at Savills Singapore, concluded the rental of two four-bedroom apartments at The Orchard Residences just two months ago. Both went for $20,000 a month and to American couples who relocated from Hong Kong. “They appeal to people relocating from Hong Kong because of the location, which is within walking distance of the shopping area,” says Lai.

In recent listings on, a three-bedroom, 1,808sqft apartment recently posted an asking rent of $16,000 a month, while a penthouse unit is asking for $42,000 a month.

Property agents such as ERA’s Lean consider The Orchard Residences to be in the same league as The Marq on Paterson Hill by SC Global, which recently saw a 3,003sqft unit sold for a whopping $19 million, or a record-breaking $6,400psf. The buyer was also said to be a foreigner.

Out of curiorsity, the wife and I did a quick check on the URA website and found that the $4,299psf achieved is only the SECOND HIGHEST psf price at The Orchard Residences over the past 2 years. The highest price was a 1,808sqft unit that was sold for $8,678,400 ($4,799psf) in May of this year...

So it's cheesy but what the heck!

- September 13, 2011 No Comments

After one too many episodes of "Whose Line" (our all time favourite variety program) on youtube last night, we've decided to come up with our own Singapore Proeprty Prices Hoedown. It goes something like this:

The price will keep on rising, the interest rate is low
It's the perfect time to buy, that we have been told
But the EU is in crisis, and the US going broke
Do we really think our home price, won't cool and starts to choke?!

Don't know what a hoedown is? Below is a sample:

Enjoy!  Gas


Foreign home buyers: Indonesians still a force to reckon with

- September 12, 2011 No Comments

Although mainland Chinese buyers have, in recent times, helped boost Singapore’s private property market, one must not forget the Indonesians – who have been faithfully snapping up properties here for more than a decade.

While Indonesian buyers now take a backseat to the Chinese when it comes to making purchases, they are still a force to reckon with, as they remain among the top three foreign buyers of local property. A large proportion of their purchases are made between the $1.5 – 5 million price range, though in absolute numbers their buys have, of late, ranked below the Chinese.

According to date from the URA, more than half of the 1,706 Indonesian (including PRs) who snapped up private homes here last year paid upwards of $1.5 million. And at the upper end of the market where a home costs upwards of $5 million, Indonesian buyers came in tops, with 98 buys.

So far in 2011, their activity in the highest end of the market has seen them snap up 41 residences, slightly below the 48 acquired by mainland Chinese buyers.

Some market watchers believe that the Indonesians will continue to be one of the largest foreign buyers of Singapore residential property for years to come, despite the recent large influx of wealthy Chinese and Indians into the market here.

“Indonesia is enjoying an unprecedented period of political stability and economic growth. With this positive climate, we see the benefits, and investments into Singapore in all areas can only get better,” said Christopher Fossick, managing director of Singapore & South-East Asia at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

So positive is JLL on the Indonesian market that it recently acquired its long-time partner in Indonesia for an undisclosed sum to form the largest real estate services company in the country. It is banking on Indonesia’s growing economy, large population and penchant for making property purchases overseas – which it says will continue to grow.

“The Indonesian economy is the largest in South-East Asia (SEA), and we saw the potential that Indonesia provided JLL to grow its business presence in SEA and Asia,” said Mr Fossick.

“We are bullish on Indonesia’s economy to grow (at an expected 6.5% per annum)… We see the opportunity to assist Indonesian investors to invest their money in real opportunities outside of Indonesia, in particular in Singapore, China and as far afield as the UK and USA.”

Ong Teck Hui, head of research and consultancy at Credo Real estate, notes that Singapore properties are favoured by Indonesians because many commute here frequently for business dealings. Also, a significant number have family members here, with children attending schools in Singapore. Many also come to Singapore seeking medical and healthcare services. It therefore makes good sense for them to invest in Singapore properties.

“But a key reason why Indonesians invest in our property market is their perception of Singapore as a safe haven for their investments,” said Mr Ong. “They have experienced political uncertainty in Indonesia, for example, the violence in the May 1998 riots, and feel more comfortable parking some of their wealth in Singapore which has enjoyed political stability and economic success.

“For this reason, Indonesians will continue investing in Singapore residential properties,” said Mr Ong.

Wealthy and keen to splash on new home purchases, much of their buying centres within the traditional prime districts of 9, 10 and 11, say market watchers. “In recent years, prestigious Singapore residential launches like Nassim Park Residences, Tate Residences and The Grange were very well-received by the Indonesian market,” noted Mr Fossick.

This is because these districts form the most central location in Singapore, “which offer an array of interesting living experiences such as shopping and entertainment at convenience”, said Cushman & Wakefield’s senior manager of research in Asia-Pacific, Ong Kah Seng.

“The place has also been well- and long-positioned as a prestigious living area, and homes in the vicinity have higher collective sale redevelopment potential when they are physically or economically obsolete,” added Mr Ong.

Increasingly, however, a growing group of Indonesians led mostly by the young, are also starting to favour properties in lower- or mid-priced neighbourhoods in off-city locations.

“There are increasing numbers of young Indonesians, like those who have been educated in Singapore, who find Singapore as a good value proposition as it is close to home, and Singapore’s currency is fairly stable,” said Cushman’s Mr Ong. Buying a home here therefore offers these younger Indonesians an opportunity to be independent and yet enjoy accessibility to their hometowns in Indonesia.

“The live, work, play concept, especially in suburban locations, and improved connectivity through numerous new MRT stations also provide opportunities for the value of non high-end residential properties to appreciate,” said Mr Ong.

Property developers here also report that Indonesians now fancy a wider pool of properties across different locales.

Chia Boon Kuah, chief operating officer (property sales) at Far East Organization, said: “They have traditionally purchased homes in the Bukit Timah, CBD and East Coast areas. Some of these are The Clift in the CBD, Floridian on Bukit Timah and The Cape at Amber Road.”

“However this year, they have also shown strong interest in homes situated in new growth areas like euHabitat in Jalan Eunos and Waterfront Isle which faces the Bedok Reservoir.”

Indonesians make up about one fifth of Far East’s foreign clientele, and have consistently ranked among the top three, he said.

CapitaLand said that its upmarket Urban Resort Condominium and Latitude have attracted a particularly high percentage of Indonesian home buyers, who so far account for about 50% of the units sold at the former and a quarter of sales at the latter.

“On one end of the scale, the wealthy Indonesians only buy into area like Ardmore Park and Cairnhill Road, close to landmarks like Paragon and Mount Elizabeth Hospital. On the other end, middle-class Indonesians have shifted to the suburban areas of the East Coast, Novena/Balestier Road and the West Coast. In between, Newton Road and River Valley Road remain favourite destinations,” said Mr Fossick.
Source: The Business Times


The Nassim: Prices to start at $9 million

- September 10, 2011 No Comments

CapitaLand has priced the 55 units at its The Nassim condo between $9 million and $33 milllion.

The low-rise condo, on the former ANA Hotel site at Nassim Hill, has been designed by Mok Wei Wei of W Architects. The project will be set amidst lush greenery, creating a distinct ambience of living in a landed area.

'This will appeal especially to foreigners, who face restrictions buying landed properties on mainland Singapore,' says Wendy Tang, executive director (residential) at Knight Frank, which is the marketing agent for the project.

'We have begun making private presentations to select prospective clients from Singapore and overseas,' she added.

Prices begin at $9 million for a three-bedroom apartment of about 2,000sqft. The most expensive unit is a $33 million penthouse dubbed The Regent House. The 9,300sqft duplex unit is spread across the fifth level with and an attic/rooftop floor above it housing a bedroom, family area and private swimming pool. The Regent House has five bedrooms, as well as five dedicated basement carpark lots and a chauffeur's room, with a private lift to the apartment.

The Nassim also offers a $30 million 9,000sqft, five-bedroom Pavillion House on the ground floor overlooking the swimmming pool in the development. The Pavillion House comes with three basement car park lots. The dining area of this unit is set amidst a reflecting pool.

Each apartment in the project is designed as a standalone unit, without an adjoining wall to the next unit. There are landscaped sky bridges on the second level.
Source: The Business Times

This is one project that the wife and I are definitely interested to view. Only problem is that we won't make it to the list of "select prospective clients"...
 Shy Whistler

Sales update: 350 units sold at A Treasure Trove

- No Comments

Sim Lian has sold 350 units at A Treasure Trove as at 5.30pm yesterday. Singaporeans accounted for 94% of buyers. Some 80% of buyers have HDB addresses, mostly in the surrounduing Punggol and Sengkang vicinity. Developer has estimated that 40% of buyers are investors and the other 60%, owner occupiers.

The project’s preview began on Thursday and Sim Lian has released another 200 units yesterday, taking total units released to 500 units. The average price remains unchanged at $866psf.

A Treasure Trove is a 99-year leasehold private condo near Punggol MRT station. The 882-unit project has 42 penthouses ranging from 1,528sqft (with two bedrooms) to 4,876sqft (seven bedrooms). The penthouses prices are said to range from nearly $1 million to around $2.8 million. As of yesterday, 24 penthouses had been released of which 11 have been sold, including the largest unit, which has seven bedrooms on the 16th floor and an open terrace above it.
Source: The Business Times

Looks like any project selling less than $1,000psf these days is a steal...or is it really?

Here are some project info of A Treasure Trove for those who are interested.

Project Info

• Developer : Sim Lian Group Limited
• Location : 50 – 76 Punggol Walk
• Land Size : 296,298 sq ft (approx)
• Tenure : 99 years from 9 March 2011
• Expected TOP : 30 November 2015
• Expected Legal Completion : 30 November 2018
• Total Units : 882 units
• Number of Blocks : 14 Blocks
• Number of Storey : 16 Storeys
• Floor To Ceiling Height : 2.9m (1st – 15th storey), 3.2m (16th storey Penthouse)


Rise of the Mainland Chinese buyers!

- September 9, 2011 No Comments

Property agents have said buyers from China make up the largest group of foreign investors in Singapore's private residential property.

The number of buyers from China has doubled in the past three years.

Property agents and developers said Chinese buyers are mostly interested in properties that are in prime districts and have a sea view.

Agents said previously, the traditional groups of foreign buyers were from Indonesia and Malaysia.

This has led to some local property agents to actively launch plans to gain a foothold in the China market.

OrangeTee is the first local property agency which will be setting up an overseas branch in China.

The agency said China's tight property regulations will see more buyers looking for investment opportunities in foreign properties.

Meanwhile, PropNex is also targeting the China market with a dedicated website for buyers.

The site has information about Singapore's private property as well as the rules and regulations for foreign property buyers here.

This is the first time PropNex is making a focused effort to market its service to buyers in China.

The service continues even when buyers reach Singapore.

PropNex Realty regional director David Poh said: "We will actually provide a one-stop service, including the booking of hotels, airport transfer, meals, sight seeing, viewing properties, buying properties, opening of accounts and arranging for conveyancing.

"Even if (buyers) need help in renovating the premises and also sending the kids over for schooling, we can actually help them with all this."
Source: Channel News Asia

Maybe we should officially nominate an annual "cook a pot of curry" day...?  Roll Roll


A Treasure Trove: 210 units sold in 1 day!

- No Comments

Sim Lian had found buyers for about 210 units at A Treasure Trove by 9.30pm yesterday. The average price for the 99-year leasehold condo project near Punggol MRT station is $866psf.

Sim Lian released 300 of the total 882 units in the project yesterday under the first phase.

The condo project includes Matilda House, a conservation bungalow which Sim Lian will restore and turn into a clubhouse with facilities such as a function room, reading room, lounge and gymnasium.

Prices begin at $703,000 for a 775sqft two-bedder on the second floor. Units in the 16-storey project range from two-bedders to four-bedders (up to 1,658sqft). There are also 42 penthouses (1,528 – 4,876sqft).

The relatively strong sales at A Treasure Trove reflect its competitive pricing, say market analysts.
Source: The Business Times


New project info: Three Balmoral

- September 8, 2011 1 Comment

With the end of the Hungry Ghost Festival, some developers are rolling out new projects for private previews. Making its debut at the prime district 10 neighbourhood of Balmoral Road is Three Balmoral, a joint venture between the Teo family-owned Tong Eng Brothers and Henry Ng’s Clarus Corp. Ng’s family controls Pan-United, one of Singapore’s largest cement and concrete suppliers.

VIP previews at the freehold Three Balmoral is expected to start over the weekend of Sept 10 to 11. The existing 11-unit apartment block at 3 Balmoral Road will be redeveloped into a 40-unit, 12-storey block. Typical units in the new development will be a mix of one-bedroom-plus-study units of 614sqft as well as three-bedroom units of 1,528 and 1,539sqft. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

“Our units may be compact in size, but we’re not developing shoebox apartments,” emphasises Teo Tong Lim, managing director of Tong Eng. “we also do not compromise on the layout of the units, which are squarish and practical.”

Prices will be in the range of $2,350 to $2,600psf, which translates to $1.5 million to $1.6 million for a one-bedroom unit and $3.5 million to $3.7 million for a three-bedroom unit, says the developer.

All the units, including the one-bedroom apartments, will come with private lift access. On the second level of the 12-storey development are two three-bedroom apartments, each with a private pool and priced at $4 million apiece. There are also four penthouses, of which two are triplex three-bedroom apartments with private pool and roof terrace. Measuring 3,746 and 3,757sqft respectively, they cost just under $7 million each. The other two penthouses are two-bedroom duplex apartments of 1,249sqft each, and priced around $3 million.

The new condo at Three balmoral will be raised 10m above street level and, therefore, most apartments will get unobstructed views of Goodwood Hill, as directly across the development is a colonial bungalow and not another 12-storey condo block, says Teo. “Such views are quite rare along Balmoral Road,” he adds.

As Three Balmoral is located close to Stevens Road, it is less than a five-minutes drive to Orchard Road. It’s also close to good schools such as Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), Raffles Girls’ Secondary School and Singapore Chinese Girls’ School. The project is therefore expected to attract a mix of owner-occupiers and investors.

According to Joseph Tan, executive director of residential at CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), the last condominium launch in the Balmoral area was two years ago – for the 85-unit Volari in July 2009. CBRE is the sole marketing agent for Three Balmoral.


More enbloc news: No. 2 - 8 Robin Road

- September 7, 2011 No Comments

A small freehold development at Robin Road, off Bukit Timah Road, has been put up for sale with an expected selling price of $58 million.

The properties at numbers 2 to 8 Robin Road comprise 16 residential units and have a combined land area of approximately 23,084sqft.

Under the 2008 Master Plan, the site is zoned for residential development at Gross Plot Ratio (GPR) of 1.4, with an allowable building height of up to five storeys.

The site is being marketed by Credo Real Estate.

It added that a development charge is not payable for the redevelopment of the site up to the allowable plot ratio of 1.4 plus 10% balcony Gross Floor Area (GFA).

The total GFA allowed is approximately 35,550sqft, including 10% GFA for balcony space. The site may be configured into approximately 56 apartment units with an average size of 600sqft, depending on layout and configuration.

The land rate works out to be approximately $1,782psf ppr at GPR of 1.4, or $1,620psf ppr at GPR of 1.54.

The tender for the property closes at 2.30 pm on October 5.
Source: Channel News Asia

The wife and I reckon that this is probably another one of those that will garner a favorable result...


Enbloc news #2: Park West

- September 6, 2011 1 Comment

Park West, a prime residential site at Jalan Lempeng, is up for en bloc at an indicative price of $803 million.

Marketing agent ERA Realty Network said the estimated differential premium and topping-up of the lease is $230 million.

The site has a 99-year lease and a total site area of over 633,600sqft. This represents a gross floor area of about 1.33 million sqft and the site is zoned for residential use with a 2.1 plot ratio.

The marketing agent added that taking into account an additional 10% gross floor area for balconies, this translates to about $700psf ppr

The residential site is located next to Nan Hua Primary School and the landed homes of Faber Hill estate

ERA said the site can be redeveloped into a residential development comprising blocks up to 25 storeys high, with over 1,000 units of about 1,200sqft each.

The tender for the site will close on October 20, Thursday afternoon.
Source: Channel News Asia

So another billion dollar collective sale in the making... maybe?


Enbloc news #1: Daisy Apartments sold for $14.6 million

- No Comments

Daisy Apartments, a residential redevelopment site near Serangoon Gardens, was successfully sold via en bloc for $14.618 million to SingBuilders.

This translates to a land rate of about $738psf ppr, including an estimated development charge for the 10% bonus gross floor area for balconies.

With the successful sale, each owner stands to receive gross sales proceeds of up to $1.27 million.

The freehold site is located at Daisy Road and has a land area of more than 13,000sqft.
Source: Channel New Asia

Click below to read our previous post on the collective sale of Daisy Apartments: