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Three more GLS sites out for sale

- November 30, 2011 2 Comments

Three residential sites with the capacity to yield 1,830 new homes have been put on the market. Located in the Bartley, Kovan and Clementi neighbourhoods, these 99-year leasehold sites are part of the confirmed list of sites under the second half of this year's Government Land Sales programme.

They will add to the potential 14,945 units able to be built on sites that have been released for sale so far this year.

All three sites are close to MRT station, an attribute analysts say could attract between five to eight bids per site.

The largest of the trio has been tipped by analysts to draw strong developer interest. Located in Jalan Lempeng, the choice site is close to a network of amenities such as the new Clementi transport hub, Clementi Mall and established schools.

"There is strong demand for mass market housing in Clementi district as there is a limited new supply of apartments," said Mr Eugene Lim, ERA Realty's key executive officer.

With a site area of 2.4ha, the plot can be built up to 735,929sqft and potentially yield about 685 apartments. Its top bid is expected to hover around $540psf ppr with new homes selling within a range of $1,150 to $1,170psf. The tender will close on Jan 12.

The other big site is in Mount Vernon Road, off Bartley Road, and could possibly generate about 785 new homes. The land parcel has a site area of 2.1ha and a maximum gross floor area of 784,032sqft.

Mr Png Poh Soon, head of research at Knight Frank, expects the top bid for this site to be in the range of $610 to $630psf ppr, with an average selling price of about $1,200psf. Tender for the plot ends on Jan 10.

The last and smallest site is a 1.7ha plot at the junction of Kovan Road and Simon Road. A new development on the site could contain about 360 units.

Experts are predicting a top bid of between $550 and $560psf ppr, with the eventual new development selling at an average price of about $1,100psf. The tender for this site closes on Jan 18.
Source: The Straits Times

So... another 1,800 (at least) new apartments coming our way!

And for those of you who are wondering: 1 hectare (ha) = 107,639.104sqft


October's SRPI rises: Positive sign ahead?

- November 29, 2011 2 Comments

The monthly Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) showed that prices of non-landed private homes climbed 0.9% in October 2011 – reversing a three-month trend of zero or negative growth.

The index, which is complied by National University of Singapore, tracks prices of completed projects. It showed that prices were flat in July, and then fell 0.2% in August and another 0.1% in September.

The index is now at a fresh high. Analysts said that October’s climb in the index was caused by resale home prices catching up to those fetched by new launches.

“In the last 3 – 4 months, we have seen zero or negative price growth for resale homes, but during the same period, new launches continued to be priced strongly,” said Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property advisor. “Resale prices could now be catching up.”

Market sentiment also recovered somewhat in October, noted Knight Frank’s head of research and consultancy Png Poh Soon.

“We believe the increase (in October’s SRPI) could be a reflection of the improvement in market sentiment due to a broad-based recovery of the stock market, arising from possible positive developments in the European Debt Crisis. This could have led to some to believe that the debt deal struck in Europe could be a sustainable solution,” said Mr Png.

“Coincidentally, there was also positive news coming out from the US and China, which also encouraged home buyers who might be looking to capitalise on the still low interest rate environment to purchase properties.”

Yesterday’s flash estimate showed that the SRPI Small Index, which covers completed non-landed private homes island-wide of up to 506sqft, rose 0.9% in October after falling 3.5% in September. Analysts noted that the SRPI Small unit sub-index could be more volatile than the other indices as the sample size for the index is likely to be limited.

The estimates also showed that prices in both the “central” and “non-central” locations rose in October.

Prices of completed private apartments and condos (excluding small units) in the central region rose by 1%, while prices in the non-central region (excluding small units) rose 0.8%.

Looking ahead, Mr Ku said that resale prices could continue to trend upwards as new launches from developers set benchmark prices in certain locations.

And sellers could continue to up their asking prices because some units in new launches in the vicinity of their homes command benchmark prices, noted another market watcher.
Source: The Business Times

The wife and I certainly hope that the predictions are correct. But whatever good news regarding the European Debt Crisis and the US/China economies have slowly dissipated in recent weeks. And given the slower expected growth that our Government has already pre-empt about, as well as the gloomier predictions by several financial houses on the state of the Singapore private residential market going forward, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the October SRPI is not the calm before a major storm…


Enbloc News: Olina Lodge back in the market again

- November 28, 2011 No Comments

The freehold Olina Lodge will be up for tender once again, at an indicative price of $220 million or $1,544psf ppr, slightly lower than its previous asking price of $225 million or $1,666psf ppr.

The District 10 residential site, located a short distance away from Holland Village and popular schools such as Nanyang Primary School and ACS International, has a land area of 84,288sqft and a plot ratio of 1.6, translating to a maximum gross floor area of 134,862sqft.

According to sole marketing agent DTZ, no development charge is payable if the freehold site is redeveloped within its maximum plot ratio. Shaun Poh, DTZ head of investment advisory services and auction, noted that the investment quantum of the hilltop site is more likely to appeal to developers that are seeking “mid-sized residential development sites” in a popular residential district. Assuming the indicative price is met, owners stand to receive around $3 million to $ 4 million per unit.

The tender for Olina Lodge closes on Dec 13 and the freehold property can be built up to a maximum height of 12 storeys under Master Plan 2008. Olina Lodge is a four-storey walk-up residential development comprising 67 apartments and is about 20 years old.
Source: The Business Times

The wife and I did a quick check of our previous postings and found that Olina Lodge first put their development up for collective sale back in June 2011. We understand the tender ended with no bid – and that was before the whole EU debacle started to unfold.

So we reckon a $5 million dollar reduction in asking price now is not going to cut it. But we shall see...

Click below to read our previous posting on the Olina Lodge en-bloc:

Mainland Chinese is largest foreign homebuyers in Q3 2011

- November 26, 2011 No Comments

Buyers from mainland China continued to snap up private homes in Singapore 's east in the third quarter, pushing up their share of deals, according to a new report from DTZ.

The property firm, which analysed caveats lodged for both new and secondary sales, also found that foreigners bought 18.6% of all private homes that were sold in Q3 - a new high. Foreigners (excluding Singapore PRs) accounted for 16% of all private home sales in Q1 and Q2.

Buyers from mainland China were the biggest group of non-Singaporean (that is, foreigner and Singapore PR) purchasers. They accounted for 30.6% of all private home transactions in Q3, up from 26% in Q1 and Q2.

"Mainland Chinese buyers are increasingly looking to buy properties overseas, including in Singapore, as a result of property cooling measures in China which have led to residential property prices falling in some cities," said DTZ's South-east Asia research head Chua Chor Hoon.

"The predominantly Chinese population, good infrastructure and education system, and the safe and clean environment here make Singapore property an attractive investment option for mainland Chinese investors to park their money or buy a home for their children studying here."

Private homes in the east were most popular with Chinese buyers. Their purchases in teh first nine months in District 15 (Katong, Joo Chiat and Amber Road areas) and 16 (Bedok and Upper East Coast areas) totalled 419 units and made up 21.7% of their total purchases.

Standard Chartered analysts Regina Lim similarly noted in a new report this week that foreigners bought 28% of all mass-market homes (that is, homes that sell for less than $1 million) in the first nine months of this year - higher than the 19% in 2009 and 22% in 2010.

"With volumes and prices staying buoyant despite the weakening economic environment and repeated initiatives by the government to dampen the market this year, we will not be surprised if new measures directed at foreigners are introduced by the government, which in turn could negatively affect home prices, Ms Lim said.

Foreigners' share of all homes bought rose even as overall transaction volume fell.

According to DTZ, transactions of private homes fell to 6,879 units in Q3 2011 - some 24.5% lower than the 9,107 transactions recorded in the previous quarter. The figure was also lower than the average of 8,003 and 9,167 units per quarter in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

DTZ, which downloaded the caveats from URA Realis on Nov 15, also found a larger proportion of buyers with public housing addresses buying private homes with sizes below 1,000sqft, as the overall quantum for such homes is lower and hence attractive to HDB upgraders.
Source: The Business Times


Standard Chartered: Mass market prices could fall by 30% over next 3 years!

- November 25, 2011 No Comments

Private home prices in the mass market could fall by up to 30% over the next three years as supply ramps up amid falling demand, according to a new report.

Standard Chartered analysts see demand being hit by the stuttering economy and slower population growth in the wake of tighter immigration rules.

Population growth will shrink to between 1.5 and 2% for the next three to five years, they noted, while economic expansion is set to slow 3 to 4%, from an average of 6.1% over the past five years.

But housing supply will go the opposite way with the number of mass market units expected to rise by 3.1% next year and 5.4% in 2013.

"We expect lower population growth and high completions to induce a 20 to 30% decline in home prices from 2012 to 2014," the report said.
Source: The Straits Times

Is it just us or have market sentiments gone from cautiously optimistic to increasingly pessimistic in recent days? Reports from two separate sources within a span of one week certainly seems to suggest so....


Developer Focus: Lian Beng Group

- No Comments

According to this article from Kim Eng Research, both Spottiswoode Residences and Spottiswoode 18 are 90% and 96% sold respectively as of October 2011.

And by the way, Kim Eng has maintained a BUY on  Lian Beng's stocks...


Project Spotlight: Kerrisdale

- November 23, 2011 3 Comments
Surrounded by a mix of low-rise, pre-war shophouses along Petain Road and Beatty Road, off the main Serangoon Road, is the 481-unit Kerrisdale condominium by Allgreen Properties. Completed in 2005, the 99-year leasehold Kerrisdale, comprising three 30-storey towers, was the first of three significant high-rise condos that have transformed the demographic landscape of the once-aging neighbourhood. The other large condos are the 910-unit freehold City Square Residences (completed in 2009), adjacent to the City Square Mall and the Farrer Park MRT station; as well as the 600-unit, 99-year leasehold Citylights condo (completed in 2006), adjacent to the Lavender MRT station.

Next door to Kerrisdale is a vacant lot that URA has zoned for the development of a 390-room hotel. The 99-year leasehold site is on the reserve list and waiting to be triggered. Another hotel site nearby is also on the reserve list and can yield 375 rooms.

What is attracting both owner-occupiers and investors to the area is its accessibility, with the opening of the new MRT stations, as well as amenities such as the City Square Mall, which is equivalent in size to Ngee Ann City shopping mall, and Mustafa Centre. The area is also popular with those who like the vibrant Little India and Kampong Glam neighbourhoods, with their conservation shophouses and retail-and-F&B mix, which are also a tourist draw, say property agents.

Another upcoming facility that investors are most interested in is the $800-million medical complex called Connexion, which will house the Farrer Park Medical Centre, with 189 clinics, a 220-bed Farrer Park Hospital, a 230-room hotel called One Farrer Hotel, as well as a retail and commercial podium called Owen Link. The project is expected to be completed in 2013, after a nine-month delay.

“Prices at Kerrisdale went up quite a bit when City Square Mall opened, and we’re likely to see another round of price escalations when the upcoming medical hub opens,” says Hans Chee, an associate director and realtor with L.Square Properties.

There has been a notable increase in the number of transactions at Kerrisdale in recent months. Three units changed hands over the week of Oct 19 to 24, based on the latest caveats lodged the week of Oct 18 to 25 and downloaded from URA Realis on Nov 9.

One was a three-bedroom, 1,259sqft unit on the 24th floor, which was sold for $1.37 million ($1,088psf), the third time it has changed hands so far. The original owner purchased it from the resale market in February 2007 for $661,000 ($525psf) and sold it three years later, in May 2010, for $1.07 million ($850psf), making a 62% gain. The previous owner, in turn, enjoyed a 28% price appreciation when he sold it recently for $1,088psf.

On the 22nd level of the same block, a 1,270sqft, three-bedroom apartment changed hands for $1.34 million ($1,055psf). The owner had purchased it from the developer in March 2006 for $668,000 ($526psf) and sold it last month for $1,055psf, double the amount he initially paid.

Meanwhile, at a neighbouring block within the development, a 1,270sqft, three-bedroom apartment on the 26th floor was sold at the end of last month for $1.32 million ($1,039psf).

According to URA statistics, over the last two years, home prices on the city fringes, or Rest of Central Region, have increased at a faster pace than those in the prime districts (Core Central Region) or the suburbs (Outside Central Region). For instance, from 3Q2009 to 3Q2011, based on the URA price indices, prices of non-landed properties (apartments and condos) on the city fringes have jumped 34.5%, compared with 26.8% in the prime districts and 31% in the suburbs.

According to listings on property websites such as and, owners are asking for $1,050 to about $1,250psf. Despite having risen in the last two years, these prices are still considered “good bargains” by potential buyers, adds Chee.


New holiday job for students: "Queuer" at project launch

- November 21, 2011 3 Comments

Units at a new property launch go on sale on Wednesday and already some 500 people are in the queue.

And about 100 of them are students.
Most of the students said they are helping family or friends queue for a spot in Bedok Residences, a development coming up at Bedok New Town.

Interested buyers must get a queue number, and the students said they are being paid about $10 an hour to do the job.

Residents in the area said some of them have been there since 10:00 pm on Sunday.

Bedok Residences will have 583 units and is part of a 15-storey integrated development consisting of residential units, a shopping mall and a transportation hub.

The development is by CapitaLand Residential Singapore and CapitaMalls Asia.
Source: Channel News Asia

So it looks like there is little doubt that Bedok Residences will be a sell-out. The question is just... at how much per sqft.


The Marq sets another record high!

- No Comments
$6,850psf... The wife and I cannot even begin to phantom the notion of paying that kind of money for an apartment (not that we have that kind of money in the first place), even if the development comes with club library/lounge where they serve drinks, concierge service and furnishings by Hermes.


The Real Deals (17 November 2011)

- November 20, 2011 No Comments
The latest issue of focuses on the recent happenings in the Executive Condominium (EC) sector.

For those of you looking to buy an EC, you are likely to be spoilt for choice as the Government looks to roll out more of such projects next year. And compared to current price of  public housing under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme at around $600psf  - Trivelis, the latest DBSS launch in Clementi, were sold at about $580 psf to $728 psf - the wife and I reckon that EC is definitely better value for money. Despite having to pay about $100 - $150psf more in price, the later comes with facilities and can be privatised after 10 years.


Enbloc News: Dragon Mansion sold for $130 million

- November 18, 2011 No Comments

A developer has been awarded the Dragon Mansion site at a knock-down price, making it one of the few collective sale bids to have found a buyer this year.

A joint venture between Lian Beng Group and Centurion Properties offered $130 million for the Spottiswoode Park Road site, lower than the indicative price of between $132 million and $142 million.

In May, Dragon Mansion was asking even more: between $150 million and $156 million.

The $130 million price translates to a land cost of $1,093psf ppr, including a 10% bonus gross floor area for balconies. No development charge is payable.

The sale of the property will leave owners of the building’s 68 units (about 1,324sqft each) richer by $1.91 million each. This is according to Jones Lang La-Salle, which brokered Dragon Mansion’s collective sale.

Dragon Mansion is a freehold 18-storey development zoned for residential use. The 38,618sqft site at 14 Spottiswoode Park Road has a plot ratio (ratio of maximum gross floor area to land area) of 2.8, which will allow the future development to be built up to 36 storeys.

Dragon Mansion was sold through a tender exercise which closed on Wednesday. The tender drew a handful of bids, said JLL national director and head of investments Stella Hoh.

The sale is subject to approval from Strata Titles Board.

This is the second block of Dragon Mansion to be sold. The first block next door was sold earlier to Roxy-Pacific Holdings in December 2009 for $863psf ppr. Roxy is now developing the site into Spottiswoode 18.

UOL Group paid $732psf ppr and $740psf ppr for the nearby Spottiswoode Apartment and Oakswoode Heights sites respectively in 2007 – which it is developing into Spottiswoode Residences condo.

The biggest collective sale so far this year was the sale of the mixed-use Hong Leong Garden Shopping Centre.

The development in the West Coast neighbourhood was bought by an Oxley Holdings-led consortium for $171 million in September.
Source: The Straits Times/The Business Times

As per always, it is good news that travel (in this case, being released) fast. If only marketing agents handling collective sales are as forthcoming on the status of, say, Pine Grove...

Have a good weekend everyone!

North-South divide, Singapore style?

- November 17, 2011 No Comments

Property prices and rents of some Novena and Thomson properties along the construction route of the North-South Expressway (NSE) could be hurt by the project, but only during construction, say analysts.

On Tuesday, the Government announced that 21 private properties will have part of their land acquired to develop the 21.5km expressway. Aside from this, dozens more homes will be hit by noise, dust pollution and traffic diversions that typically plague large-scale projects.

These may deter prospective buyers and could lead to a 3% to 5% drop in property values, said some analysts. The impact would depend on the property’s location and whether the nearby portion of the expressway is above or below ground.

The construction could also derail an attempt by owners at Novena Ville to mount a collective sale.

Credo Real Estate, marketing agent for the sale, said less than 1% of the development’s land area is being acquired by the authorities and that this will not lessen the plot’s redevelopment potential.

However, industry watchers point out that developers are wary of buying this type of site as they do not like to launch a new project in the thick of construction chaos or at lower prices.

Newer projects will not be spared either. City Developments’ (CDL) Cube 8 project will have 89.6sqm shaved from its total land area while another 239.1sqm will be taken from its 368 Thomson project.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, a CDL spokesman said it is too early to determine exactly how owners will be compensated for the loss of the common space, but more details will be released soon.

He added that the group does not anticipate any significant impact on the projects’ construction process. Both are slated to receive their temporary occupancy permit (TOP) in 2014, a year before major construction of the expressway begins.

While well-built homes can command higher prices after they have received their TOP, the expressway’s construction means that owners wishing to sell will have to adjust their pricing expectations, said Dennis Wee Group director Chris Koh.

Profits can still be made, but the inconvenience from the building works needs to be factored into the selling price, he said.

Resale properties may also be affected. Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property Advisor, believes properties along the construction route in Novena and Thomson area could under-perform the overall private housing market by perhaps 10%.

Rents will be hit as well, with potential tenants expected to shy away from homes located close to construction sites.

“In the case of Farrer Road, when road work was being done for the Circle Line, the entrances of development like Spanish Village and Gallop Gables were a mess. It creates a bad impression of the place even before the potential tenant has seen the room or the unit,” said Mr Ku.

More clarity will be needed before any firm forecasts on prices or rents can be made, said some market observers, with others already predicting that prices of properties along the expressway could jump after its completion as owners market it as an attractive feature of their properties.
Source: The Straits Times

So moral of the story is: People want the convenience of (and the possible capital appreciation of their estates that is associated with) an expressway being near their homes only if it miraculously appear out of thin air, i.e. do not inconvenient us with the construction phase please!

And for the folks who bought units at Cube 8 and 368 Thomson, there is good reason to feel aggravated by the "enforced shrinkage" of their estates even before the developments are completed. However, they probably shouldn't complain too much about the anticipated noise and dust pollution arising from the NSE construction...


Breaking News: Fall in the number of private homes sold in October

- November 15, 2011 2 Comments

The number of private homes sold in October went down by 14.9%.

Latest figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed 1,387 private units were sold in October. That's 244 units lower than the month before.

In September, 1,631 units were sold.
Source: Channel News Asia


Enbloc News #2: Chateau Eliza

- November 14, 2011 No Comments

Chateau Eliza, a prime freehold residential development along Mount Elizabeth off Orchard Road, has been put up for collective sale.

Its marketing agent Knight Frank said the17,997 square-foot property has a price guide of $111 million to $115 million.

It added that translates to a land price of $2,099 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) to $2,174psf ppr based on the proposed gross floor area of 52,887sqft.

There is no development charge to be paid. And with an additional 10 per cent balcony area, the land price could be lowered to $2,009psf ppr to $2,077psf ppr, based on the potential GFA of about 58,176sqft, the marketing agent said.

Knight Frank estimates the breakeven cost at around $2,700 per square feet (psf) to $2,800psf.

Chateau Eliza is zoned for residential use with a plot ratio of 2.8.

It can be developed into serviced apartments subject to regulatory approval.

The site currently has 37 residential apartments with unit sizes ranging from 828.8sqft to 3,336.8sqft.
The tender will close at 3pm on December 15.
Source: Channel News Asia

Enbloc News #1: Thomson View

- No Comments

Thomson View Condominium has been put up for sale with an indicative asking price of between $595 million and $635 million, said its marketing agent HSR Investment Sales.

That translates to about $694 to $732 per square foot of potential gross floor area for the residential site located along Upper Thomson Road in District 20.

This includes an upgrading premium of about $130 million to top up the 99-year lease and a differential premium of about $158 million, said HSR.

The 540,314 square-foot site has a possible net saleable gross floor area of 1.272 million square feet.

Thomson View Condominium has been zoned for residential use with a gross plot ratio of 2.1 with a maximum height of up to 24 storeys.

HSR said a future development can yield about 1,012 units of apartments averaging 1,100sqft per unit and 33 strata landed houses averaging 2,500sqft.

A brand new development is expected to fetch a minimum of $1,350 per square foot (psf) to $1,600 psf.
HSR said higher up Upper Thomson Road, units under construction at Thomson Grand are changing hands at average prices of $1,350psf onwards and one unit had achieved a sale price of up to $1,501psf.

Currently, Thomson View consists of 200 residential apartments, 54 townhouses and a shop lot.

The site is open for public tender until 3pm on 12 January, 2012.
Source: Channel News Asia


THE LUXURIE: 4-bedroom showflat photos

- November 13, 2011 No Comments
Here are the photos the wife and I took of the 4-bedroom showflat at The Luxurie.

This showflat is one of the ground-floor unit with PES. However, the layout for all 4-bedders are similar - only difference is the size of the PES/Balcony.

The two "typical" sizes for 4-bedders are 1,313sqft amd 1,367sqft, which give you about 1,200sqft of interior space after deducting the balcony area and aircon ledges. There are no planter boxes or bay windows to worry about.

The living/dining area is rectangular-shaped but a tad small. It comes with compressed marble flooring, 2.9-metre ceiling height and even a dry kitchen.

The private enclosed space (PES) is huge - more than 700sqft worth -  which is even larger than the 1-bedroom apartment within the development. The unit comes with private lap pool, which we reckon will only take about 3 strokes to get from end to end.

The kitchen is pathetically small. So those who enjoy cooking up a storm will be particularly disappointed. And fitting 2 people to work comfortably inside will also pose some challenge.

The home shelter (aka maid's room) is a narrow rectangular strip, which means customized bed is the order of the day.

The common bathroom is good-sized and comes fitted with Hansgrohe bathroom and Vitra toilet fittings.

The two common bedrooms are really tiny. Bedroom 3 may not look the part but notice two of the solid walls are replaced by wooden partitions while the wardrobe is removed.

Bedroom 4 is actually a better representation of the kind of space you can expect with your common bedrooms. There is barely any room left after you put in a single bed!

The junior suite is long and narrow, which accounts for the bed design displayed in the showflat. The wife and I reckon that space will be tight if you try to fit a bed across the width of this bedroom (as per the floor plan).

The master bedroom is quite spacious, if you can make do with a "Queen" bed. It comes with rather nice-looking laminated timber-wood flooring, which is a common feature in all the bedrooms.

The master bathroom is surprisingly huge. You get a long-bath (only available with the 4-bedders and penthouses) plus an adjacent standing shower, while the "leopard-print like" feature-wall provides an interesting touch. However, do not expect marble floors/walls nor "rain shower".

In general, the wife and I quite liked the layout of the 4-bedroom apartment in The Luxurie. All the living areas and bedrooms are regular-shaped with no odd nooks or corners. However, the common bedrooms and especially the kitchen are too small for comfort. Then again, with an interior area of only about 1,200sqft, something gotta give.

Pricing wise, be prepared to pay between $1,000 - $1,100psf.

Expected dip in October home sales

- November 12, 2011 No Comments

Data for private homes sales are out next week but analysts are already expecting to see a drop in sales.

They say private home sales could cool by 15 to 20% on-month to between 1,200 units and 1,600 units in October.

Buyers' sentiment was strong in September with 1631 units sold, defying market expectations and perhaps even logic as Singapore was facing a technical recession and a spiralling eurozone debt crisis.

Experts now attribute the buoyant sales to the launch of large condominium development during the month.

A slight slowdown is expected for October as investors sober up to the realities of the global economic turmoil.

More importantly, they say developers are likely to have held back launches to reassess buyers' price thresholds.

Cushman & Wakefield vice chairman Donald Han said: "My prediction for the rest of the year, which includes the month of November, is for the prices to remain flat. If we are looking into the high end luxury market, average pricing would be $3,300psf.

"If you are going into the mid-end component, the prices will range about $1,800psf. The mass market would be about $850 to about a $1,000psf and then the executive condominium will range about $750psf."

The official property price index shows that price increases slowed to 1.3% in the third quarter. Some expect this to slow further in the fourth quarter to about one per cent.

But home sales could still pick up if the price is right.

International Property Advisor CEO Ku Swee Yong said: "Developers may have skipped the month of October to push out a significant big launch but I think there will be a rebound coming in November."

Overall, the buying sentiment of private homes should remain steady and healthy this year.

Experts are even predicting that the total number of new home sales could even exceed last year's figure of 16,292 units.

Analysts opine sales for December may dip due to the lull year-end holiday period which typically sees fewer project launches.
Source: Channel News Asia

Enbloc News: No takers for Pacific Mansion & Pearl Bank Apartments

- November 11, 2011 3 Comments

The close of the tender for Pacific Mansion yesterday marked yet another collective sale ending with no firm offers in sight.

The Straits Times understands that the owners of Pacific Mansion’s 288 residential units and two commercial units will now be discussing options with interested parties.

The River Valley Close development was put up for sale last month with an indicative price for $990 million, or $2,008psf ppr – the second attempt at a collective sale.

In 2007, the owners had asked for $1.18 billion, or about $2,400psf ppr, in a high-profile collective sale that failed to attract bids matching the asking price from developers.

Pearl Bank Apartments in Outram, whose tender closed on Nov 3, has also found no takers.

The owners were asking for $725 million or $1,445psf ppr – lower than then $750 million it had asked for previously.

It is the fourth time the 99-year leasehold development has been put up for sale. Sources say it is not clear if the owners will be keen to take another stab at a collective sale.

Several developments put up for collective sale recently have reduced their initial asking prices.

Dunearn Gardens in Newton is now going for bids between $550 million and $561 million, a dip from its 2007 guide price of $578.5 million.

Mega collective-sale site Laguna Park in the east also lowered its reserve price from $1.33 billion set in May to $1.25 million.

Several other big collective-sale sites, such as Pine Grove, Tulip Garden and Hawaii Tower, have also failed to find buyers.

Such “mega sites” carry hefty price tags that sometimes surpass the billion-dollar mark, and often span a huge land area – two factors analysts say exclude all but a limited number of deep-pocketed developers.

“Forking out such a huge amount often means that developers will have to make sure they have enough cash, but they also have to find a bank that’s willing to help them finance that huge sum,” said Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property Advisor.

He added that it is a big risk not many property players are willing to take, given the jittery economic climate.

“Development charges and sums to top up the lease have to be factored in as well. All these arrangements have to be made and there is a chance the Strata Titles Boards might not approve the sale in the end.”

The readily available supply of Government Land Sale (GLS) sites has also taken the shine off collective-sale properties.

Compared with such properties, buying a GLS site is a less complicated process, said Mr Alan Cheong, Savills’ research and consultancy associate director.

“Bidding for a GLS site means you compete with other developers, but with collective sales, you’re up against other developers and the owners of the property.”

Owners often cite the freehold status or prime location as desirable attributes of their properties.

But analysts point out that demand for properties in central locations such as District 9, 10 and 11 is weaker now, with most of the price growth in the current market led by mass-market segment, making collective sale projects in prime areas an even less attractive investment.

However, market experts said the smaller sites could still see interest, possibly from niche players and those new to the property development sector.
Source: The Straits Times

So two more (collective sales) bite the dust… again. Some may say that hindsight is always 20/20, but if you have followed our previous posts on the recent collective sales, you will appreciate why the wife and I are not a tad surprise by the outcomes of Pacific Mansion and Pearl Bank Apartments.

Given the current poor economic climate, one wonders why owners of developments that are asking for $200 million or more are still pushing their estates out for collective sales. The developers are certainly no fools, and unless one is a sucker for punishment, such en bloc attempts at this juncture are just setting themselves up for failure and disappointment.

Then again, the wife and I are no experts while these collective sales are managed by professional property marketers. So they should know better…


The Real Deals (3 November 2011)

- November 10, 2011 No Comments
Here is the latest issue of , albeit a week late. It focused on the recent en bloc activities. Enjoy!

Click below to access:


Enbloc News: Vista Park - Take 3!

- November 9, 2011 No Comments

A prime leasehold site next to Kent Ridge Park is up for sale by tender with a reserve price of $323 million.

The site, Vista Park at 50-66 South Buona Vista Road, has a potential gross floor area (GFA) of approximately 446,947 square feet.

Based on the reserve price, the land price works out to be about $824psf ppr, inclusive of a lease top-up of approximately $45.3 million.

The break even cost is expected to be $1,250 psf.

Vista Park is approximately 319,248sqft in size and currently comprises 209 residential apartments and townhouses.

Knight Frank, the sole marketing agent, will close the tender on 7 December.
Source: Channel News Asia

Some may recall that Vista Park was last put on the market in May 2011 for $338 million. So it looks like the owners have decided to reduce their reserve price by abit. Here's hoping that it will be third time lucky for them... 

Click below to see our previous post on Vista Park en bloc:

Spotlight on the luxury sector

- No Comments

There have been few transactions in the luxury segment of the residential market, and prices have remained relatively stable. In recent weeks, however, some investors have started to pick up what they perceive as “value-for-money” properties, says Samuel Eyo, associate director of Savills Prestige Homes.

Based on the latest caveats lodged and downloaded from URA Realis as at Nov 2, there were two transactions at The Ladyhill last month. The exclusive boutique residential development located at 1 Ladyhill Road has only 55 freehold units and is developed jointly by niche luxury developer, SC Global Developments and GuocoLand. Completed in 2002, the condo project is a redevelopment of the former Ladyhill Hotel located off Orange Grove Road, just a short drive from Shangri-La Hotel.

One of the two transactions at the freehold The Ladyhill was the sale of a four-bedroom, 3,810sqft unit on the fourth level, which was sold for $8.6 million ($2,257psf). This is the second time the unit has changed hands on the resale market. The first buyer purchased the unit from the developer in November 2004 for $5.6 million ($1,458psf). The unit was subsequently sold in May 2009 for $6.5 million ($1,706psf), thus seeing a price appreciation of 17% in five years. However, from the transaction in May 2009 to the recent one in October 2011, prices have appreciated 32.3% in just two years.

Meanwhile, on the first floor, a 3,520sqft three-bedroom apartment changed hands for $7.6 million ($2,159psf). The first owner had purchased it from the developer at its launch in October 2000 for $4.6 million ($1,299psf). Five years later, the unit changed hands for a slightly higher price of $4.95 million ($1,406psf). The seller who saw the greatest price upside, however, was the last one, who enjoyed a 53.5% price appreciation when he sold it recently for $2,159psf.

Designed by renowned architect Chan Soo Kian of SCDA Architects, The Ladyhill was the recipient of the gold medal in the prestigious “Multi-Family” residential category of the acclaimed Miami Beach Bienal 2005 International competition. “SC Global was also the first developer to conduct viewings by appointment only when it began marketing The Ladyhill in 2000, a policy widely adopted by high-end developers today,” says realtor Andy Goh, president of AG Prestige Home.

Nearby, the 72-unit freehold The Orange Grove by listed developer Ho Bee Group was completed at the end of last year. The most recent recorded transaction at the development was for a 2,691sqft four-bedroom unit on the first level that was sold for $5.8 million ($2,155psf), according to a caveat lodged with URA on Oct 12. The boutique project located just off Stevens Road comprises only spacious three- and four-bedroom apartments as well as penthouses. Unit sizes range from 2,154 to 5,490sqft.

One street away, in the prestigious Ardmore Park neighbourhood, is Wheelock Properties’ 118-unit Ardmore II. The luxury condo is made up of two 36-storey towers and feature exclusively four-bedroom apartments of 2,024sqft. The most recent transaction was for a unit on the 10th floor that was sold for $5.4 million ($2,644psf). This is the second time the unit has changed hands in the secondary market. The first buyer purchased it from the developer in October 2006 for $4.3 million ($2,100psf) and sold it less than a year later for $5.2 million ($2,560psf), according to a caveat lodged with URA in May 2007. Thus, the seller saw a capital appreciation of 21.9% in less than a year. The most recent transaction for this unit at $2,257psf is just 3.3% higher.

Another unit at Ardmore II, on the 11th floor of the same tower, was sold for $2,649psf in early October. The unit was purchased in 2006 for $4.3 million ($2,105psf) from the developer and changed hands two years later in February 2008 at a 33.2% premium, at $5.7 million ($2,804psf). The most recent purchase of $2,649psf represents a dip of about 5.5% from the previous peak in early 2008.

According to property agents, prices in the luxury segment have stabilised. As such, buyers see value in purchasing completed condos in the prestigious locations where new launches are pegged at $3,500 to $4,500psf. “Properties in these prime districts that are priced under $3,000psf tend to attract investors who want to enjoy rental yields and hold the property for the medium term in the hope of future capital gains,” says realtor Goh.

There are many new projects in the Ardmore Park neighbourhood, he acknowledges. Directly across the road from Ardmore II is Wing Tai Holdings’ 43-unit ultra-luxury Le Nouvel Ardmore, where pricing ranges from $4,300 to $4,500psf. The sole transaction at Le Nouvel Ardmore was a 3,832sqft four-bedroom apartment on the 11th floor that was sold for $16.7 million ($4,362psf). Next door is Pontiac Land’s 58-unit Ardmore Residences (bold name), where all units are about 3,000sqft. On Anderson Road nearby is Nouvel 18, a 156-unit condo by Wing Tai and City Developments Ltd. Preview by appointment only has begun, with prices said to be starting from $3,600psf.

At the 100-unit Nassim Park Residences, developed by UOL Group and completed just a few months ago, a 3,175sqft unit on the third level was sold for $12.4 million ($3,900psf). The owner had purchased the four-bedroom unit from the developer in June 2008 for $10.3 million ($3,233psf), thus recognizing a capital appreciation of 20.6% in three years.

Adjacent to Nassim Park Residences is Hong Leong Holdings’ upcoming 33-unit boutique luxury condo, Sage. Of the 10 units launched for sale, eight have been sold. The most recent transaction, according to caveats lodged with URA, was for a 4,682sqft unit on the fifth floor sold for $13 million ($2,776psf). Prior to that, units had been sold from $3,629 (we believe this is a typo and should read $2,629) to $3,225psf.

Recession? What recession…?!


Did you read about the woman who sue a developer... not for defects but for falling?

- November 8, 2011 No Comments

A prospective home buyer who fell and hurt her face after viewing a show flat is suing the developer.

Madam Tan Ah Lai, 59, claims she slipped as she was walking down a staircase, which was unlit and had sand on it.

Developer Keppel Land (Mayfair), however, denies negligence, saying she could have chosen to use a sloping walkway with handrails.

This is believed to be the first case of its kind to reach the courts, and the outcome could have implications on the way developers are expected to look after people who visit their show flats.

The lawsuit comes at a time when property buyers continue to throng showrooms in ever greater numbers. These are usually located at the project sites, all of which are subject to building control regulations.

The accident happened when Madam Tan and her family members visited the show flat at the Lakefront Residences condominium project next to lakeside MRT station on Nov 10 last year.

Madam Tan claimed the only access and exit from the show flat was via a common staircase. She said that this was not lit and there was sand on the steps.

The self-employed businesswoman filed court documents claiming she stepped on the sand as she came down the stairs, causing her to fall on her face.

Madam Tan sustained multiple bruises to her face and left leg. She also damaged her teeth and suffered depression.

Her injuries made her look unsightly and curbed her daily activities, such as exercising, and affected her self-confidence. She attached medical reports and bills to support her claims.

Her lawyer, Mr Madan Assomull, alleged in court papers that the developers had failed to protect her from injury, pointing out the staircase should have handrails or guides.

He claimed Keppel Land had breached its duties listed under the building laws, and asked the court to assess damages for Madam Tan.

But Keppel countered that Madam Tan had the choice of using the alternative sloping walkway with handrails if she had deemed it too dangerous to use the stairs.

It filed defence papers last week denying that there was sand on the steps and saying that it hired full-time cleaners to maintain the premises. The steps had also been paved with anti-slip tiles, it added.

Keppel’s lawyer K. Anparasan said the area was properly lit. He claimed Madam Tan failed to exercise proper care when she used the steps. There was also no need to place any warning boards as the staircase did not constitute an “unusual danger”.

Madam Tan, who still bears a scar on her lip from the fall a year ago, told The Straits Times last week she had intended to buy two units for her family but changed her mind after the fall.

“I fell down and it is not a good sign for me to buy there,” she said.

A court pre-trial conference is due next month.
Source: The Straits Times

The wife and I reckon that this will eventually be settled out of court. And speaking of which, we probably should look into putting up a "warning sign" (with flashing hazard light) for the step-down between our dining room and open-concept kitchen, since a few of our friends have already tripped over the step. This is before anyone decides to sue us for injury sustained...

Enbloc Update: Park West Condominium

- November 7, 2011 3 Comments

The wife and I understand that the tender dateline for Park West has came and gone, with NO bidder for the development.

The sales committee is currently contemplating if they should lower the asking price.

We will provide more update once/if we get it so stay tuned...

Click below to view our previous post on the Park West en bloc:


Project Spotlight: The Cairnhill area (Part 2)

- November 6, 2011 No Comments
However, there are also some local investors who feel that older condos priced below $2,300psf are “value-for-money buys”, compared with new launches from $2,500 to $3,500psf currently. “Hence, they think it’s a good time to take position,” says Samuel Eyo, associate director of Savills Prestige Homes.

That explains the spate of transaction in the Cairnhill area, as seen in the data downloaded from URA Realis on Oct 26. Many of the transactions are for resale units of older condos at $2,000 to $2,100psf.

For instance, at the 248-unit freehold Cairnhill Crest, completed in 2004, an 818sqft one-bedroom unit on the 12th floor of one of the towers was sold for $1.75 million ($2,139psf). The seller had purchased the property in 2006, when the project was first launched, for $1.17 million ($1,426psf). He saw a gain of almost 50% over the last five years.

Across the road is The Light @Cairnhill, a 118-unit freehold project by Wing Tai Holdings that was completed about the same time as Cairnhill Crest. A 1,496sqft three-bedroom unit on the first level was transacted at $3.05 million ($2,039psf) on Oct 6. The seller had bought the unit in 2004, when the project was launched, for $2.51 million ($1,680psf). In the Cairnhill Circle neighbourhood, near Hilltops is the 97-unit Cairnhill Residences, a freehold twin-tower condo by Allgreen Properties that was completed in 2009. A 1,163sqft three-bedroom unit was recently sold for $2.36 million ($2,031psf). The first buyer had purchased the unit when the project was launched in February 2007 for $2.01 million ($1,727psf) and sold it in May 2009 for $1.73 million, which was 13.8% below the original purchase price.

At the top of Cairnhill Rise is the 20-unit Cairnhill Heights, which was completed 25 years ago. A 1,281sqft two-bedroom unit on the 10th level was sold early this month for $1.75 million ($1,366psf).

Nearby is the 158-unit freehold Vermont on Cairnhill by Bukit Sembawang Estates that is still under construction. To date, about 60% of the units have been sold, with the latest transaction being the sale of a 527sqft unit for $1.45 million ($2,749psf).

In the vicinity is also the 50-unit luxury project by Far East Organization called Alba. Of the 42 units released to date, more than half have been sold, with the latest recorded transaction being that of a 2,056sqft unit, which was sold for $6.45 million ($3,140psf) in May. The developer’s “white-plan concept” gives owners the flexibility of customising the interior spaces of their units.

Located just behind Paragon shopping mall on Bideford Road, just off Cairnhill Road is Richmond Park. The condo was completed 15 years ago, and the most recent transaction at the 159-unit development was that of a 1,259sqft unit on the third floor that was sold for more than $3 million ($2,450psf). It does seem like buyers have a lot of choices in the Cairnhill area alone.


One concern that the wife and I have about the Cairnhill area is the traffic along Bideford and Cairnhill Roads, which is already very busy at present. Once all the new developments mentioned in the article is ready for occupation, it may raise quite a few blood pressures just trying to get in and out of the various condos around the area. And if you pay in excess of $2,000psf for your unity, we wouldn’t expect you to take the MRT (or bus) much to get around…

Property Spotlight: The Cairnhill area (Part 1)

- November 5, 2011 No Comments
With a slew of condominiums being completed in the Cairnhill area, such as SC Global’s 240-unit Hilltops, Wing Tai Holdings’140-unit Helios Residences and, most recently, the 58-unit Ritz-Carlton Residences, investor interest has returned to the neighbourhood.

The most recent recorded transaction at the freehold Hilltops was in August, when a 1,335sqft unit on the third floor was sold by the developer for $4.71 million ($3,528psf). At the freehold Helios Residences next door to Hilltops, a similar-sized unit on the 13th floor was sold for $3.42 million ($2,604psf) in a sub-sale. Another similar-sized unit on the first level of Helios Residences was sold by the developer for $4.05 million ($3,084sqft). At Ritz-Carlton Residences, developer KOP Group’s asking price is from $3,800psf.

Meanwhile, at the fully sold 165-unit Urban Suites by CapitaLand, located on Hullet Road, off Cairnhill Road, there was a recent sub-sale of a1,572sqft three-bedroom unit on the 15th level for $4.43 million ($2,821psf). The seller had purchased the unit when the project was first launched early last year for more than $3.88 million ($2,472psf), hence recognizing a capital appreciation of about 14% in less than two years.

Urban Resort Condominium, next door to Urban Suites, a joint-venture development by CapitaLand, is more exclusive, with just 64 units. As at end-September, 34 units have been released and 23 sold, with the latest transaction at a median price of $2,968psf.

Next to Urban Suites and Urban Resort is Sing Holdings’ 229-unit The Laurels. As at end-September, 213 units at the development have been sold. The most recent transaction, according to URA, was for a 549sqft unit on the ninth floor that changed hands in a sub-sale for $1.62 million ($2,951psf) last month. The seller had purchased the unit from the developer in March last year for $1.44 million ($2,629psf).

Apartments in the Cairnhill district have traditionally attracted investors, given the prime Orchard Road location, as these units tend to be popular with high-level expatriate executives, say property agents.

According to Benson Koh, senior group district partner of SLP Real Estate Empire, properties in District 9 tend to draw foreign investors, who intend to use the apartments as a holiday home. “These investors are likely to favour new projects such as Urban Resorts and Urban Suites, owing to their proximity to Orchard Road,” he says.   {To Be Continued}


2012 Supply Glut: Here's what Mr Ku Swee Yong said (exactly)

- November 4, 2011 1 Comment

Supplies, supplies, supplies!
by Ku Swee Yong

The evidence for a price drop in Singapore's residential property market is stacking up even as investors here continue to buy up small units in the outskirts, setting new highs for average per sq ft prices.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) released last Friday the full set of third-quarter property data - sending a clear signal about the avalanche of supply of homes.

About 80 pages of the URA report were on the private residential market. Two things stuck out: The expected supply of homes getting the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) for this year and next year increased yet again, surpassing previous forecasts; and the vacancy total of non-landed properties at 12,975 units is just shy of that during the Lehman Brothers crisis peak in 3Q2009 at 13,084 units.

In a previous commentary in Today (Feb 11), we had cautioned that "we need to be wary about the supply in 2011 and 2012 because the global economic recovery remains elusive." At that time, the complete set of URA data for 4Q2010 was just published and the expected TOP supply for this year was 8,430 units and for next year was 8,116 units. In that same article, IPA's projections for the total completions this year and next year were 11,500 units each year.

Just nine months later, the official forecast for this year has risen 29% to 10,889, with 9,196 completed in the first three quarters and another 1,693 due for completion in 4Q2011. The number for next year rose to 48% to 12,043. If investors had made their decisions to invest this February thinking that the supply in this year and next year will be moderate at 8,000 over units, they may be stuck, especially because of the hefty seller's stamp duty.

The huge supply hitting the market will arrive earlier than official forecasts. In the interests of operational efficiency, including collecting progress payments, developers and construction companies are generally ahead of planned schedules, especially for projects that are by and large fully sold. We believe that, over the next few quarters, expected TOP numbers will continue to grow for 2012 and 2013 stock. We have revised our estimates for completions in 2012 to 2015 (See table - as soon as we get our hands on a copy of the TODAY paper).

The second point of note in the URA data is the number of vacant private homes. During the quarter, 4,565 units were granted TOP and that resulted in an increase of 2,173 vacant units. The overall vacancy rate rose from 5.1% in 2Q2011 to 5.8% in the last quarter. We are approaching and will soon breach the peak vacancy of 6.2% in 3Q2009, about a year after the collapse of Lehman.

Vacancy rates will increase over the next few quarters if the take-up from tenants does not outpace the TOP supply. Looking at the pipeline of completions, we see for example, Alexis, Optima, Reflections, Parvis, etc., coming onstream. These are projects that attracted a significant proportion of investors rather than owner-occupiers. There will be strong competition among landlords for tenants.

On the surface, the market may look healthy to some as many of the recent launches were significantly sold out within the first two months of launch, including the HDB's record supply of Build-To-Order flats.

But, as emphasised in my book Real Estate Riches, we need to look beyond the take up at launches and match physical supply to real demand from families. When the completions of HDB and mass market condominiums swamp us in 2012 to 2015, we may end up paying for today's excesses, unless the doors to foreigners open wide again like in 2006 to 2008.

Around the world, many banks are retrenching or slowing down hiring, the electronics sector is downsizing and the current wave of corporate profits have been derived not from significant expansion of business but mainly from cost reduction. Inflation remains stubbornly high and economic growth stays low.

In Singapore, low interest rates support holding power and cash-rich investors seeking to beat inflation are still looking at real estate investments.

I believe the prices for landed properties will continue to rise, perhaps a little more slowly than the 2.4% and the 3.6% increase in the last two quarters, respectively.

Since holding power is steady and there is a strong deterrent in the form of the seller's stamp duty, the sub-sale and resale categories should not see significant discounting unless the residents' unemployment rate rises significantly. However, there is room in the new sales category for prices to dip. Recent transacted prices for new sales in the mass market show that developers have enough profit headroom to accept lower prices and still generate normal profits.

On balance, in the immediate term, we expect a 5 to 10% reduction in private residential prices, i.e. a drop of the URA PPI from 205.7 points to around 190 within the next 12 months, mainly due to new sales from mass markets where the supply wave is strongest. 

Where prices go beyond next year would depend on recovery of the global economy and how Singapore might benefit. For those who need to invest because their cash reserves are earning too little interest income, our advice is: Do not buy into an imaginary future rental income, invest in apartments that come with tenancy. Even in a seemingly high market like today's, good value can be found in districts 9 and 10, where 10-year-old condominiums might be gotten for around $1,200 to $1,400 psf, similar to the price levels of some of the new properties in the Outside Central Region.

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: TODAY Online

Don't know about you but the figures that are laid out above is sufficient to make the wife and I somewhat edgy. And if the scenerios do play out exactly, we reckon the negative 5 - 10% impact on private non-landed home prices will be highly optimistic....

More new private homes than expected by 2012?

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An anticipated surge of new private homes may come sooner than officially forecast, according to a report by property consultancy International Property Advisor (IPA).

In its November estimates, it said 14,000 new homes might be completed next year, significantly more than the 12,043 new home completions predicted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in its third-quarter property forecast.

The predictions for 2013 follow a similar trend, with IPA’s estimate of 17,000 homes far ahead of the 12,882 new homes anticipated by the URA.

IPA chief executive Ku Swee Yong said his forecasts are based on the fact that developers often complete projects within three years, shorter than the estimated legal completion period of up to five years developers are bound by. A faster completion date translates to speedier payments from buyers.

“Buyers make progress payments at each stage of completion so the quicker the job gets done, the sooner the developers can get paid,” said Mr Ku.

While the shorter wait for homes will be good news for buyers who intend to occupy the new units, Mr Ku cautioned that it could turn out to be a double-edged sword for investors.

“ As an investor, yes, you get the apartment earlier, but you might have bought it anticipating a stronger rental demand because fewer homes were expected to be completed within the same year.”

“It could mean you are entering a market that is very congested with new apartments, which may severely affect the rental demand for your investment property.”

Fears of a weakening global economy could lead to a slowdown in the rental market, weaker demand for more new homes and developers reducing prices to maintain a consistent pace of sales for new homes, said Mr Ku.

“Last quarter, a project may have launched for $900psf with a 90% sell-out rate in two months. But developers might be led to lower their prices in order to achieve the same sales pace next year.”

Mr Ku said the market might experience a 5% to 10% dip in the prices of new and resale private residential property within the next year.

Source: The Straits Times


Enbloc News: Green Lodge (for the 2nd time)

- November 3, 2011 No Comments

Green Lodge, a freehold development located on Toh Tuck Road, has been put up for collective sale.

The Green Lodge site is being marketed by DTZ. The property firm said in a press statement yesterday that the asking price is above $195 million, or about $866psf ppr. The sale is being conducted through a tender exercise which will close on Dec 8 at 3pm.

The freehold property sits on a land area of about 151,075sqft. According to the 2008 Master Plan, the site can be redeveloped into a five-storey condominium project at a gross plot ratio of 1.4. Green Lodge currently has an approved density of equivalent plot ratio 1.4896, which means no development charge is payable.

DTZ said in its press statement yesterday that, assuming an average apartment size of 1,000sqft and a building efficiency of 90%, the site can accommodate about 210 residential units.

Green Lodge is located in a predominantly low-rise residential area surrounded by established landed housing estates including Toh Tuck Garden and Eng Kong Park. Pei Hua Presbyterian Primary School is within 1-km of the site.
Source: The Business Times

The wife and I did a quick check on our previous postings and found that Green Lodge was last put up for collective sale in December 2009. Several bids were received during the tender but they failed to meet the reserve price. The owners were looking for $135 million and adding a state charge of about $9.5 million, the price would come up to be $683psf ppr.

Click below to read our previous post on the Green Lodge en bloc:


Project Spotlight: Esté Villa sold out within one-week of previews!

- November 2, 2011 No Comments

On Oct 7, developer MCL Land held its VIP preview of Esté Villa for former owners, directors and business associates. This was followed by a public preview on Oct 12. By Oct 15, all the 121 units were sold out – even the showflat, constructed within the shell of an actual unit, was sold.

First to be snapped up was the one and only pair of semi-detached houses with strata area of over 5,400sqft, which went for $3.5 million apiece. The other hot favourites were the corner terraced houses, which had strata areas averaging 3,800sqft, and were snapped up at prices of $2.4 million to $2.6 million. Intermediate terraces with strata areas of 3,326 to 3,423sqft, went for $2.1 million to $2.3 million each. The average price achieved was said to be around $680psf.

The main selling point of Esté Villa, says Doris Ong, senior vice-president of ERA Realty, is its “unique product offering, and well thought-out design”. Koh Teck Chuan, CEO of MCL Land agrees. “A lot of buyers were convinced by the product,” he says.

“The project appeals to three-generation families who want to live together because the units come with a private home lift,” says Koh. “A lot of attention has been put into the design and the layout to make sure the units are spacious and efficient.” The private lift is also customised especially for Esté Villa by Schindler Lifts, with glass doors and glass control panels. Beyond aesthetics, the lift is also large enough to fit a wheelchair.

Esté Villa is located within the heart of Seletar Hills Estate, a quiet and affluent neighbourhood, with mainly large bungalows and some semi-detached houses. It is accessible via Seletar Road and Nim Crescent. Esté Villa is a redevelopment of the former Nim Park on Nim Road, which MCL Land had purchased en-bloc for $84 million in 2007. Construction of the new project has already begun, and is scheduled for completion by 3Q2013.

Many new cluster housing and even conventional landed housing developments do not come with home lifts, observes Samuel Eyo, associate director of Savills Prestige Homes. “It costs around $100,000 to install a home lift,” he says. As such, some developers give owners the option of installing one at an additional cost, and most do not even have that option.

Another interesting feature of Esté Villa is the basement, which comes with a 5m ceiling height. It gives owners the flexibility of creating additional space for a home office, or private library, says Koh. Based on the floor plans of Esté Villa, most of the basement levels come with a covered garage with two parking spaces, a home entertainment room and en-suite bathroom, as well as open-air courtyard. There’s also a utility area with a yard, and a separate maid’s room with an en-suite bathroom.

The first level of the house contains the living and dining area, as well as the kitchen. The living room opens out to a patio in front, and the kitchen also features a smaller rear patio, which is an ideal breakfast area. The second level contains the master suite, while the third has two bedrooms sharing a common bathroom. The fourth level is an attic, which can be used as a fourth bedroom as there is an en-suite bathroom. Alternatively, it can be converted into a study or family room.

“The pricing was reasonable, and people saw that it offered good value,” says Chua Chor Hoon, DTZ’s head of research for Southeast Asia. “For that absolute price, you can buy an old terraced house in the Seletar estate or in Teacher’s Housing Estate off Yio Chu Kang Road, or even in the east. But if you’re buying an old house, it means having to tear down and rebuild or embark on extensive renovation work.”

According to Chua, a cluster housing project such as Esté Villa also offers homebuyers the best of both worlds – landed housing with condominium facilities, such as swimming pool, water features, gymnasium, landscaped gardens and clubhouse.

Koh agrees: “In the past, there used to be a stigma attached to cluster housing because you own a strata title and not the land that your house is sitting on. But that is slowly changing, and cluster housing projects appeal especially to the younger generation who like the lifestyle aspects.” He sees families with children who like the security and condo facilities choosing cluster housing over conventional landed homes.

Given the restrictions on foreigners owning landed property, the buyers are all Singaporeans.

Those living in the Seletar area made up around 30% of the buyers, notes Koh. The rest of the buyers came from across the island, with quite a number from the East, and some from the West, as well as from the prime Orchard Road districts.

Demand for landed housing remains strong, says ERA’s Ong. The new Seletar Aerospace Park, attracting the likes of international aerospace players such as Fokker, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt and Whitney, has brought a buzz to the area. Hence, while the majority of buyers at Esté Villa are owner-occupiers, there are also a number of investors, she says.

Residents at Esté Villa will also enjoy complimentary shuttle service to Ang Mo Kio MRT station for the first two years after completion, according to MCL Land. Residents at Seletar including Esté Villa can also look forward to the upcoming Greenwich V by Far East Organization, which is a short drive away and located at the junction of Seletar Road and Yio Chu Kang Road. The 45,000sqft Greenwich V is already fully leased, and shopping and F&B outlets there include Cold Storage, Guardian, 7-Eleven, Kopitiam, Paradise Inn, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Toastbox.

MCL Land is not new to cluster housing or strata landed housing developments. Its first major cluster housing development was Hillcrest Villa, a 163-unit strata terraced housing project. The fully-sold project was completed last year. When it was launched in September 2007, all of the units were snapped up within three weeks at an average price of $871psf, with absolute prices ranging from $2.5 million to $3 million each.