Reigniting the community spirit

SINGAPORE — Kampung Admiralty, a one-stop hub in Woodlands the includes two residential blocks and is aimed at reigniting the community spirit of yesteryear, welcomed its first residents on Saturday.

The elderly residents received the keys to their newly-completed studio apartments from Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

About 99 per cent, or 103 flats, at this “modern kampung” have been take up so far. Of these, 44 were booked under priority schemes to help elderly residents live near their married children or parents. This will benefit near by executive condo residents such as those from Parc Life EC. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life ECSignature at Yishun, The Criterion ECBrownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residenceand Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

About 60 per cent of those who bought a flat there are existing residents of Woodlands or nearby towns.

The apartments, which come in two different sizes – 36 sqm and 45 sqm – are fitted with elderly-friendly features to enable those aged 55 years and above to live independently. They include resilient vinyl strip flooring which is slip- and moisture-resistant, and retractable clothes rack that are suitable for indoor and outdoor drying.

Apart from the residential blocks, the 11-storey development, which is next to the Admiralty MRT station, has a host of facilities and amenities, all under one roof.

They include the two-level Admiralty Medical Centre, which offers specialist outpatient consultations, endoscopy and day-surgery procedures. The centre is managed by Alexandra Health System (AHS).

Elderly residents can make use of the Active Ageing Hub, which provides active ageing progrmmes, such as senior learning opportunties, along with centre-based and home-care services for frail seniors.

There is also a childcare centre which can cater to about 200 children.

The integrated development will also have a hawker centre, shops and F&B outlets, a bank and a supermarket.

The community garden at level 9 hopes to promote greater opportunities for residents to interact over gardening-related activities, while the community plaza on the ground floor will serve as a gathering point for them.

The project is developed by the Housing and Development Board, along with the Ministry of Health,  AHS, the National Environment Agency, National Parks Board, Land Transport Authority and Early Childhood Development Agency.

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Vision of Punggol as a sustainable and waterfront town

SINGAPORE: Residents in Punggol have a new community space that offers vantage views of Punggol Waterway.

Located near transport and shopping facilities, the new town square will be used for a variety of activities such as exercise, food and music events.  This will benefit nearby residents such as those from The Vales EC in Sengkang and The Terrace EC in Punggol. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life ECSignature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

Speaking at the opening on Sunday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said Punggol has seen a huge transformation, with over 30,000 housing units added in the past decade, as well as eco-friendly initiatives for clean energy and waste management.

DPM Teo, who is also MP for Pasir-Ris Punggol, said these developments have brought the estate closer to the vision of Punggol as a “sustainable and waterfront” town.

The town square is the latest project under the Remaking Our Heartland plan for Punggol, which aims to transform HDB estates into more vibrant homes.

Since the first public housing project in Punggol was completed in 2000, HDB has completed some 43,000 flats in the town as of the end of 2016.

Residents in Punggol can look forward to more facilities over the next few years with another 6,500 housing units to be added, along with more eating houses.

Upcoming developments include a sports centre and an intra-town cycling network, with more than 30km of cycling paths implemented.

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Bidding war for residential sites escalated further

A RESIDENTIAL site at Woodleigh Lane near Bidadari housing estate is the latest to draw aggressive bidding.

This time, 15 bidders took part, with CEL Unique Development, a joint venture between Chip Eng Seng, Heeton and KSH, putting in the highest bid of S$700.7 million, which translates to about S$1,110 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life ECSignature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

Keen competition was evident, with a tight margin of 0.8 per cent between the first and second bids. The top four bids were also all neck-and-neck with a tight 3.6 per cent margin. A total of five bids came in at above S$1,000 psf ppr.

Analysts say the tender price works out to a breakeven price of S$1,500-1,600 psf, and an eventual sale price of about S$1,800 psf.

A year ago, a psf ppr price figure of above S$1,000 would have caused jaws to drop, but this is gradually becoming a norm in recent tenders.

In June, Singapore Press Holdings and Kajima Development put in a top bid that translated to S$1,181 psf ppr for a mixed-use Bidadari site.

In May, Hong Kong’s Logan Property and Chinese developer Nanshan Group put in a bid that works out to S$1,050 psf ppr for a Stirling Road plot. Both this and SPH’s bid carried a total quantum above S$1 billion.

Listed Chip Eng Seng and KSH said in disclosures that they plan to build a condominium comprising 16-storey residential blocks on the Woodleigh site, with a total of over 800 units.

Corson and Wingjoy Investment, units of Keppel Land and Wing Tai respectively, put in the second highest bid of S$695 million, or about S$1,101 psf ppr.

City Developments’ Verwood Holdings paired up with Logan Property to put in the third highest bid of S$688.1 million, or about S$1,090 psf ppr.

Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research, Singapore and South East Asia, called the results “unsurprising”, as the site had been identified as a high-profile one from the start, being located right beside Woodleigh MRT station and within the up-and-coming Bidadari precinct.

Besides, market sentiment has been picking up for some time now, and developers have been keen to restock their land bank with key development sites in order to keep their businesses running, he said.

Ong Teck Hui, national director for research and consultancy at JLL, said: “The bidding war for residential sites has escalated further in this tender, driven by bidders’ determination to secure this attractive site in a market that is potentially recovering.”

Indeed, many analysts are anticipating a bottoming-out of the market at the end of this year, and for residential prices to appreciate again starting 2018.

Christine Li, director of research at Cushman & Wakefield added that the tender results show that when a choice city-fringe site is up for sale, there will be no shortage of interest.

Asked if the current land bidding behaviour will undo the effects of property cooling measures, Mr Sim from CBRE said it is difficult for the government to gauge the amount of state land to release for sale, because if it were to attempt to do so, it could easily tip the balance over and create an oversupply situation – a repeat of what happened in 2012.

“One factor that could keeps the property market in check is the resale market. If the resale market finds it hard to match its prices with those in the new home sale market, this could attract some demand going to the resale market instead in the future.”

Meanwhile, aggressive bidding in land tenders has already pushed some developers into the private en bloc market.

“With the imbalance between demand for land and the number of development sites available in the government land sales programme, we will likely see more collective sales committees being formed in older estates. More developers will probably seek this avenue as an option for replenishing land banks,” Mr Sim said.

At last week’s Real Estate Developers’ Association seminar, some industry players described the compounding effect of aggressive land bidding, saying that since there can only be one winner for a site, each tender exercise leaves a large amount of capital on the sidelines waiting to be deployed into the next land parcel, thus feeding an upward spiral.

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Blooms of spring showing

It has been a long winter for Singapore’s property market, but the first blooms of spring are showing. The signs of a revival are strong, such as greatly increased sales volumes and fierce bidding for land by developers ready to fork out eye-watering sums.

The latest pointer to an upturn was the keenly contested Toh Tuck Road site, which drew 24 developers – a record for a non-landed government sale site. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life ECSignature at YishunBrownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

Malaysian developer S P Setia offered $265 million for the 18,721.4 sq m plot, which works out to $939 per square foot (psf) per plot ratio, surprising analysts, who were expecting bids capped at $200 million.

“Developers have a positive view of the market from 2018,” said Ms Tricia Song, head of research at Colliers International.

“The land price for the Toh Tuck site was way above expectations, implying a breakeven cost of $1,490 psf,” she added, noting that a 10 per cent profit margin would imply an average selling price of $1,660 psf.

“Based on that profit margin, the developer is probably looking at a 10 to 15 per cent price appreciation over the next three years.”

Private home sales figures have also whetted the appetite of developers. A total of 977 units were sold in February, treble the 303 units sold in the same month last year, raising expectations for new home sales figures to be released next Monday.

Mr Alan Cheong, head of Singapore research at Savills, was unequivocally bullish on his assessment of the market.

“The market has turned around and, on the ground, people are now recommitting,” he said.

Mr Cheong noted that unchanged cooling measures, like the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR), have made the revival of the market look more gradual, preventing it from “turning in its full glory”.

But property watchers should not expect a revival akin to a roaring dragon come back to life. Mr Cheong likened it to “a newborn baby” that was “still fragile”.

“The turnaround in sentiment is noticeable and broad-based, but it lacks the horsepower to accept certain strides in prices – although a gradual creep in prices upward can be accepted by the market,” he said, adding that seasoned property agents were now busy closing deals.

Most analysts were cautiously optimistic, forecasting higher sales volumes, but adding that prices would continue declining and hit bottom by the end of this year.

Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of South-east Asia research at Edmund Tie and Company, said that “because of the current excitement, there will be more en bloc sales”.

“Developers are also encouraged by sales at Park Place Residences, as the units are quite expensive. This makes them optimistic that while bid prices may be high, there is demand for good-quality homes,” Dr Lee said.

Land prices are unlikely to come down, as foreign developers have shown strong interest and could be more focused on getting boasting rights to having developed a property in Singapore than making maximum profit, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE’s head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia, was more cautious, saying that it is “too early to call it a turnaround”.

“There is a lot of positivity in the market after the tweak in cooling measures, but if you couldn’t buy because of TDSR two months ago, you still can’t buy now,” he noted.

Mr Sim added that while the record low number of unsold units, land prices and aggressive bidding favour a positive reading of the market, macroeconomic factors and the fact that “larger units are not being sold” call for a more balanced view.

“A housing purchase is not like buying a Louis Vuitton bag – macroeconomic views still matter,” he said, citing higher unemployment rates and the likelihood of further interest rate hikes.

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Resale prices higher from a year ago

NON-LANDED private residential resale prices rose 0.9 per cent in June from May, continuing their gradual recovery since October, flash estimates from SRX Property shows.

The uptick in June was led by the Core Central Region (CCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR) which registered 1.3 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively, while the Rest of Central Region (RCR) index was flat in June. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life ECSignature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

From a year ago, resale prices were 2.2 per cent higher, also led mainly by the CCR and RCR regions. But prices were still down 4.4 per cent from the peak in January 2014.

An estimated 1,065 non-landed resale units were transacted in June, a 12.5 per cent decrease from the estimated figure in May. But resale volumes were a significant 51.1 per cent increase from a year ago, SRX Property figures show.

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Developers are hungry and looking for good sites

OWNERS of condominium project Park West are hoping that third time’s the charm in their collective sale attempt, this time at an expected selling price of S$750 million.

They saw a strong start on Saturday when signatures from around 30 per cent of owners by share value and strata area were collected on their first meeting to approve the collective sales agreement. Huttons Asia was also appointed as their marketing agent. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life ECSignature at Yishun, Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

The asking price for Park West is lower than the indicative price of S$803 million during its 2011 en bloc tender, which received no bids. An earlier 2007 attempt did not achieve the requisite 80 per cent consensus among owners.

Frankie Lim, chairman of the Collective Sales Committee, noted that the 2011 attempt took place towards the end of an en bloc up-cycle but this time, market conditions are favourable.

“Now we can see that developers are hungry and looking for good sites. We also feel that Park West is one of the few sites available in the west zone and the government is going to launch the High Speed Rail terminal station in Jurong East,” he said. “There are good malls and the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong East. The western region is also where the tertiary education institutions are mainly located.”

Including an estimated S$339 million in differential premiums for site intensification and lease top-up, the land rate for Park West site is estimated to be S$818 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).

Located near Clementi MRT Station and Nan Hua Primary School, Park West condominium has 432 apartments and four shop units. The site spans 633,644 square feet, with 64 years left on the lease and a gross plot ratio of 2.1. Apartment owners are expected to bag around S$1.25 million to S$2.1 million each while the shop unit owners are each expecting to pocket S$1.1 million to S$1.5 million.

Elsewhere, JLL will be launching the tender for Florence Regency, a privatised HUDC estate in Hougang, on Aug 23 with a reserve price of S$600 million and freehold Amber Park condominium in the east on Aug 29 with a reserve price of S$768 million, said JLL regional director for capital markets Tan Hong Boon. This translates to a land rate of S$779 psf ppr for Florence Regency, inclusive of the differential premium of S$290 million for intensification of the site and lease top-up. The tender for Florence Regency will close on Sept 27.

For freehold Amber Park condominium, whose tender will close on Oct 3, its land rate is estimated to be S$1,284 psf ppr, with no development charges payable as its baseline gross plot ratio of 2.843 is higher than the plot ratio of 2.8 under the 2014 Master Plan, Mr Tan said.

So far this year, seven successful collective sales have chalked up a combined value of S$2.5 billion, far surpassing last year when only three deals worth S$1 billion were closed. These include residential projects One Tree Hill, Rio Casa, Eunosville, Albracca, Serangoon Ville as well as Goh & Goh mixed-use building and Citimac industrial complex.

Tampines Court, a privatised HUDC estate, is said to have received a bid of S$970 million with conditions attached but the deal is not officially closed yet.

More collective sale aspirants have also appointed their marketing agents. Former HUDC estates Laguna Park and Lagoon View have appointed Knight Frank and Edmund Tie & Company respectively. Freehold condominium Faber Garden has appointed CBRE.

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Good performances of recent launches indicate pent-up demand

Indications the local property market is finally turning the corner are piling up but analysts are waiting for more evidence before calling it.

The latest sign of a resurgence in new private home sales was a Hougang executive condominium (EC) selling out in just seven hours last weekend. It was the first time since 2014 the market has witnessed such a feat. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc Life ECSignature at YishunBrownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

However, experts are looking for more indications that falling prices have finally bottomed out and are on their way up.

Rising market optimism – driven by a recent tweak in certain cooling measures, a healthy stock market and still-low interest rates – has helped to spur new home sales.

But despite the increase in sales, analysts say it is premature to declare that the market is out of the woods as the recovery is not broad-based.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ZACD Group, noted: “Typically, in a boom market, prices, rentals and sales volume will all increase. We have not seen that yet.”

Mr Wong Xian Yang , head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee, added: “The good performances of recent launches indicate that there is pent-up demand. (But) prices have stubbornly continued to decline.

“So it might be too soon to say that the market has finally turned a corner.”

Estimates show home values dipped by 0.3 per cent from the first to second quarter this year. Prices have sunk about 11 per cent since a peak in the third quarter of 2013.

As prices have moderated, sales have climbed. More than 6,500 new private homes (excluding ECs) have been sold in the first half-year, up markedly by 72 per cent from the 3,814 homes sold a year ago.

Analysts expect the brisk buying activity to continue but noted that not every project will be a sell-out.

Hundred Palms Residences EC in Hougang shifted all 531 units at an average of $836 per square foot (psf) within seven hours of their launch on Saturday.

Mr Mak noted: “The sales at Hundred Palms are due to its location – there haven’t been any ECs in that area. I won’t say the whole property market has turned around. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.”

The last time a new project sold out in a day was in January 2014 at The Hillford, a mixed development which was marketed as a “retirement resort”.

Another project, Martin Modern – a luxury condo in Martin Place – sold about 90 out of 450 units over the weekend at a price range of $2,009 psf to more than $2,500 psf.

Given the brisk sales from these projects, all eyes will be on Qingjian Realty’s 516-unit Le Quest in Bukit Batok West – going on sale on Aug 5.

International Property Advisor chief executive Ku Swee Yong said: “New launches are selling well mainly because of marketing hype. If the property market was so hot, why are we not getting lots of viewings for resale homes? ”

Analysts also note that leasing remains challenging and vacancies are still high.

However, other trends could support the market recovery.

These include the fervour in land bidding by developers in both public land tenders and the collective sale market.

Announcements on two site tenders are expected this week: for privatised HUDC estate Serangoon Ville, put on collective sale for $400 million to $430 million, and the public land tender for a private residential site in Serangoon North Avenue 1, closing tomorrow.

Given the bullish prices paid for development sites recently and more positive sentiment, analysts expect home prices could start to inch up next year, after a 15-quarter losing streak since the fourth quarter of 2013.

Ms Tricia Song, research head at Colliers International Singapore, said: “We expect private home prices to be relatively flat in the second half of 2017 and anticipate a pick-up from the beginning of 2018, to maybe approximately +3 per cent for the full year 2018.”

The Urban Redevelopment Authority is expected to release the second-quarter final property market statistics this week.

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