Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No more "Real Estate Specialists" soon...?


More measures are being taken to raise the professionalism of the real estate agency industry.

The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) on Wednesday issued two practice guidelines to promote ethical advertising in the real estate agency industry and to guide the use of prescribed estate agency agreements.

According to the new guidelines effective from 1 August, misleading headlines and claims such as "advance loans available", "real estate specialist" and "king of XX (name of estate)" will not be allowed in advertisements and publicity collaterals.

The guidelines were developed in consultation with estate agents, industry associations, government bodies such as the HDB, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).

They are applicable to all modes of advertisements, including classified advertisements, pamphlets or flyers, online advertising, short messaging services (SMS) and the social media.

In addition, estate agents and salespersons will have to display their details such as name, registration number and contact number. SMS text advertisements must provide a mobile telephone number for consumers to opt out of future SMS advertisements. There should not be any SMS advertising or cold calling after 10pm.

Advertisements will also have to contain accurate information. Claims such as rates of return and yield rates must be indicated and substantiated. Photographs and graphics will also have to be accurate depictions.

Mr Lee Say Kee, the chairman of CEA's ethical advertising workgroup, said that misleading and unauthorised advertisements are among the top three categories of public complaints. To date, the CEA has issued 23 letters of advice to estate agents and salespersons on such complaints, he said.

Mr Lee said the guidelines will provide clarity on the dos and don'ts of advertising, thereby raising professional and ethical standards in the industry.

As for the practice guideline on the "Use of Prescribed Estate Agency Agreements for Residential Transactions", it is an instruction manual that explains the key terms in the agreements including commission clauses, disclosure requirements and co-broking clauses. It also provides guidance on the use of the agreements.

Mr Eugene Lim, ERA Realty Network's executive director, said this guideline strongly recommends that estate agents and their clients sign an agreement clarifying the duties of the agent, amongst other things.

He said: "Previously there was none. And even if there was, it was all in different formats. So now there is only one standard format and basically it is quite protective of the customer. It will also make the agents' job easier, because at the end of the day, you don't need to explain too much, it is a standard form."

Welcoming the CEA guidelines, PropNex Realty's senior group district director, David Poh, said: "We welcome this because it only makes our property agents more professional. In return we will serve our clients better. At the end of the day, we actually get a bigger share."

Other agents said the CEA's move is a positive step towards tidying up an industry that has been left ungoverned for too long.

Disciplinary action may be taken against anyone flouting the two guidelines.

The CEA said this may range from warning letters and fines to even suspension of the estate agent's licence, depending on the severity of the case.

Both guidelines are available on CEA's website at http://www.cea.gov.sg/
Source: Channel News Asia


So advertising that proclaims oneself as the "Real Estate Specialist" or "King of The Hill" may be a thing of the past soon.
But what about "Property Expert" or maybe... "Property Guru" 


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Eleven @Holland (Review)

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Project Name:   Eleven @Holland
Tenure:   99-year Leasehold
Location:   11 Holland Link (off Old Holland Road)
District:   10
Site Area: approx.   130,000sqft
TOP (estimated):   4Q 2014
Total Units:   82 exclusive semi-detached cluster units
Car Park Lots:   2 dedicated parking lots per unit
Developer:   Clydesbuilt


It has been awhile since we last seen a cluster housing development. So the wife and I decided to visit the sales gallery of Eleven @Holland last weekend.

Eleven @Holland is a 99-year leasehold project by Clydesbuilt, a boutique developer whose other projects include Clydesview Condominium, Clydes Residence and Lornie 18.

The actual site of Eleven @Holland is along Holland Link, next to Fong Yun Thai Association Columbarium. The sales gallery is located directly across the road from the site.

Eleven @Holland consists of 82 semi-detached units and you have a choice of 3 different unit types:
• Type A (5-bedroom) – Basement + 3 storeys + attic (12 units):   4,129 – 4,348sqft
• Type B (5-bedroom) – Basement + 3 storeys + attic (62 units):   3,681 – 4,241sqft
• Type C (4-bedroom) – Basement + 2 storeys + attic (8 units):   3,692 – 3,885sqft

In terms of orientation, the Type A units face Holland Link, while the Type C units line the back of the development.

Facility wise, the developer has stuck to the bare essentials:
• Swimming pool
• Gym
• BBQ corner
• Children’s playground

Each unit comes with 2 dedicated parking lots whereas guests will have to find their own parking spaces outside of the development.

There is no showflat per se in the sales gallery. Instead, you get “mock up” of each of the living areas.

The living/dining rooms and kitchen are on the 1st floor of each unit. The first thing that struck the wife and I is that there is no main door – you get sliding glass panels at the front of the living room that acts as the main door.

The living and dining rooms are separate and distinct from each other and both are very spacious. It comes with 60cm x 60cm marble floors and 3.1m ceiling.
  
The kitchen is of open-concept format and you get "Smeg" oven/hob/hood/fridge and "Hansgrohe" kitchen faucets. However, we were a tad disappointed with the kitchen cabinets, which do not have "anti-slam" mechanisms. Also, the choice of colours for the cabinets is somewhat dull. 


Each unit comes with its own private lift, which can take up to 320kg (i.e. 4 – 5 pax). 

All the common bedrooms are en-suite and again very spacious. The rooms come with solid timber-strip floors, but again we find the colour scheme (especially the wardrobe) too dull and dated.

The master bedroom is in the attic and huge. However, the amount of wardrobe provided is pathetic. If you can afford a house like this, you and your other half will most likely have more clothing than what a standard 2-panel wardrobe can hold.

The master bathroom is similar in design to the other bathrooms within the house. This is right down to the homogenous-tile floors/ceramic-tile walls, the “Hansgrohe” bathroom fittings and standing shower stall (which only comes with the standard wall-mounted shower set). We were told that the developer has deliberately omitted long-bath in all the bathrooms, as most owners these days prefer standing shower. However, we tend to think that buyers will at least expect a long bath AND a standing shower in the master bathroom when buying a house of such size and status. The other thing that we dislike about the bathrooms is the colour scheme, which makes them look dull and dark.

Price wise, the developer has decided to charge the same $1,050psf for all the units within Eleven @Holland. So each house will cost between $3.865 to $4.565 million.

Monthly maintenance charge is around $550 but this excludes the maintenance cost for the private lift in each house, which will set you back another $120/month.

As of last weekend, 16 of the 82 units have been sold.

What we like:
• Location – It is District 10 after all (albeit a slightly remote part), which is one of the most sought after address in Singapore.

• Living in Eleven @Holland is like staying in a landed home with condo facilities. This should appeal to expatriates with families, which may translate to good rental yields.

What we dislike:
• The quality of furnishing and fittings at Eleven @Holland are hardly impressive, or is this because we have set our expectations too high?

• The wife and I also dislike the colour scheme used around the house (i.e. colour of kitchen cabinets, wardrobe, bathroom walls and floors etc), which can only be described as dull, dated and somewhat depressing.

• Units at Eleven @ Holland are sold based on “strata area” - the developer takes all common area, i.e. the walkways and open grounds within the development, the land that the swimming pools and other facilities take up, and apportions these to each of the unit owners. So the 4,000sqft house that you buy includes a portion of the common area, which means the actual "built-in" area of the house is less than 4,000sqft. We understand that not all cluster housing projects are sold based on strata area.

• Although Eleven @Holland is supposedly located near to amenities and within walking distance to the upcoming King Albert Park MRT station, one can probably work up a fair bit of sweat walking to these places.

• We can only identify one primary school that is within 1-km of Eleven @Holland – Methodist Girls’ School.

• Maybe we are the only ones that's "pantang", but the wife and I are not real keen in staying next to a Columbarium. Should you think the same like us, you may want to avoid units #49 - 52, 67 - 69 (Type B) and units #81 - 82 (Type C). 

Our Verdict:  Assuming the wife and I have $3 – 4 million to spend, we will rather take our money to The Greenwood (a cluster-house project by Far East off Dunearn Road). Sure, we are no big fans of Far East projects (given that they are generally very expensive), while The Greenwood is not in District 10. However, it is far more appealing (both in quality and aesthetics) compared to what we have seen at Eleven @Holland. And The Greenwood may actually be cheaper in price, as we were told that the units there are sold based on "built-in" rather than "strata" area.

And no, we weren't paid by Far East to say this...
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And the price of resales keep on rising...


Resale prices of private homes continue to rise in the second quarter of this year.

According to DTZ Research, resale prices of private residential properties increased at a faster rate across all segments in the second quarter of this year compared to the first.

It says the average resale price of leasehold condominiums in the suburban areas rose the fastest by 3.9% on-quarter, compared to 0.8% in the first quarter.

The average resale price of freehold condominiums in the prime districts of 9, 10 and 11 grew by 3.3% on-quarter compared to 0.4% in the first quarter, based on a basket of completed condominiums tracked by DTZ Research.

The average resale price of luxury condominiums rose the least at 1.7%.
But DTZ Research said it reflected an increase over the flat prices registered in the first quarter.

This it said is the only segment with prices still below the 2007 peak.

Ms Chua Chor Hoon, Head of DTZ South East Asia Research, said prices continue to trend upwards because sellers are benchmarking against the prices of new launches.
Source: Channel News Asia

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Shoebox units: A "hard sell"..?


Analysts have said buyers of shoe-box apartments may have difficulties selling them in future, even though their current rental returns of about 5% make such apartments popular with small-time investors.

Although they are small in size, they are priced at about $600,000.

Analysts added that at this price, buyers are still able to afford them.

In one of his recent blog posts, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan urged buyers to consider the risks and returns when buying shoe-box apartments.

Analysts said more shoe-box apartments will be built by 2013, possibly leading to a glut.

They said the main attraction of such apartments is their prime location, including proximity to town areas and MRT stations.

If these apartments sprout in less-than-ideal locations, it may be harder for investors to sell them off later.

Analysts Channel NewsAsia spoke to pointed out if the per-square-foot (psf) value of the apartment is already high, investors might find it harder to sell it off at a good profit.

But some buyers - such as retiree Linda Teo - are still optimistic about the profits they can reap.

Madam Teo and her husband bought a shoe-box apartment near the Farrer Park MRT station about two-and-a-half years ago.

At about 581sqft, her apartment is smaller than a three-room flat.

She said despite having only just received keys to her unit, she already has people offering to buy it from her at 20% more than her purchase price.

But Madam Teo said she intends to keep it as an investment.

"I think if I keep the money in the bank, the interest is quite low, I'd rather put it in a property for my children, for their future," she said.

"Currently, the rental for this project is about $3,000 to $3,500 per month. There have already been a lot of interested tenants who have come to view the place. I think it shouldn't be a problem.

"My view is, at this moment, we do have a lot of buyers who have approached us, who want to buy this project.

"Even two to three years down the road, if the demand is not there, we'll decide to keep this for the children, so I don't see this as a problem."
Source: Channel News Asia

Then again, 581sqft can hardly be considered a "shoe-box" these days... especially with more and more new projects rolling out 300+sqft units.

Collective sales market to remain healthy: Credo


Some $1.7 billion in collective sales have been transacted so far this year.

According to property consultant Credo Real Estate, the figure is almost the same as the collective sales transacted last year.

One of the latest transactions is a 40-unit walk-up apartment development on River Valley Road, which fetched $70.5 million.

Credo said successful deals over the past 18 months have been relatively small.

And the buyers are mainly small to medium-sized developers who are unable to bid for the larger government residential sites.

Credo's managing director, Karamjit Singh, said each of the top five deals ranged from $137 million to $214 million.

In 2007, the top five deals were worth over half a billion dollars each, and some $11.4 billion in collective sales were transacted then.

Mr Singh said: "The outlook for the collective sales market for the rest of 2011 is positive.

"Owners are becoming more realistic on reserve prices and there is sustained interest from developers."

Source: Channel News Asia

Well, Credo have good reason to be optimistic - they have had their hands full closing en bloc sales so far this year!


Enbloc News: 401 - 414 River Valley Road sold for $70.5 million

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A 40-unit walk-up apartment at 402-414 River Valley Road has been successfully sold en bloc for $70.5 million to Alliance Land.

This translates to a land rate of about $1,139psf ppr, with a gross plot ratio of 2.8 for the 22,000sqft site.

If the 10% gross floor area for balconies is included, it will work out to $1,035psf ppr, at a gross plot ratio (GPR) of 3.08.

According to marketing agent, Credo Real Estate, a new development built on the site can potentially yield an estimated 130 apartment units, averaging 500sqft each, depending on layout and configuration.

Credo said the project is suitable for a boutique development with small apartment units, which will be popular with both local and foreign professionals and investors.

Owners of the District 10 property stand to receive gross sale proceeds ranging between $1.75 million and $1.77 million each.

The sale is subject to the approval of the Strata Titles Board.

The site has a total gross floor area of about 68,000sqft, including the 10% gross floor area for balconies.

The existing development is understood to have been built in the early 1960s, making it part of the first generation of flat developments built in the post-colonial era of Singapore's history.

Tenure for the site is rather unique - at 999,999 years with effect from 1962.
Source: Channel News Asia
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Our housing minister's concern #2: Shoebox apartments


National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has urged potential homeowners to weigh the benefits and risks of buying so-called "shoe-box" apartments.

These are housing units which measure 500sqft or less.

In his latest blog entry, Mr Khaw said the government is watching the development of these units.

Last year, about 1,900 of such apartments were sold, compared to 300 units in 2008.

In proportional terms, the take-up rate last year stood at 12% of developers' sales, up from 6% in 2008.

Four in five buyers were Singaporeans looking for an investment opportunity - undeterred by the fact that these are priced 10 or 20% higher per square foot (psf) than larger units in the same development.

Many rent to expatriates or singles.

PropNex director David Poh said: "The total area is smaller, so even if you times a higher per-square-foot, you still get a smaller total lump sum payment. Which is more affordable for homeowners and investors to enter the market."

Mr Poh added when the units are sold, they're also sold on higher psf terms compared to units of other sizes.

He noted a typical 400sqft unit in town may cost some $1,500 psf, which works out to about $600,000, which still appeals to buyers as larger units of about 1,000sqft in the same area tend to cost upwards of $1 million.

But industry observers doubt the trend can be sustained.

In his blog, Mr Khaw outlined some concerns.

These include more completed units by 2014 -- when total number of units will rise from 1,100 to about 3,800 -- and the fact that some of the newer developments are in the suburbs, where their appeal to tenants is still untested.

Figures by the Urban Redevelopment Authority give an indication of the number of suburban developments.

As of March, there were about 3,300 units that have been sold and will be completed in the next few years.

23% of them are located outside the central region, compared to 17% of the existing stock of 1,100 completed shoebox units currently.

Mr Khaw added that some developers who bid high prices for land, are also planning to build shoe-box units, adding to the supply of such homes.

Some analysts have wondered if buyers know exactly what they're going in for, and have asked for the government to impose a minimum size.

But Mr Khaw said he would rather not second-guess the market. Besides, shoebox apartments add diversity to housing options here.

He pointed to recent rules that require developers to give details of each unit's layout, and the prices of all units.

The aim, he said, is to make sure buyers know what they're paying for.
Source: Channel News Asia

The wife and I have long since expressed our doubts about the long term potential of shoebox apartments. This is especially with those located outside of the city area. Now it looks like our government is getting abit flustered as well.

Time for "shoebox investors" to worry yet...?

Click below to read Minister Khaw's blog:
http://mndsingapore.wordpress.com/






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Q2 home sales volume to hit 4,000 units


Singapore's property market will see a strong second quarter this year with the new home sales volume expected to hit 4,000 units.

According to CB Richard Ellis, this would make it 11.3% higher than the 3,595 new homes sold in the first quarter and close to the 4,241 units sold in the fourth quarter of 2010.

CBRE said the top five projects which have contributed to the primary sales volume so far are Eight Courtyards, Hedges Park, Foresque Residences, Terrasse and Foresta@Mount Faber.

With the exception of Foresta, the other four projects were priced between $790 and $1,200psf to cater to first-timers and upgraders.

Caveat data to date from the URA show a median price of about $1 million for new homes sold in the first half of this year, down from around $1.2 million a year ago during the same period.

The median size for units sold in the first two quarters was below 900sqft while those sold in the year ago period was below 1,200sqft.

It is probable that a majority of buyers are able to service their debt comfortably for a residential property up to $1 million.

Another reason could be the 60% loan-to-value ratio for home buyers with an existing loan.

In the executive condominium (EC) market, the 315-unit Belysa on Elias Road was launched in April at the average price of $670psf.

This translates to a 21% price gap between Belysa and NV Residences, the private condominium beside it.

The price gap accounts for the eligibility conditions and minimum occupation period tied to ECs.

Residential prices and rents in the second quarter remained relatively stable, unchanged from the previous quarter.

CBRE's Executive Director for Residential, Joseph Tan said one reason for this could be the awareness of rising costs and increased home prices, which may be prompting home buyers to look to smaller sized units.

With the government's plan to release more HDB flats and land for private homes in the second half of this year, Tan said the take-up of new homes in the third quarter will likely be lower than the numbers in Q2.

Some of the new houses expected to be launched include Leedon Residence, Thomson Grand and two other mass-market projects located at Sengkang Square and Serangoon View, as well as an executive condominium project on Segar Road.
Source: Channel News Asia


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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bank facts sheet on property loan soon? (Updated)


Financial institutions should provide a fact sheet in a standardised format when marketing loans for residential property to consumers.

It should contain information on the tenor of the loan, monthly and annual repayment amounts at different interest rate levels and fees payable, among other things.

Housing LoanIn a consultation paper on the proposal, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) says the fact sheet will help consumers understand that higher interest rates could have severe implications if they overextend themselves.

It will provide, in an accessible form, information essential to a consumer’s decision to take up a residential property loan, including information on how their loan repayments may change under different interest rate scenarios.

Under the proposal, financial institutions will be required to provide the Fact Sheet to consumers when they first enter into a discussion with the consumer on the key features of the housing loan.

MAS says a residential property loan is a long-term financial commitment.

The current low global interest rate environment will not continue indefinitely.

The fact sheet is intended to help consumers understand that higher interest rates could have severe implications if they overextend themselves.
Source: XINMSN news

Update (The Straits Times, June 23rd):
The move comes amid a surging real eastate market that has seemed to defy four rounds of cooling measures imposed since September 2009.

Some economists have also started flagging the possibility that the ultra-low borrowing rates in Singapore could soon start rising. The 3-month Singapore dollar Swap Offer Rate (SOR), a popular benchmark rate used for home loans, hovers at just 0.2% today, but was at more than 3% just five years ago.

Interest rates have been rising in other markets like Hong Kong and Malaysia. Recently, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Chua Hak Bin noted demand for loans here was rising quickly, which could prompt some banks to raise rates.

A sharp rise in rates can add quickly to a borrower's monthly financial burden, given the popularity of loan packages with fluctuating rates.

The ultra-low SOR currently may mean that a borrower with a 35-year, $1 million loan could pay just 1% interest in the first year – working out to a monthly instalment of just $2,823.

But every 1% point increase in the SOR will add more than $500 to the instalments. If the rates rose back to 2006 levels of about 4%, he would end up paying more than $4,300 monthly.

Mr Justin Chiu, executive director of Hong Kong property developer Cheung Kong, also reckons that residential prices here may fall by up to 6% when interest rates begin rising. This could have serious implications for buyers who cannot sell in a falling market, yet have overextended themselves with big home loans on the belief that interest rates will stay at rock-bottom levels.

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Enbloc News: Third Try for Tulip Garden (Updated)


The 9.30pm news tonight has reported that Tulip Garden is relaunching their collective sale. The reserve price is slashed to $600 million, down from $650 million previously.

Tulip Garden 3rd TryThe last tender, which was also the second attempt by Tulip Garden to go en bloc, was launched back in December 2010. However, there was no taker then.


Looks like the owners of Tulip Garden are not about to wait till the next "up" cycle to sell their estate.

So what's next.... Pine Grove having another go at $1.4 - $1.5 billion maybe?

We will update this post tomorrow if there are further details.

Click on the link below for our previous post on the last Tulip Garden tender:
http://sgproptalk.blogspot.com/2011/04/enbloc-news-no-takers-for-tulip-garden.html


Update:
Tulip Garden has re-launched its collective sale, after its last unsuccessful tender exercise that closed in January this year.

Credo Real Estate, which is handling the sale, said the owners of the 164-unit development are asking a minimum $600 million, down from the previous price of $650 million.

Credo said the majority of the owners present at an extraordinary general meeting last month voted in favour of seeking a written mandate from at least 80% of the owners to lower the reserve price.

Credo added while the process is still ongoing, the collective sale committee has decided to relaunch the tender exercise.

At an asking price of $600 million, developers are looking at an effective land cost of about $1,153psf ppr, based on the allowable plot ratio of 1.6425.

Should the developer choose to maximise the potential 10 per cent allowable space for balconies, the effective land cost could be lowered to $1,118psf ppr, after factoring in development charge of some $23 million.

Tulip Garden has a total gross floor area of about 557,400sqft, which includes the additional 10% balcony.

The development can potentially yield about 400 apartments, with an average size of 1,325sqft, depending on layout.

Tulip Garden is located at the corner of Holland Road and Farrer Road in the prime district 10 area.

The tender closes on July 19.
Source: Channel News Asia 
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Enbloc News: Balmoral Condominium sold for $141 million


Balmoral Condominium on Balmoral Road has been sold for $141 million in a collective sale.

The sale price represents a unit land rate of $1,546psf ppr, the highest in four years.

Suzie Mok, director of investment sales at Savills Singapore, which brokered the deal, said: "The property has excellent potential, given its exclusivity and choice location in the prime District 10 area.

"The new apartments will have captivating views of Goodwood Hill and the black and white conservation bungalows."

She added: "The land price of $1,546psf ppr is a record land rate since the collective sale of Westwood Apartments at $2,525psf ppr in 2007."

No development charge is payable.

The buyer is Feature (Balmoral), a consortium consisting of the Tong Eng Group, Clarus Corporation and Yuan Ching Development.

The District 10 freehold residential site has a land area of about 57,000sqft.

According to the URA Master Plan 2008, the site is zoned as "Residential" with a plot ratio of 1.6 and can yield a maximum permissible gross floor area of 91,208sqft.

The existing development comprises 45 apartments.

Each owner can potentially receive between $2.85 million and $3.26 million depending on the apartment size, averaging $2,000psf on strata area.

According to Savills, this is higher than the $1,500 to $1,600psf price if the apartments are sold individually in the secondary market.

Savills believes the transaction will give a boost to the high-end residential segment as current prices are still below the peak levels seen in 2007.

The redevelopment site can potentially accommodate approximately 80 apartments averaging 1,100 to 1,200sqft, subject to a 12-storey height restriction.

The breakeven price for the new development is estimated at between $2,200 and $2,300psf.

The sale is subject to Strata Titles Board approval.

Balmoral Condominium is Savills' third collective sale for the year, following Newton View at $147.6 million and Amber Towers at $161.6 million in March and April respectively.
Source: Channel News Asia

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Enbloc News: Brookvale Park (Updated)


Brookvale Park, a four-storey condominium nestled in the Sunset Way estate, has been put up for sale by public tender.

Marketing agent CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) said the 999-year residential site has a land area of 373,000sqft and a permissible building height of up to 12 storeys.

It is located close to amenities and is a short drive to education institutions like Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the National University of Singapore.

It also has easy access to Orchard Road via Holland Road; as well as the Central Business District (CBD) and Marina Bay area via Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE).

CBRE said the asking price for Brookvale Park is $550 million.

Charles Hoon, director of investment properties, CB Richard Ellis, said: "Developers can take advantage of the site's unique hilly characteristics to incorporate balconies into their design scheme.

"The additional 10% bonus balcony (subject to paying a Development Charge) will bring the land price to $892psf ppr."

This means a potential break-even price of below $1,400 psf.

New residential launches including The Trizon, Jardin, The Floridian, and The Cascadia have transacted between $1,600 and over 2,000 psf, Mr Hoon said.

He added: "We expect strong local and foreign interest, in particular, parties who are considering a 'freehold equivalent' site in prime District 21. Brookvale Park is likely to be the only condominium site available in this locality."

The tender will close on July 28 at 3pm.
Source: Channel News Asia

Did we not tell you last month that Brookvale Park is going enbloc?
http://sgproptalk.blogspot.com/2011/05/brookvale-park-going-en-bloc.html


Update (The Business Times, June 21):
The asking price is $550 million or $950psf ppr, inclusive of an estimated development charge (DC) of $16.77 million.

The site is zoned for residential use with a gross plot ratio of 1.6 and a maximum height of 12 storeys under Master Plan 2008.


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Enbloc News: Braddell Park sold for $85m


A unit of Top Global Limited has clinched Braddell Park for $85 million or $665psf ppr.


Braddell Park is a 45-unit apartment at Jalan Lateh, off Braddell Road and Upper Serangoon Road.

Under the 2008 Master Plan, the site is zoned for residential use with a plot ratio of 1.4 and an allowable height of up to five storeys. The sale was brokered by Credo Real Estate.

The site is freehold and has a land area of 91,360sqft.

Singapore Land Authority granted an in-principle approval for the sale of an adjoining piece of state land measuring some 6,540sqft, thereby allowing the purchaser to enlarge the site to about 97,900sqft and build up to a gross floor area (GFA) of 137,060sqft – sufficient for a new condo project with about 130 apartments averaging 1,000sqft, depending on layout and configuration, Credo said in a news release on Monday.

If the developer chooses to purchase the adjoining state land parcel, its effective land rate of the amalgamated site may be lowered to around $639psf ppr.

“The locality has seen major transformations with NEX mall at Serangoon Central and the completion of the MRT interchange between the North-East Line and Circle Line,” said Tan Hong Boon, deputy managing director of Credo.

“Coincidentally, the Woodleigh MRT station, which is 350 metres away from the site, commenced operations today after being closed in 2003.”

Top Global is controlled by Sukmawati Widjaja, who has a 30% stake in the consortium that is developing a retail/theatre, hotel and residential project on the landmark Capitol site.

The sale is subject to the approval of the Strata Titles Board, if necessary.
Source: Channel News Asia

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Monday, June 20, 2011

New project info: Park Residences @Kovan


The wife and I have received details of a new project in the Serangoon area - Park Residences @Kovan.

This is a small (or boutique, as developers would like to call it) freehold project with 41 units in total.

Units in Park Residences @Kovan are "small format" - all but 5 of the 41 units are 1-bedders below 400sqft, with one exclusive ground floor unit of 675sqft that comes with high ceiling (can build loft?).

Enjoy the literature!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/58273856/ParkResidences-Kovan

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Terrasse (Review)

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Project Name:   Terrasse
Tenure:   99-year Leasehold
Location:   Terrasse Lane
District:   19
Site Area:   325,024sqft
TOP (estimated):   1Q 2015
Total Units:   414
No. of Blocks/Storey:   8 Blocks of 5-Storey each
Car Park Lots:   450 (inclusive of handicapped lots)
Developer:   MCL Land

The wife and I finally managed to find time to visit the sales gallery of Terrasse on Thursday. This is a leasehold project by MCL Land, who had acquired the site via a GLS tender in May 2010 for $456psf ppr.

The site of Terrasse is located right smack at the junction of Hougang Ave 2 and Yio Chu Kang Road.

It is a rather massive plot of land, 300m long & almost rectangular in shape. We were told that the land slops downwards from East to West with an almost 2-storey drop in height.

The sales gallery is a distinctive 2-storey building located on the actual site that you can hardly miss.

Terrasse offers a mix of 1- to 4-bedroom apartments and 3- to 5-bedroom penthouses. Also available are 4-bedroom ‘Garden Duplex’ units. The various types and their approximate sizes are:

• 1-Bedroom Apartment (45 units):   550sqft
• 2-Bedroom Apartment (136 units):   730 – 900sqft
• 3-Bedroom Apartment (108 units):   1000 – 1250sqft
• 4-Bedroom Apartment (36 units):   1350 – 1450sqft
• 3-Bedroom Penthouses (34 units):   1450 – 1550sqft
• 4-Bedroom Penthouses (31 units):   1750 – 1900sqft
• 5-Bedroom Penthouses (9 units):   2100 -2250sqft
• 4-Bedroom Garden Duplex (15 units):   2500sqft

The Garden Duplexes occupy the ground and basement levels. The basement level is a self-contained ‘studio’ with its own kitchenette and bathroom, while the ground level has 3 other bedrooms (including the master). Each unit also comes with 2 dedicated parking lots.

In terms of facilities, Terrasse offers the full package (tennis and multi-purpose court inclusive) and probably a little more. Most of the facilities are located along the full length of the site at the centre of the development, with the apartment blocks lining on both sides. And given the slopping ground, one should get a rather spectacular view of the condo facilities while standing at either ends of the estate. The ones that are worth a mention include:

• 3 Clubhouses
• Firefly Creek – a pond with fibre-optic lights that recreate a firefly effect at night
• Castle Playscape – a playground designed in the shape of a castle

Parking lots are available in the basement and we were told that there will be approximately 450 lots in total (including handicapped lots). So balloting is probably the order of the day for home owners with more than 1 vehicle. The folks in the Garden Duplexes are exempted from such agony of course, since they get 2 dedicated lots each.

There are 4 showflat types on display at the sales gallery. These are:

• 1227sqft, 3-Bedroom Apartment (Type C2)
• 1819sqft, 4-Bedroom Apartment with PES (Type D1-P)
• 2,217sqft, 5-Bedroom Penthouse (Type D1-PH)
• 2,497sqft, 4-Bedroom Garden Duplex (Type C-GD)

For the purpose of this review, we will focus on the 3-bedder (Type C2)

As you enter the main door, you are in the rectangular-shaped living/dining area. We were pleasantly surprised by how spacious this area felt, especially given the actual interior size of the apartment (more on this later). However, our excitement was soon dampened by the type of flooring that is provided – the living/dining, kitchen and even the yard area come with what the marketing agent termed as “porcelain tile” floor. For the uninitiated, these are basically homogenous tiles with glossy finish. The wife and I had used the same sort of tiles in one of our previous apartment (because they are relatively cheap compared to other types of homogenous tiles) and it ended up as one of the biggest regrets that we had to put up with for almost 2 years!

The balcony is in a unique “Z” shape and almost 200sqft in size. It encompasses both the living and master bedroom, although this also means that the nett interior size of the apartment is only about 1,000sqft.

The kitchen is separated from the dining area by a glass partition. However, we were told that the actual unit comes with solid wall instead of glass. It is good-sized and comes with an L-shaped solid surfaced worktop and top/bottom kitchen cabinets. However, we weren’t overly impressed with the “Brandt” hood/hob/oven that is provided.

The “yard”, if you can call it that, is a small square-shaped space located behind the kitchen. It will be a tight squeeze if you intend to do your laundry chores here, but at least you get natural lighting and ventilation from the window provided.

The utility room and a small bathroom is opposite of each other, separated by the yard. If you intend to use the utility room to house your domestic helper, you will need to customize the bed for her – the utility room is tiny even by current standards. Only consolation is that it comes with a set of window inside, which makes it looked less like a holding cell.

The two common bedrooms are tucked at the opposite end of the apartment and across from the living/dining area. There is a stark contrast in size (although the floor plan seems to suggest that the two bedrooms are roughly of equal size). Bedroom 2 is decent-sized, which means you can actually fit a Queen bed in here quite comfortably. However, bedroom 3 is actually quite tiny – a single bed will take up most of the space in the room. All bedrooms come with laminated flooring (usually the cheaper option to solid timber strip), which is rather disappointing.

The common bathroom is quite spacious. It has homogenous-tile floors/walls and “Hansgrohe/Bravat” bathroom fittings and toilet. However, you only get the standard wall-mounted shower in the shower stall.

The master bedroom looks huge for an apartment of such size. You still get quite a lot of space after fitting in a King bed, but we suspect the glass partition-wall to the bathroom does help to make the room feels larger. Again the actual unit will have solid wall for the bathroom partition.

The master bathroom is also good-sized and comes with similar bathroom fittings as the common bathroom. But for some strange reason, the developer has decided to use a different type (read: uglier) of toilet bowl in here compared to the one outside. The master bathroom for the 3-bedder does not come with a bath tub (only 4-bedder and above gets such luxury) and those who expect at least “rain shower” system in the standing shower stall will be solely disappointed.

Price wise, a 1,227sqft unit on the 2nd floor of Block 33 will cost you $1,207,300 ($984psf). During the first phase of preview (where 4 blocks at both ends of the development were released), a similar unit were priced at $1,181,900 ($963psf).

As of Thursday, 208 of the 414-unit are sold and if you are looking at the 4-bedders in Terrasse, only one stack (#25 in Block 25) is left.

Monthly maintenance charges will set you back around $240 - $280 for the 3 and 4-bedders.

The project was officially launched yesterday (Saturday), so we should have a better idea on the latest sales status come early of next week.

What we like:
• All units in Terrase are of North-South orientation and largely unblocked on all sides (except the back, which faces some low-rise terrace houses). So it should be quite breezy in your apartment.

• We were quite impressed with the facilities provided in Terrasse, which should look quite stunning if the designs are materialized fully.

• Two primary schools are within 1-km of Terrase – The highly popular Rosyth School and Xinmin Primary (both co-ed).

What we dislike:
• Given that Terrasse is at the junction of two rather busy roads (Hougang Ave 2 and Yio Chu Kang Road), units near the main road can expect quite a bit of traffic noise. And it looks like the developer has also acknowledged the fact, as double-glazed windows will be provided for the apartments.

• Despite the supposed good access to expressways such as CTE/KPE and its proximity to amenities, nothing is really within walking distance. The nearest MRT (Serangoon) and mega mall (NEX mall) are 6 bus-stops away, while you will need to drive to Hougang Mall, Hougang Point and Chomp Chomp.

• We are rather disappointed with the quality seen at the showflat, which is akin to finding yourself in a budget flight after paying for a full-service airline ticket.

• The master bedroom for Type C2 is a tad too close to the living/dining area for our comfort, as this translates to some loss of privacy. Having said that, the 3-bedroom units come in different layouts, most of which have the master bedroom tucked further inside. 

• We feel that the showflats may not provide you with an accurate representation of  the actual apartments, especially in relation to how spacious the units actually are. Many of the walls in the showflats are blatantly replaced by glass partitions, even structural walls. When asked, we were told that the marketing approval for Terrasse was given before the new guidelines for showflats came into effect. So the developer was allowed to be "creative" with their showflat designs.


Our Verdict: One word summarizes it all - disappointing. The location of Terrasse is far from ideal, the quality of furnishing rather poor and the size of the 3-bedder is too small for our liking (unless you are a fan of big balcony and PES) . Even the delicious offering of facilities within the project is insufficient to compensate for the inadequacies.

Given the $456psf ppr price that MCL Land had paid for the site compared to the almost $1,000psf selling price for each unit, one would assume that the developer can afford to put more emphasis on quality. Then again, it is a "less than $1,000psf" project afterall, so we probably should not expect too much...

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

4 Bids received for Flora Drive site


The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has received four bids for a 99-year residential land site at Flora Drive.

At the close of the tender today, the highest bid came from Frasers Centrepoint, which submitted a bid of $131.4 billion. This works out to about $3,499 per square metre.

The next highest bid was from Tripartite Developers at $130.8 million or about $3,484 per square metre, followed by Leng Hoe Development at $123 million or $3,276 per square metre.

Allgreen Properties submitted the lowest bid of $105.9 million or $2,820 per square metre.

The site has an area of about 26,800 square metres and a maximum gross floor area of slightly above 37,500 square metres.

It was launched for public tender on April 26.

Commenting on the site, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) said the land is surrounded by several condominiums such as Hedges Park and The Gale - which are both under construction - as well as Ferraria Park, Edelweiss Park and Dhalia Park.

CBRE's executive director, Mr Li Hiaw Ho, said: "Its proximity to the Japanese Primary School will attract Japanese expatriates working in the industrial employment centres in the east."

He added that the site could yield around 380 new apartments.

"The top bid of $131.38 million or $325 psf ppr will translate to a breakeven cost of about $700 psf," he commented.

Mr Li said the 501-unit Hedges Park condominium, which was launched for sale in April 2011, had over 60 per cent of it sold at a price of $850 to $900 psf.
Source: Channel News Asia

It sure looks like a pretty crowded neighborhood in a few years' time...

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Whitley Heights enbloc: Sign of things to come?


The owners of Whitley Heights, just off Whitley Road, are re-launching their estate for tender at a lower price.

Credo Real Estate, which is handling the collective sale exercise, revealed yesterday that the first attempt in January this year was unsuccessful.

The offers received for the 130,165sqft freehold site in one of Singapore’s prime neighbourhoods, District 11, were below the owners’ initial reserve price.

“Earlier, the owners were hoping to achieve between $185 million to $120 million, which reflected a land rate of $1,421 to $1,613psf,” said Credo managing director Karamjit Singh.

Now, they have lowered their price target to $165 million, or $1,268psf, he said.

More than 80% of the owners have consented in writing to the reduced reserve price.

Asked if the tender would be successful after the adjustments, Mr Singh said he remains optimistic.

“It should be all right because the owners have made a significant enough adjustment to attract developers’ interest,” he said.

“At $165 million for the land, the developer may expect to break even at around $3 million per strata terraced. They should be able to sell the new strata units at an average of $3.6 million to $3.7 million per unit.”

Whitley Heights is a stone’s throw from the large houses in Chancery Lane and a number of top schools.

Analysts reckon the unsuccessful tender earlier this year is not so much reflective of the current market, but more of the nature of the site and its development uses.

When most residential apartment sites go en bloc, they are typically redeveloped into high-rise condominium units.

But for Whitley Heights, the site – which currently houses a 45-unit condo development – is to be redeveloped into two-storey landed homes.

This means the developer of the site could choose to build a combination of conventional terraced, semi-detached and detached houses, as well as strata terraced, strata semi-detached houses and strata bungalows.

This implies potentially less “intensive” use of the land for any developer, said SLP’s head of research, Mr Nicholas Mak.

“The en bloc sale premium could be less, as a result, for the developer,” he said.

The tender for Whitley Heights closes at 2.30pm on July 8.
Source: The Straits Times

A couple of thoughts came to mind after reading the article:

• A reduction from $185 million to $165 million – that equates to a discount of about 11% or over $400k less per household (assuming all 45 units are of equal size). Owners of Whitley Heights are definitely motivated sellers!

• Even if the original intention is to redevelop Whitley Heights into two-storey landed homes, surely this is not set in stone (or is it?). Would the buyer not have the option of building condos (albeit low-rise, as we believe there is height limitation on the site) if they feel that this will bring them better returns? So at the end of the day, wouldn't the cause of the initial failed enbloc attempt be the (high) reserved price (which is a function of what developers are willing to accept based on current market) rather than nature of the site and its development uses?

• More interestingly, will we see the likes of Pine Grove and Pearlbank Apartments following suit and start dropping their reserve prices in their next round of sale?

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Launching soon: Skyline Residences (Updated)


Skyline Residences is located along Telok Blangah Road, where Fairways Condominium currently stands.

The 146,532sqft freehold site was sold to Bukit Sembawang via a collective sale back in 2007 for $244.3 million. The price worked out to $785psf ppr.

Bukit Sembawang has really taken their time to redevelop the Fairways site. But a friend of ours living across from Fairways has seen the showflat being constructed since a couple of months ago, so the wife and I were expecting some announcement on the impending project launch. We now understand that the preview date for Skyline Residences is estimated to be around end-June or early-July.

Skyline Residences is supposedly within short walking distance of the upcoming Telok Blangah MRT Station and will probably be quite closely watched given its location.

However, we heard that price is expected to be around $2,000psf. If this true, the price is even higher than the $1,900psf initial launch price of Foresta @Mount Faber located further down the road.

So it will be interesting to see how "well received" the project is during the preview.

For those who are interested, you can find out more about Skyline Residences here:
http://www.condoexpert.sg/skyline-residences-telok-blangah 


Update (16/06/2011):
We understand from a reliable source (thanks, Jonathan) that the price for Skyline Residences will be between $2,200 to $2,300psf.

Kinda steep if you ask us, especially given current market sentiments. However, if Foresta can sell at $1,900+psf, why can't Bukit Sembawang ask for $2,200psf (or more)?

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

May 2011 private home sales figure (Updated)

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Data released Wednesday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed that 1,575 private homes were sold last month - a 12.7% on-month drop from the 1,805 units sold in April.

Including Executive Condominiums (EC), the total sales in May would have reached an even more impressive figure of 1,825.

Chalking up the best sales was Terrasse at Terrasse Lane, which sold 184 units at a median price of $994psf.

The best selling EC was Belysa at Pasir Ris drive 1, which sold 162 units at a median price of $691psf.

The most expensive property sold in May was The Marq on Paterson Hill - a luxury property in the city centre - where a unit was sold at a median price of $5,842psf.

The lowest transacted price was at $486 per square foot for a city fringe landed property called The Hiloft.

According to analysts, private home sales fell by almost half to just under 3,800 units in the first half of this year.

Analysts said this is due to a slew of property cooling measures, with the latest and most drastic introduced in January this year.
Source: Channel News Asia

If you think the May sales number is bad, just wait till you see the June figures!


Update (from News @10 tonite):
The number of new units launched in May was down 41% to about 1,200 units, as developers anticipated new housing policies to be introduced after the General Election.

Demand in the suburban area remained the strongest , with 945 units sold. The city fringe area saw sales of 458 units, while the central region saw the least number of units sold - 172.

Analysts expect further decline in private home sales for June, at around 900 - 1,200 units.

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For those claiming that private home sales are still strong...


New home sales appear to be cooling, with key indicators down by half so far this year from those in the same period last year.

Not only has there been a plunge in the number of new private homes sold, but the total value of sales has also more than halved, according to a new report by property consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).

Expert attribute this to weaker market sentiment this year, as well as the cooling measures in January, which were the strictest seen in the past few years.

CBRE also highlighted how smaller homes are gaining favour. Median sizes of new homes hovered around 1,200sqft in the first six months of last year, but they have shrunk to around 900sqft now.

These smaller units, with their lower overall prices, could be partly to blame for the reduced transaction values, said CBRE.

About $5.1 million worth of new homes have been sold so far this year, less than half the $12.3 billion in the first half of last year.

CBRE data also show a drop in sale volume: 3,796 private homes were sold this year till last week, well down from the 7,189 sold in the first half of last year. This translates to a median price of around $1 million for each home sold this year, compared with about $1.2 million last year.

Analysts say the muted numbers this year could be a sign that the recent cooling measures are taking effect.


Extracted from : The Straits Times

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Home sales slowed last week


Developers and property agents reported slower home sales last week following National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s cautionary remarks on his blog.

However, seller in the primary and secondary marketing are said to be remaining firm on pricing.

Some property consultants estimate that developers’private home sales in May – the official number from URA will be released tomorrow – may come in close to the level in April, when they sold 1,788 private homes excluding executive condos.

Terrasse
The project in Hougang, which has been on the market since May 21, is said to have seen sales in the single-digit last week, compared with about 20 units in each of the preceding two weeks.

The five-storey, 99-years leasehold project is priced at about $950psf on average, with about 210 of the total 414 units now taken up.

Woodhaven
Far East Organization is said to have sold over 80 units at its Woodhaven condo project in Woodlands. The average price is said to be over $900psf.

The 99-year leasehold project has three components – regular apartments; soho-style apartments with greater floor-to-ceiling height; and townhouses.

Buckley Classique
City Developments Ltd has sold 17 out of 25 units released at its 64-unit Buckley Classique between Friday and Sunday. The early-bird average price for the private preview, which began on Friday, was $1,950psf.

Lump-sum prices are said to range from $2.27 million for a 1,098sqft, two-bedroom apartment on the second storey to $7.1 million for a 4,359sqft penthouse with five bedrooms and a family area.

The freehold development comprises two blocks (five and six storeys) on the former Buckley Mansion at No 11 Buckley Road and will incorporate a conservation bungalow next door (No 9 Buckley Road) for use as a club house for the project.

Seastrand
This project in Pasir Ris by Far East and Frasers Centrepoint is said to be garnering strong interest.

The average price is said to be about $850psf and sales could begin as early as later this week if all the requisite approvals are secured in time. The 473-unit project will have one to four-bedroom units.

Extracted from: The Business Times


After the reading the article above, two thoughts come to our mind:

• It’ll be interesting to see what the June private home sales number will be like.

• Developers seem to be launching new projects with a vengeance these days – is it really due to strong   demand, or are they also concern that the “bull run” on property prices may come to end soon?

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Balestier: Up & coming city fringe estate..?


The historical Balestier area is going through a makeover, with swanky new residential projects and several hotels now seen lining its streets.

It is also attracting high demand from young couples and professionals looking for a convenient city fringe property.

Still, home prices in Balestier are not rising as fast as other city fringe areas, but analysts say this trend may change once government works to spruce up the area are complete.

According to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, home prices in Balestier are growing more slowly than those in other city fringe areas, increasing by 9% on-year compared with the overall city fringe price growth of 11% on-year.

The Viridian, a 23-storey condominium, is Global Orion Properties' maiden residential project.

The industrial property developer chose the historical Balestier area - the former home to Singapore's early immigrants - for the freehold development on Jalan Ampas, just off Balestier Road.

The property will have 108 units, ranging from 500 to over 3,300sqft each, and amenities like a swimming pool and a recreational terrace.

Satia Narjadin, director of Global Orion Properties, said: "In terms of amenities and location, it really can't be beaten - we are just outside of the city area itself. From here to Orchard Road, it's just 5 minutes.

"If you take a walk outside, there is food aplenty, you have places to do grocery shopping, (and) it is conveniently located within walking distance to the MRT".

Prices at The Viridian are going at $1,550psf - typical for new developments in Balestier like The Interweave, SkySuites 17 and Okio Residences.

Analysts say the massive 421,000sqft Zhongshan Park hotel and retail project in Balestier will boost its attractiveness even further.

The government has also announced plans to revamp the Balestier area, including building new footpaths and creating a heritage trail.

Liang Thow Ming, head of residential services, Credo Real Estate, said: "You will find that similar properties within the city on a 99-year leasehold will be costing you anything from $2,000psf upwards.

"Therefore, if you look at a freehold Balestier (property), at about $1,400 or $1,500psf, that is value for money - for them to buy or even for investors who will probably be buying so that they can rent it out."

The Viridian will sit on a former en bloc factory site, bought for S$27.5 million, while Skysuites 17 will be rebuilt from an old residential property, Diamond Tower.

Analysts say the Balestier area holds much en bloc potential for developers as the old gives way to the new.

Source: Channel News Asia

If only they will get rid of the numerous budget hotels and karaoke bars along Balestier Road as well...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Interesting data on property "flips"

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Below is a report that appeared in The Business Times last week. But due to a slew of property-related news that was released over the past week, we were unable to post this till today.

So this is for those who missed the report.
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It pays not to flip properties too frequently, according to a study of subsale transactions by Savills Singapore.

The average holding period of subsales in the first three months of 2011 increased to its longest in at least three years, while the average gain from profitable subsale deals in the quarter was also at its highest since Q3 2008.

Savills’ study, which traced caveat matches to work out holding periods and gains or losses from subsales since Q1 2008, revealed that the average holding period for subsale transactions in Q1 2011 was 2.31 years.

This was longer than the 2.07 to 2.23 years average holding period for subsales in various quarters of last year and the longest since Q1 2008, when the average holding period for subsale deals was 1.64 years.

Some 97.4% of matched subsales in Q1 2011 were profitable and, of these, the average gain per profitable subsale deal climbed to $315,043, surpassing the $283,498 to $289,004 for Q1 – Q4 last year and the highest figure for any quarter since Q3 2008.

Steven Ming, executive director of investment sales at Savills Singapore, said: “The bigger average gain from profitable subsale deals is in sync with the upbeat market sentiment, which has seen prices of non-landed private homes rebounding strongly from the trough in 2009 and even surpassing its previous peak in 2008.”

“The longer holding period of subsales transacted in Q1 2011 indicates that short-term speculation was stifled by the government’s various cooling measures announced since February 2010, particularly the stringent seller’s stamp duty introduced on Jan 13,2011,” he added.

Indeed, there were no instances of units bought in Q1 this year and flipped within the same period.

“These results support (the view) that real estate should be a mid- to long-term investment rather than short-term speculation,” concludes Mr Ming.

The most profitable subsale in Q1 2011 yielded a profit of $3.44 million; it involve a ground-floor unit at Nassim Park Residences that was previously bought for around $12.1 million from the developer in June 2008and sold in March 2011 for $15.56 million.

The biggest subsale loss, of $723,200, was for an apartment at The Orchard Residences.

Subsales, often used as a proxy of speculative activity, refer to secondary-market deals in projects that have yet to receive a Certificate of Statutory Completion and where property titles for units sold have yet to be transferred to buyers.

“Transaction volume in the subsale market is expected to moderate over the next 24 months and the average holding period (lengthen), following the imposition of steep seller’s stamp duty (SSD), which compels any real estate investor to think mid- to longer-term to ride out the four-year SSD period to reduce costs,” said Mr Ming.

Savills’ analysis showed that the average subsale gain for profitable deals was highest at $445,313 in Q1 2008 – during the heyday of the previous property boom when anecdotal evidence of people flipping properties within a short period for handsome returns was not uncommon. Back then, 98.2% of all subsales made money and the average holding period for subsale deals was just 1.64 years.

Then came Lehman’s collapse and during the low point of the property market in Q1 2009, only 67.5% of subsales were in the black while their average gain sank to $105,663. From that point, the proportion of profitable subsales quickly began to recover, reaching 90.7% in Q3 2009, 97.5% in Q4 2010 and 97.4% in Q1 2011

Savills examined URA Realis caveats data for subsale deals and tried to find previous caveat records for the same units; where it found matches, it worked out the holding period for the subsales and the profit or loss. The latter was calculated as the difference between sale and purchase prices, without taking into account agent fees, stamp duties and other expenses.

For instance, of the total 584 caveats for subsales of private condos or apartments in Q1 2011, Savills found previous caveat records for 506 units, of which 493 (or 97.4%) made gains and 13 made losses.

The projects with the most subsale caveat matches in Q1 2011 were Livia in Pasir Ris and Double Bay Residences in Simei – with 24 and 22 deals respectively, all profitable.

Savills said subsale interest in these two projects was probably fuelled by recent launches in the respective locations such as NV Residences and My Manhattan, given that the average price in the subsale market is relatively lower than that for new launches.

As for 2010, the projects with the most subsale matches were The Parc Condominium in West Coast (150 units), One Amber (132), Caspian in the Jurong Lake area (93), Marina Bay Residences (75) and Sky@Eleven (63).

Some of these projects were completed last year, and it is often around this time that a flurry of subsale activity occurs as projects then have added appeal to buyers seeking properties that they can move into or rent out soon.

But Savills noted that even projects which are slated for completion around 2013 such as Caspian and Kovan Residences were active in the subsale market last year.

“Matched results showed that most units in these mass-market projects made gains through subsales, riding on the strong price growth in the mass-market segment,” Savills observed.
Source: The Business Times

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