NewsFeed 28 March 2019

City View from Shenton Way

A variety of new homes and amenities will be built in areas like Downtown, Marina South and Rochor to inject more life after work hours.

The government is looking to build more homes in the Central Business District so that more people can live closer to workplaces and amenities.

In its Draft Master Plan 2019, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) revealed that it will raise the live-in population within the central area by planning a variety of homes and amenities in areas like Downtown, Marina South and Rochor.

“There are opportunities to tap on the draw of Downtown living, amenities in the area, high transport connectivity, and the convenience that city living brings, to introduce more housing in the area,” said URA.

“The injection of new housing options in Downtown will bring more homes to where jobs are, and cut down on commuting times for workers to and fro work.”

A larger live-in population will also inject more life after work hours, adding to the vibrancy and attractiveness of the city, it added.

With this, the government will introduce a CBD incentive scheme that offers higher gross plot ratio to encourage developers to convert existing office developments to residential and hotel uses.

Christine Li, senior director and head of research at Cushman & Wakefield, noted that the scheme could be beneficial for many office developments facing challenges when it comes to land use zoning.

“As residential and hotel use typically have a lower capital value, it does not make sense for land owners to downgrade to those development options without the increase in the plot ratio. With the new CBD Incentive Scheme in place, it will make commercial sense to look at various development options.”

For the scheme to take off, Li believes that the government needs to make some tweaks.

For instance, current hotel development charge (DC) rates as well as the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) are considered to be too prohibitive for property developers to even consider these development options.

This is especially true for residential properties within the CBD wherein a significant portion of demand comes from foreigners who face a 20 percent ABSD.

And while bringing residential developments back to the CBD is nothing new, earlier efforts by the government failed to yield the desired outcome.

“Hence I am of the view that co-living should be extensively adopted when the developers consider redevelopment options in the CBD in the future,” said Li.

“Currently, only the affluent expatriates and rich locals are able to afford living in the CBD. However, in order to make the CBD truly work-live-play, we should also bring in people from all walks of life to the CBD.”

Li is convinced that co-living may help achieve the intended consequence.

However, current rules such as the prohibition in having over six related people occupy a unit should be relaxed in order to increase city-living’s attractiveness, she said.

NewsFeed 28 March 2019

The tender for two sites at Middle Road and Sims Drive received keen interest, with the Middle Road site attracting 10 bids.

Wing Tai Holding’s Wingcharm Investment submitted the highest bid of $492 million, followed by a consortium between MCC Land (Singapore) and Greatview Investment with a $470 million bid.

CBRE said the 7,462.6 sq m site received interest from seasoned developers who are keen on developing their residential portfolio within the Beach Road/Ophir-Rochor Corridor to complement the growing number of offices in the vicinity.

Other bidders for the site included a joint venture between GuocoLand, Intrepid Investments and Hong Realty, a tie-up between City Developments and MCL Land as well as Far East Organization.

Meanwhile, the 16,225.2 sq m site at Sims Drive received five bids, with Hong Leong subsidiary’ Intrepid Investments and CDL Constellation, a wholly-owned unit of City Developments, submitting the top bid of $383.53 million.

GuocoLand’s GLL B offered the second highest bid at $343 million, which is 11.8 percent below the highest bid.

“The tender results reflect developers’ cautious approach for private residential market where the take-up for recent projects have been tepid since additional cooling measures were introduced in July 2018,” noted CBRE.

It also revealed that the estimated unit yield for the site had been reduced to 570 from 650 units as it is located outside the Central area, hence, subject to the 85 sq m ruling.

“The winning bidders for both sites are required to adopt the “prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction” method,” stated CBRE.

 

NewsFeed  26 Jan 2019

SINGAPORE – Major News Announcement : – The alignment of Phase 1 of the MRT Cross Island Line (CRL) has been finalised.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on Friday (25 Jan 2019) that this first stretch will be 29km long. It will have 12 stations and pass through areas such as Changi, Loyang, Pasir Ris, Hougang and Ang Mo Kio.

“When it is completed by 2029, more than 100,000 households will enjoy better connectivity and shorter travelling times”. Mr Khaw said. An estimated 80 percent of Singapore’s households will be within 10-minute walk to nearest MRT. 

He said Bright Hill, a station on the CRL which is also on the Thomson-East Coast Line.” will further expand to become an interchange station with the CRL”.

Phase 1 of the CRL will have three other interchanges.  One at Ang Mo Kio with the North-South Line, another at Hougang with the North East Line and a third at Pasir Ris with the East-West Line.

The CRL will be Singapore’s eighth MRT line.

singapore property launch

NewsFeed 1 Feb 2019

The proportion of singles among citizens across most age groups has increased, compared to 2007 (Chart 9).

The biggest increase was among female citizens aged 25-29. The proportion of singles increased from about 6 in 10 in 2007, to 7 in 10 in 2017. For male citizens aged 25-29, this proportion increased slightly to about 8 in 10 in 2017.

For most other age groups, a similar trend of rising singlehood was observed.

NewsFeed 15 November 2018 

THE government cannot take a hands-off approach to the property cycle and allow bubbles to develop, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.  He was explaining the rationale behind July’s cooling measures at the anniversary dinner of the developers’ body on Thursday.

He also reasoned that had the authorities not intervened, private home prices this year are very likely to have exceeded a 10 per cent increase, and may be even gone up by up to 15 per cent.

“It would continue next year and then in two, three years’ time, there would be another crash. And many more Singaporeans would be hurt.

“And that’s the reason why we decided we had to move with the cooling measures,” said Mr Wong, who is also the Second Minister for Finance.

Reiterating, he added: “We will not take a hands-off approach to the property cycle. I don’t think any responsible government should do so.”

“Instead, we will do whatever we can to prevent property bubbles from forming and to minimise exuberance in the market,” said Mr Wong at the event at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

He emphasised that the government’s aim is not to bring property prices down but rather to have a steady and sustained property market where prices move broadly in line with income growth or fundamentals.

Elaborating on the scenario where the authorities had not come up with cooling measures, he said: “What would the price have been by the end of this year? Would it have naturally corrected by itself ? No one can tell but I would imagine if we had not done anything, there would have been significant momentum behind the prices.

“All of you know that the fear of missing out is extremely powerful. It is a very strong force among buyers. They will come, they will enter the market, so prices will continue to rise sharply.  And then like in any bubble, this will be followed by a sharp decline in few years’ time.

“We are already seeing significant headwinds in the external environment.  With trade, with global economy slowing down, with interest rates likely to go up. On top of that, within our domestic market, more supply is coming on stream.”

In a speech at the same event, Redas president Augustine Tan said that the association is watching the market keenly.  The association has engaged the government to raise its concern about the sudden introduction of the property cooling measures in July.

He also highlighted that the challenging times that have befallen developers.  The higher cost of development arising from the introduction of the 5 per cent non-remissible additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) that developers have to pay when they buy residential development sites.

In addition, there is a higher risk of developers having to cough up the 25 per cent remissible ABSD on their residential site purchase price, with interest, if they fail to complete the residential project and sell all its units within five years of acquiring the site.

Mr Wong also highlighted that within a period of 12 months from mid-2017 to mid-2018, private home prices had increased by more than 9 per cent. “And to put this in context, in the last cycle, it took the government eight rounds of cooling measures over a period of four years.  And over this period of four years, prices came down by 12 per cent.

“Within one year, the prices shot back up 9 per cent. And there was every indication that that price increase would continue. Why? Because the developers’ bids for Government Land Sales sites indicated quite bullish expectations of a continued rapid increase in prices.

NewsFeed 15 Sep 2018

The survey is only limited to cities within certain developed countries. This misses out on the numerous cities in mainland China that are experiencing an even more heated property market. In Shanghai, a median apartment costs 50 times the average income, going for around $2.7 million.

While there has been continued frustration about home prices in Singapore, the 9 successive rounds of cooling measures put in place appear to be working. Fears that higher-than expected economic growth of 3.5% in 2017 would trigger a sharp rise in home prices have not materialised for now.

While other cities do have affordable housing options, including New York City’s housing programme, the scale and availability does not match up to Singapore.

In NYC, those who choose to go for public housing must fall within certain income limits and are subject to a lottery because demand is much higher. 

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