More Sale-of-Balance flats units in mature estates

Aside from the large number of new BTO flats in HDB’s latest launch, many units under the Sale of Balance flats scheme will also be made available, including units in mature HDB estates such as Kallang/Whampoa and Queenstown.

SkyParcDawson3Photo credit: www.dla.com.sg


3,946 flats which remained unsold from previous launches, spread over 14 mature estates and 11 non-mature estates, were rolled out in last week’s Sale of Balance Flats launch. From the 14 mature estates which also included Pasir Ris, Tampines, Serangoon and Ang Mo Kio, the 523 and 263 units in Queenstown and Kallang/Whampoa were the most eye-catching. The proximity of these 2 HDB estates to the Central Business District (CBD) and the number of balance flats available were factors making this one of the highlights of this current launch.

SkyParcDawson2Photo credit: www.dla.com.sg

Most mature estates will only see single- or at most double-digit number of units available under the sale of balance flat scheme. The high volume of leftover units from previous launches in Queenstown could be due to leftover replacement units previously put aside for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). Most of these units are in the SkyParc @ Dawson development which will be ready by end of 2020. These new flats and their modern designs will no doubt make them the hottest units in this launch. Priced between $454,600 and $527,200, they are more affordable than some of the newer BTO units in estates such as Geylang and Bidadari.

Flats in Geylang and Bidadari available in HDB’s latest BTO Launch

HDB’s latest sales launch of Build-to-order (BTO) and Sale of Balance (SBF) flats will include 1,273 units in Geylang and 1,355 Bidadari (Toa Payoh HDB estate).

BidadariHDBflatMAy17May’s launch may not be huge considering it will span 14 mature estates and 11 non-mature estates, but the inclusion of many flats in popular estates such as Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Clementi and Kallang/Whampoa will draw the crowds for sure. 5 applicants per unit is expected for Geylang as the area has not had a launch for the past 3 years.

The government is however attempting to shift applicants’ focus to non-mature estates up North, namely in Woodlands and Yishun. Up to 2,000 new BTO flats will be launched in these 2 HDB towns with prices considerably lower than those in mature estates. For example, a 2-room flexi HDB flat in Geylang will cost $179,000 while the same in Woodlands will cost more than $100,000 lesser at $73,000. In Bidadari, a 2-room flexi unit will cost $169,000. A 3-Gen flat in Bidadari will be priced at $622,000 while the same in Woodlands costs slightly over half of that at $320,000.

DakotaHDBflatMAy17Bigger 4- and 5-room flats will also be made available in the current launch. But be prepared to pay $489,000 for a 4-bedroom unit in Geylang while a 5-bedroom flat in Yishun will set you back only $331,000. Plans to establish Woodlands as an area for regional businesses is on the way, though it will take some time before it becomes a full-fledged hub. Infrastructure that is being developed includes new MRT stations, a terminus connecting Woodlands to Johor Bahru and the North-South corridor. More HDB launches can be expected in the Woodlands estate in future.

In the meantime, the mature estates are expected to dominate the latest launch. Applications close on Wednesday, May 24. HDB’s next launch will be in August and it will include 3,850 new BTO flats in Bukit Batok and Sengkang.

*Photo credit: HDB

Success of collective sales continues

2017 continues to be a good year for the collective sales market with Shunfu Ville given the go-ahead from the Court of Appeal last week and the sale of One Tree Hill Gardens site for $65 million this year.

OneTreeHillGardensThe Lum Chang Group has purchased the latter freehold landed residential development site near Orchard Road at $1,644 psf. Its proximity to Orchard Road makes it a prime site that is rare also because of its freehold status. It is of sizeable land ratio and developers have expressed considerable interest. The site was initially put up for sale at $72.8 million. Despite the $7.2 million shortfall, individual owners of the 6 maisonettes and 7 apartments will still receive $4.3 to $9.1 million depending on the size of their units.

Under a 2014 masterplan, the freehold site is zoned for 2-storey semi-detached residential use within a 39,063 sq ft land area. What it could potentially yield are 8 semi-detached houses, 5 bungalows or 10 semi-detached homes and 3 bungalows. With such landed properties near Orchard Road a scarcity, the freehold homes will no doubt receive much interest from investors and high net-worth buyers.

venturaheightsWhile the market is still tender from the previous years of slow growth, developers are beginning to replenish land stock and collective sales may be their means to the ends as the government has recently cut back on the release of land plots. Though price-sensitivity continues to rule developers’ bids, the collective sale market will be active this year especially with more home owners enquiring about en bloc sales and the sale of Eunosville and Rio Casa last month.

Prime sites may yield high-demand homes

Should the sites currently earmarked for future residential use be put up for sale, the public can expect some juicy baits from developers as these sites are in prime locations near the city centre.

Tanglin ResidencesThe 2 sites which are particularly beguiling are the former Ministry of Home Affairs Phoenix Park site in Tanglin road and the former Overseas Family School plot in Paterson road. Both sites are under governmental ownership and while the location of these sites will excite developers and buyers alike, the government is unlikely to put them up for sale anytime soon. They have in fact been holding back on the release of land sites possibly contributing to the increased number of successful en bloc sales in recent months.

Paterson SuitesThese sites with their exclusive addresses are currently put up for interim use though should they eventually be placed for sale, they are likely to yield 450 to 700 homes in the Paterson road site and 850 to 1000 units averaging 800 to 1,000 sq ft on the Phoenix Park site. The latter is currently tenanted by LHN Facilities Management who will have the option of renewing till the end of 2020. The proximity of this site to various embassies in the Tanglin area will however mean restrictions may be placed on the height not to mention possible heritage conservation regulations.

 

New 153,000 hectare township near KL planned for next 30 years

There are big plans for a big project spanning 153,000 hectares in Negeri Sembilan, just beside the administrative capital of Putrajaya. At twice the size of Singapore, the township will launch its first phase which at 11,000 hectares is 22 times the size of Sentosa, in Q3 this year. 

MVV ipropertyMYThe Malaysia Vision Valley (MVV) is a major township development which encompasses the Seremban and Port Dickson districts near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and just an hour’s drive away from downtown Kuala Lumpur. The masterplan is managed by 2 government-linked entities – Sime Darby Properties and Kumpulan Wang Persaraan – and  is reflective of the Iskandar Malaysia development in Johor. The MVV will consist of 5 main clusters, namely: a Central Business District (CBD), residential estates, a nature city, an education and technology hub and a tourism and wellness precinct.

SenadaResidencesSimeDarbyPhoto credit: Sime Darby Properties

The residential offerings in this new township is expected to be at lower costs in comparison with the higher property prices in KL city. There seems to be future plans for an eventual merging of KL and Seremban within the next 2 decades and the current impetus is for the development to accrue RM290 million (S$93.9 billion) in investments and to become the hotbed of potentially 1.38 million job opportunities. The federal government has also put aside RM560 million to develop transportation infrastructure that will serve the MVV district.

 

1 in 5 first-time HDB Flat buyers opt for resale

CLementiHDBIt has become easier for first-time HDB flat buyers to secure a new flat directly from the Housing Board (HDB) but some are still opting for one in the resale market. 95 per cent of new Build-to-order (BTO) units are now reserved for first-time buyers. But yet figures have shown that 1 in 5 first-time HDB flat buyers are still choosing to buy a unit from the resale flat market instead of applying for a new one.

The decline in resale flat prices, the growing pool of available resale flats on sale in mature estates and the fact that more young buyers are willing to pay dearly for older flats to get the space and location they desire could all be reasons for the high numbers of first-time buyers choosing to buy resale.  Younger families prefer homes in better locations, perhaps also to be closer to their extended families, and they now have more available stock to choose from. For buyers buying a flat near their parents, they can also receive a $20,000 housing grant.

ClementiHDBflat3,441 Singaporean families purchased a resale flat with the aid of housing grants last year – that is almost 20 per cent of the flat purchases made by first-time buyers. The remaining 80 per cent applied for 14,273 subsidised units directly from HDB. Young couples who are eager to start a family may also choose to purchase from the resale market in order to skip the waiting period of 3 to 4 years which comes with the acquisition of a new BTO flat. The now-enhanced CPF Housing Grants also mean first-time buyers can get up to to $50,000 in subsidies.

Will this then mean that resale flat sellers can price up as demand does not seem to have waned? Not necessarily so, as the option of new flats are very much available to first-time buyers. There have however been recent transactions in popular areas where records were set for resale units – such as $1.04 million for a 118 sq m resale flat on the 39th floor of Clementi Towers.

Limits placed on tenancy of private homes

From today on, private homes can no longer be tenanted by more than 6 unrelated persons. This is 2 lesser than previous cap of 8 persons.

Enforced by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the new ruling kicks in today but existing tenancy agreements of 7 or 8 persons will be allowed to carry on until May 15, 2019 regardless of the tenancy contract’s expiration date.

TownervilleThis change was made to keep the integrity and character of the local community and to ensure that residential premises integrate with the neighbourhood. The move will also better engage the services of student hostels and company dormitories. There are differing views to this change. Property agents, some landlords and even tenants may welcome this shift towards quieter and less disruptive living environments. Others who are relying on rental income to prop up their finances may have opposing views. The loss of 2 tenants could very well surmount to $1800 to $2600 in potential monthly rents.

This shift to tenancy regulations will also affect home-sharing market such as Airbnb. The URA has been considering the creation of new leasing category for short-term rentals such as those publicised on home-sharing sites. And for those wondering if a huge bungalow and a small private studio may have different restrictions? The answer is no. URA has stated that there is no “stratified occupancy cap control based on unit sizes”.

Aura83For HDB flats which are sublet, the number of sub-tenants allowed remain unchanged at 6 and 9 for 3-room and 4-room or bigger units respectively. Property analysts are however expecting this new tenancy rules to soon apply for the HDB market.

 

Office and retail rental market: The competition between old and new

GSH PLazaIn the commercial property market, the effects of demand and supply is more strongly felt that ever as many new developments enter the market in line with the government’s efforts to grow and restructure the country’s commercial sector.

The positive outlook and sentiments in the private property market here does not seem to have rubbed off in the commercial sector as office rents fell 3.4 per cent in Q1 and retail rents fell 2.9 per cent – its 9th consecutive quarter of price declines. Prices of office spaces also fell 4 per cent in the first quarter of the year, following the 0.6 per cent fall from last year’s Q4. The numbers do not reflect the 2.5 per cent expansion of Singapore’s economy in the first quarter of the year, largely boosted by manufacturing and other trade-dependent sectors.

MarinaOneOfficeOther than Marina One which found tenants quickly, landlords of older commercial establishments are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the newer offerings and have found themselves having to drop their prices in order to source for more tenants, even as more companies are relocating into cheaper and newer buildings outside of the core central region. Some companies are also exploring co-working options, which decreases the demand for commercial real estate on a permanent basis. New commercial buildings such as GSH Plaza and Guoco Tower will also increase the supply of prime office spaces in the Central Business District (CBD) and as these landlords are already raising their asking rents for Grade A office spaces, property analysts are expecting the country’s economic growth to fuel the commercial property market as the year moves on.