100% response at Hundred Palms Residences EC launch

Over the weekend, all 531 units of the Hundred Palms Residences executive condominium (EC) in Hougang were sold. In a day.


Photo credit: Hoi Hup Realty

The all-around positive real estate market sentiments have been felt intensely over the weekend past. Turnout at the showflat were quite literally overwhelming, with the premises filled to the brim and spilling out into the sidewalks. Over at the Le Quest mixed-used project in Bukit Batok developed by Qinjian Realty, interest was also strong.

The popularity of the Hundred Palms Residences could be due to its prime location, as it is situated in the mature estate of Hougang and within the 1km radius of the Rosyth School. The average selling price was $836 psf. In comparison with the same period last year, private home and EC sales has almost doubled. 2,064 ECs were sold in H1 of this year, compared to the 1,867 in the same time period last year. Most of the buyers at the Hundred Palms Residences EC were residents of neighbouring estates such as Hougang, Serangoon, Sengkang and Punggol. It gives an indication of the buying power of young families and professionals and hints at the likelihood of similar response levels for upcoming launches.

While property analysts are not yet certain that buyers’ interest in recent months translate to a market recovery, it is nevertheless a step in the right direction. Resale prices of private homes have inched up slightly but the rental market has remained dull. It waits to be seen if property cooling measures will be lifted as that could potentially mean more business for the property market.

Collective sale of Dalvey Road apartment

The latest condominium to climb on the en bloc bandwagon is the Villa D’Este on Dalvey Road in prime district 10. The freehold site currently holds 12 apartment units ranging from 3,456 sq ft to 3,949 sq ft and 10 owners have already agreed to putting the site up for sale. And the asking price? $96 million.

Villa DesteThe pros for this site is that there are no development charges and with the $96 million price tag it comes with, that works out to be about $1,730 psf for the 55,480 sq ft land site. Land acquisition moves by developers have been aggressive this year and quite a few collective sales efforts have come to fruition and more mature residential establishments are feeling confident about putting themselves out there.

Other properties which have started their en bloc sales process recently are The Albracca, Serangoon Ville and Tampines Court with the latter 2 being former HUDCs. The Villa D’Este is a private property with relatively few units on site, which could mean each owner getting $7.5 to $8 million from the sale. And its location would attract developers since it is rare to find a site so close to a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) area. This could translate to promising sales of projects eventually launched here as the area is popular with expatriates and also provides the exclusivity of ambience and address. Other private land plots which were sold this year included One Tree Hill Gardens, Goh & Goh Building, Rio Casa and Eunosville.

The Dalvey Road site holds the potential to yield 1 to 3 GCBs or 24 new apartment units sized approximately at 2,000 sq ft. There was a previous collective sale attempt in 2015 for $115 million.

New home sales last month almost double that of June 2016

830 new residential properties were sold by developers in June this year, up almost 53% from the 536 units last year. Despite the usual June holiday lull, the number of units sold were not significantly lower than the 1,039 sold in May. The lack of new private property launches last month could have also accounted for the sub-1000-unit sales figures following 3 consecutive months of sales above 1,000 units. Only 159 units were launched in June, down from the 370 in May.

SantoriniWith the inventory of unsold units diminishing, and a much-reduced number of new units launched this year, the market could be headed towards a state of undersupply. Thus despite of and possibly because of the 15 consecutive quarters of weakening home prices and softening rents, buyers have been eager to pick up units this year.

The best-selling private condominium project in June was The Santorini in Tampines which sold 75 units at $1,026 psf while Sol Acres topped the executive condominium (EC) sector with 41 units sold at $829 psf. Some property experts are attributing the positive sales figures to higher unit prices since recent land bids have been running high. Prices of units at Commonwealth Towers for example stand at a median of $1,899 psf. With more new launches such as that of Martin Modern and LeQuest coming up in July, market activity could pick up even further.

Prime office rents show promise in Q2

After 9 consecutive quarters of lacklustre showing in the prime office rental sector, rents of Grade A office spaces in the Central Business District (CBD) have finally risen last quarter by 1.7% to $8.51 psf per month. In Q1, overall office rents fell 3.4% and vacancy rates also rose slightly.

RafflesPlaceOffice Offices in the Marina Bay district received the most attention from tenants with a huge increase in take-up. Rents here rose 5.8%, a very positive sign indeed when compared to the 1% decline in the previous month and the fact that 70% of the office spaces in Marina One have already been leased, even before the project reaches completion. Over at Raffles Place, prime office rents also rose 2.5%. Most of the tenants leasing office spaces in Q2 were from the technology, media and telecommunication and financial and professional services industries.

Marina Bay Financial CentreWhile Grade A office spaces were leased quickly last quarter, the same cannot be said for that in the city fringes and suburbs. Office rents in the city fringes and suburbs fell 0.6% and 0.2% respectively. This could also subsequently effect changes in the city fringe and suburban residential property markets. With property analysts predicting a 5% recovery for the market sector this year, will Q3 continue to show a price-rise?

Woodleigh government land sales site attracts top bids

A 99-year leasehold site on Woodleigh Lane launched under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme has drawn bids from 15 developers, with a top bid thus far of $700.7 million from CEL Unique Development, jointly owned by Chip Eng Seng Corp and Unique Real Estate. The latter is a joint venture between Heeton Holdings and KSH Holdings. About half of the 15 bids were above price expectations, one-third above the $1,000 psf plot ratio and the top 4 were within the 3.6% margin.

BidadariWith current market sentiments consistently improving and the potential for a market recovery not impossibly far away, when a choice piece of land comes along, developers have been seen to bid aggressively, especially of late. The 19,547 sq m Woodleigh site is primely located beside the Woodleigh MRT station and near the upcoming Bidadari township which many buyers and investors are keeping their eye on. The site has a maximum gross floor area of 58,641 sq m and residents of the new development may also enjoy the unblocked view of the neighbouring low-rise landed housing area.

8woodleighTaking into consideration the proximity to an MRT station and other amenities such as the NEX shopping mall, property experts are expecting selling prices of the future residential project on the site to be between $1,720 psf and $1,800 psf. The Bidadari township will prove to be both a boon and a slight disadvantage as the new HDB estate will bring life and activity into the area, but the recent sale of a mixed-use site nearby may bring on the competition. By the time both properties are launched, it will simply be a matter of whether the price is right.

Private non-landed resale property prices continue to rise in June

After a couple of quarters of positive performances, resale private home sales have continued on an upward path last month.

6DerbyshireJune’s resale condominium prices rose by 0.9%, the highest in the last 3 years. In comparison with the same month last year, it has risen by 2.2% and the resale index reached 171, comparable to that in May 2017. Though it may not be the sharp rebound industry players are hoping for, it is nevertheless a positive sign pointing towards possible market recovery.

1,065 private resale condominium units were sold last month, up 51.1% from the 705 units sold in June 2016, but down 12.5% from the 1,217 units sold in May this year. Part of the decline could be due to the June school holidays, as many families and buyers could be out of the country or occupied with other activities. Property experts are expecting the momentum which picked up at the beginning of the year to continue well into the second half of 2017.

ReflectionsKeppelBayThe core central region saw a 1.3% rise in resale values, followed by a 1.1% in the suburbs. Prices of resale units in the city fringes remained unchanged but properties in Newton and Novena received the most attention, with buyers paying up to an average of $40,000 above market value for units here. Resale condominiums in district 4 did not fare as well, with buyers paying an average of $120,000 below the median price.

The weakening rental market however continues to weigh heavily on the minds of buyers and investors as competition for tenants in the outside-central-region remains high due to the increased volume of completed properties in these districts.

Site of former Beach Road police station up for sale

There might be an office or shop space standing in what used to be a police station on a 2 hectare site on Beach road soon.

Duo ResidencesThe 99-year leasehold reserved list commercial site was put up for sale by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) recently and one of the conditions of the sale is that the former police station has to be conserved. It has come up for sale because the minimum bid of $1.138 million has been triggered by a developer-offer.

The conservation status of the former Beach road police station may be a plus rather than a setback despite the conservation and construction costs which may be considerable due to the underground linkway.  The popularity of heritage sites and indie enclaves may mean this site can leverage on its heritage status to market a unique concept. With the current development of DUO in Bugis and South Beach, there is also hope that activity from the upcoming Kampong Bugis area will trickle into market opportunities at the Beach road site.

NLB photo Beach Road POlice Station

Photo credit: National Library Board

The Beach road site has a maximum permissible floor area of 950,592 sq ft and at least 70 per cent of it will be office space, with the rest being retail spaces. In the neighbouring South Beach development, rents stand at $9 psf while those at Marina Bay are at $9.48 psf. With these references, the winning bid is likely to be between $1,400 to $1,700 psf per plot ratio. An estimated 10 bids is expected for the site and tender closes on the 28th of September.

Fewer resale HDB flats sold in June

Sales volume of HDB flats fell by 11.6% last month, possibly due to the rise in demand for private properties as new launches brought about a buzz of market activity once more. 1,753 resale HDB flats were sold in June, down from 1,984 in May.

WOodlandsHDBPart of the reason for the fall could also be due to the June school holidays but also, property analysts are positive about the figures as it shows a stabilising of the resale flat market. The government’s ramped-up supply of build-to-order (BTO) flats in recent years has also meant demand from young families and flat seekers have been met in a more timely manner and fewer are now looking within the resale market.

The sector has come a long way from the days where cash-over-valuation (COV) prices were the talking point of the real estate market. In the current market, the valuation process has adjusted well and COVs are rarely mentioned or demanded these days.

Although it is yet purely a buyers’ market, competition has heightened. Supply has however also been suppressed as more owners are sitting on their units since the declination of resale flat prices. In mature estates however, HDB resale prices rose 0.8% in June while that in non-mature estates fell o.9%.