HDB’s new sustainable homes

Mention public housing to non-Singaporeans and they may baulk at the idea of living in one as it usually means rundown, cramped living spaces in sometimes unsavoury neighbourhoods. But Singapore can be said to have made its global with the standards of public housing, in which most of Singaporeans now live.

The Housing Development Board (HDB) has begun humbly but continued to strive in improving the standards not only of homes but of living in Singapore’s many HDB flats and neighbourhoods. They launched a Roadmap to Better Living in 2011 and in it, are plans to include building eco-friendly and sustainable homes and communities; to bring a complete live-work-play-learn environment to residents.

In their HDB Awards this year, a few winners stood out :

SkyTerrace@DawsonAs part of HDB’s Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) plans, SkyTerrace@Dawson stands in one of the first mature estates to benefit from the board’s rejuvenation efforts. It in infused with roof gardens, sky terraces and incorporates a “loft concept” in units under the multi-generation living scheme. These unique units with their high ceilings and full-length windows will take you to cosmopolitan cities of Manhattan and the likes. Its prime central location near town and good schools are definitely a plus as well.

Or perhaps it’s waterfront living you prefer? Waterway Woodcress in Punggol is built right next to the Punggol Waterway and features unblocked views, a garden plaza and communal spaces, amidst hidden carpark facilities and recycling amenities such as a rainwater harvesting system which is used to wash corridors and for irrigation. Further down south into the centre of the island, is Hougang Capeview which also boasts waterfront views. It stands between Sungei Serangoon and Sungei Pinang, and is accessible to MRT stations such as Sengkang, Hougang and Kovan.

As HDB continues to roll out its roadmap, Singaporeans can look forward to better homes and public housing lifestyles in upcoming launches in Punggol Northshore, Bidadari and Tampines North.

Will new housing policy changes raise HDB flat prices?

With the upcoming General Elections in play, the government as announced a number of changes in HDB housing grants and income ceilings. How will this change the resale HDB flat landscape? Will more be going for new HDB flats or be seeking out resale flats in mature estates to take advantage of the proximity grants?

A summary of the changes include:

The BrownstoneThough it may seem like buyers may be more keen to purchase resale flats especially in mature estates, property analysts are more prudent with their predictions, stating that as long as the cooling measures are in place, demand may maintain its current level. Sellers may be able to command slightly higher prices in more popular estates, but the rise in prices will be slow. Buyers are negotiating for prices closer to median prices or recent sale prices.

The number of flats sold last month had dropped by 6.8 per cent, partly due to the Hungry Ghost month when buyers hold off purchasing properties. Prices of four- and five-room HDB flats have however risen by 0.3 per cent while three-room HDB flat and EC prices dipped by 0.7 per cent.

Sell now or later?

In real estate, it is often a timing game. How do you exactly know when to sell and when to buy? If you’re currently looking to sell your property, what should you be looking at for when making your decision of whether to sell now or later?

Just like buying a home, you first have to figure out why exactly you are selling. Is it to finance a new home upgrade, to invest in another property, or because you need the money urgently? The push factors are often stronger than you think when it comes to how much and how quickly you are willing to sell for.

KingsfordWaterbayAnother important question to ask yourself is “How much is my property worth?” Aside from getting a trustworthy real estate agent and valuator, spending a bit of time doing your own market research will help you determine where your property stands. A quick look at property websites, some of which provide tools to help you keep track of property trends and transacted property prices, or checking out resale HDB flat prices from the HDB website as well as attending property talks and seminars are just a few of the many ways to hone your pricing skills.

Market competition is also an important factor which affects pricing. Have a look at how other properties similar to yours are currently prices for a guide to pricing your property. But that said, if you know what qualities your property has above others in the market, list them. These may help you price above the market median. You do however have to be prepared to justify these premium prices and once you are confident the edge your property has, you will have a relatively easy time asking for higher prices. Location and proximity to transport nodes or schools are often a big plus; and sometimes the configuration of rooms, quality of renovation and age of the property could also be added to your property’s calling cards.


Rising resale HDB flat sales

There’s possible cheer on the resale HDB flat front with a 28% increase in the number of resale flats sold in the last 3 months up to June 30; and a slowdown in the dip of the resale price index at 0.4 per cent. Previous quarters saw a 1.4 per cent decline.

Are resale HDB flat prices going to drop as more new HDB flats are made available to the buying public?

Are resale HDB flat prices going to fall further as more BTO flats become available for occupation next year?

Obviously the lowered prices and announcements of reduced new BTO (build-to-order) HDB flat launches have drawn buyers back into the fold. The HDB estate of Jurong West saw the most number of resale flat transactions with 423 units being sold. This is closely followed by Tampines with 364 units at Sengkang with 341 units.

Property analysts are however wary about a quick and complete recovery. For the rest of the year and perhaps the next year as well, HDB flat prices are expected to stabilise at best. As home buyers are still restricted by the property cooling measures, and as more BTO flats become ready for occupation, more resale units may be expected to enter the market, and heat up the competition. Buyers have more options and can afford to be picky about their selection. Some sellers are already finding it difficult to find a buyer for their current flat which they are required to sell within a stipulated time upon receiving the key for their new BTO flat.

With the upcoming General Elections (GE), what can be expected of the property market?

HDB resale flats – Market recovery soon?

The number of HDB resale flats which exchanged hands in the last 2 months have increased by more than 8 per cent. A sign property analysts are taking as a positive.

Photo credit: The Singapore Tourism Board.

Photo credit: The Singapore Tourism Board.

With a consecutive 2-month rise in prices, at 0.1 per cent in June and 0.2 per cent in May, the HDB resale market seems to be showing signs of bottoming out and a turn for the better may come quite soon. In the months prior, when the property cooling measures just began to take effect, it were the four- and five-room flats which suffered the biggest hit in price drops. But recent market figures seem to show that prices in these segments have risen by 0.3 and 0.5 per cent of late, followed by a 0.7 per cent in executive flats (EC) prices as well. The three-room HDB flats segment however have seen a 0.2 per cent fall in prices.

In the year ahead, as the government reduces the supply of new BTO flats, buyers may have to turn to the resale market instead, which may in turn positively affect the number of sales and prices. However, the rebound, though happening, may be slow as buyers may be more selective of their choice of units and there may be more put into the market as BTO flats reach completion and those who have secured a new flat may be pressured to sell within a stipulated 6-month period of getting the keys to their new units.

HDB resale prices – Upwards soon?

With property prices on the decline since almost a year ago, have HDB resale flat prices finally bottomed out?

Buyers seems to have caught on with the price drop and have been back on the hunt for units as the number of transactions in May this year indicated a 20 per cent rise compared to the same month last year. Prices have also shown a 0.2 per cent increase in March and have held steady in April.

Resale 5-room HDB flat on King George's Avenue with asking price of more than $700,000.

The property cooling measures rolled out by the government seem to have finally taken full effect since their implementation over the past couple of years. Since its peak in 2013, HDB flat prices have fallen 11 per cent.  Property analysts are expecting resale HDB flat prices to reach it’s bottom by the end of the year. Minister for National Development, Mr. Khaw Boon Wan, has previously mentioned a possible single digit fall in HDB flat prices this year.

How long the lower prices will be maintained is largely dependant on policy changes and buyers’ sentiments, but also on the private property market and the options made available to the buying public. It could be that the prices may remain stable for awhile with the number of sales transactions increasing as buyers take advantage of this window of opportunity.


More singles going for new BTO flats

With a major sales launch by the HDB putting out more than 9,000 new BTO flats yesterday, the response from applicants has been strong, especially for 2-room flats and units in specific HDB estates.

ClementiCrestSince July last year, when singles became eligible for new BTO flats, albeit with restrictions, the demand for new 2-room HDB flats has been overwhelming. This may have pushed the authorities to release more 2-room flats this round. For flats in Punggol, where HDB launched their new smart-tech flats, there were 1.4 applicants for each 2-room unit. In Sembawang, the response was even more fervent with 2.1 applicants for every 2-room unit.

Over at Clementi Crest, the only new launch in a mature estate, the response was understandably higher with 2.5 applicants for every 5-room unit. There were only 156 units available. The main attraction could be its proximity to the Clementi town centre and Clementi MRT station.

Will the policy shifts eventually change the landscape for resale HDB flats, in particular the 3- and 4-room flats? Previously, demand for these smaller units could be said to have come mainly from singles and smaller families as well as Permanent residents. Resale flats selling under HDB’s sale of balance flats scheme were not as popular as before, with only 19 applicants for 127 units in the popular mature estate of Queenstown and 29 applicants for 3-room flats in Toa Payoh.

The next new BTO flats launch will be in August, at Punggol Northshore and Bidadari.


UMCity Medini Lakeside – The New Nexus in Medini, Iskandar Malaysia

Johor MB Officiates Groundbreaking at Award-Winning UMCity Medini Lakeside by UMLand and Samsung C&T Corporation

  • Groundbreaking ceremony for the RM1.2 billion GDV development was led by UMCity Medini Lakeside developer, UMLand and world-leading construction company, Samsung C&T Corporation
  • Located at the gateway into Medini Iskandar, the 5-acre UMCity Medini Lakeside is a waterfront mixed integrated development ideal for community living and work
  •  UMCity Medini Lakeside is poised to redefine metropolitan international brand collaborations in Iskandar Malaysia

Pix 1_Menteri Besar and VIPs officiating the Groundbreaking
Nusajaya, 20 May 2015 – United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) today held a groundbreaking celebration for UMCity Medini Lakeside, its premiere mixed integrated development in Medini Iskandar, with award-wining builder Samsung C&T.

The ceremony was officiated by Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Chief Minister of Johor and marked the beginning of construction works at the 5-acre development which fronts a beautiful landscaped lake park. Also in attendance were His Excellency Carlos Domínguez Díaz, Ambassador of Spain to Malaysia, His Excellency Suh Chung-Ha, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Singapore, and Chi Hun Choi, the President and CEO of Samsung C&T Corporation

.Pix 5_Datuk Charlie Chia_Menteri Besar_Dennis Ng_Chi-Hun Choi

This is a significant milestone for UMLand in positioning itself to become the lifestyle developer of quality products in all their projects. UMCity is UMLand’s award-winning flagship mixed commercial development with a Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM1.2bil in Medini Iskandar. Its UMCity Office Tower was named the Best Office Development at the recent Asia Pacific Property Awards which was held in early May 2015.

In his officiating speech, Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin said, ‘UMLand’s UMCity development reflects the highest level of confidence in the efforts to position Medini as the preferred destination for investment. This catalyst development will become the new nexus in Medini, bridging the lifestyle components to Medini’s fast growing business components.’

Pix 3_Datuk Charlie Chia_Dennis Ng_Menteri Besar_Chi-Hun Choi getting ready to launch the video

The groundbreaking celebration also witnessed the welcoming onboard of a new partner from Spain for UMCity – Roca, which is renowned for their complete bathroom solutions. UMCity also announced that AECOM, an internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary design company was responsible for the design of the Medini Lakeside public park. The presence of Roca and AECOM add to the already impressive list of UMCity international delivery partners who will be setting the benchmark in quality service in Medini Iskandar.

Earlier this year, UMLand cemented strategic alliances with established and international brands such as The Ascott Limited, ONYX Hospitality Group, Samsung S-1 Corporation, and Regus for the same development. With Samsung C&T headquartered in Korea as the main contractor for the UMCity project, the UMCity development is well en route to assured quality and timely delivery. Samsung C&T is a world-leading construction company responsible for many renowned buildings and skyscrapers such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Tower 2 of the Malaysia Petronas Twin Towers. UMCity will be Samsung C&T’s first commercial project outside of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

“We are honoured to be part of the UMCity Medini Lakeside project,” said Chi Hun Choi, the President and CEO of Samsung C&T. He added, “We look forward to continuing our support for Malaysia’s development, having participated in large scale projects including Petronas Twin Towers. We are certain that by working closely together with our trusted partners, the project will be successful.”

Upon completion in 2018, UMCity will be the home to the renowned brands of Citadines, Shama, OZO,and Regus, with Samsung as the comprehensive solutions provider. With these brands onboard, UMCity has one of the most comprehensive international collaborations in a mixed development in Iskandar Malaysia.

UMLand Group CEO, Datuk Charlie Chia said, “Positioned as the commercial hub in Medini, UMCity is a one of its kind waterfront mixed integrated development designed for a vibrant community living and work. UMLand is a long established developer, and we are continuously striving to push boundaries while creating quality lifestyles and communities. This is especially true for UMCity which is poised to become a world-class commercial hub in Iskandar.”

He added “This is where the concept of innovation meets sustainable development within the Medini business district of Iskandar Malaysia. Primed to be the nexus of Medini, this development by UMLand is set to deliver a conducive environment, be it for business, leisure or residence.”

UMLand is assured that the development plans of UMCity will be in sync with the Medini Business District, making it the leading business environment in South East Asia

For more information, please visit www.umland.com.my