2 more HUDCs try their hand at en bloc sales

On the back of successful collective sales this year, 2 more private residential developments are trying their hand at the process. Tampines Court and Florence Regency are both previous HUDCs, similar to the 2 other properties which sold recently – Rio Casa and Eunosville.

TampinesCourtThe lack of land sites made available under the government land sales (GLS) programme may be the reason behind the success of these recent en bloc sales. Developers’ hunger for land has been reflected in the the high prices paid for recent en bloc deals, and the latter could also be precisely what is bolstering the courage of residents of Tampines Court and Florence Regency.

There are a total 18 HUDC projects built since the 1970s and all have been privatised, with 9 sold thus far, including Shunfu Ville and Raintree Gardens last year. Shunfu Ville could essentially be what got the en bloc ball rolling and more successes were recorded this year. Rio Casa sold for $575 million and Eunosville for $765 million.

RioCasaHUDC HougangFlorence Regency is situated in H0ugang and has a land area of 389,000 sq ft. While it is still in the early stages of the en bloc process, Tampines Court on the other hand already has secured consent from 82 per cent of its residents. The asking price is currently set at $960 million for the 702,000 sq ft plot. At the moment, the property holds 432 maisonettes and 125 apartments. This is however not their first attempt at the collective sale process. The first attempt at $408 million was in 2008 and the second attempt in 2011. Property analysts expect home owners to seek higher prices following recent successes, but also warn against pricing too high as it may discourage developers from bidding.

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.

Freehold site to yield potential landed homes in Orchard road

The Orchard road belt has not seen landed homes in its midst, or at least new ones, for quite sometime now. They are few and far in between and usually cost more than an arm and a leg. But a freehold residential site near Orchard road worth $72.8 million might potentially yield landed homes.

OneTreeHillGardensThe One Tree Hill Gardens site measures at 39,063 sq ft and currently consist of 6 maisonettes and 7 apartment blocks or $1, 864 psf in asking price. The units here are of considerable sizes, ranging from 1,916 to 4,682 sq ft. Should the development succeed at a collective sale, each home owner could receive anything between $4 to $11 million. What the site could potentially yield are 13 detached and semi-detached houses. Considering the prime district, the rarity of landed homes across the board and more so in the centre of town, and the lack of sizeable residential sites readily available for redevelopment, marketing agent Knight Frank is confident of the interest the site will garner. Recent sales of sites in Grange Road, Cuscaden Walk and Hullet Road have all drew considerable bids of $190.5 million in total.

The area surrounding the One Tree Hill Gardens site is in itself an exclusive enclave of high-end apartments and some landed homes. Add on its future proximity to the upcoming Orchard Boulevard MRT station along the Thomson-East Coast Line and up goes its value.

Prices of HUDC Flats – Not a medium median

Well, unless you think $1 million should be the normal selling price for HUDC flats. The prices of these rare public housing units are only going upwards as more buyers focus on their potential value after privatisation. For the first time in HUDC history, the median resale price of HUDC apartments have risen to above the $1 million mark according to the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) data. And though the Q4 numbers are not out yet, they are almost certain it is still inching upwards.

Bishan Shunfu HDB

Last month, a HUDC unit in Shunfu Road was sold at $1.33 million. The median resale price for HUDC units is now $1.04 million. Perhaps the buyers were simply able to afford the selling price, and location plus apartment size were ideal for their current situation, but property analysts have warned buyers against over-extending themselves in hope of future profits.

However if you are indeed looking for a HUDC apartment in its pre-privatised state, HDB estates to look out for are:
Bishan (Shunfu)
Serangoon North
Hougang North N3
Hougang North N7
Potong Pasir

HUDC were introduced in the 1970s to provide options for families who needed bigger flats but were unable to afford private properties. But once private property prices fell in 1987, the authorities stopped releasing these units. There are a total of 18 HUDC projects in Singapore, which yielded 7, 731 units.

With the knowledge of the motivation behind HUDC Units, should it really be about whether it is a public housing unit or a 99-year leasehold private property when perhaps the only difference is whether it is in an enclosed compound with perhaps some facilities (though they do come with maintenance fees). Should floor area and location be the ultimate determinant between property prices? How does one begin to differentiate between public and private housing if prices of the latter is moving constantly up the charts. Is this a product purely of inflation or are there other reasons and factors which need to be first tackled?

Executive Maisonettes– Few and far in between

A rare and dying breed of public housing properties indeed. Most savvy home buyer are aware of the rarity of these property types.

Woodlands Executive MaisonetteIn the last 10 years alone, prices of these HDB units with bigger spaces, usually two floor of spacious living area, have risen up to more than 100 per cent. Even more so especially since HDB has once again announced that they will not be building any more maisonettes.

The recent million-dollar public housing units sold in Bishan and Queenstown were also HDB executive maisonettes. As rare as HUDC units, many of which were privatised and sold en bloc, scarcity makes for higher buyer demand from property investors and home upgraders alike. A viable option between public and private property, executive maisonettes are perhaps for the select few who need the space and are able to afford the high prices.

More remote HDB estates such as Choa Chu Kang and Yishun still have a number of these executive maisonettes priced at under $400 psf, still a way to go from the $620 psf price tag of the recent million-dollar Queenstown maisonette. Is this an option more buyers are considering as private property prices continue to remain high?