$1-billion bid for Stirling road land plot breaks record

A $1 billion bid for a piece of land at Queenstown made history as the first time a residential site under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme scored such a high offer, almost $300 million more than the previous record.

queenspeakcondoChina-based developers Logan Property and Nanshan Group put the bid of $1.003 billion in for the 21,109 square metre plot in Stirling Road. The site had been on the GLS reserve list since 2010 and consists of a 2 adjoining land plots. It was triggered for sale only last month after a bid of at least $685.25 million was put in for the site.

But the billion-dollar bid certainly takes things to a whole new level. The previous highest ever bid was $925.7 million from MCL Land and for a pure residential site, the record stood at $682.8 million for the site where Costa Del Sol condominium now stands. At 20.6 per cent higher than the winning bid for the nearby Queens Peak condominium, the latest $1billion bid may set a new record for the Queenstown area in terms of cost per square foot. With a maximum permissible gross floor area of 954,328 sq ft, the bid will translate to $1,050 psf per plot ratio.

Commonwealth TowersThe Stirling Road site is close to Buona Vista, and placed strategically between the Central Business District and Jurong East regional business hub which makes it the prime spot for rental properties. Despite the existence of many other private properties in the area, developers do not seem intimidated, possibly as most investors of units in the area would have sold them by the time this new development is ready and will in fact be looking for new investment opportunities. There could also be a rebound of foreign investment interest following Bandar Malaysia‘s recent collapse.

Consistent growth in private resale property prices

For the fifth consecutive month, resale private home prices have had a good showing. Can we hope for a market recovery? Perhaps not quite yet, but there is no reason not to feel good about the turnaround.

THeSienaCondoMarch’s numbers were the highest in 2 and a half years with the resale index hitting 168.8 with an improvement of 50% in the number of units sold. Market prices have also been creeping upwards with sellers now beginning to set asking prices above the market rates. Overall, private resale property prices rose 0.5 per cent last month and were 2.2 per cent higher than the same month last year.

In the same year-on-year comparison, resale transactions grew by 77.5 per cent last month with 1,058 units sold. That is 51.8 per cent higher than the 697 units sold in February. Prime district property prices rose 0.4 per cent while 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent increases were registered in the city fringes and outlying suburban regions respectively.

Though the numbers are still lower than when the property market was at a few of its peaks in 2010 and 2013, the consistently improving numbers reflect an overall positive market sentiment. As the half-year mark draws closer, the numbers from the second quarter will be more crucial in determining the direction for the rest of the year.

2.11-hectare residential site in Queenstown up for sale

With a $685 million bid, sales of a new residential land site in Queenstown has been triggered. The reduction in land sales under the Government Land Sales programme has seen older properties more keen to go on the en bloc sales route, and developers have shown their eagerness in procuring land sites as market sentiment continues to improve.

queenspeak2This latest land site is a 2.11 hectare plot on Stirling Road with the propensity to yield 1,110 new private home units. This site was placed under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s reserve list in 2010 which means it will only go on sale should the Government receive a bid of an acceptable level. The size of the plot can be credited to the combination of 2 adjacent sites which were merged into 1 in 2012. The 99-year leasehold site is near Anchorpoint Shopping Centre, Ikea, Queensway shopping centre and just a few stops way from the Bukit Merah bus interchange and Redhill and Queenstown MRT stations.

As the site is within walkable distance from Queenstown MRT station, property analysts anticipate competitive bidding this time round. The maximum floor area of the site comes up to 954,328 sq ft or approximately $718 psf though joint ventures for a land plot this size seems likely and bids are expected to vary from $838 to $950 psf.

Commonwealth TowersThe site is expected to receive from between 7 to 11 bids. Nearby properties which could set the precedent for pricing are the Commonwealth Towers and Queens Peak condominiums. Current prices at both developments stand at $1,654 and $1, 640 psf respectively. Projects in the vicinity have been selling well, especially with the recent lifting of the property curbs and a general lift in consumer sentiment.

Outlook hopeful despite fall in private home prices

After 14 consecutive quarters of declining private home prices, slivers of light are shining through – the suburban condominium market has seen a tad more activity with prices rising slightly; and for most part, the rate of decline has slowed.

SantoriniThe fall in prices of private homes stood at 0.5 per cent last quarter, similar to that in the last quarter of 2016. Suburban non-landed property prices have in fact posted a growth of 0.1 per cent after 13 straight quarters of decline. The positive figures in the suburbs could be due to the many new projects in areas outside of the central region which launched to much success in the earlier part of the year. These included developments such as The Clement Canopy in Clementi and Grandeur Park Residences in Tanah Merah. Previously-launched projects such as Parc Riviera and The Santorini also re-marketed their units resulting in favourable response from buyers.

Property analysts also contributed some of the uptick in buying sentiment to recent changes in the property cooling measures. Though the impact may not be obvious and immediate, it has nevertheless helped to inject some optimism in the market. Though the expectation is for property prices to fall 1 to 3 per cent in H1, the second half of the year should see prices stabilising and 2017 may just end on a happier note.

Stamp Duty changes bring cheer to real estate market

With the recent Sellers’ Stamp Duty (SSD) changes, the real estate market is beginning to feel more upbeat all around.

PLQThe most significant changes were the SSD rates and the fact that sellers who let go of their properties after 3 years will no longer have to pay the sellers’ stamp duty. The Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) threshold has also been relaxed for properties with  loan-to-value (LTV) limits of 50% and less. The latter move is aimed at helping retirees monetise their properties as many could be sitting on their assets while having trouble with cash-flow or liquidity. Some property owners may wish to cash out on their properties in order to start businesses or send their children for overseas education but find themselves unable to loan enough as the TDSR framework limits the borrower only to amounts totalling up to 60 per cent of their gross income.

All these changes will give buyers a higher sense of security, knowing that they will have more flexibility in managing their finances without having to hold on to their properties should they urgently require liquidity. The crowds at the Paya Lebar Quarter’s (PLQ) residential project – Park Place Residences a couple of weekends ago were a positive affirmation of the improving sentiments in the property market. Property agents reckon that the SSD changes will motivate more people to buy as they now have less restrictions to take into consideration.

 

Winds of change in local property market

A decade or so ago, owning a second or third property might be the fastest way to secure your retirement funds or to even accumulate a tidy little kitty. Investment properties were considered a surefire way of earning additional income, but in the climate of today, property owners and investors have much more factors to consider and competition to battle against.

SunshinePlazaResidencesWith the rental market weakening, property agents are finding that it takes twice as long and also many more viewings before a property is successfully tenanted. And even then, for much less than before. Some property owners have had to reduce rents by almost half. Leaving the units empty are simply not an option for some investors as the rents go towards the mortgage or mortgages of their properties. It is after all better to have less help than none at all.

SerangoonHDBflatFor new investors looking to enter the market, the environment is a lot tougher than before. Considerations such as whether there is a large pool of HDB flats available for rental nearby, the long-term potential of the property, competition from other new launches or even within the same property, whether the local and global economy will affect businesses and commercial hubs nearby thus reducing the pool of foreign tenants, and so forth.

Before the market makes a complete recovery, a possibly lengthy period of stabilisation will ensue, despite the governments having made some allowances in the are of the property cooling curbs.

Grand opening launch for Grandeur Park Residences

The latest property development in Tanah Merah has sold more than half of its units over a weekend. Grandeur Park Residences reported strong sales with at least 58 per cent of its 720 units sold during its launch.

GrandeurParkResidencesSmaller apartments seem to be popular once again as the project sold most of the 96 one-bedroom units made available during the launch. Selling prices averaged $1,350 psf. The location, in close proximity to the Tanah Merah MRT station, could be one of the main factors pushing buyers to seriously consider the long-term and rental potential of the property. The condominium project which is also close to the Changi Business Park also has two- to five-bedders with prices starting from $550,000 for a one-bedder and $700,000 for a two-bedroom unit. Though the rental market is weak at the moment, buyers are counting on the property market rebounding by the time the project is ready for occupancy.

GrandeurPark2
Following the first private condominium launch this year of The Clement Canopy, response at the Grandeur Park Residences launch may be an expression of pent-up demand which could release keen albeit selective buyers back into the fold. However, the eagerness to snap up smaller units mean a lower overall quantum which may keep market figures low or at best level.

January’s private home sales plateau

After a slight rise of 0.1 per cent in December, January’s completed private home prices remained flat. There were some rise and fall in the different districts but overall, non-landed residential property prices evened out on a plateau.

CreekBukitTimahThat may not necessary be a negative as signs of stabilisation are generally expected of the year. Property analysts say that some of the zero per cent month-on-month change could also be due to the availability of smaller units with a higher psf pricing schedule. Besides shoebox apartments, studios and one-bedders, family-size units in new developments are also now smaller in size than before.

Small apartments aside, prices of completed condominium units in the central region did rise 0.7 per cent after a 0.3 per cent dip in December. In the non-central regions however, prices went the other direction with a 0.6 fall following a 0.5 per cent increase the month before.

26NewtonThe private real estate market could however be looking at more resale properties entering the pen soon as most buyers who have purchased investment properties in 2013 will have completed their 4-year holding period this year. This means they are no longer tied down by the cooling measure which requires them to pay a seller’s stamp duty should they sell their property within 4 years following the purchase. Whether the sector is ready for this influx of properties while pulling themselves sluggishly out of the lull remains to be seen.