Ho Bee surges on Sentosa property tender win

Ho Bee surges on Sentosa property tender win


Shares rose as much as 5.2 per cent to $1.42 with 1.3 million shares traded. -Reuters


Wed, Jan 09, 2008



SINGAPORE – SHARES of Ho Bee Investment rose as much as 5.2 per cent to $1.42 with 1.3 million shares traded, after the property firm won a tender for a condominiun site on Singapore’s Sentosa Island for $1.1 billion.


The 99-year leasehold site has a total area of 231,676 square feet and is designated for 357-unit condominium with a maximum height limit of 20 storeys.


Ho Bee’s partner in the bid was Malaysia’s IOI Properties. — REUTERS.


Source: AsiaOne

Woh Hup wins $1b Keppel contract to build Reflections

Woh Hup wins $1b Keppel contract to build Reflections


KEPPEL Corp and its property arm, Keppel Land (KepLand), yesterday said the main contract for its huge Reflections at Keppel Bay condominium – awarded to Woh Hup Holdings – is worth a whopping $1 billion.


It is the largest condo construction contract in Singapore for Keppel, as well as for Woh Hup, which was started 80 years ago.


The project will add to the strong growth momentum of the construction sector in Singapore, said Knight Frank director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak.


Indeed, the news – announced at yesterday’s ground-breaking ceremony for the condo – comes at a busy time for Singapore’s construction sector. Costs have risen significantly and most contractors are fully booked in the months ahead.


Still, Woh Hup vice-chairman Yong Tiam Yoon said rising costs are manageable – made easier by the fact that the firm has reliable suppliers.


As for the 1,129-unit Reflections condo, he said the costs are higher due to the construction of curved structures.


The condo is set for completion before 2013, with 509 unsold units due to go on the market ‘some time this year’.


The second phase will be priced higher as there will be units facing better directions, said Mr Augustine Tan, chief executive, Singapore residential for KepLand.


Source: Straits Times

Queenstown flat sold for record $890k

Queenstown flat sold for record $890k


Two intense days of door-knocking and a record $890,000 later, someone has found his dream home – and the most expensive Housing Board flat in the country. But this 21st-storey executive flat in Mei Ling Street was bought for $300,000 in 1992.



Tan Hui Yee & Jessica Cheam


Wed, Jan 09, 2008

The Straits Times


THE brief for the property agent was simple: Find an HDB flat with great views and near an MRT station. Top floors only – and, it appears, never mind the price.


Two intense days of door-knocking and a record $890,000 later, the buyer has his dream home – and the most expensive Housing Board flat in the country.


For his money, he gets a spacious 21st-storey executive flat in Queenstown, with expansive views towards Sentosa and leafy Mount Faber on one side and Queenstown Stadium on the other.


The 13-year-old flat in Block 150, Mei Ling Street, is just a few minutes away from Queenstown MRT via a sheltered walkway, and a swimming complex is just around the corner.


The owners, Mr David Ho Khoi Seng, 72, and wife Judy, 64, had paid just over $300,000 for the 1,614 sq ft flat, which has four bedrooms, a living room and a study, in 1992.


Mr Ho, who runs a stationery shop, said he had no intention of selling when PropNex agent David See and his son came knocking last Thursday.


The couple tried to deter the buyers – believed to be an elderly couple who own private property – by asking for what they felt was a ridiculous $900,000.


‘We thought $900,000 was too high a price for anyone, but the buyers seemed pretty desperate to find a suitable flat,’ said Mr Ho.


Mr See, 47, said he roped in his 20-year-old son Wilson for the quest to give him some work experience before he starts university later this year.


But knocking on doors, he said, is something he would only do for ‘genuine buyers’.


‘It was a challenge. It’s not easy to get people to sell high-floor units at this time,’ he added.


Demand had sent HDB resale prices up 17.4 per cent last year, the highest in a decade, but executive flats in coveted districts near the central city like Queenstown and Bukit Merah have been extra hot.


The old record for an HDB flat was $780,000 – also for an executive flat in Mei Ling Street – achieved last November.


Five other such flats in Mei Ling Street changed hands between November and December, ranging in price from $728,000 to $765,000.


Median resale prices of executive flats in Queenstown hit $719,000 between July and September last year, a jump from $609,000 in the previous quarter. This type of flat in Queenstown commanded $120,000 in cash over their valuation in the same period.


A five-roomer in Kim Tian Place in nearby Bukit Merah changed hands for $720,000 last June.


With prices of resale HDB flats expected to climb further, the latest deal has prompted some people to ask when a public housing unit will cross the $1 million mark.


Agents reckon that is a way off yet.


Mr See thinks his record deal was more a reflection of the buyers’ eagerness, rather than market sentiment.


Meanwhile, Mr Ho and his wife will live with their 35-year-old son in his Siglap terrace house until they find a suitable home.


When they move, Mr Ho will have to give up a pastime of his: Watching S-League football matches at Queenstown Stadium from the balcony of his Mei Ling Street flat’s master bedroom.


Source: Straits Times

Middle Road office block up for sale

Middle Road office block up for sale


A FIVE-storey office building in the Beach Road district has been launched for sale amid a severe shortage of office space in Singapore.


The freehold building is the former P H building at 33 Middle Road and has an indicative price of $23 million, said marketing agent Colliers International.


‘We forsee strong interest from investors who are attracted by the opportunity posed by the current tight office supply in the market,’ said the firm’s executive director of investment sales, Mr Ho Eng Joo.


The property is owned by a trading company, added Mr Ho.


The site is near the upcoming mega mixed-development South Beach, developed by a City Developments-led consortium, and within a short stroll to the City Hall and Bugis MRT stations.


It sits on an area of 3,749 sq ft and has a gross floor area of 16,954 sq ft. The site is zoned for commercial use with a gross plot ratio of 4.2 and can be built up to six storeys.


The property has showroom space on the ground floor and offices from the second to fifth storeys. It also has carpark facilities.


Mr Ho said rents of similar grade office space along Middle Road are priced from $7 per sq ft (psf) to $7.50 psf.


The building is fully tenanted, but all the tenancies are due to expire by the third quarter of this year, said Mr Ho.


Source: Straits Times

Never a better time for home loans?

Never a better time for home loans?


Wednesday • January 9, 2008


With rising inflation and escalating asset prices, prospective homebuyers should take advantage of relatively low interest rates to finance their purchases, according to UOB’s head of loans Kevin Lam.


Mr Lam said the economy had developed into a “negative interest-rate situation”, where asset prices rise very quickly while interest rates remained low.


“With interest rates at 3 to 4 per cent, inflation loosely predicted to be 4 to 5 per cent and mortgage rates at 3.5 to 4 per cent, homeowners enjoy effectively negative interest rates,” he said.


UOB has launched a loan product called the FlexiMortgage that enables borrowers to use an overdraft facility as a low-interest credit line. — Esther Fung.


Source: Today

UOB launches home loan with an overdraft feature

UOB launches home loan with an overdraft feature




AMID the current negative interest rate environment, where inflation is rising faster than interest rates, United Overseas Bank (UOB) has launched a housing loan with an overdraft (OD) feature.


The OD facility gives customers the flexibility to invest, to reap potentially higher returns.


Kevin Lam, head of UOB’s loans division, said he expects interest rates to remain stagnant for 2008. ‘This year, I think interest rate will remain flat, with the general trend of softening, as we see some correlation with US interest rates,’ he said.


The key three-month interbank rate stood at 1.81 per cent yesterday, after hovering between 2.4 and 3.4 per cent last year.


Inflation rate – as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – surged 4.2 per cent in November, compared with a year ago.


In this environment where asset prices are rising quickly and interest rates are low, consumers can capitalise on it by putting their money into other instruments or other uses, said Mr Lam. He added that asset inflation will probably remain for some time, and that asset prices will appreciate at a more modest level now, after having surged in the past few years.


The FlexiMortgage loan, launched recently, combines a conventional housing loan and an overdraft facility. Customers can decide on how much will go to paying the housing loan, and how much the OD will be.


For the housing loan component, the customer pays a normal monthly instalment, but for the OD component, customers service only the interest. The principal is not paid down in this component, and customers can decide when they want to pay the full sum of the principal.


The interest rate for this loan comes up higher than an average home loan interest rate, but Mr Lam said the bank is not competing on the basis of rates.


‘We don’t want to compete on interest rates since whatever rate you can come up with, a competitor will go lower,’ he explained. ‘We are moving away from that to redefine and create a new competitive advantage with this loan.’


In a typical home loan, wealth is locked in. ‘If you want to take out your money, you must sell your place and downgrade your house for the extra cash,’ said Mr Lam.


Another alternative is to go to the bank and take out an OD facility on the home. All that takes time and the legal processes can drag on for months, he explained.


However, with this loan, he said, the OD facility that comes with it can be used to tap business or investment opportunities quickly.


The OD facility currently has a floating rate of 4.25 per cent and follows UOB’s prime rate of 5 per cent. If the prime rate moves up or down, the OD follows accordingly. The interest rate on the OD facility is comparable with those of other banks.


Mr Lam said he expects this loan to contribute 10-20 per cent to the bank’s loan business this year. He said UOB did well last year in terms of market share and growth for loans.


UOB ‘does not depend on deferred payment loans to grow its loan book’, he said, dismissing perceptions that the bank has a large pipeline of deferred payment loans. ‘Our business growth is in secondary market transactions,’ said Mr Lam.


Source: Business Times

Reflections at Keppel Bay units to set new price benchmarks

Reflections at Keppel Bay units to set new price benchmarks


SINGAPORE : Remaining units at upmarket waterfront residence, Reflections at Keppel Bay, are expected to set new price benchmarks for condos in the harbourfront area.


This bullish view came from its joint developer Keppel Land.


The units released under phase one of the project last year had already set benchmark prices for the west coast.


Mirroring the buoyant property market, Reflections at Keppel Bay set new record prices for high-end luxury properties in the west last year.


620 units released under phase one were sold for an average of nearly S$2,000 per square foot.


They were snapped up within eight months of the launch last April.


Keppel Land says they expects even higher prices for the remaining 509 units as some of the more expensive blocks have been reserved for phase two.


He believes the super penthouse, which has an area of more than 12,000 square feet, will set a brand new price benchmark.


Augustine Tan, Chief Executive – Singapore Residential, Keppel Land, says: “I think the highest price is above S$2,700 psf. We’ve got the super penthouse we’ve yet to release and that would probably set the new benchmark.”


The developer expects higher prices on average also because more expensive units with sea facing views and on higher floors have been reserved for phase two.


It’s confident demand for high-end projects will hold up this year, despite the quieter property front.


Mr Tan says: “I do share the view by consultants that demand for high-end (properties) should hold up. I think the pace of increase in prices will be fairly regulated but from the enquiry levels that we have for the Reflections in particular, we think that the demand is still fairly strong for good quality housing, so especially waterfront. So, we do foresee the demand will hold up.”


The dates have not been set for the launch of the second phase, but it’ll be after the launch of Keppel’s Marina Bay Residences in the first quarter.


Keppel Group awarded the main contract for Reflections to construction firm Woh Hup for a record S$1 billion.


Mr Tan says it’s the largest construction contract for a condominium in Singapore to date.


Construction began on Tuesday and is expected to completed by 2013.


Reflections at Keppel Bay is jointly developed by Keppel Corporation and Keppel Land. – CNA/ch.


Source: Channel News Asia