Demand for bungalow sites expected to rise

Demand for bungalow sites expected to rise


Landed home prices likely to continue last year’s surge and jump by up to 15% this year, say analysts


By Joyce Teo


PROPERTY analysts believe this will be the year for mid- and mass-market properties to shine – but they say demand for landed homes should also remain favourable.


They expect prices of landed homes to climb by 10 per cent or even as much as 15 per cent this year.


That sort of rise may not be spectacular but is still substantial as it comes off a high base last year, when prices of such homes are estimated to have risen 25 per cent to 27 per cent, according to property consultancy Knight Frank.


A year earlier, in 2006, the price climb was just 6.7 per cent.


‘The landed home sector was a laggard compared with non-landed homes,’ says Knight Frank director of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak. ‘It started to pick up last year when people noticed that it was slightly undervalued.’


Good-class bungalows, in particular, attracted strong demand as wealthy homebuyers zeroed in on these large and exclusive houses in prime districts.


But demand for smaller bungalows remains fairly strong too as such properties are limited in supply, says Ms Grace Ng, the deputy managing director of agency and business services at Colliers International.


And what supply there was has dwindled. Many have been redeveloped into semi-detached and terrace houses as a result of the favourable property market conditions of the past two years, she said.


Bungalow sites do not come along often, but there are a few available at this month’s auctions.


Ms Ng said Colliers has a distinctive bungalow that will be put up for sale this month. Located in the Siglap area, the two-storey bungalow has an ‘English cottage’ architectural design and is one of the few bungalows in the area.


The design was inspired by the houses the owner and her late husband saw during their postgraduate years in Britain.


The 4,695 sq ft property – in its original condition – was built in the 1950s and has an indicative price of $3.6 million or $766 per sq ft (psf).


Recent transactions in the same area – district 15 – ranged between $650 psf and $780 psf for two-storey detached houses.


Two large bungalow sites aimed at small developers or investors are also up for auction, at other houses.


One is in Branksome Road, off Tanjong Katong Road. It has a land area of 12,847 sq ft and an indicative value of $900 psf to $950 psf.


Ms Mok Sze Sze, the head of auctions at Jones Lang LaSalle, said this site has the potential to be redeveloped into a conventional landed project or a cluster housing project with six to eight units.


Cluster bungalows in the area are going for about $3.6 million to $4 million each, she said.


Knight Frank too will be auctioning a landed property, at the end of the month: a 14,170 sq ft site in Clacton Road off Meyer Road. It has an indicative value of $1,000 psf to $1,200 psf and can be redeveloped into three bungalows, said the firm’s executive director (auctions), Ms Mary Sai.


Recently, demand for landed homes has also come from those who pocketed lump sums in cash from collective sales, said Mr Mak.


‘Landed homes have always been a different class because foreigners can’t buy them,’ he said.


The market is much smaller than that for condominiums and apartments, which also means it will not be as liquid, said Mr Mak.


In addition, buyers nowadays are not prepared to pay too high a price above valuation, said Ms Ng of Colliers International.


This is due to high construction costs, cautious market sentiment, and the steep price increase over the past two years, she said.


Source: Straits Times

What can co-owners do to protect interests in home?

What can co-owners do to protect interests in home?


Q I AM 49 and single. I live with my parents, who are in their 70s, and my youngest sister in a three-storey terrace house bought in 1997.


The four of us bought the house for $904,000 under a tenants-in-common agreement. We each chipped in about $250,000.


The initial 20 per cent down payment of about $180,000 was paid by my parents.


At the time of purchase, my sister was unable to finance her full share of $250,000, so my parents paid $100,000 for her. Her total contribution was only about $150,000.


My sister and I each took up a 25-year loan of $60,000, using Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies. Combined, our outstanding loan commitments come to $95,000.


Now, my sister, who is 40, is getting married.


After her marriage, can she and her spouse move in with us against our wishes? If so, can the law protect the interests of both my parents and myself?


We have expressed our desire to buy out my sister’s share, but she has said no.


What legal options do my parents and I have? Are there any rights we can exercise to make her sell her share to us?


Selling the property is not an option.


A UNDER such a co-ownership arrangement, all four owners are entitled to the use and possession of the house, and none of you can claim a right to any separate part of it.


Thus, your sister can continue to live in the house after her marriage, but her husband, not being an owner, has no right of possession to any part of the house.


Your unequal contributions towards the purchase do not affect the equal rights of the four co-owners to use or possess the property.


One option is for the four owners to partition the property, allocating specific parts to each.


Agreement must be reached on the method to be used and other issues such as the title to the property and the adjustments of rights between the parties.


The agreement would also be subject to official approval under the Planning Act 1998.


Obviously, such a partition would be difficult to implement, especially if it is intended to allow at least two family units to live together in a terrace house.


If the parties cannot agree to a partition, any one of you can apply to the court to order a partition or to direct a sale of the property in lieu of partition.


The court might direct the property to be sold outright if this is more expedient. It could also order a sale where all the co-owners are free to bid for the shares of other co-owners.


You or your parents could propose buying over your sister’s share to the court.


If none of the co-owners is financially able or willing to take over the shares of other co-owners, then the court is likely to order that the property be sold in the open market and the proceeds divided among the co-owners in accordance with their entitlements.


Lie Chin Chin

Managing Director

Characterist LLC (incorporating Lie Kee Pong Partnership)


Source: Straits Times




Viewing decks, giant screws and fun wheel dot Kolam Ayer’s new waterfront


THE Kallang River flowed languidly, muddy from the sediment churned up by heavy rains the night before.


By Ho Lian-Yi



13 January 2008


THE Kallang River flowed languidly, muddy from the sediment churned up by heavy rains the night before.


Here, where it dissects the heartland estate of Kolam Ayer near Geylang Bahru, is not its most idyllic part.


Bare concrete lines its sides, brown from age. Housing Board flats tower over the water and industrial buildings sit in the distance. Tall cranes on the opposite shore rumble busily, building new HDB flats.


But it is about to get a lot prettier.


PUB, the national water agency, will soon finish its project to bring waterfront living to heartlanders at Kolam Ayer.


A PUB officer, who was showing this reporter around on Wednesday, said: ‘This area was chosen as it is near the residents.’


It is part of Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters, a programme to transform Singapore’s reservoirs, rivers and canals into recreation centres over the next 10 to 15 years.


ABC Waters at Kolam Ayer is part of the programme’s first phase, which will be implemented islandwide over the next five years, and includes upgrading Bedok and MacRitchie Reservoirs. Work on the 200m stretch of the river at Kolam Ayer costs $2.5million.


Work started in April 2006. It is expected to be finished in end-February this year.


Already the viewing decks – wooden platforms over the river – are complete.


On the water sat the skeleton of a floating deck, to be paved with wooden boards.


The mostly-finished biotope – an array of vegetation planted along the bank to act as a natural cleansing system for the river – is already giving the budding park a garden feel.


Most eye-catching, at this time, are the three large Archimedes Screws that jab from the park like ridged fingers into the Kallang River.


Made of stainless steel, they are powered by good old human muscle. Turn a wheel and the screw turns, drawing up water that flows into the biotope.


It exists for entertainment and educational purposes, not practical ones, considering the laborious effort it took this reporter to muster up a middling flow.


‘This is more for children,’ said the PUB officer while showing this reporter around.


The water flows to a large wheel, which is connected to a set of pedals. Work the pedals to make the wheel churn and get a workout.


To find out what residents wanted, PUB invited 120 participants to check out the newest attraction in their neighbourhood last month.


Suggestions included kayaking, carnivals, concerts and mini-gardens, where residents can grow their own plants.


One participant, Mr Ma’il Bin Karchil, 47, is vice-chairman of the Kolam Ayer Community Club Senior Citizens’ Executive Committee.




He said the river used to be dirty but it was much cleaner now. ABC Waters at Kolam Ayer, he felt, would give residents a sense of belonging and they would become less likely to throw rubbish into the water.


Mr P Subramaniam, 59, a freelance interpreter, is also enthusiastic and agreed that the park is like bringing a little of the East Coast into the heartland.


‘It’s a good thing. They should have done (the programme) years ago. At least they’re doing it now,’ said Mr Subramaniam, who has lived in nearby Geylang Bahru since 1975.


Not everyone was entirely pleased, though. One resident, Mr Sun Wenlong, 70, a former taxi driver, complained that the area did not have enough facilities for old people. He also wondered if there’ll be enough space on the river for so many activities.


Still, there is one activity, loved by young and old, that the new park will certainly be used for.




At the charming Kolam Ayer Bridge, two middle-aged fishermen threw their lines.


Half an hour later, a boy cycled by and joined them.


One of the fishermen, Mr Jeffrey Lin, a 47-year-old painter, said in Mandarin: ‘There’s lots of fish in the water.’


As he spoke, his friend hooked a small silver fish.


‘Fishing is fun. When the park is built, it’ll be even better,’ he said.


Source: The New Paper