Marina Bay Suites sees strong demand despite market uncertainty

Marina Bay Suites sees strong demand despite market uncertainty


SINGAPORE : Marina Bay Suites is seeing strong demand despite uncertainty in the market, according to its marketing agents.


Both CB Richard Ellis and DTZ Debenham Tie Leung say they have received significant numbers of enquiries from both local and foreign buyers.


What goes up may not necessarily come down, even in these uncertain times.


Demand for these luxury apartment units overlooking Marina Bay seems almost immune to external shocks.


Ong Choon Fah, Executive Director and Regional Head, Consulting and Research, DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA), said: “The top end of the market is like your blue chip stocks. When the market recovers they’re the ones that run first, the price recovery is the fastest.


“But when the market comes down, a lot of them don’t need to sell, so activity may come down but we find there’s very good price support.”


Joseph Tan, Executive Director – Residential, CB Richard Ellis, said: “This is likely to be probably one of the last sites that has views of the Bay, so in any property purchase situation, it’s still location, location, location.”


According to Raffles Quay Asset Management, the prevailing market rate for the Marina area is between S$3,000 and S$4,000 per square foot. And it remains bullish about the capital appreciation from residential units there.


Kan Kum Wah, Marketing Head – Residential, Raffles Quay Asset Management, said: “You can see from the first phase of Marina Bay Residences, the price has moved between 25 percent and 75 percent as of today, and we believe that based on the current strong economy, we’ll be growing in tandem or even outperform.”


Each unit in Marina Bay Suites comes with its own private lift lobby and there are just four units per floor. The apartments range from 1,600 to 2,700 square feet in area each.


The development also includes three penthouse units, ranging from 4,700 to over 8,100 square feet each.


Selected buyer previews for all 221 units will be held later this month. – CNA/ch.


Source: Channel News Asia

Record sales of new private homes in 2007

Record sales of new private homes in 2007


Total of 14,826 sold, mostly in first nine months, before sales slid sharply at year-end


By Fiona Chan


HOMEBUYERS picked up a record number of new private homes last year – before demand dipped sharply at year-end.


They bought 14,826 new homes in the year, up from 11,147 the year before, according to the latest figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).


This all-time high figure was boosted by sales in the first nine months, when 90 per cent of last year’s deals were done, said property consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).


Demand then went into a freefall in the last months of the year amid a slew of worries, including concerns over the United States sub-prime mortgage crisis.


New home sales, which had averaged 1,480 a month between January and September, fell to below 600 per month in October and November.


Last month, a mere 305 deals were done, the lowest number since the URA started tracking monthly new home sales in June. All the figures exclude executive condominiums.


December also saw a dip in the median price of new homes. Price gaps within each category of new homes also narrowed, said consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). It noted that the gap between the highest and lowest prices for city-centre and mid-tier homes narrowed to its smallest in recent months.


But the year-end decline was ‘expected’, said JLL’s head of Singapore research, Mr Chua Yang Liang. He said the ‘looming uncertainty from the US sub-prime issue’, coupled with the usual ‘lull period’ in December led to fewer launches of new projects and fewer home sales.


Developers tend to launch fewer projects at the end of the year because of the holidays. They launched only 1,673 units in the fourth quarter last year, about a third of that in each of the first three quarters.


But a bigger reason for the slowdown could be the fact that recent asking prices have soared so much, said Mr Ku Swee Yong, director of business development and marketing at Savills Singapore. ‘A lot of recent new home transactions are at record-high prices,’ he said.


Last year, developers sold almost 200 new homes at more than $4,000 per sq ft (psf), Savills said – a level never reached in previous years.


Even in December, three units at the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Cairnhill went for more than $5,000 psf.


Units at the Marina Collection also fetched record prices for Sentosa Cove last month at a median price of $2,734 psf, said CBRE.


‘There is now a 15 to 20 per cent gap between what developers are asking for and what buyers seem willing to pay,’ Mr Ku said.


This has led to a ‘stand-off’ and a more cautious mood among buyers which may persist well into this year, he added.


Already, the median prices of new uncompleted units have started to slide, said Knight Frank. They eased from $1,110 psf in November to $1,063 psf last month.


New home sales last month dropped off most in the mid-tier and suburban regions, consultants said.


Only 56 mid-tier units were sold in December, 80 per cent less than in November. For suburban projects, the number of units sold fell 35 per cent to 60.


In the prime city centre, new home sales jumped 36 per cent to 175, boosted by a bulk purchase of 97 units in Goodwood Residences at a median price of $3,200 psf.


New launch Zenith in Zion Road also helped city-centre sales, with 37 units sold at a median price of $1,665 psf.


Source: Straits Times

Building boom may lift deals to new high

Building boom may lift deals to new high


Record $24.5b in contracts last year, with private sector leading the way


By Joyce Teo


ROCKETING demand propelled the construction industry to record levels last year, eclipsing even the glory days of 1997, with even more to come this year.


Contracts totalling $24.5 billion were awarded last year, up 46 per cent from the $16.8 billion in 2006 and just above the $24 billion in the boom year of 1997.


The figures cover private projects and public works, such as new MRT lines, but private sector demand was the key driver behind the record numbers.


Mega projects like the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort (IR), Marina Bay Financial Centre and Somerset Central lifted private commercial contracts to a record $5.1 billion, according to official figures announced at an industry seminar yesterday.


Demand shows no sign of slowing, with contracts for this year forecast at between $23 billion and $27 billion, depending on whether some large projects get held back.


The bulk of the demand this year and next will come from developments such as the IRs and the Downtown MRT line.


Construction stocks also prospered. Chip Eng Seng closed at 55 cents yesterday, below its high last year but up from a low of 31 cents last March. Lian Beng Group has risen from a low of 22 cents in March to 63.5 cents yesterday.


But there are concerns amid the bright outlook, including rising costs.


Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary for National Development, told the Construction and Property Prospects 2008 seminar that high demand will keep exerting pressure on resources.


This demand has already placed ‘a tremendous strain’ on resources and has led to a ‘chaotic price escalation’, said Mr Seah Choo Meng, executive chairman of Davis Langdon & Seah Singapore, one of the seminar speakers.


He warned that if prices are not reined in, they will hurt the industry and even the overall Singapore economy.


‘There will be some negative impact this year, but we have built up a momentum which can be maintained for the next two years,’ he said.


The Government has reduced some pressure by putting more than $2 billion worth of projects on the backburner until 2010 at least, with more to come.


‘All ministries are currently combing through their list of projects to identify more projects for rescheduling,’ said Dr Maliki.


He urged the industry to move towards sustainable construction, which is environmentally friendly and can enhance Singapore’s resilience against supply fluctuations in basic construction materials.


He also said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will release information on demand to enable the industry to get a better feel of the market and plan more efficiently.


It has all been a stark turnaround for a sector that was in the doldrums just three years ago. Now that things are rosier, contractors are facing new challenges.


The industry continues to grapple with the uncertainty of material prices, said Singapore Contractors Association president Desmond Hill.


Ready-mixed concrete is around $130 a cu m, compared with about $190 during the Indonesian sand ban last year and $74.40 at the end of 2006. Prices could rise to $150 per cu m in the next few years.


Steel bars cost about $1,000 a tonne, up from $744 a year ago, said the BCA.


There is also a lack of middle management staff as many bailed out of the sector in the last downturn, Mr Hill said.


Source: Straits Times

CapitaLand, NUS sell Hitachi Tower

CapitaLand, NUS sell Hitachi Tower




CAPITALAND has sold its 50 per cent stake in Hitachi Tower for $403.5 million, the property giant said yesterday.


Upon the deal’s completion, CapitaLand will recognise a gain of $110.1 million, it said.


The National University of Singapore, which owns the remaining 50 per cent of the Collyer Quay office building, also sold its stake.


The deal took into consideration the agreed value of the 999-year leasehold Hitachi Tower at $811 million, or about $2,900 per square foot (psf) of net lettable area. The consideration was arrived at on a willing-buyer willing-seller basis, CapitaLand said.


The developer did not name the buyer in its filing to the Singapore Exchange, but sources said that the building was bought by a fund linked to Goldman Sachs.


Goldman Sachs bought the next-door Chevron House, formerly known as Caltex House, for $2,780 psf in August last year. Chevron House is on a site that had a remaining lease of 81 years at the time of the transaction.


The 37-storey Hitachi Tower has a net lettable area of around 279,600 square feet. The building had close to 100 per cent occupancy as at Dec 31, 2007, and key tenants include Hitachi Asia and American Express.


Market watchers have said that it makes sense for Goldman to own two adjoining office blocks as it can take advantage of managing them together, as well as look into the possibility of redeveloping both properties collectively.


A Goldman Sachs real estate fund also bought DBS Towers 1 and 2 on Shenton Way in November 2005 for $690 million, or around $800 psf of net lettable area.


Based on CapitaLand’s unaudited financial statements for the nine months ended Sept 30, 2007, the group’s earnings per share would have increased from 74.4 cents to 78.3 cents assuming that the sale was effected on Jan 1, 2007, the company said.


CapitaLand’s shares shed 13 cents to close at a one-year low of $5.62 yesterday amid a broad fall in the Singapore stock market. The company’s stock price has dropped some 10.4 per cent since the start of the year.


Source: Business Times

Private home sales shrink 46%

Private home sales shrink 46%


Lull normal during year-end holiday season: Analysts


Wednesday • January 16, 2008


Esther Fung and Cheow Xin Yi



The number of new private homes sold in December about halved from the month earlier, but analysts attribute the drop to the year-end holiday season and say it is not necessarily an indication that the property market has peaked.


According to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday, 328 new private residential units were sold in December, down sharply from 611 units in November, or 46 per cent. Developers launched 492 units last month, down from 598.


“This is because the festive period of December is usually a lull period in the property sale market,” said Mr Nicholas Mak, director of research and consultancy at Knight Frank. “Coupled with the market uncertainties due to the stock market turbulence, there were no launches of major developments as developers held back many of their projects.”


“Foreign buyers also don’t do their buying towards the end of the year as they go on holiday,” said Mr Donald Han, managing director of property consultancy Cushman and Wakefield, adding that sales will most likely pick up after Chinese New Year in February.


“The numbers of units sold in both the RCR (rest of central region) and OCR (outside central region) have fallen, with RCR recording the biggest drop, said Mr Mak.


Sales in the core central region increased 37 per cent to 175 units in December but this spike was due to a bulk purchase of 97 units in Goodwood Residence by Kuwait Finance House, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s head of research in South-east Asia, Dr Chua Yang Liang.


Discounting the bulk purchase, the adjusted number of 78 units sold is more reflective of the overall market, he said.


Despite the smaller number of units sold, prices have remained firm.


“The Marina collection saw 25 units sold at the median price of $2,734 per sq ft, which is a new record for Sentosa Cove projects,” said Mr Li Hiaw Ho, executive director of CBRE Research.


For all of last year, a record number of 14,826 new homes were sold, said Mr Li.


“The bulk of the volume, 13,362 units, or about 90 per cent, were sold in the first nine months of the year, before the market turned cautious in view of various factors”, such as the volatility in global stock markets, the impact of the United States sub-prime problems and escalating oil prices, said Mr Li.


Notwithstanding these factors, Mr Li thinks the property market sentiment is still good. “Although the mood in the fourth quarter of 2007 has persisted in January, it is likely that sales momentum will pick up as developers launch more projects to give more choices to potential buyers,” he said.


Some of the new projects to be launched include Marina Bay Suites and Martin Place Residences.


Source: Today Newspaper

Strangers inside, tissue everywhere

Jurong West owner makes surprise find when he checks on new flat


Strangers inside, tissue everywhere


HE was all excited about his new three-room flat in Jurong West.


16 January 2008


HE was all excited about his new three-room flat in Jurong West.


So when he got the keys to it, garment businessman Mr Ng went there for a quick recce.


He was surprised when he saw his new flat littered with tissue paper.


But he shrugged it off, thinking that the tissue paper could have been left there by contractors.


But when Mr Ng visited his new flat again on Sunday at about 6pm, he opened his door to find a man inside, reported Shin Min Daily News.


The stranger appeared to be a foreigner in his 30s, and was walking from the living room into the kitchen.


The floor of the flat and the kitchen was also littered with used tissue paper.


A cardboard carton covered one corner of the living room floor.


Mr Ng, who received the keys to his flat about a week ago, asked the man why he was in the flat.


The response: He was a cleaner and that he was there to clean up some rubbish following a complaint.


Suspicious, Mr Ng asked for his company name and telephone number, but the man couldn’t provide any information.


The two of them stood at the doorway and spoke for about 15 minutes.


When the man revealed that another male friend was also in the flat, Mr Ng said he wanted to call the police.


But then came an even bigger surprise – instead of another man, Mr Ng spotted a woman walking around the flat.


Said Mr Ng: ‘The man then kept begging me not to call the police, but I refused.


‘He got on his knees to beg me to let him and his girlfriend go.


‘The woman was also in tears and kept pleading in English, ‘Brother, brother, I beg you’.’


Mr Ng ignored their pleas and called the police.


When the police arrived, the man confessed that he is a construction worker and that his girlfriend is a maid working here.


The couple were arrested.


Said Mr Ng: ‘I’m the first owner and I haven’t even moved in and this has to happen.


‘This is ridiculous.’


Mr Ng said he had gone to the Housing Board to collect his keys a week ago.


He claimed he had found a key missing for the main door, but didn’t pursue the matter.




He added: ‘I then discovered that the key the worker had was the same as mine.


‘A neighbour said that this man was part of the crew renovating the place and that’s how he got the key.’


Mr Ng believes this is not the first time the couple has used his flat.


Added Mr Ng: ‘Luckily, I caught the couple before they had the time to do some hanky-panky.


‘I believe they’ve been to my place a few times before.’


The police confirmed the incident and said that a man and woman have been arrested.


It said investigations are still ongoing.


Source: The New Paper