Applications for over half of HDB surplus flats on first day of launch

Applications for over half of HDB surplus flats on first day of launch


SINGAPORE: The Housing and Development Board on Thursday launched the sale of more than 1,000 surplus flats available from the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) under the Balloting Exercise.


By 5pm, applications were received for more than half of the number available.


676 applications were submitted for 1,098 surplus units in Bedok, Clementi, Queenstown and Jurong West.


Their prices range between $282,000 and $335,000 for a four-room flat in Bedok and between $310,000 and $400,000 for a four-room flat in Queenstown.


The units comprise 234 studio apartments in Queenstown and Jurong West, 164 units of three-room flats, 516 units of four-room and 184 units of five-room flats in Bedok, Clementi and Queenstown.


Interested buyers have until 6 February to submit their applications. – CNA/ir.


Source: Channel News Asia

A-REIT reports record occupancy rate for tenanted properties

A-REIT reports record occupancy rate for tenanted properties


SINGAPORE: Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (A-REIT) has reported record occupancy for its tenanted properties.


Its overall portfolio occupancy rate increased to a record high of 98.7 percent as at 31 December, compared to 96.1 percent a year ago.


The occupancy rate for A-REIT’s multi-tenanted buildings also rose to 97 percent in the quarter ended December, compared with 96.2 percent in the previous three months.


This is mainly due to the continued healthy demand for business space in the business & science parks and hi-tech industrial sectors.


A-REIT secured leases for a total net lettable area of 46,933 square metres in the three months to December. The space leased out has brought in an annualised rental income of S$11.1 million.


Looking ahead, A-REIT said demand for industrial space is likely to remain healthy, particularly for the business parks and hi-tech industrial sectors, due to the tight supply in office space in the central business district and the fact that a number of multinational companies is setting up facilities in Singapore.


A-REIT said the anticipated high supply of 702,000 square metres in the logistics and distribution centres sector for the next two years is expected to dampen rental rate.


The Trust’s portfolio comprises 51 percent multi-tenanted buildings and 49 percent sale-and-leaseback properties based on portfolio value.


Source: Channel News Asia

HDB launches 1,098 surplus flats from east to west

HDB launches 1,098 surplus flats from east to west


Flats are in Bedok, Clementi, Queenstown and Jurong West. -ST


Thu, Jan 17, 2008

The Straits Times


THE Housing and Development Board (HDB) is launching the sale of 1,098 flats in Bedok, Clementi, Queenstown and Jurong West under its regular balloting exercise.


Interested buyers can submit their applications from Thursday till Feb 6 – either online via HDB’s InfoWeb service or by visiting the HDB Hub or any of its branch offices.


The surplus flats from the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme comprise 234 studio apartments in Queenstown and Jurong West, plus 164 three-room units, 516 four-room units, and 184 five-room units in Bedok, Clementi and Queenstown.


An exhibition will also be held at the Habitat Forum in HDB Hub, where marketing panels and 3D models will be displayed to give interested buyers more information on the flats.


After the computer ballot is done, those eligible will be informed in April if they have been shorlisted before they can be invited to select a unit that they qualify for.


Source: Straits Times

Valuation indications on property sought from two separate agencies: Citibank

Valuation indications on property sought from two separate agencies: Citibank


I REFER to the letter, ‘Bank valuation only half of market rate’ (Online Forum, Jan 15) by Ms Wong Meow Yin.


We regret that the potential buyer of Ms Wong’s property had reconsidered his decision because of the difference between her asking price of $2.4 million and the indicative valuation of $1.6 million on the property.


Citibank, as with other financial institutions here, obtains property valuation figures from professional and independent property valuation agencies. As such, the bank does not, in any way, determine how much a property is valued at.


In this instance, in line with the bank’s best practices, we had sought valuation indications from two separate agencies. Both valued Ms Wong’s property at $1.6 million, based on prevailing market conditions.


We would like to highlight that our Citibank officer had endeavoured to explain this to Ms Wong.


We also wish to assure customers that our staff take all enquiries seriously and will address any concerns in a professional and expedient manner.


Adam Abdur Rahman


Director, Corporate Affairs


Citibank Singapore Ltd


Source: Straits Times

Marina Bay Suites to go on sale this month

Marina Bay Suites to go on sale this month


By Joyce Teo




PREVIEW sales of the posh Marina Bay Suites will start before the end of the month, even though sentiment in the property market remains weak and the stock market is very rocky.


About a year ago, apartments like this – in the new downtown and preferably with a bay view – were setting new price benchmarks.


For instance, Marina Bay Residences attracted large crowds and achieved a record price of $3,450 per sq ft (psf) in December 2006.


But since then, Orchard Road properties have emerged as some of Singapore’s hottest properties, crossing $5,000 per sq ft (psf).


Also, the market has now slowed significantly, weighed down in part by fears of a United States recession.


Market sources said Marina Bay Suites could sell for $3,000 psf and above, so the units could go for $4 million to possibly more than $20 million for the penthouses. The condominium is being marketed around the globe.


‘Marina Bay is a growth area,’ said marketing agent DTZ’s regional head (consulting and research), Mrs Ong Choon Fah. ‘This is the next big thing.’


A series of previews for the 221-unit, 99-year leasehold Marina Bay Suites will be held late this month. To the project’s head of residential marketing, Mr Kan Kum Wah, the time is right. ‘As a joint venture, we believe that the market currently is strong enough,’ he said.


The 66-storey condo, which together with two office blocks form phase two of the Marina Bay Financial Centre, is being developed by Cheung Kong (Holdings)/Hutchison Whampoa, Hongkong Land and Keppel Land.


Every unit comes with its own private lift lobby and there are just four units of 1,600 to 2,700 sq ft per floor.


Apart from three penthouses – which range from 4,700 sq ft to more than 8,100 sq ft, each with its own swimming pool – the rest are three- and four-bedders.


‘It is one of the last sites in the bay area with bay views,’ said Mr Joseph Tan, executive director (residential) at CB Richard Ellis, which is also marketing the project.


Elsewhere, Frasers Centrepoint will start staff previews for its freehold Martin Place Residences in Kim Yam Road today and its Waterfront Waves in Bedok Reservoir tomorrow.


But most other launches are expected to take place only after the Chinese New Year celebrations next month.


Source: Straits Times

Brothers’ 20-year feud over $15m of properties ends

Brothers’ 20-year feud over $15m of properties ends


FOR almost 20 years, brothers Leow Mei Loy and Chia Then have been involved in a spat over $15 million worth of real estate their businessman father left behind after his death.


On Monday, their feud came to an end when a High Court judge ordered two properties – which include a Mountbatten Road bungalow valued at $13 million – to be sold and the money split among the brothers and their four sisters.


The deal came on what would have been the opening day of a trial to decide on a bid by Chia Then, represented by lawyers from Drew & Napier, to enforce the sale, and a separate suit against him by elder brother Mei Loy, represented by lawyer Wong Yoong Phin.


The two-decade-long drama ended after a meeting between lawyers from both sides in the chambers of Justice Belinda Ang. She issued a consent order for the two properties to be sold within six months.


The deal ends a saga that began when the brothers’ father, Mr Leow Nee Chong, died in 1988 and left no will. Both brothers, who are in their 50s, handled the estate on behalf of their mother and four sisters. Their mother died in August 1993.


The suit is the third involving siblings and their inheritances to be settled in the High Court within a month.


Source: Straits Times

Strong demand for Boon Keng flats

Strong demand for Boon Keng flats


3,500 bids for 714 condo-like HDB flats but demand lower than for Tampines pilot units


By Tan Hui Yee


DEMAND has proved strong for the latest batch of condominium-style public housing flats to go on sale – though not quite as strong as the first offering.


By 5pm yesterday, a few hours before the close of the sale of the Boon Keng flats, about 3,500 people had applied for 714 units.


The flats at City View @ Boon Keng, comprising three- to five-room units, were offered at between $349,000 and $727,000 – an average of $520psf. This prompted some concerns the flats might have been somewhat overpriced.


But developer Hoi Hup Sunway Development said the level of applications, which closed at midnight last night, vindicated its pricing.


Hoi Hup Sunway’s spokesman Wong Chee Herng said: ‘We are really pleased with our results… From the response, we can tell that we are not overpricing.’


Still, the application figures for the Boon Keng units were considerably lower than an earlier project in Tampines – the pilot in the scheme.


Under the programme, private developers get to design, build, price and sell the flats as long as they meet the general guidelines on public housing. This means that while they can sell the homes only to families earning not more than $8,000 a month, they are free to offer frills such as bay windows, built-in wardrobes, and bedroom balconies, as Hoi Hup Sunway did.


The first such development, involving 616 units in Tampines, attracted close to 6,000 applications – or almost 10 homeseekers for every one unit. The prices of its two-, four- and five-room units ranged from $138,000 to $450,000.


Based on City View’s application numbers at 5pm yesterday, there were about five potential buyers for every available flat.


Property agency chiefs like Mr Albert Lu from C&H Realty said Boon Keng’s higher price was the main reason for the relatively lower demand.


‘I’m quite surprised that response is quite good, considering that prices are on the high side,’ he said.


The chief executive of PropNex, Mr Mohamed Ismail, said unlike Boon Keng, the Tampines project had the advantage of being located within a large mature Housing Board estate which provided ready upgraders.


However, he cautioned that the Housing Board should not replace standard public housing with this developer-led model, as it would price out the low-income buyers who cannot afford such frills.


Another 2,500 such condo-like flats are being planned for Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Toa Payoh, Simei and Bedok in the next few months.


For the moment though, applicants for City View units like Mr V. S. Nathan are worried about their prospects in the ballot that would decide if they get to buy a unit.


‘I don’t know if I will be that lucky,’ said the 37-year-old manager of a trading company.


Source: Straits Times

Aljunied temp office plot draws single bid

Aljunied temp office plot draws single bid


By Fiona Chan


A TEMPORARY office site in Aljunied Road has attracted only one bid – and a far lower-than-expected one at that.


The $7.8 million sole offer that came in for the 1.88ha site by the close of its tender yesterday represented only a quarter of the $30 million or so that experts had predicted.


This follows similarly cool responses for other transitional office sites released recently. Property consultants said it could signal that such plots – introduced last year to relieve the severe shortage of office space – are no longer necessary.


All eyes are now on whether the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will award the 15-year leasehold site to Mezzo Development, a small development and construction firm that was the sole bidder.


A related firm, Mezzo Properties, turned in the top bid for a transitional office site in Mountbatten Road last week. Although the offers for the Mountbatten parcel also came in lower than predicted, the site drew a better response with three bids.


URA awarded the site to Mezzo the day after the tender closed.


But the offer for the Aljunied site is only about half the top bid for the Mountbatten plot.


The Aljunied bid works out to just $38.37 per sq ft of gross floor area – close to the level of some industrial space, said Mr Nicholas Mak, director of research and consultancy at Knight Frank.


He said the market may have reached a saturation point for such transitional office space. ‘All these temporary sites attract only certain types of tenants’, who may have had their fill of the four short-term sites that URA has pushed out to date.


Besides the Aljunied and Mountbatten sites, URA released a plot in Tampines late last year that drew only one bid. The first such site, in Scotts Road, elicited a strong 11-bid response.


Mr Mak added that market uncertainties arising from the recent stock-market turbulence could also be a reason for the cool response.


Another factor could be that construction costs have gone up more quickly than the expected rise in office rentals in Aljunied, making this site less attractive as an investment, suggested Mr Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore.


He also agreed that ‘we probably do not need any more transitional office sites’. Any new sites released in the coming months are unlikely to help relieve the current space crunch anyway, Mr Ku said. Construction on them will be finished only in late 2009 or beyond – when a flood of office space is already expected. ‘You don’t want your transitional building to be competing with a whole lot of new Grade A premium space,’ he added.


URA said yesterday that it would ‘consider releasing more transitional office sites if there is demand for such office space’. It also said the last time it did not award a tender for a sale site was in 2001, for a white site – where developers can choose whether they want to put up a residential or commercial building – at Central Boulevard.


Source: Straits Times

Another bid to stop sale of Gillman Heights

Another bid to stop sale of Gillman Heights


By Fiona Chan


A GROUP of minority owners at the Gillman Heights condominium is making another bid to stop the $548 million collective sale of the huge estate in Alexandra Road.


They filed a High Court appeal yesterday against last month’s decision by the Strata Titles Board (STB) to approve the sale to CapitaLand and other parties.


Among other things, the 22 disgruntled owners are appealing on the grounds that the sale of Gillman Heights should require consent from 90 per cent of owners, rather than the usual 80 per cent.


The rules say consent from 90 per cent of owners is required for estates less than 10 years old to be sold en bloc. For older estates, 80 per cent is needed.


The conflict over the required consent for Gillman Heights comes because it is a former Housing and Urban Development Company estate, said the minority owners’ lawyer, Mr Richard Tan, from legal firm Tan Chin Hoe & Co. It has engaged Senior Counsel Michael Hwang to act for the minority owners.


The minority owners point out that although the estate was completed in 1984, it was privatised only after a seven-year process that ended in 2002. They argue that this should be the date from which the age of Gillman Heights is calculated.


Majority owners say that 87.5 per cent of owners at the condominium signed the collective sale agreement, which places it outside a 90 per cent consent mark, Mr Tan said.


However, the minority owners are also contesting this figure. They say the original sale agreement expired before the STB heard the sale application while the subsequent supplementary agreement had signatures from less than 80 per cent of owners.


Another bone of contention is the estate’s price, Mr Tan said.


He said the majority owners’ valuation report valued the condominium at $530 million as of last February, when the estate was sold. But a separate report commissioned by the minority owners valued it at $660 million.


The Gillman Heights appeal follows similar legal battles over other collective sales.


The most high-profile case is that of Horizon Towers in Leonie Hill, where minority owners earlier this month filed a High Court appeal against STB’s go-ahead.


Other estates embroiled in legal collective sale tussles include Finland Gardens in Siglap, Regent Court in Serangoon Road and Airview Towers in St Thomas Walk.


Source: Straits Times

Marina Bay Suites priced around $3,000 psf

Marina Bay Suites priced around $3,000 psf


Over 600 potential buyers, half foreigners, have registered interest to buy units in 221-unit project




AT around $3,000 psf, the next luxury development to go on sale – Marina Bay Suites – looks like it could actually be quite reasonably priced, especially as luxury home prices have trended towards the $4,000 psf range.


Revealing the estimated selling price at a press conference for the upcoming sales preview of Marina Bay Suites, slated to be before Chinese New Year, Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) head of residential marketing Kan Kum Wah said: ‘As a developer, we believe in leaving something behind for capital appreciation.’


Asked if this meant giving speculators more incentive to buy, Mr Kan said he doubts there will be speculative activity, but added that several investors have already expressed their interest in the development.


Marina Bay Suites is part of Marina Bay Financial Centre, being developed by joint venture (JV) partners Cheung Kong Holdings/Hutchinson Whampoa, Hongkong Land and Keppel Land.


So far, over 600 potential buyers (of whom half are foreigners) have registered their interest to buy into the 221-unit Marina Bay Suites. Mr Kan added that over 100 of these potential buyers already own a unit at the JV’s earlier-launched development, Marina Bay Residences.


On the projected pricing, Mr Kan cited some sub-sale transactions for Marina Bay Residences at above $3,000.


Mr Kan also said that Marina Bay Suites will have only 218 three- and four-bedroom units ranging between 1,600 and 2,700 sq ft in size. This means units could cost in the range of $5 million to $8 million, putting them out of reach of the average property speculator. DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (DTZ) executive director Ong Choon Fah added: ‘At this price range, it will attract the investors.’


These investors will be looking for capital appreciation.


Joseph Tan, executive director (residential) at CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), which is marketing the development together with DTZ, said that capital appreciation for developments in the vicinity has been between 35 and 75 per cent in the previous two years. ‘Some have even seen 100 per cent gains,’ he added.


But news of a possible US recession does seem to have affected market confidence.


According to caveats lodged, a unit at Marina Bay Residences (excluding penthouses) did cross the $3,000-level last August. However, sub-sale caveats lodged in December show transactions at between $2,400 and $2,700 psf.


Marina Bay Suites will be initially sold through private previews.


Source: Business Times