Rental flats: HDB to weed out errant tenants

Rental flats: HDB to weed out errant tenants 


It will conduct more checks to identify those who sublet subsidised flats illegally

By Jessica Cheam 

THE Housing and Development Board (HDB) is clamping down harder on the abuse of its heavily subsidised rental flats.


Enforcement blitzes to identify illegally rented flats will be stepped up and they will be extended across a wider area of the country, said the HDB on Wednesday.


Its response comes amid growing disquiet on several fronts about the abuse of subsidised rental housing.


MPs, residents of rental blocks and eligible Singaporeans who feel they have been left in the queue while foreign workers snap up cheap flats have all called for action.


The Straits Times reported last week that an increasing number of tenants have been illegally subletting HDB flats to cash in on the demand for low-priced accommodation. The flats are often leased to workers from Malaysia, China and India who are either in the dark about rules or just want the cheapest rental option.


Some MPs told The Straits Times that residents had alerted them to the illegal rentals and demanded more enforcement.


HDB rental flats have soared in demand over the past year, with the waiting list up by at least 30 per cent in recent months. There are about 4,000 applicants in the queue with a waiting time of 15 months – double the wait in 2006.


Source: Straits Times

JTC to plant more trees in Tuas to help companies cut energy costs

JTC to plant more trees in Tuas to help companies cut energy costs


SINGAPORE: JTC Corporation will plant more trees in Tuas to help companies there cut energy costs, the company revealed at its tree-planting event at the Tuas Biomedical Park on Wednesday.


It said a joint study with the National University of Singapore showed that areas with more greenery experience cooler temperatures.


Shade from trees and rooftop greenery can bring down temperatures in buildings by nearly five degrees, which suggests that well-shaded buildings could see energy savings of more than 25 per cent.


JTC is now looking at planting trees at strategic locations in Tuas View as a pilot project. – CNA/ac


Source: Channel NewsAsia

Sino Construction to raise S$35.6m in IPO

Sino Construction to raise S$35.6m in IPO


SINGAPORE : Sino Construction, a China-based construction group, has launched its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Singapore to raise about S$35.6 million.


Sino Construction is offering 152,698,000 shares for sale at 39 cents each. Out of these, more than 6 million shares have been set aside for the public.


Sino Construction plans to use the proceeds to establish a concrete mixing base, purchase machinery and equipment, as well as general working capital.


The IPO will close on June 10. Trading on the Singapore Exchange is expected to begin two days later, on June 12. – CNA /ls


Source: Channel NewsAsia

Lukewarm response to DBSS not a sign of property downtrend

Lukewarm response to DBSS not a sign of property downtrend 



By Rachel Ang


The latest site to be released under the Design, Build, Sell, Scheme, or DBSS, received just 2 bids at the close of tender yesterday.


Analysts say the lukewarm response is a sign of growing caution among developers.


But analysts say this doesn’t necessarily mean that the property market is headed for a downtrend.


Sim Lian Land was the top bidder for the DBSS site at Simei Road, entering a tender of 52 million dollars, or 137 dollars per square foot per plot ratio.


The figure is at the lower end of market expectations.


Propnex CEO Mohamed Ismail said the modest bid reflected Sim Lian’s cautious attitude.


He said: “Because DBSS is a very specific market whereby the prices are relatively higher than build to order. This only caters to a certain segment, not everybody qualifies to buy a Design, Build, Sell, Scheme. And as I said, developers are being cautious of the current market, this means that the newer DBSS particularly for this site will be priced much lower.”


Nonetheless, Mr Mohamed Ismail said he does not see enough evidence that this cautious attitude among developers is signalling a downturn in the property market.


And Head of Research and Consultancy at Chesterton International, Colin Tan, noted that though property sales might be slowing down in general, some locations in Singapore are still seeing a high level of buying interest.


He said: “I think the market is turning, and in Singapore’s case, and as usually we’re turning very slowly to have a gradual descent. Well the sales are actually quite slow, and if you notice, the latest URA stats show that the numbers are pretty small, are very small. But if you look at some projects, you look at the Telok Kurau area, you have actually seen that the developers have already priced the units to sell, so they actually have got more sales.”


HDB is expected to make its decision on the DBSS tender within the next two weeks.


Under DBSS, the developer tenders for the land enjoys flexibility in designing, pricing and selling the flats.


Source: 938Live

Keppel Land’s Vietnam office properties fully leased

Keppel Land’s Vietnam office properties fully leased 



Keppel Land, Singapore’s third-largest developer, said its properties in Vietnam are fully leased and sees little impact from accelerating inflation in the country.


It said in an emailed statement that its office leases are normally for the period of two years or more and are pegged in US dollars.


Vietnam cut its 2008 economic growth target today to 7 percent from 9 percent as the year-on-year inflation rate reached 25.2 percent last month, the higest since at least 1992.


Kim Eng Securities recently cut its target price for the developer on concern that the company’s projects in Vietnam may be affected by a slowdown in the Vietnamese economy and housing market.


Vietnam accounted for 5.5 percent of Keppel’s net income last year, the most among Singapore’s property developers.



Source: 938Live

Canopy design adheres to heritage guidelines

Canopy design adheres to heritage guidelines


WE THANK Mr Loke Hoe Kit for his letter on Monday, ‘Canopy doesn’t do old Supreme Court justice’.


A key requirement for all entries to the architectural design competition for the National Art Gallery (working title) is that they must satisfy the Preservation of Monuments Board (PMB) guidelines. This is to ensure that the selected design for the National Art Gallery respects the heritage and architectural significance of the City Hall and the Former Supreme Court buildings.


The preservation guidelines stipulate that the main external architectural features of the City Hall and the former Supreme Court are their facades. The international jury panel and the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts have ensured that the selected design adheres to this guideline, among others.


The proposed design discretely sets the canopy back from the building edge. The original roofs of both monuments are left intact. This juxtaposition of old and new is an internationally accepted practice for making new extensions to historical monuments. For the Tan Si Chong Su temple, the main external architectural feature of its traditional Chinese architecture is the roof. Any changes made to the shape, ornamentations and materials of the roof, therefore, impact on the architectural significance of the building, especially if the change is irreversible.


We share Mr Loke’s concern on the need to preserve our monuments while ensuring their appropriate adaptive re-use.


K. Bhavani (Ms)

Director, Corporate Communications,

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts


Source: Straits Times

Sim Lian Land is top bidder for DBSS site at Simei

Sim Lian Land is top bidder for DBSS site at Simei


SIM Lian Land Pte Ltd yesterday emerged as the top bidder in a Housing & Development Board (HDB) tender for a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) site at Simei Road.


The $52 million bid, or $137 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), was at the lower range of earlier market expectations. Industry observers projected in April that the site could fetch between $49 million and $76 million, or $130 to $200 psf ppr.


The fifth DBSS site, with a lease term of 103 years and a maximum allowable gross floor area of 380,300 sq ft, attracted another bid from AMK Development Pte Ltd. Its bid of $37.3 million, or $98 psf ppr, was 28 per cent lower than Sim Lian Land’s.


Managing director of Sim Lian Land Kuik Sing Beng told BT that the site is expected to yield about 340 units. Five-room flats would make up 60 to 70 per cent of the units, and the rest would be a mix of four- and three-room flats. Sim Lian Land plans to launch the units for sale next May.


Mr Kuik also said that the breakeven cost would be about $350 psf of sellable area. He noted that the selling price for resale flats in the Simei area is about $380 psf of sellable area.


Cushman & Wakefield managing director Donald Han believes that HDB is likely to award the site. He observed that in spite of the gap between the two bids, Sim Lian Land’s bid is in line with current market expectations.


According to Mr Han, the small number of bids reflects the cautious attitude that developers have adopted. Rising construction costs are also posing a challenge for developers, Mr Han pointed out. Echoing this, Mr Kuik said that construction costs have increased substantially in the past one year.


HDB is expected to make a decision in the next two weeks.



Source: Business Times