The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has launched the tender of a site on Tan Quee Lan Street under the Confirmed List of the first half 2019 Government Land Sales (GLS) programme. The 99-year leasehold site sits on a site area of 11,530.9 sq m and has a maximum gross floor area of 48,430 sq m. It can potentially yield up to 580 residential units. The site has a maximum building height of 30 storeys for a high rise zone and six storeys for a low rise zone. Meanwhile, the tender for a residential site at one-north Gateway under the Confirmed List, which was originally scheduled for this month, will be postponed to June "to facilitate a review of planning parameters and tender conditions for the site," URA said The tender for the Tan Quee Lan Street site will close at 12 noon on Sept 5. Its closing will be batched with another site at Bernam Street which is scheduled for sale in May under the first half 2019 GLS programme, said URA.
OCBC said to be seeking buyer for Mt Elizabeth property
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) is looking to sell a 22-storey freehold servicedresidence development at 2, Mount Elizabeth Link, sources told The Business Times. The district 9 property housing 72 serviced apartments is leased to Frasers Hospitality, which operates it as Fraser Residence Singapore. The property's existing gross floor area of about 104,400 sq ft (subject to a final survey) is around 2.95 times the site's land area of 35,385 sq ft. This is higher than the 2.8 plot ratio indicated for the residential-zoned site in Master Plan 2014 and Draft Master Plan 2019.
Feb home loans shrink for first time since 2006
Housing loans in Singapore hit another low in February, with mortgages contracting over the month for the first time since April 2006, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of SIngapore showed. Mortgages booked in February on a net basis came in at S$203.8 billion, falling from S$204.3 billion in January. From a year ago, housing loans in February continued to grow, but at its slowest yet of 1.2 per cent since BT began compiling bank lending data from 1991. With housing loans making up three quarters of consumer lending, overall consumer loans from a year ago grew at its weakest on BT's record. Consumer loans grew just 0.5 per cent in February from a year ago, to S$264.96 billion, decelerating from 0.8 per cent year-on-year growth in January.
Apartments and condos in the prime areas or Core Central Region (CCR) led declines in private home prices in the first quarter of this year. Compared with the other submarkets, CCR has been the hardest hit by last July's hike in additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) rates, which impacts investors and foreigners more severely. Based on the Urban Redevelopment Authority's flash estimate data for the first quarter of 2019, the price index for non-landed homes in the CCR fell 2.9 per cent quarter-on- quarter - the sharpest quarterly drop since the 5.2 per cent slide in Q2 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The latest decline in the index, combined with the 1 per cent fall in the preceding quarter, takes the total decline to 3.9 per cent from the recent peak in Q3 2018. URA's overall private home price index too contracted for the second consecutive quarter. The 0.6 per cent (flash estimate) decline in Q1 2019 was a bigger drop than the 0.1 per cent q-o-q dip in the preceding quarter.
Weaker sentiment in the residential market is likely to persist in the near-term and may discourage buyers from committing early for fear that prices could erode further in the coming quarters. It also does not help when there is a steady stream of new launches in the pipeline due to the fiveyear (sales) deadline for developers - which means buyers are also spoilt for choice. Moving forward, the less-than-ideal take-up rates at some recent launches are likely to nudge developers to price projects more sensitively in the coming months if they want to move units and better manage sales inventory.
HDB resale prices down 0.3% in Q1
Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flat prices dipped 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the quarter before, according to the latest flash estimates. The resale price index was 131, down from the 131.4 in the fourth quarter of 2018. The final figures, with more detailed public housing data, will be released on April 26. Although prices have continued to fall for a third consecutive quarter, the quarter-on-quarter change is still considered moderate and the decline is at a slower pace when compared to a year ago at 0.8 per cent. There may be more positive sentiment for the HDB resale market in the coming months, she added, as the government makes changes to the Central Provident Fund loan rules on the purchase of older flats. In May, HDB is also expected to offer about 3,400 Build-To-Order flats in Kallang/Whampoa, Tengah and Woodlands. There will also be a concurrent Sale of Balance Flats exercise.
The volume of Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flats grew by 26.1 per cent in March, marking the highest jump in eight months since August last year. There were 1,657 HDB resale transactions in March, up from the 1,314 units sold in the previous month, according to flash estimates from a real estate portal. However, resale volume in March was 12.7 per cent lower than the 1,897 units transacted in the same month last year. The data also showed that resale prices had inched up by 0.2 per cent in March, compared with February. But this was still a 1 per cent decline from last March, and down 13.7 per cent from its peak in April 2013.
Beyond the core: Singapore's office decentralisation
When property developer Ho Bee Land bought a commercial site at North Buona Vista Drive for S$410.99 million in 2010, observers said then that the resulting office product would be untested for the area. The project, sited outside the Central Business District (CBD) in a university and R&D enclave, was targeted at multinationals keen to set up headquarters near their research facilities. But as Ho Bee tells The Business Times, getting corporates to sign up "was not easy, as one-north is not known as an office location. We struggled initially." As the one-north MRT station and retail mall Star Vista were built up, Ho Bee's move paid off. Since completion in 2013, that building, The Metropolis, has contributed significantly to the company's annual bottom line, with rental income accounting for 42 per cent of its revenue in FY2018. Today, The Metropolis is fully occupied.
The Metropolis is one of several "decentralised" office spaces in Singapore that have sprung up over the years, as the government continues its efforts to build employment areas outside the CBD - in line with a decades-long policy to put more jobs outside the city centre. Plans are already in the works for three major economic gateways in Singapore's east, west and north, including a second CBD in Jurong Lake District. Taking things a step further, the government just this week announced plans to encourage more non-office use into the CBD, which could change the make-up of the country's traditional business hub and lead more office tenants to move outwards. Offices outside the CBD see good take-up rates today, though industry players say a cocktail of considerations - ranging from cost to occupier profile - weigh on corporates' minds.