Private housing supply for the first half of next year under the Government Land Sales programme will be cut by nearly 20 per cent, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said. It cited concerns over the large supply pipeline from buoyant collective sales during this cycle, slower demand in the wake of the July property cooling measures and rising global economic uncertainty. MND said it is releasing 6,475 private residential units for the upcoming land sales programme - the lowest supply since the first half of 2007, when 5,475 units were offered. The upcoming supply is 19.5 per cent lower than the 8,040 units released in this year's second half. The ministry said the supply pipeline now stands at 45,000 units. In contrast, developers' demand for land is moderating, and overall transaction volumes have fallen following the cooling measures.
Variety of choice sites on H1 slate; seven of total 14 sites are new
In all, there are five sites on the confirmed list and nine on the reserve list. Seven of the total 14 sites are new. Some property consultants rate the most attractive plot as the one along Tan Quee Lan Street, on top of the Downtown Line Bugis MRT Station. It was just made available for application on the current-half reserve list but is being transferred to the H1 2019 confirmed list. The move indicates the authorities' desire to build on the rejuvenation momentum in the area - referring to the completion of DUO and South Beach, and the upcoming Guoco Midtown. The Tan Quee Lan site can generate some 580 homes and about 2,000 sq m gross floor area (GFA) of commercial space. Another favourite is a land parcel in one-north Gateway that can yield 170 homes, making it a relatively small and palatable offering. The site is next to one-north Residences. Lee Sze Teck, head of research at Huttons Asia, said the timing of this site's offering is opportune, given that the number of residences in the locale has remained stagnant while the number of professionals working there have been rising over the years. The Canberra Link executive condominium (EC site) is expected to be hotly contested, given the tight supply for this public-private hybrid housing. The site is next to another EC plot that was awarded in September for S$558 psf ppr and attracted nine bids.
Keen developer interest expected for Bugis GLS sites
Bugis' rejuvenation will deepen with two rare residential Government Land Sales (GLS) sites there launched for sale and analysts believe the area's potential will draw keen developer interest. The location of these two plots within the Central Area also makes them unencumbered from the recently revised development control guidelines, which pare down the maximum number of units allowable for the two other GLS sites launched at Geylang and Dairy Farm.
One of the Bugis sites is on Middle Road and has been launched under the Confirmed List. Spanning about 80,300 sq ft, the site which is zoned residential with commercial at the first storey can yield an estimated 375 homes. Just a stone's throw away is a site on Tan Quee Lan Street, launched under the Reserve List. The site is about 124,100 sq ft, also zoned residential with commercial at the first storey, and can yield about 580 homes. Analysts predict a winning bid of between $1,300 and $1,550 psf ppr for the Middle Road plot.
Singapore property developers have been diversifying into new markets and business segments in recent years after several rounds of property cooling measures, which have contributed to a tougher operating environment. Following the most recent measures, developers that The Business Times spoke to nonetheless still see Singapore as a core market and will continue to look for opportunities here, in addition to overseas. In July, the government announced a hike in the additional buyer's stamp duty rates and tightened loan-to-value limits on residential property purchases. Meanwhile, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has revised the guidelines for the maximum allowable dwelling units in private residential developments outside the Central Area to curb the number of shoebox units in new projects. The guidelines kick in from Jan 17, 2019.
OCBC neutral on residential property, predicts -3% to 2% price change in 2019
OCBC analysts are taking a cautious stance on Singapore's residential property sector in 2019 on expectations of low-to-negative growth in private home prices. The brokerage's latest report on the sector projected 2019 price growth to range between -3 per cent and 2 per cent, with an expectation of 10,000 to 12,000 private transaction unit sales next year. OCBC stated that negative demand drivers might outweigh the positives in 2019. Negatives will stem from moderating economic growth, continued impact from property cooling measures and continued tight immigration policies. It noted that Singapore's economy is projected to expand at a pace of 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in 2019, slower than the 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent growth expected in 2018. On the positive front, OCBC said investors can look forward to a stable resident household formation and wage growth, redeployment of proceeds from collective sales and increased pool of demand from Housing and Development Board (HDB) upgraders. It sees a spike in the number of public housing units eligible to be sold in 2019, with approximately 30,200 HDB and Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats reaching their minimum occupation period (MOP) next year - significantly higher than the yearly average of 10,900 from 2012 to 2018.
Teeing off for the last time at Toa Payoh Golf Range
Toa Payoh Golf Range was informed by the authorities that the 2.9ha site has been zoned for residential use. The Toa Payoh Golf Range was built after Haw Par Leisure won its Housing Board tender in 1992. Group Exklusiv took over the lease at the start of the millennium, before it was awarded to Poh Bros in 2008. In recent years, numerous golf courses and ranges have closed, including Raffles Country Club this year and Jurong Country Club last year, as well as driving ranges like Nature Park Driving Range (2015) and Queens Golf Range (2009). In 2014, the Law Ministry said Keppel Club will not be able to renew its lease when it expires in 2021. Marina Bay Golf Course faces a similar fate in 2024, as will Orchid Country Club in 2030. Tanah Merah Country Club and National Service Resort and Country Club (Changi) will be offered new leases, but they will be downsized as parts of the sites will be affected by Changi Airport's expansion plans.
Some notable bungalow deals have taken place recently in Good Class Bungalow (GCB) Areas as well as in the Sentosa Cove waterfront housing locale. In a deal involving a mortgagee sale, a bungalow along Cluny Road owned by Chen Wei Ping, the former executive chairman of embattled Midas Holdings, is being bought by the family of Philip Ng, chief executive of property group Far East Organization, for S$30.8 million. The price the Ngs are paying in the latest transaction reflects S$1,901 psf on the freehold land area of nearly 16,200 sq ft. This pricing is seen as attractive by analysts, given that the house stands on elevated grounds on a quiet cul-de-sac near the Lermit Road locale within the Cluny Park GCB Area. Other recent transactions in GCB Areas include a property in Bishopsgate which went for S$26 million or S$1,571 psf and another along Cassia Drive (in the Raffles Park GCB Area) that fetched nearly S$18.39 million or S$1,731 psf. There was also a S$22 million or S$1,554 psf deal in Oei Tiong Ham Park.
Exec flats prop up HDB resale prices in Nov
Resale prices of Housing Board flats rose 0.2 per cent last month after a slight dip in October as the number of transactions fell again. The price rise was most significant for executive flats at 2.5 per cent, while the cost of fourroomers dropped 0.3 per cent and that of five-room units fell 0.5 per cent, from flash estimates. Resale prices of three-room flats remained unchanged although costs in mature estates rose 0.6 per cent, and dropped 0.1 per cent in non-mature areas. Compared with November last year, however, resale prices last month were 1.7 per cent lower. They were also down by 14.1 per cent from a peak in April 2013. The number of resale transactions continued to fall last month, with 1,881 HDB resale flats sold - down from 1,994 in October and 1,999 in September, and lower than the resale volume in November last year as well.
Judge orders condo owner to restore balcony's design
The owner of a condo unit in The Acardia widened the entrance from her living room to her balcony by removing the wall columns and installing sliding doors. The management corporation said it did not give her permission to do so.
The High Court has ordered a condo unit owner to reinstate the original design of the balcony area after ruling that her renovations had breached relevant rules and affected the overall aesthetics of the building's facade. The court, in the rare case, clarified that though the works were carried out within the unit she wholly owns, it did not follow that she fully controls the unit, given that there are community interests. The owner is appealing the decision