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Higher Buyer’s Stamp Duty for residential properties valued above S$1M from 20 Feb 2018

Original Article from Todayonline by Angela Teng.

Buyers of residential properties valued at more than S$1 million acquired on or after Feb 20 will have to pay higher stamp duties.

The Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) rate is computed on the purchase price or the property’s market value, whichever is higher. A new 4 per cent BSD will be imposed on the price or value of homes in excess of S$1 million, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Monday (Feb 19) during his Budget statement.

For residential properties where the option to purchase has been granted and will be exercised within 3 weeks of the announcement, a “transitional provision” will be granted and current rates will apply.

The existing BSD rates for residential properties are 1 per cent for the first S$180,000, and 2 per cent for the next S$180,000. For properties valued at more than S$360,000, the next S$640,000 will be subjected to 3 per cent BSD. Following Monday’s announcement, a higher rate will apply to the remaining amount in excess of S$1 million.

Property analysts interviewed felt that the revised BSD rates were unlikely to have a significant impact on the recovering property market.

In light of the current market upswing, developers are unlikely to lower their prices as a result to try and attract buyers, they added.

“Given the upsurge in land prices in 2017 and positive market sentiments, private property prices are expected to grow by 5 to 7 per cent in 2018, and a 1 percentage point increase in BSD is unlikely to deter buying demand,” said Ms Christine Li, head of research at Cushman & Wakefield Singapore.

She added: “Given the heightened interest in the residential market, the government has timed the increase of the BSD well, as prices and transaction volumes could return in vengeance after Chinese New Year with more new launches in the pipeline.”

Moreover, as BSD rates are progressive, the effective increase would be less than 1 per cent for most properties above S$1 million but below S$1.5 million, Ms Li noted.

Taking a S$1.5 million property as an example, the current BSD payable is S$39,600. With the change, the new amount payable will be S$44,600 — or just S$5,000 more, said Mr Ong Teck Hui, national director of research and consultancy at JLL.

“As the bulk of residential transactions are below S$1.5 million, the effect of the BSD change on market demand is expected to be mild,” he said.

Nevertheless, buyers of more expensive residential properties are likely to feel the pinch, Mr Ong added. Agreeing, Ms Li felt that the increase in BSD rates would shift demand from buyers towards smaller units or properties in the suburban areas.

Mr Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research for Singapore and South East Asia, said the higher rates may affect foreign investors more, and deter them from buying luxury properties here in prime locations. Still, he noted that overall, foreign investors pay less in property taxes and duties in Singapore, compared to place such as Hong Kong and Australia.

ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak said: “Over time, buyers and sellers will get used to the new BSD (rates) and it would just become a part of the property transaction costs.”

A New Way of Living at Wallich Residence

Original article from the Straits Times published on 8th Jan 2018.

Wallich Residence Condo:A New Way of Living at Wallich Residence

Wallich Residence Condo

A refreshingly integrated lifestyle awaits residents of Wallich Residence, an exclusive collection of 181 homes that make up the tallest luxury apartments in Singapore.

And this is not happenstance, but is a result of vigorous planning to drive synergies across the different components within the mixed-use project Tanjong Pagar Centre.

Its developer GuocoLand points out that the users’ perspective is of utmost importance. Users can enjoy private and exclusive spaces, while having various amenities offered by the integrated project within reach.

One example is how the developer ensures that the hotel, office tower and the residence are integrated in design, but have their own arrival areas and identities.

The project’s master planner and design architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has been pivotal in steering the outcome. It is one of the most influential architectural and engineering practice in supertall buildings in the world.

“The design for Tanjong Pagar Centre balances diverse functional requirements with a strong, unified building profile that will add an iconic presence to Singapore’s skyline,” says Mustafa K. Abadan, design partner at SOM.

“Residential units on the upper floors of the tower will provide unparalleled views to the sea and the city, while a series of retail spaces at lower floors and landscaped public parks will position the development as a new urban destination.”

According to List Sotheby International Realty, five out of the top 10 luxury apartments globally are above 200m and Wallich Residence is the only property in Singapore to be among the top 10.

The limited residential collection comprises one- to four-bedroom units, four penthouses and one super penthouse. Each home is finished with top-of-the-line materials and fittings.

Wallich residents get to enjoy bespoke concierge services, managed by GuocoLand’s concierge team in partnership with Sofitel Singapore City Centre. Their guests can be treated to an intimate dining experience at The Wallich Room with a private chef.They can also choose from an eclectic mix of F&B options – from casual dining, chic dining concepts to fine dining right within Tanjong Pagar Centre.

A sky observatory at 270m-high offers residents and their guests unrivalled views of the city and the sea.

The office and retail spaces at Tanjong Pagar Centre are mostly filled. GuocoLand notes that these tenants are mainly drawn to the amenities, convenience of having seamless connection with the Tanjong Pagar MRT station, and the profile of other tenants in the building.

“Some of the senior executives of our office tenants tell me that they feel like they live here, rather than work here,” says GuocoLand Singapore group managing director Cheng Hsing Yao.

“Work is intense for them, but every now and then, they get to go to the urban park to take a breather and recuperate, or go to the gym for quick work-out. They even come back to the complex with family and friends for coffee or meals,” Mr Cheng says.

As a testament to its success, Tanjong Pagar Centre has often been cited as a demonstration project in the mixed-use category to foreign delegates.

At the Property Guru Asia Property Awards this year, GuocoLand was awarded Best Developer under the Asia and Singapore categories; Tanjong Pagar Centre clinched Best Mixed Use Development (Singapore) and Best Green Development (Singapore) awards while its office, hotel, retail and luxury condominium components each snagged individual titles of being the best development.

GuocoLand was also conferred Honorary Award in Landmark Development Leadership in the Singapore’s Built Enviroment Industry (BEI) Asia Awards 2017.

Jonathan Stein, managing partner at SOM says: “Wallich Residence Singapore is a project that stands apart, not just by its sheer height, but also by the quality of the life one experiences here. It is the crowning jewel of this ambitious and dynamic vertical city.”

Record prices at Ardmore Three of $4439 pf in Dec 2017.

Updated, Dec 19, 2017, 12:07 a.m., to specify that observations made were based on caveats lodged with URA as at Dec 12.

On Dec 1, a three-bedroom unit on the penthouse floor at Ardmore Three sold for $4,439 psf, a new high for the project, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis as at Dec 12.

According to Dominic Lee, head of The Luxury Team at PropNex Realty, prices for luxury properties will continue to soar. “[In this property cycle,] we could easily see prices surpass $5,000 psf in more than one project,” he says.

Those who bought at luxury developments such as OUE Twin Peaks, Gramercy Park, Leedon Residence and Martin Modern early on would be sitting on profits right now, says Lee. He likens luxury properties to blue-chip stocks — there is always demand.


Exterior of Ardmore Three

Ardmore Three is not done setting record prices. Prices reached $4,439 psf on Dec 1, the highest among District 10 non-landed properties sold so far this year (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

Owners who hold on to their luxury property for 10 years or more would have an opportunity to exit at a profit some time along the way, he says. “I can only remember two occasions (1997 and 2007) where the owners took a longer period to make a decent profit,” comments Lee.

The potential rate hikes by the US Fed are unlikely to dampen luxury property prices, reckons Lee. “Singapore has unbelievably low interest rates compared with our peers in the region,” he says.

High-net-worth individuals, the typical buyer of luxury properties, usually do not take on high levels of housing debt, says Desmond Sim, head of CBRE Research for Singapore and Southeast Asia. “Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty will continue to have a larger impact,” Sim says. “That’s the first hurdle.”

Ardmore Three is not the only luxury property to have seen a record price recently. A week ago, prices hit $4,000 psf for the first time at the 181-unit Wallich Residence, the high-end residential component of GuocoLand’s mixed-use project Tanjong Pagar Centre, based on caveats lodged with URA Realis as at Dec 12.

Elsewhere in District 10, where the Ardmore Series is located, The Nassim saw a unit sold at $3,423 psf on Nov 30. It was the second-highest price psf achieved at the development, according to URA caveat data.

This article appeared in EdgeProp Pullout, Issue 810 (Dec 18, 2017).

Developers sell 785 private homes excluding ECs in Nov, up from 760 units in Oct: URA

Original article from Straits Times by Kalpana Rashiwala published on 15th Dec 2017

Showflat from ST File


Developers sold 785 private homes in November, slightly higher than the 760 units sold the previous month, but lower than the 860 units sold in November last year.

The above figures, released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday (Dec 15), exclude executive condominiums (ECs) – a public-private housing hybrid form.
The URA’s data, compiled from its survey of licensed housing developers, also showed that developers found buyers for 148 EC units last month, lower than the 211 units in October and the 251 units in November last year.
Last month’s top-selling private residential project was Parc Botannia along Fernvale Street in the Sengkang area, with 253 units sold at a median price of S$1,287 per sq ft (psf). The project, by Sing Holdings and Wee Hur, was launched during the month.
Developers also moved units in earlier launched projects. Hao Yuan Investment sold 71 units last month at the Queens Peak condo next to Queenstown MRT Station at a median price of S$1,694 psf.
Kingsford Property Development sold 38 units at its Upper Serangoon View project Kingsford Waterbay at a median price of S$1,346 psf.
GuocoLand moved 35 units at Sims Urban Oasis at a median price of S$1,508 psf.
In Lorong 5 Toa Payoh, the developers of Gem Residences transacted 34 units at a median price of S$1,517 psf.

Former Zouk site at Jiak Kim Street gets bid of S$955.4m for development

Original article from Channel News Asia published on 5th Dec 2017.

Tenders for two residential land parcels at Jiak Kim Street and Fourth Avenue closed on Tuesday (Dec 5), with the former receiving a top bid of S$955.4 million and the latter drawing a top bid of S$552.96 million, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

The land parcel at Jiak Kim Street, which is the former site of popular nightclub Zouk, drew a total of 10 offers while the site at Fourth Avenue drew a total of seven bids.

Map of Jiak Kim Street Site by CNA

The sites at Jiak Kim Street and Fourth Avenue were launched for public tender on Oct 19 and Nov 2, respectively. Both sites were offered for sale on 99-year leases.

The highest bid for the 13,482 sq m site at Jiak Kim Street, which works out to S$1,732.55 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), came from Frasers Centrepoint Limited. It is the highest unit land price achieved on a per square foot basis for government land sites sold (excluding commercial and white sites).

The highest bid for the 18,532 sq m Fourth Avenue land parcel was from Allgreen Properties, reflecting a land rate of S$1,540 psf ppr. The developer secured the freehold sites at Royalville and Crystal Tower last Friday, and is now eyeing a third site along the same Bukit Timah stretch.

The sites at Jiak Kim Street and Fourth Avenue were originally on the Reserve List of the Government Land Sales Programme.

“Both the Jiak Kim and Fourth Avenue sites were hotly contested with benchmark prices set for both locations,” said Christine Li, research director at real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

“The developer is probably pricing in a slight appreciation of around six to seven per cent for the selling prices of the future development. This is somewhat in line with the market expectation that prices of new homes will rise by around five to 10 per cent next year,” Ms Li added.

Head of research and consultancy Tay Huey Ying at real estate agency JLL said: “Of interest is that local developers continue to maintain their hold on the prime district market, pipping foreign developers such as China’s CSC Land and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Japura Pte Ltd for the two sites at Jiak Kim Street and Fourth Avenue, respectively.”

URA accepted applications for the sale of the two sites at Jiak Kim Street and Fourth Avenue on Sept 29 and Oct 31 respectively.

A decision on the award of the tenders will be made after the bids have been evaluated.

As MAS sounds warning, will property stocks get hit?

Original Article By Goola Warden / The Edge Singapore | December 4, 2017 9:00 AM MYT

Property stocks have been on a tear this year, lifted by low starting valuations and growing signs that a recovery in the property market was unfolding. And, boosting their landbanks through en bloc deals was viewed positively by the market, even if the sites were being acquired at lofty prices.

Among the more prolific acquirers was Oxley Holdings. In fact, if all its en bloc deals go through, it will have the largest potential landbank of any local developer.  Notably, Oxley led a consortium of four developers, including KSH Holdings and Lian Beng Group, to acquire Rio Casa for $575 million. Oxley also acquired Serangoon Ville for $499 million with KSH Holdings and Lian Beng Group.  Most recently, in mid-November, Oxley announced that it had won the bid for Mayfair Gardens for $311 million.

Oxley Holdings purchased Mayfair Gardens for $311 million (Credit Picture: The Edge Singapore/EdgeProp Singapore)

Eric Low, deputy CEO of Oxley, said in a recent interview that the developer acquires land based on a “good set of market intelligence and feasibility studies”, and that mitigates “a big chunk of the risk”. Even so, the prices that Oxley would have to achieve for the redeveloped sites in order to turn a profit might give some investors pause.  For instance, the price tag for Mayfair Gardens works out to $1,244 psf per plot ratio (ppr), and Oxley is likely to have to price the new development at $1,700 psf in order to break even, some analysts say. Yet, prices at The Blossomvale, a neighbouring freehold property, were averaging only $1,300 psf until October, when they rose to $1,493 psf.

Elsewhere in the market, SingHaiyi Group acquired a development called Sun Rosier in September through a joint venture (JV) at $271 million. That works out to $1,325 psf ppr for the 146,000 sq ft site located off Bartley Road in District 19. Some market watchers say SingHaiyi will only be able to break even if it prices the redeveloped property at around $2,000 psf, which would be a record for that district.

Correction coming? 

Now, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore warning this past week that banks, developers and potential property buyers should tread carefully, is the sector headed for a correction? Havard Chi, head of research at Quarz Capital Asia, thinks the move is more positive than negative. “It provides further confirmation that MAS and the government continue to monitor the residential market closely and will act to stymie any runaway appreciation of housing price that is not in line with market fundamentals. The re-emphasis of its stance will help developers in forecasting the price of future developments and to bid accordingly,” he says. “We continue to remain optimistic about the Singapore residential market and see stronger growth in transactions and moderate increases in housing price in line with growth in income and population. These are driven by pent-up demand. The transaction volume in the last few years was simply below the normalised rate (population, formation of new households, smaller families) and the continuing growth in the global economy.”

Big developers 

One developer that appears to be making en bloc purchases at prices close to the market value is City Developments. In October, CDL acquired the freehold Amber Park for $906.7 million, or $1,515 psf ppr. The breakeven price for this project would be close to $2,000 psf. Selling prices of new launches on Amber Road are around $2,000 psf.  “In the light of the exuberant en bloc market and with significant supply looming ahead, it is even more important than ever for developers to carefully select the right sites, with strong attributes such as size, location, accessibility and tenure,” Sherman Kwek, CEO-designate of City Developments, tells The Edge Singapore.

“CDL has always been careful and prudent in its landbanking approach and we will continue to do so with cautious optimism. We remain interested in participating in future GLS sites and en bloc tenders and we will be very selective.”  CDL already has a large portfolio of developments that are benefiting from the upturn in the local property market. For the year to Sept 30, CDL and its JV associates sold 1,056 units, including executive condominiums, more than double the units sold during the same period last year. Total sales value amounted to about $1.8 billion, almost triple that for the same period last year.

Another large local developer that appears to be adding to its landbank at reasonable prices is UOL Group. In January, UOL bought 45 Amber Road, a former nursery, for $156 million, or $1,063 psf ppr.  The new development is scheduled to be launched next year. Last year, UOL and its subsidiary, United Industrial Corp, also acquired a privatised HUDC estate, Raintree Gardens in Potong Pasir, for $334 million, or $797 psf ppr. The estimated break-even price is $1,250 psf. The development will be launched next year.

Most recently, in October, UOL teamed up with its sister company, Kheng Leong Co, to acquire Nanak Mansions on Meyer Road for $201 million, or $1,429 psf ppr. It plans to launch the new project in 2019. “We maintain our view that UOL is well positioned to benefit from a residential recovery, given its astute landbanking at significant discounts to current tenders, exhibited in the recent en bloc of Nanak Mansions,” says Credit Suisse in a recent report.

Blockbuster Land Deals signals boost for property

Original article from Straits Times published 15th Nov 2017

A series of blockbuster land deals in Singapore this year signal the property market is set to break out of its prolonged slump next year. A Chinese group lobbed a winning record bid for a residential plot, while Guocoland paid a record per-square-foot price for an office development site in the Central Business District.

Office rents last quarter rose for the first time in 2½ years and home prices ended a four-year slide.

The spending spree may not be over, with more than $3.3 billion of land deals set to be completed by the end of the year, pushing the annual total to $14 billion, the highest since 2011, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

“Singapore’s residential and office market has passed its inflection point, embarking on an exciting recovery journey,” said Cushman director of research Christine Li.

“With brighter economic prospects and improved market sentiment in the next two to three years, developers are increasingly sourcing land sites to ride the wave of growth for the rest of the decade.”

Singapore in March relaxed some home-buying restrictions, unleashing pent-up demand in a market where property ownership as a proportion of household assets is near a record low.

Home prices could rise as much as 10 per cent next year, according to analysts from Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas and UOB Kay Hian.

Brokers including Cushman and CBRE Group predict office rents will climb 7 per cent to 9 per cent as an oversupply of space eases. The resurgence in deals suggests Singapore is on course to emulate Hong Kong’s red-hot property market, where home values have surged to record highs – following a jump in land prices last year – and office towers have fetched eye-popping prices. With housing affordability much better in Singapore, there may be a surge in demand next year, according to BNP Paribas.

“Singapore’s property market has largely turned the corner, underpinned by a brightening economic outlook,” JLL Singapore head of research and consultancy Tay Huey Ying said.

Residential and Grade A office assets are poised to remain investor favourites for the rest of this year and next year, she said. Residential land sales were boosted by redevelopment deals, or so-called collective sales, where a group of owners band together to sell entire apartment blocks, allowing developers to knock them down and build anew in a city where new residential land sales are tightly controlled by the Government.

These deals have topped $6.3 billion this year, the highest since 2007.


Q3 private home prices rise 0.7%; beats flash estimate, confirms first gain in 4 years

Original article from Business Times published on 27th Oct 2017 by Kalpana Rashiwala 

THE BENCHMARK private residential property price index rose 0.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 over the second quarter, slightly faster than the 0.5 per cent increase shown in the flash estimates, according to data released by Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Friday.

In Q2 this year, the index dipped 0.1 per cent quarter on quarter.

The rise in the index for Q3 2017 comes after 15 consecutive quarterly declines since the peak in Q3 2013.

Q3 private home price rose 0.7%

The rise in the index for Q3 2017 comes after 15 consecutive quarterly declines since the peak in Q3 2013. PHOTO: ST FILE

URA said that prices of landed properties rose 1.2 per cent in Q3 2017 after dipping 0.3 per cent in Q2 2017.

Prices of non-landed properties increased 0.6 per cent after dipping 0.1 per cent.

Prices of non-landed properties in the prime areas or Core Central Region (CCR) rose 0.1 per cent compared with the 0.5 per cent drop in the previous quarter.

Prices of non-landed properties in the city fringe or Rest of Central Region (RCR) climbed 0.5 per cent, following a 0.6 per cent increase in the previous quarter.

Prices of non-landed properties in the suburbs or Outside Central Region (OCR) expanded 0.8 per cent, contrasting with a 0.3 per cent fall in the previous quarter.

URA’s rental index for private homes remained unchanged, compared with a 0.2 per cent decline in the previous quarter.

The vacancy rate of completed private homes (excluding executive condos or ECs) rose to 8.4 per cent as at end-Q3 2017 from 8.1 per cent as at end-Q2 2017.

As at end-Q3 2017, there was a total supply of 35,022 uncompleted private residential units (excluding ECs) in the pipeline with planning approvals, lower than the 35,423 units at end-Q2 2017.

New private home sales up 29% year-on-year in September

Original article from Straits Times by Grace Leong published on 16th October 2017.

New Home Sales Up by Straits Times

SINGAPORE – The number of new private homes sold in September rose 29 per cent from a year ago, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data released on Monday (Oct 16).

Developers sold 657 units last month, 148 units or 29 per cent more than 509 new private homes moved in September last year.

New private home sales last month though were down 47 per cent from 1,246 units sold in August. Analysts attribute the slower sales to the Hungry Ghost Month effect, when sales typically drop off.

 But the takeup of new homes excluding ECs for the nine months of this year has been robust, jumping 62.9 per cent to 9,582 from 5,883 in the same period last year.

The top-selling private residential project last month was Chinese developer Kingsford’s Kingsford Waterbay in upper Serangoon, which sold 45 units at a median price of S$1,289 per sq ft. In the EC segment, Parc Life at Sembawang Crescent is the top selling project last month, which sold 48 units at a median price of S$795 per sq ft.

Developers launched just 73 private homes – excluding executive condos (EC) – in September down 84.8 per cent from 479 homes launched a year ago.

In the EC segment, 249 new units were transacted last month, when no new EC projects were launched.

Combined, there were 906 private homes and ECs sold last month, 17.8 per cent lower compared with 1,581 in August.

But year-on-year, total sales of new private homesand ECs were up 42.9 per cent from September last year.

Former Zouk site put on sale at $689.35m minimum price

Original article from Straits Times by Grace Leong published on 20th Oct 2017.

Minimum bid price nearly $690m; prime plot expected to set new Govt Land Sales record

The prime site along the Singapore River formerly occupied by popular nightspot Zouk has been put on the market at a minimum price of $689.35 million.

The 99-year leasehold plot in Jiak Kim Street is expected to produce a new record for Government Land Sales (GLS) sites in terms of the land rate.

Property experts cited the strong selling points, including the riverfront view, prime District 9 location, proximity to the upcoming Great World and Havelock MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line and dining offerings in the Robertson Quay area and Great World City mall.

This price is equivalent to $1,250 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr).

The 13,482 sq m site is expected to draw strong interest with as many as 12 developers expected to throw their hats into the ring.

Based on recently sold property and collective sales in prime districts 9,10 and 11, the estimated land price of the Zouk site would range from $728 million to $800 million, said ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak.

That would translate to a land rate of between $1,320 psf ppr and $1,450 psf ppr, which would be a Government Land Sales record, he added.

Mr Mak said interest for the site could come from big guns like City Developments, SC Global, MCL Land, Far East Organization, UOL Group and OUE.

The site carries a maximum gross floor area of 51,231 sq m and could accommodate 525 apartments in a project of up to 36 storeys, with ground-floor commercial use, albeit in only three conserved warehouses that used to house Zouk.

“Just as the tender for the site of GuocoLand’s Martin Modern resulted in a record GLS residential land price rate of $1,239.03 psf ppr when that tender closed in June 2016, the tender for this land parcel in Jiak Kim Street would also produce a new record GLS residential land price,” Mr Mak said.


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