Every six months, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announces a list of land sites for sale, known as the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme. When this happens, developers’ eyes widen, their breathing intensifies and they will stop whatever they’re doing to pay attention.
But it’s not just developers who should listen up. If you’re a potential private home buyer, you should also pay good attention whenever URA announces GLS sites. That’s because like the URA caveat and URA Masterplan, the GLS Programme provides great insight into upcoming real estate developments, which are likely to come in handy.
Here’s an overview of the latest GLS sites for the first half of 2023, as well as a beginner-friendly guide to the GLS Programme and why it is meaningful for homebuyers in Singapore.
Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme: What Is It and How Does It Work?
As you probably already know, Singapore is a small country with limited land. Of the land we have, over three-quarters is owned by the Government (State Land).
In order to better utilise the land for urban planning, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) plans and designs land usage for purposes including residential land-dwelling, township designs and zoning of land. Put simply, the URA plans where new buildings go, be it for new condos, sports complexes, shopping malls and even hotels.
For us, the most relevant are the GLS sites allocated for residential developments. Before private property developers (e.g. CapitaLand, Keppel Land, Oxley Holdings, etc.) can develop houses, they will first need to buy land from the Government.
That’s where the GLS Programme come in, where the Government sells usable land to private developers through a tendering process.
Long story short, developers will purchase land from the Government in a land-bidding war.
GLS Sites Are Released Twice a Year
Prior to the start of each half of the year, the Government will release State Land for tender through the URA sites. Upcoming URA GLS sites can be viewed on the URA website.
As mentioned, interested developers who wish to acquire the State Land for residential development (e.g. to build new condominiums) will then bid for the land through an open tender. The land will (usually) be awarded to the developer that puts in the highest bid in the open tender.
Upon closing of the tender, URA will release a media statement on the GLS sites and the developers who were awarded the site. Then, a separate media statement will be released to show the public the list of developers that have tendered for the site and the price quoted in their tender.
Here’s what the media statement looks like, which includes the top bidders :
GLS For 1H2023
Now that we’ve explained the GLS in a nutshell, let’s take a look at the latest release of GLS sites.
On 8 December 2022, URA and HDB announced 16 sites, seven on the Confirmed List and nine on the Reserve List for the GLS Programme for 1H2023. Together, the sites can yield an estimated "7,715 private residential units, 199,750 sqm gross floor area (GFA) of commercial space and 530 hotel rooms".
On the 2H2022 Reserve List, a total of six residential sites, one White site and one hotel site remain. These sites will be brought forward and included in the 1H2023 GLS Programme.
Hence, here’s an overview of the Confirmed List of sites for 1H2023:
The Jalan Tembusu, Tampines Street 62 (Parcel B), Lentor Central, Champions Way, and Media Circle sites are Residential sites. The Marina Gardens Crescent and Jurong Lake District sites are White sites. According to URA, white sites are can be used for "commercial, hotel, residential, sports and recreational and other compatible uses, or a combination of two or more of such uses as a mixed use development".
According to Mr Lam Chern Woon, Head of Research and Consulting at EDMUND TIE, "The release of two White sites in the Confirmed List, at Marina Gardens Crescent and Jurong Lake District, reinforced the government’s intention to build up the core CBD and the largest regional business district as vibrant mixed-use precincts, allowing developers to have a greater hand in adapting and meeting market demand needs."
1. Jalan Tembusu
The Jalan Tembusu site can yield about 850 units and has a site area of 2.05ha.
Zoned as residential, the closest MRT stations to the site are the upcoming Marine Parade MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) and Dakota on the Circle Line (CCL). Residents will be happy to note that the nearby amenities such as Parkway Parade and Katong Shopping Centre are a short walk away.
The Jalan Tembusu site is estimated to be open for tender in March 2023.
Browse properties for sale near Jalan Tembusu on PropertyGuru.
2. Tampines Street 62 (EC Site)
Situated next to Tampines Street 62 (Parcel A), the Parcel B site can yield around 700 units with a site area of 2.80ha. It is located near Pasir Ris MRT station, giving residents access to the East-West Line (EWL). Many schools are nearby including Angsana Primary School, Poi Ching School, Meridian Secondary School, Elias Park Primary School, Meridian Primary School and many more.
The Tampines Street 62 (EC) site is estimated to be open for tender on March 2023.
Browse properties for sale near Pasir Ris MRT station on PropertyGuru.
3. Lentor Central
The site at Lentor Central can yield about 475 units and has a site area of 1.47ha. It is right next to the Lentor Central GLS site which was launched in May 2022 as well as the Lentor MRT station on the TEL. Residents will be two stops away from the Cross Island Line (CRL), four stops from the CCL, and six from the Downtown Line (DTL).
The Lentor Central site is estimated to be open for tender in April 2023.
Browse properties for sale near Lentor MRT station on PropertyGuru.
4. Champions Way
The Champions Way site can yield about 345 units with a site area of 1.44ha. The site is near Woodlands South MRT station, giving residents access to the TEL. Christ Church Secondary School, Singapore Sports School, Innova Primary School and Woodgrove Secondary School are the various schools within the area.
The Champions Way site is estimated to be open for tender in May 2023.
Browse properties for sale near Woodlands South MRT station on PropertyGuru.
5. Media Circle
The site at Media Circle can yield about 355 residential units and 400m2 of commercial space with a site area of 1.06ha. The site is located in between one-north MRT station which lies on the Queenstown MRT station (EWL), giving residents the option to travel on either train line.
The Media Circle site is estimated to be open for tender in June 2023.
6. Marina Gardens Crescent
The Marina Gardens Crescent site can yield around 775 residential units and 6,000m2 of commercial space with a site area of 1.73ha. It is right next to Marina South MRT station and close to Gardens by the Bay MRT station on the TEL. Besides the TEL, the Marina Gardens Crescent site is also near Marina South Pier MRT station on the North-South Line (NSL).
The Marina Gardens Crescent site is estimated to be open for tender in June 2023.
7. Jurong Lake District
Finally, the Jurong Lake District site can yield up to 1,760 residential units and 100,000m2 of commercial space with a site area of 6.80ha. Located next to Jurong East MRT station, residents will have access to the NSL and EWL.
The site will be placed within Jurong Lake District which will be Singapore’s largest business district outside the city centre. The district will also strive to attain net-zero emissions for new developments by 2045.
The Jurong Lake District site is estimated to be open for tender in June 2023.
Browse properties for sale near Jurong East MRT station on PropertyGuru.
GLS Programme Reserve List vs Confirmed List: What Is the Difference?
If, at this point, you’re confused about the Confirmed and Reserve GLS sites, let us explain. There are two types of lists on URA’s website: ‘Confirmed List’ and ‘Reserve List’.
They’re pretty much as their names suggest. Confirmed Lists are confirmed in that they will definitely go on sale on a pre-determined date listed on the URA website.
This is not the same for the Reserve List sites, which aren’t released for tender immediately. Instead, they are released only when there is a successful developer application or sufficient market demand for it.
Developers who are interested in the sites on the Reserve List have to put in an application for them. When any of the interested developers have indicated a minimum price that is accepted by the Government, the site will then be put up for tender.
Here’s an overview of the Reserve List sites for 1H2023:
How Is the GLS Programme Relevant to Home Buyers?
You might be thinking, "That’s interesting and all, but how is this relevant to me as a home buyer?"
Well, for starters, the GLS sites indicate the upcoming development areas for residential properties. By keeping up with the data from GLS sites (upcoming, current and past), you’ll know where the next new launch condo or ECs projects will be. This is great for those looking to upgrade their property or invest in one.
And before you buy a property, you also want to know if the surrounding land plots are GLS sites that have been sold, are being sold, or will be sold in the future. You don’t want to buy a property for the view only to have said view blocked by another building in a few years.
As they say, knowledge is power. In this case, when it comes to home buying, each decision you make is literally worth a million bucks. The last thing you want is to make a hasty property purchase, only to find that a more suitable residential project is up for grabs afterwards.
Pro tip: Using the URA Space tool, you can also check out all the GLS sites (upcoming, current and past) on a map.
In conclusion, those shopping for a first (or next) home should definitely check out URA’s GLS sites. You can find the recently launched GLS sites here and the past sites here. Alternatively, you can also check out the URA Space to view GLS sites that have been released and sold in the past.
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