News Roundup (July 2017)

Contributor 21 Jul 2017

Our top Singapore property stories.

‘Bungalow in the sky’ up for sale for $100m

A three-storey penthouse equipped with a private pool on the 64th floor has been put up for sale for a whopping $100 million, reported Reuters.

Set to become the most expensive apartment in Singapore, the ‘bungalow in the sky’ penthouse is part of Wallich Residence, which is due for launch later this year at GuocoLand’s Tanjong Pagar Centre.

The penthouse is expected to test the endurance of demand for luxury property in Singapore, the segment of the market that suffered most from the government’s property cooling measures.

Property consultancy JLL revealed that luxury home prices in the city-state fell by 15 to 20 percent from its 2013 peak.

But it expects luxury prices to increase by three to five percent this year, on the back of growing demand from both foreigners and locals who believe that the market is bottoming out. In fact, transaction volume for the first four months of the year in the Core Central Region increased by 35 percent over the same period last year, it said.

“A lot of people think Singapore is value for money because it’s been downhill all the way – such a long winter,” said Chandran VR, Managing Director at a real estate agency specialising in luxury properties.

“Now they feel it is the right time to come in,” he said. He added that “sensible investors will come here” as apartment prices in Hong Kong continue to go uphill.

Cheng Hsing Yao, Group Managing Director at GuocoLand Singapore, said its high-end Leedon Residence project, located near the Singapore Botanic Gardens, witnessed increased foreign buying at the start of the year.

“In absolute numbers, it may not be that huge, but the ticket sizes are actually quite significant for some of them,” he said, noting that some foreigners were snapping up homes worth between $8 million and $12 million in the project.

80% of DWG agents crossed over to PropNex

Some 845 out of the 1,063 property agents (80 percent) from Dennis Wee Group (DWG) have signed an agreement to cross over to PropNex Realty following a merger announcement in June.

This means that PropNex is officially Singapore’s largest real estate agency with 6,688 agents, according to the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) registry as of 10 July. That puts it ahead of ERA Realty Network with 6,176 agents and Huttons Asia (3,129 agents).

Commenting on the transition process, PropNex’s Senior Strategic Partner Dennis Wee, who founded DWG in 1993 said: “The extensive administrative support provided plus special briefings conducted personally by the PropNex leaders have contributed to the smooth crossover for the salespersons.”

Of the balance 218 DWG agents who did not choose PropNex, 105 are inactive while most of the remaining 113 agents have decided to join other agencies.

“Since the announcement of the merger, many agencies went all out to woo the DWG salespersons to join them,” said Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty.

Meanwhile, he expects the merger to strengthen PropNex’s new project sales business. In the first half of 2017, the agency recorded total sales of 1,223 units across 16 residential projects including Parc Riviera, Artra and OUE Twin Peaks.

Woodleigh Lane residential site awarded

A 1.9ha residential site at Woodleigh Lane just next to Woodleigh MRT station has been awarded to CEL Unique Development, after the Chip Eng Seng unit submitted the top bid of $700.7 million, revealed the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) recently.

The tender for the plum site attracted 15 bids, with the winning bid working out to about $1,110 psf per plot ratio.

The next highest bid of $695 million came from Corson and Wingjoy Investment, followed by a $688.1 million offer from Verwood Holdings and Logan Property.

Analysts had predicted stiff competition for the 99-year leasehold site due to its location near an MRT station and given recent aggressive land bidding behaviour.

“About half of the bids were above expectations with the top four bids within a tight 3.6 percent margin,” said Ong Teck Hui, National Director, Research & Consultancy at JLL. “The break-even is estimated to be close to $1,600 psf, suggesting that units are likely to be priced optimistically when they are launched.”

Launched for sale on 30 May under the confirmed list of the first half 2017 Government Land Sales programme, the site could yield approximately 735 units.

The land parcel is located adjacent to Bidadari New Town and is also close to NEX shopping mall and various schools including St Andrew’s Secondary School, Maris Stella High School and Stamford American International School.

Desmond Sim, Head, CBRE Research, Singapore and South East Asia, noted that this is the second plot within the upcoming Bidadari precinct to have closed this year, after a mixed-use site in the area was awarded in June.

“Supported by existing amenities and located right on a transport node, this site also bodes well for the unfolding of the Bidadari growth story as an upcoming private and public residential address,” he said.


PGNV 115 News Roundup

Elderly private property owners can buy 2-room flexi flats

Private property owners are generally not eligible to acquire new HDB flats. This comes as new flats are heavily subsidised, hence, the government “prioritises such housing for those who need them more, such as first-time home buyers and households who cannot afford private housing”, said the Ministry of National Development in a written response to Parliament recently.

Nonetheless, to facilitate housing monetisation, the ministry allows elderly private property owners aged 55 and above to purchase two-room Flexi flats on shorter leases of between 15 and 45 years.

However, these owners are required to sell their private home within six months of taking possession of the HDB flat.


  The PropertyGuru News & Views   This article was first published in the print version PropertyGuru News & Views. Download PDFs of full print issues or read more stories now!

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