Rise in luxury property purchases by foreigners

Original Article by Edgeprop.sg
Over the week of April 3 to 10, there were four transactions that crossed the $10 million mark. The chart topper was a five-bedroom unit on the first level of luxury condominium Leedon Residence that fetched $12 million ($1,828 psf). The 381-unit, freehold Leedon Residence, developed by GuocoLand, was completed in 2015. It is located on Leedon Heights in prime District 10.
Facilities at Leedon Residence (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua)
The buyer of the 6,566 sq ft unit at Leedon Residence is a Chinese national, says Dominic Lee, head of the luxury team at PropNex Realty who brokered the sale. This was not the only unit purchased by the buyer, who is believed to have snapped up another unit at New Futura, a luxury freehold 124-unit condo by City Developments located on Leonie Hill Road in prime District 9.
At Tomlinson Heights, a 4,047 sq ft, five-bedroom unit on the second level of the 36-storey tower was sold for $10.5 million ($2,594 psf). The 70-unit boutique, freehold development by Hotel Properties is on Tomlinson Road in prime District 10 and was completed in 2014.
Two other deals were for detached houses. One was a bungalow on Paradise Island in Sentosa Cove that fetched $11.2 million, according to a caveat lodged on April 10. The house sits on a land area of 8,633 sq ft. Like all the properties in Sentosa Cove, it has a 99-year lease. The seller purchased the house in a sub-sale for $10.5 million ($1,216 psf) in 2009.
Another transaction that crossed the $10 million mark was a detached house on Chancery Lane in prime District 11. The house occupies a freehold land area of 4,338 sq ft and fetched $10.5 million ($2,419 psf).
This year has seen an increase in the number of non-landed private residential property purchases by foreigners, including permanent residents. This is particularly noticeable for transactions above $5 million. According to Nicholas Mak, executive director of ZACD Group, deals above $5 million saw a 78% jump in the January 2017-March 2018 period from the October 2015-December 2016 period. Chinese were the biggest buyers, followed by Indonesians and Malaysians, adds ZACD.
According to PropNex’s Lee, the Singapore property market is enticing to foreign buyers, especially since Hong Kong property prices are still at stratospheric levels despite the more punitive property cooling measures.
Foreign investors are also flocking to Singapore, given the slowdown in the housing markets in Canada, Australia and the UK, says Edmund Tie & Co in its 1Q2018 residential report. Singapore looks attractive, as the private residential market is on the uptrend.

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Pacific Mansion sold en bloc for $980m in second-highest deal

Original article from Straits Times.

Entities controlled by Singapore property tycoon Kwek Leng Beng and his Malaysian billionaire cousin Quek Leng Chan have joined forces for the $980 million purchase of a freehold site in Singapore’s upscale River Valley precinct.

Their acquisition of Pacific Mansion in District 9 marks the biggest collective sale in more than a decade and the second-highest on record, according to CBRE, which brokered the deal.

Singapore-listed GuocoLand, controlled by Mr Quek, announced yesterday that it has successfully tendered for the site with Intrepid Investments and Hong Realty.

Both Intrepid Investments and Hong Realty are majority-owned by Hong Leong Investment Holdings (HLIH), which is effectively controlled by Mr Kwek, though other family members also own stakes in these companies.

GuocoLand and Intrepid Investments each hold a 40 per cent stake in the project, while Hong Realty owns a 20 per cent interest.

The latest deal marks the largest transaction in the current collective sale cycle, exceeding Tampines Court’s $970 million and Amber Park’s $907 million, and is surpassed only by the sale of Farrer Court for $1.34 billion in 2007.

CBRE director of capital markets Galven Tan said that the tender for Pacific Mansion drew interest from a handful of local and foreign developers.

Consultants estimate that the land cost for the Pacific Mansion site may translate to a break-even price of $2,530 to $2,800 per sq ft (psf), and a potential selling price of $3,000 to $3,200 psf for the upcoming project.

In just the first three months of this year, 14 collective sales have clocked total proceeds of $5.6 billion, which is already 64 per cent of the total proceeds of $8.7 billion from 30 collective sale sites for the whole of last year.

As HLIH is deemed a substantial shareholder of GuocoLand, Intrepid Investments and Hong Realty are deemed interested persons of GuocoLand under Singapore Exchange’s listing rules.

Pacific Mansion comprises 288 apartments and two commercial units. Owners representing more than 80 per cent of the strata area and share value of the development have consented to the collective sale. Each residential unit owner will stand to receive a gross payout of $3.26 million to $3.48 million. The shop units will receive between $2.2 million and $4.5 million.

Retiree Peter Chia, 60, who has been living in Pacific Mansion for the past 10 years, welcomed the news of the collective sale.

“It is a good price,” he said, adding that he has not decided where he will live in the future.

He said a new development could help breathe new life into the area, noting that the ageing property was not well-maintained.

But not everyone is glad. A resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, said he bought a three-bedroom apartment in Pacific Mansion in 2016 and would incur a 12 per cent seller’s stamp duty (SSD).

He said he has failed to get an SSD waiver from the authorities even though he did not sign on the collective sales agreement. The SSD, estimated to be $384,000, would have to be paid even before he receives the sale proceeds. “This defeats the purpose of the SSD because I am not a speculator,” said Mr Lim, adding that he spent $40,000 to $50,000 on renovations.

FEC Properties takes Hollandia in collective sale at S$1,703 psf ppr!

Original Article from straitstimes.com published on 2nd Mar 2018.

SINGAPORE – FEC Properties, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Far East Consortium International, has secured a collective sale site in Singapore’s Holland Road in District 10 for S$183.38 million.

The sale price for Hollandia translates to a land rate of SS$1,703 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), according to the marketing agent Savills Singapore.

In a regulatory filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange, Far East Consortium said it plans to redevelop the site into a high-end residential development with total gross floor area (GFA) of about 10,000 sqm.”The acquisition is consistent with the company’s regionalisation strategy and is a great addition to the development pipeline in Singapore following Artra which was successfully launched last year,” it said. Artra, a 400-unit development near Redhill MRT station is jointly developed by FEC Properties and New World Development.

Occupying a corner plot at the junction of Holland Road and Queensway, the freehold site of 4,970.8 sqm lies within a popular residential enclave of landed homes and high-end condominiums. It is served by public transport plying Holland Road and is near Holland Village MRT. Sitting on the site now is Hollandia, a six-storey block of 48 apartments built in the mid-1980s.

Under the 2014 Master Plan, the site is zoned for residential use with a gross plot ratio of 1.6. Subject to planning approvals from the relevant authorities, the land may be developed up to 12-storeys with an allowable GFA of 10,004.56 sq m.

Owing to its high development baseline with an equivalent gross plot ratio of 2.01, no development charge is payable including the additional 10 per cent gross floor area for balconies.”Undoubtedly, this freehold plot will benefit from the successful tender of the highly attractive mixed-use government land sale (GLS) site located at the heart of Holland Village,” said Suzie Mok, senior director of investment sales at Savills Singapore, who brokered the deal.

The last major transacted collective sale site in the Holland vicinity was in December 2011 for Henry Park Apartments at Holland Grove.

At the agreed sale price, owners of Hollandia could expect to receive gross sale proceeds ranging from S$3.3 million to S$4.2 million, which works out to over S$2,000 psf on strata area.

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.”

2017 developers’ sales hit 4-year high; momentum expected to continue

14,707 units sold last year beat 2016 total by 23 per cent; market recovery and steady pipeline of launches seen supporting 2018 buying.

Original article from Businesstimes.com.sg publiched on 16th Jan 2018 by Lynette Khoo. 

REFLECTING the upbeat sentiment in the property market, developers’ sales of private homes and executive condominiums (ECs) were the highest in four years in 2017. This momentum is expected to gain traction this year, given a healthy pipeline of new property launches.

Based on preliminary estimates, developers sold 14,707 units, 23 per cent higher than the 11,971 units sold in 2016. The 14,707 figure included 10,682 private residential units, 34 per cent more than the 7,972 units sold in 2016; the sales of ECs held steady at around 4,000 last year.

These figures are based on the developers’ sales survey conducted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and final sales data from the first three quarters of last year.

Tricia Song, head of Singapore research at Colliers International, said: “The encouraging sales volume and the pick-up in home prices in the second half of 2017 signalled that the private residential market had turned a corner, and should continue to recover this year in view of a steady pipeline of upcoming projects and positive market sentiment.

About 25 major private non-landed projects (excluding ECs) with the potential to yield 15,000 to 16,000 units could be put on the market this year; she said this takes into account sites sold to developers as well as projects yet to be launched.

Another sign of the strong momentum can be seen in how developers’ sales outpaced their launches last year – 6,066 private residential units were released for sale, 23 per cent lower than the year before, the consultants noted.

On recovery track

Cushman & Wakefield research director Christine Li reckoned that the 2017 sales tally could have been higher, if not for several developers holding back launches in anticipation of an expected upturn in prices this year. Developers have thus pared back unsold inventory in older existing projects, with the majority of the top 20 sellers in December already more than 80 per cent sold.

Ms Li added: “As such, we could see high sales volumes in 2018, as the launch pipeline expands due to expected launches from the en bloc market, government land sale sites and re-launches from existing projects. We expect around 13,000 to 14,000 units sold by developers in 2018.”

JLL national director of research and consultancy Ong Teck Hui estimated that 9,000 to 10,000 private residential units could be launched this year, and, together with about 2,000 units unsold in launched projects, should provide a healthy level of supply.

But he added that developers’ sales performance this year will not only hinge on their launch supply, but also on pricing, a major determinant in sales take-up in new project launches.

The diverse risk appetite that developers have demonstrated in their land bids have, however, drawn varied projections from consultants on the potential price increase this year – from 3 per cent to as high as 15 per cent, following a one per cent uptick last year.

Mr Ong said: “If launches are slowed deliberately and pricing becomes over-optimistic, sales could be less brisk than anticipated.”

The risk of rising interest rates could keep buying demand in check as well. “If interest rates are raised gradually, that will not hurt the market, but it will dampen over-exuberance among buyers who are overly optimistic,” he added.

Ms Song observed that based on caveats lodged, the bulk of new homes sold last year were in the price range of S$1,000 to S$1,499 per sq ft (psf). This indicates that amid the euphoria in the market, home buyers are still price-sensitive and that quantum is still a key determinant in property purchase, she said.

Developers that sold the most units last year were Qingjian Realty, Frasers Centrepoint and City Developments (CDL); each clocked sales of more than 1,000 units last year, based on the tabulation of boutique consultancy SRI Research.

URA’s data indicates that developers sold 531 private residential units and ECs in December, a month typically marked by a lull. The figure is 43 per cent lower than that for November, and eight per cent below that for December 2016.

Of the 531, 431 were private residential units – a 45-per-cent drop from November, but a 17-per-cent increase from the year before.

LIIV Residences, a 23-unit development by LCT Land, was launched in December. Three units were sold at a median price of S$1,761 psf.

Strong sell-through

The first project to come onstream this year is CDL’s New Futura, a 124-unit freehold development in Leonie Hill in District 9. It will begin sales this Thursday through appointment-only viewing. Prices start at S$3.8 million for a two-bedroom unit of 1,098 sq ft, said agents.

Also in the pipeline is the only new EC project this year, Rivercove Residences. Jointly developed by Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments, this is likely to be launched in March.

Twin View at West Coast Vale, by China Construction (South Pacific) Developments, is expected to be launched in March or April.

Private home sales rise 17.4% year-on-year in December

Original Article from Channel News Asia publiched on 15th Jan 2018.

SINGAPORE: Sales of new private homes rose 17.4 per cent in December 2017 compared to the same month a year ago, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Monday (Jan 15).

Excluding executive condominiums (ECs), developers sold 431 units last month, compared with 367 units in December 2016.

On a month-on-month basis, sales fell 45.3 per cent from the revised 788 units sold in November.

Including ECs, 531 units were sold in December, a drop from the 937 sold the previous month.

December’s sales performance is traditionally lower due to the school holidays and festive celebrations, noted PropNex Realty CEO Ismail Gafoor.

However, he said that for the whole of 2017, the number of new residential homes sold by developers showed market confidence in new projects.

A total of 11,562 new private residential homes, excluding ECs, were sold in 2017, a 38 per cent increase from the 8,364 units sold in 2016, according to PropNex.

Said Mr Gafoor: “With prices expected to increase in 2018, there was a strong sense of urgency amongst home buyers and upgraders to make a move and purchase unsold units and new projects.”

Source: CNA/zl

Watch Channel News Asia Report.

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.