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HDB annual deficit shrinks to $1.64 billion

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 15th October 2016 in Blog
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The lower supply of new flats caused the Housing Board’s annual deficit to drop, revealed a report.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) saw its annual deficit drop to $1.64 billion during the financial year 2015/2016 from $2.02 billion in the previous year, on the back of a lower supply of new flats.

The homeownership deficit fell 32.7 percent to $1.18 billion from $1.75 billion previously. The deficit comprises the gross loss on CPF housing grants disbursed, sale of flats and the expected loss for flats under development.

The decline in deficit was attributed by the HDB to the tapering off of flat supply, reported The Straits Times.

“With the overall public housing market showing continued signs of stabilising, HDB has gradually tapered off the supply of new flats since 2014,” the agency said in a statement.

“As a result, fewer contracts were awarded for the development of flats in FY2015/2016, hence accounting for the lower deficit from ‘homeownership’.”

The Housing Board launched three sales exercises for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats during the period under review, in which more than 15,000 flats were offered across 19 projects.

The figure was lower compared to the 19,800 flats launched during the previous financial year.

In the 2015/2016 financial year, around 2,206 rental flats were built, taking the total rental flat stock to 55,131 units.

As for estate upgrading works, around 22,360 households in 12 housing projects underwent the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP), and 18,960 units across 22 housing projects went through the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

The HIP addresses maintenance problems in ageing flats, while the NRP carries out block- and precinct-level improvement works. Both schemes were introduced in 2007.

In its annual report, the HDB also noted that more households have benefitted from grants following policy changes during the past financial year.

The number of households that benefitted from one or more CPF Housing Grants increased to 6,173 from 4,959 previously.

Also, the estimated percentage of the resident population living in HDB flats remained at 82 percent.

credits: propertyguru

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Man jailed, fined for subletting rooms as brothels

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 14th October 2016 in Blog
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The Chinese national earned around $15,000 in profit from renting apartments out as brothels, reports said.

A hotel chef was jailed for three months and fined $23,000 for subletting rooms in condominiums to prostitutes for use as brothels, reported The Straits Times.

Xue Donglai, 48, earned around $15,000 in profit from renting rooms out as brothels between end-2014 and early this year.

He had pleaded guilty to one charge of running a brothel and two counts of living on the earnings of prostitution.

A Singapore permanent resident from China, Xue has worked here for the past 16 years, first as a cook at Grand Shanghai Restaurant in 2000, and as a junior sous chef at Swisshotel Merchant Court in 2014.

Over the years, he rented at least five apartments which he sublet to prostitutes. Three of the units were situated at Urban Lofts in Rangoon Road, Primedge in Lorong 34 Geylang and Ness in Lorong 32 Geylang.

Xue charged prostitutes between $100 and $140 per month, depending on the size of the rooms.

For prostitutes introduced by an agent, Xue would pay the agent a daily commission of $20.

He got his tenants through advertisements that his friend posted on popular messaging app WeChat.

“Further investigations revealed that Xue refused to rent his rooms to social visit pass holders as he felt that if the police were to arrest them inside the unit, the chances of the police investigating the house owners and tenants were higher compared to special pass holders,” Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kavita Uthrapathy said.

“According to him, he has earned a profit of about $15,000 from renting rooms to prostitutes over the years, after deducting the monthly rental paid to the landlord and utility bills.”

On 25 February, four prostitutes from China were arrested during an undercover operation.

Xue, who was arrested at Swisshotel Merchant Court that same day, admitted to subletting the rooms as brothels.

In mitigation, his lawyer Simon Tan noted that first-time offender Xue was truly remorseful and had fully cooperated with the authorities.

As the family’s sole breadwinner, Xue found it hard to solely depend on his earnings as a chef to support the expenses of his family, considering that his daughter was studying in the UK, shared Tan.

He supplemented his income by subletting apartments to other Chinese nationals and was not involved directly in the prostitution of his tenants.

Xue was fired from his job after he told his employer of his charges.

The maximum punishment for being a person in charge of a brothel is three year’s jail and a fine of $3,000 for a first conviction, and five year’s jail and a $10,000 fine for subsequent convictions.

Meanwhile, the maximum penalty for living on the earnings of a prostitute is a $10,000 fine and five year’s jail.

credits: propertyguru

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Shunfu Ville sale dispute could drag on, prove costly for owners

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 13th October 2016 in Blog
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The ongoing dispute over the collective sale could drag on for months and cost the owners up to $400,000 in legal fees. (Photo: JLL)

The sale of Shunfu Ville, the largest en bloc deal since 2007, has hit a brick wall. This week, several newspapers reported that five households at the 358-unit residential development in the Bishan-Thomson area are opposing the sale for a number of reasons, including the expectation of a bigger payout from the buyer Qingjian Realty.

The Chinese developer paid $638 million for the massive 408,927 sq ft site back in May, which works out to a land cost of $747 psf per plot ratio. However, Lianhe Zaobao reported that the minority owners filed an objection with the Strata Titles Board in July, but mediation talks failed, so the case is now going to the High Court.

Making the situation more complicated, plans to build a new project of up to 36 storeys high were thwarted, after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) instructed Qingjian to limit the maximum height to 23 storeys to preserve the view from the nearby MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

When contacted, Li Jun, Qingjian’s Managing Director, said: “We will await the final outcome of the collective purchase, and will definitely want to maximise the plot ratio (of 2.8) within the scope of the URA guidelines when it is time to embark on the design.”

But this could take a while due to the ongoing dispute. “This could drag the entire deal for another six months or more, and add to the costs of the sales,” said an analyst who declined to be named. Media reports stated that the owners may have to fork out as much as $400,000 in legal fees.

It’s definitely a setback for the over 80 percent of owners who consented to the sale. Each household stood to gain an average payout of about $1.78 million from a successful sale.

Despite this, the analyst isn’t surprised that the deal stalled. “Unfortunately, going to the High Court is almost a norm for a collective sale, and I am sure the majority owners and the buyer have factored all these contingencies into their agreement.”

Gilstead Court in Newton and the Thomson View Condominium along Upper Thomson Road are just two examples of recent en bloc deals which turned sour due to ongoing disputes involving some of the owners, with no resolution in sight.

Despite the uncertainties and risks, the analyst believes Qingjian will proceed with the Shunfu Ville sale “because it appears they have bagged a fantastic plot for a reasonable price”.

Developed in the late 1980s by the former Housing & Urban Development Company (HUDC), Shunfu Ville has about 70 years left on its lease. Qingjian had revealed plans to build more than 1,000 homes on the site.

Meanwhile, property consultancy firm JLL, which brokered the Shunfu Ville sale, declined to comment when contacted by PropertyGuru.

In a statement last week, Karamjit Singh, International Director and Head of Residential at JLL, expressed optimism that the market was slowly turning a corner with three en bloc sales so far this year, up from just one last year and none in 2014. “This brings the total value of successful en bloc sales to $1 billion,” he said.

JLL also brokered the most recent collective sale involving Raintree Gardens in Potong Pasir. The 175-unit development was sold to a joint venture company of UOL and UIC for $334.2 million, or $797 psf per plot ratio.

credits: propertyguru

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Singapore’s tallest building nears completion

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 12th October 2016 in Blog
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Strong take-up of offices seen at Guoco Tower, but many residential units remain unsold, including a $30 million super penthouse. (Photo: GuocoLand)

Tanjong Pagar Centre, Singapore’s tallest building at 290 metres high, is close to full completion, said property developer GuocoLand on Monday (10 October).

The 890,000 sq ft office component Guoco Tower and its basement retail space have already received the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP).

Despite a highly competitive leasing market, Guoco Tower has secured 80 percent commitment from commercial tenants, up from just 10 percent at the start of the year, said GuocoLand.

The tenant list includes online travel agency Agoda, investment company Straits Trading, and a 31,000 sq ft gym operated by Virgin Active.

“The demand for Guoco Tower has come from a wide range of industries, some of whom come from other buildings in the existing CBD, as well as from the city fringes,” said Cheng Hsing Yao, Managing Director, GuocoLand Singapore.

“Many of the MNCs are in fact expanding and setting up their regional headquarters at their new offices at Guoco Tower because they see growth potential in the region. They are moving more of their senior management staff to Singapore,” he added.

The integrated development includes 181 luxury apartments in Wallich Residence, a 222-room Sofitel hotel and a 150,000 sq ft Urban Park, which will commence operations in phases from November. The project is also directly linked to Tanjong Pagar MRT station.

Responding to media queries, a spokesperson from GuocoLand said no launch date has been set for the residential units. “Units at Wallich Residence were made available for sale a couple of years back, but we have since not been actively marketing the project.”

According to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data, 54 units at the condominium were released for sale, but only 16 units have found buyers at an average price of $3,200 psf.

The most expensive unit at the 99-year leasehold project is a three-storey super penthouse measuring 21,108 sq ft, which is estimated at $30 million. The unit located at the very top of the 64-storey building remains unsold.

“The super penthouse at Wallich Residence is a one of a kind property and amongst the world’s most outstanding penthouses,” said GuocoLand’s spokesperson who declined to share further details about the unit at this stage.

Tanjong Pagar Centre is expected to be fully completed in early 2017.

credits: propertyguru

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GLS bids rise amid strong demand

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 9th October 2016 in Blog
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Fewer Government Land Sales launches this year has contributed to fierce competition among developers and escalating land prices. (Photo: Nikki De Guzman)

The number of bids for Government Land Sales (GLS) launches has been on the rise this year amid fierce competition among developers to acquire land sites, reported Singapore Business Review citing a Maybank Kim Eng report.

Average bids for executive condominium (EC) sites climbed from seven to 10 this year, while bids for private residential sites remained at 10.

Maybank Kim Eng also highlighted an increase in land prices as property developers locked horns.

“Fierce competition has led to escalating land prices this year, arising from limited land-banking options as the government scales back GLS launches this year,” it said.

In fact, the highest bid for a Sengkang site, which stands at $287 million, was 17 percent above the price of another nearby site sold in August 2014.

A similar trend was also seen in the EC market, where prices have soared 16 to 25 percent from last year.

“We expect continued keen interest in the remaining three residential land parcels for launch in the next few months,” the report added.

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Raintree Gardens sold en bloc for $334.2m

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 8th October 2016 in Blog

The sale price works out to a land cost of about $797 psf per plot ratio on the potential gross floor area. Source: JLL

The 175-unit Raintree Gardens residential development at Potong Pasir has been sold collectively to UVD (Projects), a joint venture company of UOL Group and United Industrial Corporation (UIC), said marketing agent JLL.

The sale price of $334.2 million works out to a land cost of about $797 psf per plot ratio on the potential gross floor area, inclusive of an estimated differential premium payable to the state to top up the lease to a fresh 99 years, and for redevelopment of the site to a gross plot ratio of 2.8.

More than 80 percent of the owners had consented to the en bloc sale, for which a public tender was launched on 1 September 2016 with a reserve price of $315 million.

Each homeowner will stand to gain around $1.9 million upon a successful sale, which is subject to certain conditions being met, including an order of sale by the Strata Titles Board or High Court.

Built in the late 1980s by the Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC), the river-fronting Raintree Gardens comprises two 12-storey mansionette blocks and one seven-storey mansionette block, with a land area of approximately 201,405 sq ft. It was privatised in 2014.

The site is zoned residential under the 2014 Master Plan and could be redeveloped into a 600 to 748-unit waterfront condominium.

“The sale of Raintree Gardens brings the total value of successful en bloc sales in Singapore this year to $1 billion, with this being the third sale for the year,” said Karamjit Singh, International Director and Head of Residential at JLL.

“Earlier in May, JLL sold the 358-unit Shunfu Ville for $638 million, while the 14-unit Harbour View Gardens was sold in August for $33.25 million.”

credits: propertyguru

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