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HK billionaire buys Asia’s priciest apartments

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 23rd November 2016 in Blog
HK billionaire buys Asia’s priciest apartments

A HK billionaire has bought not just one, but two luxury apartments at Mount Nicholson. Source: Getty Images

Hong Kong billionaire Edwin Leong Siu-hung has acquired the most expensive apartments in Asia, reported the South China Morning Post.

Apparently, Leong bought two adjoining luxury apartments on 8 November at Wheelock Properties’ Mount Nicholson development at The Peak for an average price of HK$104,803 psf (S$19,224 psf), breaking the record price for Asian homes on a psf basis.

The 64-year old property investor paid a total of HK$912 million (S$167 million) for the two apartments, which have a combined area of 8,702 sq ft.

With a net worth of US$3.9 billion (S$5.5 billion), the founder and chairman of property developer Tai Hung Fai Enterprise was ranked the 17th richest person in Hong Kong by Forbes this year.

The purchase was made just three days after the Hong Kong government increased the country’s residential property stamp duty to 15 percent for those buying their second and subsequent houses, but Leong told local newspaper Oriental Daily that he does not have any other properties under his name.

credits: propertyguru

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UOL to launch new projects in Clementi, Potong Pasir in next two years

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 22nd November 2016 in Blog
The Clement Canopy land site

The Clement Canopy in Clementi is set to be launched in early 2017. (Photo: URA)

Property developer UOL Group is planning to launch two new residential projects in Clementi and Potong Pasir over the next two years, reported Singapore Business Review, citing a report from OCBC Investment Research.

The Clement Canopy, a 505-unit condominium in Clementi in which UOL owns a 50 percent stake, is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017.

Raintree Gardens in Potong Pasir, which was acquired by the group via an en bloc sale with UIC Ltd, will be redeveloped into a 750-unit project that will hit the market in 2018.

UOL has seen healthy sales at its previously launched Singapore projects. The 797-unit Botanique at Bartley recorded a take-up rate of 96 percent, while Principal Garden and Riverbank @ Fernvale are 43 percent and 78 percent sold, respectively.

The three projects obtained their Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in September 2015 and May 2016, respectively.

With this, the group’s revenue for the quarter climbed 11 percent year-on-year to $393 million, on the back of higher topline contributions across its hotel, property development and property investment segments.

Property development revenue, for instance, jumped 19 percent year-on-year to $207 million due to higher progressive recognition from Botanique at Bartley, Riverbank @ Fernvale and Principal Garden, said OCBC.

credits: propertyguru

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Private sector to be more involved in govt development plans

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 21st November 2016 in Blog
Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

Selling larger land parcels, such as the government did at Marina Bay, will be one of the methods used in future development plans.

The government aims to increase the involvement of the private sector in its development plans, as part of its strategies to boost the economy, reported Today.

During the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore’s (Redas) 57th anniversary dinner, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong — who used the development plans at Marina Bay as an example — said one of the possible partnership models is the “master developer approach”.

At Marina Bay, the government had put out significantly larger land parcels instead of following the previous practice of tendering smaller plots of land for sale.

“Prior to Marina Bay, the way in which we sold land in Singapore was to sell land on a plot-by-plot basis. For Marina Bay, we did something different. We put out much larger land plots for the first time. It allowed the developer to optimise different uses and build in a more integrated manner,” said Wong.

“Because it was a much larger plot of land, we also helped to mitigate the risk by giving the developer options to phase out the project. So you don’t have to pay everything upfront in one cash outlay.”

Notably, London has used a similar approach in areas such as King’s Cross Central and Canary Wharf.

Another partnership model being considered by the government is the setting up of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), where businesses spearhead improvements in a defined commercial area.

“Under a BID, the property owners and retailers will be represented and they will have a say in what they want for the BID area,” Wong explained.

“Together, the members of the BID will contribute funds, which would then be ring-fenced for use in the BID area, and they will come up with their own solutions to make the BID area more attractive and (to) increase footfall. It allows stakeholders to have direct ownership and responsibility in implementing plans for the area.”

Other ideas being considered by the Committee on the Future Economy are the expansion of space options and the development of infrastructure to support a digital economy.

Currently, Singapore is looking at ways to create more underground space and embarking on new reclamation methods to reduce its reliance on imported sand.

With the growth of the digital economy, the country is also exploring ways to strengthen its digital network infrastructure, including creating a “plug-and-play” environment for Internet of Things applications and connected devices, said Wong.

credits: propertyguru

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Primary sales take-up, prices may not be sustainable

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 20th November 2016 in Blog
Primary sales take-up, prices may not be sustainable

Industry sources have said it is too early to tell if primary property sales take-up and prices will be sustainable.

The sustainability of primary sales take-up and prices remain unclear, given the bleak economic outlook and the substantial new supply coming onstream, reported The Business Times, citing the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas).

“It is too early to conclude that recovery in primary sales take-up and current prices will be sustainable,” said Redas president Augustine Tan at the association’s 57th anniversary dinner at Ritz Carlton Millenia.

“This year, Singapore’s economy continues to move slowly due to a confluence of global uncertainties, social and political insecurity and tension in the international arena. The weak market will cause asset values and rentals to keep falling, create financial stress on businesses which will inadvertently affect employment,” noted Tan, citing weaknesses across residential, office, retail and industrial markets.

Last month, official data showed that private home rents and prices fell more steeply in Q3 2016 from the previous quarter, with 12 straight quarters of decline culminating in a 10.7 percent drop in rents and 10.8 percent fall in prices since the Q3 2013 peak. This came on top of a supply pipeline of 43,693 uncompleted private residential units, of which 20,577 remained unsold.

Regarding the punitive fees facing developers for unsold units, Tan revealed that as of end-October, about 500 unsold units in 12 developments will be affected by the qualifying certificate (QC) conditions by end-2016, with charges amounting to around S$47 million. The remission claw-back of the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) is also set to affect around 4,000 unsold units across 42 developments by 2018.

Figures from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) indicate that the government had collected around S$58.2 million in extension fees under QC regulations as of 27 October, an increase from just S$24.9 million for the whole of 2015. In light of this, several property developers have offloaded their units in bulk — either directly or indirectly — to avoid paying the extension fees.

Some developers also noticed the unsteadiness in the market, with UOL deputy group CEO Liam Wee Sin pointing to the mixed performance in recent launches. “It means if you get your product, price point and location right in the micro-market, you can create some success factor, even in a sluggish market.”

But while recent launches registered strong take-ups, this year’s overall number of launches were fewer than in 2015, said Qingjian Realty General Manager Li Jun. As such, he expects upcoming launches to witness fluctuations in take-up rates.

The company is expected to launch its executive condominium (EC) project in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 5 next March or April.

credits: propertyguru

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HSR tender may be called in Q4 2017

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 19th November 2016 in Blog
HSR tender may be called in Q4 2017

The HSR tender may be called next year, with Japan having made a strong pitch for it to use its bullet train technology.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday that the international tender to supply high-speed rail (HSR) trains may be called by the fourth quarter of next year, reported The New Straits Times.

Najib revealed that most issues relating to the ambitious project have been “more or less” resolved. He also confirmed that Singapore and Malaysia are on track to sign the agreement for the development of the HSR by early December.

Najib, who is on an official three-day visit to Japan, made the announcement after a meeting in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe.

“There are several milestones in the implementation of this project but the most significant would be the international bidding process, which, according to our plan, will be issued in the fourth quarter of 2017,” he said. “I have reassured Prime Minister Abe that the process to arrive at the final decision (on the contract) would be done in an open, transparent and objective manner.”

Notably, Abe made a strong pitch for the Singapore and Malaysian governments to consider using the Japanese Shinkansen bullet train system.

“We had a very good discussion on the high-speed railway programme between Malaysia and Singapore, and I expressed strong expectations regarding the adoption of Japan’s bullet train technology,” said Abe at the press conference.

On Monday (14 November), Singapore’s Transport Ministry said Singapore and Malaysia “are working towards signing the bilateral agreement on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail at the next leaders’ retreat on 5 December 2016”.

With terminus stations in Jurong East and Bandar Malaysia, the 350km double-track rail will reduce travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes.

credits: propertyguru

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New reclamation method to reduce reliance on sand

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 18th November 2016 in Blog
New reclamation method to reduce reliance on sand

A land reclamation method historically used by the Dutch is to reduce Singapore’s reliance on sand, and will be first implemented at Pulau Tekong. (Photo: Tunafish1990, Wikimedia Commons)

A new land reclamation method aimed at helping Singapore reduce its reliance on sand will be used on the northwestern tip of Pulau Tekong, reported Channel NewsAsia.

Called the polder development method, it will be used by the HDB for the project, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong during a site visit to Pulau Tekong.

While sand is traditionally used to reclaim land to above sea levels, the new method involves the development of a polder, which is a low-lying tract of land that has been reclaimed from the sea. A wall or dike is constructed to prevent seawater from entering the polder, while water levels within the polder are controlled by a network of drains and pumps.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) and HDB noted that the method not only reduces the amount of sand required for reclamation, it also lowers upfront construction costs.

Singapore has been reliant on sand imports since 2007, when Indonesia banned the export of land sand to the city-state. Singapore reportedly imported six to eight million tonnes of sand, of which over 90 percent was supplied by Indonesia. This resulted in costlier construction works, and the need to source for more sand from other suppliers.

The new reclamation method will also help build up capabilities, said Wong.

“We know that we are facing the threat of climate change, sea levels rising…and we are low-lying in Singapore. With this project, I think the experience that we gain in learning how to build dikes, in learning how to manage coastal areas, will be very important for us as we deal with the threat of climate change in the longer term,” he said.

Once the reclamation is completed in 2022, an additional 810ha of land (pproximately double the size of Toa Payoh town) will be added to Pulau Tekong. The land will be used for military training.

To ensure the polder land’s long-term safety, the HDB drew on the Netherlands’ experience. Notably, the Netherlands has used the polder method for land reclamation for a long time and has the highest standards for dike safety in the world. An environmental study was also conducted to ensure that the surrounding marine life and environment will not be significantly affected by the project.

The tender for the polder project will be called by end-2016, with construction works set to start by end-2017, revealed the HDB and MND.

credits: propertyguru

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