Category Archives: Commercial

More temporary usage of State properties

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said there is a “growing interest” in the use of State properties for ad-hoc events. Various activities, from fashion shows to product launches, are being held in buildings that are no longer in use.

The SLA has issued 27 Non-Renewable Temporary Occupation Licences (NRTOLs) since last year to those who wished to hold their events at such places.

A popular venue is the former Kallang Airport, which has hosted fashion shows in recent months.  Another 20 State properties are up for rent, including the old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and several buildings in the Dempsey Road and Bukit Timah areas. The SLA said these properties can be used for fashion shows, location filmings and product launches.

Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) impact to date

The Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) was introduced in June 2013 to ensure financial prudence among borrowers and strengthen credit underwriting practices among banks. The ratio determines how much an individual can borrow from the banks.

Under it, total monthly debt payments including home and car loans cannot exceed 60 per cent of the property buyers’ income. These debt payments are wide-ranging and can include home and car loans, study loan, and even credit card debts.

In the private residential market, the impact of the TDSR on sales volume quickly became apparent. There were 482 new units bought in July 2013, a drop of 73.3% compared to 1,806 unit) in June 2013.

In total, 9,115 new homes were bought since the TDSR was implemented – that’s half the amount bought in a year-on-year comparison from Jul 2012 to May 2013.

Analysts we spoke to say the suburban homes were the hardest hit. Numbers compiled by Knight Frank Singapore showed that 63 per cent fewer new homes in the suburbs were bought in the second half of 2013, compared to the first half of the year.

As for prices, the effect of TDSR was seen later that year. The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s residential property price index slipped 0.9% in the fourth quarter of 2013, the first decline in almost two years.

Prices dipped again in the next quarter – this time by 1.3 per cent. making it the largest drop since the second quarter of 2009, when prices fell by 4.7 per cent.

In boosting sales, some developers have turned to cutting prices. One of the latest to join the fray is the Panorama condominium in Ang Mo Kio, which relaunched in May at a median price of about $1,241 per square foot.

That is about 8 per cent lower than the median price when it was first launched in January this year. But property watchers we spoke to say the discounts are typically for bigger or “less prime” units, and developers are unlikely to lower prices across their projects.

Developers may also be creating smaller units, to balance between offering palatable prices for buyers, and maintaining their profit margins. According to figures from CBRE, the median size of units in the suburbs declined from 753 square feet in the third quarter of 2013, to 732 square feet in the first quarter of this year.

The impact of the TDSR was also felt in the private residential resale market. CBRE’s numbers showed that sales volume in the secondary market dropped by 50 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.

But it may be increasingly difficult to find tenants, as the Government tightens its foreign labour controls and more new homes enter the market in the coming months.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority estimates that a total of 18,350 units will be completed this year, while another 21,738 units, excluding executive condominiums, are expected to be completed in 2015.

Conservation properties for sale in D7 and D8

in today’s local media news, it was reported that a hotel, comprising three shophouses along Jalan Klapa, off Victoria Street in the Kampong Glam Conservation Area has been put up for sale with an indicative pricing of $17-18 million. Located at 9, 11 and 15 Jalan Klapa, the shophouses are on total land area of 4,275 sq ft; the site has a balance lease term of about 92 years. The gross floor area is estimated at 7,911 sq ft. The site is zoned for commercial use but is permanently approved for hotel use. The shophouses have 15 themed rooms (with an average size of around 215 sq ft), spanning across two storeys and a mezzanine level, a cafe lounge and a small pool. The indicative pricing translates to a net yield of around 2-3 per cent, based on the current income stream from rooms as well as food and beverage operations.

IMF starts a property index in cities including Singapore

As reported in Bloombeg, the International Monetary Fund has started publishing analysis of housing markets around the world to help ensure boom-to-bust cycles are identified and avoided before they start another financial crisis.

“While a recovery in the housing market is surely a welcome development, we need to guard against another unsustainable boom,” IMF Deputy Managing Director Zhu Min wrote in a blog post today. The fund’s Global Housing Watch will be updated quarterly.

Global housing prices have risen for seven straight quarters, according to the Washington-based fund’s new global index. Countries where housing remains “still too pricey” include Belgium, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and the U.K., according to the fund.

Similarly in local business Times a similar article is given. In a development seen as being of global importance for recording property price movements and preventing asset bubbles and financial crises, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday announced the launch of an index to monitor prices and how these are moving across countries and relative to incomes and other factors.

“The era of benign neglect of housing booms is over,” IMF deputy managing director Min Zhu said, acknowledging that property prices have not until now been the subject of enough official attention matching their ability to create asset inflation and financial crises.

The classic case of this linkage was during the 2008 global financial crisis, which was preceded by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, but house price inflation has also contributed to spectacular asset booms in Japan, Hong Kong, the UK and elsewhere. China’s property market is now the centre of attention in this regard.

“To share cross-country information, analysis on housing markets and discussions on the effectiveness of policy response, the IMF has launched a webpage – the Global House Price Watch – that will provide a one-stop shop for our data on housing indicators,” Mr Zhu said in an IMF release yesterday.

The actual link to the IMF index can be found here:

URA announcement for H2 GLS

The Government today announced the second half 2014 (2H2014) GLS Programme, which will comprise 9 Confirmed List sites and 14 Reserve List sites. These sites can yield up to 10,200 private residential units, including 1,500 Executive Condominium (EC) units, and 352,000 sqm gross floor area (GFA) of commercial space (see Appendices 1 & 2).

The supply from the 2H2014 GLS Programme, together with the large supply from projects in the pipeline, is expected to be adequate to meet the demand for private housing and commercial space over the next few years.

The Confirmed List contains 6 private residential sites (including 3 EC sites), 2 commercial & residential sites and 1 commercial site. These sites can yield about 3,900 private residential units (including 1,500 EC units) and 159,000 sqm GFA of commercial space.

The Reserve List contains 12 private residential sites, 1 commercial site and 1 White site. These sites can yield about 6,300 private residential units and 193,000 sqm GFA of commercial space.

Supply of Private Housing

The residential sites to be placed on the 2H2014 Confirmed List are located across all regions (i.e. Outside Central Region, Rest of Central Region and Core Central Region). These sites are expected to provide a supply of about 3,900 private residential units (including 1,500 EC units), which will be added to the existing large pipeline supply of more than 90,000 private residential units (including ECs).

A commercial & residential site at Holland Road will be placed on the Confirmed List as part of the Holland Village Extension plan unveiled in the Master Plan 2014. The sale of the site will further enhance the existing urban village character of the area. It will provide new housing options within a mixed use development that is well connected via pedestrian linkages to surrounding transport nodes and public spaces.

Supply of Commercial Space

The Government is releasing a commercial site at Paya Lebar Road for sale on the Confirmed List of the 2H2014 GLS Programme. The 3.98 ha site at Paya Lebar Road comprises a commercial site that was on the first half 2014 (1H2014) Reserve List and another plot of land immediately south of Paya Lebar East-West Line MRT Station. The two plots of land will be connected via a subterranean space under Sims Avenue. The sale of the larger land parcel provides greater flexibility for building design, layout and placement of uses. It will also facilitate the development of Paya Lebar Central into a commercial node, which is in line with the Government’s objective of decentralising employment centres and bringing jobs closer to homes.

In addition, the 2H2014 Reserve List will have 2 sites for office developments: a white site at Marina View and a commercial site at Beach Road. These 2 sites will provide opportunities for the market to initiate the development of more office space if there is demand.

Other Government Supply to be Made Available in 2H2014

Apart from the GLS Programme, the Government will also make available other supply of land and properties through its various agencies to meet economic or development objectives. These include localised retail facilities at HDB estates, industrial estates, MRT stations, sport facilities and community centres, as well as the leasing of vacant state properties for commercial uses.