Two freehold properties will be up for auction as a result of an estate sale, said property firm and consultancy Colliers International yesterday.
The properties up for sale, resulting from the owner’s death, are a two-storey conservation shophouse in Beach Road and a terraced house in Devonshire Road.
This comes amid a rebound in the number of mortgagees who have put properties up for auction, as more borrowers default on loans. The home owners find it harder to sell their properties on their own.
But, as a whole, the auction market has not fared as well, thanks to government measures such as the additional buyer’s stamp duty.
So far, $57.6 million worth of properties has gone under the hammer in the first three quarters, well down from the $87.7 million that changed hands over the same period last year, according to earlier reports.
The shophouse, which has tenants, has an indicative price of $5.1 million and a land area of 1,381 sq ft.
Values of shophouses in the area have registered healthy growth, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The average transacted price of shophouses in the Kampong Glam district was $4,700 per sq ft (psf) this year, up 20 per cent from a year ago.
The two-storey terraced house to be auctioned also has tenants, and has an indicative price of $4.4 million.
The property’s land area is 1,405 sq ft, with a plot ratio of 2.8, said Colliers.
“The property has a unique facade, which will appeal to a niche group of buyers who appreciate properties that are architecturally distinct,” said Ms Grace Ng, deputy managing director of Colliers.
Both properties will be auctioned on Oct 29, at Amara Hotel.
In the slow property market, the developer of the expansive Marina One Residences is dangling a 10 per cent early bird discount as it releases about 200 units.
The units, at one of two residential towers, with 1,042 units in all, will be launched only after the project gets its temporary occupation permit.
But developer M+S said it is “very pleased” with the interest in the preview period, which started on Sept 13.
“Over 800 people came to our showflat in the first weekend,” said M+S chief operating officer.
The project’s location and connectivity – near four MRT lines – and its backing by Khazanah Nasional and Temasek Holdings make it an attractive investment.
The project will be officially launched for sale on Oct 11. Bulk sales of at least three units will begin today.
Already, more than 200 prospective buyers have put in expressions of interest.
M+S will likely release 150 to 200 units at $1,960 to $3,100 per sq ft (psf) at the launch – more, subject to response.
This translates into starting prices of $1.4 million for one-bedders of 657 to 775 sq ft, and more than $2 million for two-bedders, which range from 969 to 1,130 sq ft.
The project also has three- and four-bedders and penthouses, with penthouse prices on application, but at least above $20 million for the 6,469 to 8,568 sq ft units.
Of the prospective buyers, about 70 per cent are investors and the other 30 per cent are owner-occupiers.
About 20 per cent of prospective buyers are foreigners so far with strong Malaysian interest. M+S has a sales gallery in Kuala Lumpur as well.
While rental yields are expected to be 2 to 3 per cent, it could improve significantly in years to come.
“We are looking to be the continued location of choice in the long term…We have a critical mass in retail offerings and are not just a standalone residence, compared with other developments.”
Overall, Marina One, scheduled for 2017 completion, comprises a gross area of about 3.67 million sq ft – two 34-storey residential towers, two 30-storey Grade A office towers with about 1.88 million sq ft of net lettable area, a 140,000 sq ft retail area for about 110 shops, and a 65,000 sq ft garden.
The company is still negotiating the leases, but has already found an anchor gym operator as well as foodcourt operator.
Poor business coupled with steep costs for manpower and rental forced Madam Suzie Tan and her husband to close the shutters of their Housing Board shop in Hougang for good in 2011.
But their family business of 60 years, now called GMM Technoworld, found a new lease of life when they ventured online.
Today, their business, which sells underwater accessories and environment gadgets, is thriving. Sales are up 80 per cent from what they saw when they had a shopfront, said Madam Tan, 48.
“Youngsters prefer to go online. It’s easy to see our items and click and buy,” she said.
Amid rising costs and a labour crunch, neighbourhood shop owners like Madam Tan are turning to cyberspace in the hope of reviving or expanding their businesses.
And they should do so or risk getting left behind, said Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, president of the Federation of Merchants’ Associations Singapore.
“With e-commerce and social media, you can reach out to more customers,” said Mr Yeo.
“Unless they are already very popular, old businesses will eventually lose out to the competition if they don’t keep up.”
About 30 businesses, including GMM Technoworld and some HDB heartland shops, have taken this advice and joined new start-up e-commerce site Shang Market to sell their wares.
The portal, which started in July, also provides merchants with the necessary technical software and training, and settles delivery services on their behalf.
Its chief executive, Mr Philip Wong, said he expects more than 100 merchants to get on the bandwagon by next year.
However, he noted, not enough HDB shops are doing so, simply because embracing an online business model would require a shift in attitudes.
According to official estimates, there are some 16,000 heartland shops, including those in HDB-run malls. But most of them continue to exist only as brick and mortar outlets.
Still, Mr James Lim, 59, is willing to take the plunge.
The director of SKP, which sells party ware, food packaging and stationery, is taking his family’s retail business online for the first time since it was opened in 1991.
“Times have changed, and we need to keep up,” said the father of two, who does not consider himself tech-savvy.
SKP, which has a website, will soon be hawking its products for the first time in cyberspace on Shang Market.
Mr Lim even plans on fanning out to Instagram and Facebook for the next step of his virtual revamp.
“It’s a trend,” he said. “You cannot run away from it.”
Even so, other shop owners such as health and beauty centre boss Karney Ngai intend to stay offline.
“Our services, such as foot reflexology massages and manicures, cannot be sold online,” said the 66-year-old, who is also chairman of the Yuhua Constituency St 31 Shop-Proprietors and Hawkers Association.
“Also, we rely mainly on regular customers who will call us directly, rather than new ones who might find us on Facebook.”
Some 70 per cent of the 50 units at Havelock II that Guthrie GTS has sold since the project was soft launched in mid-July were picked up by buyers for their own use.
This is a significantly higher proportion compared with a share of 30-45 per cent for owner occupiers among buyers of strata commercial units in Guthrie’s ventures in recent years, such as Paya Lebar Square, The Adelphi near City Hall MRT Station and Burlington Square along Bencoolen Street.
In an interview with BT, Guthrie GTS director Michael Leong described the higher proportion of end users in Havelock II as a “healthy trend” reflecting the drop in speculative fervour.
The 50 units Guthrie has sold in Havelock II make up half of the 100 office and retail units released in the project, which will be the revamped 2HR building the group acquired in March 2013. In all, the project will have 245 units comprising 151 retail units and 94 office units.
Mr Leong acknowledged that the TDSR (total debt servicing ratio framework) has slowed sales; that said, he noted that “buyers now have a better grasp of this policy, enabling them to evaluate faster and accelerate purchasing decisions”.
To date, the group has sold 30 of the 50 retail units released and 20 of the 50 office units released. Office units sold have sizes ranging from 312 sq ft to 2,357 sq ft and have achieved an average price of S$2,228 psf, while retail units taken up are sized 150-1,335 sq ft and have fetched an average of S$4,657 psf.
“Although the building is in a slightly fringe part of the CBD, it is attractively located between two MRT stations – Clarke Quay and Chinatown stations,” said Mr Leong.
The project stands on a site with a balance lease term of about 68 years. Guthrie paid S$282.88 million for the eight-storey building last year and will invest a further S$40 million revamping it. However, the site’s lease will not be topped up.
Most of the building’s tenants have already moved out with the last remaining occupiers slated to exit by end-January 2015. Renovations began a month ago and are slated for completion by H1 2016.
Among other things, a new facade will adorn the building. Its carpark entrance/exit will be relocated, and two levels in the building will be converted to retail use.
As a result, the revamped building will have four floors of retail space (Basement 1 to Level 3). Above that will be five levels of offices. About 100 car park lots will be housed in Basement 2.
The existing office-retail mix of 80:20 will be changed to 45:55. Havelock II will have 82,408 sq ft of retail space and 64,583 sq ft of offices.
Guthrie has also strategically decided to price 70 per cent of the project’s total 245 units within a sweet spot of up to S$2 million each because that is the marketable and affordable range, said Mr Leong.
Close to half the 245 units cost up to S$1.5 million each. Sizes of retail units in the project range from 140 sq ft (for an F&B kiosk) to 7,395 sq ft (for the food court unit). There is also a 6,620 sq ft supermarket unit.
All retail units will be provided with water points and discharge outlets. Selected units will be provided with independent air-conditioning systems, which will allow occupiers greater flexibility in their operating hours.
All the office units too will be provided with water points and discharge outlets in addition to independent own air-con systems. Selected office units will have ensuite toilets.
Guthrie has appointed CBRE to market Havelock II’s office units, and SLP International, the retail units.
Business has picked up for several restaurants and shops at Suntec City, as its $410 million makeover enters the final phase of a 21/2 year revamp.
Sales for eight eateries and stores in the mall’s new West Atrium and near the Fountain of Wealth have risen by about 10 per cent to 20 per cent in the first half of the year.
Among them are mid-range Western restaurants Peperoni Pizzeria and L’Entrecote, and Muthu’s Curry, an old-timer at the mall since 2006.
Said Muthu’s Curry’s director of operations, Mr Srinivasan Ayyakkannu, 36: “We suffered a massive drop in sales of about 35 per cent during the six-month renovation period from end 2012 to May last year. But our customers have certainly increased now.
“Before the renovations, our 120-seater restaurant would be only one quarter full during dinner time on weekdays. Now, we have 160 seats which are at least three quarters occupied.”
When The Straits Times visited the mall last weekend, queues of about 10 people were spotted at restaurants such as Din Tai Fung and Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo in the West Atrium. There were also long queues at the eateries near the Fountain of Wealth. The walkways in both areas were crowded with families and young people.
Tenants in the area estimated that the mall’s foot fall has risen by about 20 per cent this year compared to last year.
Suntec City Mall and its convention centre have been undergoing renovations in three phases since June 2012.
The West Atrium, which opened in June last year, fell under Phase 1. It features F&B outlets and high street fashion brands like H&M and Uniqlo.
Phase 2 in the East Atrium, which opened two months ago and focuses on entertainment, includes a karaoke outlet, an indoor playground and Toys ‘R’ Us. A Golden Village multiplex with 11 screens will open there in November.
The final stage of the revamp is slated for completion by the end of this year. While the mall has yet to announce the line-up of tenants for this phase, most of the shops will be flagship stores, said Ms Susan Sim, deputy chief executive of Suntec Reit, which owns Suntec City Mall. They will include brands that are new to the Singapore market.
Despite the larger crowd, however, some businesses did not make it.
Two high-end restaurants, Oushin Steakhouse by the Akashi Group and Le by the Paradise Group, both located in the West Atrium, closed in April and July, respectively.
One reason for their closures could be the inability to attract their target clientele as they were located among mid-range restaurants and shops, said retail expert Samuel Tan, course manager for retail management at Temasek Polytechnic.
Stores near the middle of the mall between Office Towers 1 and 2, which has been hoarded up for the last phase of the revamp since February, are also not getting the foot fall or sales they expected.
Adore Cosmetics said foot traffic to its store has fallen by up to 50 per cent since the renovation started.
On tenants’ request for more advertising and promotion (A&P) events, Suntec Reit’s Ms Sim said that the management’s A&P efforts have been strategically focused based on tenant mix so far.
Meanwhile, some retailers are doing their own promotions. Said The Travel Store marketing manager Embre Kew: “Our store has been doing okay so far, but we plan to come up with our own marketing activities and collaborate with other tenants related to attractions and travel by the end of this year.”
Since the completion of the first two phases of upgrading, Suntec City Mall has had a committed occupancy rate of 97.6 per cent, with about 220 tenants. The number will go up to about 300 when the mall is fully open by early next year.
A video that summarises the development plans for the Central Area of Singapore!
FRASERS Centrepoint Trust (FCT) reported a 6 per cent rise in distribution per unit (DPU) to 3.022 Singapore cents in the third quarter ended June 30, thanks to higher retail rentals and occupancies.
The suburban mall operator enjoyed 7.8 per cent of positive rental reversions in the third quarter over the preceding leases contracted three years ago. Its portfolio occupancy also grew to 98.5 per cent from 96.8 per cent in the preceding quarter.
“We expect FCT’s portfolio occupancy and rental rates to remain sustainable,” said the trust manager’s chief executive, Chew Tuan Chiong. “The outlook for the retail market is expected to remain stable, given the trends in the growing median household income and sustained low unemployment rate.”
Gross revenue for the quarter rose 3.1 per cent from a year before to S$41.2 million and net property income (NPI) improved 2.4 per cent to S$29.1 million.
FCT said that the growth in revenue and NPI was supported by rental step-up of current leases, better rents achieved for new and renewed leases and the maiden contribution from Changi City Point that was acquired on June 16.
FCT’s property portfolio spanning Singapore now comprises Causeway Point, Northpoint, Anchorpoint, YewTee Point, Bedok Point and Changi City Point.
During the third quarter, 41 leases making up 33,623 sq ft or 3.1 per cent of FCT’s total net lettable area were renewed. Causeway Point achieved positive rental reversion of 8.1 per cent; Northpoint, YewTee Point and Anchorpoint achieved positive average rental reversion of 7-8 per cent; while Bedok Point marked a 3 per cent negative rental reversion.
The biggest improvement in occupancies was seen in Bedok Point, where occupancy rose to 99.3 per cent from 77 per cent in March, after several new tenants, including anchor tenant Harvey Norman, opened in fiscal third quarter.
FCT’s gearing ratio rose to 30.2 per cent as at June 30 from 27.7 per cent as at March 31, after it drew down on an unsecured term loan of $150 million on June 16 to part-finance the acquisition of Changi City Point.
Units of FCT rose one cent to close at S$1.965 yesterday. The ex-date for the declared distribution is July 29 and it will be paid on Aug 29.
Right at the 2nd floor of Golden Mile Complex there is a supermarket called the “Thai Supermarket”. Shoppers can find all kinds of Thai goods ranging from fresh Thai vegetables, Thai instant noodle, drinks to even medicated oil made from Thailand.
Thai fish sauce.
Pre-packed Thai Curry ingredients.
There is even a good selection of Vietnamese goods.
Shoppers get to also enjoy some freshly barbecued Thai Sausages and meat sticks. The stall is right next to the entrance of the Thai Supermarket