Category Archives: Novena/Newton/Bukit Timah

Districts 11&21

Landed house market on upward trend amidst dropping prices

538 landed homes were sold in the second quarter – this is the highest quarterly volume since the fourth quarter of 2012. Overall, the number of landed homes sold has increased, driven by falling prices and limited supply of landed homes. URA flash estimates released recently indicated that prices of landed residential properties fell further by 0.4 % for Q2, down from a 1.8 % drop in the previous quarter.

The market for good class bungalows (GCBs) is lukewarm although the market for smaller bungalows in GCB areas is on a rise. Good class bungalows (GCBs) are the most prestigious segment of landed property in Singapore.

On the GCB front, a caveat was lodged on June 12 for the most expensive one sold this year. The latest GCB sold was a $46 million bungalow in Queen Astrid Park on a 29,709 sq ft site, reportedly purchased by the family who controls oil trading group Hin Leong.

20 sales have taken place in GCB areas so far this year, worth a total of $432.2 million. These include properties with a plot size of less than 1,400 sq m. This is markedly more than the 14 transactions in the same period last year, which totalled $298.36 million.

Another upmarket landed segment, Sentosa Cove, has contrasting statistics. Sales at the exclusive waterfront precinct shot to seven this year from just four for the same period last year.

Luxury property sector on the way up?

The luxury property market has pickup momentum after years of lull activity. Recent deals that transacted include a GCB sale of 31,211 sqft in Leedon Park. The buyer is understood to be the executive chairman of Raffles Medical Group Loo Choon Yong. The price is at $1310 psf based on land. There is also a Sentosa Cove bungalow selling for $16.6m based on a land area of 9725sqft. The sale will be a loss based on the price the seller bought in 2012 at $24m.

A penthouse in the prestigious area of Nassim area was sold for more than $25m. The condo unit at The Nassim has a strata area of 9300 sqft, including a pool deck and rooftop pool. The Mukhtar family from Allied Bank in Pakistan bought the place from the developer of the project, Nassim Hill Realty.

For condo and private apartment sold at $10m and above, the number is at a total of 19 units, valued more than $262m.

JLL: investment sales set for bull run in 2017

According to consultancy JLL in a new report, property investment sales are set for a bull run after a spectacular start to the year. The positive outlook is being driven by the office, and possibly the retail and residential sectors.

The overall value of real estate investment deals soared 67 % in the first quarter to $4.99 B – of which $4.47 B was from the private sector.

Private investment sales of office property accounted for $2.12 B – the sector’s strongest first-quarter showing for the past 9 years. The $2.12 B figure was a 60.6 % rise from the fourth quarter, and more than treble that of a year ago. Last year’s private-sector investment sales stood at $19.06 B.

The top two office deals in the first quarter were entity sales. One was the sale of the entire interest in the holding company of PwC Building in Cross Street to an indirect unit of Manulife Financial Corporation for $760.6 M. The other was the divestment of the entire interest in Plaza Ventures – the owner and developer of GSH Plaza in Cecil Street – to Hong Kong-listed Fullshare Holdings for $725.21 M.

JLL noted the potential for the full-year sales of private office assets to surpass the $6.49 B recorded last year, considering the recent deal for One George Street and sizeable assets available in the market, including Asia Square Tower 2 in Marina Bay.

The residential segment, registered $1.69 B in private investment sales for properties valued at $5 M and above in the first quarter.
For retail and industrial sectors, private investment sales more than doubled that from the previous year in the first quarter: $280 M for retail and $390 M for industrial.

JLL predicts a bright investment sale outlook for the year, driven by the recent sale of the $2.2 B Jurong Point mall and upbeat sentiment in the private residential market. A growing appetite for collective sale sites by developers facing depleting land banks and limited supply of sites from the Government could also lend support to investment sales.

Enbloc @ Rio Casa and near Beauty World worth $676M

Two deals with a combined value of $676.5 million were announced in May in yet another sign of the continued resurgence in the collective sale market. One involved the sale of Rio Casa, a privatised HUDC estate in Hougang, while mixed-use development Goh & Goh Building, near Beauty World MRT station, was also snapped up. These follow the sale of One Tree Hill Gardens for $65 million to Lum Chang Group this month. The number of deals has now matched the three done in all of last year: Shunfu Ville, Raintree Gardens and Harbour View Gardens.

A.Rio Casa

Rio Casa in Hougang Avenue 7 was sold for $575 million to the joint venture firm Oxley-Lian Beng Venture comprising KSH Development, Oxley Holdings, Lian Beng Group and Apricot Capital. A further $208 million in estimated differential premiums is required for topping up the lease and to develop the site to a gross plot ratio of 2.8. The combined sale price and differential payment translates to a land price of about $706 per sq ft per plot ratio based on the maximum permissible gross floor area of about 1.1 million sq ft. Rio Casa comprises seven blocks of 286 apartment and maisonette units. Each owner stands to pocket about $2 million from the deal.

The gross development value for this project is estimated at $1.4 billion and can potentially be redeveloped to build about 1,400 residential units, assuming an average size of 70 sq m per unit.

B. Goh & Goh Building

Alika Properties of BBR Holdings bought the Goh & Goh Building for $101.5 million. Built in the late 1980s, the freehold property at 110 to 122 Upper Bukit Timah Road comprises seven apartments and seven shops. Each shop owner will reap about $9 million while apartment owners will get $5.4 million each. Subject to Alika’s payment of a development charge, the site can potentially yield about 100 residential units and a level of retail shops on the ground floor.

Sime Darby Centre@Bt Timah sold to Tuan Sing

Developer Tuan Sing Holdings bought Sime Darby Centre in Bukit Timah for $365 million. The property at 896 Dunearn Road sits on a commercial site of 140,886 sq ft (part freehold /part 999-year leasehold) with an allowable gross plot ratio of 1.8 and a maximum permissible gross floor area of 253,595 sq ft. It is 96 % occupied over a net lettable area of around 202,712 sq ft. The tenants include kitchenware retailer ToTT, Scanteak, Cold Storage and ChildFirst pre-school.

New York-based private equity giant Blackstone Group had bought 70 % stake in Sime Darby Centre for just under $200 million last year from Malaysian palm oil producer Sime Darby Berhad, according to media reports.

This means Tuan Sing’s purchase resulted a 25% gain for Blackstone on its investment. There is a significant potential for commercial activities that can serve the needs of the vast residential community in the vicinity, thus the asset can generate long-term revenue and profit.

Bullish bidding for Upp Bt Timah site

An overwhelming 24 bids were submitted for the tender of a residential plot in Toh Tuck Road. This was the second highest number of bids submitted in a residential government land sales (GLS) tender since 2009, when the tender for a parcel in Westwood Avenue attracted 32 bids.

More recently, in November 2012, a tender for an Upper Bukit Timah plot also came close, garnering 23 bids; it was won by World Class Developments, a unit of Aspial Corporation, which developed it into the 60-year leasehold “retirement resort”, The Hillford.

In the latest tender results, Malaysian property developer SP Setia International put in the highest bid at S$265 million, which translates to about S$939 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). The results completely exceeded property consultants’ earlier expectations of up to 16 bidders, with the highest bid at no more than S$750 psf ppr.

The subject site is located along Upper Bukit Timah, nestled within an established residential estate of both public and low-rise private housing surrounded by amenities including local and international schools, tertiary institutions, shopping centres and transport nodes.

Investment property sales drop in Q1

FROM a high base in the fourth quarter of last year, big-ticket property transactions of at least S$10 million declined substantially in the first quarter.

However, the mood in the market is decidedly positive – with much anticipation of the imminent mega transactions of Jurong Point mall, and Asia Square Tower 2 in the CBD.

“Investment market sentiment is positive and the price gap has mostly disappeared except for hotels,” said CBRE executive director, capital markets, Jeremy Lake.

In particular, the tone of investors towards the office sector seems to have reversed dramatically. “The oversupply in the Singapore office market is yesterday’s story, and today’s story is all about the recovery and rental growth,” said Mr Lake.

Figures compiled by Savills Singapore showed that S$5.2 billion of investment sales of property, as these big deals are known, were sealed in Q1, down 34.8 per cent from S$8 billion in Q4 last year. However, the Q1 number is double the S$2.5 billion in the same year-ago period.
Photo: The Business Times
Photo: The Business Times

Both Savills and Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) estimate that some S$2.7-2.8 billion of deals in the commercial property segment were transacted in January to March this year – giving it a share of slightly over 50 per cent of total investment sales.

Major transactions include the S$881 million sale of a 70 per cent stake in TripleOne Somerset by a consortium led by Perennial Real Estate Holdings to Stanley Ho’s Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings, and Manulife’s S$747 million purchase of PwC Building at 8, Cross Street, from DBS.

Savills said the S$2.8 billion of commercial property investment sales in Q1 was a 41.9 per cent increase from the nearly S$2 billion in the previous quarter.

The residential sector saw S$2.1 billion of big-ticket sales in the first quarter, giving it a 40.2 per cent share. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, however, the Q1 tally was down almost 12 per cent, according to Savills.

C&W Singapore research head Christine Li highlighted the flurry of bulk residential sales in Q1 as some foreign housing developers sought to offload their remaining unsold units ahead of regulatory sales deadlines imposed on them under the government’s Qualifying Certificate rules – to avoid paying hefty penalties.

A string of last-minute deals were also inked on the night of March 10 – including TwentyOne Angullia Park, The Line @ Tanjong Rhu, Robin Residences and The Lumos – before the new Additional Conveyance Duties (ACD) took effect the next day.

The ACD plugged a loophole that some bulk buyers in Singapore residential projects had been using to enjoy significant savings in stamp duties.

Savills Singapore managing director Steven Ming said: “Unless annual residential prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming years, it is unlikely that institutions will return to the bulk residential sales market as the hefty 18 per cent stamp duty cuts deep into their required rates of return.”

The effect of this would be the shift of interest by institutional investors to other sectors of the real estate market here, he added.

Industrial properties posted S$344.2 million of investment sales in the first quarter, down 67.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

CBRE and Savills expect the total investment sales for 2017 to be in the S$18-20 billion region – down from around S$23 billion last year. C&W expects the number to remain in the S$20 billion range.

Mr Ming of Savills commented that with institutional investor interest expected to be diverted from residential towards the office, retail and hospitality sectors here, investment sales are expected to continue despite yield compression.

“As both private equity funds and ultra high net worth individuals have either raised new money or have a need to diversify to reduce concentration risk, yields have potential to remain low and go lower as prices will either hold firm or even edge up,” he reasoned.

Ms Li of C&W noted office asset prices are already starting to trend upwards, with rents expected to bottom this year.

In similar vein, CBRE Research’s head of Singapore and South-East Asia, Desmond Sim, argued that as the office recovery story gets more real in terms of rising commitment rates for new projects such as Marina One, this will push more institutional investors to be ready to commit.

CBRE predicts that by the end of the year, seven out of 10 institutional investors who are looking at the Singapore office sector will be ready to buy – up from five out of 10 investors now, which in turn is a higher ratio than just one out of 10 investors a year ago.

Regina Lim, JLL’s head of capital markets research, South-east Asia, observed that in the past four years, Singapore has seen a gradual decline in office demand, retail sales, food and beverage receipts, and gross domestic product growth.

As a result, the republic’s attractiveness to overseas institutional investors has waned, and they have gravitated to Australia, Japan and China commercial property, which have stronger growth stories.

“However, capitalisation rates in these markets have compressed and now Singapore looks less expensive in comparison to these markets.”

Mr Sim of CBRE said that on the residential sector front, while bulk purchases of units from developers have now become harder to do, there may be a bright spot in collective sales. “We should see more interest in en bloc sales from land-hungry developers, especially in the face of limited supply through the Government Land Sales Programme.”
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