Tag Archives: Singapore

Hiap Hoe snaps up unsold condo units

TWO bulk purchases of units on the top floors of Skyline 360° at St Thomas Walk and Signature at Lewis condominiums have raised eyebrows over the basement pricing – and the fact that the developer itself has bought them.

Listed developer Hiap Hoe swept up remaining units at both luxury developments through a wholly-owned company last month, disclosures filed with the Singapore Exchange showed.

Units on the highest floors of a project almost always command a premium, yet the pricing is lowest for any level in the projects.

HH Residences, a unit set up in April, had snapped up five units at the 61-unit Skyline 360º condo in River Valley for $35 million from Bukit Panjang Plaza, another Hiap Hoe subsidiary.

This works out to $1,574 per sq ft (psf) based on a total area of 22,238 sq ft – well below the low pricing of $1,630 psf for a 2,131 sq ft unit sold in August 2009, caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed.

A 4,015 sq ft penthouse unit on the 35th floor had set a record high for the condo in April 2012 when it sold for $10.07 million – or $2,508 psf. The units in the bulk deal were a 6,523 sq ft “super penthouse” on the 36th floor and four other 3,929 sq ft penthouses on the 31st to 34th floors.

HH Residences also picked up two penthouses on the 12th and highest floors of a smaller freehold project, Signature at Lewis, in Lewis Road. The units were bought for $7 million – or $1,071 psf – from another Hiap Hoe unit, Guan Hoe Development. One unit is 3,444 sq ft while the other is 3,068 sq ft.

The pricing falls below the lowest price of $1,227 psf set in January 2010, for a 1,841 sq ft unit.

Hiap Hoe told SGX the acquisition was “in connection with an internal restructuring exercise” but declined to elaborate when contacted by The Straits Times.

Penthouse units, particularly those in the posh districts, have lost their shine.

Buyers have shied away from the sizeable price tags that come with the large units given stringent mortgage rules and the additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD).

Market watchers said that while such deals are not unprecedented among local developers, it is not a common practice either.

Developers that have made similar moves include City Developments, which bought 44 units at Cliveden at Grange from joint-venture partner Wachovia for $2,956 psf on average in December 2012 – a discount of about 20 per cent from what Wachovia paid in 2007.

A recent bulk deal for 12 apartments at Grange Infinite, another luxury condominium in the city centre, was made at an average of about $2,100 psf.

The sale included 11 four-bedders ranging from 2,560 sq ft to 2,700 sq ft and a penthouse of 6,039 sq ft.

An ABSD of 15 per cent was likely to be levied on the bulk deals, so experts said that could have resulted in a smaller net discount for Hiap Hoe. Also, the discounts might not lead to lower stamp duties, which are typically based on property valuations, but they would still lower the overall cost of buying the units.

Skyline 360º got its temporary occupation permit on Sept 28, 2012, while Signature at Lewis was completed on Oct 3, 2011, said Hiap Hoe. Fines are imposed if a developer fails to sell all the apartments in a project within two years of completion, under Qualifying Certificate rules.

However, Mr Donald Han, managing director of Chestertons, pointed out that it is within reason and a routine practice for developers to offer discounts for large units and bulk purchases, especially in a falling market where few are willing to stump up huge sums of cash.

“It makes sense to apply the same discount for bulk deals to a related party,” he said


Singapore number 6 costliest to locate workers

Singapore is the sixth most expensive city for companies to locate employees, according to a new survey.

The survey compiled by property firm Savills measures the total yearly costs per employee of renting living and working space in US dollars in 12 cities, as well as additional costs such as local taxes. The ranking in the form of an index was launched in 2008, with Singapore also coming in sixth that year.

London topped this year’s list, overtaking Hong Kong, which had previously led the pack for an unbroken five-year period.

Changes in total living and working costs reflect not only the strength of a city’s residential and office markets and occupier taxes and costs, but also the impact of fluctuating exchange rates, Savills said.

The sterling’s appreciation against the greenback up until June, coupled with significant increases in office rents, pushed up London’s total costs in US dollar terms. Real estate costs in the British capital grew in US dollar terms by an annualised rate of 10.6 per cent in the first six months of the year.

Despite climbing from fifth to first place since 2008, London is still off the record set by Hong Kong in 2011 at US$128,000 per employee per year. Hong Kong’s position relative to the emerging markets of mainland China means that it is likely to remain an attractive location for companies, despite property-market cooling measures.

It remains by far the most expensive city in which to buy a home, with prices 40 per cent higher than London’s, said Savills.

At the other end of the table, costs in comparatively affordable Rio de Janeiro have risen 85 per cent since 2008, while they are up 58 per cent in Sydney.

Mumbai retains its position as the cheapest city, at about US$30,000 per person per year, down 21 per cent in US dollar terms since 2008.

“This year has seen much more modest real estate price growth in nearly all our world cities and some have shown small falls,” said Ms Yolande Barnes, director of Savills World Research.

“We expect this subdued trend to continue as investor interest and market activity shift to second-tier cities.

“This lower level of price growth means that currency fluctuations have produced some of the biggest changes in our rankings, which are expressed in dollar terms.”

– See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/spore-6th-costliest-locate-workers#sthash.zzC7BV7v.dpuf

Arcadis report put Singapore as 4th on office returns

SINGAPORE has emerged fourth in a recent report that found that the city-state offers investors some of the most attractive returns for minor office building refurbishment investments at 7.53 per cent.

It is one of the top three Asian cities in the ranking, with Shanghai beating it to third place and Hong Kong, which ranked seventh.

The report, done by Arcadis – a leading global asset design and consultancy firm – considers both major and minor refurbishment projects in 15 cities across the world and ranks them by the best expected net rental income return.

According to the report, minor building refurbishment aims to extend the life of an office asset by up to five years, while major refurbishment aims to do so by 15-20 years.

However, Asian markets, including Singapore, might be risky for investors looking to reap returns for refurbishment projects due to the high volume of new office buildings making these markets very competitive.

Singapore has also seen a tide of offices moving away from its traditional central business district to places nearby such as Marina Bay.

For Asian investors looking for opportunities outside their region, European cities London, Warsaw and Madrid are a good bet for attractive returns on major as well as minor office building refurbishment investments.

Top ten city refurbishment rankings – ‘minor’ refurbishment

 1.  Madrid  9.6%
 2.  London  8.5%
 3.  Shanghai  7.9%
 4.  Singapore  7.53%
 5.  Warsaw  7.47%
 6.  Milan  7.35%
 7.  Hong Kong  7%
 8.  Paris  6.99%
 9.  Frankfurt  6%
 10.  New York  5.4%



Parkroyal hotel wins international awards



FIABCISingapore property award

Parkroyal on Pickering won big at an awards ceremony for building excellence last night, picking up the prestigious FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Gold Award.

The FIABCI prize is an international award established in 1992 and given to projects outstanding in overall merit.

FIABCI is the French acronym for the International Real Estate Federation founded more than 60 years ago and headquartered in Paris.

Joyce Sng, the assistant general manager in product development for UOL, the developer for whom the hotel is a star project, said: “We will continue to be innovative in creating sustainable and premium developments, and contribute to Singapore’s cityscape with our masterpieces.”

Parkroyal on Pickering was the backdrop last night when FIABCI’s Singapore chapter hosted the awards ceremony for the Prix d’Excellence, combining it with the Singapore Property Awards, which honour real estate development projects or individual properties for merit in design, aesthetics, functionality, contribution to the built environment and the community at large.

Parkroyal developer UOL also bagged three Singapore Property Awards.

Among developers, City Developments Limited came in a close second with two Prix d’Excellence awards and a Singapore Property Award in the Sustainable Development category.

Four Singapore projects bagged the Prix d’Excellence Award this year, while 16 out of 22 projects made the cut for the various categories of the Singapore Property Award.

These 16 will go on to compete in the international competition for the Prix d’Excellence Awards next year.

Lim Lan Yuan, president of FIABCI Singapore and regional president of FIABCI Asia-Pacific, said that Singapore has not been a stranger to the internationally coveted prize.

“Over the past 18 years of participation in the Prix d’Excellence Awards, Singapore has won 48 awards – or one in six of the projects submitted.

“This is a great achievement despite it being a small country competing with entries from places like the United States, Hungary, Brazil and Taiwan. Our Singapore projects continue to do us proud.”


Singapore’s first NDP in 1966

A work by National Heritage Board, on Singapore’s first National Day Parade after the separation from Malaysia. Looking at 49 years later, when we have everything we could have imagine we could as a nation, it is good to remind of our humble roots.





DIY anyone?



An interesting show in Channel 5 regarding DIY of your own furniture! Interesting and inspiring. For those who like some hands-on, why not give this a try?

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