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Private home sales hit 4-year high in 2017

Home sales in Singapore surged to 10,682 units for the whole of 2017.

Private home sales in Singapore surged 34 percent to 10,682 units for the whole of 2017 compared to 7,972 units during the previous year, according to initial estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

As a result, take-up of private homes for the entire year reached its highest level since the 14,948 units sold in 2013, indicating that the city-state’s private property market is on the road to recovery.

“New private home sales in 2017 are the strongest in four years. This reflects the upbeat demand that is supporting recovery in the residential market that has also led to prices turning around since mid-2017,” said Ong Teck Hui, JLL’s national director of research and consultancy.

Meanwhile, sales of executive condominiums last year remained stable with 4,025 new units finding buyers versus the 3,999 ECs moved in 2016.

In particular, Qingjian Realty set the record for selling the most number of units last year, moving a total of 1,216 ECs and private homes. This is followed by Frasers Centrepoint (1,145 units), City Developments Limited (1,057 units), Hoi Hup Realty (845 units) and MCC Land (835 units).

The top-selling projects in 2017 include CEL Development’s Grandeur Park Residences with 607 units sold. This is followed by EL Development’s Parc Riviera (605 units), Frasers Centrepoint’s Seaside Residences (564 units), Hoi Hup Realty’s Hundred Palms Residences (531 units) and Qingjian Realty’s iNz Residence (480 units).

“The encouraging sales volume and the pickup in home prices in the second half of 2017 signalled that the private residential market has turned a corner and should continue to recover this year,” noted Tricia Song, Colliers International’s research head for Singapore.

“We estimate that about 25 major private non-landed projects with the potential to yield 15,000 to 16,000 units (excluding ECs) could be put on the market in 2018. We expect home prices to climb by five percent this year, barring any unforeseen events,” she added.

On the other hand, JLL’s Ong reckons that between 9,000 and 10,000 private units could be launched this year, in addition to around 2,000 remaining units in previously launched projects.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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Singapore’s GDP to grow slower this year

The weak construction sector is expected to drag Singapore’s real GDP growth at a slower pace of three percent in 2018 from last year’s 3.5 percent, reported Singapore Business Review citing BMI Research.

The construction industry is forecasted to grow 2.4 percent in real terms this year, the same pace seen in 2017, mirroring weak investor sentiment within the residential and non-residential building sectors.

And with the property market showing incipient signs of recovering, BMI Research believes the construction industry will unlikely witness a significant pick up in the coming quarters.

“The government’s ongoing labour restructuring process and the still-weak property market continue to weigh on the construction sector and we expect the outlook to remain anaemic.”

With this, the government plans to use S$ 1.4 billion to support the local construction industry, said the thinktank. However, BMI Research expects the impact to be limited as construction companies continue to struggle with labour shortages and slower demand.

Nonetheless, Singapore’s positive business environment and sound economic fundamentals are expected to provide support for the city-state in the coming quarters.

BMI Research revealed that Singapore has a robust external position, with a net international investment position of around 250 percent of GDP as well as a considerable current account surplus of around 20.0 percent of GDP in 2016.

“In addition, Singapore’s operational risk environment remains sound, coming in at 82.2 (out of 100) compared to the regional average of 53.6 and we expect ongoing efforts to strengthen the already positive business environment to ensure that the republic remains an attractive investment destination over the coming years,” it said.

“This was reflected in Singapore’s retention of its second-place ranking in the World Bank’s 2018 Ease of Doing Business report, boding well for the country’s economic outlook.”


This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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118 HDB flats involved in mortgagee sales

There had been 118 cases of completed mortgagee sales involving HDB flats from January 2013 to November 2017, according to a parliamentary reply from the Ministry of National Development on Wednesday (10 January).

It stated this in response to a question from Gan Thiam Poh, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Notably, mortgagee sales happen when people default on their housing loans, resulting in banks auctioning off the property to reclaim the amount they lent plus interest.

Gan also asked how many flat lessees have approached the Housing and Development Board (HDB) with the intention of selling their flats to the government agency, as they were unable to dispose the unit via the open market.

“HDB does not buy back flats from flat owners and does not keep records of requests by flat owners who wish to sell their flats to HDB,” replied the Ministry, adding that flat owners who have fulfilled the five-year minimum occupation period (MOP) are allowed to sell their units in the open market.

The Housing Board does not meddle in such transactions mutually agreed upon by the seller and buyer, it said in response to Gan’s query on how the government agency assists sellers in disposing their flats.

“HDB does, however, facilitate the sale of flats on the open market through measures such as publishing information on recent resale transactions on its website, and providing a resale checklist to guide sellers and buyers through the process.”

Furthermore, Gan asked how many flats have been sold by lessees with the sale proceeds being insufficient to return to their individual accounts with the Central Provident Fund (CPF).

The Ministry answered that these numbered about six percent of the total HDB flats transacted in the open market between January 2013 and November 2017.


This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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Park West condo sold en bloc for $840.89m

Third time’s a charm. The owners of Park West have finally succeeded in selling the condominium via collective sale after two previous attempts which ended in failure.

According to an SGX filing on Thursday (11 January), the residents accepted an $ 840.89 million offer from SingHaiyi Gold Pte Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between SingHaiyi Group’s wholly-owned unit SingHaiyi Land and Haiyi Wealth Pte Ltd, a firm controlled by the group’s controlling shareholders, Gordon and Celine Tang.

Located in 2 – 20 Jalan Lempeng near Clementi MRT station, the property has a land area of 633,644 sq ft and a plot ratio of 2.1. It consists of four shops and 432 residential units.

In December, Channel NewsAsia reported that with the initial asking price of $ 818 million, each flat owner will get between $ 1.4 million and $ 2.3 million, while each shop owner will receive $ 1.2 million to $ 1.8 million.

Park West’s 99-year leasehold tenure started on 8 March 1982, but SingHaiyi Gold intends to pay about $ 146 million to fully renew its term. The company also plans to fork out a differential premium of S$ 144.6 million to redevelop the site to its maximum permissible gross floor area of about 1.46 million sq ft at a height of at least 24 storeys.

The acquisition, which will be financed by internal resources and bank loans, is not expected to have a material impact on SingHaiyi Group’s earnings per share and net tangible assets per share for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2018.


This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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BCA sees steady improvement in construction market

With the rescheduling of “a few major public sector infrastructure projects”, total construction contracts awarded last year fell below expectations at $ 24.5 billion, reported Channel News Asia citing preliminary estimates from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

The value of construction contracts to be awarded in 2018 is expected to stand at $ 26 billion to $ 31 billion, a downward revision from the initial forecast of between $ 26 billion and $ 35 billion.

The downward revision was attributed by BCA to the “continued drag from the significant slowdown in private sector construction demand since 2015”.

Nonetheless, BCA expects private sector’s construction demand to increase from last year’s $ 9 billion to between $ 10 billion and $ 12 billion this year, on the back of a brighter economic outlook as well as improved property market sentiment.

Public sector construction demand is also expected to rise from $ 15.5 billion in 2017 to between $ 16 billion and $ 19 billion in 2018.

Looking ahead, BCA sees the construction market improving steadily in the medium term, with demand forecasted to reach $ 26 billion to $ 33 billion per annum in 2019 and 2020.

It expects demand to improve further in 2021 and 2022 at between $ 28 billion and $ 35 billion.

Taking the lead, the public sector is predicted to contribute $ 16 billion to $ 20 billion per year from 2019 to 2022 in view of the major infrastructure projects expected such as the Changi Airport Terminal 5 and Cross Island Line.

BCA expects private sector construction demand to gradually increase also in the medium term due to the spill-over benefits generated by the city-state’s improved economic performance and the redevelopment of collective sale sites.


This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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