Saturday, March 24, 2007

MontView @ Novena

MontView

MontViewExclusive condominiums in prime locations tend to skimp on one precious commodity - space. So it’s quite a relief to find one development at Mount Sinai Drive bucking the trend. With more than 1,700 sqft of space for the four-bedroom units, you can really relax and stretch in your MontView apartment. Even the two-bedroom-plus-one-study units are generous in space - averaging more than 1,200 sqft.

Another highlight of this development are the four-bedroom units which feature private lifts that’ll take you right to your front door. Another bonus is a cosy, little ‘powder room’ next to the lift where guests can freshen up in style if they want to arrive with their hair perfectly coiffed and noses consummately powdered.

Apart from the master bedroom in the four-bedroom units, another bedroom - called the junior master - also comes with an attached toilet. This is especially useful if you have guests or if your teenage daughter spends a lot of time washing her hair. Balconies in the various units offer views of Bukit Timah Hill, the West Coast sea or Orchard Road area, depending on which direction the unit faces.

Developer: Ho Bee Group
Location: Mount Sinai Drive (District 10)
Tenure: Freehold
Expected Completion Date: 2009
Total Units: 115 in a 24-storey tower
Types of Units:

* 2 rooms + balcony + study (20 units) ~ 1227 sqft
* 3 rooms + balcony (42 units) ~ 1475-1593 sqft
* 4 rooms + balcony (44 units) ~ 1701-1744 sqft
* 3 rooms + PES (2 units) ~1679 sqft
* 4 rooms + PES (2 untis) ~1948-1981 sqft
* 2 rooms + study + open terrace (1 unit) ~ 1227 sqft
* 4 rooms penthouse + roof terrace (2 units) ~ 3068 sqft
* 4 rooms penthouse + balcony + roof terrace (3 storey) (2 units) ~ 3412 sqft

Facilities:

* 31 m lap pool with infinity edge
* Wading pool
* Spa bubble pool
* Pool deck
* Gym
* BBQ
* Entrance forecourt
* Meditation corner
* Fern garden
* Scent garden
* Timber deck fitness corner
* Landscaped terraces
* Tennis court
* Clubhouse roof terrace

Price: From S$720 psf

Location is big plus point MontView is near Holland Village and Orchard Road and top schools such as Henry Park Primary School, Hwa Chong Institution and the National University of Singapore. For those who prefer public transport, it is a 15-minute walk to Dover MRT station.

Contact us for more information.

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Marina Bay, Singapore

Marina Bay, Singapore

Marina Bay

Located at the Southern tip of Singapore, Marina Bay is a 360ha development designed to seamlessly extend Singapore’s downtown district and further support the city-state’s continuing growth as a major business and financial hub in Asia.

A greenfield site surrounded by water and gardens, Marina Bay provides an opportunity for further urban transformation, attracting new investments, visitors and talent, as well as becoming a new destination for the local community.

Marina Bay has been designed with people in mind, with a 24/7 vibrancy that will include the highly anticipated Integrated Resort (a destination attraction offering world-class hotel, convention, leisure and entertainment facilities, and casino) as well as other residential, commercial and entertainment developments.

Marina Bay will be a place for people from all walks of life to explore, exchange and entertain. There will be apartments set amidst lush greenery near Singapore’s waterfront. The local community and visitors alike can enjoy the parks, waterfront promenade and attend the events and celebrations held at the Bay. State-of-the-art office space and transport infrastructure will provide seamless connectivity for companies and professionals to grow and exchange business ideas. It will be place with a loop of attractions and round-the-clock energy that continues during and outside office hours.

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Draycott 8

Draycott 8 Sold at Up to S$1,850 psf

Over 70 units in the 136-unit condo have been sold since November.

Wing Tai Holdings has sold 70-plus units at its Draycott 8 condo at prices ranging from S$1,600 to S$1,850 per square foot since it began previewing the development in November last year.

The listed property group now plans to officially launch the leasehold development - marked by the start of an advertising campaign - in late August, at a higher expected price range of S$1,700 to S$2,000 psf.

As well, the group has started to sell two-bedroom units in the condo, located in the prime Draycott Park area.

Wing Tai began selling the project in November when landscaping work was completed.

The project received its Temporary Occupation Permit in July last year.

The 136-unit condo stands on a site with a remaining lease of about 90 years of the original lease of 99 years.

The development comprises three blocks of 24 storeys each.

Two of the blocks each have 44 four-bedroom apartments and two penthouses while the third tower comprises 20 two-bedroom units and 24 two-bedders with lofts.

Wing Tai told BT earlier this week that about half of the 70-odd units sold so far were snapped up by a US fund. The price is understood to be around S$1,600 psf.

The company said the rest were bought by individuals from the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, France, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia and
Singapore.

Wing Tai deputy chairman Edmund Cheng, pleased with the consistent take-up since the preview, attributes this to the development’s prime location, high quality and exclusive services, including a spectacular clubhouse said to be the biggest for a condo here, plus concierge services for residents.

Mr Cheng also believes that Draycott 8 has benefited from the ongoing collective sales of both freehold and leasehold properties in the neighbourhood in several ways.

First, it provides immediate replacement units to occupants of collective sale properties. And from the viewpoint of those investing in Draycott 8, the entry price level is lower compared with a freehold property, resulting in a higher yield on rental income.

Also, investors can eventually look to a collective sale of the estate as a strategic exit option, given the growing phenomenon of en bloc sales involving leasehold properties.

‘These factors, coupled with the changing mindset of buyers towards leasehold properties, bode well for Draycott 8,’ Mr Cheng said.

The Draycott 8 site has a remaining tenure of 90 years because Wing Tai had to hold back the project after it bought the plot for a record price at a state tender that closed in early June 1997 - on the eve of the Asian financial crisis.

Wing Tai paid S$1,103.60 psf per plot ratio - the highest amount ever for 99-year leasehold residential land in Singapore.

BT reported in August last year that market watchers reckon Wing Tai could have written down the site’s land value to a level that reflects a breakeven cost of below S$1,400 psf, after making provisions in financial years 1998, 1999 and 2002.

For more information of Draycott 8, click here or email allieds88@gmail.com

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One Shenton Way

One Shenton Way

One Shenton WayCity Developments Limited is converting a former commercial building in the Central Business District, One Shenton Way, to a condominium and is expected to release units for sale this year. Carlos Ott, renowned for his designs of Opera de la Bastille in Paris, the Hangzhou Grand Theatre and the National Bank of Dubai, has been engaged as the architect for the project.

The 99-year leasehold project, to be released this year, will be developed on the site now occupied by the group’s No 1 Shenton Way office block.

Located close to other new developments at Marina Bay such as One Raffles Quay, the Business and Financial Centre, and The Sail @ Marina Bay, the apartment project will have 360 units in two towers, the taller of them proposed at 50 storeys. The units will range from one-bedders to four-bedroom apartments, as well as penthouses with private swimming pools and roof decks.

A podium running the length of the development site in Shenton Way will have carparking from the second level onwards. Common facilities for the apartments, like a swimming pool and barbecue pits, will be on the podium’s roof deck. CityDev’s Mr Chia said the design for the yet-to-be-named apartment towers will ‘dramatically redefine the city skyline, which will be another feather in the cap as Singapore aims to become a key architectural centre of the world’.

The two towers will be linked at three points. The upper-most link, or bridge, is expected to house penthouses, while the two lower links will house sky terraces and gardens.

Although a residential project, the ground floor of the development will be commercial, featuring food & beverage and retail shops to create vibrancy and life at the street level.

This will add to URA’s vision to make Marina Bay a vibrant place to live and work.

Contact us for more information or to register your interest.

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The Inspira

The Inspira

The InspiraThe Inspira, a freehold project, is located at Martin Road / Arnasalam Chetty Road. It is minutes away to town. The Inspira consist of a block of 13-storey building with 120 units. Choice of 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / penthouse units. Prices are from $1100psf. Developer is Tiong Aik and its expected TOP is December 2009.

Tenure: Freehold

Site Area: 48,983 sqft

Building Type: Single block of 13-storey building

UnitTypes:

1 bedroom ~ 667 sqft (10 units)

2 bedroom ~ 926 to 947 sqft (50 units)

3 bedroom ~ 1,205 to 1,259 sqft (46 units)

4 bedroom ~ 1,561 sqft (10 units)

Penthouse ~ 1,873 to 2,314 sqft (4 units)

Facilities:

Landscape deck at 3rd storey

50m lap pool

Children splash pool

Jacuzzi

Gymnasium

BBQ

Children fun zone

Multi-purpose / function room

Spa bed

Massage pavilion

Aqua gym

Sun deck

Contact us @ allieds88@gmail.com for more information or to register your interest.

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Vida @ Peck Hay near Newton

Vida

Vida, meaning life in Spanish, celebrates life and the let set lifestyle of modern cosmopolitan individuals setting up a new home. Designed for the urbanites, the project is set in an upmarket residential district at the junction of Cairnhill Rise and Peck Hay Road, an exclusive haven with a much sought-after city address.

Located a mere eight minutes from the ritzy Paragon Shopping Centre amidst the glitter and glamour of Orchard Road - the premier shopping address of such exclusive brands as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Ferragamo - Vida makes your dream of the high life in the city a reality.

Chill out at fashionable pubs or visit elegant galleries, living it up or winding down, in the evenings or on weekends. Vida turns the dream of the high life in the city into a reality for a new generation of cosmopolitan homebuyers.

*

Developer: Far East Organisation
*

Type: One tower of 20-Storey Condo
*

Location: Cairnhill Rise (District 09)
*

Tenure: Freehold
*

Expected Completion Date: 2010
*

Total units: 137
*

Types: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 + loft (527-1700 sqft)
*

School zone: ACS independent within 1 km
*

Facilities:
o

Raised landscaped deck
o

Two intersecting pools, spa beds and a bubble pool
o

Floating pool deck
o

Gymnasium / aerobic rooms
o

Hydro-foot therapy
o

Hot tub soak
o

BBQ
o

Lush fragrant landscape
* Price: from $1500 psf

Expressive sleek glass fa├žade and simple lines evoke an understated yet elegant luxury. There are options for apartment layouts, open or closed kitchen, choice of wet and dry kitchen, a solid wall for privacy or a glass wall allowing space to flow freely, sunken bath with bay windows to bring the wide outdoor indoor not to mention a brighter effect, Loft living with high majestic living room is yet another option.

Uniquely, Vida has two frontages. The residential main entrance has a garden access connecting the 6 storey Water Court to the 1st storey Rejuvenation Garden. The 6th storey Water Court landscaped deck is raised to provide an interesting multi-tiered pool and garden concept. A garden access connects the 6th storey Water Court to the 1st storey Rejuvenation Garden. Here, one can walk bare foot and enjoy a hydro-foot therapy or a hot tub soak. Amidst trickling water and reflective pools, one can relax, meditate or simply listen to nature.

Contact us for more information or to register your interest allieds88@gmail.com

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Waterfall Gardens homes sold for about $1,450 psf

Waterfall Gardens homes sold for about $1,450 psf
March 21st, 2007

MCL Land has sold 100 units at its freehold Waterfall Gardens condo at an average price of about $1,450 per square foot, mostly to overseas buyers, the property group’s chief executive Koh Teck Chuan told BT yesterday.

Waterfall GardensThe 77 per cent-owned subsidiary of Hongkong Land is developing the 132-unit condo at Farrer Road. The project will retain the name of the former condo that used to stand on the site.

JTResi, which MCL has appointed as marketing agent for the project, has been previewing the property in Hong Kong, Jakarta and Surabaya since late January.

‘In Hong Kong, JTResi sold about 15 units to non-resident Indians. These include people with top international banks,’ said Jerry Tan, managing director at JTResi.

Another 25 units were sold to British people and other Europeans based in Hong Kong. Indonesians picked up about 40 units and Singaporeans, 20.

Prices achieved for the 12-storey condo range from about $1,300-plus psf to $1,650 psf, Mr Koh said.

‘Prior to our project, condo units in this location were changing hands in the secondary market for around $1,000 to $1,100 psf. So we’ve set a new benchmark for the area, at least in the current market,’ Mr Koh said.

MCL Land’s Waterfall Gardens project has 12 penthouses, of which eight have been sold. The most expensive unit, measuring 4,844 sq ft, was sold for $7.9 million. It will have a rooftop pool and entertainment area.

The remaining units in the development are three- and four-bedroom apartments.

Market watchers reckon that assuming the development has a total net saleable area of close to 300,000 sq ft, MCL stands to reap a pre-tax profit of about $160 million from developing the project.

The Singapore-listed developer bought the nearly 161,000 sq ft site in February last year for about $550 psf of potential gross floor area.

MCL’s break-even cost for the project could be about $900 psf, industry observers reckon.

Asked about the group’s other project launches this year, Mr Koh said MCL has sold 80 out of a total 129 units at Tierra Vue, a five-storey freehold condo at St Patrick’s Road on the former Marine Parade Gardens site, at an average price of about $850 psf. MCL began previewing the development shortly before Chinese New Year.

The group’s next project launch could be 163 cluster terrace houses on the former SingTel Academy site at the corner of Hillcrest and Dunman roads.

The 99-year leasehold project is slated for launch in the second half of this year.

MCL Land also has a joint venture with Ho Bee to develop a condominium with about 180 to 200 units on the Holland Hill Mansions site which could be launched early next year.

The duo bagged the site late last year for about $750 psf per plot ratio.

Source: The Business Times, 20 March 2007

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Lippo prices Trillium at $1,700 psf average

Lippo prices Trillium at $1,700 psf average
March 22nd, 2007

Lippo this week previews the first of three Singapore condos it plans to launch this year that could generate a total pre-tax profit of more than $600 million.

It has priced its Trillium freehold condo opposite Great World City at an average of about $1,700-plus per sq ft, with the range of prices for the 29-storey development from about $1,600 psf to just under $2,100 psf.

The group has secured enough interest in the 231-unit condo to sell off everything, with many buyers indicating interest in multiple units. ‘There are a few families from overseas wanting to buy three, four, five or even six apartments - one for each child,’ Lippo Group deputy chairman Stephen Riady told BT yesterday.

‘These are high net-worth buyers that we know from the region - Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan. But we may have to ask them to buy fewer units, as we’d like to have a wider spread of buyers so more people can come into the showflat and see the quality of our product.’

Lippo, controlled by Indonesia’s Riady family, has an 80 per cent stake in the Trillium, which is coming up on a site it bought from OCBC early last year.

Its breakeven cost is about $1,100 psf, and pre-tax profit from this project alone could be about $250 million, BT understands.

On the Kim Seng Plaza site next door, which the group bought late last year, Lippo plans another luxury condo, perhaps with 100-110 units, which it hopes to launch towards the year’s end.

Assuming it achieves an average selling price of $1,900 psf, the pre-tax profit from this development - in which Lippo has an effective stake of about 80 per cent - could come to about $110 million.

The group also has a 50 per cent stake in a third project - a condominium with about 180 units at Sentosa Cove, slated for release around July this year.

‘We’ll sell for over $2,000 psf average,’ Mr Riady said.

The profit from this could be about $250 million.

The Trillium’s 231 units will be housed in three blocks. The development will have six penthouses, the most expensive being a 5,600 sq ft unit that will cost close to $12 million.

The remaining units comprise 75 two-bedders with study, 75 three-bedders with study, 50 four-bedders and 25 five-bedders. The project is being marketed by Knight Frank and ERA. Last year, Lippo launched two condos in Singapore - Newton One and The Metropolitan Condominium. The latter is a joint venture with CapitaLand.

Lippo was the biggest overseas investor in Singapore’s property market last year.

Besides acquiring $1.067 billion of direct property investments here, the group invested about $1.06 billion in listed Overseas Union Enterprise, which owns prize properties like Mandarin Hotel in Orchard Road, OUB Centre in Raffles Place and the Overseas Union House site at Collyer Quay, which is being redeveloped.

A Lippo-controlled fund reaped a profit of more than $200 million from the sale of 78 Shenton Way that was completed earlier this year.

Source: The Business Times, 22 March 2007

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To Singapore, to buy a new home

To Singapore, to buy a new home
By Lee U-Wen, TODAY | Posted: 22 March 2007 1131 hrs


Last year, St Regis Residences in the Tanglin area made the headlines, with its plush units selling at $3,000 per square foot.

But the fine print packs another punch. Apart from the companies that bought apartments there, 43 of the buyers were foreigners and just 21 Singaporeans.

It is a similar story at The Tate Residences on Claymore Road — 37 foreign buyers against 14 Singaporeans. RiverGate on Martins Road saw 73 foreigners picking up a unit each, compared to 42 Singaporeans.

Exceptional as these developments might be — Singaporeans form the majority of buyers almost everywhere else — they underline a pattern that many people living in private condominiums may have observed: A large number of their neighbours, who own the properties they live in, are from out of town.

Property consultancy DTZ Debenham Tie Leung has now put a number to this trend. Last year, foreigners — including permanent residents — bought 4,980 private homes of the 21,343 sold here last year. This is a 39-per-cent increase from the 3,583 units they picked up in 2005.

Never before have foreigners picked up so many homes here in a single year, and analysts said that the reasons for them to do so are getting more and more compelling. And apart from the usual presence of Indonesians (22 per cent) and Malaysians (20 per cent), the ranks of these foreign buyers are also getting more diverse.

Buyers from India picked up 556 units, compared to 291 the previous year. And, according to DTZ, South Korean buyers increased threefold — from 55 in 2005 to 151 last year. Why is Singapore becoming their dream home?

Analysts cautioned that not all buys were necessarily for the long haul and the reasons, in many cases, were merely pragmatic.

Rental rates of private condos and apartments have jumped between 10 and 20 per cent in some areas.

"Instead of paying high rent and gaining nothing from it in the end, it makes more sense to buy and earn a profit when they sell their home before returning to their own country," said Mr Albert Lu, managing director of C & H Realty.

"It's a capital gain."

The foreign buyers are also convinced that, after the prolonged property slump, the prices here are poised to rise for a while. Last year, overall private property prices shot up by 10.2 per cent — the biggest gain in eight years, according to figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in January.

Even so, foreign buyers see more upside ahead as the prices have not peaked — unlike in some other countries where they have been surging for a few years.

But more than any other factor, the buzz created by the two upcoming integrated resorts (IRs) may have suddenly put Singapore on the radar screens of those who had previously not thought of investing here.

Said C&H's Mr Lu: "The IRs have really put Singapore on the world map, and that, to me, is the main reason why home prices are picking up, especially at the high end.

"And because the high-end markets are going up, those in the middle range are following suit. It's a domino effect."

It also creates a virtuous cycle. As the lure of the IRs draws in more wealthy individuals, it also attracts more companies here eager to gain from the spin-offs. This, in turn, creates more demand for homes. Last year, 245 companies bought privates homes here, compared to 164 the previous year.

Singaporean developers have also been marketing themselves in countries like South Korea — and the results are showing.

"Many of the Koreans I meet here are now looking to own property," said property agent David Kim, himself a South Korean based here.

"They see it as better value."

And then, of course there is Singapore's traditional strength: Liveability.

"Many of the foreign buyers here are those who have lived here for some time and they find Singapore a very liveable country," said DTZ executive director Ong Choon Fah.

And even for the high-net-worth individuals who do not live here, Singapore remains an attractive place to buy a second home where they stay on vacations or when they come for medical check-ups.

It is also a sound investment and analysts say that the interest among foreign buyers is unlikely to die down, at least until the year 2010 when both IRs are open.

"We are more liveable now as a total package," said Mrs Ong. "There are plenty of opportunities to work and the environment is safe. If you look at London and New York, there is a large pool of foreigners there, and Singapore is becoming more cosmopolitan like them too." - TODAY/fa

I visited some property launch over the weekend. I would like share my two interesting observations.

I visited some property launch over the weekend. I would like share my two interesting observations.

1. Confident Developers
One of the (quite) newly launched project saw many units taken up. I was attracted by the attractive price per sq feet and the agent told me it's for the Penthouses which are larger (and fully taken up). Hmmm, in the end the price of a mid-level until costs as much the Penthouse. I feel cheated and made a waste trip. The developers were trying to sell the difficult units first.

2. Private Property Rental Yield.
I did some calculation with two property agents on the projected rental income at two locations nearer to central Singapore and it's about 4-4.24%. Oh mine, this is quite low. Suddenly I realised that with such yields, there are some possibility me to rent instead of buying.

unitedsq
Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:08 pm Post subject: Property Market

Orchard Residences sold at S$4,000 psf

everal units of CapitaLand’s Orchard Residences sold at S$4,000 psf
March 22nd, 2007

Prices for the high-end luxury residential sector continued to climb to new highs.

According to developer CapitaLand, several units of its Orchard Residences development at Orchard Turn had been sold at more than S$4,000 per square foot.

The 56-storey development is being built by CapitaLand and Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Units above the 32nd floor attained prices of more than S$3,200 per square foot.

CapitaLand said the buyers were established high net worth individuals in Singapore and the region.

About 50 percent of the 175-unit development is being sold in the first phase on a by-invitation basis.

The development is targeted for completion in late 2009.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 21 March 2007

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Posted by Realty

Collective sales giving rise to more millionaires

Collective sales giving rise to more millionaires
While Sophia Court owners will each receive $856,000 to $2.65m, Bellerive owners are set to get $1m to $1.5m


LATE last week, two collective sales sent more home owners well on their way to becoming instant millionaires.

The 188-unit Sophia Court in Adis Road was sold to GuocoLand for $230 million while the 31-unit Bellerive off Bukit Timah Road was sold for $37.2 million.

Sophia Court owners will each get a figure of somewhere between $856,000 and $2.65 million while Bellerive owners will each get $1 million to $1.5 million.

These are just the latest in a long string of collective sales this year.

The latest deals take this year's collective sales record to a whopping $7.6 billion in total, dramatically higher than last year's nearly $2 billion, according to CB Richard Ellis.

And more are set to come. Just last week, Credo Real Estate launched two collective sale sites.

Newcomer Newman & Goh Property Consultants said it already has eight projects worth $1.35 billion to $1.5 billion lined up for launch next year.

It entered the market only last year, when it sold $600 million worth of sites.

Said its head of investment sales Jeffrey Goh: 'Interest shown by developers is still very lucid.'

And some developers are tying up with foreign funds to acquire sites.

Newman had sold Bellerive to Sing Holdings and Forum Asian Realty Income II. The two also tied up early this month to buy Finland Gardens for $49.5 million.

'A lot of foreign money is coming in,' said another Newman executive. 'We think there will still be a good one or two years ahead.'

Ms Tang Wei Leng of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung said there is a chance that the value of next year's collective sales will be about the same as this year's.

But the volume is likely to be smaller, she said.

Indeed, next year's sales could be lower, said CB Richard Ellis' executive director, Mr Jeremy Lake.

Demand remains strong but supply will be weaker as choice sites have been bought.

'It is getting more difficult to get the owners to agree in view of the market buoyancy and the higher cost of a replacement property,' Mr Lake said.

Property consultants said that demand remains selective despite record sales.

Nevertheless, even if next year's sales are lower, they are still set to be much higher than the previous record registered last year.

And as always, owners' expectations may make or break a sale, as they always move ahead of the market, said a market watcher.

For now, market momentum looks set to flow through to the first half of next year. Second-half performance would depend a lot on the response to developers' first-half launches, she added.

But there will be no lack of supply of new apartments. A recent Macquarie Research report estimated that developers' new projects from collective sale sites bought in the past two years total 11,489 units.

Freehold residential site in District 11 up for collective sale

Freehold residential site in District 11 up for collective sale

A FREEHOLD development on Thomson Road in highly sought-after District 11 has been put up for collective sale by tender - with a price tag of between $62.2 million and $68.2 million. Property firm Credo Real Estate, which is marketing the 47-unit The Albany, said the price includes an estimated development charge of about $170,000.

The site has a land area of 41,700 sq ft and a plot ratio of 2.8 - giving any potential residential project a gross floor area of 116,700 sq ft. This means that the asking price works out to $533-$584 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr).

However, any buyer could also pick up another 12,000-13,000 sq ft of adjoining state land for which the Singapore Land Authority has given its in-principle approval, said Credo. The cost of the state land is estimated at $5.8 million, and the site similarly has a 2.8 plot ratio. Inclusive of the state land, the asking price for the residential site will be effectively lowered to $436-$475 psf ppr.

'This translates into a break-even cost of about $730-$775 psf of potential saleable floor area for the developers,' said Yong Choon Fah, Credo's director.

The maximum building height for both plots of land is 36 storeys. The successful developer could build some 135 units of an average size of about 1,100 sq ft each, Ms Yong said.

Current owners would each walk away with $1.2 million-$1.4 million per unit if the asking price is met - an en-bloc premium of about 60-70 per cent, she said.

The Albany is the first residential site to be put up for collective sale this year.

The site is diagonally opposite Thomson Medical Centre, and is a short distance from Revenue House, the Novena MRT Station, and the Novena Square and United Square shopping malls.

He got $3m for two properties in 4 years

He got $3m for two properties in 4 years


THE MONEY from his two previous apartments sold en bloc has allowed Mr Kummar to buy his dream car - a BMW coupe - and given him the luxury of retiring earlier than expected. But he is reluctant to go through a third sale because he gets 'pushed to a more inferior area'. -- SHAHRIYA YAHAYA

SEMI-RETIRED businessman Patrick Kummar has had to take his family and pack up his belongings, to move house twice in four years.

Not that he is complaining.

The 51-year-old has earned close to $3 million after two of his apartments were sold en bloc.

'For us, it's pure luck, we just happen to like living in old buildings because we can renovate and do them up,' he said.

He and his wife lived in one of the 12 apartments in Shanghai Court off River Valley Road for about four years, before such collective sales were allowed in 1994.

Then developers came knocking and the estate was sold was sold for about $15.8 million in 1995. The estate was bought along with the adjacent Shanghai Residence for a total of $24.38 million. The combined site area was 21,480 sq ft.

Mr Kummar then moved to the nearby Kim Lim Mansion, a freehold property on a 125,508 sq ft plot of land in Grange Road.

In 1999, he packed up again when the estate was sold for $251 million.

The money from each sale has given Mr Kummar the luxury of retiring earlier than expected.

It has allowed him to own his dream car - a BMW coupe. 'That's my big splurge,' he said grinning.

He now lives in Orchid Apartments in Eng Neo Avenue with his wife and two dogs. The place is also going through a possible collective sale transaction.

This time, he is less willing to let his ground-floor apartment go.

'Every time I sell en bloc, I get pushed to a more inferior area of living. With the money I get, I can get the same kind of living, but not in the same area. Standard of living drops,' he said.

Also, homes sold en bloc can bring out the worst in neighbours.

Mr Kummar said that at Kim Lim Mansion, things got so ugly that one owner threatened the others who were unwilling to sell by saying: 'If this were Hong Kong, this would be settled by the triads.'

Anderson 18 owners to get $6.75m each from condo sale

Anderson 18 owners to get $6.75m each from condo sale

LUCKY owners at the Anderson 18 condominium will each reap around $6.75 million for their units from the collective sale of their prime Ardmore area development.

The price represents a huge jackpot for the 71 owners, given that the last unit sold at the condo reaped a considerably lower price of $3.4 million last May, said property firm Knight Frank yesterday.

The en bloc buyer is a joint venture of City Developments (CDL) and Wing Tai, which will pay $477.7 million for the 10,414 sq m freehold estate near Raffles Girls Secondary School. There is also a $40.11 million development charge that brings the total outlay to $517.8 million.

The bumper price, brokered by property consultancy Knight Frank, easily trumps anything else in the Ardmore area.

Last month, CapitaLand bought Gillman Heights for a heftier $548 million, but that was for a huge development with 607 units and one shop.

Anderson 18's total price works out to a land value of $1,650 per sq ft (psf) of potential gross floor area, way above the $1,369 psf price achieved for the neighbouring Ardmore Point last October.

The sale of Anderson 18 is likely to make it the second most expensive residential site in Singapore, after The Parisian in Angullia Park, which carried a price tag of $1,735 psf of potential gross floor area.

Knight Frank said a new development of up to 36 storeys on the Anderson 18 site will offer unobstructed views of low-rise developments from Shangri-La Hotel to Bukit Timah Hill.

The site's break-even cost is projected at about $2,300 psf.

It would be aimed at wealthy individuals looking to use Singapore as a base. This is because high-end residential prices here still look attractive compared with such cities as Hong Kong, London and New York, said Knight Frank managing director Tan Tiong Cheng.

In a separate statement, another prime freehold site Grange Heights has been put up for sale by expression of interest.

Jones Lang LaSalle, which is marketing the 136,678 sq ft site, said Grange Heights owners are expecting a price close to that achieved by The Parisian. Developers have to indicate their interest in the 120-unit development in district 9 by March 29.

Singapore New Upcoming Residential Projects

Singapore New Upcoming Residential Projects

The Tresor - D10 ( Duchess Rd )

The Tresor is an 999years exclusive 62-unit condominium development along Duchess Road. Sitting in a quiet residential enclave off Bukit Timah Road, the development offers 2- to 4-bedroom apartment units, ranging from 980 to 2,896 sf in floor areas. Main facilities include a swimming pool, a clubhouse, a gymnasium, a jacuzzi, a function room, a children play area, a fitness area and barbecue pits. It is also surrounded by many good schools like Raffles Girl Primary, Nanyang Primary, Nanyang Girl High, The Chinese High, Hwa Chong and National Junior Colleges. T.O.P 2007 .

2 room - 990 sq ft ( $1.28M )

3 room - 1485 sq ft ( $ 1.92M )

4 room - 1927sq ft to 2551 sq ft ( $2.49M To $3.3M )

==================================

Cairnhill Crest (SALE) (Zone: Cairnhill Rd/ Cairnhill Circle)
248 units.

Vida (SALE) (Zone: Peck Hay Rd)
137 units . Freehold, 20 storeys. All units facing North/south. One year Concierge service.

City Square (SALE) (Zone: Kitchener Rd)
850 units.

Tanglin Residences (SALE) (Zone: St Martin's Drive / Nassim)
43 units only.

Parc Emily (SALE) (Zone: Mt. Emily)
300 units.

Park Infinia (SALE) (Zone: Wee Nam Rd)
480 units.

Blossoms (SALE) (Zone: Woodleigh Close)
240 units.

The Paterson (SALE)
Freehold. TOP 31 DEC 2004. 88 units only, Price $1240 psf, Size from 1206 sq ft to 3283 sq ft.

Twin Regency (SALE) (Zone: Kim Tian Rd)
Freehold. TOP 31 March 2008. 2 Bdrms size 980 sq ft. 3 bdrms size 1216 sq ft to 1442 sq ft. 4 bdrms size 1776 sq ft to 1841 sq ft. Near Tiong Bahru MRT station.

The Nexus (SALE) (Zone: Bt. Timah)
Freehold. Average price $710 psf. 242 units.

Riviera Residences (SALE) (Zone: Riviera Drive)
Freehold, TOP 28 Feb 2008. $625 psf. 138 units

Cherry Garden (SALE) (Zone: Lorong Liew Lian)
99 yrs leasehold Apartment. 48 units

Sea Avenue Residences (SALE) (Zone: Sea Ave)
Freehold. TOP 31 Dec 2006, 30 units only. Average $640 psf. Size fr 635 sq ft to 1927 sq ft.

Caribbean at Keppel Bay (SALE) (Zone: Telok Blangah RD)
99 years leasehold, Total 969 units. TOP 30 April 2005. 2 bedrm size 840 sq ft to 1893 sq ft. 3 bdrm size 1206 sq ft to 2583 sq ft. 4 bdrms size 1636 sq ft to 3208 sq ft.

Kovan Melody (SALE) (Zone: Kovan/Flower Rd)
99 yrs leasehold, Total 778 units. Near MRT station. Average $510 to $520 psf.

Varsity Park (SALE) (Zone: Clementi)
99 yrs leasehold, Total 503 units. Average $440 psf.

Ris Grandeur (SALE) (Zone: Pasir Ris)
Freehold, Total 453 units, TOP 31 Aug 2006.

Few Untit left . Don't miss it again .

BUY / SELL / RENT / INVESTMENT Call 9857 8808

Singapore New Upcoming Residential Projects

Singapore New Upcoming Residential Projects

The Tresor - D10 ( Duchess Rd )

The Tresor is an 999years exclusive 62-unit condominium development along Duchess Road. Sitting in a quiet residential enclave off Bukit Timah Road, the development offers 2- to 4-bedroom apartment units, ranging from 980 to 2,896 sf in floor areas. Main facilities include a swimming pool, a clubhouse, a gymnasium, a jacuzzi, a function room, a children play area, a fitness area and barbecue pits. It is also surrounded by many good schools like Raffles Girl Primary, Nanyang Primary, Nanyang Girl High, The Chinese High, Hwa Chong and National Junior Colleges. T.O.P 2007 .

2 room - 990 sq ft ( $1.28M )

3 room - 1485 sq ft ( $ 1.92M )

4 room - 1927sq ft to 2551 sq ft ( $2.49M To $3.3M )

==================================

Cairnhill Crest (SALE) (Zone: Cairnhill Rd/ Cairnhill Circle)
248 units.

Vida (SALE) (Zone: Peck Hay Rd)
137 units . Freehold, 20 storeys. All units facing North/south. One year Concierge service.

City Square (SALE) (Zone: Kitchener Rd)
850 units.

Tanglin Residences (SALE) (Zone: St Martin's Drive / Nassim)
43 units only.

Parc Emily (SALE) (Zone: Mt. Emily)
300 units.

Park Infinia (SALE) (Zone: Wee Nam Rd)
480 units.

Blossoms (SALE) (Zone: Woodleigh Close)
240 units.

The Paterson (SALE)
Freehold. TOP 31 DEC 2004. 88 units only, Price $1240 psf, Size from 1206 sq ft to 3283 sq ft.

Twin Regency (SALE) (Zone: Kim Tian Rd)
Freehold. TOP 31 March 2008. 2 Bdrms size 980 sq ft. 3 bdrms size 1216 sq ft to 1442 sq ft. 4 bdrms size 1776 sq ft to 1841 sq ft. Near Tiong Bahru MRT station.

The Nexus (SALE) (Zone: Bt. Timah)
Freehold. Average price $710 psf. 242 units.

Riviera Residences (SALE) (Zone: Riviera Drive)
Freehold, TOP 28 Feb 2008. $625 psf. 138 units

Cherry Garden (SALE) (Zone: Lorong Liew Lian)
99 yrs leasehold Apartment. 48 units

Sea Avenue Residences (SALE) (Zone: Sea Ave)
Freehold. TOP 31 Dec 2006, 30 units only. Average $640 psf. Size fr 635 sq ft to 1927 sq ft.

Caribbean at Keppel Bay (SALE) (Zone: Telok Blangah RD)
99 years leasehold, Total 969 units. TOP 30 April 2005. 2 bedrm size 840 sq ft to 1893 sq ft. 3 bdrm size 1206 sq ft to 2583 sq ft. 4 bdrms size 1636 sq ft to 3208 sq ft.

KovanMelody (SALE) (Zone: Kovan/Flower Rd)
99 yrs leasehold, Total 778 units. Near MRT station. Average $510 to $520 psf.

Varsity Park (SALE) (Zone: Clementi)
99 yrs leasehold, Total 503 units. Average $440 psf.

Ris Grandeur (SALE) (Zone: Pasir Ris)
Freehold, Total 453 units, TOP 31 Aug 2006.

Few Untit left . Don't miss it again .

BUY / SELL / RENT / INVESTMENT Call 9857 8808

Orchard Turn condominium touches $4,000 psf record

Orchard Turn condominium touches $4,000 psf record

The sky is literally the limit at Singapore's tallest building in OrchardRoad. Units at the 56-storey Orchard Residences, set atop the Orchard MRTstation, were sold at prices exceeding $4,000 per square foot (psf) -breaking the previous record by its rival at Marina Bay. In fact, unlike the previous $3,450 psf seen last year at the Marina BayResidences, where only one unit hit that level, Orchard Residences'record-breaking feat saw "several" units being snapped up at $4,000 psf. Units above the 30th floor have also attained prices of over $3,200 psf,said Mr Liew Mun Leong, president and CEO of CapitaLand Group,co-developer of Orchard Residences, along with Hong Kong's Sun Hung KaiProperties. In its statement, CapitaLand said the project, which will be completed inlate 2009, was boosted by inquiries from "high net worth individuals inSingapore and from the region, even before commencement of official marketactivities." The 99-year luxurious condo is part of the iconic integratedretail-and-residential Orchard Turn project, which the two developerssnagged after placing a $1.38 billion winning bid at a government auction. But the action is not only at the upper echelons of the market, said areport by Jones Lang LaSalle yesterday. In fact, the feel-good sentiment at the high-end property sector hascascaded downwards, it said, noting that prices at mass-market projectsnow average close to $460 psf. Big year-end bonuses and the renewed confidence in the overall housingmarket can be accountable for the healthy recovery in the mass-marketproperty sector, which registered a quarterly increase of 9.5 per cent -the highest in seven years. Local buyers have been drawn to projects like The Centris, Yew TeeResidences and ClementiWoods. Following the strong showing of high-endproperties, developers were spurred to launch more mass market projects innon-prime districts, said the report, which cited examples like Yew TeeResidences and ClementiWoods as having attracted a strong following oflocal buyers. The numbers of mass market project buyers were also boosted by the growingnumber of Permanent Residents (PRs), it said. According to a 2005 General Household Survey, the number of PRs rose atthe rate of 30,000 annually from 2000 to 2005. These PRs, with family in tow, often reside in mass market projects thatare close to schools and major transportation nodes. However, what is missing within the mass market is the speculative buyingfound at their higher-end cousins. The 102 subsale transactions lodged in 4Q06 surpasses the previous peakset in 4Q05 by around 29.1 per cent. The Centris, City Square Residences, The Lakeshore, Southbank and VarsityPark were some of the projects that had subsale transactions, said JonesLang LaSalle. Despite this increase, it only reflects 4.3 per cent of the totalsubsale transactions lodged in that quarter. This figure had hit 39per cent in the 2Q95, when property speculation was at a high. URA figuresindicates that the level of mass market property speculation for the firstquarter of this year is likely to hover around 4.5 per cent.

SP Setia new property sales to hit RM1.2bil in JB??

SP Setia new property sales to hit RM1.2bil

KUALA LUMPUR: SP Setia Bhd is targeting for new property sales to hit RM1.2bil in the financial year ending Dec 31.

This will be achieved on an expected surge in demand for homes and commercial units in prime locations in the Klang Valley, south Johor and Penang, group managing director Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said at the Invest Malaysia 2007 conference.

A third of the sales would come from developments in Johor, where demand is expected to rise with the implementation of projects in the Iskandar Development Region, he added.

Yesterday, the Government announced that it would scrap real property capital gains tax effective April 1.

“The new rules is a big boost to the property market,'' Liew, also SP Setia chief executive officer, said.

“The move would encourage investors to come into the market,'' he said, adding that he expected the demand for commercial properties to rebound strongly.

SP Setia plans to launch at least two commercial property projects this year with a combined value of RM620mil.

Liew estimated that commercial units would account for 10% to 20% of the group revenue this year.

The group, he said, would also launch two housing projects this year – the RM2bil Setia Eco Garden in Johor and the RM900mil Setia Pearl Island in Penang.

SP Setia has a land bank of 4,600 acres, of which 2,200 acres are in south Johor.

Meanwhile, Liew said the group was looking at opportunities to build homes in new growth corridors in the east coast and Sabah.

He also said the group was eyeing foreign markets like Vietnam where there was growing demand for suburban housing developments.

Sweet home Bukit Rimau in Shah Alam, Malaysia

Sweet home Bukit Rimau

By THEAN LEE CHENG

leecheng@thestar.com.my

Every detail, every inch of this house has not been neglected

IT is amazing what the human will can – and will achieve – once it has set its mind on something. Hurdles and roadblocks are mere irritants. The important thing is interest and staying focused.

The swimming pool does not use chlorine but salt
The direction taken by this family, who live in Bukit Rimau, Shah Alam, encapsulates just that. Says the hostess: “My daughter is studying architecture. My husband, who has some background in architecture, thought of buying this piece of land to build our own house, our first. We have renovated our previous homes before and have managed to sell them in a fairly short time with each move. We want to test the market with something we have built ourselves. Both my husband and I have an interest in architecture and home decor.

“If successful, we would like to set up a business on a small scale and have a company ready when our daughter graduates from her master’s programme,” she says.

From Subang to Kota Kemuning and now Bukit Rimau, with each stopover, they put in the same effort in upgrading and maintaining their respective properties. When they finally sold their semi-detached house in Kota Kemuning, the new owner was so happy that they became chums.

The open concept use throughout the house
While this family tale has its roots in an innate sense of style, the story of Bukit Rimau began in 1998, at the height of the financial crisis, when vacant bungalow land was sold between RM52 and RM69 per sq ft. Bukit Rimau is about 15 minutes and 30 minutes by car from Subang and Petaling Jaya, respectively, via Kesas Highway.

Comprising 358 acres, two portions were set aside as gated and guarded communities with a monthly maintenance and security charge of RM300 for bungalows and RM250 for linked homes. There are about 170 units of houses in this development, 40 units of double-storey terraces and the rest are bungalows.

The starting point of this luxurious open concept corner lot began with a purchase of 12,000 sq ft, double the average size of most pieces.

“I have always liked cosy homes. This place is peaceful and quiet and I wanted to take advantage of the outdoors,” she explains.

The many folding doors used throughout the house allows an uninterupted view of the garden
To complement the outdoor elements, they introduced water features both internally and externally. The sound of gurgling water sets a soothing and relaxing atmosphere not only in the living area but the dining area as well.

Both she and her husband sketched every part of the house, having pored over piles of books and magazines from feng shui to home decor to style.

“You will never find a toilet next to the kitchen. Every part of the house has been well thought out and the whole place configured to give it fluidity and flow. Yet there is much privacy,” says the hostess.

Whether it is the main living room, the rumpus or TV area, or the piano area on the ground floor, there are pleasing views of the outdoors or elements of it. High ceilings complete the atmosphere.

This place is peaceful and quiet and I wanted to take advantage of the outdoors, says the owner
While building the house was exciting (“we used only quality well-fired bricks”), the fitting out was exhilarating. Money was not an issue. Because so much emphasis was placed on the external, the layout and flooring, it is only natural that as much details be placed on plumbing and sanitary systems.

Says the hostess: “We were not just building a house, but investing in our reputation.”

“We bought sanitary ware and bathroom fittings that will last. In the dining area, the grand granite table is custom-made because we did not want any joints. There are Bofi systems in both the dry and wet kitchen with electrical equipment from Fisher & Paykel.”

In the dry kitchen, it is a marble island top to facilitate baking.

“We have thought of the most minute of details, right down to the swimming pool which does not use chlorine but salt. It is an extremely satisfying experience for the family and it is a beautiful and functional home.”

There is a study and guest room downstairs while the family’s private rooms are located upstairs. Flooring upstairs is stained merbau, the ground floor is marble-like crystallised stone while all folding doors and fencing are of chenggal, a hardwood.

The place comes complete with alarm and CCTV system.

The family started building their dream home in September 2005 and completed it 10 months later in May 2006, supervising the workers every day. They moved in last June.

“We are enjoying this place, but there will always be another house,” she says.

E&O Property sets new standards in high-rise living

E&O Property sets new standards in high-rise living

By THEAN LEE CHENG

leecheng@thestar.com.my

AS the world evolves, the way people live will also change. The city of Kuala Lumpur is no different.

There was a time when a new condominium block was fairly similar to another developed five years ago. With Dua Residency, a project by E&O Property Development Bhd, it will be different. The company is setting new standards in high-rise living.

During a visit to the 20-storey project located along Jalan Tun Razak, next to the Singapore High Commission, marketing and sales director K.C. Chong says there will be a deep and broad emphasis on services and facilities.

“We will be raising the bar,” Chong says of the KLCC project.

With the completion of more than a dozen condominium projects in that locality the next couple of years, access and location will no longer be the differentiating factor because they are all around the same tuft.

With space, size and technology being points of differences and developer’s reputation a major consideration, E&O Property Development will take Dua a step further. It is entering the KLCC scene with another word beginning with ‘S’. The word today is “service”. In the process, it will be harnessing its reputation on two fronts – property development and management.

Drawing from its heritage and experience (the group owns Penang’s E&O Hotel), it has ingeniously put itself in a position to provide a tapestry of services. The five-acre project was sold as condominiums in 2004. Unlike service-apartments which come with commercial and retail facilities, a condominium project does not. However, in the case of Dua, within the grounds is a separate three-storey retail and restaurant annexe block which the company has retained and named The Annexe.

Chong says the 25,000 sq ft boutique block can accommodate three to four food and beverage outlets.

By not selling what used to be its formal marketing site, E & O Property Development will effectively be tapping into its long-term capital appreciation and, at the same time, deriving rental yield from it.

It will also be able to strengthen its property management portfolio – Chong has been given that department – to nurture the E&O brand as it has custodian of it.

The company has been steadily carving out the brand the last several years with its launch of super high-end series of landed strata units in Damansara Heights area, another premium location.

With its emphasis on service and property management, negotiations are ongoing for the food outlets to provide catering services for private dinner parties in the unit or in the public entertainment area around the pool and gardens. Kitchen facilities have also been provided for large-scale entertaining in the public area.

Says Chong: “We put ourselves in the residents' shoes. We ask ourselves ... what else can we do to make living here a pleasurable experience?”

With 288 units on five acres, Dua will have among the lowest density in that area. It has set aside one acre for landscaped pools, gardens and recreation areas. There is much depth and breadth to its open and public areas. The concourse is 250 ft long and 40 ft broad. Each of the two blocks will have reception areas and some units will have their own private lifts.

There have been comments that the two blocks do not look distinguished from afar. It is a whole new experience altogether inside, largely due to the spaciousness of its public areas and the landscaped open area.

The driveway comes in cobblestones with drop-off points for both blocks. There will also be a concierge area, “something not promised but which we are providing nevertheless because we want to enhance the experience of living here.”

E & O Property Development has also doubled the meetings rooms to four.

Elegance from living area to the study
“There will be residents working from home and they may have visitors whom they can meet on the ground floor,” says Chong.

There will also be a reading room of 1,000 sq ft which Chong and team are planning to turn into a library.

“Let me think carefully about the books and shelves,” he says as he went around the place, checking lighting points and the intercom system.

With keys to be handed to buyers in the next several weeks, he has been examining the units, adding extra light points where he deemed necessary.

“We constantly ask ourselves: What else can we provide?”

He will be providing extra storage space on the 15th floor where residents can keep their belongings that they do not normally need, like skis or the extra golf bags and clubs. That is also something not promised but an added extra for the benefit of residents. Another is household help.

“Its goes back to the word service,” says Chong.

When Dua was first launched in 2004, the 288 units were sold at around RM600 per sq ft, with the lower floors starting out at RM550 per sq ft. It is transacting in the secondary market for about RM800 per sq ft.

“The quality is reflected in the price and we are sure the price will go up even further. The tempo for this type of high-end condominium is strong. The smallest unit (2,000 sq ft) was over RM1.2mil during the launch, says Chong.”

Chong adds that when a developer puts a price to a development he should also give something back to the buyer. “It will come back to you, and the reputation of the developer is enhanced many times over.”

Dua is among the first to be unveiled after a lull in the property market after the 1997/98 financial crisis in what is currently known as the country’s most upmarket and much sought-after location on an international property circuit.

The first high-rise development in that area was Ascott and Kirana in Jalan Pinang in the l990s. Marc Residence, which is along the same stretch, came along at around the same time as Dua Residence was unveiled. Others later joined in the fray.

About 30% of its buyers are foreigners.

Major boost for high end property

Major boost for high end property

By KEITH HIEW

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who announced the scrapping of the real property gains tax (RPGT) from April 1, hopes the move would “inject more excitement and dynamism to both the property and financial sectors.”

Speaking at Invest Malaysia 2007 yesterday, Abdullah said the abolishment of RPGT would improve the property sector.

He said it was among the immediate measures intended to further increase and facilitate investments in the country.

Property companies and analysts welcomed the news. They said it would benefit the sector, especially the high-end segment.

OSK Securities analyst Mervin Chow told StarBiz: “We will definitely see an increase in the earnings prospects of property companies, either through an increase in demand or sales values. But it is very hard to quantify the extent at this juncture.

“We will also see increased foreign buying interest in Malaysian properties.”

Chow thinks the chief beneficiary would be higher-end developers with excellent locations. He said RPGT had in the past been one of the prime hurdles for foreign buyers, given the higher holding risk.

“As for the mass residential market (low- to mid-end), the oversupply situation still persists, hence we will not be seeing much improvement there,” he said, noting that the removal of RPGT would encourage a more vibrant secondary market in this segment.

“We will be seeing more interest in property companies with niches in the mid- to high-end market segment in the coming months. Although most of the counters have soared in anticipation of the abolishment, there are still many that are undervalued,” Chow said.

Analysts expect increased foreign buying interests
His top property picks include United Malayan Land Bhd, Plenitude Bhd and YNH Property Bhd.

Mah Sing Group Bhd managing director Datuk Leong Hoy Kum said: “It is heartening that the Government has been so proactive in promoting an investment-friendly regime to enhance local investment, and draw foreign direct investment to Malaysia.”

He said Mah Sing would be a direct beneficiary of the RPGT abolishment, having established a premium branding for its lifestyle products in the Klang Valley and Johor Baru.

“We are in the right segment and locations. The Government's announcement is timely and we anticipate this feel-good factor will be an additional crowd-puller for our preview of Hijauan Residence this weekend.”

Sime Darby Bhd property divisional director Jauhari Hamidi hailed the tax waiver as the “best news” for the property industry, homebuyers and investors, because it “will revive the market which has been soft in recent years.”

“The abolishment will help create more excitement in the property market.

“As for our newly-launched Ara Hill project, the move will encourage earlier upgrades among the growing affluent,” he said.

Scomi Group Bhd chief executive Shah Hakim Zain said the move would further attract foreign investments, while former Road Builder (M) Holdings Bhd executive vice-chairman Tan Sri Chua Hock Chin said it would spark interest in the secondary property market.

Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffery Cheah said the move would help attract more foreign buyers to the group's properties.

Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan told reporters that the scrapping of the property gains tax would encourage more secondary trading and liquidity in the secondary property market.

And IJM Corp chief executive Datuk Krishnan Tan said the lifting of the RPGT would benefit property investors and developers would see improved demand for property.

Tan did not expect an immediate impact on companies' bottom line.

Despite the mostly positive sentiment, some fund managers think the tax waiver could encourage speculation and increase property prices.

They also said the lower income group could be hurt as it would be more difficult for them to own properties.

A fund manager said: “Property prices could surge when speculative activities start. Lower income people could bear the brunt, especially if their salaries do not increase as quickly as property prices.”

Major boost for high end property

Major boost for high end property

By KEITH HIEW

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who announced the scrapping of the real property gains tax (RPGT) from April 1, hopes the move would “inject more excitement and dynamism to both the property and financial sectors.”

Speaking at Invest Malaysia 2007 yesterday, Abdullah said the abolishment of RPGT would improve the property sector.

He said it was among the immediate measures intended to further increase and facilitate investments in the country.

Property companies and analysts welcomed the news. They said it would benefit the sector, especially the high-end segment.

OSK Securities analyst Mervin Chow told StarBiz: “We will definitely see an increase in the earnings prospects of property companies, either through an increase in demand or sales values. But it is very hard to quantify the extent at this juncture.

“We will also see increased foreign buying interest in Malaysian properties.”

Chow thinks the chief beneficiary would be higher-end developers with excellent locations. He said RPGT had in the past been one of the prime hurdles for foreign buyers, given the higher holding risk.

“As for the mass residential market (low- to mid-end), the oversupply situation still persists, hence we will not be seeing much improvement there,” he said, noting that the removal of RPGT would encourage a more vibrant secondary market in this segment.

“We will be seeing more interest in property companies with niches in the mid- to high-end market segment in the coming months. Although most of the counters have soared in anticipation of the abolishment, there are still many that are undervalued,” Chow said.

Analysts expect increased foreign buying interests
His top property picks include United Malayan Land Bhd, Plenitude Bhd and YNH Property Bhd.

Mah Sing Group Bhd managing director Datuk Leong Hoy Kum said: “It is heartening that the Government has been so proactive in promoting an investment-friendly regime to enhance local investment, and draw foreign direct investment to Malaysia.”

He said Mah Sing would be a direct beneficiary of the RPGT abolishment, having established a premium branding for its lifestyle products in the Klang Valley and Johor Baru.

“We are in the right segment and locations. The Government's announcement is timely and we anticipate this feel-good factor will be an additional crowd-puller for our preview of Hijauan Residence this weekend.”

Sime Darby Bhd property divisional director Jauhari Hamidi hailed the tax waiver as the “best news” for the property industry, homebuyers and investors, because it “will revive the market which has been soft in recent years.”

“The abolishment will help create more excitement in the property market.

“As for our newly-launched Ara Hill project, the move will encourage earlier upgrades among the growing affluent,” he said.

Scomi Group Bhd chief executive Shah Hakim Zain said the move would further attract foreign investments, while former Road Builder (M) Holdings Bhd executive vice-chairman Tan Sri Chua Hock Chin said it would spark interest in the secondary property market.

Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffery Cheah said the move would help attract more foreign buyers to the group's properties.

Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan told reporters that the scrapping of the property gains tax would encourage more secondary trading and liquidity in the secondary property market.

And IJM Corp chief executive Datuk Krishnan Tan said the lifting of the RPGT would benefit property investors and developers would see improved demand for property.

Tan did not expect an immediate impact on companies' bottom line.

Despite the mostly positive sentiment, some fund managers think the tax waiver could encourage speculation and increase property prices.

They also said the lower income group could be hurt as it would be more difficult for them to own properties.

A fund manager said: “Property prices could surge when speculative activities start. Lower income people could bear the brunt, especially if their salaries do not increase as quickly as property prices.”

In the top league

In the top league
March 23rd, 2007

Nicholas Mak and Michelle Tee look at how Singapore’s luxury properties compare with those in other global cities

As Singapore’s high-end homes reach ever higher prices it may be illuminating to see where the city now stands in relation to the major capitals of the world, and what lies in store for these gateway cities in 2007.

One word encapsulates the phenomenon of record-breaking prices for top-end residential property in major cities including Singapore - globalisation. It has transformed some into global cities, where international business and financial institutions, law firms and corporate headquarters cluster, creating a business environment with buzz.

As these global cities continue to nurture a growing pool of wealthy local individuals and a sizeable inflow of high net worth international business people, investment bankers, traders and celebrities, the demand and, in turn, prices of high-end luxury residential developments in these cities would usually be the most expensive in that country or region.

Compared to a year ago, average prices of high-end luxury apartments have seen strong growth of about 10 per cent to 17 per cent in cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore. The price increase of high-end luxury apartments in London was even more spectacular, surging close to 30 per cent in the past year.

As such, prices of luxury residential properties in selected global cities now range from a relatively affordable S$350 to S$500 per square foot (psf) in Beijing to S$4,000 to S$6,000 psf in London and Hong Kong. Comparatively, prices of Singapore’s luxury properties, which average $2,300 psf, are still some way from the sky-high prices commanded in London and Hong Kong. But they are almost on par with Sydney’s and Tokyo’s.

Exclusivity, lifestyle and convenience are found to be the key features of high-end residential developments in global cities. In particular, tie-ups with branded hotels is a gradually growing trend in the luxury market, especially in cities like Singapore, Tokyo and London. This is to better offer residents an array of personalised hotel services. Examples of such joint propositions include St Regis Residences-St Regis Hotel tie-up in Singapore and One Hyde Park-Mandarin Oriental Hotel tie-up in London.

Notwithstanding this, standard condominium facilities such as swimming pool, landscaped gardens, shared multi-purpose function room, gym, BBQ pit, private carpark spaces and sometimes tennis courts that are commonly provided in Singapore’s luxury residential properties are not always offered to residents in other global cities, even in the high-end market.

London: Priced at a high

Some of the most expensive homes in the world can be found in London. Given a choice, a significant number of people would like to live in central London, but only a few can afford it.

On average, freehold luxury homes in London cost about S$6,000 psf to S$7,500 psf. Demand in London is not limited to people working in the city but also foreign home buyers from Europe, South America, the Middle East and Russia. They are attracted by London’s prime economic status, strong capital markets, lifestyle as well as favourable tax laws as compared to other European countries.

Tokyo: The environmentalist

Reflecting the general eco-friendly culture of the Japanese, developers of residential projects in Tokyo are space conscious even in the high-end segment. Typical units in a luxury development range from 500 sq ft to 1,900 sq ft, with some projects such as Banco Park House and Aksaka Tower Residence offering larger units of up to about 2,800 sq ft. In addition, recreational facilities such as swimming pool, tennis courts, gym and BBQ pits are almost non-existent in Tokyo’s residential developments. But some high-end residential developments such as The Centre Tokyo and Aksaka Tower Residence do provide unique facilities like libraries and guest suites, which are not usually found in other global cities’ luxury residential projects.

Average prices of high-end luxury residential units in Tokyo currently range from S$1,400 psf to S$1,800 psf, with some top-end developments such as Chidorigafuchi priced at about S$2,400 psf. But they are still considered reasonable compared to other global financial centres such as London, Hong Kong and New York.

Hong Kong: Space as status

Hong Kong’s high-end developments are concentrated in areas such as the Peak, Central, Happy Valley and Kowloon Tong. The majority of luxury units such as those found in 8-12 Peak Road and Grosvenor Place are large, at 2,500 sq ft and above.

Given that high-end projects in these areas can range from S$3,000 psf to over S$4,000 psf, potential home buyers need to have assets in excess of S$10 million to be able to purchase a decent luxury unit in Hong Kong. Swimming pool, clubhouse and private car parking spaces can be found in almost all of the high-end residential projects.

Beijing and Shanghai: Self-contained

Given the strong presence of Singapore developers in China’s property market, Beijing and Shanghai’s high-end residential projects have features similar to Singapore’s. One difference is that China’s residential projects tend to be on a larger scale to accommodate a bigger population.

Projects such as Central Park, Park Avenue and Grand Moma Residence in Beijing were constructed in three to four phases with the total number of units in the development ranging from 1,245 to about 1,800. Due to the sheer size of some of these developments, developers have made them self-contained with supermarkets, restaurants, bars and sometimes beauty salons.

The average prices of luxury condominiums in Beijing range from S$340 psf to S$470 psf. Besides standard facilities such as swimming pool, landscaped gardens, private carpark space and gym, larger-scale projects usually have additional recreational facilities. For example, Central Park in Beijing has a squash room and yoga room while Lakeville Regency boasts an indoor golf driving range.

Prices of luxury condominiums in Shanghai are among the highest in China, typically ranging from S$650 psf to S$1,000 psf. Currently, Tomson Yipin, located in the Pudong Lujiazui Riverfront Area in Shanghai, is one of the most expensive high-end residential projects in China. The average asking price is S$2,400 psf but to date only three units have been sold since its launch in 2005.

Sydney: Concierge, concierge, concierge

Similar to Singapore’s Ardmore Park, some luxury developments in Sydney such as Macquarie Apartment and Greenclift also offer homogenous-sized units of three bedrooms or four bedrooms to enhance the exclusivity of their developments.

Average prices of units in such high-end developments range from S$2,000 psf to S$2,900 psf, a level that is close to Singapore’s top-end homes. Landscaped gardens are not usually a feature in luxury developments located in the CBD area but swimming pools, gym, private carpark spaces and concierge services are a must.

What next?

While high-end property markets in most of the global cities have already enjoyed a bull run in 2006, they are not expected to see a correction this year, as global economies stay healthy.

Moreover, with the continual growth in financial services, wealth generation and flow of high net worth individuals across international borders, demand for high-end homes is unlikely to abate in the short term. A more likely scenario is that the rate of price growth will moderate, especially in cities that have already seen record price growth.

On the whole, Singapore and Hong Kong’s high-end residential properties are expected to show the strongest growth in 2007, rising by 15 per cent to 20 per cent while in other cities like Tokyo and London, high-end prices are predicted to grow by a relatively slower 10 per cent to 12 per cent.

In the case of Sydney, the price growth of high-end residential properties in 2007 is expected to be in the moderate range of zero to 5 per cent as the broader market has been depressed over the past two years and the high-end market had only begun to show signs of bottoming out last year.

On the other hand, due to the Chinese government’s effort to cool the property market in China, the growth rate in Beijing’s high-end residential market will slow to under 10 per cent while prices of Shanghai’s high-end apartments will likely record negative growth of 3.5-4 per cent in 2007.

Nicholas Mak is a director and Michelle Tee an analyst at Knight Frank

Source: The Business Times, 22 March 2007

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Shopping malls in Singapore

Too many shopping malls?
March 23rd, 2007

Singapore will see some 20 new retail venues by 2010, but the space may well be overdue, say ELAINE CHEW and WILLIAM TEO

Shopping fanatics may have to hang on tight to their purses as Singapore is poised to see a mushrooming of shopping centres in the next three years or so with some 20 malls, large and small, sprouting throughout the island.

It kicks off a little slowly this year, with the key new mall being the redeveloped Kallang Leisure Park. But a slew of developments will emerge in 2008 and the momentum will increase once the Singapore Flyer is in operation. Orchard Central and Orchard Turn will also be competing for the festive dollar by Christmas 2008.

Come 2009, all eyes will be on Marina Bay Shoppes, the retail mall of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. Orchard Road will welcome Somerset Central in 2010, the last of the trio of new malls aimed at rejuvenating Singapore’s main shopping belt.

Putting all this into numbers, Singapore will see an additional 4.5 million sq ft of net lettable retail space by 2010, equivalent to four VivoCities. By then, total retail stock on the island could be about 40 million sq ft.

If you’re wondering if there will be enough shoppers to support the large increase in shopping space, it is worthwhile to note the situation in the past decade, which saw two contrasting supply swings.

From 1996 to 2000, annual new supply averaged 415,000 sq ft. But from 2000 to 2005, interest waned and supply was just 15,000 sq ft a year. This occurred when the economy was still growing at a healthy 4 per cent annually, with relatively high consumer confidence and good tourist arrivals.

Also, new retail malls in the past decade were mostly built in the eastern and western regions, catering to suburban shoppers. However, future major supply will largely be in the downtown core, Orchard Road and other parts of the central region. These are locations that have been lacking in new retail developments from 2000 to 2005.

The potential increase in supply is thus overdue, both in terms of quantity and location. Still, the 4.5 million sq ft of new retail space is not an insignificant amount, bumping up supply by 10 per cent. While some may be concerned that Singapore will be over-shopped, the worry may be premature given current and projected trends.

Growing retail sales

After the 1997 Asian crisis, retail sales excluding motor vehicles have been on an uptrend, growing at an annual compounded rate of 4.2 per cent. Even after the 9/11 bombings and Sars, retail sales were surprisingly resilient, dipping by only one per cent and 2 per cent in the respective years.

Retail sales continued to rise in 2006, which is why we are still seeing ambitious expansions and local and foreign brands hunting for more space.

Going forward, Singapore’s retail scene presents a robust picture. According to the latest MasterIndex of Consumer Confidence survey by MasterCard Worldwide, Singaporeans are the most optimistic in the Asia-Pacific region as the economy strengthens and unemployment falls. This high level of optimism will contribute to the ringing of cash registers.

Tourist dollars

Like most retail sectors in major cosmopolitan cities, Singapore’s retail industry relies not just on local demand, but also foreigners. The authorities have been looking at ways to grow tourist spending. In 2006, the tourism sector generated an estimated $12.4 billion in tourism receipts from 9.7 million visitors, both record highs.

With the two integrated resorts and initiatives by the Singapore Tourism Board, Singapore is on course to achieve its target of doubling tourist arrivals to 17 million and nearly tripling tourism receipts to $30 billion by 2015.

This will ensure that the bulk of new shopping malls, which are located in the major tourist attractions, will be filled with shoppers.

Key performance indicators

When seven malls sprouted in Simei, Tampines and Pasir Ris during the 1990s, naysayers reckoned that the fierce competition would make them unsustainable. However, the malls have exceeded expectations and are enjoying good traffic flow. Currently, yet another mall is being built at the Tampines Regional Centre, at the former DBS Tampines Centre and the adjacent Pavilion complex site. Thus, having more malls does not necessarily point to an over-shopped situation. Indicators such as retail space per capita and retail sales productivity may give a better picture.

Retail space per capita is currently about 7.8 sq ft. Including the new malls in the pipeline, Singapore’s retail space per capita will grow to 8.2 sq ft in 2010. This is still lower than in the late 1990s. At 8.2 sq ft, the ratio is also considerably lower than major shopping cities across the globe. Hong Kong has retail space per capita of 15 sq ft while New York has close to 25 sq ft.

Singapore also scores well in retail sales productivity. Our average retail sales per sq ft amounts to S$46 which is higher than Hong Kong’s S$34. This implies that retailers in Singapore are able to generate more revenue from the same amount of retail space.

Strong demand for malls

Islandwide occupancy for retail stock has remained relatively stable over the years, fluctuating between 90.8 per cent and 92.4 per cent. This means that new supply that came on stream was matched by demand most of the time. A good example is 2006 when annual supply of retail space hit a 13-year high of 1.2 million sq ft from the opening of VivoCity. Demand for the year rose to a 13-year high of 980,000 sq ft.

The strong demand signals that retailers are willing to chase prime retail space. This has also been reflected in retail rents. In 2006, rental growth gained traction, rising between 4 per cent and 9 per cent in prime shopping localities. The strong momentum is expected to continue with rentals projected to rise another 5-10 per cent annually in the next few years.

If a possibility of being over-shopped exists, retailers would not be willing to pay higher rents. Yet we have seen healthy increases in rentals year after year and more entrepreneurs are setting up businesses.

In Singapore’s case, the risk of being over-shopped is outweighed by favourable factors: rosy retail sales, an expected boost in tourist receipts and reasonably healthy retail performance indicators.

While it is too early to say if the new malls will bring something of New York’s Fifth Avenue or Paris’ Champs Elysees to Singapore, there is no denying that additional malls will result in a more competitive retail landscape. This will only serve to strengthen Singapore’s position as a regional shopping hub.

At the end of the day, the biggest gainers are likely to be the shoppers.

Elaine Chew is associate director and William Teo an analyst at Knight Frank

Source: The Business Times, 22 March 2007

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Demand for GCBs set to stay high

Demand for GCBs set to stay high
March 23rd, 2007

Average land prices for good class bungalows may surge to $650-$750 psf this year, says STEVEN MING

The surge in Singapore’s stock market in the past year has not dimmed the allure of property. With property favoured by many wealthy investors across the region, Singapore’s residential market is powering ahead, led by the luxury segment.

While demand is focused on high-end condominiums, there is also strong interest in good class bungalows, or GCBs. GCBs are seem as the highest class of residential housing available in Singapore. Each GCB sits on a minimum plot of 1,400 square metres and they can be found in only 39 gazetted GCB areas.

Like anything of value, there are never enough of these prized properties to go around. In fact, there are a finite number of GCBs. Since the GCB areas are already gazetted and the boundaries defined, there is rarely new supply on the market unless a much larger parcel of land is sub-divided.

There are an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 GCBs across the island. This class of properties would generally cost in excess of $10 million each today and are affordable to only a small circle of buyers.

Due to the government’s restriction on foreigners buying landed property here, GCB buyers are predominantly Singaporeans, although there are a number of permanent residents who have been granted approval to buy them. Buyers are usually businessmen who have made their fortunes on the back of a robust economy.

Some buyers have also benefited from the creation of new wealth following the listing of their companies on the stock exchange. High-flying professionals are another segment of GCB buyers. Then there are the beneficiaries of recent en bloc transactions who have enjoyed cash windfalls and are moving up the housing ladder to join the exclusive GCB club. However, they form a small proportion of GCB buyers.

Even before the recent surge in prices of luxury condos, the GCB market saw a strong run-up in mid-2004. Since then, prices in selected prime areas have surged by as much as 60 to 70 per cent. There were 118 transactions last year, up 13 per cent from the 104 transactions in 2005. The substantial price increase over the last 12 months has translated into a higher total value of transactions. This stood at $1.2 billion last year, a 42 per cent jump from 2005.

The growing affluence of buyers is probably the main reason for the increased number of large GCB transactions last year. We have also observed a rising trend of opportunistic buying and selling. We have seen several GCBs changing hands in a matter of months or even weeks, with each realising quite handsome capital gains. As rental yields from GCBs are relatively low, these investors would not be buying them for rental returns, but for potential capital gains.

Due to the limited number of GCBs available for sale, and their high demand, these fortunate investors would have easily made a sizeable profit over a relatively short period. There were at least 27 such buy and sell transactions that took place in the past six years, with sellers booking handsome gains. With the strong market, new owners may well be already sitting on paper gains.

With the bright economic outlook for Singapore, we expect to see continued demand for GCBs. Even recent 99-year leasehold bungalow land parcels on Sentosa Cove have crossed $1,100 per sq ft. We believe that the record prices there will only accelerate the price surge for GCB land. A recent Nassim bungalow plot has already achieved close to $1,000 psf. So it would not be too far-fetched to expect GCBs in other prestigious locations to quickly play catch-up. Average GCB land prices may surge to $650-$750 psf this year from $500-$600 a year ago.

This year looks set to be another good year for the GCB market with possibly more record-breaking prices.

The writer is director, Prestige Homes, at Savills Singapore

Source: The Business Times, 22 March 2007

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Malaysia scraps property gains tax; stocks soar

Malaysia scraps property gains tax; property gains tax
March 23rd, 2007

Malaysia has rolled out the red carpet to local and foreign investors by proposing to scrap the bumiputera equity requirement in six sectors in Johor’s new development region and removing the country’s 35-year-old property gains tax.

Analysts are excited by the slew of measures announced yesterday by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the Invest Malaysia Forum in the Malaysian capital.

The removal of the property gains tax from April 1 went down best - stocks of land-owning companies immediately jumped 8-15 per cent.

We believe these moves will lead to a very strong re-rating of the entire property sector, spilling over to the stock market,’ said Lim Beng Leong, a director of UOBKayHian in KL. ‘We expect land prices to surge 50-300 per cent within 2-3 years.’

The property tax was meant to discourage speculation, starting at 30 per cent of profit from a sale after the first year of ownership and sliding to zero after five years for locals.

Foreigners were hit harder, with a flat 30 per cent tax until the fifth year of ownership after which it became 5 per cent. Singaporeans are among the top three foreign buyers of Malaysian properties.

Carmen Chua, who is developing high-end condominiums opposite Kuala Lumpur City Centre, reckons the tax is the main reason Malaysia’s real estate prices lag their regional peers.

‘It’s a disincentive to foreign investment,’ she told BT. ‘That’s why condominium prices, for example, never took off. We are still about 50 per cent below our peak in 1997.’ Apart from the nationwide property fillip, Mr Abdullah gave the southern state bordering Singapore a major boost.

Top of the agenda is the plan to give long tax holidays and waive bumiputera equity conditions in six service clusters in Johor’s Iskandar Development Region (IDR) - an area three times the size of Singapore.

The clusters are creative industries, educational services, financial advisory and consulting, health care, logistics and tourism-related services. Qualified companies in these areas will be able to source capital globally and employ foreign employees freely.

More importantly, foreign investors can have full ownership and need not comply with Foreign Investment Committee rules. This is an effective suspension of the bumiputera policy, which generally sets aside 30 per cent equity for Malay and indigenous partners.

Johor Chief Minister Ghani Othman does not think this will be an issue for the Malays, who have enjoyed affirmative action under the bumiputera policy since the 1970s.

‘We agree with it,’ he said. ‘It is for defined activities in a very defined area.’

Earlier, former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam said the affirmative action policy should not apply to Johor because it put foreign investors off the IDR.

Mr Musa - part of a five-man IDR advisory panel that also includes ‘Sugar King’ Robert Kuok - suggested the award of contracts ‘on merit’.

To further attract foreign investors, Malaysia has thrown in 10-year exemptions from corporate tax and withholding tax on royalty and technical fee payments to non-residents.

But qualifying companies must start operations before 2015. Foreign knowledge workers in the IDR will also be allowed to import or buy a duty free car for personal use.

Malaysia provided similar incentives when it launched its Multimedia Super Corridor in Selangor in the late 1990s.

Yesterday’s initial package of incentives is expected to have a much bigger impact because it covers more sectors and a much bigger area of 2,217 sq km. Land in the IDR is also cheaper than in neighbouring Singapore.

To offset the waiver of FIC rules, qualified firms must contribute to a social development fund managed by the new Iskandar Regional Development Authority for social welfare development within the zone, including projects for the Malay community. Details are being finalised.

The Johor masterplan is being promoted as a regional metropolis-in-the-making - a Shenzhen of sorts to Singapore.

Over the next 20 years, it hopes to attract some US$105 billion of investments. The federal government and related agencies have agreed to commit an initial RM10 billion (S$4.4 billion).

All the measures announced yesterday should benefit developers like UEM World, which has been developing the Nusajaya township near the Second Link bridge connecting Singapore.

‘All these are very good and encouraging incentives,’ chief executive Ahmad Pardas Senin told Reuters. ‘That should spur a lot of interest in both the property development industry as well as from end-buyers.’

Source: The Business Times, 23 March 2007

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MapletreeLog in 27.8b yen property deal

MapletreeLog in 27.8b yen property deal
March 23rd, 2007

Mapletree Logistics Trust yesterday said it is acquiring the beneficiary interest of five logistic properties in Japan for 27.8 billion yen (S$358.2 million).

Based on the letter of undertaking, the Reit will buy the beneficiary interest from a special-purpose company, which is managed by Itochu Corporation, and the transaction has been structured as an outright sale of beneficiary rights with assignment of existing tenancies.

Four of them - Atsugi Centre, Ayase Centre, Funabashi Centre and Zama Centre - are located in the Greater Tokyo area, while the Kyoto Centre is in the Kyoto (Kansai) area. The deal will be accretive to MapletreeLog’s distribution per unit and its pro forma effect for the year ended Dec 31, 2006 would be an additional 0.56 Singapore cents per unit.

Said Chua Tiow Chye, CEO of Mapletree Logistics Trust Management: ‘This portfolio of assets is accompanied by long-lease tenures which vary from seven to 18 years from tenants with very good credit standing, bolstering our core base of leases which yield stable and recurrent rental income.’

Also, he said the new facilities complement the Reit’s shorter-term leases from higher-growth markets such as China, Malaysia and Hong Kong. ‘The addition of these longer-term leases will lengthen the average lease tenure and the unexpired lease term of underlying land of MapletreeLog’s portfolio,’ Mr Chua added.

Besides providing geographical diversification, MapletreeLog said the acquired portfolio also comes with strong tenant base, including top Japanese third-party logistics (3PL) service providers and major supermarket suppliers.

The deal is MapletreeLog’s single-largest transaction to date, and is the trust’s second with Itochu. The trust had bought Gyoda Distribution Centre - its first property in Japan - from Itochu last month.

MapletreeLog expects the latest acquisition to be completed in the middle of this year, adding that it will be wholly funded by debt due to the lower cost of borrowing in yen.

Also, the trust will benefit ‘by structuring the acquisition in such a way that the properties’ net income inflows in yen will be exchanged for Singapore dollars through a currency swap. Based on prevailing forward contract rates, the average annual pick-up is estimated to be one to 2 per cent’, it said in a statement.

MapletreeLog is upbeat on prospects in Japan, pointing to its 2.2 per cent economic growth last year and citing forecast from the Economist Intelligence Unit that it may grow another 2 per cent this year and 2.1 per cent in 2008.

‘The improving economic conditions in Japan and the consequent increase in business activities have boosted demand for new logistics facilities,’ it said in a statement.

Another factor is the growing trend among companies to outsource their logistics operations to 3PL operators, as this allows them to streamline their balance sheets and focus their resources on core operations.

Citing Colliers International, MapletreeLog says demand for quality logistics space in Japan is picking up, driven by corporate capital investment.

‘There is a shortage of bigger, modern and efficient distribution centres located in key areas. Currently, modern distribution facilities that measure more than 3,000 square metres in floor area represent less than half of the total national stock in Japan,’ it added.

Source: The Business Times, 23 March 2007

Sing Holdings inks deal to buy Hillcourt Apartments for $361m

Sing Holdings inks deal to buy Hillcourt Apartments for $361m
March 23rd, 2007

Sing Holdings has signed a conditional agreement to buy the freehold Hillcourt Apartments on Cairnhill Road for $361 million or about $1,542 per square foot (psf) of potential gross floor area (GFA).

The price is about 75 per cent higher than the $880 psf per plot ratio (ppr) that SC Global paid in H1 2006 for Hilltops Apartments at Cairnhill Circle and 16 adjoining terrace houses, reflecting the surge in prime land values in Singapore over the past year.

The unit land price for Hillcourt Apartments also beats the $1,107 psf ppr that CapitaLand paid for the next-door Silver Tower in September last year. Both the Silver Tower and Hillcourt en bloc sales were handled by Savills Singapore.

Sing Holdings will not have to pay a development charge (DC) for the Hillcourt site up to the existing development’s GFA of 234,095 square feet, which works out to 3.0778 times the land area of 76,059 sq ft. However, if Sing Holdings decides to tap an additional 10 per cent GFA allowed for balcony space, it will have to pay a DC.

Nonetheless, this will lower Sing Holdings’ unit land price to $1,444 psf ppr, according to Sing Holdings managing director Lee Sze Hao.

Mr Lee also said the group will once again team up with US-based fund Forum for its acquisition of Hillcourt Apartments, although the respective stakes of the two parties have yet to be finalised.

The companies worked together for the earlier purchase of Finland Gardens in the East Coast and Bellerive at Keng Chin Road.

Sing Holdings’ break even cost for a new condo project on the Hillcourt site could be about $2,000 psf, factoring in rising construction costs, BT understands.

Mr Lee said the company is looking to develop a new 20-storey condo with about 180 units ranging from 1,500 to 1,800 sq ft. The project could be launched around the final quarter of next year.

The tender for Hillcourt Apartments closed on Wednesday, attracting several bids, Savills said yesterday. The highest was from Sing Holdings.

Owners of Hillcourt’s existing 100 apartments and two penthouses will receive $3.46 million per apartment and $7.26 million per penthouse.

These sums are about 60 per cent higher than if the units had been sold individually.

Sing Holdings said in its release to the Singapore Exchange that its purchase of Hillcourt Apartments is subject to a permissible GFA of 234,095 sq ft, and approval from the Strata Titles Board.

Source: The Business Times, 23 March 2007

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