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Couple reject lucrative offers for flat

Couple reject lucrative offers for flat

Step into Mr Brian Chee and Ms Catherine Low’s four-room flat in Punggol, and one is greeted by a steady breeze and stunning views of Serangoon Reservoir, Pulau Ubin and even Malaysia.

Little wonder then that the couple have no intention of selling their 18th-floor flat, even though property agents have come to them with lucrative offers.

Last year, an agent promised them $600,000 for their unit – more than three times the $170,000 they paid for the flat.

But they were quick to refuse.

“We were not tempted at all,” said Mr Chee, a 41-year-old stay-at-home father. “We like the greenery and environment, and it’s very quiet and peaceful here.”

The couple moved into their top-floor unit in Block 167A, Punggol East in 2007. They applied for the Build-To-Order (BTO) flat in 2003.

Mr Chee, a former interior designer, left his job four years ago to take care of their son, eight, and daughter, five.

Being close to nature has another perk, added Mr Chee. The family of four are often able to go cycling together at the nearby Punggol Waterway.

While some of their neighbours made tidy profits from selling their homes, Ms Low is cautious about following their example.

The 38-year-old accountant said: “If we sell, it definitely won’t be cheap to get another flat in a good location. What if we need another loan?”

She added: “The children go to school in Punggol and so, would have to adapt to a new environment if we move.”

But Mr Chee said he has toyed with the idea of selling before.

He said: “If there’s a three-generation flat in a good location, I would consider buying and moving in with my parents.

“My parents are getting old and it’ll be good to take care of them. They can help look after the children too.”

(Source: The Straits Times)

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2015 in Residential

 

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Over 7,500 HDB flats launched in latest sale

THOSE eyeing new flats in mature estates will have a wealth of options after the Housing Board launched its latest round of flat sales yesterday.

Over 7,500 units under the Build-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) schemes went on sale, with 3,028 located in the sought-after mature estates.

meadow spring @ yishun

Of the 4,277 BTO units put on sale across six projects in Tampines, Sengkang, Sembawang and Yishun, 1,947 are located in two projects in the upcoming Tampines North district.

Flat buyers are likely to make a beeline for these units given that they are located in a mature estate, experts said. “All the linkages and facilities there are already established,” said ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim. “The value of flats there is also likely to hold in the resale market.”

One of the projects, Tampines GreenRidges, will offer 3Gen flats for multi-generation families – a first for a mature town. Prices of these flats start at $407,000 without grants, and $397,000 with grants.

Also on sale are 3,291 SBF units, which span both mature estates like Bukit Merah and non-mature estates such as Punggol. SBF units are either balance flats from earlier BTO launches, surplus Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme replacement flats, or repurchased flats.

Changes to the Married Child Priority Scheme are kicking in with these launches. Announced last week, the enhanced scheme will set aside up to a third of new flats for married children and their parents who apply to live with or near one another.

Priority will be given to two groups under the scheme: Parents and married children who apply to live under one roof, and parents who own flats in mature estates and apply for BTO flats near their married children in non-mature estates.

But this is unlikely to drive up demand significantly for 3Gen flats and flats in non-mature estates, said experts.

“A lot of elderly parents live in mature estates and would not want to uproot themselves,” said R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng, adding that the take-up for 3Gen flats might be lukewarm as many young couples prefer privacy.

“There is also the perception that 3Gen flats might be too small.”

As of 5pm yesterday, the overall application rate for the Tampines BTO flats was 0.4, with 825 applicants going for 1,947 units.

Personal financial consultant Eddie Su and his fiancee Cheryl Ng, both 25, are looking to buy a five-room SBF unit in Tampines.

“We are getting married next year so we want our own place sooner,” said Mr Su, referring to the shorter waiting period for SBF units compared with BTO flats.

The latest launch brings the number of new flats put up for sale this year to 29,129, down from 33,568 last year.

Applications have to be submitted by midnight on Dec 1.

(Source: The Straits Times)

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Residential

 

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CPF contribution rates are more than enough to cover housing: Khaw

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SINGAPORE — The CPF contribution rates are more than enough to cover housing, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan today (Feb 23) at a post-Budget dialogue with grassroots leaders.

“The extra 1 per cent is a recognition that as population ages, our healthcare needs will grow. Today’s CPF contribution rates are more than enough to cover housing,” said Mr Khaw, who also stressed prudence, noting that affordability is only an issue if one chooses to buy a house bigger or more expensive than what is necessary.

 

Several people had asked why the 1-percentage-point increase in employer CPF contribution rates would be channelled to Singaporean workers’ Medisave accounts and not be allowed to be used for housing.

On the sidelines of the post-Budget dialogue, Mr Khaw also said that the Ministry of National Development (MND) will be exploring ideas to expand the Lease Buyback Scheme, which helps the elderly monetise their flats.

“I don’t have a solution as yet, but I would like to see what else we can do to help seniors in a big flat move to a smaller flat if they wish to (and put) more money in their pockets. So I’m open to ideas and discussions,” said Mr Khaw.

The scheme allows elderly flat owners to sell part of their flat lease to HDB for a sum of money, while retaining a 30-year lease, and Mr Khaw said his ministry is studying suggestions to expand the existing Lease Buyback Scheme to include four- and five-room flats.

Currently, only seniors who own three-room flats are eligible. Take-up has been low so far, with only about 240 owners making use of the scheme last year, but Mr Khaw does not see it as a failure.

“I don’t regard the low take-up rate as a failure,” said Mr Khaw. “What it means is that people are not financially desperate to need to take advantage of those options, but those options are there for those who need it.

“I think those are decisions we leave to families to decide. But, more importantly, we should provide an option, for those who want to take that option, then by all means.”

More help for second-time home buyers, like divorcees with children and single parents, is also likely to be on the cards, but the MND is unlikely to make any major policy moves with regard to housing in its budget this year, added Mr Khaw. He was responding to questions on what can be expected at his ministry’s upcoming Committee of Supply debate (COS) next month.

Ramping up the supply of HDB flats and setting aside more Build-To-Order flats for married couples with children are some of the major initiatives introduced in the last two years to address the demand for flats from first-time home buyers.

The housing needs of newly-weds have largely been met in the last two years, so the focus can now be shifted to others, like divorcees and single parents, said Mr Khaw. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Others

 

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Rental market slows with surge in new homes

ImageThe slowing rental  market was underlined with numbers from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) that were released for the third quarter. Residential rents rose just 0.2% in the July to September period, slightly down from the 0.3% increase in the preceding quarter.

Experts said one key reason for the flattening market is a surge in supply that left 17,458 vacant units for rent at the end of the third quarter.

The 19,302 private homes that will be ready net year and the 19,727 units in 2015 will only increase leasing competition in an already stiff market, they added, also noting that tough labour policies are expected to hit the rental sector next year.

Just a year ago, a fully furnished 3 bedroom at Cote d’Azur in Marine Parade could fetch a monthly rent of $5,500, said Mr Chris Koh, director of property consultancy Chris International. A similar unit now would be rented at $5,200.

Coming on the heels of a dramatic year peppered with policies aimed at cooling the property market and a number of firsts in public housing, 2014 appears poised to be a more subdued year by comparison.

Consultants say it is unlikely that the government will roll out any new policies next year, even though they do not rule out some tweaking of existing measures.

“Policy changes, if any, may most likely be of the ‘unwinding’ kind – that is, rolling back earlier policies,” said Chua Yang Liang, head of research, South-east Asia, at Jones Lang LaSalle. “The timing will depend very much on the pace of economic growth and the response from the property market during the period. We reckon a healthy long-term growth rate of 1-2 per cent a quarter on the Property Price Index is what the state is comfortable with.”

Chia Siew Chuin, Colliers International’s director of research and advisory, does not expect new measures to be introduced, given that the ramifications of existing measures are still being felt in the various segments.

The most significant event this year was the implementation of the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework, whose impact cut across the private residential, as well as the strata-titled retail, office and industrial sectors, she noted.

The TDSR, which came into effect on June 29, required that lenders consider a borrower’s total debt obligations (including other mortgages and loans for cars) before granting a new home loan. The total debt obligations ceiling was set at 60 per cent of a buyer’s gross monthly income.

This followed the seventh round of cooling measures, announced in January, which included lower loan-to-value limits, higher cash downpayments, size curbs on EC (executive condominium) developments, and anti-speculation moves targeted at the industrial sector. Notably, a seller’s stamp duty was imposed on the industrial sector for the first time.

Given the two rounds of measures, Ms Chia described 2013 as a “a tale of two halves”. The implementation of the TDSR, she said, marked a turning point for the healthy level of sales for strata-titled, non-residential properties which was seen in the first half of the year.

“To date, TDSR appears to have had the most far-reaching impact on property compared with the previous property-specific measures. Overall, residential prices will end about 2 per cent higher from a year ago and flat over the last quarter. For the most part, developers have been able to hold onto current prices for luxury projects but may be pressured to adjust prices to a competitive level with more projects receiving their Temporary Occupation Permits (TOP) next year,” said Joseph Tan, executive director, residential, at CBRE.

On the public housing front, the mortgage servicing ratio (MSR) of 30 per cent curbed demand as buyers were no longer able to afford to upgrade to larger flats with smaller loans.

This has helped stabilise the HDB resale market, noted Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty. In addition, cash over valuation (COV) has continued to fall, with more flats changing hands with no COV or below valuation, he said.

“HDB resale transactions are likely to remain low for now, but we are hopeful of volumes increasing after the festive period as more buyers come back into the resale market, attracted by the prospects of being able to pick up a property at or below valuation, particularly in the non-mature estates,” said Mr Lim.

Mohamed Ismail, chief executive officer at Propnex Realty, has a more conservative outlook for the HDB resale market.

With demand sapped by the release of new Build-To-Order (BTO) flats – 77,000 BTO flats were launched in the past three years to quell the voracious demand for homes – the resale market is effectively serving only the upgraders and permanent residents who have attained three- year status now, he noted.

This, combined with the various rounds of property measures aimed at keeping price growth sustainable, will create a “balancing effect” in the resale market, gradually softening price growth to a more sustainable level.

This year, he expects HDB flat prices to dip one per cent. By end-2014, flat prices are expected to fall by up to 5 per cent as a result of the falling prices of all HDB flats when the 77,000 new flats come on stream, he added.

Against this backdrop of multi-pronged approaches to stabilise the market, a number of significant announcements that are expected to have a major long-term positive impact were also unveiled this year.

These included the freeing up of some 800 hectares of land with the moving of Paya Lebar airbase to Changi, and the unveiling of plans for new housing areas, such as Bidadari, Tampines North, and Punggol Matilda.

The government has also tried to meet the various housing needs of different groups after satisfying the needs of first-time married couples. Its initiatives include the unprecedented move of allowing eligible singles to buy new two-room HDB flats in non-mature estates, and the pilot launch of Three-Generation (3Gen) flats catering to multi-generation families, which was warmly received.

November marked the rolling out of a record 8,952 flats, the largest joint BTO and sale of balance flats exercise.

With such laudable moves in the public-housing space, Colliers’ Ms Chia said she looks forward to equally “incisive and targeted initiatives” in the industrial and commercial sectors.

What is needed is a more intentional and detailed approach to addressing the different types of business requirements in the industrial and commercial property sectors. This means that the eventual building must meet end-users’ needs without ambiguity, said Ms Chia.

“Should there be a mismatch between the type of real estate formats and the real needs of users, planning efforts will be futile and scarce resources will be wasted,” she said.

Looking ahead into 2014, the retirement housing sector will be worth keeping an eye on, given Singapore’s demographic trends and ageing population, said Lee Lay Keng, head of Singapore research at DTZ.

“It’ll be interesting to see what the take-up will be for the retirement village at Jalan Jurong Kechil that is currently being planned by World Class Land. We could see more of such developments going forward if the project attracts strong buyer interest,” she said.

Elsewhere, Knight Frank Singapore’s research head, Alice Tan, said that assuming global economic growth improves, she expects the office sector to make a comeback in 2014 with greater interest from investors and space users.

“The positive prospects of improving occupancy and rentals with more businesses choosing to set up their operations in Singapore, combined with an improving global market outlook, would provide a boost to the office sector,” she said.

Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong said “the rental market is on the cusp of a turning point”, and he expects rents to decline by 5 – 10% next year.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in General

 

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Nearly 4,000 new flats on offer

Nearly 4,000 new flats on offer

Punggol units could see more buzz than those in Sengkang, Bukit Batok

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in Residential

 

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More resale flats sold at close to $1 million mark

A NEW record has been set for Housing Board resale flats, with a 1,750 sq ft executive maisonette in Bishan changing hands for $1.01 million last month. It broke the previous record of $1 million, set by a 1,615 sq ft executive apartment in Queenstown last year.

Fresh data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), which collects transaction information from larger property firms, also revealed that such sky-high prices are not one-offs.

While only one resale flat transaction breached the $900,000 mark in 2011, there were 18 last year. This year, even before two months have gone, the number has already reached 18.

Property analysts said these flats, mostly in established estates, are still value for money on a per sq ft (psf) basis when compared to private homes.

They expect resale records to be broken when choice units like those at the Pinnacle@Duxton hit the market in the next two years.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said the $1.01 million Bishan unit is about 100 sq ft bigger than other executive units, including the previous record holder in Queenstown.

“Such flats are rare, offer a large space and provide a better value proposition than condominiums around it,” he added.

The price of the 26-year-old unit on the upper floors of Block 194 in Bishan Street 13 is about $580 psf. A private property in the same area could cost between $1,200 and $1,600 psf.

Property consultant Chris Koh believes the unit may have special features such as an open roof terrace. “The buyer could be a cash-rich, private property downgrader and the cash premium paid is likely to be close to $200,000.”

According to the SRX, the overall median cash paid above a flat’s valuation is now about $34,000.

Mr Ismail noted that relatively new flats are also commanding high prices. Among the 18 transactions above $900,000 this year is a five-year-old, 1,180 sq ft, five-room flat in Jalan Membina.

The $925,000 price tag works out to be about $780 psf.

“Although this sounds high, a flat in Jalan Membina is near Tiong Bahru MRT station and town. A private apartment could cost as much as $1,800 psf,” he added.

Most home buyers said they would not pay that much for public housing. Said accountant Mohan Singh, 29: “It’s still an HDB flat with no facilities at the end of the day. I feel buyers should go for affordable new flats or save up for a choice private property.”

In response to the surging property market, the Government has pledged to offer at least 23,000 new flats this year, with National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan promising to keep new flats affordable by unpegging their prices from resale flats.

In the latest Build-To-Order launch last month, prices ranged from $140,000 for a three-room unit in Chua Chu Kang to $575,000 for a five-room unit in Ang Mo Kio.

(Source: The Straits Times)

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Residential

 

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New priority scheme for flats attracts families

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A NEW priority scheme to help married couples with young children secure a new Housing Board flat more quickly has seen a strong take-up.

Applicants in this category made up 30 per cent of the flats on offer – precisely the proportion of flats set aside for them – in the non-mature estates of Choa Chu Kang, Hougang and Yishun in last month’s Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise.

This means these applicants have a virtually 100 per cent chance of getting a BTO flat.

These probabilities fall, however, in the more popular mature estates of Ang Mo Kio, Kallang/ Whampoa and Tampines.

There, the number of married applicants with kids was almost 80 per cent of the flat supply – more than twice the 30 per cent allocation for them.

This is according to fresh figures provided yesterday by the HDB in response to queries from The Straits Times.

The Parenthood Priority Scheme was announced last month as part of a broader package of measures to spur marriage and parenthood in Singapore.

Under the scheme, 30 per cent of the flats in any launch of new BTO flats are reserved for married couples with children under the age of 16. This would enable such couples to secure their homes quicker and therefore encourage them to have children earlier.

The scheme took effect this year for the first time with the BTO launch of 3,346 units across six towns last month.

There were more than 12,000 bids for these flats and the HDB said yesterday that some 20 per cent of the first-timers applied under the new priority scheme.

Experts said yesterday it was no surprise that applicants with young children gunned for flats in mature towns, which have better transport links and amenities.

“It’s a safe bet that many of these buyers are staying with their parents in these towns,” said Dennis Wee Group spokesman Lee Sze Teck. “Their kids probably attend a neighbourhood school there, and this would mean minimum disruption overall.”

Mr Nicholas Mak noted that married couples in their late 30s to 40s are likely to have sufficient savings to go for larger flats in mature towns, which will typically appreciate more in value over the years.

He estimated that even more of such bidders might emerge when HDB launches “balance flats” for sale later this year. These are flats which are either close to completion or already built, and half the supply is reserved for this group.

Such flats would have a stronger appeal with families with young children, which have a more urgent need for a new home.

Noting that flats in mature towns were oversubscribed by these priority applicants, an HDB spokesman said those who are unsuccessful will get another chance to ballot for a flat.

This is because their names now go into the general pool of first-timers, which includes engaged couples and married couples without children. Between 85 per cent and 95 per cent of BTO flats in any launch are reserved for this group.

Mrs Celine Chia, who had hoped the new scheme would make a difference to her chances, looks to be able to rest easy. She had applied for a five-room flat in Hougang, after balloting unsuccessfully many times in the past.

But the 32-year-old account director said she is not counting her chickens just yet. “Right now, everything is still up in the air. I’ll only be assured once I get to choose my flat.”

(Souce: The Straits Times)

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Residential

 

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