Category Archives: HDB

Rental prices for HDB, private homes dip in July: SRX Property

Rental prices for Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats fell 0.1 per cent in July from the previous month, according to data released by SRX Property on Friday (Aug 14).

Rentals for 3-room, 4-room and 5-room flats saw rental prices decline by 0.4 per cent, 0.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent, respectively. Bucking the trend were executive flats, with a 0.5 per cent increase, SRX Property said.

Year-on-year, rental prices for HDB flats in July were down 0.7 per cent, and were down 6.1 per cent compared with its peak in August 2013.

Rental volume also declined, with an estimated 1,692 flats rented in July, down 5.4 per cent from the 1,788 units rented the previous month, SRX Property said.

PRIVATE HOMES’ RENTS DOWN

Rental prices in the non-landed private residential market fell 0.3 per cent in July compared with the previous month, according to SRX Property.

Units in the Core Central Region saw a 0.4 per cent decrease in rent, and those in the Rest of Central Region and Outside Central Region saw decreases of 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively.

On a year-on-year basis, rents in July were down 5.7 per cent, and down 12.5 per cent compared with its peak in January 2013.

Rental volume rose from June’s 3,866 units to an estimated 4,147 units in July, SRX Property said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 14 Aug 2015

HDB resale volume slumps 9.2% in July: SRX Property

After hitting a two-year high in June, the resale volume of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats slumped 9.2 per cent in July, according to flash estimates released by SRX Property on Thursday (Aug 6).

A total of 1,552 HDB resale flats were sold last month, down from the 1,709 transacted units in June. However, compared to a year ago, resale volume was up 15.6 per cent.

Resale prices fell 0.5 per cent in July after four consecutive months of increase. Prices of three-room flats remained flat, while prices of four-, five-room and executive flats fell 0.7 per cent, 1.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively.

Overall resale prices were down 4.3 per cent compared to a year ago, SRX Property said.

TOX TURNS NEGATIVE

The overall median Transaction Over X-Value (TOX), which measures whether people are overpaying or underpaying SRX Property’s estimated market value, fell from S$1,000 in June to -S$1,000 last month.

For HDB towns with more than 10 resale transactions in July, Bukit Merah posted the highest median TOX of S$6,000, followed by Ang Mo Kio with S$4,000. The lowest median TOX were in Pasir Ris and Bukit Panjang with -S$11,000 and -S$6,700, respectively.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 6 Aug 2015

Tepid showing in executive condo market continues

The response to the latest batch of executive condominium (ECs) projects has been tepid, with about 2,200 EC units remaining on the shelves as of June 2015, the highest in almost a decade.

The largest EC development to date, Sol Acres, received 800 e-applications for its 1,327 units when online subscription closed on Sunday (Jul 26), while The Brownstone EC, located along Canberra Drive, sold just under a third of its 638 units in the opening weekend.

Sol Acres EC will open for booking on Aug 22. Developer CDL said the units in Choa Chu Kang were sold at an average of about S$810 psf, with prices starting from S$596,000 for a two-bedroom, S$695,200 for a three-bedroom, S$835,200 for a four-bedroom and S$1.316 million for a penthouse.

In a statement, it added that the three- and four-bedroom apartments enjoyed particularly good take-up rates. All six of the five-bedroom penthouses have been sold out. About 65 per cent of those who purchased units at The Brownstone were first-time buyers, CDL said.

Developers of The Vales EC, which opened for booking more than a week ago, sold about 100 units, less than 20 per cent of the total 517 units. Developer Singhaiyi said most of the units sold are the three- and four- bedroom units.

In November last year, developers of Lake Life EC sold more than 95 per cent of the units in just two days. Since then, response in the market to new projects has been less than warm. Market watchers said it is a sign that recent projects are adding to the pool of unsold units.

Nicholas Mak, executive director of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants said: “During the heyday of the EC launch market that was in 2011 to 2013, the number of e-applications each EC project can sometimes achieve is double of the number of units available.

“One of the reasons why the demand was strong was also because of rising HDB resale and condominium prices. When prices of the mass market condos are rising very rapidly, it begins to go out of reach of some HDB upgraders who will then turn to the EC market as an alternative. But right now, the prices of mass market condominiums are sliding and HDB resale prices are also fairly stagnant.”

Market watchers also said the 30 per cent mortgage servicing ratio cap and resale levy imposed on second-time buyers have also curbed demand. Second-timers have to pay up to S$50,000 levy when buying an EC unit.

“For an EC project, typically the number of second-timers is about 50 per cent, so definitely the resale levy has hit them quite hard,” senior manager of research and consultancy at OrangeTee Wong Xian Yang said.

With talk of an impending increase in the income cap for EC buyers, analysts said this could provide some respite for the EC market.

CEO of Century 21 Singapore Ku Swee Yong said: “Revising the household income cap on EC market would definitely help to increase the demand. But a family with household salary of S$13,000 or S$14,000 might also consider the ample supply of private properties.”

Analysts also said this is especially so if mass market condominiums are reasonably priced. For instance, buyers were quick to snap up units at High Park Residences condominium in Fernvale, which average below S$1,000 psf. Almost 80 per cent of the 1,390 units have been sold.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 28 Jul 2015

MPs renew calls to scrap or tweak DBSS scheme

With several Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) projects coming under fire recently for defects, some Members of Parliament (MPs) have renewed calls for the scheme to scrapped or tweaked, citing the blurred lines of accountability and low public confidence in the quality of these projects.

In a Facebook post last week, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar Nair said he hoped for the Housing and Development Board (HDB) scheme to be “shelved permanently”. It was suspended in 2011, after a public outcry over the high prices of the Centrale 8 development in Tampines.

Acknowledging the intention behind the premium housing programme, which was meant to bridge the gap between private and public housing, Mr Hri Kumar told TODAY that confusion may have arisen over the housing board’s obligations. “Because this is public housing, the expectation is that not only will HDB oversee the development, they’re supposed to work with the developer to resolve all defects. And because there is such an expectation, there is also disappointment when that did not happen.”

For example, in 2013, residents of DBSS project The Peak@Toa Payoh, had approached him over the mysterious appearance of black spots on their wooden flooring. The developer initially maintained the fault lay with the residents, but offered replacements for free when preliminary tests suggested otherwise. “Residents expressed the hope that the HDB would play a more active role in helping to solve the issue,” said Mr Hri Kumar. Had the developer refused to acknowledge the defect, residents would have had to start legal proceedings, which would not have been cost-effective for most.

Mr Hri Kumar’s comments came after MPs voiced concerns in Parliament over the HDB’s role in resolving disputes over defects in DBSS projects. Some also questioned the future of the scheme, prompting Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee to say there was no need to rush into a decision when market conditions could change. “There may well be reasons to bring back the DBSS in some form,” he said.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, seconded the call to can the DBSS for good. The scheme was well-intended, but problems arise when the final product does not meet residents’ expectations, said Mr Liang, who is also deputy chair of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for National Development and Environment.

The cooling of the private property market has also made such homes more attainable to Singaporeans. “With prices coming down, there may not be a need for a separate category (of housing),” said Mr Liang.

At the same time, newer Build-to-Order (BTO) projects are catching up in quality. Referring to Punggol Northshore, a BTO project featuring smart homes, Mr Gan Thiam Poh, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, added: “If you look at today’s public housing projects, the design is already quite impressive. It’s time to streamline.”

If the Government does not want to abolish the scheme, adjustments should be made, said parliamentarians. MP for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah, who is also chairman of the GPC for National Development and Environment, said the gaps such as the supervision of the workmanship quality, the finishing and the design, can be plugged to ensure that expectations are met.

Another solution, proposed Mr Hri Kumar, is to have private developers design and build, while the HDB sells the flats. “So the resident only deals with the HDB, instead of the private developer. At least it’s clearer to everyone where the responsibility lies,” he said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 23 Jul 2015

About 640 e-applications received for Brownstone EC

Developers of the latest executive condominium (EC) project The Brownstone have received about 640 e-applications since they first opened on Jul 10.

City Developments said e-applications for the 638-unit EC will close later on Monday (Jul 20), with booking to start this Saturday.

E-applications are typically an indication of interest in an EC project, although applicants are not obliged to buy when sales open. Indicative pricing shows that units at The Brownstone start from S$599,000 for a two-bedroom condominium, to about S$1.3 million for a five-bedroom penthouse.

Several EC projects will come on the market this month. The 517-unit The Vales at Anchorvale Crescent already opened for sales last Saturday, while e-applications for the 1,327-unit Sol Acres, located at Choa Chu Kang, are underway.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 20 Jul 2015

Private homes rents dip, HDB rents up marginally in June: SRX Property

Rental prices for non-landed private residences fell by 0.5 per cent in June compared to May, according to flash estimates released by SRX Property on Wednesday (Jul 15).

Non-landed private property units in the Core Central Region and Outside Central Region saw rental prices fall by 0.8 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively, while units in the Rest of Central Region saw no change.

June’s rents were down 6.5 per cent year-on-year, and down 12.4 per cent from its peak in January 2013, SRX Property said.

An estimated 3,777 units were rented in June, a 1 per cent increase from the 3,739 units rented in the previous month.

Year-on-year, rental volume was 15.4 per cent higher than the 3,273 units rented in June 2014.

HDB RENTS UP SLIGHTLY

HDB rental prices rose 0.1 per cent in June compared to the previous month. HDB 3- and 5-Room flats posted a 0.3 and 1.2 per cent increase in rents, respectively, said SRX Property.

In contrast, rental prices of 4-Room and Executive flats both fell by 0.5 per cent month-on-month.

Year-on-year, rents in June were down 1.8 per cent, and 6.1 per cent compared with its peak in August 2013. Rents in mature estates remain unchanged, while non-mature estates posted a 0.1 per cent increase.

There were 1,902 HDB flats rented in June, almost unchanged from the 1,900 units rented in the previous month.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Jul 2015

No compromise in quality despite increase in BTO flats: MND

Despite a significant ramping up in the Build-To-Order (BTO) programme over the last four years, the quality of the flats has not been compromised, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said in Parliament on Monday (Jul 13).

Responding to questions from several MPs on defects in BTO flats, Mr Lee said that an average of one-third of all new residents approach the Building Service Centre for assistance with defects after collecting their keys.

About 25 per cent of these requests for assistance relate to issues such as low water pressure due to compliance with water saving measures, as well as paint stains that need to be cleaned, he said. The majority of the other requests are because of surface imperfections such as hairline cracks on walls, scratches on timber floor, or uneven tile joints, he said, adding that the number of defects reported has not changed significantly.

Citing the Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) score, an indicator by the Building and Construction Authority which measures the quality of buildings, Mr Lee said the quality of BTO flats has improved from a score of 79 in 2003 to 89 in 2014.

“Such imperfections are mostly within acceptable industry norms and these are also common in private developments. They can and should be rectified quickly by the contractors, and do not affect the structural integrity or safety of the building.”

There is a “system of checks” in place to ensure that BTO flats are free of major defects, Mr Lee said.

“However, due to the high dependency on workmanship of individual workers, we can expect that there will be some defects,” he said. “Sometimes, this is due to differences in the understanding of what constitutes a defect. For example, some owners have given feedback on colour inconsistencies for floors with timber finishes. As timber is a natural product, it is not possible to achieve a perfectly homogenous look.”

Mr Lee said that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has “zero tolerance” for defects which may compromise structural or safety standards, or which deviate significantly from what has been promised to buyers.

LEGAL RECOURSE

On the recent complaints of defects in various projects under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), Mr Lee said that developers are contractually obliged to build the units in a “good and workman-like manner”.

“DBSS projects are developed by different private developers, who may offer varying fixtures and finishes for their project. The feedback on the quality of finishes would differ from project to project,” he said.

Nonetheless, residents who face issues with the quality of the flats may report them to the Building Service Centre managed by the developer during the Defects Liability Period, Mr Lee said. If the developer fails to address them, the buyers will have legal recourse against the developer as provided for under the Sales and Purchase Agreement.

Reports of unhappiness over defects in DBSS projects such as Trivelis in Clementi and Centrale 8 in Tampines have emerged in the past two months.

A special taskforce, which Education Minister and MP for Tampines GRC Heng Swee Keat will oversee, has also been formed to look into the complaints of residents living in the Centrale 8 project.

Responding to questions from MPs including opposition leader Low Thia Khiang on HDB’s role in the DBBS projects, Mr Lee said the HDB sets the broad parameters, within which the private developers are given the flexibility to build and sell.

“And because of that it (the developer) takes the responsibility for its private development work … the sales and purchase is in black and white and it is with the residents and the developer,” said Mr Lee.

“But having said that, that is not to say that the HDB entirely takes no responsibility at all, does not do anything at all. That is clearly not the experience,” he added.

Mr Lee cited how HDB, despite not being a party to the agreement, had followed up on concerns from residents living in the Trivelis project with the developer and the advisers to reach a resolution.

“So for example in Trivelis, it’s public knowledge that the developer has made an offer to residents,” he said.

Mr Lee said the HDB had also met with DBSS developers during the design stage to share the agency’s experiences from DBSS projects, and also to provide feedback in areas such as safety, security, durability, civil and structural design considerations.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 13 Jul 2015

Brownstone EC receives relatively strong response in opening weekend

The latest Executive Condominium (EC) project, located in Canberra Drive in the northern part of Singapore, has received relatively strong response in its opening weekend.

The Brownstone received about 300 e-applications over the weekend of Jul 11 and 12, with more than 2,000 visitors at its sales gallery. This was despite a highly competitive market with a number of new EC launches in recent months.

Property watchers said the 638-unit EC is attractive primarily because of its location next to the upcoming Canberra MRT station.

Said ERA’s Key Executive Officer Eugene Lim: “The project is located within the northern part of Singapore and is slated to be the next high growth area to be developed into a commercial, as well as lifestyle hub.

“Secondly, we are a short distance from the upcoming Canberra MRT station, and generally projects near MRTs tend to attract a larger crowd.

“Thirdly, we have a huge support base, as we are surrounded by a very established HDB housing estate in Yishun, Sembawang and Woodlands, and this will provide a huge base for upgraders into the EC market.”

Units are priced from S$599,000 for a two-bedroom condo to about S$1.3 million for a five-bedroom penthouse.

ECs were introduced to cater to Singaporeans who find private property out of their reach. To be eligible, buyers’ gross monthly household income must not exceed S$12,000.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 12 Jul 2015