Marine Cove at East Coast Park to reopen end-June

Visitors to East Coast Park can look forward to more parking lots, dining options and a 3,500sqm children’s playground at the redeveloped Marine Cove, set to reopen at the end of this month.

The playground is set to open to the public on Jun 29, while five food and beverage outlets will open progressively from Jun 28 onwards, National Parks Board (NParks) said on Friday (Jun 24).

The 3,500sqm children’s playground comes with a range of equipment suitable for children of various ages, NParks said. There is a three-storey play tower, which comes with three slides of different levels and a rope bridge, for children between five and 12 years old.

For children aged two to five, they have a play area that comes with talking tubes, fun mirrors and a drum set.

The playground will also have inclusive play equipment for children of different abilities to play together, said NParks. This includes special needs equipment such as sensory play panels.

Marine Cove was closed in 2012 for redevelopment, and the upgraded location was “developed based on a family and lifestyle concept with a focus on providing recreation for families”, NParks said.

The family-friendly facilities include a new standalone public toilet facility which incorporates toilets, sinks and shower facilities tailored to young children.

EASIER ACCESS, MORE DINING OPTIONS

With the redevelopment also comes increased access to the area, said NParks. Car parks C2 and C3 have been reconfigured, with more parking lots added. A new linkway has also been built to connect the dining outlets with the nearby underpass to Marine Terrace.

Car park C2 will have 331 parking lots, with 36 motorcycle lots and four handicapped lots, while car park C3 will have 99 parking lots, with 24 motorcycles lots and two handicapped lots.

The footpaths at Marine Cove have also been designed to be wheelchair-friendly and accessible for parents with baby strollers.

Returning to the redeveloped Marine Cove is McDonald’s, which had a popular branch at East Coast Park for more than 30 years. It will be joined by other food and beverage outlets such as Babalicious, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, My Briyani House and Hill Street Coffee Shop. These will open progressively from Jun 28 onwards.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who is a Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC, wrote about Marine Cove’s redevelopment in a Facebook post on Friday.

“With the redevelopment, more open spaces have been freed up at Marine Cove and park users will have a clear view of the sea,” he said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 24 Jun 2016

Executive Condominium site at Sengkang goes on sale

An Executive Condominium (EC) site in Sengkang which could yield about 653 homes has been released for public tender, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said on Wednesday (Jun 29).

The 21,014.6 sqm site in Anchorvale Lane is located beside Punggol Reservoir and can be accessed via Tongkang LRT station.

The site is on the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales Programme for the first half of this year, which means the site is put up for sale even if there are no initial expressions of interest by developers.

The tender for the 99-year leasehold site will close at 12pm on Aug 23, HDB said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 29 Jun 2016

Private apartment rents edge down in May; HDB rents remain flat: Property index

Rental prices for Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats remained flat in May, while those for non-landed private properties decreased by 0.6 per cent compared to April 2016, according to flash estimates by SRX Property.

Rental volume increased by 5.8 per cent, with about 4,400 units rented in May – up from 4,158 the previous month.

Year-on-year, rental prices for private apartments were down 5.2 per cent. Private apartments in the city fringes saw the biggest drop in rent at 8.1 per cent, while those in the Core Central Region and Outside Central Region saw decreases of 1.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively.

HDB RENTAL VOLUME UP

For the month of May, rents for HDB three-room flats remained the same. HDB four-room flats posted a 0.4 per cent increase in rents, while HDB 5 Rooms and Executive rents posted a 0.1% and 1.5% decrease, respectively.

Rental volume for HDB flats saw a 1.5 per cent increase in May. About 2,005 HDB flats were rented, compared to 1,975 units in April.

Year-on-year, HDB rents in May were down by 3.8 per cent, and were down 9.7 per cent compared to its peak in August 2013, according to data from SRX Property.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Jun 2016

Private home sales up 41.7% in May

Sales of new private homes rose 41.7 per cent in May, an improvement from the number of private units sold the previous month.

Excluding executive condominiums (ECs), property developers sold 1,056 units last month compared with the 745 units sold in April, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showed on Wednesday (Jun 15).

A total of 1,388 units – including ECs – were sold, up from April’s 1,291 units. The top sellers were the new launches, GEM Residences (312 units) and Stars Of Kovan (76 units).

According to ERA’s Key Executive Officer Eugene Lim, investors were the main driver of sales at these projects, with 1 and 2 bedroom units at GEM Residences being the most popular among buyers.

Projects which are located near MRT stations continue to be favoured by buyers, with projects such as The Poiz Residences, Sturdee Residences and The Panorama among the best-selling projects in the month, he said.

“This shows that there is sustained demand for existing projects,” added Mr Lim. “Buyers are discerning, they go for projects which offer them the best value for their money.”

PropNex added that the transaction volume will continue to be launch-driven, as well as largely dependent on the price and location of the project. The luxury segment is also showing signs of a pickup due to strong performance of OUE Twinpeaks, it said.

“Sales performance will likely hover at an average of about 500 to 700 units per month for the rest of the year. For the whole of 2016, we envisage sales volume to be between 7,000 to 8,000 units in all,” said PropNex CEO Ismail Gafoor. “In Q3, the upcoming launches of Northwave and Treasure Crest ECs, and Lake Grande boost volume as developers look to step up their launch activities before the Hungry Ghost Festival hits in August.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Jun 2016

Katong Shopping Centre put up for collective sale for a third time

Katong Shopping Centre has been put up for collective sale for the third time.

The reserve price is set at S$630 million. This translates to a land price of S$2,248 per square foot per plot ratio.

The mall, which contains 425 units, sits on a freehold plot of nearly 87,000 square feet. Situated along Mountbatten Road, it houses among others, offices, employment agencies, printing and tailoring services shops, and eateries.

According to marketing agent Cushman & Wakefield, owners controlling at least 80 per cent of the share value and total area have agreed to the proposed sale.

The mall launched its first attempt at an en bloc sale in January 2010 for S$445 million. The deal fell through, and a second attempt was launched in June 2014.

Katong Shopping Centre was Singapore’s first air-conditioned mall when it opened its doors in 1973.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Jun 2016

Clarity in property cooling measures would help retailers, says Courts CEO

As retail players in the Republic recalibrate their strategies to stay afloat amid turbulent times, more clarity from the Government over property cooling measures is needed, said Mr Terry O’Connor, CEO of mainboard-listed electrical, IT and furniture retailer Courts Asia.

“We need some certainty in terms of what the policies are going to be and hope to see some long-term direction in the residential property sector soon. The worst thing is to label something as temporary as it gives nobody any directions. The future of the retail industry will be better when the needs of property owners, retailers and government agencies are completely aligned,” said Mr O’Connor in an interview with TODAY. As a leading retailer of household appliances, consumer electronics and furniture, Courts’ fortunes are closely tied to the health of the housing market.

The Government has imposed multiple rounds of property cooling measures and loan curbs since 2009 to tame the runaway housing market. When it announced the new Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty and loan rules in 2013, the Government said the measures would be temporary and will be reviewed depending on market conditions.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong in April reiterated the official stance not to roll back the measures, saying it was “too early to declare victory”. Private home prices in Singapore surged more than 60 per cent after the global financial crisis in 2009 to peak in the third quarter of 2013. Since then, prices have declined 9.1 per cent over 10 consecutive quarters, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority data.

The Government also needs to pay more attention to the zoning of land for retail use, said Mr O’Connor. “There is no special place for flagship stores and there (is) lots of space for smaller stores. That is low productivity because of poor zoning,” he said.

Retailers will be more efficient if areas are marked specifically for high-end, mid-tier or boutique outlets, as is the case in the United States and several other developed countries. Tighter labour restrictions here have also resulted in hiring challenges and added to costs, he added.

While the economic outlook in Singapore, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the company’s overall turnover, remains soft in the short term, Courts anticipates demand for household appliances and furniture to sustain over the medium term. The firm reported last month a 16.8 per cent growth in annual net profit to S$20.3 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, boosted by its efforts to cut costs and drive productivity.

In its latest financial results statement, Courts noted that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) plans to launch a total of 18,000 build-to-order flats for 2016. It added that the resale markets for public and private non-landed housing have also been encouraging, with the volume of HDB resale flats and private home sales increasing 10.3 and 17.6 per cent, respectively, in April from March.

Looking ahead, Courts plans to optimise retail floor space, pruning it to about 80 per cent of the current area on average, depending mainly on its sales mix as it tilts towards e-commerce. The retailer operates a chain of 15 outlets in Singapore focusing on the heartland market.

“Our store sizes overall will shrink for greater efficiency,” said Mr O’Connor. “This is largely driven by two factors: Our focus on e-commerce and the miniaturisation of the products. It is also about right-sizing the store for the catchment. In the future, our stores will be 80 to 85 per cent of our current size … I would not open a store in the remote part of the island without the cluster effect, or a megastore in the Central Business District. It is just not in the natural order of the way things are moving.”

The industry, meanwhile, has slipped into a relatively quiet zone in the product life cycle, throwing up challenges for retailers given the lack of breakthrough products.

On a brighter note, Mr O’Connor said weaker rentals mean Courts can pass on some cost savings to consumers and price its products more competitively. Besides price cuts, Courts will be making investments to enhance the consumer shopping experience.

“These are turbulent times,” he said. “It is difficult both at the macro and industry level. We have sharpened our prices, innovated our ranges and turned the breadth of our product offerings into our key strength. It is indeed a good time to invest.

“For the first time in many years, it is now a tenants’ market. As much as I want to see policy shifting and stimulus at the national level to help demand, the demand might sort itself out in the sense that landlords are waking up to a different world. We have re-negotiated five of the stores on absolute rental reductions for the next three years,” he added.

While the emergence of e-commerce has disrupted the retail sector, the white-goods sector remains relatively unaffected.

“In relative terms, despite the hype around it, the online penetration of large and bulky, touch-and-feel type products is low versus those which people are more sure (of) in terms of product specification and usage. The opportunity for us is in an omni-channel strategy with stores as a collective.”

About 50 per cent of the retailer’s customers who buy online pick up the products in-store, suggesting that they do not object to store visits but object to wasted store visits, he noted.

Courts also operates 64 stores in Malaysia and plans to grow this to 70 stores this year, said Mr O’Connor. He added that its Singapore expansion strategy is dependent on the availability of “right space at (the) right price”.

Source: Today – 6 June 2016

Resale prices for private apartments up 0.4% in May: Property index

The resale prices for non-landed private residential flats inched up in May, with resale volume also increasing, according to estimates released by SRX Property on Thursday (Jun 9).

On a month-on-month basis, resale prices were up 0.4 per cent last month. Compared to a year ago, prices increased by 0.2 per cent.

In individual sectors, the Core Central Region and Rest of Central Region posted a year-on-year price increase of 4.7 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively, while the Outside Central Region recorded a year-on-year price decrease of 2.0 per cent.

An estimated 840 non-landed private residential units were resold in May, which is an increase of 35.7 per cent compared to the 619 units resold last month.

TOX NEGATIVE

The overall median Transaction Over X-Value (TOX), which measures whether people are overpaying or underpaying SRX Property’s estimated market value, fell to -S$8,000, compared to a S$1,000 increase in April.

For districts with more than 10 resale transactions in May 2016, District 11 (Watten Estate, Novena, Thomson) posted the highest median TOX at S$16,000. The lowest median TOX was at District 17 (Changi, Loyang), which posted a TOX of -S$36,000.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 14 Jun 2016

HDB resale prices inch up 0.2% in May: Property index

The resale prices of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats inched up in May, but resale volume remained flat, according to estimates released by SRX Property on Thursday (Jun 9).

On a month-on-month basis, HDB resale prices were up 0.2 per cent last month. Compared to a year ago, prices remained flat.

Resale prices of three-room and five-room flats rose by 0.7 per cent, while prices of executive flats increased by 0.4 per cent. In contrast, the resale prices of four-room flats decreased by 0.7 per cent.

A total of 1,826 resale flats were sold in May, similar to the 1,828 units transacted in April. However, compared to a year ago, resale volume was up 15.9 per cent.

TOX NEGATIVE

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

For HDB towns with more than 10 resale transactions, Sembawang posted the highest median TOX of S$6,000, followed by Geylang with S$3,500. The lowest median TOX were in Hougang at -S$12,000, followed by Ang Mo Kio at -S$7,500.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 9 Jun 2016

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