Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some property sites pack them in, some leave more breathing space

(SINGAPORE) Five projects on sites sold under the 2006-2010 state land sales programmes will yield at least 50 per cent more units than the state's estimates for these sites indicated in the respective Government Land Sale (GLS) Programmes, shows a study by Savills Singapore.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are sites whose developers are building fewer units than the numbers indicated in the GLS Programme, including two projects from Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong Holdings - The Vision in the West Coast area and Thomson Grand at Upper Thomson Road. The 361-unit Thomson Grand, released last month, does not have any one bedders. And two, three and four-bedders have relatively generous sizes, starting from 904 sq ft, 1,346 sq ft and 1,658 sq ft respectively. In addition, the project has strata terrace houses, with strata areas of 5,102-6,566 sq ft.

Thomson Grand's total 361 units is about 10 per cent shy of the 400-unit potential supply for the site on which it is being developed as stated in the H2 2009 GLS Programme.

Two Far East Organization projects will also yield fewer units than the estimate in the GLS Programme - Mi Casa condo at Choa Chu Kang Drive and the recently released Boathouse Residences at Upper Serangoon View. The latter is a joint venture with Frasers Centrepoint and Sekisui House.

Far East has stronger representation in the list of projects that will yield more units than estimated in the GLS Programme - with projects such as The Tennery in Bukit Panjang, The Greenwich in Seletar, Woodhaven in Woodlands and euHabitat at Jalan Eunos. All four projects have substantial proportion of total units between 500 sq ft and 800 sq ft, in some cases in what is dubbed SoHo-style one-bedders.

'Over the years, Far East Organization has built a large portfolio of successful themed and well-laid out residential projects. Last year, we introduced the SoHo apartments with higher floor-to-ceiling height at our mixed-use developments The Greenwich in Seletar Hills and The Tennery located above the Ten Mile Junction LRT Station, which were well received by homebuyers,' said Far East's chief operating officer for property sales, Chia Boon Kuah.

In June and July this year, the property giant unveiled two condo projects, Woodhaven and euHabitat, which not only have SoHo-style apartments and normal condo units but also incorporated strata townhouses. 'These different housing options . . . cater to the varying needs of home buyers,' Mr Chia said.

Market watchers note that foreigners (including Singapore permanent residents) may purchase strata landed homes within developments with condominium status without seeking approval from the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit.

Said Mr Chia: 'Our townhouses at Woodhaven and euHabitat have seen demand from both Singapore permanent residents and foreigners.'

Whether buyers are foreigners or Singaporeans, a strong draw of such strata landed homes within condo projects is the access to a wider range of facilities and a larger landscaped area.

Based on Savills' study, Kovan Grandeur at Tampines Road has the highest percentage of 'surplus units' over the estimates in the GLS Programme. The 74 apartments in the project are 111 per cent higher than the 35 units stated in the H1 2010 GLS Programme.

'As the site for Kovan Grandeur was planned for either a landed or apartment project, the GLS Programme's estimated supply for the site could have been based on a landed development, resulting in the substantial discrepancy between the actual number (74 units) and estimated number (35 units),' suggests Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.

Other projects in the 2006-2010 GLS sites with the actual number of units exceeding the estimate in the GLS Programme by over 50 per cent include The Woods at Westwood Avenue (86 per cent 'surplus' units), The Tennery (69 per cent), Suites at Orchard (57 per cent) and Skysuites@Anson (53 per cent).

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