Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Curbs on backdoor buys of landed homes

Business Times: Tue, Apr 03
(SINGAPORE) Starting today , Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will no longer allow strata landed homes to be built in projects with 'condominium' status.

Market watchers say that this will effectively close an avenue which has allowed foreigners to buy strata landed homes within such projects without having to seek permission from the Singapore Land Authority's Land Dealings (Approval) Unit.

However, foreigners can continue to buy such strata landed homes in existing condos and in condo projects that have yet to be built but already approved by URA.

In a circular issued yesterday evening, URA said it has observed that 'in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of condominium proposals comprising a mix of strata landed and apartment units within the same development'.

Analysts list D'Leedon in the Farrer Road area, Thomson Grand, euHabitat at Jalan Eunos, Archipelago facing Bedok Reservoir Park and Woodhaven in Woodlands, among the projects with 'condo' status containing strata landed homes. Developers have taken to including some strata landed homes within their condo projects to cater to the strong demand for such landed homes from foreign buyers, who don't need LDAU's permission to buy them.

In contrast, foreigners wishing to buy any other type of landed homes, including units in a pure strata landed housing development, need LDAU's approval. They have to fulfil certain criteria before LDAU will give the nod, including being a Singapore permanent resident and making significant economic contribution to Singapore. However, under a further tightening in approval criteria last year, approvals to PRs to buy landed homes is expected to fall.

Sentosa Cove is the only place in Singapore where even non-Singapore PR foreigners may purchase a landed home, although still subject to obtaining LDAU approval.

Foreigners have increasingly taken to buying strata landed homes in projects with 'condominium' status.

A URA spokesperson said that for the whole of 2011, 97 strata landed housing units in condominiums were sold by developers, of which about 90 per cent were bought by foreigners (including PRs).

For the whole of 2010, 16 strata landed housing units in condominiums were sold by developers, of which about 60 per cent were bought by foreigners (including PRs)...

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Team Marshe
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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