Friday, June 15, 2012

Sites for 14,185 homes up for sale

Straits Times: Thu, Jun 14
THE Government is moving to keep up with the red-hot demand for property by rolling out 39 sale sites in the second half of the year that could yield 14,185 homes.

Several of the plots are in suburban areas like Punggol, Sengkang and Jurong, where demand, especially for executive condominiums, remains high.

The release of land is in line with the previous six months' supply. For the first half of this year, supply that could accommodate 14,140 units was released, while in the second half of last year, it was 14,195.

The National Development Ministry said yesterday that despite the 86,000 private homes in the pipeline - of which 38,000 remain unsold - demand for private housing remains strong.

The new land release comprises a mix of residential, commercial, hotel and mixed-use sites, with 15 plots on the confirmed list and 24 on the reserve list.

Confirmed list sites go on sale regardless of interest, while those on the reserve list are put up for tender only if developers make an acceptable initial offer.

Sales figures suggest developers will be eager for more land.

An average of 2,290 homes were sold in each of the first four months of the year, well ahead of the monthly average of 1,300 units from 2008 to last year.

However, prices remained mostly flat, with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) price index inching down 0.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year.

Many of the newly released residential sites are in the suburbs, with executive condo plots making up half of all confirmed list residential sites.

Experts say this indicates the Government's intent to keep catering to the so-called 'sandwich class' - likely first-time home buyers and HDB upgraders with a monthly household income of $10,000 to $12,000.

They say demand for land is also expected to remain healthy, but noted that areas like Pasir Ris, Punggol and Sengkang have hosted many new launches, so interest might be more subdued.

Mr Png Poh Soon, head of research at Knight Frank, said executive condos featured strongly in the latest sales programme as they are priced attractively and have seen strong interest from developers and home buyers.

But some experts have raised concerns of an oversupply once homes built on sites released since the Government Land Sales programme was ramped up in the second half of 2010 hit the market.

The ministry yesterday also said that a further 80,280 sq m of commercial space will be made available on the confirmed list. This includes a site in Jurong as part of plans to develop commercial hubs outside the city.

Six hotel sites are up for grabs on the reserve list, potentially adding to the 12,000 rooms already in the pipeline...
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