Thursday, August 23, 2012

Parking crunch at new condos

Straits Times: Thu, Aug 23

THE growth of public transport and a chronic lack of space are prompting developers to cut back on the number of carpark spaces in private condominiums.

Many new condos now typically provide one space per dwelling unit - meeting the minimum requirement stipulated by the Land Transport Authority - while those for visitors are being chopped altogether.

"Owners have the flexibility to provide more parking spaces, over and above this requirement to cater to their development's needs," said its spokesman.

But certain projects in the city and Marina Bay and those close to MRT stations can have fewer carpark spaces than the prescribed minimum, and providing visitor spaces is not mandatory.

Experts say the high cost of land has led to developers looking to maximise their gross floor area on homes rather than on parking.

Some recently launched condos highlight the trend. The 473-unit Seastrand in Pasir Ris has 473 spaces, excluding four handicap ones; there are 892 spaces at the 892-unit The Palette, including 10 handicap ones.

Take the Arc at Tampines, an executive condominium with 574 units. It has a seven-storey carpark with 574 parking spaces.

Consultants believe home buyers may not realise the parking crunch until they move in.

Chris International director Chris Koh said the lack of ample parking will be a challenge for owners with more than one car. Visitors may also be frustrated when told they cannot park in the condo.

Older developments built on larger plots are typically more generous. For instance, the 1,000-unit Mandarin Gardens condo in Siglap Road has 500 spaces for visitors or for owners with second cars, Mr Koh added.

ERA Realty Network senior marketing manager Andrew Phee said owner-occupiers are often the ones concerned about parking while investment buyers are less worried, "as they feel most tenants do not drive, have one car at most or rely on public transport instead".

Condos like Kembangan Suites and Attitude @ Kim Yam have mechanised carparks - drivers drop off their cars to be parked under a computerised system - but Mr Phee said many buyers see this as inconvenient and often opt for projects with normal parking.

Developers say that locality - the proximity of an MRT station, for example - and the profile of buyers and their lifestyle are considered when deciding on providing parking spaces.

A City Developments spokesman said that at most of its projects, especially the larger ones, the parking spaces are usually not fully used. There are also sufficient visitor spaces.

"Usually, the number of spaces available for visitors can vary between 5 and 10 per cent of the total parking spaces," he added.

Human resource manager Alexia Tng, 29, said the number of carpark spaces is not a major concern as she is looking for a project near an MRT station. "My fiance and I are not planning to buy a car yet so our key criteria are affordability and location."

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)

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