Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Property price rises ease in Chinese cities


The Straits Times
September 17, 2012

A NEW record has been set for an HUDC flat.
The 1,680 sq ft maisonette along Shunfu Road was sold in July for $1.28million, topping last year's $1.22million sum for a 1,668 sq ft HUDC flat in the same area. This works out to about $762 per sq ft for the new record.

The sale was listed by data-crunching firm Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX), which collates sales by major property agencies. It accounts for about 85per cent of resale transactions.

Last Thursday, a Queenstown executive flat sold for $1 million, beating a record set by a Bishan executive maisonette when it sold for $980,000 a week earlier.

HUDC units have been attracting ever-larger bids due to their roomy interiors. The average HUDC flat is about 1,650 sq ft. A standard HDB five-room flat is smaller, at around 1,200 sq ft.

SRX records show that in the past two years, for example, the majority of sales above $1 million for yet-to-be privatised HUDC estates were from the six blocks of flats in Shunfu Ville, near Marymount MRT station.

Property agent Sherry Tang, who brokered the deal, said the 358 units there typically attract cash premiums of up to $100,000 above a flat's valuation.

She added that units from these estates are transacted like private properties but are tagged with certain HDB restrictions, such as eligibility criteria.

"Buyers are drawn by the size, location and en bloc potential," she said, "whereas sellers are typically older folk, or those who find the flats too large to maintain and cash out to move to a smaller flat".

Farrer Court estate, privatised in 2002, was sold for a jaw-dropping $1.34billion in 2007 - a collective sale record. Each owner at the 618-unit estate pocketed about $2.1million on average.

Analysts said buyers of such flats are paying for the larger sizes, nearby amenities and a possible windfall in the coming years.

"Most buyers go for the rarity of the flat, the large space, location and possibly renovation works done," said ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research at property consultancy SLP International, said the popularity of HUDC flats may have risen in part because some smaller suburban condominiums cost about the same as an HUDC flat.

"HDB upgraders may find the liveable space in such condos too small for that price, so they spend on an HUDC unit," he said.

A Housing Board spokesman yesterday said prices of these flats, transacted in the open market, are a private matter between a willing buyer and seller.

"From time to time, there will be such high resale prices due to unique individual characteristics.

"But they are the exceptions rather than the norm," she said.

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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