UNDER THE HAMMER: Detached house in Hougang going for $5.2 mil

UNDER THE HAMMER: Detached house in Hougang going for $5.2 mil

The three-storey detached house at 37 Jalan Kechubong that will be up for auction on June 19 (Credit: Knight Frank Singapore)

A three-storey detached house at 37 Jalan Kechubong, in Hougang, will be put up for auction on June 19 for the second time this year. The guide price is $5.2 million ($1,001 psf), and this will be an owner’s sale.

The property, located in District 28, was first put up for auction for the first time this year on May 30, also at the guide price of $5.2 million, says Sharon Lee, senior director and head of auction and sales at Knight Frank. Lee is marketing the property.

Sitting on a land plot of 5,195 sq ft and with a built-up area of 5,200 sq ft, the house has eight bedrooms spread across three levels, which Lee says will serve large families well.

The first level has two bedrooms, a toilet and a maid’s room, living and dining areas, as well as a kitchen. On the second level, there are a “huge” en-suite master bedroom, two bedrooms that share a common bathroom, and a family area, according to Knight Frank. The third level, too, has a master bedroom, two bedrooms, and a family area.


For price trends, recent transactions, other project info, check out the detached house at Jalan Kechubong details page


The living room of the property (Credit: Knight Frank Singapore)

The home boasts unblocked views of the Gerald Mugliston housing estate from the third level. The owner is looking to downsize, as he has no need for such a big space since his children are already grown up, shares Lee. The family has had this home for close to 20 years, she adds.

The property is in a quiet cul-de-sac, sitting on higher land in a pleasant residential area with easy access to major expressways like the Central Expressway, says Knight Frank. It is also near malls such as Greenwich V and The Seletar Mall, which is less than 19 minutes away by foot.

Lee shares that there has been interest in this property. She believes this will be a draw for people who are looking to upgrade to a bigger home. “Usually people who buy [a house] at this location may already be staying in the area,” she says. 


For the Latest Listings near Jalan Kechubong, Click here

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Hougang executive maisonette for sale from $635,000

Hougang executive maisonette for sale from $635,000

A 1,593 sq ft, two-storey executive maisonette (EM) will be offered at PropNex Realty’s HDB auction with a guide price from $635,000 ($397 psf) on June 7. The unit is located at Block 712 Hougang Avenue 2 and occupies the fourth and fifth floors. This is an owner’s sale. This is the second time the unit is up for auction.

“Compared to nearby maisonettes in the central Hougang and Kovan areas, the guide price of $635,000 to $650,000 is very attractive. On average, EMs in these locations usually command above $800,000,” says Linda Foo, associate marketing director at PropNex Realty. The unit is jointly marketed by Foo and her colleague Jax Chua, associate marketing manager.

The unit, at Hougang Ave 2, has a guide price of $635,000 to $650,000 (Picture: EdgeProp Singapore)

According to HDB data, the most recent transaction at Block 712 was a 1,593 sq ft, 10th-storey EM sold for $675,000 ($424 psf) last June. This followed a 1,657 sq ft, seventh-floor EM sold for $650,000 ($392 psf) in March 2018.

The unit under auction has a 99-year tenure which started in 1986, and the property has about 66 years left on its lease. The unit has three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the top floor, as well as a utility room on the lower floor.

HDB maisonette units usually have the bedrooms on the top floor, while the living room, dining area and kitchen are on the bottom floor. Some units, like the one on offer, also come with a balcony with a double volume ceiling. HDB discontinued EMs in 1995 after it introduced executive condominiums.

A family of four would find this type of unit a welcome change compared to other HDB units today which are mostly single-level, says Chua. “EMs remain one of the larger public housing buyers can find in Singapore. With the space constraints of new BTOs, the living area that maisonettes provide is one of the largest draws for buyers.”

Bedrooms are on the top floor, while living spaces are on the bottom floor (Picture: PropNex Realty)

The unit belongs to a local Chinese family who have been living there for about 11 years. They have decided to sell the house to live closer to their elderly parents, says Foo.

The unit is located near Hougang MRT Station and is a 15-minute walk to Heartland Mall and Kovan MRT Station, which is one station from NEX mall in Serangoon. The estate has a mix of flats, landed housing, and new private developments. Just beside the block is The Florence Residences launched by Logan Property on March 2. “As a result of the recent new launch, many buyers who are interested in this area have also come down to view the unit,” says Chua.

This will be the third public auction for HDB properties by PropNex, which rolled out the service in April this year. “Buyers have the option to buy on the pre-auction day, auction day itself and post-auction day. As long as sellers and buyers agree on the price, a deal can be struck,” says Foo.

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Holland Drive/Holland Close HDB flats reap benefits of locale rejuvenation

Holland Drive/Holland Close HDB flats reap benefits of locale rejuvenation

Holland Village is undergoing an extensive facelift, and as a designated URA Identity Node, the neighbourhood has been earmarked for preservation and maintenance. There has been a spate of en bloc projects in the vicinity these few years, including Hollandia and Toho Mansion, and their reincarnations—such as Van Holland—are expected to launch at between $2,800 and $2,900 psf. All these will undoubtedly boost the appeal of HDB flats in the nearby Holland Drive/Holland Close neighbourhood.


HDB Blocks Holland Village

The HDB blocks in Holland Drive are within walking distance of the MRT station, cafes, convenience stores, supermarkets, and wet markets. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth


The HDB arena may not be a direct beneficiary of the en bloc stir, but the movement’s ripple effect will have an impact on the district’s HDB prices. The URA Draft Master Plan 2019 specifically underlined Holland Village as an area of interest for enhancement and rejuvenation, and extensive billion-dollar expansion plans for the village are underway. Communal spaces, commercial properties, and private units are on the cards for this unprecedented Holland Village refurbishment, which Far East Organization is undertaking.

HDB units in the vicinity of Holland Village—on Holland Drive, Holland Close, and Holland Avenue—are a mix of five-room, four-room, and three-room apartments. Many of these were built in the 1970s and are showing signs of age. Still, these HDB blocks are similar to wine—they develop richer characters as they grow older.

The Holland Drive/Holland Close are also sought after as a housing address because of its proximity to various amenities—including two wet markets at Ghim Moh and Holland Village—and the Circle Line’s Holland Village MRT stop. The Star Vista shopping mall and Buona Vista MRT Station are both within close travelling distance, bumping up the attraction of Holland Drive/Holland Close as a good hub for setting up home.

The area’s popularity is mirrored in its HDB transaction prices, and the neighbourhood is one of Singapore’s few million-dollar HDB hotspots (see table). Multiple HDB units have broken the million-dollar price ceiling in recent years, and the Holland Drive/Holland Close address is likely to command even higher premiums in the coming years, given the area’s upcoming development plans.




Property type

Transaction price (SGD)

Transaction month

Holland Drive

Five-room flat

1.1 million

January 2019

Holland Close

Five-room flat

1 million

November 2018

Holland Close

Five-room flat

1 million

November 2018

Holland Close

Five-room flat

1.02 million

August 2018

Holland Drive

Five-room flat

1.1 million

June 2018

Holland Drive

Five-room flat

1.03 million

July 2017

Source: EdgeProp and URA. The best of both worlds.



Holland Village is a much-loved neighbourhood and has a strong reputation as one of Singapore’s quirkiest and most bohemian addresses. Despite its artistic flair and carefree air, the village is down-to-earth, with an extremely practical side, as shown by its numerous eateries and markets. Part of the village’s character lies in its low-rise architecture, affording the taller HDB blocks a more spacious view. While Singapore is generally known to be a verdant city, the Holland Village area has more than its fair share of greenery.

Plants around Holland Village

Flourishing plant life is one of the village’s best attributes. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth


This locale near town has a unique balance of zen and city hustle not easily found elsewhere; this is undoubtedly one of the reasons this central district is such a charming spot in which to live, play and wander about. HDB residents can easily pop out for supper late at night and go bar-hopping with friends on the weekends—without needing to drive a car, board a bus, or ride a train.

HDB residents site in Hollad Village

HDB residents in Holland Drive/Holland Close can stroll through quiet streets lined with unusual—even peculiar—stores, such as those along the wide road running up Chip Bee Gardens. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth


These qualities define Holland Drive/Holland Close and make it a popular HDB housing estate. The wild private property psf prices can be out of reach for the average Singaporean, such as this $4 million ($2,000 psf) apartment at Parvis, along Holland Hill. HDB unit prices are indisputably more affordable, and the upside is these apartments come with the same neighbourhood perks and plusses as their private cousins. However, three-room flat asking prices in the area are nudging half a million dollars, making government housing here a notch pricier than their counterparts in other parts of Singapore. An example would be an equivalent 3I-configuration HDB flat in Hougang, with an asking price of $300,000.

One thing remains certain: as Holland Village continues to shine under the national spotlight and experience its makeover, the Holland Drive/Holland Close neighbourhood is likely to become even more appealing to house-hunters looking for a first address, a forever home, or a family-friendly one.


For the Latest Listings in Holland Village, Click Here

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The Florence Residences banks on rejuvenation of Kovan-Hougang area

The Florence Residences banks on rejuvenation of Kovan-Hougang area


Instead of waiting for 10 years for the future Cross Island Line, homebuyers of The Florence Residences will enjoy immediate accessibility to two existing MRT stations, proximity to next-generation industrial parks at Defu and Lorong Halus, as well as a residential development with a resort-style, club-condo concept.


The Florence Residences, with 1,410 units, will be a new addition to the Kovan enclave. Being near several public transport stops, it is set to offer residents added convenience


The Florence Residences has everything going for it: Situated right smack within the mature Kovan housing estate, the project is close to not just one, but two, MRT stations – Hougang and Kovan – on the North East Line.


Interesting eateries in the Hougang-Kovan neighbourhood include hipster cafes such as Ice Edge Café, Lola’s Café, Hatter Street and Purist Patisserie. For those who want more international cuisine, there are German bistro Knuckles Bar & Bistro, Ding Tele Shanghainese Restaurant, Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap, Hansik Korean restaurant and Tachinomiya Japanese Bar, which serves Japanese beer and sake as well as Japanese street food.


Local restaurants include Ivins Nyonya Specialties, Tian Wai Tian Fish Head Steam Boat and 888 Mookata, founded by local celebrities Chew Chor Meng and Zhou Chongqing in partnership with cousins Esmond and Ronnie.


Famous hawker fare in the area are the likes of Ponggol Nasi Lemak, Ponggol Noodles, Heng Long Teochew Porridge, Sin Chie Toke Huan Hainanese Curry Rice and Bee Kee Wanton Noodle. Food centres that draw residents from near and far include the Kovan 209 Food Centre, Teck Chye Food Street, Hougang Hainanese Village Centre and Chomp Chomp Food Centre in Serangoon Gardens.


Malls in the area include Heartland Mall, which is linked to the Kovan MRT Station, Hougang Mall located along Hougang Avenue 10 and the adjacent Kang Kar Mall. 


The Florence Residences is just one MRT stop from Nex, one of the biggest suburban malls and all-in-one entertainment-lifestyle destinations in Singapore. It has two food courts, a 24-hour hypermarket and supermarket, a 24-hour fitness gym, Shaw Theatres cineplex and more than 300 shops. Nex is also integrated with a rooftop sky garden, dog park and playground, the Serangoon Public Library as well as Serangoon MRT and bus interchange stations.


View from a five-bedroom showflat unit at Logan Property’s mega-development



Cross Island Line bonus

The completion of the first phase of the Cross Island Line will see Hougang MRT Station elevated to an interchange station. This will bring residents within walking distance from the future Hougang MRT interchange station for the North East and Cross Island Lines.


The Defu station and upcoming Defu Industrial Park will be just one stop away. Punggol Digital District in the northeast, the Changi region including Jewel Changi Airport, and Jurong Lake District in the west will be within a train ride away.


The Florence Residences is also near top local and international schools such as the prestigious preschool Pat’s Schoolhouse, Rosyth School and Dimensions International College. Primary schools located within 1km of The Florence Residences are the likes of Xinmin Primary, Holy Innocents’ Primary and Montfort Junior.


Next-generation industrial parks


The Cross Island Line will bring the future Defu New Industrial Park closer to home for those living in The Florence Residences. It is part of URA’s Master Plan to transform the existing Defu Industrial Estate into a green and sustainable park of the future over the next 15 to 20 years.


State-of-the-art industrial complexes with a total of 2.1 million sq ft of industrial space will be earmarked for a wide spectrum of industries – ranging from logistics and precision engineering to info-communications and media, electronics, clean energy and biomedical. 


Another “next-generation” industrial park nearby is Lorong Halus Industrial Park, which will cover an area of over 100ha and cater to light and clean industries such as food, lifestyle and logistics. Fronting the nearby Sungei Serangoon, it will likewise feature parkland, recreational amenities and public spaces for communal activities.


Both the Defu and Lorong Halus Industrial Parks are envisioned to be major employment centres for those living in the northeast region. It will be especially convenient for owner-occupiers or investors at The Florence Residences who wish to rent out to tenants who work there.


Potential residents can fully utilise the balcony space as an outdoor living room



Amenities for all ages


The Florence Residences is brought to you by acclaimed Hong Kong-listed property developer Logan Property. While its maiden residential project, Stirling Residences, is a joint venture with Nanshan Group, The Florence Residences is developed wholly by Logan Property.


The Florence Residences is a redevelopment of the former privatised HUDC estate, Florence Regency, which sits on a sprawling 389,239 sq ft site bounded by Florence Road and Hougang Avenue 2.


Given the scale of the project, Logan Property is able to create a “club-condo” concept with a comprehensive range of facilities – up to 128 different facilities – that cater to residents of all ages. Even with so many facilities, potential buyers at The Florence Residences will be able to enjoy value-for-money as the conservancy charges will be low as they will be split among 1,410 units. 


The centrepiece of the development is the two-storey, resort-style The Clubhouse overlooking the 80m island lap pool. For the youth and fitness enthusiasts, there is a well-equipped gym, a sparring ring pavilion; pool table and dartboard pavilion; and a cosy nook for outdoor movie screenings.


For food lovers, there are many different themed dining pavilions, from the Italian Pavilion to the Japanese Pavilion as well as an Outback Grill. There’s also the Wine & Chill Pavilion for those who want to enjoy a good bottle of wine or whiskey with friends.


The developer is also offering residents complimentary classes for the first two years in a wide variety of recreational pursuits, such as yoga, cooking, baking and floral arrangements.



Wide choice of unit types


The Florence Residences has a wide range of unit types to cater to different lifestyles: with one-bedroom units from 474 sq ft and two-bedroom units from 624 sq ft. Three-bedroom units are sized from 893 sq ft, while four-bedroom units are upwards of 1,270 sq ft.


The five-bedroom units are from 1,668 sq ft, and come with private lift lobby, wet and dry kitchens as well as marble flooring. All penthouses will have a double-volume ceiling height for the living and dining areas.


Prices at The Florence Residences average $1,450 psf*, with one-bedroom units starting from $677,000; two-bedroom units from $877,000; and three-bedroom units from $1.254 million. Four-bedroom units are upwards of $1.71 million, while five-bedders are from $2.456 million.


View of a showflat of a one-bedroom unit at The Florence Residences







*Prices subject to change and availability.



This article appeared in The Edge Property pullout of Issue 874 (March 25, 2019) of The Edge Singapore.



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The Florence Residences captures 54 sales during launch weekend

The Florence Residences captures 54 sales during launch weekend

Over the weekend of March 2-3, a total of 200 units were released at The Florence Residences. Of the figure, 54 units were snapped up. “That’s close to 30% sales,” says CB Chng, Logan Property executive director.

“Buyers these days are more cautious with their purchases and they would sometimes require a longer time to consider all factors,” adds Chng. “First-time buyers need to time to familiarise themselves with the project.”

A redevelopment of the former Florence Regency privatised HUDC estate, the 1,410-unit The Florence Residences located at Hougang Avenue 2, is considered the first launch of a “mega project” – above 1,000 units - in 2019.


Crowd at the balloting tent of The Florence Residences on the morning of Mar 2 (Credit: SRI Pte Ltd)


The Florence Residences “is priced appropriately” at an average of $1,450 psf. Some units have prices starting from below $1,400 psf.


Challenges facing developers

One of the biggest challenges that developers face today is that “buyers have a lot of choices between new launches and already launched projects”, according to Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex Realty, one of five appointed joint marketing agencies at The Florence Residences. The others are ERA, Huttons Asia, OrangeTee & Tie and SRI.  

In January and February this year – prior to the launch of The Florence Residences - there were no significant suburban projects launched. As such, four neighbouring projects in the Serangoon-Hougang areas -- Affinity at Serangoon, The Garden Residences, The Tre Ver and Riverfront Residences -- garnered sales totalling about 200 units over the past four weeks, says Gafoor.

The pick-up in transactions at the 1,052-unit Affinity at Serangoon and the 613-unit The Garden Residences could be largely attributed to the Jan 25 announcement of the 12 stations on the first phase of the Cross Island Line (See Map below). One of the 12 upcoming stations on the line is Serangoon North, where one of the exits is located just 350m from Affinity at Serangoon, and 532m from The Garden Residences.


Credit: LTA, onemap, ZACD Research, EdgeProp SG


Since its launch last June, 460 units (43.7%) at Affinity at Serangoon have been sold. Over the past weekend (March 2-3), 30 units were sold. Average price achieved at Affinity at Serangoon is $1,475 psf.

“The recent announcement on the MRT stations of the Cross Island Line has been a key factor,” says Eugene Lim, director of marketing and sales, Oxley Holdings, which is part of a consortium of developers at Affinity at Serangoon and Riverfront Residences. “Some agents have also reported that, having viewed other recent  launches, some buyers have returned as they prefer our project in terms of design and finishes.”

Two other projects that were launched last year -- the Riverfront Residences, launched on July 5 (the eve of the imposition of the property cooling measures), and The Tre Ver, launched in August --  also saw a steady pick-up in sales momentum.


Riverfront Residences has achieved sales of 935 units to date, with 35 sold over the past weekend (Credit: Oxley Holdings)


At the 1,427-unit Riverfront Residences, 35 units were sold last weekend, bringing total sales to date to 935 units (65.5%). Average price of units sold is $1,350 psf. “Sales have been very encouraging,” says Oxley’s Lim.  

The Tre Ver also saw “good sales momentum” in the first two months of 2019. The 729-unit condo located at Potong Pasir Avenue 1, launched last August, has achieved close to 45% sales to date. Average price achieved is said to be $1,558 psf. “Buyers are attracted to the city fringe location and strong product offering designed by WOHA,” says Jesline Goh, chief investment and asset officer, UOL Group.

Developers of some projects launched in late 2017 and 2018 also raised the commission rates offered to agents from 1-2% to a range of 3-5% in order to move the remaining units, according to property agents who declined to be named. This motivated agents to “divert prospective buyers over to those projects”, he adds.


Setting itself apart

“Some of these other projects in the vicinity were launched as early as April 2018 and there have been a series of varied marketing strategies applied respectively,” notes Logan Property’s Chng. However, he reckons that The Florence Residences will be able to set itself apart from the other projects.  


The Florence Residences is located within walking distance of both the Kovan and the Hougang MRT stations, with the latter earmarked as a future interchange station for the Cross Island and North East Lines (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


The Florence Residences is served by two well-connected MRT stations, points out Chng. “We believe that our target audience will realise the investment potential, with the future Cross Island Line just a six-minute walk to Hougang MRT Interchange. We are confident of the project’s attributes, from the conceptualisation of the architecture and landscape design, to the creation of a fulfilling lifestyle for our residents.”

Developers have traditionally focused on sales at the launch weekend. “It’s going to be a long-drawn battle in today’s market,” says Ken Low, managing partner of SRI.

With at least 50 new projects slated for launch this year, developers will have to change their strategy, notes PropNex’s Gafoor. “Instead of placing all their advertising and promotion budgets on the launch weekend and focusing all their fire power on the first weekend of launch, they will have to pace their advertising & promotion over the long term. On-the-ground marketing has also become crucial.”


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Steepest DC rate hikes for hotel, commercial uses; biggest fall in three years for residential non-landed

Steepest DC rate hikes for hotel, commercial uses; biggest fall in three years for residential non-landed

The Ministry of National Development (MND) has released the revised development charge (DC) rates for the redevelopment of land for the six months from March 1 to Aug 31, 2019.

DC rates, which are revised half-yearly, are payable when planning permission is granted to carry out development projects that increase the value of the land, for example, rezoning to a higher value use and/or increasing the plot ratio.

The revision in DC rates for commercial, hotel/hospitality and residential (non-landed) use groups announced on Feb 28 “was largely expected and reflective of current market conditions in the respective property segments”, notes Tricia Song, Colliers International head of research for Singapore.


Credit: Colliers International Research, Ministry of National Development


In this latest round of revision, the DC rates for commercial and hotel uses have been raised, taking into account stronger investment transactions over the last six months as well as brighter outlook for both sectors - underpinned by rising office rents and firmer RevPar (Revenue Per Available Room), notes Song. 

Meanwhile, DC rates for residential (non-landed) use have been cut. The cut was not unexpected, given the fewer transactions and weaker sentiment in the residential property market. “Since the fresh property cooling measures were implemented in July 2018, developers’ perceived risk-reward ratio on residential deals has shifted, resulting in waning investment appetite,” Song observes. 


In this current DC rate revision, five sectors – 59, 91, 93, 94, and 104 – saw the sharpest decrease of 13%, notes Colliers’ Song. The largest declines in non-landed residential DC rates, appear to be in city fringe areas with large potential future supply such as East Coast and Hougang, she observes.


 The largest declines in non-landed residential DC rates, appear to be in city fringe areas with large potential future supply such as East Coast (pictured) and Hougang (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


On average, DC rates for non-landed residential use fell 5.5%, the first fall since March 2016 when DC rates fell 0.9%. It is also the biggest drop in DC rates since Mar 2009, when DC rates fell 15.3%, says Christine Li, senior director and head of research for Cushman & Wakefield (C&W).

It is “unsurprising” that non-landed residential DC rates have fallen 5.5% as developers have adopted a cautious stance towards acquiring residential collective sale and government land sale (GLS) sites since the July 6 cooling measures. On the other hand, the reduction of DC rates could give developers who wish to replenish their land bank “a temporary reprieve”.

But the increase in average unit sizes from 70 sq m to 85 sq m for homes outside the Central Area will also “cripple” developers’ ability to increase selling prices over the medium term, says C&W’s Li. “Residential en bloc hopefuls might have to continue reducing their asking prices in order to attract serious buyers in this increasingly challenging residential market.” 

The reduction in DC rates for non-landed residential use is unlikely to reinvigorate the collective sale market “as the mismatch in buyers and sellers’ price expectations remains”, says Tay Huey Ying, JLL head of research & consultancy, Singapore. According to JLL research, not a single residential collective sale site was sold in the six-month period to end-February 2019.


The 99-year leasehold Chancery Court was sold en bloc for $401.76 million ($1,610 psf ppr) in May 2018 (Credit: OrangeTee Advisory)


GLS sites for private residential development (excluding executive condos) for tenders which closed during the same period attracted fewer bids (up to seven) compared to those closed in the six months prior (which drew up to 10 bids). Bids were also more cautious, notes JLL’s Tay.

For instance, the residential site at Kampong Java Road, for which the tender closed in January 2019, had a top bid of $418.38 million ($1,192 psf per plot ratio). In the vicinity, several collective sale sites were sold at higher unit land prices although these were before the July cooling measures. These included the freehold Makeway View ($1,626 psf ppr) in March 2018; the freehold Dunearn Gardens ($1,914 psf ppr) in April 2018; and the 99-year leasehold Chancery Court ($1,610 psf ppr) in May 2018.

The winning bid price of $1,192 psf ppr for the Kampong Java Road GLS plot also indicated an 11% discount compared to corresponding implied land value derived from the September 2018 DC rates, observes Tay.


The sale of Golden Wall Centre in Rochor for $276.2 million or $2,331 psf ppr last November resulted in a surge in hotel DC rate of 73.9% (Credit: ET&Co)


DC rates for hospitality sites rose 45.6% after an 11.8% increase in the last revision in September 2018. “This is the strongest increase in DC rates historically, based on data since 2000,” says C&W’s Li. The last time hospitality DC rates rose at a similar pace was in July 2007, when they were raised by 40%. However, it was due to a “one-off adjustment” to the DC from 50% to 70% then. 

Li attributes the hike in hotel DC rates to the recent en bloc sales of residential and commercial sites for conversion to hotel use. Another reason is the recent buying frenzy in the hospitality sector, she adds. Based on C&W’s research, hotel investment sales hit a four-year high of $1.36 billion in 2018, due partly to investors shifting their focus away from the residential sector as a result of the July cooling measures.

“The optimism around tourist arrivals, coupled with tight hotel supply in the short term, has emboldened investors to look at hotel asset class seriously,” says Li of C&W. “The latest round of DC could have some dampening effect on the conversion of hotel use.” 


The sale of the GLS site for hotel development along Club Street for $562.2 million, or a record price of $2,149 psf ppr, in January resulted in a DC rate hike of 52.8% in Sector 16 for hotels (Credit: URA)


The significant hikes took place in Sector 26 (Selegie Road, Rochor Road and Bencoolen Street). The sale of Golden Wall Centre in Rochor for $276.2 million or $2,331 psf ppr last November resulted in a surge in hotel DC rate of 73.9%. Similarly, at the nearby Sector 27 (Bencoolen/Waterloo Area), the sale of Waterloo Apartments in mid-November also caused the hotel DC rate for the sector to rise by a hefty 66.7%.

The sale of the GLS site for hotel development along Club Street for $562.2 million, or a record price of $2,149 psf ppr, in January resulted in a DC rate hike of 52.8% in Sector 16 for hotels, notes Desmond Sim, CBRE head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia.


The DC rates for commercial use increased by 9.8% on average – the highest rate of growth since March 2014 when they grew 14.6%, observes Colliers’ Song. The largest increase of 17.4% was seen in eight sectors covering areas that include Outram Road, Chinatown, New Bridge Road, Selegie Road, Victoria Street, Jalan Besar and Geylang Road, among others.


The DC rates for commercial use increased by 9.8% on average – the highest rate of growth since March 2014 when they grew 14.6% (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)


“We believe the increase in the commercial use DC rates in these areas is mainly due to the bullish valuations in the shophouse segments in these locations, as well as the rising office and stabilising retail markets in general,” says Song. 

The most significant hike of 12% took place in Sector 24 (Bras Basah Area) where ARA Asset Management & Chelsfield acquired Manulife Centre for $555.5 million or $2,300 psf.

Kenedix Inc’s purchase of a 25% stake in Capital Square for $270 million ($2,783 psf) led to the 10.3% increase in commercial DC rate in Sector 17 (New Bridge Road, Upper Pickering Street, Telok Ayer Street and Upper Cross Street).



Kenedix Inc’s purchase of a 25% stake in Capital Square for $270 million ($2,783 psf) led to the 10.3% increase in commercial DC rate in Sector 17 (New Bridge Road, Upper Pickering Street, Telok Ayer Street and Upper Cross Street) [Credit: The Edge Singapore]


Based on JLL research data, $4.73 billion worth of commercial assets (comprising office, retail, shophouses and mixed assets with significant office/retail components) priced upwards of $5 million were transacted during the DC review period between September 2018 and February 2019. This is 46.9% higher than the $3.22 billion attained in the preceding six months, notes JLL’s Tay.

“The DC rate revision is usually retrospective on how the real estate market has been performing,” says CBRE’s Sim. “Not surprisingly, increased activities in the office and hotel markets have resulted in upward revisions in the DC rates, while a slowdown in residential land activity has resulted in lowered DC rates for some key areas.”

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Oxley powers through fifth new launch this year with Riverfront Residences

Oxley powers through fifth new launch this year with Riverfront Residences

Singapore-listed property developer Oxley Holdings will preview its newest project, Riverfront Residences, over the weekend of June 23 and 24. The 99-year leasehold development on Hougang Avenue 7is Oxley’s fifth new launch this year.

Riverfront Residences will have a total of 1,472 units, comprising nine 17-storey blocks of apartments, 21 strata landed houses and six strata shops. The project is the Oxley-led consortium’s largest this year in terms of number of units.

The 1,472-unit Riverfront Residences will be launched on the weekend of July 7 and 8 (Pictures: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

Riverfront Residences occupies the site of the former Rio Casa, a 286-unit privatised HUDC estate. The site was purchased en bloc by Oxley Holdings and its joint-venture partners KSH Holdings, SLB Development (listed property development arm of Lian Beng Group) and Apricot Capital (investment arm of the Teo family of Super Group). The purchase price of Rio Casa in May last year was $783 million, which translates into a land rate of $706 psf ppr, including differential premium and lease top-up premium.

Priced to sell

Given that the Oxley-led consortium had purchased the site last year before land prices ran up, it is able to price the units at Riverfront Residences very competitively, from $1,200 psf.

“I don’t think we will see any new projects being launched in the price range of $1,200 to $1,300 psf for some time,” says Eric Low, deputy CEO of Oxley Holdings.

A 463 sq ft, one-bedroom unit is priced from $578,000 ($1,248 psf)

So far, launches of major suburban projects have been at average prices of above $1,300 psf. The first significant launch of a suburban project this year was The Tapestry in Tampines, where the average price on the launch weekend at end-March was $1,310 psf. The average price has since increased to $1,354 psf.

At Twin Vew on West Coast Vale, the average price of units sold at the launch weekend in May was $1,399 psf. Meanwhile, at Affinity at Serangoon, the average price of units sold was $1,558 psf, while the average price of units sold at The Garden Residences in early June was $1,641 psf.

Projects sufficiently differentiated

The same Oxley-led consortium behind Affinity at Serangoon is also the developer of Riverfront Residences. Oxley’s Low says both projects are positioned differently. The 1,052-unit Affinity at Serangoon is a redevelopment of the former Serangoon Ville privatised HUDC estate. The consortium had purchased the site in July 2017, two months after buying Rio Casa. The price it paid for Serangoon Ville was $499 million ($835 psf ppr).

Low: En bloc beneficiaries shopping for a replacement home will keep the new home-buying momentum going

According to Oxley, 123 of 300 units released at Affinity at Serangoon have been sold since the project was launched on June 2. According to caveats lodged, more than a third of the units sold at Affinity at Serangoon were three-bedroom apartments from 850 sq ft, which were priced above $1.3 million; four-bedroom strata houses of 2,067 sq ft each and priced between $2.33 million and $2.38 million were also sold.

“Affinity at Serangoon is near the Serangoon Gardens private housing estate,” notes Low. “Buyers are therefore looking for spacious units and the three-bedroom apartments were among the most sought-after.”

Riverfront Residences’ location, however, is in the vicinity of the HDB estates in Hougang, Upper Serangoon View, Punggol and Sengkang. Low therefore expects most of the buyers to be HDB upgraders. There has been no new launch of a private condominium in the area since the 1,165-unit Kingsford Waterbay on Upper Serangoon View more than three years ago.

Four-bedroom premium units have double-volume ceiling height in the living room, and a private lift

Even though Riverfront Residences’ launch comes just a month after Affinity at Serangoon, Oxley’s Low does not feel there will be any cannibalisation of sales between the two projects. “Riverfront Residences is a totally different project. I don’t believe we are dipping into the same pool of buyers as those at Affinity at Serangoon,” he says.

Unprecedented en bloc sales to fuel demand

Oxley intends to launch Riverfront Residences a fortnight from now, on the weekend of July 7 and 8. The developer will release 500 units. According to Eugene Lim, Oxley’s director of marketing and sales, more than 70% of the units in the project have “either a direct or partial view” of the river. Other units will have a view of the swimming pool, the lush landscaping or the neighbouring public park, he adds.

About 900 units at Riverfront Residences will be one- and two-bedroom units, and the remainder will be three- to five-bedroom apartments. One-bedroom units start from 463 sq ft and will be priced from $578,000 ($1,248 psf). Two-bedroom units start from 603 sq ft and are priced from $755,000 ($1,252 psf). Three-bedroom apartments start from 872 sq ft and are priced from $1.07 million ($1,227 psf). Premium three-bedroom units start from 1,066 sq ft and are priced from $1.26 million ($1,182 psf). Four-bedroom units start from 1,410 sq ft and are priced from $1.68 million ($1,191 psf).

Three-bedroom apartments start from 872 sq ft and are priced from $1.07 million ($1,227 psf)

According to Lim, the prices of the three-bedroom units are comparable to those in executive condos.

Oxley is confident that prices at Riverfront Residences will be the main attraction for homebuyers. According to Low, there were 33 en bloc sales worth $8.7 billion last year. In the first half of this year alone, 30 en bloc sites have been sold for more than $9.5 billion. “This is unprecedented,” says Low. “When many of these en bloc beneficiaries start shopping for a replacement home after they get their proceeds, this will keep the new-home sales buying momentum going. It will help the residential market maintain a healthy equilibrium.

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Florence Regency sold to Chinese developer Logan Property at $629 mil

Florence Regency sold to Chinese developer Logan Property at $629 mil

Florence Regency, a former HUDC estate, has been sold to Hong Kong-listed Chinese developer Logan Property in a collective sale at $629 million.

After factoring in estimated differential premiums of $288.6 million to top up the lease to a fresh 99 years and to develop the site to a gross plot ratio of 2.8, the land cost works out to be about $842 psf ppr, says marketing agent JLL.

The sale price matches Colliers International’s valuation of the site, which was submitted at the close of the public tender exercise for Florence Regency on Sept 27. At the close of the tender, the property received three bids which were above the reserve price of $600 million but which fell below Colliers’s valuation.


Florence Regency


Owners can expect to receive gross sales proceeds between $1.84 million to $1.89 million for each unit, says Tan Hong Boon, regional director at JLL.

According to JLL, this is the first collective sale attempt by the owners of Florence Regency, with the required 80% consent level reached in less than three weeks.

Based on the 2014 Master Plan, the 389,236 sq ft site at Hougang Avenue 2 is zoned ‘Residential’ with a gross plot ratio of 2.8, which works out to be an estimated 1,100 to 1,300 units. Florence Regency is located within a 1km radius of Holy Innocents’ Primary School and Xinmin Primary School.

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This is why the north-east is a hotspot for foreign property buyers this year

This is why the north-east is a hotspot for foreign property buyers this year

Demand from foreign property buyers is growing and the bulk of these buyers are turning their attention to the north-east.

In 2017, properties within district 19 (Serangoon Garden, Hougang, Punggol) saw the highest level of demand from buyers of foreign nationalities. In this article, we will look at a few factors that are driving this trend.

Stars of Kovan is one of the most in-demand properties in the north-east this year.


1) Attractive investment opportunities

Residential properties in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outer Central Region (OCR) have become attractive investment opportunities due to various factors, including the rejuvenation of suburban localities, the establishment of new growth corridors, schools, MRT stations and key regional centres, which could all have a positive influence on home values.

New launches in several locations in the north-east, which will be linked by an upcoming MRT line (more on this below), presents buyers with such opportunities for capital growth and potential for rental yields.

Incidentally, the bulk of private residential unit sales within district 19 came from new project launches, according to statistics by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Sales transactions at Kingsford Waterbay and Stars of Kovan collectively made up about 25% of all property sales transactions among foreign buyers and buyers who are PRs within district 19 this year.


2) Desirable price range

URA statistics showed that the majority of foreign property investors, which include investors from China, Malaysia and India bought properties priced between $500,000 and $1 million this year. Based on these transactions, we can deduce that properties within this price range are among the most highly sought-after among foreign investors in Singapore.

Between 2012 and 2017, properties within this price range are most commonly transacted within the Hougang area, at about 50% more than sales transactions in neighboring Serangoon and 80% more than Punggol. Properties under $1 million are also more commonly transacted within Hougang compared to areas in surrounding districts, including Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Geylang and Toa Payoh over the last five years.

Unsurprisingly, properties in Hougang saw the highest level of sales transactions among foreign buyers and buyers who are PRs within district 19 this year. They accounted for roughly 61% of sales transactions among these buyers in the north-east district.

This is followed by Serangoon properties, which accounted for 16% of sales transactions, and Sengkang properties, which made up 12% of property sales among foreign buyers and buyers who are PRs in district 19 this year.


3) Easy accessibility and connectivity

Outside the prime districts, property hotspots for foreign buyers are largely located along MRT lines, which provide travel convenience. If they’re buying property to let, proximity of these locations to public transport, especially MRT stations, would be an important consideration as many tenants do not own private vehicles.

For instance, properties along the North-East line was a huge hit among foreign buyers in 2016. Popular projects along this MRT line in the previous year include Sturdee ResidencesForest Woods and The Poiz Residences.

The upcoming expansion of the MRT network will increase connectivity and cut journey times for residents in the north-east, which could be a pull factor that has led investors to purchase properties in the region.

The Thomson Line (TSL), which will be opened in phases starting from 2019, will link key areas in the north-east such as Lentor and Mayflower with the Central Business District (CBD).

Meanwhile, 2030 is expected to see the extension of the North East Line to Punggol North. Coupled with the addition of more trains, this will improve the accessibility of new growth areas and reduce peak-hour waiting times.

The  (CRL), also expected to commence operations then, will connect many areas in the north-east, including Ang Mo Kio and Punggol, to the eastern and western parts of Singapore.

Besides the enhanced rail network, residents in the north-south region will also benefit from increased bus capacity under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme, as well as the completion of a new integrated transport hub (ITH) in Hougang and a new bus interchange at Buangkok.

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Florence Regency receives three bids below independent valuation

Florence Regency receives three bids below independent valuation

Florence Regency, a privatised HUDC estate within Hougang, received three submissions at the close of the public tender exercise for the collective sale of the property. However, the collective sale committee was unable to award the tender to the top bidder as the bid price was below that of the property’s valuation by an independent valuer, according to marketing agent JLL.

Submitted at the close of the tender, the independent valuation report conducted by Colliers International valued Florence Regency at $629 million. While the highest bid for Florence Regency in the tender exercise exceeded its reserve price of $600 million, it fell below Colliers International’s valuation.

According to JLL, the marketing agent will be re-approaching those interested in Florence Regency to see if any of the potential buyers will make an offer matching or above the valuation of $629 million.


Florence Regency

Source: JLL


JLL announced that Florence Regency was making its debut on the collective sale market on Aug 22. Under the 2014 Master Plan, the 389,236 sq ft site is zoned ‘Residential’ with a gross plot ratio of 2.8, which works out to be an estimated 1,100 to 1,300 units. Florence Regency, which has a balance lease term of about 71 years, is located near Serangoon Junior College and is within a 1km radius of Xinmin Primary School.

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