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Recent blog posts
Two days after signalling a critical rethink of the role and nature of public housing, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan yesterday threw up a few suggestions as to how exactly policy may change.

Shortening leases, extending the minimum occupation period or even reinstating a pre-1971 rule that owners can sell HDB flats only back to the Housing Board are all solutions up for discussion, which may help to lower the prices of new flats.
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Private property rents may go up slightly in some segments as a result of the cap on the number of foreign tenants in each Housing Board block, analysts said yesterday.

Suburban condominiums and older private apartments in the city fringe and suburbs may see rents rise by 5 per cent to 8 per cent.
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The income-level criterion for singles who can buy new flats from the Housing Board may be adjusted upwards, depending on whether the demand is manageable, said Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan yesterday.

This follows his announcement in Parliament last Friday that singles can now buy two-room flats directly from the Housing Board for the first time, if they are 35 and over, and earn no more than $5,000 a month.
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Posted by on in Commercial
Speculative demand for industrial properties has eased, following the seventh round of cooling measures, arresting the problem of spiralling prices.

Demand for strata factories moderated following the introduction of the seller's stamp duty (SSD).
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Posted by on in Commercial
Cubicles have squeezed out cars in some industrial buildings as tenants try to maximise the use of their space amid rising business costs.

A check by The Straits Times of a few strata industrial projects found that some tenants had converted the private parking spaces in their units into glass-fronted offices.
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It was a day of contrasts for two 99-year-leasehold private condo releases yesterday. They both had a similar sort of average pricing - in the $1,400-$1,500 per square foot (psf) band - but one is in a city-fringe location, next to Potong Pasir MRT Station, while the other is in the suburbs, in Clementi. As expected, the project closer to town drew more buyers.

Tuan Sing, which decided to begin sales at its 332-unit Sennett Residence project yesterday evening - instead of on Saturday as earlier planned - had already sold 175 units by 10.30pm yesterday. Tuan Sing's CFO Chong Chou Yuen said the group had collected nearly 500 cheques and seeing there was "more than enough demand", decided to bring forward the launch date.
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The number of Housing Board resale flats changing hands dropped drastically last month - a sign that the new cooling measures announced at the start of the year are beginning to kick in.

There were around 750 resale deals last month, the lowest activity in any month since the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) started tracking prices in 2007. This is less than half the 1,740 transactions in February last year.
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About a third of Singapore's 169,000 investment homes will face higher property levies once the Budget's new tax structure takes full effect in 2015.

Owners of such units with an annual value of more than $30,000 - or about 57,000 homes - will pay higher taxes, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) told The Straits Times yesterday. The progressive tax rates range from 12 per cent to 20 per cent of a property's annual value.
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
The move to abolish the tax vacancy refund will put more pressure on individuals and companies, particularly those with high-end residential asset portfolios.

This, combined with progressive tax rates which will see the government raising property tax rates for high-end residential homes with the largest increases applying to investment properties, means that high-end developers could potentially be hit with a double whammy.
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
Some property investors may finish up with poorer rental returns as a result of higher property taxes on investment homes announced in Monday's Budget.

Analysts say that a second Budget measure, the withdrawal of tax refunds for vacant properties, could compound this possible depression of rental yields.
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Posted by on in Residential
A plot of land at Punggol Point zoned for food and beverage (F&B) use has drawn a highest bid of $11.4 million, pipping eight other offers.

The offer, which works out to $3,789.6 per square metre of gross floor area (GFA), was submitted by Fragrance Group.

The next highest bidder was KT & T Resources at $8.6 million, or $2,865.1 per square metre of GFA.
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
Property consultants expect development charge (DC) rates - payable for enhancing the use of some sites or building bigger projects on them - to head upwards come March 1 for all major use groups. They cite an appreciation in land values over the past six months.

In some cases, the hikes could be in double digits.
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
The anaemic high-end property market is still languishing as foreign buyers flee the market in the wake of the string of cooling measures and the residual sting of the global financial crisis.

There are almost 500 completed but unsold homes in upmarket districts 9, 10 and 11.

And there are thousands more in the pipeline.
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday sketched out what Woodlands Regional Centre will be like.

With 100 hectares of space available for development, Woodlands Regional Centre is a key component in reshaping northern Singapore laid out in the recent Land Use plan.

It is expected to serve as a major commercial hub in the north and will take about 15-20 years to fully develop, Mr Khaw said during a community event at Woodlands Ring Road.
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Posted by on in Residential
New office projects are a dime a dozen in the bustling city centre but three developments in Robinson Road have been creating a buzz.

The SBF Center, Robinson Square and Oxley Tower are being developed as strata-titled blocks, an unusual move in the downtown area where new buildings tend to have single landlords.
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Posted by on in Residential
The Raffles Medical Group's plans to expand into Orchard Road in a big way has met with a hiccup - the authorities have turned down its application to convert seven floors of Thong Sia Building into a medical centre.

A spokesman for the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) told The Straits Times it rejected the application after evaluating the effect such a change in use will have on the area.
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Posted by on in Uncategorized
Owners of high-end homes will face higher taxes, with investment properties bearing the brunt of the increase.

In a shift towards a more progressive tax structure, the tax band for owner-occupied homes was expanded from the current 0 per cent, 4 per cent, and 6 per cent tax rates, to encompass a a wider range of rates, ranging from 0 per cent to 16 per cent.
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The increase in "wealth tax" for high-end homes in this year's Budget will not have significant impact on the property sector here, said Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday.

"I don't think (the higher taxes) will impact the property market much, but if it does, it's not such a bad thing - our property taxes are not very high.
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Posted by on in Residential
Four strata office units on the 14th floor of Samsung Hub in Raffles Place have been put up for sale.

The units, now being leased to an international law firm, have strata areas ranging from 2,906 sq ft to 3,875 sq ft; the total strata area is 13,110 sq ft.

The strata titles are being sold based on the guide price of $43.3 million, or approximately $3,300 per square foot (psf).?This will result in a gross yield of more than 3 per cent per annum.
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The latest round of property cooling measures is unlikely to impact banks heavily, with mortgage and construction loan demand expected to remain resilient this year, though at a slower growth rate.

This is because data so far since the cooling measures were implemented suggests that demand for property is still strong, Citi Research said in a report yesterday.
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