HDB may waive wait-out period for some private property owners, CDL opens Copen Grand EC and SORA Condo for preview, and more

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4th October to 10th October 2022

Private property owners who can show that they obtained an Option to Purchase (OTP) for a resale Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat before the cooling measures kicked in on 30 September may have their 15-month wait-out period waived. Meanwhile, Copen Grand, City Developments Limited and MCL Land’s joint executive condominium (EC) project within the upcoming Tengah area has been opened for e-application, with sales bookings set on 22 October 2022.


1) HDB may waive the wait-out period for some private property owners

Private property owners who can show that they obtained an OTP for a resale HDB flat before the cooling measures kicked in on 30 September 2022 may have their 15-month wait-out period waived, reported TODAY, citing HDB.

HDB revealed that it received 450 appeals from private homeowners over the 15-month wait-out period.

Preliminary screening of 200 appeals showed that 50% were from private homeowners who obtained an OTP to acquire an HDB resale flat before the cooling measures were announced on 30 September 2022.

“HDB will also verify internally through our own system for buyers who are using their CPF (Central Provident Fund) and/or taking a housing loan for the flat purchase, as such buyers would have to make a ‘Request for Value’ to HDB,” said HDB.

It noted that the other half of the 200 appeals were private homeowners who have yet to receive an OTP.

“We are reviewing the documents submitted and will assess these appeals on a case-by-case basis,” added HDB.


2) CDL opens Copen Grand EC for preview, prices start from $1.08mil

Copen Grand, City Developments Limited and MCL Land’s joint EC project within the upcoming Tengah area has been opened for e-application, with sales bookings set on 22 October, reported The Business Times.

Unit sizes at the development range between 807 sq ft for a two-bedroom plus study and 1,722 sq ft for a five-bedroom premium unit.

Prices start from $1.08 million for a two-bedder plus study, $1.18 million for a three-bedroom deluxe, $1.28 million for a three-bedder premium and $1.48 million for a four-bedroom deluxe. A four-bedroom premium and a five-bedroom premium, on the other hand, are priced at $1.58 million and $1.88 million, respectively.

It will be the first residential project to be launched since the Government announced new cooling measures to ensure prudent borrowing as well as moderate demand on the back of rising interest rates.


3) HDB to monitor the impact of cooling measures on prices of four-room, smaller resale flats

National Development Minister Desmond Lee said the HDB will monitor if the latest cooling measures will have any impact on the prices of four-room and smaller HDB resale flats.

This comes after some aspiring home buyers and analysts expressed concern that while the new measures imposed on private homeowners may moderate demand for five-room and bigger resale flats, they may push up demand, and eventually, prices of four-room and smaller HDB resale flats reported The Straits Times.

Starting 30 September 2022, private property owners are required to wait 15 months after selling their current home before they can purchase a non-subsidised HDB resale unit.

Those aged 55 and above, however, can move from a private home to a four-room or smaller resale flat without incurring the wait-out period.

“While the measure is temporary and moderates demand, we have to recognise that there are seniors who need to provide for retirement adequacy, we have to provide them with options and avenues to downgrade or right-size, so we say four-room and smaller to meet seniors’ needs,” explained Lee.

Nonetheless, he assured that the Government will monitor how the market responds to the measures.


4) Four public housing estates to be zoned as car-lite areas

Four public housing estates – the Ulu Pandan, Tengah, Mount Pleasant and Keppel Club sites – will be designated as car-lite areas. The Keppel Club site is part of the Greater Southern Waterfront area.

Two other areas – Pearl’s Hill and Tanjong Rhu – will also be gazetted as car-lite.

Car-lite areas “are planned upfront with good public transport, walking and cycling connections, allowing for the provision of fewer parking lots in these areas”, said the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in a joint release.

Ulu Pandan will be the first HDB car-lite precinct in Singapore.

“With Ulu Pandan designed for residents to adopt green modes of commuting, car parking provision will be reduced in precincts located within close proximity of Dover MRT station to free up space for other uses such as shared community spaces, pedestrian and cycling paths, parks and greenery,” said HDB and LTA.

With this, season parking will be prioritised for residents of such precincts.


5) Government urged to allow flat owners to transfer bank home loans back to HDB

To help Singaporeans cope with the rising interest rates, Member of Parliament Saktiandi Supaat suggested allowing eligible flat owners to make a one-time transfer of their home loans with banks back to the Housing and Development Board (HDB), reported CNA.

This comes as homeowners who opted for bank loans or refinanced their loans with banks are no longer allowed to take up a loan with the HDB.

He noted that HDB loans’ fixed interest rate of 2.6% was “certainly less attractive” when the rates for bank loans went as low as 1.15% to 1.5%.

But with global interest rate hikes expected to continue, homeowners “will now be locked into a higher rate than the HDB rate which they were trying to find a lower alternative for,” he said.

Related article: Fixed Rate Home Loans (2022): A Way to “Escape” Rising Interest Rates?


6) BTO flats remain affordable, with affordability benchmarks lower than international benchmarks

Despite the strong housing demand and rising HDB resale prices, Build-To-Order (BTO) flats remain affordable, with affordability benchmarks remaining lower compared to international benchmarks, reported TODAY citing Desmond Lee.

The Minister for National Development made the statement in response to Member of Parliament Yip Hon Weng’s question on the measures taken by the Government to keep home prices affordable.

“We understand the concerns about housing affordability, and have therefore been carefully monitoring the housing market,” said Lee, while underscoring that the Government is committed to keeping public housing affordable and accessible.

“That is why we continue to build and sell new HDB flats at prices below the market because they come with significant subsidies.”

The average price of a new four-room flat within a non-mature estate, for instance, has remained “relatively stable” at $341,000 in 2019 and $348,000 during the first three quarters of this year as the market subsidies have increased, keeping such flats affordable, he said.

Related article: HDB BTO Prices Sorted by Estate and Price of Rooms in Singapore (From 2019 to Aug 2022)

Meanwhile, demand for HDB resale flats had been robust, with a record of 45 million-dollar flats shifted in September, reported The Straits Times citing Huttons Asia.

This brings the total number of million-dollar flats sold to date to 277 units, surpassing the 259 deals registered for the whole of 2021.

Related article: Million-Dollar HDB Resale Flat vs a Condo in Singapore: Which Is Worth Buying? (2022)


7) HDB to incur $270mil loss from Central Weave BTO project

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will incur a development loss of around $270 million for the Central Weave @ Ang Mo Kio Build-to-Order (BTO) project, reported CNA.

He noted that the loss for the project – which was launched in August 2022 – initially stands at about $250 million, but would increase to around $270 million after taking into account the Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants for eligible buyers.

In answering Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai’s question, the minister revealed that the project has an estimated land cost of $500 million, which was determined independently by the chief valuer using market valuation principles.

Lee explained that HDB incurs a “significant” deficit each year since the amount from the sale of flats is “far less” compared to the building cost and housing grant disbursements.

The average deficit incurred by the HDB in the past three years stood at around $2.68 billion per year, while the deficit incurred for the financial year 2021/2022 is $3.85 billion.

“So claims that HDB profits from the development and sale of HDB flats are false,” said Lee.


8) Private residential rent to continue an upward trend

With URA’s Rental Index of Private Residential Properties jumping 11.2% in the first six months of 2022, analysts expect the relentless pace of rent hikes in Singapore to continue for the rest of this year.

This comes as over 2,000 owners and tenants have been displaced following the successful en bloc of their properties, while demand from HDB upgraders is expected to remain robust in 2H 2022, said Huttons Asia’s CEO Mark Yip and Senior Director of Research Lee Sze Teck in an article posted in The Business Times.

“The landlord’s market is likely to continue in 2022 and rents are estimated to increase up to 10% in H2 2022,” said Lee and Yip.

Moreover, some ex-private property owners who had already sold their homes but were unable to submit their HDB resale application before the new cooling measures kicked in on 30 September 2022 may still push ahead with their plans to downgrade and settle for a rental unit.

“The strong run-up in rents is likely to be given another lift in 2023 in the wake of the cooling measures,” added Yip and Lee.


9) Good Class Bungalows sales down in 1H 2022

After sizzling in 2021 with over $2.6 billion worth of sales, the Good Class Bungalow (GCB) market saw sales slow down in the first half of 2022 amid the continued increase in land prices.

“GCB land prices have continued to soar in 2022, rising 8.9% between 1H 2021 and 1H 2022, to average $1,839 psf,” said Carin Puah, Senior Director for Capital Markets) at JLL Singapore and Sara Ong, JLL’s Research Analyst (Research & Consultancy) in an article posted in The Business Times.

With the relentless hike in prices, GCB sales fell to $750 million for 29 deals in 1H 2022, from 1H 2021’s $1.6 billion for 55 deals.

Puah and Ong attributed the slower sales partly to the mismatch in price expectations between sellers and buyers.

“Should GCB sellers maintain their bullish stance and stay steadfast in their aggressive asking prices, the mismatch in price expectations will persist into the rest of 2022 and 2023 to hamper deal-making,” they said.


10) Rents for core CBD premium, Grade A offices rise to $11.30 psf in Q3 2022

Rents for Core CBD Premium and Grade A office rose to $11.30 per sq ft (psf) in the third quarter of 2022, exceeding the pre-pandemic high of $11.27 psf registered in Q1 2020, revealed Colliers.

It attributed the growth in rents to an increase in service changes as well as the tight vacancy.

However, net absorption of office space was much lower at about 3,200 sq ft in Q3 2022 compared with the previous quarter’s 159,000 sq ft.

“Leasing demand was broad-based as companies adopted a more conservative approach in their hiring and expansion plans, in light of looming geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainties,” said Colliers.

Looking ahead, Colliers expects rental growth in Core CBD Premium and Grade A office segment to continue for the rest of the year, on the back of tight supply and increasing operating expenses.

“However, global uncertainties could influence the rate of growth in the medium to long term,” it added.

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