PropertyGuru enters home services with Sendhelper acquisition, first BTO project and SORA Condo in Ulu Pandan to be launched in November and more

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11th October to 17th October 2022

Property technology firm PropertyGuru marked its entry into the home-services industry with the acquisition of Sendhelper, a local home-service technology startup, for an undisclosed amount. Meanwhile, 3,000 Build-to-Order (BTO) flats will be built across three housing projects within the eastern half of Ulu Pandan, with the first project set for launch in November 2022.

 

1) PropertyGuru enters home services with Sendhelper acquisition

Property technology firm PropertyGuru marked its entry into the home-services industry with the acquisition of Sendhelper, a local home-service technology startup, for an undisclosed amount, reported The Business Times.

The real estate firm believes the acquisition – which is not expected to materially affect its FY2022 results – will provide long-term growth opportunities for the group.

“With the addition of Sendhelper, PropertyGuru will become the one-stop destination for property seekers to not only find, finance and own their dream home but also manage and maintain it,” said PropertyGuru.

In the coming months, the group will work with Sendhelper to develop more tech solutions aimed at improving customers’ experience, revealed PropertyGuru Managing Director for Data and Software Solutions Shyn Yee Ho-Strangas.

“We aim to be a force for innovative and game-changing solutions that guide people to make confident property decisions,” she added.

 

2) First BTO project in Ulu Pandan to be launched in November

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has revealed plans to launch around 3,000 BTO flats spread across three housing projects within the eastern half of Ulu Pandan.

It noted that the first project – featuring 1,330 units of three-room and four-room flats – is set for launch in the November 2022 sales exercise.

Located near Dover MRT station, the first Ulu Pandan project will be “designed sensitively in response to its surroundings”.

For instance, the housing blocks fronting the Ulu Pandan Canal will be lower than the other blocks to maximise views of the canal. The project will also include roof gardens and sky terraces, in a bid to bring greenery closer to residents’ doorstep.

A 1.2ha park will also be connected to the residential blocks, while an existing stream connecting Commonwealth Ave West as well as the Ulu Pandan Canal will be retained and enhanced.

 

3) Government to review housing policies to support Singaporeans starting a family

To encourage young families to have more children, the Government will review policies on housing to “help first-time home buyers secure a flat quickly and affordably”, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

The minister noted that the long wait times for BTO flats and rising resale home prices are among the top concerns of many young Singaporeans, reported CNA.

“This is partly due to the disruptions in the building programme brought about by COVID-19 and the pandemic in the two-and-a-half years. But HDB has been ramping up the supply of new flats and will be able to launch more flats to meet the demand soon,” explained Wong.

He also revealed plans to review leave measures to help parents better balance family and work commitments.

The Government will also consider how to enhance the financial support schemes for parents, said Wong, who also serves as Finance Minister.

“We must make Singapore the best place for families – a society where young couples feel well-supported to start and raise a family, and can give their children the best possible start in life,” he added.

 

4) HDB to pilot “beamless” flats in upcoming Tengah BTO projects

Two upcoming BTO projects in Tengah – Garden Waterfront I and II @ Tengah – will offer “beamless” flats when they are launched in November.

This new flat design will provide residents more headroom and flexibility to configure the layout of their flats, said HDB.

The move is part of HDB’s initiative to pilot various innovations and technologies to raise productivity.

Under the Construction Transformation Project (CTP), HDB aims to achieve a 25% improvement in productivity at Garden Waterfront I and II BTO projects.

“With the CTP, we hope to raise the bar further and find novel ways to construct quality homes with less manpower, faster and safer,” said HDB CEO Tan Meng Dui.

“These efforts, which are geared towards achieving construction productivity improvements of 40% goal by 2030, will also enhance the resilience of our construction ecosystem, and support the ramp-up of HDB’s building programme over the next few years and deliver HDB flats faster to our buyers,” he added.

In recent years, there has been a trend where more homeowners and young couples opt for an open-concept layout. The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the need for larger spaces, with homeowners designing their homes in a way that allows them to use their space more flexibly. The “beamless” flats initiative by HDB responds to this preference.

 

5) Meyer Park relaunched for en bloc sale at $420mil

Meyer Park, a freehold seafront residential site within prime District 15, has been relaunched for collective sale with a reserve price of $420 million, revealed marketing agent Edmund Tie.

Including a Land Betterment Charge of around $90.9 million, the price works out to a land rate of about $1,764 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr).

Located at 81 and 83 Meyer Road, Meyer Park occupies an 8,981 sq m (96,672 sq ft) site that is zoned for “Residential” use under the 2019 Master Plan with a plot ratio of 2.8.

“Including a 7% bonus floor area, the maximum allowable gross floor area works out to some 26,907 sq m  (289,628 sq ft),” noted Edmund Tie.

Swee Shou Fern, Edmund Tie’s Head of Investment Advisory, shared that the site can be redeveloped into a “mid-sized luxury high-rise condominium development accommodating up to 251 well-placed residences”.

The tender for Meyer Park closes on 2 November 2022.

 

6) Residential investment sales up 6.6% in Q3 2022

Singapore saw residential investment sales increase 6.6% quarter-on-quarter to $3.58 billion in the third quarter of 2022, marking the second consecutive quarterly growth for this year, reported Singapore Business Review citing Savills.

The residential segment emerged as the top-performing sector as it accounted for 72% of the total investment sales value in Q3, up from 45% in the previous quarter.

Notably, private residential investment sales jumped 77.2% quarter-on-quarter to $2.48 billion, primarily due to the “larger collective sales deals, healthy take-up of new launches and dwindling unsold stock spurring developers to replenish their land banks, leading them to look to collective sales sites”.

The largest residential collective sale deal year-to-date was registered during the quarter, which was the $890 million sale of Chuan Park to Kingsford Development and MCC Land.

Meanwhile, public residential investment sales declined 44.1% quarter-on-quarter to $1.09 billion, amid a smaller price quantum of sites awarded under the Government Land Sales Programme.

 

7) New home sales remain firm despite mortgage rate hike

Despite rising mortgage rates, new home sales in Singapore remained steady in the third quarter of 2022, with preliminary figures showing that 2,194 new homes were transacted, similar to the 2,397 units shifted in Q2 2022, reported Singapore Business Review citing CBRE.

Sales during the quarter were bolstered by the successful launches of major mass-market projects such as Lentor Modern, Sky Eden@Bedok and AMO Residence which registered brisk sales even as average per sq ft (psf) prices for the OCR surpassed the $2,000 threshold.

Private home prices also continued to increase, rising 3.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2022, albeit slower compared to the 3.5% hike seen in the previous quarter.

CBRE believes the “sharp acceleration in suburban home price growth contributed to a fresh round of cooling measures”.

“With this, CBRE Research expects the mass market segment to cool and 2022 full-year new home sales to be 8,000 units, a 39% decline from 2021’s 13,027 units. Prices could stabilise in Q4 2022, bringing 2022 full-year price growth to 8%, a moderation from the 10.6% increase in 2021,” it said.

 

8) Executive condominium a golden ticket for HDB upgraders?

More HDB upgraders are looking to executive condominiums as their golden ticket as nearly 300 units yielded $500,000 in resale profit as of 29 August 2022, reported The Business Times.

With demand far exceeding supply, almost all the sampled 4,266 EC units netted about $300,000 in gross profits, showed a profit analysis by OrangeTee.

Of these, 294 generated a gross profit of at least $500,000 each. In 2021, the record gross profit for an EC unit was posted by a resale unit at CityLife@Tampine, which was transacted for $1.38 million.

OrangeTee also noted that the price gap between resale and new ECs has been narrowing, dropping to 14.4% from January to August 2022 from 28.6% in 2019.

The median resale price of ECs has also been increasing faster than new ECs, rising 30.3% to $1,115 per sq ft (psf) during the first eight months of 2022, from 2019’s $856 psf.

Prices of new ECs, on the other hand, rose 15.9% to $1,276 psf in the first eight months of 2022, from $1,101 psf in 2019.

Moreover, the supply of new ECs will remain limited. Apart from the newly launched North Gaia at Yishun Close, most ECs are completely sold or have only a handful of units left. Only two EC projects are slated to be launched by the end of this year – Copen Grand at Tengah Garden Walk; and Tenet, the new EC in Tampines Street 62. Subsequently, the next EC project launch may take place next year for a site at Bukit Batok West Avenue 8.

 

9) Strong auction interest was seen in Q3 2022

Interest for auction properties has been strong in the third quarter of 2022, with two properties receiving almost 50 cumulative bids, said Singapore Realtors Inc (SRI).

The two properties located at 685 Hougang Street 61 and 50 Pasir Ris Avenue were eventually sold for $3.43 million and $3.6 million, respectively, during SRI’s latest auction on 30 September 2022, which coincided with the implementation of the new cooling measures.

In Q3 2022, a total of nine properties were successfully sold in auction, up from six in Q3 2021.

“Of the nine properties sold at auction in Q3 this year, eight of which were sold when they made their debut during their respective first auction,” said Mok Sze, SRI Auction’s Managing Partner.

For the first nine months of the year, the total value of successful auction sales stood at $70.187 million, a slight decline from the $70.243 million registered over the same period last year.

The total number of properties sold, on the other hand, rose 19.23% to 31 from 26 over the same comparison period.

Residential properties accounted for the bulk of transactions, making up 64.5% of the total value sold.

 

10) Prime retail rents are up for the first time in four years

Singapore saw islandwide prime retail rents increase for the first time in four years, reported Singapore Business Review citing CBRE.

Notably, retail rents at Orchard Road, City Hall/Marina Centre and Fringe areas embarked on a nascent recovery during the third quarter of 2022, on the back of increased return-to-office as well as recovering visitor arrivals.

Average prime floor rent within Orchard Road, for instance, rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter to $34.45 per sq ft (psf) per month, albeit it remains 10.9% below its pre-pandemic levels.

Looking ahead, CBRE expects retail rents to continue its recovery for the rest of the year and into 2023 amid improved shopper traffic and retail sales.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales for July and August grew 14.6% and 13.9% year-on-year respectively, thanks to higher sales within the wearing apparel and footwear industry.


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