Braddell View unable to privatise until leases are harmonised

Property buyers who are willing to pay top dollar for a unit at Braddell View for its en bloc potential may face a long wait.

The route towards a possible collective sale of the HUDC estate looks like a long and bumpy one, with the unique status of the development throwing up obstacles along the way.

Braddell View while having facilities such as a clubhouse and swimming pool – suggesting a private condominium-like status – is the only remaining HUDC estate out of 18 such estates that has yet to be privatised or earmarked for privatisation.

This means the 30-year-old estate, with an area of 106,000 sq m, cannot be put up for collective sale yet. But some property agents have been highlighting its en bloc potential in their listings, hoping to attract buyers looking for capital appreciation.

According to The Straits Times, Braddell View has not been designated for privatisation yet as it was developed in two phases, with each phase being issued a separate state lease with a different expiry date – about 21/2 years apart.

The issue of lease harmonisation has to be resolved before the estate can be privatised.

Ms Leong Pat Lynn, a partner at Rodyk & Davidson LLP’s real estate practice group, suggested that one way the two leases can be brought in line with each other is by the Housing Board working with the SLA to either surrender or top up the lease difference.

But this will mean that the two authorities have to work together to resolve any payments needed to achieve the purpose.

In a normal situation, if a lessee decides to top up its lease, it might have to pay the SLA, and if it surrenders part of its lease term to the SLA, it may receive payments instead, Ms Leong said.

Braddell View – consisting of more than 900 high-rise apartments, low-rise apartments and maisonettes. They are considered private property as they are not sold under the Housing and Development Act.

They are also unaffected by policy revisions that affect Housing Board flats, such as the ethnic and permanent resident quotas.

Assuming the leases are harmonised, for Braddell View to be considered a full-fledged private property and be eligible for a collective sale, the titles of its flats, which now fall under the HUDC Housing Estates Act, need to be first brought under the Land Titles (Strata) Act.

This is done through the privatisation process which converts the existing leases to strata titles. But the process itself presents another hurdle as it requires the support of at least 75 per cent of the residents before it can proceed.

Property agents said serious buyers are mostly aware that Braddell View cannot go en bloc as yet. But many are also drawn to the good location and large unit sizes of the development.

DTZ Sherry Tang, who markets units in the estate, said there has been ‘very healthy interest’ in the development.

‘The possibility of a collective sale is still there and the lease situation is likely to be resolved one day… so buyers think that, since Braddell View is well-located and of a good size, they can at least enjoy the space and facilities while waiting,’ she added.

Prices at the estate have moved upwards in the past year, in line with the booming property market.

In the first six months of this year, 18 units were transacted at an average unit price of $706 per sq ft (psf), according to caveats lodged, compared with the 26 transactions at a lower average price of $604 psf last year.

Join The Discussion

Compare listings