More land for private housing in 2nd half

The government is ramping up the supply of sites for private housing in the second half of the year to meet strong demand.

All in, the second half of the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme will have 27 residential sites and four mixed-use sites where private housing can be built.

21 are new sites and 10 sites will be carried over from the first half.

Overall, the 31 sites in the second half of the Confirmed and Reserve Lists can generate 13,905 private residential units.

The number is the highest potential supply quantum from any half-yearly period since the Confirmed List and Reserve List system started in 2001.

Most of the sites in the second half are located in the suburban regions or in the city fringes.

A National Development Ministry statement says it is placing 18 sites on the Confirmed List in the second half of the GLS programme.

Together, these 18 sites can yield 8,135 residential units – the biggest supply of private housing from the Confirmed List since the Confirmed List/Reserve List system was introduced in 2001.

The 18 Confirmed List sites comprise 15 residential sites, including five executive condo sites, two commercial and residential sites and a white site.

Of these sites, 12 are new sites and six sites will be carried over from the first half.

The Reserve List in the second half will have another 13 sites, which can together yield 5,770 residential units.

The 13 Reserve List sites comprise 12 residential sites and one commercial & residential site, where private residential units can potentially be built.

Of the 13 sites, nine are new sites and four sites will be carried over from the first half of the GLS programme.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, speaking on the sidelines of an event, said: “I think the demand for land has continued to be very strong, as you can see from the latest bids. So I believe that with this situation, it warrants us to increase the supply.

“I hope that with this increased supply, home buyers will be assured that there is ample supply (of housing units) in the market and therefore there is no need to rush. So this will probably dampen some of the exuberance in the market.

“I think it should not be a surprise that we’re increasing the supply significantly as well – 14,000, yes, it’s much more than the (residential units generated in the) last GLS.”

Three new white sites will also be available in the second half of 2010. These are plots at Choon Guan Street/Peck Seah Street, Paya Lebar Road/Eunos Road 8 and Boon Lay Way.

However, the government says it will be removing the white site at Ophir Road/Rochor Road from its land sales programme. The development plan for the site is being reviewed.

The plot was made available for sale via the Reserve List in October 2008 and it is a strategic site earmarked as an extension of the commercial district.

The government is also keeping tabs on the European debt crisis.

Mr Mah said: “I believe there will be some short-term corrections but in any case, there is a flexibility for us to adjust because our government land sales programme is reviewed on a six-monthly basis. So there are ample opportunities for us to adjust if, really, demand slows down or reduce significantly in the second half.”

Mr Mah added that the government will continue to monitor the property market closely. He said that if property prices start to increase beyond what the fundamentals can justify, then the government is prepared to introduce new measures to prevent any property bubble from forming.

The last round of measures introduced to dampen prices was in February this year.

Donald Han, managing director of Cushman & Wakefield, said: “If you look at the market… the middle of last year when the government sales of sites were launched, land prices since then till now have gone up on average by 25 percent.

“If you look into the kind of numbers that we saw in the last couple of tender exercises….average of about 15 bidders, I think these bidders will probably have some opportunity to partake in the Confirmed List and trigger the Reserve List sites as well. I think demand will probably taper off, from the developers’ point of view, towards the end of the year.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 21 May 2010

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