No new residential sites in prime districts to be released in first half of 2007

Despite the sizzling demand in luxury homes, the Government has judiciously stuck mainly to the reserve list in its land sales programme for the first half of next year.

And surprise surprise, no new residential site in the prime districts will be released.

All in, some 39 sites will be offered, yielding a potential of 5,300 hotel rooms, 5,500 private homes and 500,000 sq m of commercial space. Eight are new sites.

The bulk of these — 32 — will be on the reserve list, which means the site will be put up for tender only when an interested party commits to bidding a minimum price that is acceptable to the Government.

The rest will be on the confirmed list.

Commenting on this, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) said it is pleased the Government has continued to take a “pragmatic approach” by maintaining the use of the reserve list system.

“While there is better performance in the high-end segment of the residential market, the demand at the low-to-mid end segment of the market is still not strong. Sales are slow and prices have remained relatively flat,” it said.

There are few surprises on the list, said experts. New prime land to be released has been devoted exclusively to commercial sites — notably the 1.03 ha of land between Shenton Way and Central Boulevard.

It has a permissible gross floor area of 103,000 square meters and can be used for office space with complementary hotel and/or retail use.

“The release of the site via the confirmed list will maintain the momentum of building up Marina Bay and the seamless growth of the existing CBD,” said the Ministry of National Development in its release yesterday.

Interestingly, there are no prime residential sites of importance on the programme.

The only exception is the 0.36 ha Handy Road site that is not expected to make much impact.

“It is near Orchard Road but too small to create excitement,” said Mr Peter Ow, executive director at consultancy Knight Frank.

The new residential sites — at West Coast and Ang Mo Kio — will cater to the upgraders’ market, he noted, adding that the latter site, which is located next to Ang Mo Kio MRT station, will likely create strong interest.

“I don’t think this new list will affect the market. It looks like the Government is just trying to meet demand,” said Mr Ow.

And out of the eight hotel sites on the reserve list, three are new, noted Mr Li Hiaw Ho, executive director of CBRE Research.

“The hotel sites on the current list can yield 3,190 rooms, up from 2,615 rooms in the previous list six months ago. Visitor arrivals have recently breached the nine million mark and the additional hotel supply would be welcomed in view of Singapore’s growing tourist volume,” he said.

Source: TODAY, 22 December 2006 

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