Govt to sell land for 14,200 homes

The Government plans to sell land that can yield up to 14,200 new private homes, including Executive Condominium (EC) units, in the second half of this year, broadly matching its previous sales programmes as it seeks to meet demand for affordable housing.

“It is a lot of supply,” said Mr Ku Swee Yong, Chief Executive of real estate consultancy International Property Advisor. “But more supply doesn’t necessarily translate into lower prices, because unlike other consumer goods, the winning bid for the land sets the price,” he said, adding that recent private housing sites released for sale had received more than 10 bids each, showing that developers remained keen on building up their land banks.

Under the Government Land Sales programme for the second half of the year, a total of 24 private residential sites, including six for ECs, will be made available for sale, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said yesterday.

Ten of these sites, which can accommodate up to 6,000 residences, are put on the Confirmed List along with one commercial land parcel at Woodlands Avenue 5.

“The supply … comes on top of the record-high supply of 100,600 units (including ECs) in the pipeline, of which 39,000 units still remain unsold as of the first quarter of 2013,” the MND said.

The Woodlands site, offering commercial space of about 742,000 sq ft, will kick-start the development of Woodlands Regional Centre.

The remaining 14 private housing sites are put on the Reserve List together with one mixed commercial and residential site, one commercial plot, three hotel land parcels, as well as a white site that gives developers more usage flexibility. They can yield about 8,200 private homes, 960 hotel rooms and 2.1 million sq ft of commercial space.

Some sites on the Reserve List are more attractive than the ones on the Confirmed List due to their better locations, Mr Ku noted.

“Stirling Road, Alexandra View, Sturdee Road are considered nice locations, compared to those on the Confirmed List that are mainly in the outskirts. So, these will likely be triggered by the developers,” he said.

Reserve List land will be put up to sale only if a developer commits to place a minimum bid acceptable to the Government, or if the site is deemed to have “sufficient market interest” when more than one developer bid for it.

On the other hand, there are attractive sites in suburban locations. Ms Chia Siew Chuin, Colliers International’s Director of Research and Advisory, pointed out that the sites at Sims Drive and Upper Paya Lebar Road from the Confirmed List would be well-received as they are close to MRT stations and reputable schools.

For Sims Drive, “besides being close to the city, the immediate locality also provides prospective buyers and occupants an array of established F&B options at the shophouses located in Sims Avenue and Geylang”, she said.

Source – CNA – 26 Jun 2013

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