Tag Archives: Marina Collection

UOB suing over inflated housing loans

Singapore’s High Court has allowed United Overseas Bank (UOB) to proceed with legal action against two property agents, five individuals and Lippo Marina Collection (LMC), a subsidiary of Lippo Group, reported The Straits Times.

The defendants are being sued by the bank for their alleged failure to disclose the lavish furniture rebates offered by the developer to buyers of 38 apartments at the Marina Collection condominium.

UOB claims that because they were not informed about the rebates, they granted a higher loan amount to the condo buyers. Otherwise, they would have cut the mortgage quantum.

For example, the buyer of a $5.98 million unit was given a furniture rebate of $1.78 million. But the purchaser got a bank loan of $4.79 million, which is higher than the actual sales price of $4.2 million.

The bank also alleged that the distorted prices for the 99-year leasehold units infringed on the mortgage rules introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It also claimed that the buyers do not have the financial capability to repay the loans, as 37 of the 38 loans are already in default.

Countering UOB’s claim, LMC said the responsible parties in a housing loan agreement are solely the buyers and the bank. In addition, it had no knowledge of the misrepresentation of the actual sales price.

The two property agents also jointly denied the accusation that they conspired to deceive the bank. They said UOB’s vice-president of housing loans at the time was cognisant in all matters relating to the buyers’ mortgage applications. Hence, it cannot be said that the bank was not aware.



Singapore property market slows in first quarter

Prices of residential properties across all housing categories continued to see a rise of 2.2 per cent in Q1 2011 although at a slower pace, reflecting the accumulated effects of the government’s cooling measures in January 2011 and ample supply in the pipeline. Compounding the slow down in momentum were also external economic risks factors like the Middle East political unrest and Japan’s crises.

According to the property price index of all private residential properties in Singapore, the pace of increase has moderated from 2.7 per cent in Q4 2010 and is the 6th consecutive quarter to see a slow down in prices.

Condominiums and apartments saw the least increase in prices at 1.7 per cent while landed homes experienced an increase of 3.9 per cent, the highest amongst all residential categories.

Meanwhile, prices of condominiums and apartments in the Core Central Region (CCR), Outside Central Region (OCR) and Rest of Central Region rose 1.1 percent, 3.1 percent and 2.0 percent respectively. As loan quantum for subsequent properties have been reduced to 60 per cent since the new measures were implemented, investors whom are tied down by a lower loan quantum are looking outside the CCR and exploring options in the OCR and RCR zones. As such, several mass market projects are also seeing an average launch price of above S$1,000psf (US$815), much to the dismay of many buyers.

Sales volume reported in Q1 2011 reflects genuine demand by occupiers and investors and shows a drop in secondary market sales as substantiated by a 24.6 per cent fall in resale transactions to 3,191 units and a 25.5 per cent fall in sub-sales volume to 550 units. Sub sales volume is often seen as a leading indicator of speculative activities in the property market.

The rental market continued to fare well this quarter recording an impressive 10,162 leasing transactions, the highest 1st quarter statistics since 2000.

2,230 private residential units received their Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in Q1 2011, made up of 2,132 non-landed units and 98 landed ones. Major projects include two condominiums in Sentosa Cove – Seascape (151 units) and Marina Collection (124 units), Nassim Park Residences (100 units), Amber Residences (114 units), Duchess Residences (120 units), One Shenton (341 units), The Peak @ Balmeg (180 units) and The Clift (312 units). Most of these projects are located in the prime districts and the onslaught of supply may exert some pressure on rents there.

New launches fared well in March after achieving a 25 per cent increase in sales as compared to the month before. As such, property developers are seen pushing forth their launches to ride on this wave. Analysts have observed that with the abundant supply and robust pace of the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme, it makes more sense for developers to launch projects as soon as possible.

Hedges Park, a 99-year leasehold condominium with 501 units at Upper Changi Road, had 130 of their 200 released apartments sold at an average selling price of S$850psf (US$693).

Over at H2O Residences in Seng Kang, 255 units were sold by City Developments in March and another 35 units were sold in April at an average selling price of SGD$930psf (US$758).

In Yishun, 8 Courtyards, a 99-year leasehold condominium had 202 of its 280 released units sold at an average selling price of SGD$795psf (US$648). 8 Courtyards consists of 654 apartments and 2 commercial shop units.

Within this month or next, Wing Tai is expected launch Foresque Residences, a 99-year leasehold site at Petir Road. Previously, City Developments’ Tree House nearby was snapped up at its launch in April 2010 as few new projects were situated in the vicinity.

By Stuart Chng is Senior Division Head of Savills Residential (Singapore)