Tag Archives: Qualifying Certificate

Developers offering fewer indirect discounts

Once popular with private homebuyers, indirect discounts like furniture vouchers and cash rebates have become less prevalent, reported The Business Times.

In fact, only three percent of some 3,850 non-landed private homes sold by developers since 25 May had indirect discounts, with an average discount of 1.7 percent of the transacted price. The units were from 18 of the 132 projects that saw sales since 25 May, according to an analysis of developers’ new sales data.

Notably, legislative amendments requiring developers to submit detailed transaction data to the Controller of Housing every week took effect on 25 May this year. The said data is then published by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Aside from the transacted prices of units, developers are also required to declare the value of benefits given to buyers, such as rental guarantees, cash rebates, furniture vouchers, and the absorption of legal fees or stamp duties, which would otherwise conceal the actual value of the units sold.

“There was a season when discounts, rebates and other perks were dangled as carrots to attract buyers. However, these may be relatively passé today,” said Tan Tee Khoon, managing director of KF Property Network, a Knight Frank subsidiary.

This is because developers may find it pointless to give out cash rebates now that such data has become public information, said Savills research head Alan Cheong., As such, developers who need to urgently clear their stock in order to meet the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Qualifying Certificate (QC) requirements are more likely to lower prices directly.

The QC rule requires developers to pay extension fees for condominium units sold within two years of the project’s completion. Since December 2011, housing developers were also required to develop residential sites acquired and sell all the units within five years to qualify for an ABSD remission on land cost.

Projects offering indirect discounts since May to qualify for the remission of ABSD include The Venue Residences, Jewel @ Buangkok, Pollen & Bleu and The Glades. Those unaffected by ABSD or QC include Keppel Land’s Corals at Keppel Bay, City Developments Ltd’s D’Nest and Coco Palms, and Far East Organization’s The Seawind.

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Unsold homes big drag on developers’ coffers

DEVELOPERS have collectively paid up to $55.1 million in extension fees for unsold units in their private condo projects since 2012. They could potentially fork out another $80.7 million to extend the sales period for another year if they do not sell their inventory by year-end, according to a study by OrangeTee Research.

“As the penalty amounts to millions of dollars per project, we believe that it will incentivise some developers to reprice some of these projects to move sales in the near term,” said OrangeTee research head Christine Li.

A total of 24 condo projects, mostly high-end ones, are still not fully sold two years after receiving their temporary occupation permits (TOPs) between 2010 and 2012, the study showed. Under the government’s Qualifying Certificate (QC) rules, developers have to pay extension charges to extend the sales period after two years of the project’s TOP.

All developers with non-Singaporean shareholders or directors need to obtain QCs to buy private land for new projects because they are deemed “foreign developers” under the Residential Property Act (RPA). This means the QC rules apply to all listed developers. Privately owned Far East Organization and Hoi Hup are among the few developers exempted from the rules.

Given that the QCs allow developers up to five years to finish building a project and two more years to sell all the units, the heat is on developers to clear their stock by the deadline.

To extend the sales period, developers pay 8 per cent of the land purchase price for the first year of extension, 16 per cent for the second year and 24 per cent from the third year onwards. The charges are pro-rated based on unsold units over the total units in the project.

Such fees drove luxury residential player SC Global to delist from the Singapore Exchange last year after sales slowed significantly due to the government’s property cooling measures.

Analysts warn that more extension charges will kick in. The charges paid up so far are just the tip of the iceberg as projects built from land acquired during the 2006-2007 en bloc fever have just crossed a seven-year mark, they say.

“More developers are caught between a rock and a hard place” as they have to decide whether to pay the extension charges or cut prices to move the units, said SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak.

If they pay for extension charges, there is also the question of whether they can recover these costs later on, he said. This is why some developers of luxury projects are resorting to selling the units in bulk to mega investors.

OrangeTee’s study of the 24 projects excluded three projects whose land costs could not be determined. It tracked sales of projects through caveats lodged, which it conceded could be lower than actual sales.

At the end of the first quarter of this year, there were 10,295 unsold units in the Core Central Region (CCR), 8,089 in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and 12,433 in the Outside Central Region (OCR).

Based on URA caveats, there are 71 unsold units in Wheelock Properties’ Scotts Square that TOP-ed in 2011 and 16 unsold units in Wing Tai’s Helios Residences, which also TOP-ed in the same year.

“As unsold inventory builds up, there will likely be more bargains in the market if developers want to avoid paying penalties to extend the sales period, especially high-end developers who have already paid premium prices for their lands,” Ms Li said.

The study excluded the fees that developers need to pay to extend the completion of projects beyond five years, as they can typically extend without paying the charges “based on technicalities”.

Even in a more optimistic scenario where developers manage to sell 20 per cent of the remaining units for the rest of this year, further extension charges to be paid by developers by end-2014 will amount to around $68.3 million.

Some market watchers noted that the QC rules should mark a distinction between larger and smaller projects, given that it takes a longer time to move all the units in large projects in a difficult market as the current one.

Century21 chief executive officer Ku Swee Yong said that demand for high-end projects had been hit hardest by higher additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD) since January 2013 and a borrowing cap under the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) since June last year.

Even if a developer decides to set up an investment company to buy the units and rent them out, the company could be hit by a 15 per cent ABSD and is restricted by a loan-to-value limit of 20 per cent.

While there is good reason for having QC rules to regulate foreign participation in the housing market, these rules were in place before the ABSD and TDSR. “It is about time we review these measures,” Mr Ku said.

Source : STProperty