Tag Archives: HDB

HDB resale volime looking to major correction in 2014

Resale prices will slip by as much as 7%.

A bleak resale market awaits families looking to sell their HDB flats. HDB resale volume is expected to hit a ten-year low this year, with volume hovering around 16,500-17,000 units.

According to PropNex, HDB resale prices will continue heading south and are expected to soften 6-7% for the full year 2014.

Prices will remain impacted by a looming flood of new homes and the continued impact of property measures such as lower mortgage servicing ratio, shorter loan tenure and a minimum three-year waiting period for PRs wanting to buy HDB resale flats.

The outlook for 2015 also looks bleak with a possible 5 to 6 per cent full year drop. This is mainly due to the increased number of 2nd timers collecting their keys to their new BTO flats, and they will have to sell their existing flats within 6 months. This figure is expected to be about 6,000 annually for the next 2 years.

“Home buyers are more restrained if their MSR is over 30 per cent or TDSR is near 60 per cent. Loan curbs and softer prices will ultimately mean that HDB upgraders will find it more prohibitive to upgrade to a private property,” noted PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail.

– See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/residential-property/news/hdb-resale-volume-will-crash-10-year-low-year-report#sthash.QMQsBRHh.dpuf

Lease Buyback Scheme for HDB extended to 4room flats

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/lease-buyback-scheme/1317574.html

The Housing and Development Board will extend the Lease Buyback Scheme to 4-room flats. This will enable more Singaporeans to monetize their assets and derive a steady stream of income for their retirement needs.

“Last year, I was your real estate agent. This year, the real estate market is no good, I have upgraded myself, I have become a financial planner,” quipped Prime Minister Lee as he spoke on retirement adequacy for Singaporeans in his National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 17).

Mr Lee says Singapore has good schemes to provide assurance in retirement – namely through the Central Provident Fund (CPF) and home ownership. CPF members set aside the Minimum Sum when they turn 55 years old, and it will offer a regular stream of income for them after they turn 65. The payout will go on for as long as they live. The Minimum Sum for those who turn 55 this year is S$155,000. Mr Lee explained that the amount is “far from excessive”.

CPF members can count their homes in the Minimum Sum, meaning they need to set aside just half of it in cash, which works out to S$77,500. Mr Lee conducted a poll of the audience at the Rally using an example of a fictitious couple Mr and Mrs Tan.

“I ask Mr Tan – how much do you think you will need in retirement every month?” Mr Lee said. “What do you think? S$3,000 per month? That’s about two-thirds what he is getting now. S$2,000 per month – less than half what he is getting now? Or S$1,000 per month?”

The majority picked S$2,000 a month. Mr Lee said this means the Tans will need S$250,000 for their retirement needs – which is more than the Minimum Sum. And if Mr and Mrs Tan pledged their home, the amount of S$77,500 kept in their CPF account would only give them S$600 a month. They would then need to find other sources of income to plug the shortfall.

Mr Lee said there are options to achieve this, including continuing to work, getting support from their children, tapping on savings or getting money of out their house.

For example, he could rent out a room for S$700 a month, or move in with his children and rent out the entire flat for S$2,500 a month.

“The third thing you could do is to ‘right-size’: sell this flat and buy a smaller flat. Let’s say you buy a studio apartment, you move into the studio apartment and then in the process, you can enjoy a silver housing bonus from the Government which is S$20,000. We can do the sums, you get quite a lot of money – S$210,000, plus S$800 per month,” explained Mr Lee.

Another option is the Lease Buyback Scheme, which will be extended to 4-room flats. In Mr Tan’s case – if he sells the remaining lease of 35 years to HDB – he will receive a lump sum of S$27,500 in cash, plus S$900 per month.

HDB resale prices drop to 30-month low

Prices of Housing Board flats fell for the sixth consecutive month in July and to their lowest level since February 2012, the latest data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange showed.

Though slightly more flats were sold, experts attributed this to the return of buyers and sellers after the traditionally quiet June holiday season.

The resale price index fell 0.9 per cent from June, bringing HDB resale flat prices down 4 per cent since the start of the year.

Weakening prices hit most of the market, with three-, four- and five-room flat prices dipping 1.0 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. Only executive flats were spared, with prices up by about 0.1 per cent.

In all, the index is 6.7 per cent lower than July last year. Analysts said the slide was expected, due to the continued effects of cooling measures such as home loan curbs and a steady supply of new Build-To-Order flats.

“Demand and prices are expected to stabilise or slightly pick up in around the second half of 2014, due to buyers finding resale flat prices increasingly reasonable,” said R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Already, last month’s resale volumes rose slightly, but experts remained cautious about a turnaround. Last month, 1,341 flats were sold, up from 1,315 in June. But this was still 10.2 per cent lower than the 1,494 units that changed hands in July last year.

The recovery may be thanks to buyers and sellers returning to the market after the school holidays and World Cup in June, said SLP International Property Consultants head of research Nicholas Mak. He said the rise in volume is not likely to continue this month, as the Hungry Ghost period is seen as an inauspicious time for buying a house.

But in the longer term, buyers may be lured back into the market by low prices, said experts.

Mr Ong expects prices to fall by no more than 7 per cent for the full year. Other estimates range from 4 per cent to 8 per cent.

Property agents said some buyers have returned but not in large numbers. Said Dennis Wee Realty agent Judy Tay: “Some are those who have wanted to buy for a long time, but are coming in now that prices are low.”

But with prices low and buyers still scarce, some prospective sellers might choose to rent out their units instead, said experts.

An estimated 1,601 HDB flats were rented last month, up from June’s 1,574 units but flat compared with a year before. Rents were down, with the rental index falling 1.5 per cent to a three-year low. The median monthly rent was $2,300.

With foreign labour curbs hitting demand, and supply rising as upgraders move into newly completed units, rents will likely stay low, OrangeTee head of research Christine Li said.
– See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/hdb-resale-prices-drop-30-month-low#sthash.NlozpswX.dpuf

Flashback to an old housing estate

Bidding farewell to a precious piece of Singapore’s history is always difficult.

Dakota Crescent, one of Singapore’s oldest public housing estates, will be vacated by the end of 2016 to make way for new developments under Mountbatten’s estate renewal plans.

The cosy block of flats just off Old Airport Road has been a sleepy refuge for the Singaporeans who call it home.

We look back at some of the features of Dakota Crescent.

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/housing/story/5-things-remember-about-dakota-crescent-20140725#sthash.HZS1tSLt.dpuf

Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) HDB flats at Dakota Crescent.-- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

The former Kallang Airport has been home to the People’s Association (PA) since 1960. -- PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION

Tian Kee provision shop in Dakota Crescent has been turned into a cafe that retains the feel of the old place. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

https://i1.wp.com/www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/2014_revamp_615x346/20140725/DakotaOldDovePlayground_250714e.jpg

Block 62 Dakota Crescent, which won the Cleanest Block Competition in Marine Parade Town for two years consecutively. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

URA private home index down 1%; HDB resale index retreats 1.4%

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/q2-home-prices-slide-further-slower-clip-20140726

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PRICES of private homes and HDB resale flats have continued to soften in the second quarter amid a pick-up in transaction volumes.

But even though the quarter-on-quarter dips are smaller than in Q1, the prognosis is hardly cheery – besides mounting supply, demand is clipped by the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework, and in the case of HDB flats, the mortgage servicing ratio as well.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s private home price index fell one per cent in Q2, after easing 1.3 per cent in Q1. This is the third straight quarterly drop. Total transactions – new sales, resales and subsales combined – rose 46.4 per cent to 4,118 units from 2,813 in Q1. Year on year, the Q2 index was down 2.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, HDB’s resale flat price index eased 1.4 per cent, compared with 1.6 per cent in Q1. This is the fourth consecutive drop in the index. The 4,389 resale applications registered in Q2 was up 16.1 per cent from a quarter earlier. The Q2 index reflects a year-on-year drop of 5.3 per cent.

Property consultants expect the full-year drop for the HDB index to be 4-8 per cent and for the the URA index, 5-8 per cent.

The trend is expected to continue next year. Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty, said: “MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) has maintained their stand that TDSR will remain for the long term and that it is still early days to tweak any of the cooling measures. Therefore, we can expect the moderation in property prices to continue into 2015. Volumes are likely to be flat.

“Economically, we are doing well. The employment situation is good. Logically, the property market should be moving upwards in tandem with the economy. However, we are seeing moderate price declines due to the increasing supply as well as policy measures which are designed to put a check on property prices.”

JLL national director Ong Teck Hui said: “What I will be looking out for is whether the market has softened to a stable level, characterised by mild or gradual price decline of about one-odd per cent per quarter, and steady transaction volume – or whether the converse will happen: volumes could decline significantly further and leading to greater magnitude of quarterly price declines.”

URA’s Q2 data out yesterday shows that the price decline for landed homes has gathered pace – 1.7 per cent compared with 0.7 per cent in Q1.

The price decline for non-landed private homes, however, moderated to 0.8 per cent, from 1.3 per cent. Prices in suburban locations, or the Outside Central Region, retreated 0.9 per cent, faster than Q1’s 0.1 per cent dip.

In the city-fringe, or Rest of Central Region, prices edged down 0.4 per cent, compared with a 3.3 per cent drop in Q1.

Core Central Region (CCR) fell 1.5 per cent, compared with Q1’s 1.1 per cent drop. CCR covers the Downtown Core planning area, Sentosa and the traditional districts 9, 10 and 11.

Chia Siew Chuin, director at Colliers International, noted that “the CCR has been hit by a prolonged drought in foreign buying, high price tags and some potential buyers facing difficulty obtaining loans for higher-value properties due to TDSR”.

She also said that developers of high-end properties affected by Qualifying Certificate rules are facing pressure to finish selling their projects within two years of obtaining Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP). This has made them more inclined to trim prices to move units.

Ms Chia forecasts a 10-15 per cent price drop for luxury and super-luxury condos for the year.

Meanwhile, URA’s rental index for private homes dipped 0.6 per cent after shedding 0.7 per cent in Q1.

In the first half, 9,016 private homes were completed, that is, received TOP. With 8,066 more slated for completion in H2, taking full-year completions to a record 17,082, rents are expected to come under greater pressure.

The vacancy rate of private homes has risen to 7.1 per cent at end-Q2 from 6.6 per cent at end-Q1.

In the public housing market, substantial supply is also expected to put a dampener on resale flats. Based on HDB data, launches of Build-To-Order (BTO) flats are expected to total about 22,400 units this year, following 2013’s 25,139 and 2012’s 27,084.

On top of that, the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) will amount to some 6,400 units this year. In 2013 and 2012, the figures were 7,074 and 7,153 respectively. The large numbers of BTO and SBF flats will reduce appetite for resale flats, say market watchers.

Adding further pressure on HDB resale flat prices, said PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail, is an “imminent flood in supply of HDB resale homes from existing HDB flat owners collecting the keys to new BTO flats and private properties”.

HDB resale transaction volumes, however, may improve slightly due to lower asking prices. Mr Ismail expects around 17,000 resale HDB flat transactions for this year. SLP International’s Nicholas Mak forecast 15,500-16,800 units. Both their figures would be the lowest since 1997. Last year, 18,100 HDB flats changed hands in the resale market.

Dakota Crescent – Where time stands still

A SWANKY new National Stadium rises in Kallang. Two years ago, the nearby Goodman Arts Centre opened its doors to a hip young crowd. One street away, a new condominium has been built on the site of Housing Board flats.

But amid these changes, time has passed by Dakota Crescent, one of Singapore’s oldest HDB estates, located off Old Airport Road. The 17 blocks of low-rise flats have hardly changed since being built in 1958.

No wonder, then, that their retro architecture and old-school playground make them a hot spot for photographers and artists.

“It’s rare to see such old flats,” said Mr Renalto Wong, 25, who was there on a Sunday, sketching a 54-year-old provision shop that recently closed down. “There’s something comfortable and nostalgic about this place – it’s almost like a hideout.”

The estate was named after the Douglas DC-3 Dakota, a model of plane that landed at Kallang Airport in the past.

Built by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) – the forerunner of the HDB – most of the 600 flats are leased to low-income families under the board’s public rental scheme. The flats are occupied mostly by elderly residents, who pay as low as $26 a month for a one-room flat and $44 a month for a two-room flat.

Scrap-goods buyer Ng Guan Swee, 68, has lived in Dakota Crescent since it was built.

“There was a fire in Cecil Street in the 50s and our house got burned down, so we were allocated a house in Dakota Crescent,” he recalled in Mandarin.

At that time, Mr Ng’s grandmother had bound feet – as was the custom in her day – and the family requested a ground-level unit. Theirs, at Block 20, has been home to Mr Ng and his sister for more than 50 years.

“When we came in 1958, there were no streetlights,” said Mr Ng, sitting amid old laser disc players, hi-fi sets and other vintage items in his home. He remembers traversing the dark streets to go to the nearby Guillemard shophouses for snacks.

But in the 1960s, as more families moved in, a market sprang up opposite the estate.

“Almost every unit in this estate was occupied. Neighbours knew one another and our doors were always open,” said Mr Ng. “Those were good times.”

Madam Yong Fong Keow, 64, who moved there in the 60s, also misses such communal life.

Gesturing at a new condominium, she said in Mandarin: “There was a bakery there. At 3pm or 4pm, we would smell the aroma of freshly baked bread. That’s when you grabbed some money and a neighbour and went to buy bread.”

But now, communal life in Dakota is a shadow of what it used to be. Only about 60 per cent of the units are occupied. Of a row of four shops, only two – both Chinese medicine clinics – remain.

Neighbours started moving out in the 90s, some to live with their children.

Then, a new wave of tenants moved there in 2005 when the HDB leased empty units to private operators, who, in turn, rented them to foreign workers.

“You could hear Thai accents, Filipino accents and Chinese accents around the neighbourhood, it was like a mini United Nations,” Mr Ng joked.

While some residents got used to these new faces, others did not.

Madam Amy De Silva, a long-time resident in her 60s, said: “Some of them were rowdy and you could hear them coming home late at night. Their living habits just didn’t suit ours.”

The HDB’s agreement with the managing agent ended last year and the foreign workers have since moved out of the Dakota estate.

However, at Block 32, an empty unit is littered with cardboard boxes and clothes. Mr Y.Y Goh, 57, a resident, said foreign workers live there but they do not disturb anyone.

One empty unit in Block 12, though, has become a party spot for teens. “They drink, eat, smoke, and mess the place up,” said a resident who wanted to be known only as Mr Zhang.

When The Straits Times visited, there were drink cans, chip packets and cardboard boxes in the unit.

In another vacant unit in Block 16, graffiti was scrawled on the walls. Some residents suspect teenagers sniffed glue there – some were spotted going into the unit with bags over their noses.

The HDB said that it has received complaints about crime and mischief in the area and informed the police.

But Dakota, now somewhat of a ghost town, may soon be more crowded again. The HDB said it is offering empty units as interim housing to needy families awaiting new flats. They were expected to start moving in progressively from last month. It has not indicated any long-term plans to develop the estate, however.

Although Dakota has been dubbed an “old people’s estate”, the few young faces who live there have no complaints.

“It’s a five-minute walk from Dakota and Mountbatten MRT stations, we have the Old Airport Road hawker centre and I hang out with friends at the Kallang Leisure Park nearby,” said Mr Kartigesan Saravanan, 20, who has lived in Dakota for the past 13 years. “It’s really a good location.”

Indeed, resident Bill Koh, who is in his 50s, said: “So many new buildings are coming up around us, it’s hard not to worry what might happen.

“People always come here and say how nice this estate is. There’s lots of green space between these old flats. It’s a pity if one of Singapore’s oldest estates is gone – maybe they should consider conserving it.”
– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/the-big-story/case-you-missed-it/story/suburb-where-time-stands-still-20131104#sthash.FKBJBMLk.dpuf

 

 

 

MND considering rewarding older couples who move to non-mature estates

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/consider-rewarding-older-couples-who-move-non-mature-estates-khaw

Incentivising older couples to move out of mature estates to live with or near their married children in non-mature estates could be one way to help families stay closer to one another, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

He cited this as a possibility to free up units in mature estates, so that more newlyweds can buy homes near their parents — allowing closer living between married couples and their parents was one of the Government’s goals set out in the President’s Address.

“If some parents for various reasons are quite prepared to leave their comfortable surroundings in a mature estate to non-mature estates with their children, I think we should try to facilitate and, perhaps, even reward them,” he said.

Mr Khaw was speaking at the fourth and final focus group session his ministry held on Tuesday, to find out the preferences of young and old couples for living close together, as well as possible policy changes to meet the demand.

Although participants of the focus group discussions had reacted coolly to the possibility of building more Three-Generation (3Gen) flats to allow families to live together, Mr Khaw noted that there is still a minority who wish to do so and added that such flats will continue to be rolled out — albeit at smaller numbers.

“Our policy decision to continue to build larger flats, what we call 3Gen flats, for those who want to stay together, I think is a right move. But I think the numbers required will not be huge,” Mr Khaw said. He also added that the Government will site these flats in mature estates, where possible.

Separately, a survey commissioned by the Ministry of National Development (MND) involving more than 2,000 Singaporeans showed that 55 per cent of singles plan to live with their parents after marriage, while 65 per cent of young, unmarried couples who intend to move out after marriage want to live in the same town as their parents or nearer.

The Housing and Development Board Sample Household Survey for last year also showed that while more are living together with or close to their parents in the past decade — the proportion has risen from 31 to 37 per cent — some were still unable to do so. Only 53 per cent of married couples surveyed currently live with, or in the same town as their parents.

Commenting on the survey results in a blog post yesterday, Mr Khaw said it was “heartwarming” to see the survey confirming that “the state of family bonding in Singapore is healthy and strong”. “They affirm that Singaporean families value mutual care and support and want to live near to one another,” he added.

Acknowledging that his ministry could do more to help families live closer together, Mr Khaw said: “MND will study the survey findings in greater detail, and together with the feedback we have received from our housing conversations, to see how best we can help fulfil Singaporeans’ aspirations to live near their extended families for better mutual care and support.”