Kalpana Rashiwala  | The Business Times
Friday, Dec 21, 2012


The last two 99-year-leasehold private housing sites on the second half 2012 Government Land Sales (GLS) programme have been released.

One is a plum site next to Queenstown MRT Station being offered on the confirmed list and tipped by some analysts to fetch a top bid of $1,000 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) or more.

The other site, next to Tanah Merah MRT Station, is being made available for application on the reserve list.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), acting as land sales agent for the government, will launch this site for tender only if it receives an application from a developer accompanied by an undertaking of a minimum bid price acceptable to the state.

Along Commonwealth Avenue, next to Queenstown MRT Station, the Housing & Development Board, as a state land sales agent, is offering a 1.2-hectare plot that can potentially yield about 700 homes.

The site has a 4.9 plot ratio (ratio of maximum gross floor area to land area), which means it can accommodate a high-rise condo of over 40 storeys, say property consultants.

Predictions of the top bid for this site range widely – from $700 psf ppr to $1,100 psf ppr.

Five to 10 bids are expected for the land parcel, though Donald Han, special adviser at HSR Property Group, predicts more than 10 bids.

He also has the most bullish forecast for the winning bid, $960-$1,100 psf ppr, citing “an iconic residential development with a breathtaking view of the city” which could rise from the land parcel.

The most conservative winning bid forecast of $700-$800 psf ppr came from CBRE executive director Li Hiaw Ho. This is significantly lower than the $970 psf ppr fetched earlier this month for a 99-year condo site in Alexandra Road/Alexandra View near Redhill MRT Station – one stop closer to the city.

That was the fourth private housing site the government has sold in the Redhill/Alexandra area over the past year.

“The Redhill location is close to Good Class Bungalow Areas whereas this site in Queenstown is in a predominantly HDB location. On the other hand, there haven’t been any private housing sites on offer in this area for some time now,” said Mr Li.

ERA Realty Network key executive officer Eugene Lim pointed out that the latest site has about twice the land area of the Redhill plot sold earlier this month, though both have the same plot ratio of 4.9.

“We can therefore expect five to eight bids (with the winning bid) at around $900-980 psf ppr.”

The site is likely to be heavily contested given its location in a mature estate.

“HDB resale flats in Queenstown have been commanding high prices, with executive flats hitting the $1 million mark,” he adds.

Lee Lay Keng, associate director at DTZ, notes that the median price of units sold this year in the 99-year-leasehold Queens condo nearby is around $1,215 psf, while that in The Alexis, a freehold condo slightly further away from the MRT station and comprising mostly small units, is about $1,700 psf.

She predicts the highest bid for the latest site could be around $850-$1,000 psf ppr.

The tender for the site closes on Feb 5 next year. In New Upper Changi Road, next to Tanah Merah MRT Station, the URA is marketing a 2.6-ha reserve list site that is expected to yield about 600 units.

Three private housing sites in the location have been sold by the government this year.

DTZ’s Ms Lee notes the latest plot is next to the 748-unit eCO condo, which has been 75 per cent sold since it was launched in September.

“Since the latest plot is closer to the MRT Station than eCO, it should draw strong interest.”

If the site is triggered for release from the reserve list, bids could come in above $800 psf ppr. In October, Keppel Land paid $791 psf ppr for a nearby site.

DWG senior manager Lee Sze Teck predicts up to 10 bids and a winning bid of $780-$830 psf ppr for the site if it were to be launched today.

Both the Tanah Merah and Queenstown plots are located Outside the Central Area, which means there will be a cap on the maximum number of housing units based on an average unit size of 70 square metres gross floor area.

Anytime now, the URA is expected to release the final two commercial sites in the H2 2012 GLS programme – a 1.2-ha confirmed list site near Jurong East MRT Station and a site along Cecil and Telok Ayer streets.

The latter will be made available on the reserve list.

Both sites are expected to have minimum office component stipulations.