Latest Singapore EC News


Sengkang Executive Condo (EC) site awarded

Feb, 2014

The housing board has awarded an executive condominium (EC) site in Anchorvale Crescent to Phoenix Real Estate, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SingHaiyi Group.

The tender for the Sengkang site closed last Thursday after attracting 12 bids.

SingHaiyi submitted the highest bid of $193 million for the land parcel, which translates to about $3,949 psm on the gross floor area (GFA).

The site was hotly contested with only a one percent difference between SingHaiyi’s tender price and the next highest bid from MCL Land (Brighton).

The 16,280 sqm site has a maximum GFA of 48,840 sqm and a plot ratio of 3.0.

Offered on a 99-year lease, the site could yield around 545 homes.

Background story:
Sengkang and Punggol areas are having exciting developments, arguably the fastest growing area in Singapore!


S$226M bid for Canberra Site

Jan, 2014

The Housing Development Board (HDB) has revealed the provisional winning bid for a parcel of land at Canberra Drive was S$226 million – and was made by Verwood Holdings Pte Ltd and TID Residential Pte Ltd.

The 28,562 sqm Executive Condominium 99-year leasehold site will have an estimated 600 units. Bidding opened on November 18 and closed at 12 noon today. There were a total of six bids for the site.

Desmond Sim, Head, CBRE Research Singapore, said: “The site attracted bids from seasoned players looking to replenish their land bank.

“At S$350 per sq ft plot ratio, it is lower than the previous top bid of S$382 per sq ft plot ratio at Westwood Avenue.

Developers appear to be more realistic, bearing in mind the new credit restrictions imposed on EC buyers, which can only be made up of Singaporeans. This is also reflected in the narrow margins between bids.

The site is located in a growing residential enclave, in line with the government’s plans to establish Woodlands as a regional centre.”

In its statement HDB said: “A decision on the award of the tender will be made after the bids have been evaluated. This will be announced at a later date.”

Background story:
Bids are going strong and there is an expectation that an EC site in Canberra will be in high demand.


EC buyer’s buying power hit!

11 December, 2013

The government’s revision of the executive condominium (EC) scheme will see developers being more mindful of a buyer’s income ceiling and the project’s affordability.

“Affordability of ECs will be hit by the new mortgage servicing ratio (MSR) which is capped at 30 percent of the buyer’s gross monthly income (previously, this only applied to HDB BTO and resale flats),” said Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty.

Coupled with the resale levy that second-time buyers will have to fork out when acquiring EC units directly from developers, both measures will “work in tandem to equalise the playing field between public housing and ECs — and will prompt developers to adjust their land bid prices accordingly”, to take into account the purchasing power of potential buyers.

“Subsequent EC land bids will be keenly watched to see if the new measures will bring down the number of bids per site and/or affect the quantum of the winning bids, given the strong offers for recent state tenders and the continued healthy take-up rate for ECs.”

Meanwhile, the implementation of the MSR for ECs will result in a 50 percent drop on a buyer’s purchasing power, severely denting the aspirations of upgraders.

It will also drive potential EC buyers into the mass market segment where the more ‘rational’ TDSR rule applies for mortgage loans, Ismail noted.

And while the EC segment has seen strong interest from developers, any new policies or schemes involving the segment should not be applied retroactively as developers may have already bid for land sites at high costs and some may have already planned out their designs and architecture based on the previous regulation of a unit size of not more than 150 sq m, he explained.

“Imposing the MSR at 30 percent for existing ECs (that are currently available for sale) will make these existing units almost unreachable as the quantum loan required is much higher.”

As such developers may build smaller units to keep the overall quantum affordable for buyers, which could compromise living space.

Background story:
Seems like buyer will need to be cash rich in order to own an EC since the loan amount they can borrow has been lowered due to new measure. Those who are eligible and able to own an EC now need to take action fast before more measures are implement.


New Cooling Measures targeted at EC Buyers

10 December, 2013

The Ministry of National Development (MND) has introduced three new measures to align the executive condominium (EC) scheme with that of public housing and support a sustainable EC market.

Firstly, the cancellation fees for ECs has been reduced from 20 percent to 5 percent of the purchase price, to relieve the financial burden of buyers who have to cancel their bookings after signing the Sale & Purchase Agreement.

The new fees will apply to land sales launched on or after 9 December, including those where the tenders have not closed.

Currently, the cancellation fee is similar to that of private housing at 20 percent. But unlike private home buyers, EC buyers cannot sub-sell their units if they fail to complete their purchase, hence the fee.

The fee had put significant financial pressure on young couples who were not able to proceed with their marriage and subsequently the EC purchase. The reduction will align the cancellation fee for EC units with that of Build-to-Order (BTO) flats.

Meanwhile, second-timer applicants purchasing EC units directly from developers will now have to pay a resale levy, just like second-timer applicants purchasing BTO flats.

The new levy will apply to land sales launched on or after 9 December, including those where the tenders have not closed.

At the moment, second-timer applicants purchasing EC units directly from developers benefit from lower prices due to the initial eligibility and ownership restrictions imposed on EC buying.

The alignment of treatment with second-timer applicants purchasing BTO flats will ensure greater parity.

Finally, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will cap the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) for housing loans granted by financial institutions for EC units bought directly from developers at 30 percent of a borrower’s gross monthly income.

This is in line with earlier measures rolled out by the HDB and MAS to encourage financial prudence among public housing buyers. The move discourages EC buyers from over-stretching their finances while supporting an affordable and sustainable EC market.

The 30 percent MSR cap will apply to EC purchases where the Option to Purchase is granted on or after 10 December.

Background story:
Good news that the penalty for cancellation has been reduced from 20 percent to 5 percent, allowing buyer to have more confidence to apply an EC. However, many expect the MSR to reduce the buying power of keen buyers.

Sembawang EC project three times subscribed

22 October, 2013

SKYPARK Residences in Sembawang is likely to be one of Singapore’s most popular executive condominium (EC) projects this year.

The 506-unit project ended its application period on Sunday with 1,604 applications – more than treble the number of units available, developer JBE Holdings said in a statement yesterday.

Applicants mostly consisted of Housing Board flat upgraders living in northern Singapore, young married couples and larger, multi-generational families.

The project has three-, four-, and five-bedders and five-bedroom maisonettes, ranging from 1,141 sq ft to 1,722 sq ft.

SkyPark Residences is the first EC development in Sembawang and is the seventh and last EC Singapore project to be launched this year.

It features a 1,250 sq m “skypark” straddling three towers about 50m above ground.

The skypark will cost $3 million to $5 million to build out of a total construction cost likely to be just under $150 million, JBE told The Straits Times in July.

It won the site for $211.9 million or $323.76 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio (ppr) last December.

No official pricing has been released but market watchers said earlier that the price could be between $720 psf and $800 psf.

SkyPark‘s launch will bring the total number of EC units released this year to 3,337 units.

Out of that total, 2,458 units in five EC projects have been put on sale so far this year.

This figure excludes the 373 units from the Waterwoods EC at Punggol Field Walk/Punggol Walk and the 506 units from SkyPark Residences.

More than 1,800 of those 2,458 EC units, or 73 per cent, had been sold as at the end of August.

EC supply next year is likely to plummet due to a 15-month rule on sales that was imposed in January this year.

Market watchers estimated that there will be no new Singapore EC launches for at least the first three quarters of next year, and the number of new Singapore EC launches next year could be as low as two projects.

Bookings at SkyPark Residences will open on Nov 16.


Background story:
EC remains popular among the middle class income families!


Reach for a New Experience at Skypark

30 Sepetember, 2013

SkyPark Residences is set to make history on two fronts: The first executive condominium (EC) project in Sembawang and the second EC with duplex units on offer – Waterwoods EC stole the honour of being the first.

At any rate, SkyPark has more duplex units to offer. 28 to be exact, with each measuring a generous 1,709 sq ft, and coming with five bedrooms. However, buyers too lazy to climb stairs can instead opt for any of the 88 single-floor 5-bedroom units, which range in size from 1,591 sq ft to 1,596 sq ft.

Units at SkyPark are tilted towards larger types. One will not find 2-bedroom or smaller apartments here. Instead on offer are 116 3-bedder, 30 3-bedder with study, 210 4-bedroom units, and another 30 4-bedroom plus study units.

Altogether the 502 units are housed in nine blocks of 14/15 storeys each. Spread across a land area of 249,772 sq ft, the developer, JBE Holding Pte Ltd, acquired the site with a price tag of $211.92 million on 17 December 2012.

SkyPark comes with full condominium facilities from pools, clubhouse, gym, BBQ pits; residents will find it all. And of course, as its name suggests, there is a beautifully landscaped park on the roof of one of its blocks. Residents can therefore enjoy panoramic views as they take a stroll.

Additionally, residents will appreciate SkyPark‘s proximity to Malaysia which makes heading to Johor for a short retreat so much easier.

Sandwiched between Woodlands and Yishun, residents at SkyPark can find amenities in both commercial centres, with Yishun due to undergo a rejuvenation program under the “Transforming Yishun: Rejuvenating the Town Centre”, a new integrated development will spring up there latest by 2020, amongst other upgrading works.

At the moment, residents can still enjoy shopping facilities at Sun Plaza Shopping Centre, Sembawang Shopping Centre, Canberra Shopping Centre, North Point Shopping Centre and Causeway Point.

In terms of transport link-ways, a few bus stops away lie Sembawang MRT Station (North-South Line), a Bus Interchange and a future town centre.

Numerous schools can be found in the vicinity from Ahmad Ibrahim Primary School and Secondary School, Yishun Junior College, Republic Polytechnic, and many more.


Background story:
Skypark Residences maintained the high standard of living that an EC has to offer!


Ecopolitan – An EC in an up-and-coming town

Punggol 21+ looks set to be moulded as the model town of the 21st century

24 June, 2013

Punggol 21+  is mould to be the model town of the 21st century. Be part of this town by living in 
Developed by China-based Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group Pte Ltd, this 512-unit project 
sits at the corner of Punggol Way and is adjacent to Tampiness Expressway.
Qingjian paid S$189.87 million in a Sept 2012 tender sale where it emerged as the top bidder among two other developers. The 99-year tenure (all EC sites have only 99 years lease) 201,801.32 sq ft (square feet) land parcel has a maximum GFA (gross floor area) of 605,403.96  sq ft.
Ecopolitan will house 8 16-storey tall towers which comprise 3-,4-, 5-bedroom units, penthouses and dual key units, ranging in size from 895-1527 sq ft. It comes with full condominium facilities.
Residents with school-going children need not fret about educational institutions given that the vicinity is dotted with Primary and Secondary schools. In fact, right next door lies Punggol Green Primary School with Edgefield Secondary School a short walking distance ahead. Others include Rivervale Primary, Compassvale Secondary amongst others.
Residents will also have no lack of shopping amenities and transport convenience. Indeed they are only about 650m away from Punggol Central – the heart of Punggol which integrates transport linkways (Punggol MRT, LRT and bus interchange) and a shopping mall. 
The mall, Waterway Point, is to be the first suburban waterfront mall. It offers not only a range of retail shops, but also al fresco waterfront dining by the 4.2km long Punggol Waterway – touted as the Venice of Punggol – and the area’s first Shaw Theatres IMAX cinema.  The mall is due to be completed in 2015.
Other smaller shopping centres in the area are Compass Point, Rivervale Mall, Rivervale Plaza and Punggol Plaza.

Background story:
Punggol has great potential in capital appreciation as there are many plans to develop the area in the 8 years.


Buyers home in on Pasir Ris, Punggol

Projects in the two areas are ‘most searched for’ on website

11 May, 2013

GOING by recent searches on the website, the Pasir Ris and Punggol areas are attracting the most interest from potential home buyers.

The most searched project on the site in the week ended May 5, based on page views, was the Waterbay executive condominium (EC) in Punggol, which was launched last October.

Ripple Bay condominium in Pasir Ris was next, followed by Bartley Residences, next to Bartley MRT Station.

The rising private home prices, especially for mass market units, are prompting home buyers to look at ECs as an affordable alternative.

Waterbay is the only EC in the top 10 so its popularity could be linked to growing interest in the Punggol area.

Waterbay EC could be attractive to budget-conscious home buyers, for its lower price points and location attributes with its proximity to the Punggol Waterway and future retail amenities at Waterway Point.

There is also keen interest in projects that have launched within the past year or so, including Bartley Residences, launched in February last year, and Urban Vista, released in March.

Interest also rises when developments are close to receiving their temporary occupation permit (TOP) status, hence the clicks on Hundred Trees, located at West Coast.

The condo, which expects to receive its TOP next year, has recorded a slight increase in its average price from $1,322 per sq ft (psf) last October, to $1,394 psf in March.

Background story:
What are you waiting for?
People are zooming into Pasir Ris for new home and with the EC getting popular (due to it’s affordability, capital appreciation potential and comparable design and facilities as condo), the upcoming EC at Punggol Field walk is sure to be in high demands! Check out now!

Healthy demand for first EC plot since cooling measures

Seven parties vie for Woodlands site, with top offer at $216m or $341.21 psf ppr

2 May, 2013

DEVELOPERS seem to be still upbeat about the executive condominium (EC) market, after the first such plot put up for tender since changes were introduced to this property class in January drew healthy demand.

Seven parties bid for the 99-year leasehold site between Woodlands Avenue 5 and 6, provisional results from the Housing and Development Board showed yesterday. The plot can yield about 590 homes.

The top offer of $216 million, or about $341.21 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), came from Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group. Bellevue Properties, a subsidiary of City Developments Limited, had the second highest bid of $198 million, or $312.77 psf ppr.

The lowest offer of $158.9 million, or about $251.00 psf ppr was from CEL EC Development.

Both the number of bidders and the top bid were at the upper range of analyst forecasts.

If the plot is awarded to Qingjian, the sale price will be 13 per cent higher than the $302 psf ppr fetched last October for the nearby Twin Fountains EC site, and 7 per cent higher than the $318 psf ppr for the also nearby Forestville EC site which closed last May.

This is despite cooling measures applied to ECs in January, including one that stipulates that developers can only sell units 15 months from the award of the sites or after foundation works are completed.

“This indicates that developers remain very confident of the EC market and see sufficient demand for ECs in Woodlands,” said Christine Li, head of research at OrangeTee.

“It can be seen that developers are still hungry for land sites to build up their land bank,” said Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty.

Ong Teck Hui, national director for research and consultancy at Jones Lang LaSalle said: “The five-month lag since the sale of the last EC site at Sembawang Crescent in December 2012 could have also resulted in a pent-up effect resulting in more bidders participating and the optimistic top bid.”

Developers were also drawn to the potential of the Woodlands area, market watchers said, which was marked in the government’s Land Use Plan as a future commercial hub.

The upcoming Thomson MRT line and a planned rapid transit system between Woodlands and Johor Baru (JB) add further appeal, consultants said.

Chia Siew Chuin, director of research and advisory at Colliers International, added that more Singaporeans are investing in second homes in JB: “As such, the entire Woodlands area would be primed for increased economic and human activities that are as yet largely untapped.”

Analysts expect a break-even price of between $650 and $700 psf ppr. With the nearby La Casa EC project selling for upwards of $770 psf, predictions for the selling price of the latest site ranged from $710 to $830 psf.

Demand for EC sites could stay strong for the rest of the year, with Desmond Sim, associate director at CBRE Research, citing “a genuine need and demand” for ECs.

But there could be changes afoot for the market. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said two weeks ago that the EC scheme cannot carry on in its current form.

Background story:
The market for ECs is still staying strong! But there may be changes to ECs scheme. Imagine a lesser grant or other forms of cooling measures kicking in, this will affect many keen buyers. If you are one that is eligible and interest, do check out ECs now!


Khaw hints at changes to EC scheme

THE executive condominium (EC) scheme cannot carry on in its current form

27 Apr, 2013

THE executive condominium (EC) scheme cannot carry on in its current form, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, hinting that there may be changes afoot.

At a session of an Our Singapore Conversation on housing on Thursday, he noted the “sense of inequity” at the profit that EC buyers can make on their units.

First-time buyers of both ECs and Build-To-Order (BTO) flats get grants from the Housing Board, the size of which depends on their incomes. This ranges from $10,000 to $30,000 for EC buyers, and up to $60,000 for BTO buyers earning less than $1,500 a month.

But EC owners make more profit upon resale than the average flat owner, noted Mr Khaw.

“Because their upside in the current property market is so big, the subsidy they earn getting an EC compared to the subsidy that a lower-income family, through a three-room, four-room or five-room BTO… there’s a substantial gap,” he said.

“So there’s this sense of inequity here, that the lower-income is getting less subsidy than somebody who is earning $12,000,” he said, referring to the income ceiling for EC buyers. BTO buyers face a lower ceiling of $10,000.

ECs are meant for the “sandwiched” class of buyers who make too much to be eligible for BTO flats but still find private property out of reach.

This state of affairs, said Mr Khaw, goes against the principle of progressive HDB subsidies, where the lower-income should receive more. “So something is wrong somewhere,” he said. “And therefore I think we cannot carry on the EC in this current (form).”

ECs are marketed and built by private developers rather than HDB. Buyers are subject to a minimum occupation period of five years, but after 10 years, ECs become private property and can be sold to foreigners.

According to data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange, four-room flats in Chua Chu Kang appreciate faster than EC units from The Quintet – about 200 per cent compared to 90 per cent for the EC over seven years.

But EC buyers have made more profit in absolute terms: The median price of units in The Quintet rose from $478,333 in 2005 to $905,000 last year. In comparison, that of HDB four-room flats rose from $136,000 to $420,250 in the same period.

Background story:
Nest egg at stake!
For many people, it’s an asset… if their house suddenly devalues by say 30 percent, their dream of downgrading and still having some money in the bank (for retirement) will suddenly vanish.


 MPs grill Khaw in Parliament over EC scheme abuse

Earlier buyers may feel they lost out; others accept market conditions change

14 Jan, 2013

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan was in the hot seat in Parliament Monday as he faced a barrage of questions over the effectiveness of a scheme to provide affordable housing to higher-income Singaporean households.

At least four Members of Parliament called for the Executive Condominium (EC) scheme to be reviewed following reports that property developers are selling oversized and overpriced units, and that owners are making a killing renting out their units.

MPs also questioned why some developers’ plans to build huge units going for $1.2 million apiece had been approved in the first place as that led to buyers with limited finances being priced-out of the scheme.

Comparable in design and facilities to private condominiums, EC units are meant for Singaporeans who can afford more than an HDB flat but find private property out of their reach.

In response to why the oversized units were approved by planning authorities, Khaw said that “those were the planning rules of that time, but they have been fixed”.

He went on to defend the EC scheme, saying that four new measures announced two days ago would stop abuse and curb the problem.

‘Wonderful’ scheme

Likening EC units to cars, Khaw said that the scheme has given Singaporeans a chance to buy a luxury “Lexus” at (Toyota) “Corolla” prices.

“The rules have been fixed. We will be vigilant and if the abuse continues, we will think of other ways,” he said. “The selling price of the EC is linked to the size of the EC. If you cap the size of the EC, the prices will be more sober.”

News of the EC scheme being abused by developers came to light with the sale of larger-than-usual, million-dollar EC units in Yishun. It was then discovered that private developers were taking advantage of land cost savings and loopholes in housing planning rules to build super-sized and super-priced ECs.

In addition, dual-key units, first introduced to encourage multi-generation families to live together, were being immediately rented out by unscrupulous owners instead.

‘Four-pronged solution’

With the new measures, EC units will now be capped at a size of 160 sq m. Private enclosed spaces and roof terraces will also be included in the gross floor area and subject to development charges.

The new rules also seek to put a stop to rogue developers by only sales launches 15 months from the date the land sites are awarded, or after physical completion of foundation works. This aims to stop developers from passing on market risks to buyers after securing land at highly subsidised prices of up to 40 per cent less.

Finally, dual-key EC units will only be sold to buyers with multi-generational families.

Who benefits?

However, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar pointed out there was still an inherent problem with the scheme since buyers were still snapping up the Yishun EC units despite their million-dollar price tags.

“Those (buyers) purchasing the EC units can afford private property at those prices,” said Kumar, questioning if the eligibility criteria has been stringent enough in making sure that it is truly the “sandwiched” class which are benefitting from the EC scheme.

MP for Nee Soon GRC Dr Lee Bee Wah also suggested that the dual-key unit concept be introduced under Build-To-Order (BTO) schemes as well.

“I think there is demand for multi-generational BTO flats – many of my residents have appealed to me about it,” said Dr Lee, who said that her residents could not afford EC units but hoped to stay with their elders.

Background story:
Khaw said that the scheme has given Singaporeans a chance to buy a luxury “Lexus” at (Toyota) “Corolla” prices. With EC still the way to go for upgrade with a strong potential capital appreciation in future, this has made EC strong in demand.


The Lure of ECs

A quarter of a million dollars in profit

31 Dec, 2013
Demand for executive condominiums (ECs) has been red hot this year due to their potential price gains and features that rival those of private condominiums, reported The Straits Times.

The launch of the S$2.05 million “presidential penthouse suite” at CityLife EC project in Tampines further highlighted the allure of such properties. However, the record-selling prices at new launches have created controversy as to whether buyers of these pricey units should be entitled to HDB grants.

Mohamed Ismail, Chief Executive of PropNex, said: “It’s almost a given that if you buy an EC today and wait 10 years, you could make a quarter of a million dollars in profit.”

Units at new EC launches are usually priced 20 to 25 percent lower than 99-year leasehold private condos. Only households with a monthly income of S$12,000 and below are eligible to buy one.

However, unlike HDB flats which cannot be sold to foreigners, ECs can be sold to foreign buyers after 10 years and to Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) after five years.

For Chief Technical Officer Kim Kerh Chay and his family, price was the reason they bought a 2,400 sq ft penthouse at Windermere in Choa Chu Kang in 2010.

The family bought the resale unit for S$1.14 million, which was roughly what its previous owner had paid for. Since then, its value has soared by around 40 percent to between S$1.55 million and S$1.65 million. They have plans to sell the unit for S$1.8 million and buy a semi-detached house in Bukit Timah.

“It all boils down to price… After 10 years, it becomes a private condo, there’s no difference. The facilities are also the same,” said his son Lawrence Kim, a 30-year old entrepreneur

Background story:
Mohamed Ismail, Chief Executive of PropNex, said: “It’s almost a given that if you buy an EC today and wait 10 years, you could make a quarter of a million dollars in profit.”


Seven Developers vie for this EC Plot in Punggol

Highest bid was $162.1m. 2012 must be the year of ECs

10 Dec 2012

HDB received seven bids for this Executive Condo plot just south of Flo Residence, close to the scenic Serangoon Reservoir. This site doesn’t have the best location, it’s located right on the south-eastern corner of Punggol, no MRT in sight. And yet it got seven bids. Why? It’s an EC! The trendiest thing right now. These things sell out like bah kwa during CNY!

The winner for this round – Sing Holdings with their bid of $162.1m. The closest contender – JBE Holdings. Their bid of $148.9m doesn’t even come close, a good 9 per cent lower than Sing Holdings’ bid.

So we are looking at a cost price of $350.87psf ppr, that should work out to a potential selling price of around $800psf for this upcoming EC. Up north along Punggol East road, Flo Residence (99-yr) was selling at a median price of $855psf during their launch in June. Sound like a good deal this. Seeing as how well Flo is selling – 510 of 530 total units have been sold, this one will definitely sell even better thanks to it’s much lower price.

Background story:
With developers fighting to bid the for this EC plot, shows that EC is the new big thing. And Punggol has always been a popular choice for home buyers

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