Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bid 2 years ago: $61 million Top bid now: $164 million

IN A striking sign of how the property sector has rebounded, a site that failed to sell two years ago when it attracted an offer of just $61 million has now received a bid of $164 million in a new tender.

Eight developers placed bids for the suburban plot that can accommodate residential and commercial development.

The top offers for the site at the junction of Choa Chu Kang and Woodlands roads were all in a fairly tight range, with Far East Organization’s Dollar Land Singapore on top with a bid that beat market expectations.

It offered nearly $164 million, or $436.65 per sq ft (psf) of gross floor area, about 10 per cent more than the $148.28 million or $394.80 psf offered by second-placed Chip Eng Seng’s CEL Development.

Sim Lian Land was next with $138.89 million or $369.79 psf.

Other bidders included a joint venture between Frasers Centrepoint and NTUC FairPrice Cooperative, and Soilbuild Group Holdings, which came in last with a bid of just $71.23 million.

CBRE Research had expected bids to range from $135 million to $150 million.

The $164 million bid could reflect a price of $50 million to $70 million for the commercial podium, with the developer possibly selling the apartments for around $700 psf to $800 psf, consultants said.

In April 2008, the site attracted just two bids of $61 million and $45.68 million when its sale tender closed. The bids were rejected as being too low.

The site, to be co-located with the Ten Mile Junction LRT station on the third storey of the podium block, will be near the future Bukit Panjang MRT station, part of the future Downtown Line 2 and due for completion by 2015.

Property consultants said the results showed that demand for land was still fairly strong, particularly coming after the Government’s recent measures to pre-empt a property bubble.

The Government has imposed a duty on sellers who offload property within a year of purchase, and lowered the maximum loan-to-value amount buyers can borrow from 90 per cent to 80 per cent.

Knight Frank chairman Tan Tiong Cheng said: ‘The top three bidders are the more experienced players familiar with the suburban market.

‘Their bids suggest they would think the recent measures would not affect prices in the longer term.’

With fewer sources of private land, developers are chasing government sites as they need to replenish land banks, said Colliers International executive director (investment sales) Ho Eng Joo.

He said the cooling measures will affect the sales market more than developers’ demand for land.

In the short term, some potential buyers will want to wait and see if prices will fall, experts said.

But those who are already planning to buy will likely go ahead.

Ms Christina Sim, Cushman and Wakefield’s director of investment and capital markets, said the one-year timeline for the seller’s duty is relatively short and unlikely to affect the market much.

Still, an analyst who declined to be named said: ‘The latest announcement begs the question – what conditions would qualify as a stable market? If transactions are above 1,000 units a month, that’s probably a warning sign.’

Source: Straits Times, 24 Feb 2010

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