Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time to finish project on state land shortened

Project completion period cut to 5 years to make supply keep up with demand

THE government is cutting the amount of time that developers have to build private residential projects on state land by a year, to ensure that there would be enough homes to meet demand.

It announced this yesterday evening, as it put up three more sites from the confirmed list for tender. They can potentially yield 1,260 units.

All government land sale sites come with a project completion period (PCP) to make sure that developers finish work within a reasonable period of time. The PCP is measured from the date the site is awarded to the date the project obtains Temporary Occupation Permit.

The authorities are reducing the PCP for private residential sale sites to five years from six years, 'to further ensure more timely supply of private housing to meet demand'. The shorter PCP will apply to sites released for sale from today.

The PCP for executive condominium (EC) sale sites will remain at four years. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) told BT that projects might meet unexpected delays in construction and there will not be sufficient buffer if the PCP for EC sites is cut further.

Market watchers supported the move, although they did not think there would be a significant impact on the market.

DTZ executive director (consulting) Ong Choon Fah said that most developers do want to build their projects as soon as possible to avoid holding costs and unknown market risks ahead. It would also be disadvantageous for them to hold on to 99-year leasehold sites for too long.

Nevertheless, the shorter PCP 'will give developers an additional impetus' to complete their projects, she said.

Cushman & Wakefield managing director Donald Han felt that the government made a prudent move. It is sending a signal to developers, that they should make their projects available quickly to help maintain stability in the property market, he said.

Going by information from URA, the shorter PCP is unlikely to affect most developers. URA said that based on development trends in the last eight years, the completion period for private residential sale sites was about four years on average. Also, none of the private residential projects on sale sites exceeded their stipulated PCP last year.

The shorter PCP will apply to two of the three latest sites up for sale starting today. One is a land parcel at Hougang Avenue 7. The 1.56 hectare site has a maximum permissable gross floor area (GFA) of 471,083 sq ft and can be developed into a 395-unit condominium project. Its tender will close on Sept 17.

The second is a 2-ha plot at the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 3 and 4. It has a maximum permissable GFA of 452,086 sq ft and can yield about 380 condominium units. Its tender will close on Sept 30.

The new PCP rule will not apply to an EC site at Punggol Drive/Punggol East up for sale. It is near the Kadaloor LRT station, and has a site area of 1.57 ha and a maximum allowable GFA of 574,577 sq ft. The site can accommodate about 485 units, and its tender will close on Sept 23.

More sites will be rolled out this month. URA will launch another plot from the confirmed list at Petir Road for sale; four sites from the reserve list will be made available for application.

Source: Business Times, 5 Aug 2010

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