Rabu, 29 Juni 2011

No more "Real Estate Specialists" soon...?

More measures are being taken to raise the professionalism of the real estate agency industry.

The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) on Wednesday issued two practice guidelines to promote ethical advertising in the real estate agency industry and to guide the use of prescribed estate agency agreements.

According to the new guidelines effective from 1 August, misleading headlines and claims such as "advance loans available", "real estate specialist" and "king of XX (name of estate)" will not be allowed in advertisements and publicity collaterals.

The guidelines were developed in consultation with estate agents, industry associations, government bodies such as the HDB, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).

They are applicable to all modes of advertisements, including classified advertisements, pamphlets or flyers, online advertising, short messaging services (SMS) and the social media.

In addition, estate agents and salespersons will have to display their details such as name, registration number and contact number. SMS text advertisements must provide a mobile telephone number for consumers to opt out of future SMS advertisements. There should not be any SMS advertising or cold calling after 10pm.

Advertisements will also have to contain accurate information. Claims such as rates of return and yield rates must be indicated and substantiated. Photographs and graphics will also have to be accurate depictions.

Mr Lee Say Kee, the chairman of CEA's ethical advertising workgroup, said that misleading and unauthorised advertisements are among the top three categories of public complaints. To date, the CEA has issued 23 letters of advice to estate agents and salespersons on such complaints, he said.

Mr Lee said the guidelines will provide clarity on the dos and don'ts of advertising, thereby raising professional and ethical standards in the industry.

As for the practice guideline on the "Use of Prescribed Estate Agency Agreements for Residential Transactions", it is an instruction manual that explains the key terms in the agreements including commission clauses, disclosure requirements and co-broking clauses. It also provides guidance on the use of the agreements.

Mr Eugene Lim, ERA Realty Network's executive director, said this guideline strongly recommends that estate agents and their clients sign an agreement clarifying the duties of the agent, amongst other things.

He said: "Previously there was none. And even if there was, it was all in different formats. So now there is only one standard format and basically it is quite protective of the customer. It will also make the agents' job easier, because at the end of the day, you don't need to explain too much, it is a standard form."

Welcoming the CEA guidelines, PropNex Realty's senior group district director, David Poh, said: "We welcome this because it only makes our property agents more professional. In return we will serve our clients better. At the end of the day, we actually get a bigger share."

Other agents said the CEA's move is a positive step towards tidying up an industry that has been left ungoverned for too long.

Disciplinary action may be taken against anyone flouting the two guidelines.

The CEA said this may range from warning letters and fines to even suspension of the estate agent's licence, depending on the severity of the case.

Both guidelines are available on CEA's website at http://www.cea.gov.sg/
Source: Channel News Asia

So advertising that proclaims oneself as the "Real Estate Specialist" or "King of The Hill" may be a thing of the past soon.
But what about "Property Expert" or maybe... "Property Guru" 


Selasa, 28 Juni 2011

Eleven @Holland (Review)

Project Name:   Eleven @Holland
Tenure:   99-year Leasehold
Location:   11 Holland Link (off Old Holland Road)
District:   10
Site Area: approx.   130,000sqft
TOP (estimated):   4Q 2014
Total Units:   82 exclusive semi-detached cluster units
Car Park Lots:   2 dedicated parking lots per unit
Developer:   Clydesbuilt

It has been awhile since we last seen a cluster housing development. So the wife and I decided to visit the sales gallery of Eleven @Holland last weekend.

Eleven @Holland is a 99-year leasehold project by Clydesbuilt, a boutique developer whose other projects include Clydesview Condominium, Clydes Residence and Lornie 18.

The actual site of Eleven @Holland is along Holland Link, next to Fong Yun Thai Association Columbarium. The sales gallery is located directly across the road from the site.

Eleven @Holland consists of 82 semi-detached units and you have a choice of 3 different unit types:
• Type A (5-bedroom) – Basement + 3 storeys + attic (12 units):   4,129 – 4,348sqft
• Type B (5-bedroom) – Basement + 3 storeys + attic (62 units):   3,681 – 4,241sqft
• Type C (4-bedroom) – Basement + 2 storeys + attic (8 units):   3,692 – 3,885sqft

In terms of orientation, the Type A units face Holland Link, while the Type C units line the back of the development.

Facility wise, the developer has stuck to the bare essentials:
• Swimming pool
• Gym
• BBQ corner
• Children’s playground

Each unit comes with 2 dedicated parking lots whereas guests will have to find their own parking spaces outside of the development.

There is no showflat per se in the sales gallery. Instead, you get “mock up” of each of the living areas.

The living/dining rooms and kitchen are on the 1st floor of each unit. The first thing that struck the wife and I is that there is no main door – you get sliding glass panels at the front of the living room that acts as the main door.

The living and dining rooms are separate and distinct from each other and both are very spacious. It comes with 60cm x 60cm marble floors and 3.1m ceiling.
The kitchen is of open-concept format and you get "Smeg" oven/hob/hood/fridge and "Hansgrohe" kitchen faucets. However, we were a tad disappointed with the kitchen cabinets, which do not have "anti-slam" mechanisms. Also, the choice of colours for the cabinets is somewhat dull. 

Each unit comes with its own private lift, which can take up to 320kg (i.e. 4 – 5 pax). 

All the common bedrooms are en-suite and again very spacious. The rooms come with solid timber-strip floors, but again we find the colour scheme (especially the wardrobe) too dull and dated.

The master bedroom is in the attic and huge. However, the amount of wardrobe provided is pathetic. If you can afford a house like this, you and your other half will most likely have more clothing than what a standard 2-panel wardrobe can hold.

The master bathroom is similar in design to the other bathrooms within the house. This is right down to the homogenous-tile floors/ceramic-tile walls, the “Hansgrohe” bathroom fittings and standing shower stall (which only comes with the standard wall-mounted shower set). We were told that the developer has deliberately omitted long-bath in all the bathrooms, as most owners these days prefer standing shower. However, we tend to think that buyers will at least expect a long bath AND a standing shower in the master bathroom when buying a house of such size and status. The other thing that we dislike about the bathrooms is the colour scheme, which makes them look dull and dark.

Price wise, the developer has decided to charge the same $1,050psf for all the units within Eleven @Holland. So each house will cost between $3.865 to $4.565 million.

Monthly maintenance charge is around $550 but this excludes the maintenance cost for the private lift in each house, which will set you back another $120/month.

As of last weekend, 16 of the 82 units have been sold.

What we like:
• Location – It is District 10 after all (albeit a slightly remote part), which is one of the most sought after address in Singapore.

• Living in Eleven @Holland is like staying in a landed home with condo facilities. This should appeal to expatriates with families, which may translate to good rental yields.

What we dislike:
• The quality of furnishing and fittings at Eleven @Holland are hardly impressive, or is this because we have set our expectations too high?

• The wife and I also dislike the colour scheme used around the house (i.e. colour of kitchen cabinets, wardrobe, bathroom walls and floors etc), which can only be described as dull, dated and somewhat depressing.

• Units at Eleven @ Holland are sold based on “strata area” - the developer takes all common area, i.e. the walkways and open grounds within the development, the land that the swimming pools and other facilities take up, and apportions these to each of the unit owners. So the 4,000sqft house that you buy includes a portion of the common area, which means the actual "built-in" area of the house is less than 4,000sqft. We understand that not all cluster housing projects are sold based on strata area.

• Although Eleven @Holland is supposedly located near to amenities and within walking distance to the upcoming King Albert Park MRT station, one can probably work up a fair bit of sweat walking to these places.

• We can only identify one primary school that is within 1-km of Eleven @Holland – Methodist Girls’ School.

• Maybe we are the only ones that's "pantang", but the wife and I are not real keen in staying next to a Columbarium. Should you think the same like us, you may want to avoid units #49 - 52, 67 - 69 (Type B) and units #81 - 82 (Type C). 

Our Verdict:  Assuming the wife and I have $3 – 4 million to spend, we will rather take our money to The Greenwood (a cluster-house project by Far East off Dunearn Road). Sure, we are no big fans of Far East projects (given that they are generally very expensive), while The Greenwood is not in District 10. However, it is far more appealing (both in quality and aesthetics) compared to what we have seen at Eleven @Holland. And The Greenwood may actually be cheaper in price, as we were told that the units there are sold based on "built-in" rather than "strata" area.

And no, we weren't paid by Far East to say this...

And the price of resales keep on rising...

Resale prices of private homes continue to rise in the second quarter of this year.

According to DTZ Research, resale prices of private residential properties increased at a faster rate across all segments in the second quarter of this year compared to the first.

It says the average resale price of leasehold condominiums in the suburban areas rose the fastest by 3.9% on-quarter, compared to 0.8% in the first quarter.

The average resale price of freehold condominiums in the prime districts of 9, 10 and 11 grew by 3.3% on-quarter compared to 0.4% in the first quarter, based on a basket of completed condominiums tracked by DTZ Research.

The average resale price of luxury condominiums rose the least at 1.7%.
But DTZ Research said it reflected an increase over the flat prices registered in the first quarter.

This it said is the only segment with prices still below the 2007 peak.

Ms Chua Chor Hoon, Head of DTZ South East Asia Research, said prices continue to trend upwards because sellers are benchmarking against the prices of new launches.
Source: Channel News Asia


Senin, 27 Juni 2011

Shoebox units: A "hard sell"..?

Analysts have said buyers of shoe-box apartments may have difficulties selling them in future, even though their current rental returns of about 5% make such apartments popular with small-time investors.

Although they are small in size, they are priced at about $600,000.

Analysts added that at this price, buyers are still able to afford them.

In one of his recent blog posts, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan urged buyers to consider the risks and returns when buying shoe-box apartments.

Analysts said more shoe-box apartments will be built by 2013, possibly leading to a glut.

They said the main attraction of such apartments is their prime location, including proximity to town areas and MRT stations.

If these apartments sprout in less-than-ideal locations, it may be harder for investors to sell them off later.

Analysts Channel NewsAsia spoke to pointed out if the per-square-foot (psf) value of the apartment is already high, investors might find it harder to sell it off at a good profit.

But some buyers - such as retiree Linda Teo - are still optimistic about the profits they can reap.

Madam Teo and her husband bought a shoe-box apartment near the Farrer Park MRT station about two-and-a-half years ago.

At about 581sqft, her apartment is smaller than a three-room flat.

She said despite having only just received keys to her unit, she already has people offering to buy it from her at 20% more than her purchase price.

But Madam Teo said she intends to keep it as an investment.

"I think if I keep the money in the bank, the interest is quite low, I'd rather put it in a property for my children, for their future," she said.

"Currently, the rental for this project is about $3,000 to $3,500 per month. There have already been a lot of interested tenants who have come to view the place. I think it shouldn't be a problem.

"My view is, at this moment, we do have a lot of buyers who have approached us, who want to buy this project.

"Even two to three years down the road, if the demand is not there, we'll decide to keep this for the children, so I don't see this as a problem."
Source: Channel News Asia

Then again, 581sqft can hardly be considered a "shoe-box" these days... especially with more and more new projects rolling out 300+sqft units.

Collective sales market to remain healthy: Credo

Some $1.7 billion in collective sales have been transacted so far this year.

According to property consultant Credo Real Estate, the figure is almost the same as the collective sales transacted last year.

One of the latest transactions is a 40-unit walk-up apartment development on River Valley Road, which fetched $70.5 million.

Credo said successful deals over the past 18 months have been relatively small.

And the buyers are mainly small to medium-sized developers who are unable to bid for the larger government residential sites.

Credo's managing director, Karamjit Singh, said each of the top five deals ranged from $137 million to $214 million.

In 2007, the top five deals were worth over half a billion dollars each, and some $11.4 billion in collective sales were transacted then.

Mr Singh said: "The outlook for the collective sales market for the rest of 2011 is positive.

"Owners are becoming more realistic on reserve prices and there is sustained interest from developers."

Source: Channel News Asia

Well, Credo have good reason to be optimistic - they have had their hands full closing en bloc sales so far this year!

Enbloc News: 401 - 414 River Valley Road sold for $70.5 million

A 40-unit walk-up apartment at 402-414 River Valley Road has been successfully sold en bloc for $70.5 million to Alliance Land.

This translates to a land rate of about $1,139psf ppr, with a gross plot ratio of 2.8 for the 22,000sqft site.

If the 10% gross floor area for balconies is included, it will work out to $1,035psf ppr, at a gross plot ratio (GPR) of 3.08.

According to marketing agent, Credo Real Estate, a new development built on the site can potentially yield an estimated 130 apartment units, averaging 500sqft each, depending on layout and configuration.

Credo said the project is suitable for a boutique development with small apartment units, which will be popular with both local and foreign professionals and investors.

Owners of the District 10 property stand to receive gross sale proceeds ranging between $1.75 million and $1.77 million each.

The sale is subject to the approval of the Strata Titles Board.

The site has a total gross floor area of about 68,000sqft, including the 10% gross floor area for balconies.

The existing development is understood to have been built in the early 1960s, making it part of the first generation of flat developments built in the post-colonial era of Singapore's history.

Tenure for the site is rather unique - at 999,999 years with effect from 1962.
Source: Channel News Asia

Selasa, 14 Juni 2011

The Lancaster Villages in Imus via Cavitex

This linear park concept brings back those days when children could roam around freely at a safe distance, without the parents worrying where they are!
 A 30 minute drive from Baclaran, MRT Pasay Rotonda, Roxas Boulevard!

Diana Model @ P1.2M
Sophie Model @ 1.7M
Alice Model @ 966K

Alexandra Model @ 2.9M

LANCASTER VILLAGES is located in Lancaster Estates, a 150-hectare masterplanned community whose span covers Imus, Gen. Trias and Kawit in Cavite.

Alexandra Model
Margaret Model @ P2.1M
Haven Model @ P2.2M
Colleen Model @ P1.8M

For Site Viewing Call:
Moniq Festin @ www.wowhouses.blogspot.com
Real Estate Broker: License No: 0003549