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Thread: Home-buyers get reality check with new URA data

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    Default Home-buyers get reality check with new URA data

    July 16, 2007

    Average prices far below records, show URA, HDB


    PRICES in the sizzling property market recently smashed all records, but in reality average property prices are far below that, the latest figures released by the government showed on Monday.

    For the first time, both the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Housing Board (HDB) released specific data on residential properties in a bid to improve transparency in the bullish market.

    The median, lowest and highest price of units sold in uncompleted private residential projects in June was published by the URA on its website on Monday.

    Meanwhile, the HDB released average resale prices and average cash-over-valuation (COV) figures for its flats by region and flat type for the second quarter.

    The COV is the cash difference of the transacted resale price and market valuation of an HDB unit.

    This latest move follows concerns voiced by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan in May's Parliament session that record prices reported in the media 'may not paint the full picture' or be representative of the average prices of these units.

    Mr Mah said then that this information would 'further improve the transparency and efficiency of the Singapore property market and help buyers and sellers make more informed decisions.'

    URA's new online service also includes the number of units launched, sold in the month, and sold to date for each new private development.

    The information, which is obtained through a survey of all the private developers, will be updated on the 15th of every month until further notice.

    URA also launched a new online 'Home Buyers Guide' which takes first-time buyers through the process of buying private properties.

    Read the full report in Tuesday's edition of The Straits Times.

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    Default Home-buyers get reality check with new URA data

    Published July 17, 2007

    Home-buyers get reality check with new URA data

    It will go beyond headline numbers to reflect prices on ground

    By ARTHUR SIM


    THE Urban Redevlopment Authority (URA)has released previously unavailable data from property developers to give home-buyers a keener sense of prevailing prices.

    It has also said that it will continue to provide such data every month - till further notice. The statistics will include the lowest, highest and median prices of units sold during the month for uncompleted private residential projects.

    The data aims to give home-buyers an accurate idea of the way property price winds are blowing, so that they are not dazzled merely by the prices of the most expensive units sold in selected projects.

    The data released yesterday showed that the average prices in certain developments have continued to rise, with new benchmarks being set. In others, units were sold within a wide price band.

    The Orchard Residences was launched earlier this year and the record benchmark price of $4,000 psf was widely reported. But according to data released by URA yesterday, the development has now set a new benchmark of $5,000 psf. The average price of $3,213 psf, reported in April, has also increased to $3,392 psf.

    The data, which will now be available on URA's website, also revealed that in the month of June, five of the ten Orchard Residences units sold were in the $3,000-$3,500 psf range while three units were sold in the $3,500-$4,000 range. Only one unit was sold at $5,000 psf.

    CapitaLand, which is co-developing Orchard Residences with Sun Hung Kai Properties has come out in support of the new reporting measures.

    CapitaLand Retail CEO Pua Sek Guan also said that benchmark prices did not reflect overall prices and that the latest $5,000 psf benchmark was for a very unique penthouse unit.

    And said a spokesperson for the Real Estate Developers Association Singapore (Redas): 'Redas will urge its members to co-operate with URA's request, as any additional market information will help potential buyers make informed decisions.'

    The monthly data clearly benefits buyer.

    For instance, the 493-unit Botannia in the West Coast was launched in May and so far, 255 units have been sold. Of the 150 units launched in June, 104 have been sold at an average price of $745 psf with prices ranging from $671 psf to $865 psf - enough information for buyers to make an informed decision.

    Savills Singapore's director for marketing and business development said: 'More transparency is better for consumers. Those who are tempted to rush in to buy can now ask for the latest data or get it themselves.'

    However, given the speed at which the market is moving, it is possible that even monthly data may not be an accurate reflection of property prices.

    Figures from Savills Singapore reveal that the volume of transactions in the first half of the year has hit 16,246, 53 per cent higher than a year ago. It also noted a significant rise in the number of transactions above $2,000 psf - from 0.7 per cent in H1 2006 to 3.1 per cent in H1 2007.

    Chesterton International head of research and consultancy Colin Tan believes that URA's monthly data does show that property prices, not just benchmark prices, are increasing.

    But would such data help to calm the market? 'Transparency in this instance could work both ways,' said Mr Tan.

    Propnex CEO Mohamed Ismail pointed out that while the data is for the preceding month, many new launches get sold out within weeks.

    'The market is so hot now, and much of the activity is in the resale market. This new info will not help in this case,' he said, adding, 'It is only useful if there are units left in the development to sell.'

    Developers will be taking some time to get used to the new monthly reporting protocol as the onus is now on them to ensure that the figures tally.



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    Default Re: Home-buyers get reality check with new URA data

    URA, HDB release more data on housing sales figures

    By Daryl Loo, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 16 July 2007 2118 hrs


    SINGAPORE: The government has released more comprehensive data on both the public and private housing market on websites in a bid to calm fears of escalating property prices.

    The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has assured that just 70 percent of resale flats sold in the second quarter of this year were above valuation, despite recent record prices being set for some resale flats.

    In the private residential space, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) also released more detailed private home sales figures and a new Home Buyers Guide.

    This is the first time the HDB and the URA have released such data.

    According to the HDB, the average amount of cash that buyers forked out above valuation was S$10,100 in the second quarter of this year.

    This is a far cry from the more than S$100,000 that some flat-buyers reportedly paid above valuation in recent months.

    In May, a buyer, flushed with cash from an en bloc sale, was reported to have paid a record S$720,000 for a five-room flat in Tiong Bahru, nearly S$200,000 above value.

    National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan told Channel NewsAsia last month that providing more information would help property buyers make rational and prudent decisions.

    Analysts that Channel NewsAsia spoke to have hailed the latest release of data as a very significant development.

    Lui Seng Fatt, Regional Director, Jones Lang LaSalle, said: "The basic thing is that it provides the transparency for people who are making decisions. With more reflective and accurate information, it is certainly going to help people make the right decision."

    The HDB also cautioned buyers to take account of overall market trends instead of just high-selling prices for isolated transactions when buying a resale flat.

    It added there is a wide variety of resale flats to choose from, with some 760,000 units in the market.

    As for private property, the URA announced three additional sets of data, which include details such as the number of units sold in a project in June, to help home buyers make better decisions.

    It said the figures would be updated on the 15th of every month.

    The URA also unveiled a new Home Buyers Guide, detailing basic considerations and procedures that are involved at each stage of the buying process.

    For more information, please visit www.hdb.gov.sg and www.ura.gov.sg.


    - CNA/so

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    Default Re: Home-buyers get reality check with new URA data

    July 17, 2007

    Property: New figures give clearer picture

    Range of sales figures released by Govt shows most private homes selling for far less than record prices

    By Jessica Cheam



    A REALITY check hit the property market yesterday, when the Government released figures that get behind the hype to show buyers how prices are really moving.

    This is a response to the sometimes mind-boggling prices reported for both private homes and some Housing Board (HDB) flats recently - prices that could give a distorted picture of the market.

    A clearer picture emerged yesterday with figures - released for the first time - giving a range of sale prices in new condo projects last month and similar data for HDB flats for April till last month.

    They show that most private property is selling for far less than the record price hype might have buyers believe - with plenty in stock.

    The data - easily accessed online - means a buyer who sees sky-high prices in a condominium, for example, can also learn about other transactions in the same project to get a better idea of what he might have to pay.

    This also goes for buyers looking at HDB units.

    Take the posh Marq on Paterson Hill. A unit there sold recently for a record $5,100 per sq ft, yet Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) figures show that $4,044 per sq ft was the median price. Median means half the units sold above that level, half below.

    There was a similar 'gap' at Duchess Residences in Bukit Timah. The 'headline' price for one flat was $2,875 per sq ft, while the median price was $1,745.

    The move yesterday follows concerns voiced by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan in May that reports of record prices 'may not paint the full picture'.

    Mr Mah said then that more detailed price information would 'further improve the transparency and efficiency of the market'.

    House-hunter Tang Kwok Chin, 55, was delighted with the outcome: 'Now I can more accurately gauge prices and check the actual number of units sold in each development. It will help me to be a more cautious buyer.'

    Figures for private homes - gleaned from developers - show the median, lowest and highest prices of units sold in uncompleted private residential projects in June. The data will be updated every month at www.ura.gov.sg

    The URA also launched an online guide that takes first-time buyers through the process of buying property.

    HDB buyers can find similar price information at www.hdb.gov.sg

    It lists average resale prices and average cash- over-valuation (COV) figures for HDB sales in the April to June period. COV is the cash difference of the transacted resale price and market valuation.

    A stark example is the Bukit Merah flat at Kim Tian Place that sold for $720,000 last month - setting a record for five-roomers and raising the expectations of HDB owners everywhere - which had a COV of $350,000.

    But the bigger picture revealed in HDB data shows that five-room flats in the central area, including Bukit Merah, Bishan and Toa Payoh, sold for about $439,200, with a COV of $33,600.

    Property experts welcomed the move for more transparency.

    Colliers International director (research and consultancy) Tay Huey Ying said: 'Hopefully, the public will not be misled by extreme information and can make more calculated decisions.'

    Knight Frank director of research Nicholas Mak said: 'It gives the man on the street a more complete picture. Buyers should use and interpret this information to make informed choices.'

    [email protected]

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    Default Re: Home-buyers get reality check with new URA data

    URA data to enable homebuyers to track upcoming property launches

    By Daryl Loo, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 17 July 2007 2102 hrs


    SINGAPORE : Home buyers can now track upcoming property launches and plan their finances in advance, especially when they need to apply for loans.

    This has been made possible by the additional information that the Urban Redevelopment Authority will be providing each month.

    The URA released the data for June on Monday to give home buyers a clearer picture of the market.

    But market watchers are hoping to see even more - such as subsales data.

    Those scouting for new homes now have a wealth of new information to help them decide on their big purchase.

    Data from the URA, which will be updated monthly, will give details such as the number of units sold in various projects last month, the price range, and the median selling price.

    According to the data, Parkview Eclat on Grange Road had the highest median selling price of S$4,231 per square foot last month (with two units sold), while The Quintet in Choa Chu Kang was the most affordable at a median S$344 per square foot (with 9 units sold).

    But analysts note that 70 percent of the 328 projects listed did not have any pricing data, the bulk of which are projects that have not been launched for sale.

    Mohamed Ismail, CEO, PropNex, said: "Something that the consumer can decipher here is this: assuming out of the 300 over projects there were 50 that were not launched. And people who are interested to buy in some of these areas can start to do the tracking.

    "Say in this particular area there is this development that is coming up, how many units and so on. They can do a comparative with a nearby project that has been launched - what is the pricing?"

    For instance, while URA's table show that 336 units of the Floridian project on Bukit Timah Road are eligible for sale, none of the apartments have been launched yet.

    Market watchers also say the table lacks details of sub-sales - or the secondary market - which represented over 6 percent of all private home sales in the first quarter of this year.

    But they suggest that buyers should consider developers' sale prices, so they do not get overcharged on the secondary market.

    Eugene Lim, Assistant Vice President, ERA Realty, said: "By looking at the table I would know what has been achieved by the developer. So when I'm looking at the prices in the sub-sale market, this would basically tell me what premium I'm paying above what was done previously at the original launch. So this would help check the amount of premiums that people are willing to pay."

    A highly-popular project can usually be resold quickly by a buyer for a tidy profit in an industry practice known as flipping. - CNA/ch

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