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Thread: Price of ECs rises

  1. #1
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    Default Price of ECs rises

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Life%2521/LifeNews/Story/STIStory_504136.html


    Mar 20, 2010

    Price of ECs rises




    Completed in 1999, the Simei Green executive condominium was initially sold at about $410 per square foot (psf). Last month, an apartment there went for about $600 psf. -- PHOTOS: ST FILE, CAPITALAND



    In the last three months, there were 156 EC sale transactions across the island. Here are the prices four popular ECs fetched.

    SIMEI GREEN
    Where: Simei Street 4
    Completed: 1999
    Average original price: $410 per square foot (psf)
    Average resale price: $600 psf
    Amenities: Simei MRT station, Eastpoint shopping mall, Changi General Hospital

    THE FLORAVALE
    Where: Westwood Avenue, Jurong West
    Completed: 2000
    Average original price: $360 psf
    Average resale price: $500 psf
    Amenities: Gek Poh shopping centre, Pioneer and Westwood Secondary schools


    WOODSVALE (above)
    Where: Woodlands Drive 72
    Completed: 2000
    Average original price: $378 psf
    Average resale price: $480 psf
    Amenities: Admiralty MRT station, Greenwood and Admiralty Primary schools

    BISHAN LOFT
    Where: Bishan Street 11
    Completed: 2003
    Average original price: $418 psf
    Average resale price: $700 psf
    Amenities: Bishan MRT station, Junction 8 shopping mall, Bishan Community Library

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    Default Executive decision

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Life%252...ry_504133.html

    Mar 20, 2010

    Executive decision

    ECs are designed like private condos, so it is no wonder owners of such flats are staying put

    By tay suan chiang


    Home owners Jonathan Seah and Yvette Tan have been living for nine years in The Rivervale executive condominium in Sengkang and do not plan to sell their apartment.

    They chose it over an HDB flat and a private condominium as it has facilities and more privacy, compared to HDB flats, and private condos are too expensive, says Mr Seah, 37, a relationship manager in a bank.

    The couple paid $559,000 for their three-bedroom unit.

    'We have good neighbours and are comfortable living here,' says Ms Tan, 37, a credit controller.

    'We have easy access to the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway, a park across the road and Buangkok MRT station is nearby.'

    Civil servant Janice Lim, 34, is another satisfied executive condominium dweller. She has rejected numerous calls from property agents asking her if she would sell her Bishan Loft apartment.

    'I doubt I can get another condo in such a good location at this price anytime in the near future, maybe never. Most new condo units seem very small, too,' she says.

    She paid $600,000 for her four-bedroom apartment and has been living there with her family for six years.

    These executive condominium (EC) home owners would vindicate the Government's decision to launch the first EC home in 1999.

    The idea of ECs was mooted by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1995 as a means to shorten the queue for HDB executive flats and to meet Singaporeans' demand for affordable, private property.

    Aimed at Singaporeans who could afford more than an HDB flat but might find private property out of their reach, EC homes are targeted at couples between ineligibility for new Housing Board (HDB) flats because their combined monthly income exceeds the $8,000 cap but who may find private property too expensive.

    The gross monthly household income of buyers of new EC units cannot exceed $10,000.

    Earlier in the week, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said more ECs will be built this year and that they will make up about 10 per cent of the approximately 12,000 flats to be built this year.

    The most recent one launched was La Casa in Woodlands in 2005, which has 444 units and was completed in 2008.

    He added that the EC is 'well-designed, has good location, it is something that will have all the amenities and, at the same time, you can enjoy the grant... That is why we will be putting more ECs on the market'.

    He is referring to a $30,000 housing grant that first-time EC buyers can apply for.

    In the past three weeks, two new EC sites released by HDB were awarded to tenders with higher-than-expected bids.

    The Sengkang EC site attracted a top bid of $315 per sq ft (psf) of gross floor area, while the Yishun EC site drew a top bid of $281 psf of gross floor area.

    Some 520 apartments could be built on the Sengkang site, while the Yishun site could yield another 385 units.

    According to a report in last week's The Sunday Times, analysts estimated that at the prices of those winning bids, the developers will have to sell the units in Sengkang for $650 to $700 psf and those in Yishun for $600 to $650 psf.

    ECs are developed and sold by private developers with designs that are comparable to private condominiums.

    EC apartments come with finishes such as marble and parquet floors, and have condo facilities such as a swimming pool, gym, tennis courts, barbecue pits and a clubhouse.

    To date, 23 ECs have been built in Singapore, in the heartlands such as Pasir Ris, Jurong East, Woodlands and Punggol.

    The first EC which was completed in 1999 is Eastvale, a 312-unit project in Pasir Ris Drive 3.

    ECs are 99-year leasehold properties that have initial sale restrictions similar to those for public housing.

    Leaving, but with good memories

    First-time EC owners must live in their homes for at least five years. After that, they can sell the apartment only to Singaporeans and permanent residents. When an EC home is 10 years old, it will be fully privatised and can be sold to foreigners, too.

    Nineteen of the current ECs have already crossed the five-year-old mark and, according to Mr Eric Cheng, chief executive of ECG Property, more than 50 per cent of home owners have chosen to keep their EC apartments, compared to about 74 per cent of HDB flat dwellers who choose to stay on in their flats after five years.

    'With the finish, amenities and even facade, an EC is hard to tell apart from a private condo,' he says.

    Those who do sell their EC flats do so for reasons other than dissatisfaction with their properties.

    Human resource executive Vikki Tay, 32, sold her Bishan Loft unit and moved to a private apartment in Telok Kurau, 'so that my son can get into a good school' in the area. He is only four now, but she is planning ahead.

    She bought her EC apartment for $545,000 in 2001 and sold it for $945,000 last year.

    Architect Gwen Tan gave up her Park Green EC apartment in Sengkang once it turned five last year. She bought the apartment, which had unblocked views of Punggol Park, for $565,000 and sold it for slightly less than $800,000.

    'I was living in East Coast before Punggol and missed it there,' says Ms Tan. She and her husband are on the lookout for a landed property to buy and is currently renting an apartment in East Coast.

    Mr Cheng says resale EC apartments are able to 'hold a stable price point', much like that of HDB flats. He says the resale value will not fluctuate as much as what private condos can fetch.

    He adds that 'EC developments offer a wide range of apartments of varying sizes, and are in good locations, with amenities nearby'.

    Six of the ECs, such as Simei Green in Simei, Westmere in Jurong East and Windermere in Choa Chu Kang are already 10 years old, meaning foreigners can buy them.

    Mr Chris Koh, director of Dennis Wee Properties, says these apartments can fetch an 'additional 5 to 10 per cent more' than those that have not yet passed the 10-year mark.

    As EC prices are still lower than those of private apartments, he says they will appeal not only to foreigners but to locals as well. 'They no longer have the stigma of being known as semi-private housing,' he says.

    [email protected]

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