Property Update (16 February 2015)

Fewer apply for HDB flats under parenthood scheme | AsiaIne.com

Fewer apply for HDB flats under parenthood scheme | AsiaOne.com

Fewer apply for HDB flats under parenthood scheme | AsiaOne.com

SINGAPORE — The number of applications under a scheme to help married parents secure their first Housing Board flats has dropped, as more of them successfully attain units.

There were 8,000 flat applicants under the Parenthood Priority Scheme last year, down a fifth from 10,000 in 2013, when it was first introduced.

The HDB and property experts said the number of applications has fallen chiefly because more first-timer families have managed to purchase flats.

“The housing needs of this group have already been met,” said R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Read more here >>

Pasir Ris is third HDB town to have cycling path network | Channel News Asia

LTA’s new cycling paths add 9.3km to the existing network in the town, which had previously been built by the town council. This brings the total length of the cycling network to 13.3km.

SINGAPORE — Pasir Ris is now the third town in Singapore, after Tampines and Sembawang, to have its own cycling path network. It is part of the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) plans to build such networks in all HDB towns by 2030.

Pasir Ris is third HDB town to have cycling path network | Channel News Asia

Pasir Ris is third HDB town to have cycling path network | Channel News Asia

The network aims to make cycling safer and more seamless for residents. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, officially opened the completed network on Sunday (Feb 15).

The new cycling paths add 9.3 kilometres to the existing network, which had been built by the town council previously. This brings the total length of the cycling network to 13.3 kilometres.

Read more here >>

Singapore’s Property Market Mixes Best and Worst: Southeast Asia | Bloomberg.com

The Marina Bay Residences, right, stands next to office buildings in the central business district of Singapore. Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

The Marina Bay Residences, right, stands next to office buildings in the central business district of Singapore. Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

SINGAPORE — When it comes to the best and worst property markets in Asia, Singapore has it covered.

Office rents in the city’s central business district jumped 14 percent last year, the biggest increase in the region, while luxury home prices slumped 6 percent, the most in Asia, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., a property brokerage and consulting company.

The gap is about to widen. Prime office rents in the city, Asia’s most expensive after Hong Kong and Beijing, are projected to extend the gain by a further 5 percent this year with a limited supply, said Chua Yang Liang, Jones Lang LaSalle’s head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia. High-end homes may post a decline similar to the drop in 2014 on the government’s housing curbs, he said.

“Singapore has seen quite a polarity in its property market compared to the rest of Asia,” Chua said in an interview. “As long as the government curbs on housing are in place, we will continue to see this diverging trend.”

The city’s prime office rents are set to extend gains this year with a limited number of new commercial properties, Lynette Leong, chief executive officer of CapitaCommercial Trust, said in an interview last month.

The property trust is building the 40-story CapitaGreen office tower in the city’s financial district and has leased more than two-thirds of the building, she said.

About 1.15 million square feet of new office space will come on stream in 2015, rising to 1.6 million square feet in 2016 and 4.7 million in 2017, according to real estate broker Knight Frank LLP.

Read more here >>

What if China home prices keep falling? | SCMP.com

In the past few years China has vastly increased its investments in public housing. (Photo: Reuters via scmp.com)

In the past few years China has vastly increased its investments in public housing. (Photo: Reuters via scmp.com)

CHINA — Chinese authorities have managed to take the air out of the country’s property bubble without causing a crash. Housing prices have fallen some 10 per cent from their peaks while incomes have continued to inflate. The result is that the average urban dweller need only devote 30 per cent of his monthly income to pay the mortgage for a decent sized flat, compared to 45 per cent at the peak.

This is very commendable. Now the question is – how long before the reflate?

Perhaps not this year, perhaps even not the next. But if China’s economy does not achieve the very difficult transition to a more balanced, consumption led economic model, then policymakers will be in a pinch.

And then they will do what many other economies’ custodians do in a pinch: turn to property as an uncomplicated, no-brainer driver of growth.

This is the strategy the UK returned to in 2013, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer started guaranteeing loans for qualifying homebuyers, thus reviving business for the financial and real estate sector.

The US also resorted to fanning the flames of a housing bubble after its internet bubble deflated. As we know that ended very badly; I am not saying this is a good strategy, just a tempting one.

In any case, China is unlikely to replicate an unbridled US-style approach, replete with subprime madness and liar loans. For a better model of a property-dependent growth strategy, mainland authorities need look no further than nearby Hong Kong and Singapore.

Read more >>

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