Luxury hotel? No, Singapore’s new-generation public housing

By Hilary Whitemancnn.com

SINGAPORE : Think of public housing estates and you may imagine grimy stairwells and unloved communal spaces.

That’s certainly not the case in Singapore, which for more than 50 years has been transforming public housing from basic blocks to slick high-rises.

Residents are currently receiving the keys to their apartments in Skyville, a 47-storey building that was 12 times oversubscribed and sold out within days of flats being offered, off-plan, several years ago.

“Ours was the first development to offer floor plan options, so in a flat that potentially had three bedrooms you could choose to put in only two bedrooms and have a very big living-dining (room) or have room for a home office,” says Richard Hassell, founding director of WOHA Architects, which built the block in conjunction with Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB).

Inside Skyville
The development is a cluster of 12 “villages,” each made up of 80 apartments, which share communal landscaped areas — or “sky gardens.”

The design is incredibly simple, Hassell says, and incorporates natural light and ventilation to make the building more energy-efficient and appropriate for Singapore’s tropical climate.

“If you want to cook a big curry meal you just open the window. You can dry all your clothes naturally; there’s a proper drying yard and a hanging rack. Every single bathroom has a window to the outside.”

The concept seems simple but it’s one that’s often overlooked in countries with a similar climate, which also face the same challenges of keeping buildings cool but running costs low.

“What we’ve seen is that far too many experts from the temperate world exporting their models to the tropics, which are quite inappropriate in many ways,” Hassell says.

“We think Singapore is a really great example of a city that’s setting up a whole lot of alternative models that are maybe more appropriate for a lot of locations.”

A history of public housing
Singapore started its mass public housing project in the 1940s, led by the Singapore Improvement Trust, which by 1959 had built more than 20,000 flats. Even after that initial surge of housing construction, most Singaporeans were still living in rented cubicles or unregulated squatter settlements.

When then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew came to power at the end of the 1950s he demanded action, and fast. Within three years, another 30,000 flats were built. Now there are more than one million.

Of the 80% of residents who live in apartments built by the government, 90% own them. They’re helped by government loans, and use the money saved through the government-run pension scheme, the Central Provident Fund.

Residents apply for their homes through the HDB, and it can be a very lengthy process. It’s faster to join the resale market, but sales are restricted by rules banning turnover of new flats during the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), which is currently five years. The rule prevents “flipping,” or the practice of selling on flats for a huge profit.

Building for the future
Hassell describes his company’s next project, Kampung Admiralty — currently under construction with HDB — as a “rule changer,” in that it’s the first to combine aged-care housing with other facilities, including a kindergarten and hawker center.

“I think (the government) has realized that rigidly segregated town planning lacks a certain amount of buzz and interest that older cities have. So this is a way of starting to put things together to get that interesting urban buzz you get from mixed-use intense developments,” he says.

It’s one of a number of new projects set to open by 2020. Earlier this month, the government announced plans to create four new neighborhood centers, which it promises will include “complete live-work-play-learn environment for residents.”

The developments include the first seafront community of public flats, including shops, restaurants and childcare centers, called Northshore Plaza in Punggol, one of the more rural parts of the islands.

“We want to plan towns that are well designed, (and) sustainable as well as community-centric,” Fong Chun Wah, Group Director, Development and Procurement of the HDB was quoted saying.

“HDB is not just a developer and master planner, we also play a social role.”

Singapore’s publich housing for the future

Northshore Plaza

Northshore Plaza

Northshore Plaza – Northshore Plaza will be the first seafront neighborhood center in a residential estate built by the Singapore government. It’s meant to be much more than a home — it’ll include a supermarket, food courts, restaurants, shops and childcare centers. It’s also being used as a test case for new technology including Smart Fans, which are activated by wind speed, temperature and human traffic patterns. The development is expected to be completed in 2020.

Oasis Terraces

Oasis Terraces

Oasis Terraces – Like Northshore Plaza, Oasis Terraces will also include access to an MRT station. It was designed after a public consultation program to see what people wanted most. A dedicated pedestrian thoroughfare will give residents direct access to the waterway. It’s expected to be completed in 2018.

Canberra Plaza

Canberra Plaza

Canberra Plaza – This three-storey development is being sold as a “one-stop destination for all generations.” There’ll be an event plaza designed to host community activities. For children, it includes a water-themed playground. The building’s expected to be completed in 2019.

Buangkok Square

Buangkok Square

Buangkok Square – Buangkok Square links the community plaza to a nearby park, and includes “rain gardens… fitness stations and shelters.” Like the other developments, it includes shops, kiosks and dining outlets. The center is expected to be completed in 2018

Source : http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/29/asia/singapore-public-housing/

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Property Update (30 October 2015)

With final 3 stations, Circle Line will come ‘full circle’ by 2025 | channelnewsasia.com

These stations close to the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District – Keppel, Cantonment and Prince Edward – will complete the Circle Line and allow commuters to transfer between MRT lines without entering the city centre.

HDB flats in Toh Yi estate. MND Minister Lawrence Wong has praised the impact of the Proximity Housing Grant, which makes it more affordable for Singaporean households to purchase a resale flat.

HDB flats in Toh Yi estate. MND Minister Lawrence Wong has praised the impact of the Proximity Housing Grant, which makes it more affordable for Singaporean households to purchase a resale flat.

Response to new Proximity Housing Grant ‘encouraging’, resale flats now more affordable: Lawrence Wong | straitstimes.com

SINGAPORE – One in five resale HDB resale flat buyers have applied for the new Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) since it took effect on Aug 24, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong revealed on Friday (Oct 30).

In his blog Housing Matters, Mr Wong said there have been 3,506 resale flat transactions since then, and response to the PHG has been “most encouraging”. Read more >>

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Non-landed private home prices up 0.1 per cent | asiaone.com

SINGAPORE : Prices of completed non-landed private homes in Singapore inched up 0.1 per cent last month from August, new data shows.

However, experts say the uptick was probably a blip rather than any sign of a market turnaround.

The figures are flash estimates compiled by the National University of Singapore for its Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) released yesterday.

The slight price rise follows a 0.7 per cent month-on-month fall in August, based on the revised index value for that month. The fall in August was due in part to slower buying interest in the seventh lunar month where buyers typically refrain from buying a property. Read more >>

Bank lending in Singapore fell in September from the previous month, dragged down by weaker business loans, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed on Friday.

Bank lending in Singapore fell in September from the previous month, dragged down by weaker business loans, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed on Friday.

Bank lending in Singapore falls in September: MAS | businesstimes.com.sg

SINGAPORE : Bank lending in Singapore fell in September from the previous month, dragged down by weaker business loans, preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showed on Friday. This is the first contraction since April.

Loans through the domestic banking unit – which essentially captures lending in all currencies but mainly reflects Singapore-dollar lending – stood at S$608 billion last month, down 0.8 per cent from August, the MAS figures showed. Read more >>

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Buy Michael Jordan’s House and Get Every Pair of Signature Jordans Ever

Here's how much it will cost you.

Here’s how much it will cost you.

CHICAGO, US : Michael Jordan’s Chicago mansion has been on the market since 2012 and three years later, its asking price has been chopped nearly in half—from $29 million to $14.9 million. But there’s reason to believe that the 56,000-square-foot house will be off the market soon. Luxury real estate agent Kofi Nartey, whose cinematic tours of the house have been splashed all over the internet the past couple days, tells Maxim that dropping nearly $15 million won’t just get you an unthinkably large crib, it’ll get you “a pair of every edition of signature Air Jordans in the buyer’s size.”

Now you really want it, don’t you?

The closet full of sneakers isn’t an official perk of buying this house, but if the rich bastard who writes the check wants the shoes, he’ll get them. And if he wants something else, he’ll probably get that too. “If the price is right, we can make almost anything happen,” Nartey says.

It’s kind of crazy that a property this tricked out needs pot sweeteners, but selling a seven-figure property isn’t as easy as it once was. That’s why Nartey started StartYourLegend23.com and produced these theatrical virtual tours. “It may seem over the top, but so is winning 6 NBA Championships and 6 NBA Finals MVPs,” he says.

Know what else is over the top? This  house. Along with all the typical trappings of a rich man’s domain — a full gym, 15 bathrooms, kitchens both inside and out — the house on 2700 Point Lane has some even more awe-inspiring amenities. For example, Jordan’s estate has a full service beauty salon (you don’t get a head of hair like this without dedication), five fire places, an island and 15 heated garage spaces.

Still, if this place sells sometime in the near future it’ll be an easy guess which feature enticed the buyer. As Mars said, “It’s gotta be because of the shoes.”

Source : http://www.maxim.com/entertainment/sports/article/exclusive-buy-michael-jordans-mansion-air-jordans-2015-10

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Property Update (27 October 2015)

Apple is planning to launch its first outlet in Singapore in 2016, at the Knightsbridge luxury retail complex on Orchard Road, a report revealed on Monday.

Apple is planning to launch its first outlet in Singapore in 2016, at the Knightsbridge luxury retail complex on Orchard Road, a report revealed on Monday.

First Singapore Apple Store to open at Knightsbridge in 2016 | appleinsider.com

SINGAPORE : A Pure Fitness will be closing on Dec. 15 to help make way, according to a pair of emails from the gym’s management sent to customers, seen by The Straits Times. Some other Knightsbridge tenants will also be handing back space to the landlord, the gym noted.

“We understand that this is short notice but we have only recently been informed of the handover date on this site,” one of the emails said.

It’s not clear why Apple is only now getting around to building an Apple Store in Singapore, which is a wealthy market in spite of its small size. Indeed it was one of the first launch regions for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, joining places like the U.S. and just two other Asian markets — Hong Kong and Japan. Read more >>

The impact of a fall in property prices is also relatively short-lived, showing up with a three to four-quarter lag before dissipating quickly within six quarters, says Nomura.

The impact of a fall in property prices is also relatively short-lived, showing up with a three to four-quarter lag before dissipating quickly within six quarters, says Nomura.

Property price drop will only have a small impact on GDP growth: Nomura | businesstimes.com.sg

SINGAPORE : A continued softening in Singapore property prices would only have a relatively small impact on GDP growth, said Nomura in a report published on Friday.

“More formally, a 10 per cent decline in the real private residential property price index (PRPPI) growth leads to a cumulative 0.6 percentage point drop in real GDP growth. The impact is also relatively short-lived, showing up with a three to four-quarter lag before dissipating quickly within six quarters,” said Nomura. Read more >>

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Global property prices up 4.7% year on year led by Hong Kong, latest data shows | propertywire.com

WORLD : Global house prices have increased by a median of 4.7% year on year led by Hong Kong, Turkey, Ireland, Sweden and Australia, a new international report shows.
Overall prices have increased in 21 of the 26 countries tracked by the Economist House Price Index but growth does vary from nation to nation.

The growth is topped by Hong Kong with annual price growth of 20.8%, followed by Turkey with a rise of 18,8%, Ireland up 13.4%, Sweden up 10.3% and Australia up 7.5%.

At the bottom end of the index the country with the biggest annual drop in property prices is Greece with a fall of 5.9%, Singapore down 3.7%, Italy down 3.3%, China down 2.4% and France down 2.3%.

All other countries has seen annual price growth according to the index which measures national affordability by comparing prices to the long run average of their relationship with rents and income. Read more >>

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