Kaeden Ong

CapitaLand’s earnings up on higher home sales

Posted by Kaeden Ong on 29th November 2016 in Blog

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Stronger home sales in Singapore and China and contributions from serviced residences and commercial properties lifted CapitaLand’s third-quarter earnings.

Net profit for the three months to Sept 30 rose 28.4 per cent to $247.5 million from $192.7 million a year earlier.

Revenue was up 27.7 per cent to $1.37 billion, thanks to increased contributions from development projects here and in China.

The developer said yesterday that higher rental income from its commercial properties here and its serviced residences business also boosted turnover.

China and Singapore remained CapitaLand’s core markets, accounting for about 83 per cent of its revenue.

“CapitaLand’s operating performance has remained robust thanks to our optimal asset mix that provides us with stability and a strong recurring income stream despite a volatile market,” said president and group chief executive Lim Ming Yan.

Its development projects The Nassim and Cairnhill Nine in Singapore, Riverfront in Hangzhou, New Horizon in Shanghai and Vermont Hills in Beijing all contributed to higher revenue in the quarter.

CapitaLand sold 206 homes here between July and September, bringing the total units sold in the first nine months of the year to 510, with a total sales value of $1.24 billion.

Sales hit 2,903 units in China in the quarter, taking the nine-month total to 9,176, with a value of 14.8 billion yuan (S$3.04 billion).

CapitaLand gave an update of the extension fees payable in this half of the year for unsold units at The Interlace and d’Leedon as at the “sell-by date” in its third-quarter earnings report.

These fees relate to Qualifying Certificate (QC) rules applying to foreign developers – including Singapore developers listed here but with foreign shareholders.

It estimated an extension fee of $2.36 million for The Interlace, which had 56 unsold units as at Sept 13, and $2.72 million for d’Leedon, assuming the 87 units still available at the end of September remained unsold by the Oct 21 deadline. The developer noted that these fees will have limited financial impact.

Quarterly earnings per share was 5.8 cents, up from 4.5 cents in the third quarter a year ago. Net asset value per share came in at $4.01 as at Sept 30, lower than the $4.21 at Dec 31, 2015.

Net profit for the nine months to Sept 30 dipped 7.1 per cent to $759.8 million, largely due to lower fair value gains from revaluation of properties and portfolio gains. Revenue was up by 12.5 per cent from the previous year to $3.4 billion.

CapitaLand expects property cooling measures to continue to weigh on the residential market here while the outlook for office occupancy and rents remains muted. Its portfolio of malls here is expected to continue to offer stable recurring income.

The counter closed three cents lower to $3.03 yesterday, after the earnings were announced.

Credits: St Property

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Eye on Queenstown: Queen of the towns

Posted by Kaeden Ong on 25th November 2016 in Blog

Singapore’s oldest satellite town has kept up with the times and seen many modern developments spring up across it. But even it progresses, pockets of history are still visible throughout the estate, and it is this mix of old and new that attracts many to Queenstown.

By Cheryl Marie Tay

Singapore may be only 51 years old, but its history began much earlier than 1965. And as the country’s oldest satellite town, Queenstown has certainly seen plenty of changes over the years.

Located on the south-westernmost edge of central Singapore, its very name is a rather transparent reference to Singapore’s heritage as a former British colony. Indeed, Queenstown was so christened after the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II, to mark her coronation in 1952.

Thanks to the estate’s obvious association with British royalty, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a stop in Queenstown during their visit to Singapore in September 2012.

The estate is surrounded by Bukit Merah on its eastern and south-eastern sides, Bukit Timah on its northern side, Clementi on its western and north-western sides, Selat Pandan on its southern and south-western sides, and Tanglin on its north-eastern side.

Its 16 subzones include Buona Vista, Commonwealth, Dover, Ghim Moh, Holland Drive, Kent Ridge, Margaret Drive, Mei Chin, Pasir Panjang, Portsdown, Queensway and Tanglin Halt, while its main housing estates include Duchess Estate, Princess Estate and Queen’s Close.

A village in a valley

Before the 1950s, Queenstown was merely a swampy valley flanked by hills, with a rubber plantation on one side and a cemetery on the other. There was also a village in the area, called Bo Beh Kang, which was populated mainly by Hokkien- and Teochew-speaking inhabitants in attap huts.

Until 1942, these residents grew vegetables and fruits and reared chickens and pigs for a living. In 1947, however, the Housing Committee of Singapore published a report highlighting the problem of inadequate housing in the country.

As a solution, the report proposed having Singapore’s population decentralised away from city areas by establishing self-contained suburban residential estates. This was supposedly influenced by post-war Britain’s New Town initiative.

A successful start

The Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) eventually chose Queenstown for housing development, thanks to its proximity to Singapore’s first public housing project, Tiong Bahru, which had proven to be a success.

The construction of Queenstown’s first public housing neighbourhood, Princess Margaret Estate (named after Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister), commenced in July 1952, with a preliminary batch of three-room flats ready for occupation by late 1953.

This grew to over 1,000 one-, two- and three-room flats and 68 terrace houses by 1956, and included the 14-storey Forfar House, which was the tallest HDB block in Singapore then. It was considered such a prominent landmark at the time, there was even a ceremony held in October 1956 in its honour.

Simply known as Block 39, it contained 106 three-room flats, four stores and a kopitiam. However, 40 years after it was first built, it was demolished under the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

Queenstown was fully developed as a public housing estate by 1970, and its success led to Buona Vista and Holland Village following the same route.

Into the 21st century

Today, Queenstown is still a thriving, self-sustaining residential estate. Its demographics have shifted somewhat since it was built, with more senior citizens residing in the area now than in most other estates in Singapore. They live mostly in the older two- and three-room HDB flats in the area.

Thanks to urban renewal efforts in the 2000s, residential developments such as SkyTerrace and SkyVille at Dawson (in Princess Estate) have drawn younger homebuyers to Queenstown. In fact, the SCDA Architects-designed SkyTerrace recently won an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) for International Excellence. Margaret Drive has also been redeveloped, such that it is now a modern neighbourhood that affords residents a high level of convenience.

Of course, the older residents are still catered to; a new nursing home at Margaret Drive will open in 2017, and will provide care and rehabilitation to the elderly who have been discharged from the hospital but still require some medical care while recovering. It will also have a senior care centre to help families look after their elderly member in the day, while the former are at work.

Amenities galore

There are many schools — including renowned educational institutions — in Queenstown, a plus point for parents of school-going children of any age. From primary (Fairfield, New Town and Queenstown) and secondary schools (Anglo-Chinese Independent, Fairfield Methodist, Queensway) to tertiary (Anglo-Chinese Junior College, the National University of Singapore, Singapore Polytechnic) and even international institutions (Anglo-Chinese International, Global Indian International School, United World College of Southeast Asia), the Queenstown Planning Area has no shortage of schools.

Other amenities include Alexandra Hospital, National University Hospital (NUH), Anchorpoint Shopping Centre, Queensway Shopping Centre, The Star Vista and of course, Queenstown MRT station.

Those who prefer to be away from large crowds can eschew the shopping malls for Kent Ridge Park and HortPark. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, go to Haw Par Villa, a theme park brimming with Chinese mythology and folklore; it features more than 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese legend and history.

There is also plenty of food to be had here. The estates numerous hawker centres include ABC Brickworks Market, Alexandra Village Food Centre and Tanglin Halt Hawker Centre. Of course, there is also Singapore’s first IKEA outlet on Alexandra Road, where you can have the Swedish furniture giant’s famous meatballs after a day of furniture shopping.

Hankering for the past

Though Queenstown has kept up with the times and continued to attract both residents and visitors, some still miss the Queenstown of old.

For 32-year-old Singaporean filmmaker Sivaraj Pragasm, it was his first home. Born in 1984, he grew up in Queenstown. After spending the first 15 years of his life living there, his family moved in July 1999 to Sengkang, where he still lives today.

He reminisces about the reputed “kampong spirit” we’ve all heard about, but may not have experienced: “Queenstown was a world of its own. It had a lot of charm because the buildings were pretty old and the people there had been living there since the 1950s and 1960s, so neighbours knew one another.

“You could leave the front door open without any issues. Food there was great because you could either go to Tanglin Halt, Margaret Drive or Stirling Road, all within walking distance of each one another. I also remember spending a lot of time at Queenstown Shopping Centre when I was younger.”

Comparing life in Queenstown with that in Sengkang, he says: “(Life in Queenstown) has never been — and can ever be — replicated by living here in Sengkang, simply because the demographics are different and it’s very sterile, considering it’s an entirely new town.”

Pragasm still visits Queenstown these days, “for old time’s sake”, and is — perhaps unsurprisingly — rather saddened by the rapidly disappearing landmarks and symbols of his childhood.

He says, “Most of the Queenstown that I grew up with has disappeared. Entire blocks of flats are being torn down, and the stalls at the hawker centre that I used to go to are no longer around, except maybe that famous Western food stall at Tanglin Halt, which I think is called A1 Western.”

Pragasm’s mood does lighten considerably when asked to recommend what one should eat and do in Queenstown: “I would highly recommend A1 Western. There are some heritage trails and tours that are run by non-profit organisations in Queenstown, so I would recommend checking that out.

“There’s also a Facebook group called My Queenstown that brings Queenstown residents, past and present, together. There are a lot of old photos of Queenstown you can find on the site that really show the rich history of the place.”

Continuing progress

Still, as it has been for a long time in Singapore, progress will continue, nostalgia notwithstanding. New developments continue to spring up all over the island, and Queenstown is no exception.

One of the upcoming residential projects in the estate is Queens Peak developed by Hao Yuan Investment and managed by MCC Land. Located on Dundee Road, the condominium development will contain 736 units across two towers. The unit types will range from one- to five-bedroom apartments and will also include penthouse units with private pools.

The development will also feature communal sky gardens within its curvilinear façade, and is situated just opposite Queenstown MRT station, as well as close to Alexandra Village Food Centre and ABC Brickworks Market, both of which offer a wide range of delectable local cuisines.

History amid modernity

Still, if you’re looking for some nostalgic indulgence, you can take a stroll along some of the older neighbourhoods in Queenstown, like those at Tanglin Halt and Stirling Road.

Also on Stirling is Tiong Ghee Temple, which was built in 1912 as a shrine to Guan Gong, the god of protection. Originally called Bo Beh Kang End Village Ghee Tiong Temple (after the aforementioned village where it was located), it was expanded in 1931, both physically and in terms of its roster of gods, with Tua Pek Kong joining the fold.

Interestingly, Bo Beh Kang village remained mostly unharmed during World War II, and residents attributed this to the protection of the gods. As a result, every 12 May and 23 August on the lunar calendar, events are held at the temple so devotees can express gratitude to the gods through a series of rituals.

The temple was renamed Tiong Ghee temple in 1968, after a temple committee was formed and had it registered as a religious institution; it was then moved to its current location on Stirling Road.

You can see the temple and other such historical sites in Queenstown by signing up for heritage tours conducted by My Queenstown Heritage Trail

Credits: Propertyguru

Checkout the condominium developments in Queenstown:

Commonwealth Towers ; Queens Peak

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Property developer UOL Group is planning to launch two new residential projects in Clementi and Potong Pasir over the next two years, reported Singapore Business Review, citing a report from OCBC Investment Research.

The Clement Canopy, a 505-unit condominium in Clementi in which UOL owns a 50 percent stake, is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017.

Raintree Gardens in Potong Pasir, which was acquired by the group via an en bloc sale with UIC Ltd, will be redeveloped into a 750-unit project that will hit the market in 2018.

UOL has seen healthy sales at its previously launched Singapore projects. The 797-unit Botanique at Bartley recorded a take-up rate of 96 percent, while Principal Garden and Riverbank @ Fernvale are 43 percent and 78 percent sold, respectively.

The three projects obtained their Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in September 2015 and May 2016, respectively.

With this, the group’s revenue for the quarter climbed 11 percent year-on-year to $393 million, on the back of higher topline contributions across its hotel, property development and property investment segments.

Property development revenue, for instance, jumped 19 percent year-on-year to $207 million due to higher progressive recognition from Botanique at Bartley, Riverbank @ Fernvale and Principal Garden, said OCBC.

Credits: Propertyguru

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Kaeden Ong

CapitaLand Q3 net profit up 28% to $247.5 million

Posted by Kaeden Ong on 11th November 2016 in Blog

Cairnhill-Nine

Property developer CapitaLand posted a total net profit of $247.5 million in the third quarter of 2016, up 28.4 percent from $192.7 million in the previous year, on the back of better operating performance.

Group revenue during the period also jumped 27.7 percent to $1.374 billion.

In an SGX filing, the group attributed the increase to higher contributions from CapitaLand’s residential business in China and Singapore, shopping malls in Malaysia and China, its commercial portfolio in Singapore, and newly acquired serviced residences.

The residential projects which contributed to higher revenue in Q3 included The Nassim and Cairnhill Nine in Singapore, New Horizon in Shanghai, Vermont Hills in Beijing and Riverfront in Hangzhou.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) also rose 7.7 percent year-on-year to $494.4 million in Q3, with Singapore and China remaining as key contributors.

Looking ahead, Lim said the group will continue to grow its assets under management through capital recycling, portfolio optimisation, fund management and management contracts.

Credits: Propertyguru

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Condo sales start for Queens Peak, Parc Riviera

Posted by Kaeden Ong on 8th November 2016 in Blog

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Queens Peak, Hao Yuan Investment’s 736-unit condominium project at Dundee Road, has been warmly received by buyers, with 242 units sold during its launch on Saturday (5 November).

One- and two-bedroom units accounted for 90 percent of all the units sold, while the project’s average price stands at $1,632 psf. The lowest transacted price was $1,406 psf.

The developer attributed the encouraging sales to the project’s good connectivity to the nearby Queenstown MRT station, as well as the fact that all units are at least eight storeys above ground.

“We have received feedback from buyers that Queens Peak is an attractively priced city fringe project made affordable for mass condominium buyers,” said Tan Zhiyong, Managing Director of MCC Land, the project manager for Queens Peak.

Meanwhile, the 752-unit Parc Riviera at West Coast Vale sold more than 100 units on Saturday, offering a “one-tier pricing scheme” for units found on the lowest floor to the 15th floor, reported The Business Times.

With the average price at $1,150 psf, more than 95 percent of units sold are those that come under the one-tier pricing scheme. Around 80 percent of buyers opted for the one- or two-bedroom units.

The scheme, which was originally planned to be offered only on Saturday, did not generate further interest when it was extended to Sunday, with only a few more units sold.

While location may have played a role in the project’s sales performance, EL Development Managing Director Lim Yew Soon noted that the manner by which smaller units were distributed in the project may have also been a factor.

The smaller units at Queens Peak are concentrated on the lower floors to keep the quantums low for investors, while Parc Riviera has similar unit types from the lowest to the highest floors. The developer kept the unit-type composition consistent on each floor due to the use of prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC).

Lim explained that it would be challenging for a project using PPVC to have different unit types stacked on top of another as this would require transfer beams and columns to be erected on each floor.

He also revealed that the project will revert to its original price list.

“We took quite a steep discount for the units on the higher floors so we can’t keep doing it all the time,” he said. “We are not planning for further discounts now. Based on the original pricing, it’s still attractive.”

Credits: Propertyguru

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Kaeden Ong

Parc Riviera rolls out one-tier prices for early buyers

Posted by Kaeden Ong on 4th November 2016 in Blog

Parc-Riviera-Perspectives-Draft-2

Property developer EL Development will offer a one-tier pricing scheme for its Parc Riviera condominium during the project’s soft launch this Saturday (5 November), reported The Straits Times.

The scheme will see units of the same type from the second floor to the 15th floor carrying the same prices.

A 603 sq ft two-bedroom unit, for instance, will be priced at $725,000, regardless of whether it is located on the second floor, the 15th floor, or anywhere in between. Units located higher up in the two 36-storey towers will have higher prices.

EL Development Managing Director Lim Yew Soon revealed that he came up with the novel strategy to give early buyers ‘maximum benefits’.

Typical early bird promotions that advertise units going for ‘$5xx,000’ usually leave buyers guessing a unit’s price as well as its level. He describes this approach as clichéd and ‘a bit old-fashioned’.

“We are telling people that the price starts from $550,000 for the one-bedroom (unit). We feel that $550,000 is an attractive price, even at the lower levels. But now that we have extended the price to 15 floors, it will be even more attractive,” he said.

Located near Pandan Reservoir, Parc Riviera comprises two 36-storey towers and a four-storey carpark. Sizes for the units range between 463 sq ft for a one-bedder and 1,711 sq ft for the biggest four-bedder. Around 64 percent of the development contains one- and two-bedroom units, said EL Development.

Lim noted that the price difference for units on the 15th and 16th levels will be ‘substantial’, by around five percent.

Meanwhile, property experts are optimistic about the scheme. In fact, PropNex Realty CEO Mohamed Ismail expects the strategy to be effective.

“This is one of the first times when a developer has dangled this type of carrot. This strategy will likely get greater interest from consumers as they have an incentive to come early to make up their minds, to get discounted prices for higher floors. There are real savings for the buyer,” he said.

Ong Kah Seng, Director of R’ST Research, on the other hand, said the strategy’s main purpose is to encourage buyers to ‘snap up’ units on the higher floors.

He added that units located on the higher floors of a 20-storey condominium are typically more expensive by up to 15 percent, compared to those located within the middle levels.

Although the scheme could mean that lower floor units may remain unsold for a while, this is immaterial since “the project would already have achieved a fairly good sales rate, resulting in the project achieving good break-even sales or even marginal profits”, said Ong.

Credits: Propertyguru

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