- Government will continue to monitor the collective sale fever which could continue into 2018
- Potentially bump up Reserve List sites but Confirmed List sites could remain moderate in upcoming 1H 2018 Government Land Sale (GLS) programme in December
Singapore, December 01, 2017 - Developers have been aggressively bidding for sites both in public tenders and the collective sale market in the past year. This is largely due to the surprising pick up in new home sales from February 2017 amid depleting landbanks and a more positive economic outlook.
The upturn in the residential property market is supported by economic data. Singapore’s economy outperformed in the third quarter, expanding by 5.2% year-on-year. The official growth forecast for 2017 has also been raised to 3-3.5%.
As the Government had trimmed GLS offerings in recent years, developers have turned to private collective sales as an alternative to satiate their fast-growing appetite for sites. Since 2016, there were 25 residential collective sale transactions (as at Dec 01, 2017) valued at SGD8.4 billion.
Ms Tricia Song (宋明蔚), Head of Research at Colliers International, says, “The value of the 25 deals done since 2016 was 38.5% of the SGD21.8 billion transacted in the last collective sale wave of 2005 to 2007. Barring any unforeseen events, there is probably room for more en bloc sales going into 2018.”
Preview of the GLS for 1H 2018
The Government is likely to continue to monitor market developments and land prices. Given the scarce land resources in Singapore, there is a need to strike a balance between offering new greenfield sites and allowing for urban renewal through the redevelopment and intensification of ageing sites. Hence, it is unlikely that there will be a knee-jerk reaction to place a large number of sites on the Confirmed List in the upcoming GLS for the first half of 2018.
Potentially, the Government could bump up the Reserve List sites from nine in 2H 2017 to 12 to 13 for 1H 2018. Meanwhile, there may be five to six sites under the Confirmed List for 1H 2018, up from four pure residential sites in 2H 2017.
Ms Song adds, “The Government may offer a tease in the form of providing more plum sites, but via the Reserve List. Under the Reserve List system, a site will only be put up for tender if the developer's minimum bid price is deemed acceptable. This approach will ensure that the pace of the sale of sites is dictated by market forces, allowing the Government to better monitor the market.”
The GLS list is typically quite well-spread in locations to offer developers diversified choices. The Government may offer sites at Lakeside, Bidadari and maiden private sites in the Tengah estate, earmarked as a “Forest Town” that will be integrated with the Jurong Innovation District.
Given the plan to develop Jurong Lake District as Singapore’s second central business district in the future, it is possible that the Government may place a commercial/office/mixed site in the Jurong Lake development under the Reserve List.
It is unlikely that there will be many new commercial or mixed-use sites offered. There is still one mixed-use (commercial and residential) site in Sengkang Central on the Confirmed List of 2H 2017 yet to be launched for sale. A pure commercial site in Woodlands Square, which was carried over from GLS 1H 2015, is also available on the Reserve List.
In October, a commercial site at Beach Road - triggered for sale under the Reserve List - was sold to the Guoco Group for SGD1.622 billion (SGD1,706 psf per plot ratio).
Blockbuster land deals drove premiums up
Developers have paid substantial premiums for sites amid aggressive bidding at public land tenders. On average, the number of bids received for each GLS residential tender has risen from 8 in 2014 to 14 in Jan-Nov 2017.
The average per sq foot price per plot ratio (psf ppr) has also increased by 42% from SGD650 to SGD925 between 2014 and 2017, assuming the minimum trigger land price of SGD1,250 psf ppr for Jiak Kim Street and SGD1,250 psf ppr for Fourth Avenue. Excluding the tenders for Jiak Kim Street and Fourth Avenue sites which will close on Dec 5, the increase in average GLS land prices would have been 30% over 2014-2017.
A study of two comparable sites which have been tendered in 2015 and 2017 reflected a 17% to 21% rise in land prices.
- Queenstown MRT: the massive Stirling Road site tendered for SGD1,051 psf ppr in May 2017 was 21% more than the SGD871 psf ppr paid for Queens Peak site in June 2015.
- Tampines Ave 10 site: the latest site won by City Developments for SGD565 psf ppr in May 2017 was 17% more than the SGD483 psf ppr paid by MCC Land for The Alps Residences in May 2015.
Ms Song adds, “The GLS tenders will likely continue to draw strong bidding interest from both local and foreign players, in view of the more positive economic outlook and market sentiment. We expect developers to adjust their bids according to market dynamics and future land prices may not necessarily rise at the same pace that we have witnessed in the past year.”
For more information, please contact:
Ms Wong Siew Ying, Associate Director