Monday, April 22, 2013

44 Novena Regency units snapped up

The Business Times  |  April 22, 2013
Mix of residential, retail units a draw due to freehold tenure and location

Buyers snapped up 44 residential and retail units at Novena Regency within a week of its launch last week.

The mixed development by Fragrance Realty - a subsidiary of the Fragrance Group - released 72 units on April 13.

Its freehold tenure and city fringe location along Thomson Road are the most attractive features of the property, as it will sit on the current Novena Ville site.

The 45 shop units are priced from $7,000 per square foot (psf), while the 55 residential units start at $2,300 psf.

Among the residential units, there are 43 apartments (one-, two- and three-bedroom units) and 12 penthouses (two-, three- and four-bedroom units).

Fragrance Group executive chairman and chief executive Koh Wee Meng said: "We are fairly confident that buyers will be attracted to its location - an exclusive private estate enclave within the Novena vicinity."

The robust interest in sales has followed a similarly strong wave of new private home sales last month.

New private home sales surged to an all-time high last month, boosted by discounts dangled by developers and first- timers entering the market.

A total of 2,793 units were sold last month, nearly four times February's number, as a string of new launches debuted strongly.

One of the marketing agents for the Novena Regency projects from Knight Frank, Ms Mary Sai, also noted that property buyers today prefer self-contained neighbourhoods that offer easy access to public transit, shopping and township facilities, as well as other amenities.

Ms Sai is the executive director of commercial investments for Knight Frank. She added that business owners will find the Novena Regency units attractive with their high visibility, as they are facing the main road.

"Human traffic is widely known to be heavy here," she said.

Food and beverage outlets enjoy a good crowd from the staff at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore building close by, and church-goers from Novena Church over the weekend.

The temporary occupation permit for Novena Regency is expected in August 2017.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

Shunfu walkway saga set to drag on

The Straits Times  |  April 20, 2013
Talks fail to kick off as invited residents of privatised estate fail to turn up

The saga over a 20m walkway separating two estates looks set to drag on for at least several more months, as talks between the two failed to even kick off yesterday.

Elderly Thomson Garden residents used the path as a short cut to a bus stop, Shunfu market, kindergarten and Marymount MRT station. But that all stopped last Thursday, when the newly privatised Shunfu Ville fenced up its area.

This outraged some Thomson Garden residents who had been using the pathway for years and now have to take a 500m detour.

Yesterday some 110 met their new MP, Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo, for a closed-door dialogue on the matter.

Its neighbourhood committee chairman Eugene Lee said invitations were sent to some Shunfu Ville residents as well - but none turned up. Mr Lee said he also sent out three proposals to some Shunfu Ville residents when he found out about the closure.

These were: to produce more access cards should Thomson Garden residents want to use the gated path, have the pathway open for certain hours in the day; or keep it open at all times.

The Shunfu Ville residents, however, have yet to reply, said Mrs Teo. "What is most important is for both sides to come to the table and speak to one another," she said. "We need to know what the concerns are before we can discuss the proposals."

The situation has not progressed because Shunfu Ville has yet to appoint a management committee, said former pro-tem committee member Wong Siew Seng, 55.

The pro-tem committee was made up of volunteers with the express interest of privatising the estate. After approval was given by the Housing Board, it disbanded.

The annual general meeting to select a managing committee would happen only in June or July, Mr Wong estimated.

"Before that's done, how can we volunteers decide matters on behalf of the estate? Especially if it involves opening up a pathway that we are responsible for," he said.

Asked for his opinion on the proposals, Mr Wong said the first two would be prone to abuse, while the last might defeat the idea of privatisation in the first place. He said he had not known about the dialogue session.

About 10 of the Shunfu Ville residents The Sunday Times spoke to were unaware of the talks.
One Thomson Garden resident, who asked not to be named, said:"The discussions were not fruitful. But surely the Government can do more.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

HK home prices fall on govt price curbs

The Business Times  |  April 20, 2013
Dip is the sharpest in three years; drop of 1.41 per cent in the week ended April 14 is fourth straight weekly decline

[HONG KONG] HOME prices in Hong Kong fell the most in almost three years after the government imposed its harshest measures yet to curb prices and as the city's lenders raised mortgage rates for the first time since 2011.

Prices fell 1.41 per cent in the week ended April 14, the fourth straight weekly decline, according to an index compiled by Centaline Property Agency Ltd, Hong Kong's biggest closely held realtor. It was the biggest drop since May 2010, the company said in a statement.

Before February's measures, a housing shortage, low mortgage costs and buying by mainland Chinese helped prices more than double since the start of 2009 even as policymakers attempted to rein in gains amid an outcry over affordability.

The government on Feb 22 doubled the stamp duty on all property transactions higher than HK$2 million (S$318,318), while the Hong Kong Monetary Authority told banks to maintain the risk weighting for new home loans at a minimum of 15 per cent to help protect them against a drop in home values.

"The second-hand market has halted almost completely," Wong Leung-sing, an associate research director at Centaline, said in yesterday's statement. "The negative impact of the doubled stamp duty and tighter mortgage rules is now spreading." Prices could fall as much as 20 per cent over the next two years, according to Deutsche Bank AG, after lenders raised home-loan rates in response to the tighter risk rules.

HSBC Holdings plc and Standard Chartered plc were among banks that last month raised mortgage rates by 25 basis points, the first increase since November 2011.

Hong Kong has the highest home prices among major global cities, including London, New York and Tokyo, according to a report by Savills plc in March.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

Mall upgrades boost CapitaMall Trust's Q1 rental earnings

The Straits Times  |  April 20, 2013

Renovations and upgrading works at three malls boosted rental returns and helped push up earnings at CapitaMall Trust (CMT) in the first quarter.

Gross revenue grew 14.8 per cent from $155.2 million last year to $178.2 million, while net property income was up 15.5 per cent at $125.1 million for the three months to March 31.

Its distributable income came in at $85.3 million, up 11.3 per cent on the $76.6 million recorded in the same period last year.

First-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) rose 7 per cent to 2.46 cents from the same period last year.

CMT reported that its annualised distribution yield was 4.42 per cent based on its closing price of $2.26 per unit yesterday.

Unit-holders can expect to receive their DPU on May 30, said the real estate investment trust.

CapitaMall Trust Management chairman Danny Teoh said the refurbishments at JCube, Bugis+ and The Atrium@Orchard boosted the first-quarter performance.

Among the 15 malls in its portfolio, 11 of them accounted for the $2.3 million increase in gross revenue due to higher rentals for new and renewed leases.

IMM was the only mall in the portfolio that recorded a lower gross revenue as it is still undergoing asset enhancement works since May last year.

CMT also reported $53.1 million in property operating expenses in the quarter, up $6.2 million or 13.2 per cent from the same period last year.

Renovations at the three malls accounted for more than half of the operating expenses, although tax payments also contributed.

CMT fully redeemed $300 million in two-year retail bonds in February and will redeem a further $107.4 million convertible bonds in July.

Mr Wilson Tan, the chief executive of the CapitaMall Trust Management, said the firm will start renovating the Bugis Junction mall this quarter.

It has also signed up two tenants for the space formerly occupied by hypermart Carrefour in Plaza Singapura, Mr Tan added.

The repositioning exercise at IMM is progressing well with 50 outlet brands secured.

Earnings per unit climbed to 2.82 cents in the first quarter over the previous year while net asset value per unit rose marginally from the fourth quarter last year to $1.67.

CMT units closed down two cents at $2.26 yesterday.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)

Higher office rents add shine to CCT's bottom line

The Straits Times  |  April 20, 2013
Higher interest income, lower interest expense also lift Q1 results

Higher rents from its office buildings and an increase in interest income helped Capita-Commercial Trust (CCT) improve its numbers for the first quarter.

Distribution income for the three months to March 31 increased 3.3 per cent from a year earlier to $55.7 million.

The trust's distribution per unit for the quarter was 1.96 cents, up 3.2 per cent from a year earlier.

CCT said the better results were mainly due to higher contributions from Twenty Anson, which was acquired in March last year, and higher rents from HSBC Building, collected from the end of April last year.

An increase in interest income from shareholder loans and lower interest expenses also helped lift distribution income.

Net property income for the quarter increased 7.1 per cent to $74.9 million.

CCT management chairman Kee Teck Koon said: "CCT's office portfolio is well positioned to benefit from positive rent reversions, given that the average rent of leases expiring in the rest of this year is lower than the average monthly office market rent as at the three months to March 31."

Revenue from all the trust's properties increased except for Capital Tower and Wilkie Edge.

Revenue for the quarter was $95.9 million, up 9.7 per cent from a year earlier.

Occupancy levels for the trust's office portfolio remained resilient at 95.3 per cent, compared with 93.2 per cent for office space in the Central Business District in the quarter.

CCT management chief executive Lynette Leong said the portfolio's average rents rose from $7.64 per sq ft in the fourth quarter of last year to $7.83 per sq ft in the first three months of this year.

She added that a total of 409,900 sq ft of new and renewed leases for office and retail space were signed in the quarter.

Its new tenants include General Mills Sales Singapore and the New Zealand High Commission.

Earnings per unit for the period came in at 1.9 cents, up from 1.76 cents a year earlier.
Net asset value per unit was $1.64 for the three months to March 31, down from $1.66 a year earlier.

Renovations at Six Battery Road should be finished by the end of the year, while work at Raffles City Tower will continue until the second quarter of next year.

The CapitaGreen development is due to be completed by the fourth quarter of next year.
CCT units closed down 4.5 cents at $1.66 yesterday.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)