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The Straits Times
Published on Dec 15, 2012
Land for 14,000 homes up for sale

Government earmarks 32 sites for release in the first half of next year

By Esther Teo property reporter

THE Government is keeping up its rapid pace of land release in the first half of next year to meet unrelenting strong demand from home buyers.

It has earmarked a total of 32 sites for release under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme in the six-month period.

These sites could yield 14,035 private homes, including 3,100 units of the increasingly popular executive condominiums (ECs).

The latest slate of sites is in line with supply from July to December this year, when sites able to accommodate 14,185 units were released.

Of the latest sites, 13 are on the confirmed list and go on sale regardless of interest, while 19 are reserve list sites put up for tender only if a developer makes an acceptable initial offer.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) said in a statement yesterday that this will provide an adequate supply of private housing to meet continued demand. A whopping 19,507 new private homes were sold in the first 10 months of this year - easily eclipsing the record of 16,292 sold in the whole of last year.

Most of the new sites are in suburban and city fringe areas such as Woodlands and Punggol, where more affordable private homes are set to be built, MND said.

Buying demand has been strongest, and private home prices have risen the most in these areas. Suburban home prices rose 3 per cent in the first nine months of the year, compared with an overall 1 per cent private market gain.

But the latest list also includes choice sites in areas like Mount Sophia and Coronation Road.

Experts say the Government has kept its foot on the supply pedal as land prices at recent tenders have kept inching upwards.

Almost 94,000 private homes are set to be completed in the next few years as at Sept 30 - raising fears of a possible oversupply.

But prices are not expected to fall with this new flood of supply as the market is still being held up by low interest rates and ample funds, property watchers noted.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research at SLP International, believes sites at Coronation Road, Mount Sophia and Siglap Road may attract high bids.

He expects prices to rise 1.5 per cent to 5 per cent next year.

Colliers International research and advisory director Chia Siew Chuin said the release of more generic mass market and EC sites will help to rein in price gains.

"However, the attractive sites will fuel interest and competitive bidding. This provides some level of support for the market, but prices are not expected to run away."

EL Development managing director Lim Yew Soon said in the light of the supply in the pipeline, it helps that many of the plots on the confirmed list are EC sites catering largely to genuine buyers. But he said that while there are well-located sites close to MRT stations, some are in the same area.

The GLS also includes commercial sites, with a potential 315,000 sq m in gross floor area of largely office and retail space and 1,740 hotel rooms to be pushed out.

This includes a new Havelock Road hotel reserve list site and two commercial and residential sites in Yishun and Potong Pasir.

MND said apart from the GLS, land and properties are also made available by various government agencies. These include localised retail facilities at parks, MRT stations and community centres.