HOME buyers will soon have details about private property sales and prices at their fingertips under reforms aimed at improving safeguards and market transparency.
Developers will have to submit a range of transaction data every week to the Controller of Housing starting next Monday, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said yesterday.
These details will include sales volumes and transacted prices of individual units as well as the value of any benefits extended to buyers, such as cash rebates, legal or stamp fee absorption, rental guarantees or furniture vouchers.
The information will be published on the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) website every week, starting on June 5.
Standard forms, such as that for the option to purchase and the sale and purchase agreement, will be improved to disclose the value of benefits offered, for instance. The changes take effect on July 20.
Another change - the Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules - also starts on that date.
This aims to ensure all show units are accurate depictions of the apartments for sale.
For instance, one rule states that a showflat's floor area has to be the same as the actual apartment's, while another states that all external and structural walls to be built in the actual unit have to be shown in the showflat.
The MND said it wants to "provide developers (with) sufficient time to comply with the amendments... and new requirements".
It noted that showflats that have been set up and are available for viewing before July 20 will be exempted from the new requirements.
"However, the developer must inform purchasers of the differences between the existing show unit and the actual unit as shown in the approved building plan," it said.
The reforms are part of amendments to the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) Act that were approved by Members of Parliament in 2013.
Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia, said the announcements are not surprising as many developers have been providing such information since the changes to the Act were approved in 2013.
"Banks have requested information such as the value of benefits so that they are aware, for the valuation of units," he said.
The MND noted: "The amendments will enhance market transparency by providing the public with more comprehensive and timelier information on the private residential property market."
Private home buyers to benefit
BUYERS of resale private property will benefit the most from the new reforms aimed at improving safeguards and market transparency, industry players say.
Such buyers, said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng, do their homework and actively negotiate on price so the more information they have at their disposal, the better prepared they will be.
Buyers will be able to access data such as transacted prices of individual units in a project on the Urban Redevelopment Authority website every week starting on June 5.
The move is aimed at boosting transparency and protecting the interests of all buyers, including those who buy directly from the developer.
Mr Ong said the frequent updates will be also useful for buyers of new homes, as these will encourage them to be more active about doing their homework, despite the fact that they cannot negotiate on prices.
Many developers have been producing the kind of data required under the new rules on data effected in 2013, including ensuring that showflats accurately depict a project's units.
CDL said it already has processes in place to submit weekly detailed sales information, while CapitaLand Singapore noted that its showflats have always accurately depicted actual product specifications and dimensions.
Rodyk & Davidson partner Lee Liat Yeang also noted that the new showflat rules are good for developers.
"While these rules make the presentation of show units more challenging, they also serve to avert issues of misunderstanding that may arise between buyers and developers."
Car saleswoman Alison Phua, 49, who used to live in a condo, welcomed the new measures. She said of her own experience: "The showflat was very impressive, but when we collected the key and saw the place, there were a lot of flaws.
"Showflats that are more precise will eliminate a lot of unnecessary disappointment."
Additional reporting by Rachel Tan and Phyllis Ho