Completion period for EC sites extended to 5 years

The previous 4-year time frame will no longer apply to new EC sites starting with Sumang Walk in Punggol

A man taking a short cut up a slope from the Park Connector Network to get to the main road at Sumang Walk in Punggol town. ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - The government is extending the project completion period (PCP) for executive condominium (EC) sites from four years to five years.

The longer PCP starts with the EC site in Sumang Walk in the Punggol area, which was launched on Tuesday by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) under the confirmed list of the second-half 2017 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme.

When contacted, a spokesman for HDB noted that the four-year PCP for EC sites had been in place since 1997 and that the extended time frame for completion is in response to developers' requests.

With this change, the PCP for EC sites is now the same as that for private housing sites sold by the state.

ECs are a public-private hybrid form of housing with initial buyer eligibility and resale conditions that are completely lifted 10 years after an EC project has been completed.

The 2.7-hectare Sumang Walk site is adjacent to My Waterway @ Punggol and can potentially yield about 820 residential units. It is expected to be keenly contested given the dearth of EC sites and a potential shortage of new EC units in coming months.

JLL national director Ong Teck Hui noted that the last EC site tender was that for Rivercove Residences in Anchorvale Lane in August 2016. In Punggol, there has been no EC site for tender since the land parcel of The Terrace was sold in July 2013.

"Therefore the EC market has been starved of new sites for a long time while there is probably significant pent-up demand as seen in the quick sell-out of Hoi Hup Realty's 531-unit Hundred Palms Residences in Yio Chu Kang Road on its first day of launch in July this year. "

ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak notes there there is only one more EC project that has yet to be launched - the 628-unit Rivercove Residences by Hoi Hup and Sunway Developments. "As a result, there could be a looming shortage of new EC units in the primary market in the next few months."

Market watchers expect Rivercove Residences to be launched in the first quarter of 2018.

Mr Mak noted that the Sumang Walk site is the only EC plot offered for sale in the GLS Programme for the whole of 2017.

"A reasonable top bid in the tender for this site could range from S$410 to S$440 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). However, it would not be surprising if a very bullish developer were to submit a bid surpassing S$450 psf ppr." Mr Mak expects the site to draw around 10 to 18 bids.

Mr Ong predicts 10 to 16 bids, with the highest expected between S$400 and S$450 psf ppr.

"The 99-year leasehold site is within a reasonable distance from Punggol MRT Station, Waterway Point, schools, the bus interchange and other amenities. EC buyers will be attracted to the development due to these amenities," Mr Ong said.

Mr Mak said that residents on the higher floors of some blocks in the future project on the Sumang Walk site may also enjoy views of Sungei Punggol.

The tender for the 99-year leasehold site closes at noon on Jan 30, 2018, the same time as the tender closings for two 99-year private housing sites in Chong Kuo Road in the Mandai/Sembawang area, and Handy Road near Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station - which were launched by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in October and November this year respectively, also under the second-half 2017 GLS Programme.

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