HDB launches exec condo site in Yishun, extends tender period to 6 months due to Covid-19

The tender for the 99-year leasehold land parcel will close at noon on Oct 29, 2020. PHOTO: STRAITS TIMES GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - In the first government land sale (GLS) in 2020, the Housing Board on Thursday (April 30) put on the market an executive condominium site in Yishun Avenue 9, and extended the public tender period to six months because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The tender for the 99-year leasehold land parcel will close at noon on Oct 29.

Tenders for GLS sites usually range from six to eight weeks. The longer duration for the Yishun site will provide developers with additional time to make their assessment in view of the current Covid-19 situation, HDB said in a media release.

ERA Realty head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said the extended tender period will help the site obtain a higher land bid. "The authorities may be hoping that when the tender closes near the end of October, the Covid-19 pandemic may already be contained and market sentiments would have improved," he said.

The Yishun site spans 21,514 sq m and has a maximum permissible gross floor area of 60,240 sq m. It can potentially yield about 600 residential units. The parcel is located within 500m of Junction 9, a relatively new neighbourhood mall.

It is the first of three confirmed-list residential sites to be launched for sale under the GLS programme for the first half of 2020.

The other two sites consist of a parcel in Tanah Merah Kechil Link, next to Tanah Merah MRT station, that can yield 310 housing units, and a mixed residential and commercial plot in Jalan Anak Bukit that can accommodate 865 units. The Jalan Anak Bukit site will have a bus interchange with an underground connection to nearby Beauty World MRT station on the Downtown Line.

Mr Mak noted that although the tender has been launched in the midst of market uncertainties, the new development on the site will likely be launched only one to two years later, by which time the pandemic should be contained.

As a result, he expects more bullish developers to submit bids that are close to the levels before the Covid-19 outbreak. The Yishun site could attract top bids ranging from $500 to $540 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr), or about $324 million to $350 million, he said. It could also garner about seven to 10 bids, he added.

The Government in December kept steady the amount of private residential housing from the GLS programme for the first half of this year, in view of the supply overhang and as developers' bids for land moderated after the July 2018 property cooling measures.

Confirmed sites are land parcels that are launched according to schedule, regardless of demand. Reserve sites, on the other hand, are launched only upon successful application by a developer or when there is sufficient market interest in a site.

Executive condominiums are public-private housing hybrids built by private developers and typically come with amenities found in private condominiums, such as swimming pools and multi-purpose rooms. The income ceiling for Singaporean households to buy executive condominium units is $16,000, up from $14,000 following a policy change in September 2019.

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