Hotel sites among those offered in land sales scheme

Focus of residential sites appears to be in central area, and could yield 8,040 units

The land parcel (patch of green and carpark) at Cross Street and Club Street.
The land parcel (patch of green and carpark) at Cross Street and Club Street. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

For the first time in five years, the Government is offering sites for hotel rooms in its Government Land Sales (GLS) programme for the second half of this year, amid a rosier tourism outlook for Singapore in the next few years.

On the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) list of sites for sale is one in Club Street near Raffles Place which is a hotel site on the confirmed list, while a "white" site in Marina View on the reserve list allows for hotel rooms to be built. White sites are flexible-use sites.

The provision comes on the back of a 6.2 per cent growth in international visitor arrivals last year to 17.4 million people.

"Given the bright tourism prospects ahead, we believe the hoteliers would be very keen on the hotel offerings on both the confirmed list and reserve list," said Mr Govinda Singh, executive director of valuation and advisory for Asia at Colliers International.

"The Club Street plot sits within a high-demand area in Chinatown for both corporate and leisure, and plugs well into the rejuvenation of the Tanjong Pagar district nearby.

"The Marina View white site also presents good opportunities, being in the prime downtown, which has been earmarked as an exciting waterfront destination in the future."

Yesterday's release featured sites on the confirmed list and reserve list yielding up to 8,040 private residential units, 124,200 sq m of commercial gross floor area and 930 hotel rooms. The residential land supply in the second half of this year's GLS programme is similar to that for the first half, when the Government made available 2,775 residential units under the confirmed list and 5,270 units under the reserve list.

JLL national research director Ong Teck Hui noted that the focus for residential GLS sites in the second half seems to be in the central region.

"Although the three GLS sites (on the confirmed list) could help to meet demand from developers, it is uncertain as to whether they will mitigate optimistic land prices," he said. "They are also unlikely to dilute demand for collective sale sites, especially those in the prime districts for which there is keen interest."

The three sites are in Middle Road, Kampong Java Road near Newton Circus, and Sims Drive. A fourth is an executive condominium site.

On the reserve list is also a white site at Woodlands Square/Woodlands Avenue 2.

The URA said in its release yesterday that the site will help to sustain the development momentum of Woodlands Regional Centre as a major commercial node outside the city. This is in line with the Government's objective of decentralising employment centres to bring job opportunities closer to homes.

Amid a slew of successful collective sale tenders, consultants say that the Government is taking a balanced approach in ensuring adequate residential land supply in the second half of this year to meet home buyers' demand without exacerbating a potential supply glut.

Over half of the residential supply is on the reserve list, which means developers have to apply with a minimum price to trigger a sale.

OrangeTee & Tie head of consultancy and research Christine Sun noted that despite a sizeable number of new supply sites that can be yielded from the recent collective sales, "the Government has probably chosen to maintain the land supply as they want to control the escalating property prices by injecting a reasonable number of new units without causing an oversupply situation".

The URA also noted that in the supply pipeline, there are around 20,000 units from GLS and collective sale sites pending planning approval, on top of the 24,000 unsold units from projects with planning approval. In addition, more than 30,000 existing private housing units remain vacant.

But demand for land from developers remains strong, while transaction volumes are rising, the URA said. "Taken together, the total supply in the pipeline will be able to meet home buyers' demand over the next one to two years, and to meet our population's housing needs. The Government will continue to monitor the property market closely and adjust the supply from future GLS programmes, when necessary."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2018, with the headline 'Hotel sites among those offered in land sales scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe