Category: En Bloc

Jun 01 2010

Pender Court sold for $95m, 2 other sites for sale

PENDER Court, a 48-unit condominium off West Coast Highway, has been sold en bloc for $95 million.

This land price works out to $1,007 per sq ft (psf) on the potential gross floor area. The price is shy of the owners’ asking price of $100million to $108 million but is way above the $80 million price negotiated in an ultimately abortive sale in the boom days of July 2007.

Bravo Building Construction called off the sale in early 2008. It had also pulled out of two other collective sale deals.

Owners of the 48 units will get close to $2 million each.

Credo Real Estate, which marketed the site, confirmed only the price and declined to comment further as the sale committee is not yet ready to make a formal announcement.

Meanwhile, Waldorf Mansions off Balestier Road and Foh Pin Mansion in Charlton Road have been put up for collective sale.

Both freehold estates have an indicative price of about $22.5 million each. At the 16-unit Waldorf Mansions, this equates to $709 psf per plot ratio, inclusive of a development charge of $104,000.

Credo Real Estate said the buyer can expect to break even at about $1,100 psf.

Built in the 1990s, the site has an allowed gross floor area of 31,875 sq ft. The buyer can redevelop the site into a project with 50 apartments of 600 sq ft on average, said Credo.

As for the 30-year-old, 21-unit Foh Pin Mansion, it can be redeveloped only into a three-storey mixed landed housing development as the land has been rezoned, said marketing agent Savills Singapore.

The buyer may undertake a cluster housing development, said Savills director of investment sales Suzie Mok.

A price of $21 million or $22 million will translate to a land price of about $610 psf to $650 psf, she said.

The tender for Waldorf Mansions closes on June 29 while the tender for Foh Pin closes a day earlier on June 28.

Source: Straits Times, 1 Jun 2010

Jun 01 2010

Two mansions up for sale

Two freehold residential sites have been put up for collective sale for the same asking price – at least $22.5 million each – while another en bloc deal has been sealed for $95 million.

The 11-storey Waldorf Mansions in the Balestier area was built in the 1990s and occupies 11,384 square feet. Under the Master Plan 2008, the site is zoned for residential development and can be built up to a height of 36 storeys.

Foh Pin Mansion, at the junction of Charlton and Upper Serangoon roads, is a 30-year-old apartment block with 21 units. It sits on a 34,154-sq-ft site which, according to the same Master Plan, can be redeveloped into a three-storey mixed landed housing development.

The launch of both tenders yesterday came as it emerged that Pender Court condominium off West Coast Highway had been sold for $95 million – making it the seventh en bloc sale of the year, according to Mr Karamjit Singh, managing director of Credo Real Estate, which marketed the site.

The amount is under the minimum asking price of $100 million, but would nonetheless reap the owners of the 48 units nearly $2 million each.

As the agent also for Waldorf Mansion, Credo said the new site could yield some 50 residential units. The $22.5 million price tag would equate to $709 psf per plot ratio inclusive of development charge – meaning the developer would expect to break-even at about $1,100 psf, Credo added.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic real estate lecturer Nicholas Mak expects the site to draw small developers because of the lack of small plots in the Government Land Sales programme; and its freehold status means they can sit on the site should the market fall.

Savills Singapore, which is handling the Foh Pin Mansion sale, expects the property – which is in an established estate – to draw a strong response in view of the keen bidding for recent Government land sales in the area.

The tender for Foh Pin Mansion closes on June 28 and that for Waldorf Mansions the day after.

Source: Today, 1 Jun 2010

May 19 2010

New en bloc rules passed

Changes to the Land Titles (Strata) Act were passed in Parliament yesterday, providing more clarity to the en bloc sales process. But some Members of Parliament said the amendments may not fully take into consideration the interest of property owners.

Expected to take effect next month, the amendments are intended to provide greater transparency and streamline procedures for collective sales, after the Ministry of Law was asked by industry experts to review regulations last amended in 2007.

During the debate in the House, Nominated MP Mildred Tan argued that sales committee members should be required to hold minimum qualifications, such as a basic understanding of property law, property rights and conveyancing. This is because with the 60-day limit now imposed on the mediation of en bloc applications by the Strata Titles Board – after which the case may go before the High Court – the committee members will need to work at a faster pace.

The new rules also make it tougher for an estate that has failed in a collective sale to be put up for sale again within a two-year period.

Such an attempt would require 50 per cent of the owners’ support; and if that fails, the bar for a subsequent bid is raised to 80 per cent. But once the two years are up, the bar falls back to 25 per cent of owners’ support (or 20 per cent of share value) for another sale attempt.

MP Ellen Lee (Sembawang GRC) was concerned that, in the meantime, the property’s reserve price is locked in in the collective sale agreement and may become “out of sync” with the prevailing market value over the course of the two years.

She suggested making it mandatory that the majority owners reaffirm the price before executing any sale agreement.

MP Hri Kumar Nair (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) suggested maintaining the threshold to reconvene an extraordinary general meeting at 50 per cent throughout the two-year restriction period, regardless of the number of tries.

He was concerned about interfering in what was essentially a transaction between private home owners and developers.

“If more than 50 per cent want to explore a sale, we should not stand in their way. Ultimately, if they cannot secure the necessary 80 per cent or 90 per cent consent, the sale will fail,” he said.

On another note, NMP Paulin Tay Straughan pointed out that elderly or disabled homeowners forced to sell their flat face being displaced and risk destroying their social support systems.

She also proposed that an information resource unit be set up to provide advice on en bloc sales to vulnerable homeowners.

Responding, Minister for Law K Shanmugam said his ministry was continuously working with surveyors and the Strata Titles Board to publish more information about en bloc sales.

He also reiterated that the onus was on homeowners to decide what was best for their properties, as each of them was different.

“The Government is guided by the principle that we should not micro-manage the process and prescribe too many requirements as they may not be applicable to every development,” said Mr Shanmugam. “Our task is to prescribe certain minimum standards of conduct and to make sure that the whole process is fair, transparent and refined as we go along.”

Source: Today, 19 May 2010

May 19 2010

New en bloc rules passed to protect owners’ interests

TIGHTER rules that will give greater clarity to the process for the collective sale of homes were passed by Parliament yesterday.

One major change is that after the first failed attempt at a collective sale, subsequent attempts face more stringent requirements.

For instance, it will be tougher to set up a sales committee for a second try as a higher requisition level of 50 per cent – either by share value or total number of owners – will be needed.

Still, before the Bill to amend the Land Titles (Strata) Act was passed, several MPs argued that it could be improved further.

They suggested that the age and state of a building should be considered when deciding the level of consent required for a sale.

They also wanted a reduction in the requisition level.

Replying, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said the Government’s task was to protect the interests of all strata unit owners, regardless of whether they were for or against the sale.

Also, it should not ‘micro-manage the process and prescribe too many requirements’, he added.

The new law to streamline the collective sale process was unveiled for debate last month.

It includes: a 60-day window for the Strata Titles Board (STB) to mediate in a sale, failing which it cangive the parties the option to seek redress in the High Court; and stricter rules for the members of the sales committee to declare potential conflict of interest.

The law can be expected to take effect next month.

During the hour-long debate, Ms Ellen Lee (Sembawang GRC) asked if such sales had led to more new homes being built in prime areas and older properties being rejuvenated at the ‘personal cost to citizens’.

Mr Shanmugam pointed out there were 462 collective sales between 2005 and last year. Of these, half, or 217 properties, had been redeveloped or are being redeveloped. The 217 projects had about 12,000 units, but after redevelopment, the number shot up to more than 26,000 units, he said.

Ms Lee and Nominated MP Paulin Tay Straughan also highlighted a recent National University of Singapore study on the negative impact of collective sales on the elderly. These folk experienced ‘social and spatial displacement’ after they were forced to move.

Associate Professor Straughan suggested the ministry set up a resource unit, possibly at the STB, ‘to mitigate stress and negative consequences of relocation, especially for vulnerable home owners’.

She also called for a booklet to be published for people, setting out clearly key concepts such as owners’ share values and minority owners’ rights.

Mr Shanmugam said his ministry had been working with the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers to provide guidelines on the apportionment methods used in the sales process.

He pledged that his ministry would look into ‘how we can put out more information’.

The minister also explained why some suggestions, like banning owners from serving on both management corporations and sale committees, were not adopted. Each development, he said, had its own set of unique circumstances and, in some cases, there were not enough owners willing to serve in each committee.

He also rejected the call for scrapping the five-day cooling off period after an owner had signed the collective sale agreement (CSA) as well as the need for owners to sign the CSA in the presence of a lawyer.

Such requirements are necessary because the ‘importance of ensuring the integrity of transaction outweighs the administrative issues of having a lawyer present for each owner’s signature’.

Source: Straits Times, 19 May 2010

May 19 2010

Changes to en bloc rules passed by Parliament

Stricter conditions for owners trying to restart en bloc sales after failing earlier

Parliament yesterday passed changes to improve the rules on en bloc sales, but some of the proposals pushed by interested parties were excluded.

With the green light given to the Land Titles (Strata) (Amendment) Bill, the Strata Titles Board which currently look into en bloc sale can concentrate more on its mediatory role.

The amended Land Titles (Strata) Act will also impose stricter requirements on owners for restarting en bloc sale attempts, after failing earlier.

And owners standing for election to a collective sale committee must make more disclosure of their interests – they now must disclose the extent of ownership they have in the strata development and any ownership interests held by ‘connected persons’.

Other changes include:

A sale committee has up to one year to prepare its collective sales agreement and to get the first signature for the agreement;
A general meeting called for an en bloc sale can’t proceed if the meeting quorum is not met within an hour of the designated start time of the meeting;
Instead of holding general meetings, simple meetings are to be held to keep owners updated on a collective sale.
In moving the bill, Law Minister K Shanmugam said the government’s approach – the last time it amended the Act was in 2007 – has been to do what it believed was right as between competing interests.

‘Each owner has the right to live undisturbed in his flat and has the right to decide whether to sell or not to sell his flat,’ he said. ‘At the same time, majority views on whether there should be a sale of the development should be recognised as well. And there is public interest in intensifying developments and rejuvenating older developments.’

Mr Shanmugam said these different interests need to be balanced. The latest changes seek to achieve that balance better.

Yesterday’s amendments left out several notable suggestions made by interested parties and industry players: barring management corporation members from serving as sale committee members at the same time; removing the 5-day cooling off period after a collective sales agreement is signed; and doing away with the presence of a lawyer when the collective sales agreement is inked.

Explaining why the government rejected the first suggestion, Mr Shanmugam said en bloc property has ‘its own unique set of circumstances’. So decisions on who should be eligible to stand for election to the sale committee are best left to the owners of each development.

On the need for a lawyer’s presence, Mr Shanmugam said the en bloc property might be a very significant asset for the owners – and they need to understand the collective sale agreement to ‘avoid arguments as to what was or was not said to them’.

‘The importance of ensuring the integrity of transaction outweighs the administrative issues of having a lawyer present for each owner’s signature,’ he said.

The cooling off period is also helpful to ensure the consent an owner gives in signing the collective sale agreement is ‘informed, genuine consent’, according to Mr Shanmugam.

‘Owners will be contracting to sell their flats in multi-million dollar transactions,’ he said. ‘In that context, it is appropriate to give them a few days to reflect on their decision after they have signed.’

Source: Business Times, 19 May 2010

May 18 2010

Hillview Terrace site up for collective sale

(SINGAPORE) A smallish site in Hillview Terrace is up for collective sale with unanimous consent from the owners.

The site – which covers numbers 12 to 24, even numbers only – is expected to fetch almost $49 million, or $617 per sq ft per plot ratio.

A Development Charge payable, based on March 2010 rates, is estimated at $15.2 million.

Marketing agent DTZ says the property, off Hillview Avenue, is being sold through a tender that closes on June 22 at 3 pm.

The freehold site covers 4,567.5 sq metres (49,164 sq ft). According to the Master Plan 2008, it can be developed into a 10-storey condominium with a gross plot ratio of 1.92. This translates into total gross floor area of 103,835 sq ft including additional 10 per cent balcony area, or about 100 apartments averaging 900 sq ft.

Shaun Poh, DTZ’s senior director for investment advisory services and auction, said: ‘We expect that the property will attract developers keen to develop a boutique condominium project. In today’s market, it is rare for freehold residential land of this size to be available in popular areas.

‘The property’s appeal also lies in its excellent location, surrounded by lush greenery of the Bukit Batok Town Park and Little Guilin.’

The sale site can be accessed through Hillview Avenue, Upper Bukit Timah Road, Dairy Farm Road, the Pan Island Expressway and the Bukit Timah Expressway.

The Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak MRT stations are close by. The area will also be served by Hillview and Beauty World MRT stations on the Downtown Line when it starts operating in 2015.

Source: Business Times, 18 May 2010

May 17 2010

A matter of time

Tempers flared at Thomson View condominium yesterday when a scheduled extraordinary general meeting (EOGM) for the establishment of a new en bloc sales committee had to be called off due to a lack of quorum.

Thomson View’s appointed managing agent CKH Strata Management called off the meeting after it declared that the minimum 30 per cent of share value, made up of residents or their proxies, required to attend the EOGM was not fulfilled by 1pm – the scheduled time to start the meeting.

However, residents of the 15-year-old, 55,000 square feet condominium had a different view and accused CKH of being tardy in its administrative process hence causing the delay.

Some residents claimed there were far too few staff tending to the registration process at the registration counter and that contributed to the delay. They also said CKH should have given them some leeway as the delay was over administrative matters at the registration counter and residents also claimed that the law requiring the minimum threshold to be met by a specific time was not clearly stated as a caveat to residents in the EOGM notice.

The Land Titles (Strata) Act requires a quorum of a minimum of 30 per cent of the share value to be reached in order to begin the meeting.

CKH said it had called off the meeting because they wanted to abide by the current law of dissolving the EOGM if the quorum is not met by its scheduled time.

They maintained that allowing for the EOGM to continue may thwart the process of an en bloc sale if a minority group chooses to contest its validity at a later date.

“I’m only a managing agent and I have to act according to the law. If I was lenient, then people who were against the en bloc sale could declare this whole election of the new sales committee null and void as the law was not strictly adhered to,” said Mr Chan Kok Hong, managing director of CKH.

However, a proposed change to the Land Titles (Strata) Act announced last month has provided for an hour’s leeway for the quorum to be reached, but this new ruling is expected to take effect only in June.

The dispute was resolved when Mr Tan Kin Lian, former chairman of the previous sales committee and ex-chief executive of NTUC Income, offered to facilitate the reconvening of the next EOGM through email with the residents.

A resident, who only wants to be known as Mr Ng, said the inflexibility from CKH was uncalled for.

“People put in so much trouble to come in and the EOGM was cancelled just because some people cannot be reached or are late.

“The managing agent should be more flexible and give us half-an-hour more instead of saying there is no quorum,” he said.

Source: Today, 17 May 2010

May 11 2010

Dragon Mansion en bloc sale approved

THE Strata Titles Board (STB) approved the $100.8 million collective sale of Dragon Mansion yesterday.

It is the only collective sale site to have achieved a sale price above $100 million since the global economic crisis unfolded, says the deal’s broker, CKS Property Consultants.

The tender for the collective sale of Dragon Mansion was launched in July last year, marking the first such sale offering of the year.

Owners of the 72-unit condominium initially wanted $120 million, or $1,020 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio. This was significantly above collective sale prices racked up in the 2007 boom.

Their sale tender closed on Aug 11 last year with no firm bids. A deal was eventually struck with RL Developments, a subsidiary of boutique developer Roxy-Pacific, for $100.8 million last December.

Owners of the 1,399 sq ft units in the Spottiswoode Park estate near Outram Park will pick up about $1.4 million each.

Roxy’s offer came in at the end of October and it entered into a conditional agreement to acquire the site. Its offer of $100.8 million worked out to $863 per sq ft and included a development charge.

Dragon Mansion has a land area of 41,874 sq ft. A new development on the site could potentially yield a maximum gross floor area of about 117,000 sq ft – or about 120 apartments of 1,000 sq ft each.

Source: Straits Times, 11 May 2010

May 10 2010

Lagoon View en bloc, too?

Hot on the heels of the Laguna Park proposed en bloc sale last week, its neighbour Lagoon View is now looking to privatise the entire estate which could pave the way for a possible collective sale as well.

At a special general meeting yesterday, the Lagoon View Owners’ Association, the management committee behind the plan, has obtained residents’ approval to buy back the land within the 30-year-old estate from the Ministry of Finance.

This land, which is believed to cost $16 million, includes car parks and other common areas within the 535,326 sq ft, 480-unit property.

Each resident will be required to fork out a privatisation levy of $35,500 but for the privatisation process to proceed successfully, residents will have to hit several milestones..

Firstly, at least 80 per cent of residents will have to place a downpayment of $5,500 each by May 29.

Otherwise, the privatisation process will have to be aborted.

Next, the management committee will have to sign a sale-and-purchase agreement, and at least 84 per cent of residents are required to pay the full amount of the privatisation levy within four months.

If this minimum 84 per cent is not met, the privatisation process cannot be completed and the committee will convene another meeting to decide on the next course of action.

While the majority of residents have voted for the privatisation, some residents among the 300 who attended yesterday’s meeting said that they are unwilling to participate in the exercise, while others said they remain unsettled over its high cost.

One resident who spoke out against the privatisation highlighted its high price as a hindrance but the committee assured that residents can use their Central Provident Fund savings to pay the full amount of the levy.

Another resident, who only wanted to be known as Mr Lee, said the committee should privatise only if there is an ensuing en bloc sale as this would give hesitant residents more incentive to participate.

Privatisation will ensure the entire estate belongs wholly to the residents and this can raise its value to match the valuation of Laguna Park should residents decide to sell, said the management committee.

The privatisation will also enable the committee to obtain the management corporation strata title, giving them the full authority to manage the estate, said Mr Eric Tan, honorary president of the management committee.

Despite grouses from some residents at this early stage of privatisation, the committee maintained that they will see that these concerns are addressed at every general meeting and resolved along the way.

Source: Today, 10 May 2010

May 02 2010

Laguna Park residents to push for en bloc sale again

Residents at Laguna Park condominium in Marine Parade are giving the en bloc sale process a second try.

A new 10-member sales committee comprising eight new members has been set up.

At an extraordinary general meeting held on Sunday, some residents voiced confidence that a sale can be completed in three to six months, while others reportedly raised concerns about the recent changes in the Land Titles (Strata) Act which are intended to streamline the en bloc sale process and prevent lengthy disputes.

The previous attempt to sell the 33 year-old former HUDC estate for S$1.2 billion failed last year.

Source: Channel News Asia, 2 May 2010

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