SINGAPORE — The fate of several high-profile collective sale bids is now uncertain after the Government's latest cooling measures for the property sector.
Homeowners hoping to go en bloc told TODAY they are unsure about the impact of the measures and will hold meetings in the coming days to discuss the issue.
Mr Terence Lian, Huttons Asia's head of investment sales said his phone has been ringing "non-stop" since the Government's surprise move on Thursday (July 5) evening to raise Additional Buyers' Stamp Duty (ABSD) rates and tighten Loan-To-Value limits for residential property purchases.
There is no change for Singapore citizens and Singapore permanent residents buying their first residential property, with rates remaining at 0 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.
For all other individuals, ABSD will be raised by 5 percentage points. ABSD will go up by 10 percentage points for entities.
An additional ABSD of 5 per cent that is non-remittable will also be introduced for developers buying residential properties for development.
Mr Lian, who is heading the sale of about 15 sites as their marketing agent, told TODAY he received more than 30 calls from concerned residents wondering how the changes would impact overall market sentiments – and the progress of their en bloc.
To assuage the jitters, Mr Lian is holding meetings at two larger sites next week – Kensington Park on Wednesday and Pine Grove on Thursday – which he assessed would be "most affected" by the measures.
He will discuss the impact on the development and if any actions can be taken to ensure their en bloc bids proceed smoothly.
Pine Grove, a 660-unit condominium near Ulu Pandan Road with a reserve price of S$1.65 billion, is persuading the last 20 or so units to agree to a collective sale before the site can be launched.
Kensington Park, a 310-unit Serangoon Gardens condominium which has set a reserve price of S$1.05 billion, has to get about 10 per cent more of the homeowners on board.
Over at Cavendish Park condominium, collective sale committee member Henry Wong, 62, broke the news in his committee's WhatsApp chat group at 9pm on Thursday, and said "probably all our efforts may be wasted".
The group of seven will meet on Saturday (July 7) to discuss the impact of the cooling measures. The first homeowners began signing documents agreeing to go en bloc last Saturday, at a second extraordinary general meeting.
Mr Wong, the director of an events management firm, told TODAY the committee will also seek residents' views to get a clearer picture on how to move ahead.
Laguna Park in Marine Parade, which is down to its last five units before it can launch an en bloc bid, will also be holding a meeting next week. "Committee members are concerned", said the 99-year leasehold condominium's collective sale committee chairman Tony Sum, 63.
"We are talking to our marketing agent. We will let them advise (and) consider if there are any actions to be taken," said Mr Sum, an architect.
Property analysts said the Government's measures will impact the en bloc market, as the cost of acquiring land has effectively increased.
Colliers International managing director Tang Wei Leng said the greater cost of land acquisition "will surely have a bearing on prices of collective sale sites going forward".
"It will likely tame the euphoria among would-be en bloc sellers and help to rein in any unrealistic price expectation," she said. "Typically, owners receive a 50-60 per cent premium from selling their property collectively. They may now have to accept a lower premium if they want to get the deal across the line."
Said Ms Christine Li, senior director of research at Cushman & Wakefield: "Developers are likely to take a cautious stance in their bidding for both en bloc sites and government land sale sites before dust settles."
Some homeowners, however, maintain the view that a collective sale is still the way to go for their condominium developments.
A 67-year-old Pine Grove resident, who declined to be named, said: "To me, the ABSD is very small. If you really need (to buy) a property, paying S$50,000 or more (for the stamp duty) doesn't matter."
Residents will still get to reap more from an en bloc sale – in his case, about S$1 million for each of two units at Pine Grove – than through the current open market, he said.
Said Mr Leonard Jayamohan, who sits on the collective sale committee of Mandarin Gardens: "We don't see a major problem… I would say a lot of people have a negative view, but we see that it is even better for us. Developers are going to focus (and) look for something that is worth their time and money."
Mandarin Gardens, which occupies more than 1 million sq ft and has a reserve price of about S$2.5 billion, will be attractive to big developers, he said.