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DC rates hoisted by as much as 112%

Average rate raised by 58% for non-landed residential use, and 42% for commercial use

(SINGAPORE) The government yesterday announced what is possibly the sharpest hikes in development charge (DC) rates, which are payable for enhancing the use of some sites or building bigger projects on them.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) cited the rise in market values as the reason for the increases.

On average, the DC rate for non-landed residential use was raised by 58 per cent and that for commercial use by 42 per cent. The average DC rate was also increased 23 per cent for hotel use, 11 per cent for landed residential use, and 2 per cent for industrial or warehouse use.

But the escalations were much bigger in certain locations – as high as 112.1 per cent for non-landed residential use in the Everton/Spottiswoode Park vicinity and 104.5 per cent for commercial use in the Maxwell Road/Telok Ayer St and Anson Road areas, based on Jones Lang LaSalle’s analysis.

The latest increases, which take effect today, are in addition to the 40 per cent across-the-board appreciation in DC rates announced on July 18 arising from a change in formula for computing DC.

While yesterday’s increases look steep, they did not surprise most market watchers given the substantial appreciation in land values over the past six months.

As to whether the latest hikes will further slow en bloc sales, which have decelerated lately as developers become more cautious about land-banking amid the stock market rout and credit tightening fears, property agents offered a range of views.

Credo Real Estate’s managing director Karamjit Singh estimates that probably only about 20 to 30 per cent of all collective sale sites have substantial DC components amounting to 10 per cent or more of total land value. ‘For many of these sites with high DC component, the increase may have been anticipated and priced in, so things can move on. For those that haven’t, their progress for an en bloc sale could be affected if owners are unwilling to lower their price expectations.’

Jones Lang LaSalle’s regional director and head of investments Lui Seng Fatt too said: ‘Despite the stellar increases in DC rates, the impact of the DC hike on en bloc residential developments remains marginal on most sites, especially freehold sites. Some leasehold sites with substantial DC components, however, may feel the heat.’

CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho said the hikes will to ‘a small extent, slow down collective sales’.

‘Coupled with homeowners’ expectations of high prices for their properties, developers might not be as aggressive in acquiring sites,’ he added.

Colliers International’s director for research and consultancy Tay Huey Ying said two rounds of DC hikes in July and September, and global credit tightening, will likely lead to more cautious bidding by developers and more realistic price expectations by sellers.

Ms Tay said that increases in land prices may not be as phenomenal in the coming six months compared with the past six months. ‘But demand for development land should stay healthy as the end-market for residential property is expected to remain healthy on the back of strong economic prospects,’ she added.

Analysts noted that in any case, the supply of collective sale sites will slow due to impending changes to en bloc sale rules requiring more safeguards and procedures.

DC is specified according to use groups and is listed by 118 geographical sectors or locations across Singapore.

The 112 per cent hike in non-landed residential DC rates in the Everton/Spottiswoode Park area was attributed by most analysts to the Spottiswoode Apartment and Oakswood Heights collective sales in April and June at $732 psf per plot ratio and $740 psf ppr respectively – more than twice the land value of $307 psf ppr implied by the July ’07 DC rate for the location.

And the DC rate hikes of 107.5 per cent each in the Newton/Surrey/Lincoln roads and River Valley/Jalan Mutiara areas were attributed to the collective sales of Lincoln Lodge for $1,449 psf ppr, and Bishopswalk for $1,544 psf ppr respectively, which are about three times the $492 psf ppr land value implied by the July ’07 DC rate for the locations.

The Maxwell Road and Anson Road areas topped the increases for commercial use with gains of 104.5 per cent each, likely due to prices achieved at two recent state tenders for commercial sites at Anson Road. The same two locations also recorded the biggest increases in hotel use rates, at 66.7 per cent each, and again, this was probably due to two hotel sites at Gopeng Street and Tras Street sold by the state at significantly higher land values than implied by July DC rates.

As for industrial DC rates, the highest increase of 15.8 per cent was for the Pasir Panjang/Science Park area, followed by 11.1 per cent hikes in 15 other locations including Henderson Industrial Park, Bukit Merah View, Redhill and Hoy Fatt Rd/Alexandra Road, according to JLL’s analysis.

 

Source: Business Times 1 Sept 07

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