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Easing of property cooling measures in the right direction

Easing of property cooling measures in the right direction

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CAPITALAND is officially launching a residential project in Marine Parade this Saturday at an average of S$1,700 per sq ft (psf), more than two years after its soft launch in January 2015. A total of 38 units have been sold as of last month.

The official launch of the 124-unit Marine Blue comes after the government's move last Friday to ease property market cooling measures that have been in place since 2013. Upcoming executive condo launches include Hundred Palms Residences, Yio Chu Kang EC, Inz Residence EC, Choa Chu Kang EC, Anchorvale Lane EC,  while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone EC, The Vales EC, Parc Life , Sol Acres EC, The Visionaire, Bellewoods EC, Signature at Yishun, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC. Hundred Palms details will be available shortly. Hundred Palms Residences EC showflat will also be ready soon.

Under the revisions, each tier of the seller's stamp duty (SSD) will be lowered by four percentage points and the holding period shortened.

In addition, the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) will no longer apply to mortgage equity withdrawal loans with loan-to-value ratios of 50 per cent and below.

CapitaLand chief executive Wen Khai Meng said on Monday that the freehold project's pricing has remained unchanged from its soft launch. The developer says it will absorb maintenance fees for the first two years. Maintenance fees start from S$700 per month, depending on unit type.

Most units in Marine Blue come with a view of the sea. One-bedroom units range from 635 to 980 sq ft and are priced from S$1.13 million to S$1.39 million. Loft suites, which range from 1,270 to 1,593 sq ft are priced from S$1.56 million to S$1.67 million.

Penthouse units are from 3,025 to 3,261 sq ft and priced from S$4.11 million to S$4.47 million. Pool terraces, which have three bedrooms and a private pool, range from 3,670 to 3,993 sq ft and are priced from S$4.87 million to S$5.24 million.

The remaining 86 units for sale comprise 52 one-bedroom units, 27 loft suites, three penthouses and four pool terraces.

On the timing of the official launch, Mr Wen said: "The main consideration that we had was for this project to be completed first, because we think that the completed product will give a better representation to buyers of its attractiveness." He added that show units were located off-site in Bedok South.

Marine Blue received its temporary occupation permit (TOP) in October last year. Under Qualifying Certificate (QC) rules, CapitaLand is due to sell all units by October 2018.

The government also announced last Friday a new stamp duty - the Additional Conveyance Duties - aimed at residential property transactions done through the transfer of shares in property-holding entities. On the slight easing of property cooling measures, Mr Wen said that while the impact will be marginal, it was a step in the right direction. He said the government's next approach should be to relook the timeframe for Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD) and QC, and extend the deadlines by perhaps two years.

"When you look at the recent transaction volume for the last two years, it's down to about 7,000 to 8,000 transactions. Three to four years ago it was 14,000 to 15,000." Giving developers a longer time to sell units would allow the market to find its equilibrium, he said. Savills senior director of research Alan Cheong, who was also present at the media briefing, expects new sales transactions to be comparable to last year's figure of 7,972, and for resales to go up by 5 to 10 per cent.
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