Archive for July 6th, 2007

Twitter or Pownce?

CNET article on how to choose between Twitter and Pownce

I’m a big fan of Twitter and being able to send status updates via my mobile phone.  I wish it had a grouping feature.

Skylines, Pownce, and tough guy baggage handlers

Just some random links.

This blogger considers Singapore as #6 in the Top 18 Skylines in the World.  I agree that Singapore’s skyline is quite purr-ty.

A write-up on Pownce.  Is this going to be the Twitter-killer?  I don’t know, I don’t have an invite to use it yet.

Ah… the Scottish hero, John Smeaton.  He’s the baggage handler who helped beat the crap out of one of the suspects that attacked Glasgow airport.  He’s already got 1,000 pints donated to him at a bar nearby his workplace.  “Glasgow doesnae accept this, if you come tae Glasgow, we’ll set about you.” – John Smeaton

Private home prices up 7.9% across the board

From Straits Times – July 3, 2007

“Second-quarter rise highest since 1999; spillover seen in HDB resale prices

By Joyce Teo

PRIVATE home prices have shot up across the board with everything from luxury condos to humble suburban homes reaping the benefits.

Figures out yesterday – still just estimates at this stage – for the April-June period show that private property is on a dramatic upswing with plenty of momentum.

Prices rose 7.9 per cent – the biggest jump since the third quarter in 1999, when the market staged a brief recovery before sliding into a lengthy slump.

The increase comes on top of a 4.8-per-cent rise in the first three months this year.

‘We are clearly in the middle of a property boom now and the growth is escalating,’ said Knight Frank head of research Nicholas Mak.

The central core region, scene of some eye-catching condo launches and collective sales, turned in another solid performance, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday.

Prices of non-landed private homes in the core zone – it includes districts 9, 10, 11, downtown and Sentosa – rose 7.6 per cent in the second quarter, compared with a 5.5-per-cent rise in the first.

But for all this area’s golden glow, the figures that stood out were from areas outside the central core. Non-landed homes in the rest of the central region – this includes areas like Toa Payoh – saw prices leap 7.9 per cent, well up on the 3.7-per-cent increase in the first quarter.

Rises were even more impressive outside of central, where non-landed home prices surged 6.5 per cent in the second quarter, trumping the anaemic 2-per-cent effort in the first.

There was occasional panic buying as some feared they could miss bargains, said agents.

Yet despite the positive numbers, private home prices are still about 18.8 per cent below the 1996 peak.

The positive sentiment has also spilled over to HDB resales, where prices rose 2.85 per cent – again, the highest growth since the third quarter of 1999 – and up from a 1.25-per-cent rise in the first.

‘We’re seeing a broad-based recovery plus a tiny spurt from the HDB side,’ said Savills Singapore marketing director Ku Swee Yong. The climb in the high-end market, where prices have hit $5,100 psf, is likely to be sustained, he said.

Property experts are looking at a 20- to 25-per-cent rise for private homes for the whole year. They said the strong collective sales market – with about 30 to 40 more estates waiting to hit the market in the next year – will keep demand for suburban and HDB flats chugging along.

PropNex chief executive officer Mohamed Ismail expects HDB prices will clock up a 10-per-cent rise this year.

The URA statement yesterday also touched an issue vexing many – is the market overheating and should some cold water be thrown over it?

It said the Government would continue to monitor the market ‘very closely’ and ensure there is sufficient supply to meet demand.

Many residential sites have been released in Government land sales (GLS) programmes with more earmarked for next year if there is a need.

The URA said the good stock of private housing and more GLS sites in the pipeline means supply should keep up.

Or as Mr Mak puts it, there is no need to rush in.

joyceteo@sph.com.sg

Prices in Bedok, West Coast, Thomson lagging behind market

From Straits Times – July 3, 2007

By Fiona Chan, Property Reporter

HOME seekers need not despair at the rapid rise in home prices shown by the latest estimates released yesterday.

They can turn to a number of residential areas and developments that are still lagging behind the market, with one area even falling in price, according to a study by Savills Singapore.

The property firm noted that in areas such as Bedok and the West Coast, average home prices have risen by less than 5 per cent over the last 12 months.

In contrast, home prices across Singapore have surged by about 20.6 per cent in the same period, boosted by a 7.9 per cent jump in the last three months alone.

For suburban areas as a whole, home prices have gone up by slightly more than 11 per cent over the last year, according to figures released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

But Savills data shows that in Bedok, home prices inched up only 4.9 per cent in the period. In the West Coast, the increase was about 4.8 per cent.

Slower increase

SAVILLS Singapore data shows that in Bedok, home prices inched up by only 4.9 per cent over the past year. In the West Coast, the increase was about 4.8 per cent. In Upper Thomson, prices actually fell by 4.1 per cent.
In contrast, home prices across Singapore have surged by about 20.6 per cent in the same period, boosted by a 7.9 per cent jump in the last three months alone.

And in Upper Thomson, prices in the general area actually fell by 4.1 per cent, said Savills.

‘There hasn’t been much attention paid to these areas because there haven’t been many new launches there,’ said Mr Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore.

Also, in areas such as Paya Lebar, home sales and prices have been affected because of the Circle Line MRT construction that has been going on for a few years, he pointed out.

According to Savills, home prices in Paya Lebar have gone up by only about 7.5 per cent in the last year.

‘If HDB flats can go to the $700,000 type levels, units in these areas are also good buys,’ said Mr Ku.

In a market where values of popular condominiums rise by the week, the slow price climb of developments in these areas serves as a reminder that there is no need to panic, he added.

‘Many homebuyers don’t bother to do their homework,’ he said. ‘If they haven’t heard of a development, they just write it off even though it might be of good value.’

Many of these more affordable projects are fairly new. Some are even freehold but have suffered from a lack of publicity.

There are even developments in these and other areas that have fallen in price over the last 12 months. In the Upper Thomson area, Savills singled out Bullion Park in Lentor Loop, where average prices have slipped by 1 per cent from $520 per sq ft a year ago to $515 psf now.

The Linear in Upper Bukit Timah has also seen average prices dip by 0.7 per cent in the same period, said Savills. Prices were about $564 psf a year ago but are $560 psf now.”