Boost for property market, say experts

THE land use blueprint released yesterday will boost the property market and spice up Singapore's landscape, but its longer-term effects are uncertain, say consultants. The plan points to how the country could develop over the next decade or so and gives real estate firms plenty of pointers about where development might occur.

Knight Frank's research head Alice Tan told The Straits Times that the plan's details mean developers can look forward to more opportunities, especially in Marina Bay and Kampong Bugis, over the next decade or so.

These two districts, together with Holland Village, have been earmarked for new homes.

Chesterton Singapore managing director Donald Han added that investors also benefit from knowing where the Government is likely to build infrastructure.

"The smart investor would typically put money where infrastructure money is pumped into," Mr Han said.

"Foreign investors and developers will see Master Plan 2013 as positive, as Singapore has built a reputation of sound planning and effective implementation. Many jurisdictions fail on the latter."

The draft plan released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday morning also envisages a more physically diverse landscape, consultants said.

The biggest change will occur on the southern coastline, where a vast site will be developed into an area called the Greater Southern Waterfront. Tentative ideas for the area include a new reservoir and network of streetside canals.

Holland Village, Marina Bay and other areas will also get an "eco-facelift" to become greener, consultants said.

"The master plan focuses on green spaces and liveability, instead of pure economic strategies through land intensification and re-zonings," said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Colliers International research head Chia Siew Chuin noted that Marina Bay, for instance, would no longer be dominated by Grade A office buildings.

Plans to build an eco-friendly district in Marina South with up to 9,000 private homes in "fenceless" precincts mean that amenities such as shops and green spaces would "accompany the overall metamorphosis of an area currently devoid of vibrancy", she said.

CBRE Research associate director Desmond Sim added that in general, "the plan provides for a wide range of housing choices - be it city living or living within established estates of Dawson and Bedok".

However, consultants said the draft plan's long-term impact depends on economic factors.

"The Government is building ahead of demand... before bringing in economic growth," said Ms Tan, adding that a poor global economy could lead to oversupply.

Ms Chia added: "While there is potential to be tapped for new real estate concepts in new locations, any realisation of value increases would not occur overnight."

melissat@sph.com.sg

Source: Straits Times, 21 Nov 2013