Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

March 31, 2008

No regrets: En-bloc buyers, that is

Filed under: General — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:10 am

I REFER to Mr Lau Chee Kian’s ‘Sense of kampung in condos overstated’ (March 20) in response to Ms Susan Prior’s ‘En-bloc sales eroding our sense of kampung’ (March17). In almost all en-bloc sales, most owners wished they had not sold their homes because they realised too late.

Has no property developer, who has made purchases in hundreds of en-bloc sales so far, ever regretted its land-banking? For confirmation, we should hear from a horse’s mouth, as reported in the Business Times on Nov 15 last year, ‘S’pore home price gains set to slow’: ‘Mr Lim Ee Seng, chief executive officer of Frasers Centrepoint Group, one of the biggest buyers in en-bloc sales, says: ‘We are still looking to boost our land bank, but we are opportunistic and won’t pay current values because our costs would be too high.’ The price gain has helped the developer on earlier purchases of existing apartments, which are sold at a profit. An example is the St Thomas Suites development in the city’s downtown, where apartments were recently sold at $2,189 a square foot. ‘We bought the site of St Thomas Suites at $600 per square foot,’ said Mr Lim in the report. That’s a whopping 365 per cent profit that the Frasers Centrepoint Group has made. That’s why, with their ‘paltry windfall’, the majority owners will never be able to buy a replacement unit. Sad to say, they must regret and downgrade.

Mr Lau rightly points out: ‘The kampung era is long gone. The world has moved on.’ The tremendous advances in science and technology have transformed our way of life altogether, chief of which is changing us from a caring into an impersonal society. Fortunately, Singapore has led in the field of preserving our cultural heritage from being eroded by these negative influences. Singapore has, by and large, succeeded in preserving our core values shared by all in our multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society. And the ’sense of kampung’ embodied in our core values is part and parcel of our rich cultural heritage.

Admittedly, it is an uphill task to mobilise every Singaporean to imbibe the kampung spirit of yesteryear, but it is not an impossible task. The majority owners in an en-bloc sale cannot be regarded as a litmus test of their view on the ’sense of kampung’. Our uniquely Singapore has, against all odds, managed to accomplish almost everything that we have set our hearts and minds to do – most difficult of all is in uniting a people as pluralistic as Singapore into an almost homogenous nation in just 42 years. And it is a matter of time before the long and tedious process of re-moulding our people into this tremendous sense of kampung camaraderie bear fruits. Succeed we will.

Han Soon Juan, Germany

Source : Straits Times – 29 Mar 2008

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