Friday, September 26, 2008

SLA’s land sales double to $12 billion

Source : Straits Times - 24 Sep 2008

10-year high comes in year marked by mega deals, strong demand

THE property market’s bull run might have stopped but not before sending land sale revenue at the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) to a 10-year high of $12.4 billion.

Its bumper result for the 12 months ended March 31 was a twofold increase from the $6.2 billion in 2006 and is just shy of the 1997 record of $14 billion.

This Beach Road site, bought by a City Developments-led group at $1.69 billion, is one of the deals that helped SLA to its bumper result. — PHOTO: URA

Some of the mega sales that added to the stellar figures included a plum site at Beach Road, bought by a City Developments-led consortium for $1.69 billion, and a 1.7ha site on Irrawaddy Road sold to Parkway Novena for $1.2 billion to build a private hospital.

SLA’s annual report, released yesterday, showed that land sale proceeds from the private sector hit a record high of $10.4 billion - well up on the $3.5 billion for 2006 and the $6.9 billion posted in the 1997 property boom.

Land sales to the public sector dropped slightly to $2 billion, from $2.7 billion in 2006.

The financial year was marked by strong demand for land for offices, hostels, international schools and other commercial uses.

The agency rolled out 78 tenders for such interim uses - about one every 4.5 days and 8 per cent up on 2006.

SLA’s operating income hit a record at $100.9 million - a 14 per cent increase from a year ago. Its total operating surplus was $17.1 million.

The gross floor area (GFA) of SLA- managed state properties also hit a record of 4.02 million sq m, translating into an 87 per cent occupancy rate of all existing state properties.

SLA said the largest use - at 1.7 million sq m GFA - of its state properties is by social and civil institutions, including voluntary welfare organisations, and for the arts and recreation purposes.

It also injected about 122,000 sq m of space to ease the office crunch and awarded more than 40 properties for educational uses.

‘The potential for good rental yield has drawn many new and experienced investors to bid for state properties,’ said SLA chief executive Lam Joon Khoi.

Mr Lam added that SLA has developed an integrated registration system for private and HDB properties.

This will extend search facilities, currently available only for private properties, to HDB flats.

For the coming year, SLA said it will focus on a new initiative: Establishing a national spatial data infrastructure.

It will develop a geographic information system that will coordinate and manage land data and data exchange across all the public agencies.

SLA chairman Greg Seow said the initiative is ’significant as it aids in both strategic planning and operations for the appropriate agencies’.

‘It will also demonstrate a government-wide approach to problem-solving and resource-sharing,’ he added.

More details on this initiative will be released later.

Year of records

~ Land sales jumped to $12.4 billion, from $6.2 billion in 2006
~ Land sales to private sector at a record $10.4 billion, eclipsing 1997 property peak of $6.9 billion
~ Operating income rose 14 per cent to $100.9 million from a year ago
~ Operating surplus at $17.1 million
~ Agency fees from SLA’s land business group contributed $61.6 million, from last year’s $54.8 million
~ Rental collections for state land and properties rose to $550.5 million - $36 million higher than last year
~ Title registration grew 17 per cent to a record $4.3 million

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