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Property developers remain hungry for land: DBS

Samantha Chiew
Samantha Chiew • 3 min read
Property developers remain hungry for land: DBS
Property developers are still hungry for land in Singapore.
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The tenders of two government land sales (GLS) sites closed on the evening of March 8 and DBS Group Research noticed that it continues to see active participation among property developers as expected.

The site at Dairy Farm Walk drew seven bids with Sim Lian as the top bidder, while an executive condominium (EC) residential site in Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 attracted nine bids, with Qingjian-Santarli joint venture (QS JV) taking the top spot.

In a March 9 report, lead analyst Derek Tan says, “Both sites were close fights in our view, with a thin margin between the highest bids and the second-highest bids as developers remain hungry to landbank.”

For the Dairy Farm Site, Sim Lian was the top bidder for the 99-year leasehold site with a bid of $347 million or $980 psf per plot ratio. This was just about 1% higher than the second-highest bidder from the United Engineers and Soilbuild Group consortium and about 9% higher than the average of the rest of the bids.

This time around, bids were fairly close, averaging at $900 psf, implying that developers are keen to bid for a site with a seemingly low “overall quantum” and “per square foot price” when compared to other potential launch prices (north of $2,000 psf) from recent GLS sites.

“We note that Sim Lian has been actively looking to landbank after its key project Treasure at Tampines (enbloc) was fully sold, but the company has not been successful till this site. We estimate that breakeven for Sim Lian is in the range of $1,650psf to $1,700 psf, implying launch prices closer to north of $1,800 psf to $1,850 psf, which is a new high,” says Tan.

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Sim Lian can take heed from a nearby project, 460-unit development (first storey has commercial amenities) named Dairy Farm Residences, which obtained temporary occupation permit (TOP) in 2025. It is around 90% sold with pricing reaching a high of $1,700 psf. Launched in 2019, the GLS site was awarded to United Engineers at a bid price of $830 psf.

As for the Bukit Batok site, the QS JV is “back to its familiar haunt”, as the JV topped the bid with a record $632 psf per plot ratio. “The optimism from the QS JV bid was probably bolstered by the positive momentum seen at Qingjian’s earlier project, Le Quest (launched in 2017) nearby,” says Tan, while noting that Qingjian probably had confidence of the demand for condominium projects within the Bukit Batok – Bukit Gombak precinct, given government’s long-term push to develop the nearby Tengah estate.

“We note that this EC site will sit next to an upcoming EC site which will be called for tenders in June 2022, implying that, if awarded, QS JV will likely set the benchmark prices and will be able to launch ahead of the project next door,” adds Tan.

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The JS JV’s bid is some 10% higher than the last EC site awarded to CDL-MCL at Tengah Garden Walk EC in July 2021, which was a new benchmark then at $603 psf per plot ratio.

With that, Tan estimates the breakeven for this site to be close to $1,180 to $1,220 psf, implying that launch prices should touch $1,350 onwards.

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