Developers get more room for en bloc sites

Developers get more room for en bloc sites

Developers who buy residential en bloc sale sites are getting more time to meet the government's deadlines to finish developing their sites.

This is to take into account the time taken to get a collective sale order from the Strata Titles Board (STB) or the High Court.

The changes are in response to feedback from the industry which had asked for a fairer treatment of the rules, and are expected to give some breather to residential en bloc sales.

It takes several months for the collective sale order to be granted and this currently eats into the five-year deadline set for developers. The changes mean the deadline will start from the date of the en bloc sale order - instead of much earlier under current rules.

The changes involve two regulations under the ambits of the ministries of law and finance.

The first concerns foreign developers who buy residential en bloc sale sites for which they are given a five-year project completion period (PCP). The PCP currently starts from the date of the issue of a Qualifying Certificate (QC), which foreign developers must obtain from the authorities to buy private residential land in Singapore.

Under the change announced by the Singapore Land Authority (a statutory board under MinLaw), for QCs issued on or after July 1, 2012, the PCP for residential en bloc sites will now start from the date of the collective sale order.

The refinement "is to enable the developer to have the full PCP to complete the project", the SLA said yesterday in a circular to the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas), law firms and law organisations.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said that it would adopt the same approach as MinLaw with regard to the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD).

To avoid paying the 10 per cent ABSD for the purchase of residential land, developers have to undertake to complete developing the project and selling all the residential units in it within five years of the date of contract or agreement to purchase the site. In the case of collective sales, this would be the date when the site is awarded by the en bloc sales committee.

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