Every six months, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announces a list of land sites for sale, known as the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme. When this happens, developers' eyes widen, their breathing intensifies and they will stop whatever they're doing to pay attention.
But it's not just developers who should listen up. If you're a potential private home buyer, you should also pay good attention whenever URA announces GLS sites. That's because like the URA caveat and URA Masterplan, the GLS Programme provides great insight into upcoming real estate developments, which are likely to come in handy.
Here's an overview of the latest GLS sites announced for the second half of 2020, as well as a beginner-friendly guide of the GLS Programme and why it is meaningful for home buyers in Singapore.
Psst: Need help buying a property in Singapore? Find a library of helpful buying tips with our property buying guides.
Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme: What Is It and How Does It Work?
As you probably already know, Singapore is a small country with limited land. Of the land we have, over three-quarters is owned by the government (State Land).
In order to better utilise land for urban planning, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) plans and designs land usage for purposes including residential land-dwelling, township designs and zoning of land. Put simply, the URA plans where new buildings go, be it for new condos, sports complexes, shopping malls and even hotels.
For us, the most relevant are the GLS sites allocated for residential developments. Before private property developers (e.g. CapitaLand, Keppel Land, Oxley Holdings, etc) can develop houses and make heaps of money, they will first need to buy land from the government.
That's where the GLS Programme come in, where the government sells usable land to private developers through a tendering process.
Long story short, developers will purchase land from the government in a land-bidding war.
Government Land Sales (GLS) Sites Are Released Twice a Year
Prior to the start of each half of the year, the government will release State Land for tender through the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) sites. Upcoming URA GLS sites can be viewed on the URA website.
As mentioned, interested developers who wish to acquire the State Land for residential development (e.g. to build new condominiums) will then bid for the land through an open tender. The land will (usually) be awarded to the developer that puts in the highest bid in the open tender.
Upon closing of the tender, URA will release a media statement on the GLS sites and the developers who were awarded the site. Then, a separate media statement will be released to show the public the list of developers that have tendered for the site and the price quoted in their tender.
Here's what the media statement looks like, which includes the top bidders :
Government Land Sales (GLS) for 1H2021: Lentor Central and Tampines Street 62 (Parcel A) launched
Now that we've explained the GLS in a nutshell, let's take a look at the latest release of GLS sites.
On 24 June 2020, Ministry of National Development (MND) released the GLS sites for the second half of the year (2H2020). There are three confirmed GLS residential sites: Northumberland Road (Oct 2020), Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 (Nov 2020) and Tengah Garden Walk (Nov 2020).
In total, these confirmed sites will yield about 1,370 private residential units, which is almost 23% less than the previous half's supply (1,775 units). According to URA, the reduced residential supply was "calibrated to take into account the global COVID-19 situation". Should there be greater demand, developers can look to the Reserve List for more options.
Then on 15 April 2021, URA and HDB launched the Lentor Central site and Tampines Street 62 (Parcel A) executive condominium (EC) site as part of the 1H2021 GLS Programme. The combined sites can yield a total of 1,195 units.
Here's an overview of Confirmed List sites so far:
Sales launch date
Tender submission date
Site area (sq m)
15 April 2021
22 July 2021
Tampines Street 62 (Parcel A)
15 April 2021
22 July 2021
27 October 2020
27 April 2021
Ang Mo Kio Ave 1
26 November 2020
25 May 2021
Tengah Garden Walk
26 November 2020
25 May 2021
Lentor Central (April 2021)
Located within the new Lentor Hills Estate, 99 years leasehold site can yield about 605 units and has a site area of 17,279.9 sq m.
Zoned as residential with commercial at the first storey, the Lentor Central site is also located next to the upcoming Lentor MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), and future residents will have accessibility to Woodlands Regional Centre, CBD and the Orchard area. Furthermore, several prominent schools are also located in the area such as Presbyterian High School, Anderson Primary School, and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School.
Tampines Street 62 (Parcel A)
The EC site at Tampines Street 62 can yield 590 units and has a site area of 23,799.2 sq m. The closest MRT station is Pasir Ris MRT station. With a good number of BTO launches in the mature estate of Tampines in recent years, the EC site could be attractive for HDB upgraders in the future, according to Lee Sze Teck, Director of Research at Huttons Asia.
Northumberland Road (Oct 2020)
Of the three sites launched in 2H2020, the site at Northumberland Road seems the closest to the city. It is located near Farrer Park MRT, as well as nearby malls City Square and Mustafa Centre.
Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 (Nov 2020)
The Ang Mo Kio site will be near the upcoming Mayflower MRT, but more notably, also near two 'branded' primary schools that are Ai Tong and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School.
Tengah Garden Walk (Nov 2020)
The last site at Tengah Garden Walk is for executive condo (EC) development. Currently, the Tengah area is still developing. As such, it may be slightly inconvenient for early residents of the area. However, stick it out and you may enjoy an uplift in your property value once Tengah matures.
GLS Programme “Reserve List” vs “Confirmed List”: What Is the Difference?
If, at this point, you're confused about the confirmed and reserve GLS sites, let us explain. There are two types of "lists" on URA's website: "Confirmed List" and "Reserve List".
They're pretty much as their names suggest:
Confirmed Lists are confirmed in that they will definitely go on sale on a pre-determined date listed on the URA website. For example, the Northumberland Road GLS site will be open for tender in October 2020.
This is not the same for the Reserve List sites, which aren’t released for tender immediately. Instead, they are released only when there is a successful developer application or sufficient market demand for it.
Developers who are interested in the sites on the Reserve Lists have to put in an application for them. When any of the interested developers have indicated a minimum price that is accepted by the government, the site will then be put up for tender.
How Is the Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme Relevant to Home Buyers?
You might be thinking, "That's interesting and all, but how is this relevant to me as a home buyer?"
Well, for starters, the GLS sites indicate the upcoming development areas for residential properties. Thus, it makes sense that for those currently shopping for property to know which areas are up for development in the near future.
As they say, knowledge is power.
When it comes to home buying, each decision you make is literally worth a million bucks. That’s why keeping up with data from GLS sites (upcoming, current and past) will provide you an information advantage that puts you ahead of the curve.
The last thing you want is to make a hasty property purchase, only to find that a more suitable residential project is up for grabs afterwards.
Pro tip: Using the URA Space tool, you can also check out all the GLS sites (upcoming, current and past) on a map.
In conclusion, those shopping for a first (or next) home should definitely check out URA’s GLS sites. You can find the recently launched GLS sites here and the past sites here. Alternatively, you can also check out the URA Space to view GLS sites that have been released and sold in the past.
Want to keep up with the latest project launches? Bookmark this page and you'll never miss another project launch again.
Other FAQs about Government Land Sales Programme
1. What is the Government Land Sales Programme?
GLS Programme is where the government sells usable state land to developers through a bidding process.
2. Who Owns Land in Singapore?
According to the Land Law, all land belongs to the State, and other persons can only own an estate or some lesser interest in the land.
3. What is a Reserve Site in Singapore?
A reserve site is marked yellow in the URA Master Plan, and basically means that the land use has not been determined.
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