Singapore property market on the mend?

Is Singapore’s property market finally bottoming out? Are current property prices the lowest they can go?

WhitehavenHong Kong and Singapore are 2 of Asia’s most expensive residential property markets, and while both countries’ governments have implemented property cooling measures to help abate the tension, prices remain high. Though Singapore’s property price spike of 92 per cent in the decade between 2003 and 2013 was not as drastic as Hong Kong’s 370 per cent in the same time period, housing cost has increased considerably and was much fodder for debate during the past 2 elections. While home prices have fallen 1.2 percent in Singapore and 13 per cent in Hong Kong since September 2015, the fall will have to be much more drastic for the situation to return to what it was before 2003.

Taking inflation, economic growth and global economics into consideration, property analysts feel that Singapore’s property cycle has almost reached its bottom or turning point as it is in a much more advanced state than Hong Kong’s. Considering the gentle slope of decline in Singapore’s property prices, a sharp rebound seems unlikely. Will there however be a glimmer of hope for a gradual increase upon policy changes and changes in the demand and supply scale?

Starlight Starbright

All units at the Starlight Suites have now been sold, and all in good time as their Qualifying Certificate (QC) sales deadline loomed near.

StarlightSUitesA total of 23 units ranging from one-bedders to a 3,000 sq ft penthouse were sold for $48 million and the buyer was linked to Evia Capital. A few months earlier, news about developers hoping to bulk sell units to funds in order to meet their QC deadline and to recoup their losses were put out there. As the quantity of unsold stock in the market increases, developers have been coming up with new ways to entice buyers, individual or group.

For Starlight Suites, the sale price for these final 23 units worked out to be about $1,670 psf. At its launch, the average selling price was at $2,000 psf. The deal was done via a sales of shares in the development company, Meadows Property (Singapore) who are then not bound by the QC rules nor have to succumb to the extension charges. As Starlight Suites is situated near a Martin Place land plot which will be released for tender under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme next month, this purchase could be a blessing as Evia Capital will be able to use their purchase as a benchmark for units in the adjacent development.

111 Emerald HillA similar deal previously brokered at $75 million last year was 111 Emerald Hill. As the QC deadline for more projects draw near, how will developers react? Could there be further price drops?

HDB’s May launch includes units in mature estates

bedoknorthwoodsUp to 8,940 new BTO (Build-to-order) and SBF (Sale of balance) flats will be made available in HDB’s latest launch. Most action may be seen in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok, both mature estates with well-laid-out amenities. Analysts are expecting subscription rates of up to 5 times the number of units available. The other estates with new BTO units available are  Sembawang and Bukit Panjang while SBF units are available in most other estates, numbers varying.

Sembawang East Creek1Without doubt, flats in mature estates tend to have a more established resale value. But Minister for National Development, Mr. Lawrence Wong, is encouraging young families to consider flats in non-mature estates, stating that “a ‘non-mature’ estate today can become a ‘mature’ estate tomorrow” as the government is working hard to instate regional commercial hubs, transport and other public amenities into these newer towns in order to connect the residents to the workforce better.

He cites the difference of up to $100,000 between a 3-room flat in Sembawang and a similar unit in Bedok. In fact, 2-room flexi units could be priced as low at $4,000 with grants taken into account. 2-room flats are now available for senior citizens and also singles, though the latter are only allowed to apply for those in non-mature estates.

AngMoKioCourt

Photos credit: HDB

Applications for May’s launch will close next Monday on May 30.

Shunfu Ville finally sold en bloc

After many turns in the collective sale route, the Shunfu Ville estate in Bishan has finally been sold en bloc. $638 million for 358 units. As one of the few remaining HUDC (Housing and Urban Development Company) estates in Singapore, this has been a long but fruitful wait for many of its owners who will each reap an average of $1.782 million from the sale. Back in its launch days, each unit was sold at approximately $230,000.

ShunfuVilleQingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group is the proud new owner of the estate. Though the price seems steep, the potential use of the plot of land this size is even steeper. The Shunfu Ville land area is almost equivalent to that of up to 3 similar land plots offered under the the government land sales programme.

Privatised in 2013, owners of the ageing estate have found maintenance increasingly difficult and expensive and 81 per cent came to an agreement to seal the deal last Thursday. The reserve price was lowered from $688 million to $638 million.

NaturaLoftMeasuring at 408,927 sf qt, Qingjian has plans to build up to 1,000 apartment units and a number of terrace-house units on this 2.8 plot ratio land. This may mean an injection of even more private condominium units into the Bishan and Upper Thomson districts. The developer also has another project, Natura Loft, opposite Shunfu Ville.

 

Rents dip for Hong Kong’s luxury properties

The shaky global economic situation may have a wider effect than just the countries directly hit. The effects of cutbacks and job losses in the oil, gas and banking sectors have resounded worldwide. The flow of expatriates between countries have decreased and those who are still living overseas have found their housing allowances slashed considerably.

HKCEntralThis has in turn reduced the demand for property rental, mostly in the luxury sector. Besides  Singapore, Hong Kong is also feeling the effect of change. In Hong Kong, monthly rental budgets of expatriates have gone down to approximately HK$100,000 and below. Gone are the days when expats could easily afford a HK$300,000 per month rental. In fact, most are making do with HK$30,000 per month housing budget for individuals and HK$70,000 for families, which barely allows for a 550 sq ft apartment in the Central district.

Housing prices which have shot through the roof in September has since fallen 14 per cent and high-end properties at Victoria Peak have suffered the largest blow. Rental prices have fallen in some cases as much as 30 per cent. But considering the rise in property rents have risen steadily year by year for the past decade, it may not be as drastic as it seems.

HongKongPeakHowever, does this mean that smaller and middle-range private apartments are benefitting from the trickle-down effect? Are expats now looking at a whole new range of property types which could mean fatter pockets for landlords and developers willing to fit into their budget? In fact, some developers have already begin offering discounts in the form of offering a month’s rent for free.

Mixed-use development fever extends to the Philippines

Mixed-use developments have been hot properties in various Asian countries for sometime now and their popularity are extending to the city of Cebu in the Philippines.
MandaniBayPhilippines

Mandani Bay, the first mixed-use development in Cebu, hopes to bring the city the reputation of being a lifestyle destination. Even more so than it already is. For a long time now, tourists have flocked to the city for its clear waters, clean shorelines – well, the sun and the sea. The waterfront development is jointly developed by Hongkong Land and Taft Properties and will yield up to 10,000 residential suites and 240,000 square metres of retail and office spaces.

MandaniBay1Various hotspots within the Philippines have been attracting overseas investment money, either from foreigners or from monies remitted from well-educated Filipino professionals working overseas. And there is a growing demand for mid-range condominiums as The City of Mandaue, one of the 3 main cities in Metro Cebu invests in growing its IT and tourism sectors. The Cebu IT Park and Cebu Business Park for example , provide plenty of demand for not only residential but also office, commercial and retail units. Rentals of properties in and around Mandani Bay offer yields of up to 10 per cent per annum.  The population in this growing city-state is set to increase to 5 million by 2020.

With an annual GDP growth rate that is five times over the national average, Cebu’s potential for growth is not to be underestimated.

 

 

No signs of weakening China property market

Shanghai and Shenzhen – both super cities for properties. Home prices in these 2 top-tier cities have not waned despite China’s government tightening rules on the property market.

Savannah Hong KongIn April this year, home prices in Shanghai and Shenzhen continued to rise 2.3 and 3.1 per cent respectively. Though the numbers are slightly lower than March’s 3.7 and 3.6 per cent, in light of economic instability in other countries, this is a good sign. Even within China, where internal restructuring, higher global competition and weakening demand have began to put the brakes on their economy, the property sector continues to enjoy the momentum of growth.

Just over a year, home pieces in Shanghai  have risen a whooping 62.4 per cent and that in Shenzhen have grown 28 per cent. Across 70 cities in China, home prices are now 6.2 per cent higher, a further increase from the 4.9 per cent in March. Besides buying in the mainland, Chinese investors are also buying up properties in various other international cities such as Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong; and countries such as New Zealand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand.

Canada HouseEven while property prices in first- and second-tier countries continue to accelerate, third-tier cities are also beginning to post positive growth after a period of declining interest and sales. Policy makers are however concerned about the excessive lending and rising debt levels and may be prompted to tighten lending rules and implement further measures.

Myanmar – Immense growth potential for property investments

While still battling a history of military rule, political censorship and restrictions, Myanmar has been gradually warming up to the rest of the world ever since its political reform in 2011 and the reception of foreign investment in 2012.

GOldenCity1

Photo credit: D3 Capital

Regional and global investors have been slowly exploring investment opportunities in the country and have found that it is a wealth of resources. Similar to China when the country first opened up, where folks had cash to spend but nowhere to spend them as it is not yet as developed as other Asian or Asean countries, the potential for growth is immense. Singaporean investors have also been seriously looking into the country for opportunities and properties have been sprouting rapidly.

D3 Capital, run by Daphne Teo, an ex-national swimmer who used to represent Singapore in her teens, has been developing mixed-used luxury project – Golden City – in Myanmar since 2014. Come 2018, the rare piece of land near the Inya LakeShwedagon Pagoda and University of Yangon, will see an amalgamation of some of the country’s tallest skyscrapers housing a hotel, serviced residences, plus offices and retail units. Consisting of ten 33-storey towers and a 6-storey block, it will also hold 100,000 sq ft of greenery and gardens and will be valued at approximately S$960 million.

CambodiaPropertyIf Cambodia and Vietnam, which have both had a head-start in the property investment market, are anything to go by, Myanmar will be a worthy contender for the fastest growing country in South-east Asia.