Consistent growth in private resale property prices

For the fifth consecutive month, resale private home prices have had a good showing. Can we hope for a market recovery? Perhaps not quite yet, but there is no reason not to feel good about the turnaround.

THeSienaCondoMarch’s numbers were the highest in 2 and a half years with the resale index hitting 168.8 with an improvement of 50% in the number of units sold. Market prices have also been creeping upwards with sellers now beginning to set asking prices above the market rates. Overall, private resale property prices rose 0.5 per cent last month and were 2.2 per cent higher than the same month last year.

In the same year-on-year comparison, resale transactions grew by 77.5 per cent last month with 1,058 units sold. That is 51.8 per cent higher than the 697 units sold in February. Prime district property prices rose 0.4 per cent while 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent increases were registered in the city fringes and outlying suburban regions respectively.

Though the numbers are still lower than when the property market was at a few of its peaks in 2010 and 2013, the consistently improving numbers reflect an overall positive market sentiment. As the half-year mark draws closer, the numbers from the second quarter will be more crucial in determining the direction for the rest of the year.

Potential for new mixed-use development in Bidadari

Akin to Punggol’s development as a Eco-town, Bidadari, which is lauded as the next “Bishan”, could be shaping up to be a garden township especially as the first private home and retail site comes up for sale in the essentially HDB public housing township.

Bidadari HDB estatePhoto credit: HDB

A 2.54 hectare site next to Woodleigh MRT Station will potentially yield 825 homes and shops and is aimed to be the landmark of the new housing estate. Developers who successfully tender the bid for the land plot will be required to build not only the homes and retail spaces but also a community centre, neighbourhood police branch and carpark, much similar to the requirements of a commercial site listed the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme.

Paya Lebar Quarter_Lendlease PLQPhoto credit: Lendlease

Though the public and community-based requirements may cut into the developers’ margins, property analysts say that these could also be a value-add in terms of being a catchment area to for commercial tenancy and to goose productivity. The private real estate nature of the project is relatable to Lendlease’s Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), Central Boulevard‘s white site which was acquired by IOI properties for $2.57 million last year and older sites such as Raffles Hotel and the site which now holds Chijmes. The developer’s proposal will be reviewed by a panel chaired by the Housing Board (HDB). The tender closes on June 13 and industry players are expecting some bids as developmental sites are hard to come by in today’s market.

2.11-hectare residential site in Queenstown up for sale

With a $685 million bid, sales of a new residential land site in Queenstown has been triggered. The reduction in land sales under the Government Land Sales programme has seen older properties more keen to go on the en bloc sales route, and developers have shown their eagerness in procuring land sites as market sentiment continues to improve.

queenspeak2This latest land site is a 2.11 hectare plot on Stirling Road with the propensity to yield 1,110 new private home units. This site was placed under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s reserve list in 2010 which means it will only go on sale should the Government receive a bid of an acceptable level. The size of the plot can be credited to the combination of 2 adjacent sites which were merged into 1 in 2012. The 99-year leasehold site is near Anchorpoint Shopping Centre, Ikea, Queensway shopping centre and just a few stops way from the Bukit Merah bus interchange and Redhill and Queenstown MRT stations.

As the site is within walkable distance from Queenstown MRT station, property analysts anticipate competitive bidding this time round. The maximum floor area of the site comes up to 954,328 sq ft or approximately $718 psf though joint ventures for a land plot this size seems likely and bids are expected to vary from $838 to $950 psf.

Commonwealth TowersThe site is expected to receive from between 7 to 11 bids. Nearby properties which could set the precedent for pricing are the Commonwealth Towers and Queens Peak condominiums. Current prices at both developments stand at $1,654 and $1, 640 psf respectively. Projects in the vicinity have been selling well, especially with the recent lifting of the property curbs and a general lift in consumer sentiment.

High-risk mortgages prompt Hong Kong authorities to rethink cooling measures

Singapore authorities rolled out property cooling measures just 4 years ago and while it was not necessarily a welcomed move, it was certainly a prudent one. With restrictions placed on the loan-to-value and the debt servicing ratios, home prices were kept from escalating. Now Hong Kong could also be considering doing the same as their real estate market skyrockets. The worry is that property prices could become unsustainable and a property bubble could grow and subsequently burst with disastrous consequences.

hongkongpropertyThe rapidly increasing number of high loan-to-value mortgages taken out on properties have had the de facto central bank of Hong Kong concerned. Property developers and individual buyers alike, these high-value loans are creating a growing list of high-risk financial profiles. Some developers have even taken out mortgages worth 120 per cent of the project’s value. Developers such as Sun Hung Kai Properties and Cheung Kong Property have been offering incentives such as tax rebates and loan offers in attempts to attract buyers.

Despite the Hong Kong government implementing higher taxes on properties last November, property prices have continued to climb and increased home buyers’ borrowing costs. Many buyers have not only been putting all their assets into property purchases, but also their parents’ monies and all that will be at risk should the bubble burst. Some buyers have even been leveraging on their parents’ properties in order to fulfil residential deposits. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is keeping a close eye on the situation and may move to enforce new regulations on banks should there be any undue changes.

 

Another HUDC estate tries for collective sale – Rio Casa

HUDCs certainly seem to making the news this year as yet another HUDC estate tries for an en bloc sale. Earlier last month, Braddell View became the last HUDC to be privatised and Shunfuville successfully completed their en bloc journey in May last year.

RioCasaHUDC HougangThis time, Rio Casa, formerly called Hougang N3 is trying their hand at the collective sale game. The process was surprisingly easy as 80 per cent approval was achieved within 3 weeks. Bidding is expected to hover around $450.3 million for the 286-unit site. If successful, each unit owner will receive $1.5 million which is approximately $586 psf. The property has about 73-years left to its lease and the new owner will have to fork out $57.5 million for a new 99-year lease. In addition, $141.5 million will be required for site-intensification.

Kingsford WaterbayThe site should be quite desirable as it features 200m of riverfront and greenery views with schools such as Holy Innocents’ Primary and High Schools and CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity nearby. With the recent uptick in buying sentiments and the competitiveness in the Government Land Sales segment, developers may pay for the site despite its slightly pricier tag. There are considerations however, as the site is not near any MRT station and the nearby Kingsford WaterBay has unsold units remaining. It is still however early days and the Hougang area has a deep potential for redevelopment which may very well happen in the decade ahead. The tender for the site closes on May 23.

Outlook hopeful despite fall in private home prices

After 14 consecutive quarters of declining private home prices, slivers of light are shining through – the suburban condominium market has seen a tad more activity with prices rising slightly; and for most part, the rate of decline has slowed.

SantoriniThe fall in prices of private homes stood at 0.5 per cent last quarter, similar to that in the last quarter of 2016. Suburban non-landed property prices have in fact posted a growth of 0.1 per cent after 13 straight quarters of decline. The positive figures in the suburbs could be due to the many new projects in areas outside of the central region which launched to much success in the earlier part of the year. These included developments such as The Clement Canopy in Clementi and Grandeur Park Residences in Tanah Merah. Previously-launched projects such as Parc Riviera and The Santorini also re-marketed their units resulting in favourable response from buyers.

Property analysts also contributed some of the uptick in buying sentiment to recent changes in the property cooling measures. Though the impact may not be obvious and immediate, it has nevertheless helped to inject some optimism in the market. Though the expectation is for property prices to fall 1 to 3 per cent in H1, the second half of the year should see prices stabilising and 2017 may just end on a happier note.

Land a landed property despite softer market?

Despite the softer real estate market, landed properties remain rare and in demand, particularly in land-scarce Singapore. Would this then be a good time to invest in one in preparation of a market recovery? How will the value of landed properties hold up in tough times?TanahMerahGreenHOUSEIn terms of availability, as of Q4 of 2016, only 1,352 new landed residential properties will be built by 2021. Sales volume for landed homes have also risen by 0.8 per cent in the last quarter of 2016. That said, the landed property market is recovering more quickly than expected. And perhaps despite sentiments of a flailing sector, sales figures have shown that the number of homes sold last year was close to that in 2013. The number of private homes sold overall have shown a 30 per cent dip from 2013.

The Total Debt Servicing Ratio framework implemented in 2013 has had some impact on the market, overall with landed residential property price index falling 14.1 per cent, likely due to the high stamp duties and price quantum. The demand for freehold landed properties have remained strong with prices of such properties in prime districts falling only 6.6 per cent. Most of the price decline came from leasehold terraces in non-prime districts and in the secondary market.

Thomson Grand condo project along Upper Thomson Road.

Freehold landed homes in or near the Central Region will continue to be popular amongst buyers and investors this year due to their accessibility, scarcity and potentially higher capital returns. Property analysts do however caution buyers to think beyond location and accessibility. Other factors such as growth prospects of the area, development potential in the surrounding township and rebuilding and construction costs should also be taken into serious consideration before closing the deal.

Junction city in Myanmar ready for tenants

In the heart of Yangon’s central business district is a spanking new 23-storey new Grade A office tower. Junction City Tower, developed by Keppel Corp’s property unit and Myanmar’s Shwe Taung Group has opened its doors 2 weeks ago to tenants.

JunctionCityMyanmarIt is Keppel Land‘s foray into Myanmar’s growing real estate industry where the long-term potential for Grade A office spaces in the city is great as the country continues to open up to regional and foreign investors. While Keppel Land established its presence in Myanmar as early as the 1990s, demand for quality commercial and residential properties has only recently been steadily growing.

Junction City is a 260,000 sq m integrated development which will include 33,400 sq m of Grade A office space and 50,000 sq m of premium serviced apartment, the later as part of Phase 2 of the project, amidst retail and hotel businesses. The ready availability of office spaces have already encouraged confirmed tenants such as Allen & Gledhill, WongPartnership, Samsung and the British Chamber of Commerce to take up units.

As more businesses invest in Myanmar and the expatriate population increases, the real estate market will be likely to rise in tandem. While the rate of growth is quick for now, and might be so for the decade or so ahead, how will it fare in the horizon?