A resale private condo market respite

3 consecutive months of rising private non-landed home prices is reason enough for some mid-year cheer. Could this be a sign of respite from the recent property market lull?

GramercyParkProperty seekers and buyers who have been on the lookout for good deals and the right opportunity to jump back onto the property investment train have proven to be more active of late. Incentive schemes for various residential developments such as OUE Twin Peaks and Ardmore Three have also helped boost sales and prices. The former’s deferred payment scheme has received positive response from buyers, which ultimately translated to sales. The number of resale units sold in May rose by 36% with 840 units sold. 619 units were sold in April.

Prime central region properties are once again finding favour with investors as they view the potential value of the private residential properties here with new eyes. The next launch in the core central region (CCR) would be Gramercy Park luxury apartments by City Developments.

Property analysts are however cautious about their predictions for the rest of the year as the cooling measures will still mean buyers continue to be price-sensitive. They are expecting resale private apartment prices to fall 3 per cent across the board this year.

 

Property auctions at a glance

What happens at property auctions and are there truly good deals to be had? There has been an increase over the past couple of years in the number of properties put up for auction, with 516 properties listed for auction last year – a 45% increase from 2014.

TurquoiseCondoNot all auction sales are from mortagee’s sales (i.e. when a bank puts up the property for auction when the owner defaults on his loan payments) though they do make up an increasing percentage of property auction listings. In 2015, about 30 per cent of auction sales are from mortgagee’s sales. And contrary to popular belief, the properties listed at auctions do not necessary come with absurdly low prices and not all property owners of these listings are in a hurry to sell. Only about 1 or 2 properties are sold during the auction, with most others finding buyers following post-auction negotiations. Some property agents and buyers are there to see what options there are in the market, and almost everyone comes prepared, with a clear idea of market values and trends. Some owners even attend such auctions as a form of research, to better understand what their property is worth by comparing similar units offered at such auctions.

Parc EleganceWhile rock-bottom prices are not be expected, most listing vendors are more willing to budge on pricing by offering deeper discounts. As a guide, most properties valued at $3 million and below usually come with a 5 to 10 per cent discount while properties with price tags beyond $5 million may have even higher discounts. A recent auction sale of a $5.4 million unit at Turquoise in Cove Drive in Sentosa saw the bidder walking away with the unit at $2.92 million, $60,000 more than the opening bid of $2.86 million. Quite a steal, considering the $2.48 million difference. For property investors, auctions though not without risks, may be a good way to secure unique units which they can then profit from thereafter.

Some of the companies which organise property auctions are Knight Frank, JLL, DTZ and Colliers International.

 

 

Small gems win big

Gem residences in Toa Payoh has already sold more than 55 per cent of their 578 units in their weekend launch last weekend. Median selling prices were at $1,426 psf and analysts are happy to report this a success as most new projects receive bulk of their sales within the first 2 to 3 weeks and a 50 per cent sales rate within the first month is already a positive sign.

Gem REsidencesAnd the prize came in small packages as units below 1000 sq ft were the clear winners last weekend. Approximately 60 per cent of all their 471 units below 1,000 sq ft have been sold while buyer picked up about 20 bigger-sized units. Gem residences is developed by Gamuda, Maxdin and Evia Real Estate. As Gamuda Land‘s first project in Singapore, the response is a happy one probably because prices were kept realistic and affordable. Their 980 sq ft tri-key or trio units were popular picks, 5 of their 37 units have been sold thus far.

The TerraceOther new launches which recorded sales over the weekend included Stars of Kovan with about 70 units sold of date, The Trilinq, Sturdee Residences, The Poiz Residences, Principal Garden, Botanique at Bartley, Symphony Suites, The Terrace, Sol Acres, The Amore and Bellewaters.

 

New Gem in Toa Payoh

Toa Payoh, one of Singapore’s oldest HDB estates and an integral part in the Nation’s housing history has been home to some for almost 50 years now. As part of HDB’s Estate Renewal programme in 1995, it is now an established and well-connected township in the central part of Singapore, much sought-after by property and business owners alike.

????????????????????????????????????

Photo credit: HDB

Gem ResidencesOne of the recent launches, private residential project Gem Residences, will be a welcome addition to the area. And the public have shown their enthusiasm accordingly, as reflected in the 50% sales in the first day of sales even ahead of the public launch on Saturday. Industry experts are citing pent up demand for private condominium units in this estate as reasons for its more-than-positive sales figures.

Prices of the approximate 300 units sold were averaging at $1,426 psf. The 578-unit project offers up a arrange of units including one-bedders, two-room units and also penthouses. With the developer offering cash rebates of $7,500 to $10,000, buyers are taking the bait, fast and furious. Most of the smaller one- and two-bedders went quickly, with prices starting from $578,00 for a 452 sq ft one-bedder.

As a quick comparison, the average prices for new condominiums in Alexandra were at $1,600 psf and in Bishan, $1,500 psf. With the $1,426 psf pricing, the developers have shown that they are aware of what buyers are willing to fork out in the current market and are pricing more cautiously, sacrificing maximum profit margins for more palatable and sellable price structures.

 

Property mortgage sales even include uncompleted units

A weakening rental market and the growing supply of new homes have pushed even more units into the realm of mortgage sales.

Silversea1Even uncompleted units are now going under the hammer. While only 3 properties were auctioned last year, the number have more than quadrupled to 13 in the same period this year. More mortgagees are defaulting on their loans, which could be largely due to the diminishing loans they are now able to secure based on the debt servicing limits, increasing competition in the rental market and an overall property price drop.

Investors who have been dipping their toes into too many properties may be finding themselves unable to service the multitude of loans taken on multiple properties, in particular smaller one-bedders or studio apartments which are only reaching completion in the recent couple of years. Some units at The Greenwich in Seletar and euHabitat for example, in particular smaller one-bedroom apartments priced at $1 million or below, are being put up for auction as their owners are overstretched financially and find it difficult to secure rents sufficient enough to cover their mortgages. Larger penthouses with irregular layouts above 1,500 sq ft and priced above $2million are also finding it difficult to find buyers or tenants as they exceed the budget of many investors but may not yet fulfil the requirements of affluent or high-networth buyers.

The GreenwichSome of the units put up for auction this year include a one-bedroom penthouse in Guillemard Edge, a three-bedder in Bartley Residences and a four-bedder in Silversea condominium in Marine Parade. The latter was sold at $1,529 psf or a total of $3.9million.

 

Prices of suburban properties dipping

Prices of new properties in the prime central districts have been rising, even as the market dulls. Suburban homes are feeling the strain put on the market by the influx of completed new homes this year.

The PanoramaBuyers seeking out properties in the suburbs tend to be more price-sensitive, and are often hampered by the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework and the additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD), leading to higher competition from an expanding pool of stock for a shrinking pool of ready buyers. Prices at The Panorama in Ang Mo Kio have fell 9.7 per cent since its launch to $1,213 psf and similarly in Clementi, units at The Trilinq are now priced around $1,408 psf, almost 9 per cent lower than its launch price.

In comparison, buyers of properties in the prime central districts are more affluent and are able to afford the prices properties here demand. For example at Robin Residences, selling prices are now hovering at $2,371 psf, 2.4 per cent higher than its launch-price. Buyers of centrally located properties also have stronger holding power and less likely to sell unless the price is right.

RObin ResidencesThe price gap between suburban and central district homes have been widening. Last year, CCR (core central region) new-home price premiums were 81 per cent over those in the OCR (outside central region). As more OCR homes hit the secondary market this year, how will smaller investors handle the competition?

 

Upper Thomson – Foodie and Nature Haven

Upper Thomson is quickly coming into its own as the next foodie, nature and lifestyle haunt, especially with its connectivity heightened by the upcoming Thomson-East Coast MRT line. This leafy North-east suburb will soon be just a short train trip away from the town centre, the CBD and even the other ends of the island.

183 LonghausThe number of new condominiums, hip food and beverage outlets and educational centres springing up in its midst has made Upper Thomson a much sought-after area for property investment. Condominiums which have been or are being built at the moment include Thomson Grand, Adana Thomson, Thomson Impressions, Thomson Three, The Panorama and most recently – 183 Longhaus.

The latter is developed by TEE Land and is essentially a mixed-use concept which will fit in superbly with the nearby landed homes and indie businesses. Despite being a low-rise 4-storey project, it will feature 10 commercial units and 40 apartment units including 14 penthouse units ranging from 88 to 110 sq m. The amenities such as banking facilities and the Thomson Community Club, and transport options such as bus stops and the circle and Thomson-East Coast line MRT stations nearby are big pluses; not to mention the MacRithchie and Lower and Upper Pierce reservoirs are just round the corner.

Adana CondoDespite the temporary inconvenience residents of Upper Thomson might have to endure as major road and tunnelling works are underway, the future for this suburban district looks bright.

843 new private homes sold in March

And that is a 8-month high, especially since the last new property launch was 4 months ago – The Poiz Residences in November 2015. That could be the glimmer of hope the local property market has been waiting for, though some analysts are still cautious about a obvious rebound as the government has tightened their grip on land supply this year.

WIsteria YishunThe rise in transactions of new units last month could be partly due to the pent up demand over the Chinese new year lull in February and the lack of new launches in the first 2 months of the year. Only 209 units were launched in February while the number more than tripled to 682 in March. The number of units sold doubled from 303 in February to 843 in March. The 2 new launches in March were Cairnhill Nine and The Wisteria.

Although the government has announced that they will be unlikely to ease up on the property cooling measures anytime soon, some buyers who may have been waiting in the sidelines for better deals may be coming to realise that prices will not be falling drastically this year and may have finally made the purchase move last month.

Overall, market sentiment is picking up and buyers are picking off bargains and affordable units before the winds change. New mass market suburban properties are capturing eyeballs and wallets.