Rougher terrain for local leasing market

Property owners with rental units at hand have been finding it increasingly difficult to find tenants.

MartinPlaceResidencesForeigners make up approximately 60 per cent of the rental demand in Singapore, and as the financial and oil and gas sectors take a hit, demand has declined with the foreign workforce diminishing due to companies moving out of the country or simply because housing budgets have been cut as the sluggish global economic drags out. As of mid-2016, vacancy rates stand at 8.9 per cent and there were about 30,310 units vacant. The sudden influx of completed new homes hitting the market this year could not have helped things as well. This year, the number of completed properties entering the market outgrew the influx of a foreign workforce. Immigration and labour policies have changed since the last general election.

Rental rates in the suburbs fell the hardest at 1.2 per cent, followed by 0.6 per cent in the city fringes. Rents of core central region properties however increase by 0.1 per cent.

cavenaghlodge2017 will see the completion of even more residential developments and analysts are expecting rental demand to fall even further, particularly in the suburbs. Rents have dipped by up to 8.8 per cent in the suburbs and 4.5 per cent in the central districts. Some landlords have even give discounts of up to 30 per cent, just to secure a tenant. Others have found themselves going months without finding a suitable taker on the unit. Smaller one- and two-bedroom apartment units are however still faring well, especially those in the Central Business District (CBD), Marina Bay, Orchard Road, and River Valley areas.


Showflats season – Parc Riviera and Queens Peaks

Starting low and working the way up. That’s the strategy property developer, EL Development, will be taking with their latest project, Parc Riviera. They are hoping that buyers will continue to take the price bait and are thus pricing their units affordably and on the low side, with an option of raising prices later on should market conditions improve.

parcrivieraPhoto credit:

And this weekend looks like it will be busy one for the real estate industry as crowds are expected to take to the 2 latest private residential project offerings with relish, if recent buyers’ response to new condominium units are anything to go by. Buyers have been snapping up units at the recently-launched Alps Residences and Forest Woods condominiums.

Although Parc Riviera is only launching in November, their show flats will be ready for viewing this and next weekend. The projected average selling price at this 752-unit development in West Coast Vale is expected to stand at approximately $1,250 psf.

queenspeak2The 99-year leasehold Parc Riviera will feature  two 36-storey towers consisting of a range of units from 463 sq ft one-bedders to 1,711 sq ft four-bedders, though more than half will be smaller one- and two-bedroom units. Situated near the Pandan Reservoir and will feature rooftop pavilions and jacuzzi decks.

Another private condo project which will have their show flats ready for public viewing this weekend is Hao Yuan Investment‘s Queens Peak which sits near the Queenstown MRT station. Larger units are available at this 99-year leasehold development, ranging from 431 sq ft for a one-bedder to 2,002 sq ft for a five-bedder, including a penthouse at 4,768 sq ft unit.

Forest Woods condominium in Serangoon selling fast

Keeping unit prices at the new Forest Woods condominium below the $1 million mark seems to be a good move by developer, City Developments (CDL).

forestwoodsBuyers are attracted by the prime suburban location and its proximity to the Serangoon MRT station which speaks volumes since location is still a key mitigating factor for most tenants. The fact that the Serangoon MRT station is a major interchange node connecting between different MRT lines, is linked to a bus interchange and also a huge shopping mall, NEX, are all bonuses. And as property prices have been falling for a couple of years now, buyer sentiment is that they will not fall any further, and are taking the opportunity to buy now before interest rates potentially rise in the later part of the year. The $6,000 to $12,000 early bird discount may also have enticed some to seal the deal early.

forestwoods2All the one- and two-bedroom apartments launched at Forest Woods have sold out and the median selling price currently stands at $1,400 psf. The development has a range of units ranging from 506 sq ft one-bedders to 2,185 sq ft penthouses. As of Sunday evening (the project was launched last weekend), almost 65% of the units were already sold. One of the three penthouses available was also sold at $2.85 million. Almost 90 per cent of the buyers were Singaporeans, with the rest being permanent residents or foreigners from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Switzerland.

Hong Kong’s property market strong despite cooling measures

Unlike Singapore where the public housing sector is strong and almost 80 per cent of the population lives in a Housing Board (HDB) flat, in Hong Kong only 21 per cent live in a public housing unit and even then, it takes them a minimum of 3 years for a successful application. Though both cities have large population, the density is higher in Hong Kong where land restrictions are greater and unlike Singapore, they hardly have means of reclaiming land and expanding liveable space vertically is one of their only solutions. It comes as no surprise then, that unit sizes and liveable floor areas are shrinking.

hongkongpropertyMany could say that Hong Kong’s real estate fluctuations is very much like its undulating terrains, with steep climbs and equally slippery downhill slopes. Property cooling measures were rolled out in Hong Kong in 2012, around the same time as curbs were implemented in Singapore as well. But it still takes an average Hong Kong household 19 years to save up enough to purchase their own home compared to the 5 years for a Singaporean household.

Though property prices did fall in February, they rebounded to the levels comparable to 2015’s peak in September this year, possibly indicating renewed interest in Hong Kong real estate from mainland buyers. Numbers seem to show that more mainland Chinese are favouring Hong Kong properties over Singapore properties, possibly since Singapore’s property market has been seeing consecutive quarters of muted growth since last year.


Buyers act before impending rates hike

The niggling thought of interest rates possibly rising in the later part of the year may have gotten buyers pumped to seal deals sooner. The interest in 2 new condominiums – Forest Woods in Lorong Lew Lian and The Alps Residences in Tampines Street 86 – both launched last weekend, was overwhelming, leaving their developers happy.

the-alps3Almost half of the 626 units at The Alps Residences have already been snapped up during its launch last Sunday. The project houses a range of one- to four-bedroom apartments and penthouses with sizes ranging from 441 sq ft to 2,486 sq ft and selling at between $900 to $1,200 psf. Similarly at the 519-unit Forest Woods, more than 500 buyers have already make monetary commitments of their interest in the property. The most popular units were the one- and two-bedders and buyers were mostly Singaporeans looking to upgrade or invest in the property market. Units here are going at $688,000 for a 506 sq ft one-bedroom apartment with study to $1.65 million for a four-bedder. Penthouse units go as far as 2,185 sq ft in terms of size.

forestwoods2Property analysts say the fervency could be due to the pent-up demand after the Hungry Ghost month and the lack of launches last quarter plus the overall market sentiment that prices are already at its lowest possible. Physical assets such as land and property are also considered less volatile than bonds and securities as the outlook for the latter seem less secure.

Has Brexit really affected UK property prices?

northcentrallondonNot yet, it seems. Though the recent Brexit event has had investors in a bit of fluster, with the lack of clarity of the horizon ahead for both the UK and other European nations, with many expecting some sort of a price drop in properties in the United Kingdom, the real punch of Brexit has yet to take effect – for the real estate sector at least.

Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, property owners are yet pushed to the point to having to dump their assets haphazardly. The risks for property owners and sellers are not extreme yet, thus most of the re-pricing of properties are in secondary assets, according to property analysts familiar with the UK property market. Britain’s real estate sector has remained strong thus far, with continued interest from Asian investors and buyers. Some of the most recent property investments include a£700 (S$1.2 billion) deal from Singapore’s GIC fund who has joined forces with student housing provider GSA in a student-acommodation property.

grovelaneukSome British funds who may be dealing with investors pull-out due to Brexit may however be looking to sell their property assets and buyers could look towards these properties for possible bargains. Most would however be commercial properties. Residential property hunters may also still be enticed by the weaker sterling and slight discounts.

Small apartment units spell affordable prices

Despite small private condominium apartments having fallen out of favour with buyers of late, 2 upcoming launches will feature these smaller units heavily.

forestwoodsForest Woods, a 519-unit condominium project in Lorong Lew Lian developed by a joint venture between City Developments (CDL), Hong Leong Holdings and TID, will launch this week with almost 89 per cent devoted to smaller units below 1,184 sq ft. The property configurations will vary from one- to three-bedroom units and pricing is expected to range between $668,000 for a one-bedder to $1 million for a 3-bedder. Forest Woods is located in prime suburban location, near interchange-MRT station, Serangoon, Nex shopping mall and schools such as Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School and Yangzheng Primary School.

The other development with 96 per cent of their units configurered as three-bedders and smaller units is The Alps Residences in Tampines. Prices are highly affordable with 80 per cent of the units priced below the $1 million sweet spot,  at $491,000 for a one-bedder to $918,000 for a three-bedder. About 30 per cent of the units at Forest Woods will also be priced below $1 million.

thealpsThe Alps Residences will also be launched this weekend, and if the 6,000 visitors who have since showed up at their showflat preview last weekend is anything to go by, the pent-up demand for new condo units in Tampines will bring out the buying mood in property seekers.

August’s Property market showing weaker

Buyers may have pulled back from the property market last month, partly due to the Hungry Ghost festival. In comparison to July’s bounty of developer launches, August’s numbers may seem pale.

Those who were looking would have only been keen if the prices were too attractive to pass up, and most buyers who have not already inked a deal in July may be waiting for the next few launches coming up in the last quarter of 2016. Non-Central regions property prices dropped 0.9 per cent, the largest in the 0.6 per cent overall fall in August.

highlineresidences1Developers have been offering incentive schemes and discounts for the last couple of quarters. And the buyers may now be more aware of these possibilities and thus are less willing to fork out higher amounts for completed homes as they know new fodder may be coming their way soon.  Small apartments below 506 sq ft have fallen the hardest at 4.5 per cent in a year-on-year comparison.

Long-term investment seem to be on the minds of recent buyers.  Properties in prime locations still hold their own and while buying frequency has dropped, properties in the central region are gaining ground and popularity with investors. The incline of fall in prices and sales has gradually eased and prices have remained relatively stagnant over the last half of the year, providing a sentiment of stability.