Private condominium prices hold steady

The fall in completed private condominium prices was gentler last year at 3.5 per cent, compared to the 5.7 per cent from the year before. Prices are expected to hold steady this year as a dip in supply of properties in this sector bring prices to a plateau.

Jewel CDL

Photo: Jewel @ Buangkok

Demand for smaller apartments of up to 500 sq ft in size, have been weakening as their numbers, especially in the suburbs, have been on the rise in the past couple of years. Investors have found them more difficult to rent out in the dulling leasing market and those outside the central region or further from regional business hubs may find themselves competing for the same tenant pool. Tenants now prefer units with larger floor spaces with just slightly higher rents.

Sale prices of completed private properties within the central regions however have fallen more sharply as they usually come with a higher total quantum price. Compared to the many newer properties which have found a sweet spot with their total selling price, units in these central or prime districts see fewer overall transactions.

As the volume of unsold completed condominium stock diminishes and with the fewer launches expected this year due to cutbacks on land supply, resale properties could expect a happier year ahead.

Lull in private home prices

Despite a projected lull in local private home prices this year, interest in Singapore’s property market remains steady as prime residential property prices are still 165 per cent and 92 per cent lower than those in Hong Kong and London respectively.

 Photo credit: Singapore Tourism Board

So despite property analysts predicting a 5 to 10 per cent fall in prime and mass market private property prices this year, the local property market’s core remains strong. 2010’s property cooling measures may have kept property prices 17 per cent lower than what it could have been. Private home prices have fallen 4 per cent last year, following a 3.7 per cent fall in 2014. In the luxury home market, prices have fallen 20 per cent since the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) was implemented in 2011.

China’s recent growth slump, plunging oil prices, the Federal Reserve interest rate hike and a general sense of a global recession looming, might consequently affect the property markets around the world. Businesses may reconsider their expansion plans, which could mean a fall in demand for office spaces and commercial properties. This in turn may affect the number of expatriates entering the country, which may also affect rental prices.

This year could prove tough for investors and property sellers, but not without glimpses of hope. 2016 may be the year to hang-in-there, but industry experts are expecting 2017 to take a turn for the better.

When investing in properties overseas …

There are a number of things to look out for when investing in properties. And even more so in properties overseas. It may be familiar ground if you know your stuff, but otherwise it could be a rather risky affair.

Balmain ColgatePhoto: Apartment in Balmain, NSW, Australia.

Every country’s investment environment varies, sometimes quite drastically, and while brochures and presentations may look sleek and professional, the ins-and-outs of the local economic infrastructure may speak the same language. Thus finding out more about the legal and tax systems of the country in which the property is located would be one of the first and most important steps. The Council of Estate Agencies (CEA) has good advice for investors in their consumer guide for foreign property investments. Some countries have restrictions on the type of property foreigners can purchase, and also on whom they can eventually sell it to and the about of taxes or stamp duties they have to pay. In Australia for example, foreigners purchasing property have to seek approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board; whereas in Cambodia, where the market is just opening up, the restrictions are not as limiting.

Similar to how you would plan for any major investment, doing the groundwork and sums will help you financially. It is wise to know what your options are should there be a need to sell, and how long it would take you to do that would depend on the political and economic situation. Make the effort to find out the developer’s track record, and even take a trip down to look at the properties. After-sales property management could sometimes make or break your bank account and familiarising yourself with the legal systems of the country could ensure you are well-covered in unexpected circumstances. Having a solid point-of-contact in the country, such as a property agency or management agent could also reduce the risk and make the investment experience a smooth-sailing one.

Property – To buy or not to buy now?

Since the implementation of property cooling measures by the government agencies, property prices have fallen at a gradual pace and seem to have currently reached a plateau. Some may have been waiting for an opportunity to hop into the property buy-sell train, but others may be concerned about whether they should sell now or later.

How do you decide if the time is now or later?

The WaterlineThere are a few fundamental questions to ask yourself:

  • Need or want?

Of course, owning a home of your dreams is the ultimate desire for most. And so it is a want. But you will need to evaluate your situation very honestly – do you absolutely need a new place? Or could it wait? Are you hoping to merely flip a property for profit, or have the ability to hold out for the best deal? If you answer is “Need”, then you have to a few other considerations to take care of.

  • What’s in the piggy bank?

Do you have enough left in your savings and monthly earnings, after setting aside sufficient funds for your monthly bills, every day expenses and insurance to manage the risk of buying a home? Besides having enough to make your monthly mortgage, most people may not realise the need to have an amount within your savings for very real and unforeseen situations such as periods of unemployment or health issues.

  • Are there advantages or pros? 

Is the price on the property you are hoping to buy right? If there is room for negotiation, which is why an experienced real estate agent is a boon, and the mortgage calculator helps you compare rates and tells you that the interest rates are prime, then perhaps the time truly is now.

UMCity Medini Lakeside – The New Nexus in Medini, Iskandar Malaysia

Johor MB Officiates Groundbreaking at Award-Winning UMCity Medini Lakeside by UMLand and Samsung C&T Corporation

  • Groundbreaking ceremony for the RM1.2 billion GDV development was led by UMCity Medini Lakeside developer, UMLand and world-leading construction company, Samsung C&T Corporation
  • Located at the gateway into Medini Iskandar, the 5-acre UMCity Medini Lakeside is a waterfront mixed integrated development ideal for community living and work
  •  UMCity Medini Lakeside is poised to redefine metropolitan international brand collaborations in Iskandar Malaysia

Pix 1_Menteri Besar and VIPs officiating the Groundbreaking
Nusajaya, 20 May 2015 – United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) today held a groundbreaking celebration for UMCity Medini Lakeside, its premiere mixed integrated development in Medini Iskandar, with award-wining builder Samsung C&T.

The ceremony was officiated by Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Chief Minister of Johor and marked the beginning of construction works at the 5-acre development which fronts a beautiful landscaped lake park. Also in attendance were His Excellency Carlos Domínguez Díaz, Ambassador of Spain to Malaysia, His Excellency Suh Chung-Ha, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Singapore, and Chi Hun Choi, the President and CEO of Samsung C&T Corporation

.Pix 5_Datuk Charlie Chia_Menteri Besar_Dennis Ng_Chi-Hun Choi

This is a significant milestone for UMLand in positioning itself to become the lifestyle developer of quality products in all their projects. UMCity is UMLand’s award-winning flagship mixed commercial development with a Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM1.2bil in Medini Iskandar. Its UMCity Office Tower was named the Best Office Development at the recent Asia Pacific Property Awards which was held in early May 2015.

In his officiating speech, Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin said, ‘UMLand’s UMCity development reflects the highest level of confidence in the efforts to position Medini as the preferred destination for investment. This catalyst development will become the new nexus in Medini, bridging the lifestyle components to Medini’s fast growing business components.’

Pix 3_Datuk Charlie Chia_Dennis Ng_Menteri Besar_Chi-Hun Choi getting ready to launch the video

The groundbreaking celebration also witnessed the welcoming onboard of a new partner from Spain for UMCity – Roca, which is renowned for their complete bathroom solutions. UMCity also announced that AECOM, an internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary design company was responsible for the design of the Medini Lakeside public park. The presence of Roca and AECOM add to the already impressive list of UMCity international delivery partners who will be setting the benchmark in quality service in Medini Iskandar.

Earlier this year, UMLand cemented strategic alliances with established and international brands such as The Ascott Limited, ONYX Hospitality Group, Samsung S-1 Corporation, and Regus for the same development. With Samsung C&T headquartered in Korea as the main contractor for the UMCity project, the UMCity development is well en route to assured quality and timely delivery. Samsung C&T is a world-leading construction company responsible for many renowned buildings and skyscrapers such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Tower 2 of the Malaysia Petronas Twin Towers. UMCity will be Samsung C&T’s first commercial project outside of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

“We are honoured to be part of the UMCity Medini Lakeside project,” said Chi Hun Choi, the President and CEO of Samsung C&T. He added, “We look forward to continuing our support for Malaysia’s development, having participated in large scale projects including Petronas Twin Towers. We are certain that by working closely together with our trusted partners, the project will be successful.”

Upon completion in 2018, UMCity will be the home to the renowned brands of Citadines, Shama, OZO,and Regus, with Samsung as the comprehensive solutions provider. With these brands onboard, UMCity has one of the most comprehensive international collaborations in a mixed development in Iskandar Malaysia.

UMLand Group CEO, Datuk Charlie Chia said, “Positioned as the commercial hub in Medini, UMCity is a one of its kind waterfront mixed integrated development designed for a vibrant community living and work. UMLand is a long established developer, and we are continuously striving to push boundaries while creating quality lifestyles and communities. This is especially true for UMCity which is poised to become a world-class commercial hub in Iskandar.”

He added “This is where the concept of innovation meets sustainable development within the Medini business district of Iskandar Malaysia. Primed to be the nexus of Medini, this development by UMLand is set to deliver a conducive environment, be it for business, leisure or residence.”

UMLand is assured that the development plans of UMCity will be in sync with the Medini Business District, making it the leading business environment in South East Asia

For more information, please visit

Private resale non-landed home prices rising

With more new non-landed homes reaching completion this year and entering the market with more vigour, resale properties will have quite a bit more competition to deal with.

65cc3e41521f45a9bee9cd4c20bcbf8cBut for the moment, good news prevails as prices of resale non-landed homes have risen albeit slightly. In March, prices rose 0.2 per cent with the number of sales maintaining at around 300 in February and March. Although there is no significant rise in the number of sales transactions or prices, at the very least prices do not seem to be dropping. This could indicate a stabilising market and where it goes thereafter is very much dependent on governmental policies and market forces.

Suburban resale homes were leading the price rise, with a 0.3 per cent monthly gain. Central region homes in districts 1 to 4 and 9 to 11 also saw a 0.1 per cent rise. It were the smaller apartments which saw a drop in prices of 0.4 per cent by the month. These shoebox apartments, with floor areas of 506 sq ft and less, were one of the hottest ticket items the last couple of years, why the depression in prices now?

Property analysts are putting it up to the increasing number of shoebox units in suburban condominium developments. Demand for these smaller units outside of the Central region may not be as high as developers had thought, and as the number of unsold or untenanted units rise, so does the competition. Buyers have more choices and will be more likely to bargain or wait for lower prices.

Sticking to previous estimates, property prices are expected to dip 3 to 6 per cent this year. Previous estimates were around 4 to 8 per cent.


New properties on a fresh new ride

And hopefully it will be an upwards ride.

May 2014 was a good month for the new private home market. Mostly due to the large number of properties launched, 1,487 units were sold. But after that huge spike, sales have held steady at around 300 to 400 units sold per month, with December’s showing a little lower due to the festive season.

KingsfordWaterbayThe numbers have however increased significantly in March this year, from 390 units sold in February to 613 last month. The results are promising, but there has been a few recent launches of new units at previously launched developments and also a release of pent-up demand after the Chinese New Year festivities, which could account for some of the positive vibes.  Most of the sales came from Kingsford Waterbay with 155 units sold and Sims Urban Oasis with 107 units sold. New launches are pulling out all the stops to get buyers’ attention. Competition will be high as more launches are planned for the year, thus getting first dibs with the buyers’ pool is crucial for developers.

Suburban properties are often priced below city fringe and central district properties; at 22 per cent lower than city fringe and 43 per cent lower than central region homes. Lower quantum prices seems to be the factor helping to close deals, as the property cooling measures do not work in favour of most middle-income buyers. The Skywoods and Symphony Suites projects seemed to stacked up better, but sales at Northpark Residences and Botanique @ Bartley may very well give them a run for their money soon, looking at the response from the public.

The outlook for the market this year seems spotted, with possible glimmers of hope but also tough restrictions which may put a damper on sales volume and prices.


Private properties – Not all in the slumps

Recent figures showed that the property cooling measures have only really affected the luxury market, which has slipped into the red.

Even then, there are properties within the private property market which have not been as drastically affected by the measures and market slump. At Cote d’Azur in Marine Parade for example, prices rose by 4.3 per cent. Prices of resale units at Costal del Sol also rose 4.5 per cent. And for the new property market, in Chestnut Avenue, selling prices of units at Eco Sanctuary showed a promising increase of 4.1 per cent.

Eco SanctuaryAlthough this could be caused by developers choosing to release juicier units later in their launch schedule, enticing buyers to purchase at their latest launches, this nevertheless gives hope to the market. Buyers are still wiling to fork out the cash to get the units they want. And there is no lack of these savvy folks.

Naturally as with all market movements, effects are never seldom felt the same way across the board, there will be units with more potential than others. It takes a keen eye and a close followup of market trends to make a killing at the right time.

While this is good news for property developers and sellers, it raises the question of whether the property cooling measures have really been effective in making property purchasing affordable for the majority, or only instead stymied the inflow of foreign cash earnings in the high-end property market?