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.

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.

Positive growth for new private homes

There is hope for the private property market yet, as budding signs of recovery peeked through not only in the resale property segment but also blossomed a little in the new private homes sector.SeasideResidencesFor the third consecutive month now, the new private homes sector has shown positive growth with 977 units sold in February, more than double the 382 sold in January, and despite there having only been one new launch last month. The Clement Canopy which was launched in February, did however put 250 new units into the market, selling 207 at a median price of $1,343 psf. A total of 550 units were released last month, compared to the 108 in January. Part of muted response the month prior to last could however be put to the Chinese New Year festive season which fell in late January.

Demand for executive condominiums (ECs) have also increased with 329 units sold, up 78.8 precent from January. The best-selling EC last month was Sol Acres with 82 units sold at the average price of $782 psf. Industry analysts are already seeing a more positive market sentiment this year, an overall sense of confidence from developers and buyers. With the recent relaxation of the Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) rules and new upcoming launches such as Seaside Residences, and as confidence ignites confidence, the hope is for the momentum to move the industry along as the year proceeds.

 

New home sales yet to show significant change following SSD tweaks

Perhaps the recent changes in Sellers’ Stamp Duty (SSD) regulations may have no effect on the property market, or it might have a considerable effect. Whichever direction things might go, it is still too early to tell. Sales of new properties following the March 11 announcement has yet to show significant signs of change in terms of concrete figures, but the tweak has however boosted interest in new launches as shown in the response from the public at recent show flats such as that of Marine Blue and Park Place Residences.

MarineBlueCondoWhile earlier launches of The Clement Canopy and Grandeur Park Residences generated positive sales during their launch weekends, things have slowed down in the time following. That is however the general real estate market trend and is no cause for alarm. Most property analysts are glad for the change as it will bring about positive sentiments in the buying market, which could mean more energy, move net and direction in the months ahead. They are not certain this relaxation of the property cooling curbs will have a big impact on the market but are nevertheless happy the government has taken this step in moving forward. The next most likely impact would be the push for those caught in a dither of to-buy-or-not-to-buy.

On the other side, the Federal Reserve has raised their interest rates to 1 per cent and that could affect home loan rates, in turn diminishing demand from property investors.

 

More private land sites up for collective sale

With improving sentiments in the real estate industry, land and property owners are beginning to test the waters once more with new freehold sites and shophouses up for collective sale.

Goh&GohBuildingAn exciting prospect comes in the form of the Goh & Goh Building in Upper Bukit Timah. The 4-storey building is a mixed-use site currently consisting of 7 residential units and 7 shophouses. It has recently been put up for collective sale with a tag of $120 million. Situated right at the doorstep of the Beauty World MRT station and next to the Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and Beauty World centre, it is a delicious plot of prime land indeed. And a sale could be on the way as almost 80 per cent of the building’s owners have already given their consent for the go ahead of the collective deal.

Properties in the area have been selling swiftly and developers who are looking to replenish their land bank in the area will no doubt keep a keen eye on this land. The area has further potential for development, in terms of infrastructure and amenities. It is also situated in between the Upper Bukit Timah, Bukit Timah, Bukit Batok and Jurong Kechil areas where both local and international schools dominate. In fact, neighbouring land plots have already been earmarked for hotels, hospitals and other residential or mixed-use properties.

Hillbrooks CondoAfter taking into account the $15 million development charge the successful bidder is estimated to have to pay, property analysts expect the land rate to hover around $1,460 psf and the winning developer could possibly accommodate around 100 residential units in the new project.

January’s private home sales plateau

After a slight rise of 0.1 per cent in December, January’s completed private home prices remained flat. There were some rise and fall in the different districts but overall, non-landed residential property prices evened out on a plateau.

CreekBukitTimahThat may not necessary be a negative as signs of stabilisation are generally expected of the year. Property analysts say that some of the zero per cent month-on-month change could also be due to the availability of smaller units with a higher psf pricing schedule. Besides shoebox apartments, studios and one-bedders, family-size units in new developments are also now smaller in size than before.

Small apartments aside, prices of completed condominium units in the central region did rise 0.7 per cent after a 0.3 per cent dip in December. In the non-central regions however, prices went the other direction with a 0.6 fall following a 0.5 per cent increase the month before.

26NewtonThe private real estate market could however be looking at more resale properties entering the pen soon as most buyers who have purchased investment properties in 2013 will have completed their 4-year holding period this year. This means they are no longer tied down by the cooling measure which requires them to pay a seller’s stamp duty should they sell their property within 4 years following the purchase. Whether the sector is ready for this influx of properties while pulling themselves sluggishly out of the lull remains to be seen.

Property cooling measures to stay put

National Development Ministry Lawrence Wong has recently mentioned that the curbs placed on the property industry are here to stay as demand for property not declined.

HillsTwoOneThough property prices may have fallen, the dip has been gradual and slow. Coupled with the fertile bedrock of low interest rate and affordable quantum pricing of residential properties, the authorities may be afraid of a sudden and unmanageable spike in demand from investors should the curbs be lifted anytime soon.

And their fears may not be entirely unfounded as the market has been showing budding signs of recovery in the past couple of months. Demand, in particular for smaller units in well-located properties, from local and foreign investors alike, have been on the rise while prices are beginning to hold steady. Pent-up demand from previous quarters of muted activity have meant a rise in sales volume.

SignatureECYishunBigger Central Provident Fund housing grants will be included in the upcoming Budget talks, which may sustain resale HDB flat volume as more buyers qualify for subsidies. Resale volume for the public housing sector has already risen 7.8 per cent last year. As demand for resale flat increases, so will pricing and sales volume. A stabilising resale flat market could also mean an increase in the number of HDB upgraders who are buying off the private property market, in turn boosting sales in the private housing sector as well.