100% condo sales few and far in between

Rare are the new condominium launches which see a “Fully sold” sign plastered on their boards within a few months of launch. Though most may eventually reach a 100% sale status, they are taking longer to do so. This depends on the location of the property and the number of units available for sale, of course, but so far, the top scorer has been Seasuites in Pasir Panjang Road, at 85 per cent of its 52 units, with an average psf price of $1,650.

Seasuites condominium in Pasir Panjang.

Seasuites condominium in Pasir Panjang.

A strong runner-up in the race is Urban Vista in Tanah Merah. Considering it just launched mid-March, this 582 unit condominium project is selling exceedingly well with 77 per cent already sold. Average prices are $1,350 psf. March’s other big launch, D’Nest in Pasir Ris also sold a cool 76 per cent of its 912 units at $920 psf.

Private condominiums are still selling well, with new trumping resale. But there are 9 more months left of the year, and what will keep or halt the sale momentum? Chances are new properties which check the right boxes will win the race:

1. Good location
2. Competitive pricing
3. Comparison of other residential projects nearby

In 2012, most of the properties which reached a fully sold status were launched in the early part of the year, and most of them were one or two-bedders or studio apartments. Will 2013 see a reprise of last year? Or will the cooling measures change it up?

Old Gold – Queenstown

Not only are home buyers going for glistening new properties, they are now getting more savvy and willing to pay to be in areas with a heritage. Which means areas such as Tiong Bahru and Queenstown are seeing a property boom.

Alexis @ Alexandra Condo

As one of Singapore’s oldest townships, Queenstown, with its proximity to the city, has seen a huge increase in interest and sales. Made up of mostly HDB flats, it is not surprising then, that earlier this quarter, an executive maisonette went for $1 million. Private condominium apartments are few and far in between, namely The Anchorage, Queens and Alexis @ Alexandra. The last in the list only recently received its temporary occupation permit (TOP) this year. Prices of private homes here have risen 5 to 7 per cent and now cost between $1,200 psf and $1,700 psf. At Queens condominium, prices have already risen from $700 – $900 psf to $1, 200 – $1, 400 psf. Home rental prices in this estate range between $3 to $4.50 psf per month.

With the One-North cluster filling up fast in the nearby Buona Vista, could this possibly direct even more property traffic in the Bukit Merah-Alexandra Hill sub-zone? Under the government land sales programme (GLS), 2 plots near the Queenstown MRT Station were recently released and perhaps we could expect a growing number of private condominium units in this area.

Something old, Something borrowed

In the West, this is a common phrase used in preparation for a wedding. But for Singaporean newly weds, are their something borrowed a chunky home loan from the banks? Recent reports show that Singaporean households and businesses are borrowing to purchase properties and household wealth has risen 7.3 per cent. Could this be a sign of a property bubble? Is the nation taking after the times just before the economic recession in America? What could the government do to prevent that from happening?

The cooling measures may have curbed home buyers’ borrowing but does it have any effect on home prices?

 

MAS’ Fnancial Stability Review reported robust home loan quality with no loans exceeding the property’s value. A good sign considering the low loan rates could have caused a rush to purchase properties in hope of reaping rental and resale profits. Most mortgages were for home-occupiers and there was a 0.2 per cent drop in the number of loans taken which were more than 80 per cent of the property value.

In that sense, one of the cooling measures could have taken effect rather quickly. What then is the cause of rising home prices of both resale and new apartments? Rising construction and labour costs? How does this impact the resale HDB Flat market?

HDB Resale flats – COV up

Are more HDB flat owners hoping to get more out of their flats as the property market heats up once more? It may seem that way as COV prices on again on the rise. Up $3000 from $30,000 in Q3, COV prices in Q4 prove to be climbing, according to data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX).

Tampines HDBThe decreasing number of resale HDB flats in the market could be reason for this rise since rarity is often equated to rising prices. And the reason for few HDB Resale flats could be due to the rising prices in the private residential property market. This means more HDB upgraders may rethink their decision to sell, or if they do, they may put a higher price tag on their existing HDB home.

Although HDB has built a record 27, 000 Buid-To-Order (BTO) flats this year alone, the supply is still insufficient to meet the demands of second-time applicants, which also means they have to turn to the resale HDB flat market, where competition is already high especially with permanent residents and singles in the same buyers pool.

Perhaps the effects of the new BTO flats have yet to sink in but industry experts are expecting it to take effect when the BTO flats are ready for occupation.

$1 million HDB flats make sense

To some at least. These potential home buyers are usually young professionals and families whose combined income are too high for either Build-to-order HDB flats or executive condominiums, yet do not wish to fork out the same sum for a private condominium much smaller in size.

Redhill Lane HDB FlatHousing agents have been known to flock to HDB estates where these highly-priced HDB flats are in hot demand by their clients. In particular, Queenstown, Bukit Merah, Bishan, Marine Parade, Toa Payoh and Clementi have be rising in popularity, with Queenstown having the most number of HDB flats sold above $800, 000, at 32.

Home owners in these areas have been reported to have property agents calling at their flats asking if they are willing to sell. Even though HDB has been calling these million-dollar flats a rarity, will the market be seeing a rise in these units as private non-landed properties continue to be priced higher and higher and are built smaller and smaller? What of the studio apartments whose popularity had placed them at the top of property investors’ list not so long ago?

Watertown – Going, going, gone.

 

Watertown condominium. One of the first new properties to be launched in Punggol this year.

Almost. With only 3% of units left of the Watertown condominium development in Punggol. Developed by Far East Organization and integrated with the Waterway Point shopping mall, the nature and space of Punggol Waterway, and an important feature in the Punggol Central Masterplan, Watertown has been steadily reeling in home buyers and investors. Perhaps currently one of the hottest, property in town. there are only 34 units remaining, mainly three and four-bedders, ranging from 1,173 sq ft to 1,550 sq ft.

Not to be scoffed at as unwanted residual units, these remaining apartments are  potential prime property investment goldmines, with most of them having scenic views overlooking the Punggol Waterway. Once it is completed, Watertown will be Punggol’s pioneering retail and residential development. What will come in the future is anyone’s guess, though not a difficult one.

Mixed-used developments such as The Hillier are hot properties to watch. Will more be built along the Thomson Line?

On the other side of the island, another Far East Organization development, The Hillier has also sold most of their 528 units, with only 21 units left.