Overall price decline in Q1 but buying sentiment remains upbeat

Price-declines across the board for private residential, commercial and resale public housing sectors could mean the bottom of property cycle is close. For the 14th consecutive quarter now, private home prices have fallen, the longest period in the past 13 years.

That said, the general market sentiment has recently picked up as slight tweaks in the property cooling measures and a series of new and exciting property launches have gotten buyers’ blood flowing once more. Private home prices have fallen 0.4 per cent in Q1, slightly lesser than the 0.5 per cent in Q4 of last year.

Paya Lebar Quarter_Lendlease PLQPhoto credit: Lendlease 

Values of private residential properties have fallen 11.6 per cent since its peak in 2013, and this difference has probably revived purchasing interest as most buyers still see the potential of well-located properties in Singapore.

Total private home transactions hit 5,202 units in Q1, the highest in 15 quarters thus far. Property analysts are expecting the market to remain bullish and continue its growth barring any unexpected economic circumstances. City fringe properties are faring particularly, propped up by the strong demand for newly launched projects such as The Clement Canopy, Grandeur Park Residences, Park Place Residences and the Paya Lebar Quarter. Non-landed home prices have in fact risen 0.3 per cent in the city fringes and 0.1 per cent in the suburbs. Core central region property prices fell 0.4 per cent however.

ParkPlaceResidencesLanded home prices fell 1.8 per cent last quarter, likely due to the restrictions placed on these rarer commodities. Foreigners are not allowed to own landed properties. On the resale HDB flat front, prices fell 0.5 per cent, though the decline is expected to reverse itself soon, in response to the positive sentiments from the private property market.

Resale condominium prices slide in February

The latest private resale condominium sales figures seem to slightly challenge industry experts’ expectations of the market bottoming out this year.

Marina One ResidencesFebruary’s resale condominium prices fell 0.3 per cent following a 0.1 per cent in January from December last year, indicating further decline in the private non-landed resale property sector. While the numbers could mean the market has yet to bottom out, the slower rate of decline does point towards a state of stabilisation.

The biggest impact was felt in the central region (made up of districts 1 to 4, 9 and 10, the financial district and Sentosa Cove) where a 1 per cent fall was registered following a hopeful 0.5 per cent rise in January. Even in the small-apartments (units 506 sq ft and below) segment, prices fell 0.6 per cent. Resale units outside of the central region however fared better, coming back up top with a 0.3 per cent rise following a 0.6 per cent fall from December.

Oceanfront Sentosa Cove CondoThough market sentiment has been picking up, the overall economic outlook and rising interest rates may not be enough to completely turn the market on its head. Recent tweaks in the property cooling measures may give the industry a little push towards to the direction of recovery, but property analysts are still expecting a 3 to 4 per cent price-decline by end of 2017.

Winds of change in local property market

A decade or so ago, owning a second or third property might be the fastest way to secure your retirement funds or to even accumulate a tidy little kitty. Investment properties were considered a surefire way of earning additional income, but in the climate of today, property owners and investors have much more factors to consider and competition to battle against.

SunshinePlazaResidencesWith the rental market weakening, property agents are finding that it takes twice as long and also many more viewings before a property is successfully tenanted. And even then, for much less than before. Some property owners have had to reduce rents by almost half. Leaving the units empty are simply not an option for some investors as the rents go towards the mortgage or mortgages of their properties. It is after all better to have less help than none at all.

SerangoonHDBflatFor new investors looking to enter the market, the environment is a lot tougher than before. Considerations such as whether there is a large pool of HDB flats available for rental nearby, the long-term potential of the property, competition from other new launches or even within the same property, whether the local and global economy will affect businesses and commercial hubs nearby thus reducing the pool of foreign tenants, and so forth.

Before the market makes a complete recovery, a possibly lengthy period of stabilisation will ensue, despite the governments having made some allowances in the are of the property cooling curbs.

Grand opening launch for Grandeur Park Residences

The latest property development in Tanah Merah has sold more than half of its units over a weekend. Grandeur Park Residences reported strong sales with at least 58 per cent of its 720 units sold during its launch.

GrandeurParkResidencesSmaller apartments seem to be popular once again as the project sold most of the 96 one-bedroom units made available during the launch. Selling prices averaged $1,350 psf. The location, in close proximity to the Tanah Merah MRT station, could be one of the main factors pushing buyers to seriously consider the long-term and rental potential of the property. The condominium project which is also close to the Changi Business Park also has two- to five-bedders with prices starting from $550,000 for a one-bedder and $700,000 for a two-bedroom unit. Though the rental market is weak at the moment, buyers are counting on the property market rebounding by the time the project is ready for occupancy.

GrandeurPark2
Following the first private condominium launch this year of The Clement Canopy, response at the Grandeur Park Residences launch may be an expression of pent-up demand which could release keen albeit selective buyers back into the fold. However, the eagerness to snap up smaller units mean a lower overall quantum which may keep market figures low or at best level.

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.

New property launches to welcome by April 2017

Come the fourth month of the year, and the property market will be seeing as many as four new property launches spicing up the mix. Sentiments have been looking up of late as more buyers are coming to terms with the market reaching the bottom of the cycle, and these new launches may welcome increased interest from buyers. Property analysts are expecting up to 9,000 new home sales this year.

ClementiCanopyPhoto credit: www.theclement-canopy.com.sg

The 4 new upcoming launches buyers can look forward to are:

The first project expected to launch as soon as next month is the 505-unit Clementi Canopy. Though recent trend has shown smaller units as being more popular with buyers, this development will feature mainly 2-bedders to 4-bedders sized between 635 sq ft to 1,500 sq ft, with the former making up almost a third of the units.

Paya Lebar Quarter_LendleasePhoto credit: Lendlease

One of the more exciting projects from the list above is Park Place Residences at PLQ. It is Lendlease‘s first residential project in Singapore and the rejuvenation plans for Paya Lebar, to build an integrated development in Paya Lebar Central, may be the nectar that attracts buyers. The project is directly linked to the Paya Lebar MRT station and will also include residential units with a range of 1- to 3-bedroom apartment units, 3 office towers and a retail mall with more than 200 stores. Successes of previous launches and sales of similar projects such as NorthPark Residences and The Poiz Residences are signs of assurance for the developers that take-up rate will be positive.

 

Resale condominiums make a comeback

Do not underestimate the power of the trickle-down effect as older resale condominiums leverage on new launches to bring in activity and renewed interest.

LakeGrande

December’s resale private home sales figures were case in point, in particular The Santorini in Tampines. The new launch of The Alps Residences resulted in a spillover of buyers’ interest in surrounding condominiums and though the 597-unit The Santorini was launched more than 3 years back in 2014, it sold 106 units in 2016 alone, compared to only 32 units in 2015.

The overall sentiment is one of hope as buyers, now more driven to purchase and increasingly swayed by lower quantum prices, have been seen to be re-entering the market in the past months. Upcoming new townships such as Bidadari and the Jurong Lake district have been showing up more often on buyers’ radars and interest in the latter is particularly telling especially as the area is flagged in the Government’s development plan as the next central business district.

thealps

The 710-unit Lake Grande development in the Jurong Lake district has already sold 553 units and nearby, Sim Lian’s Wandervale and Treasure Crest executive condominium (EC) projects have also sold 1,003 units. With the government holding back on the release of land sales, the resale condominium market may hopefully continue with its winning streak this year. Most of the sales developers received last year were from older developments launched before 2016, Commonwealth Towers, Coco Palms, Bellewoods and Bellewaters, just to name a few.

Rise in new private home sales volume

The number of new private homes sold last year have risen on the back of declining prices in the primary private home sales market. Fighting against predictions of a languishing private residential sector, new private home sales have held up in 2016 with 8,136 new units sold, 9.4 per cent higher than 2015’s 7,440.

SantoriniBuyers have been picking up units directly from developers, aided by a couple of pushes from low interest rates an and lower selling prices. Though 2016 was a slow year for Singapore’s real estate industry in terms of home prices, the number of transactions clocked have surprisingly went against all odds. While private home prices have fallen over the past 3 years, market sentiments have begun to pick up last year and increased interest and availability of one- and two-bedroom units whose total quantum prices were more palatable for the general buying public and investors alike.

In Q4 of 2016, 2,480 new units were sold, the highest number in a quarter for the year. Despite the year end’s usual market lull and only 90 new units launched in the last quarter, December’s sales were positive with suburban projects leading the way with 231 sales, followed by 112 in the city fringes and 24 in the core central region. Last month’s best seller was The Santorini in Tampines which sold 26 units at an average price of $1,046 psf.