A resale private condo market respite

3 consecutive months of rising private non-landed home prices is reason enough for some mid-year cheer. Could this be a sign of respite from the recent property market lull?

GramercyParkProperty seekers and buyers who have been on the lookout for good deals and the right opportunity to jump back onto the property investment train have proven to be more active of late. Incentive schemes for various residential developments such as OUE Twin Peaks and Ardmore Three have also helped boost sales and prices. The former’s deferred payment scheme has received positive response from buyers, which ultimately translated to sales. The number of resale units sold in May rose by 36% with 840 units sold. 619 units were sold in April.

Prime central region properties are once again finding favour with investors as they view the potential value of the private residential properties here with new eyes. The next launch in the core central region (CCR) would be Gramercy Park luxury apartments by City Developments.

Property analysts are however cautious about their predictions for the rest of the year as the cooling measures will still mean buyers continue to be price-sensitive. They are expecting resale private apartment prices to fall 3 per cent across the board this year.

 

Increase in Foreign property purchases

The local property market is looking a little zestier as more foreign buyers picked up units in the first quarter. This affirms the continued popularity of properties in Singapore as compared to those in other major Asian cities, or global cities for that matter.

Kingsford HIllview PeakProperty prices in Singapore are still relatively affordable, and the number of purchases made by non-Singaporean residents rose by 5.4 per cent, while purchases made by permanent residents rose by 2.6 per cent in Q1. The Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) initially dampened sales, but as foreign property investors find themselves having similar, it not even higher, fees levied upon them in other markets, their return is not particularly surprising. While there are other emerging markets with even lower property prices, the stability and proven track record of Singapore’s properties has done the market justice.

Most of the properties foreign buyers hunt down are priced between $1.5 to $3 million. They bought 79 units at Cairnhill Nine and 38 units at Kingsford Hillview peak. Most of the foreign buyers were Mainland Chinese or Malaysians. Property analysts are keeping positive about the market’s prospects for the rest of the year despite the number of local buyers falling 18.2 per cent, though it could be due to the Chinese New Year holidays falling in the middle of Q1.

 

 

Property auctions at a glance

What happens at property auctions and are there truly good deals to be had? There has been an increase over the past couple of years in the number of properties put up for auction, with 516 properties listed for auction last year – a 45% increase from 2014.

TurquoiseCondoNot all auction sales are from mortagee’s sales (i.e. when a bank puts up the property for auction when the owner defaults on his loan payments) though they do make up an increasing percentage of property auction listings. In 2015, about 30 per cent of auction sales are from mortgagee’s sales. And contrary to popular belief, the properties listed at auctions do not necessary come with absurdly low prices and not all property owners of these listings are in a hurry to sell. Only about 1 or 2 properties are sold during the auction, with most others finding buyers following post-auction negotiations. Some property agents and buyers are there to see what options there are in the market, and almost everyone comes prepared, with a clear idea of market values and trends. Some owners even attend such auctions as a form of research, to better understand what their property is worth by comparing similar units offered at such auctions.

Parc EleganceWhile rock-bottom prices are not be expected, most listing vendors are more willing to budge on pricing by offering deeper discounts. As a guide, most properties valued at $3 million and below usually come with a 5 to 10 per cent discount while properties with price tags beyond $5 million may have even higher discounts. A recent auction sale of a $5.4 million unit at Turquoise in Cove Drive in Sentosa saw the bidder walking away with the unit at $2.92 million, $60,000 more than the opening bid of $2.86 million. Quite a steal, considering the $2.48 million difference. For property investors, auctions though not without risks, may be a good way to secure unique units which they can then profit from thereafter.

Some of the companies which organise property auctions are Knight Frank, JLL, DTZ and Colliers International.

 

 

West Coast soon abuzz with new properties?

Without question, the west coast has a vibe of its own. A sense of excitement, freedom; a buzzing undercurrent of work and play. So the government’s recent release of a 16, 378 sq m land site on West Coast Vale could potentially mean an even more vibrant district in as soon as half a decade’s time.

AYEPhoto credit: LTA

The plot of land released for sale is under the government’s reserve list, which also means the sale will only go through if the bids meet the minimum set by the government. With its prime location near the Ayer Rajah Expressway and West Coast Highway, and schools such as Nan Hua Primary School, The Japanese School and Commonwealth Secondary School, the area is ripe for a new residential condominium or strata landed housing project.

The neighbouring Parc Riveria may be a good gauge of the potential this new site holds. The land which Parc Riveria stands on was acquired only last year and another private condominium nearby is The Trilinq.

The TrilinqThe government has been more cautious of late with the  release of land for sale under the government land sales programme as the market is becoming more saturated. What may hold developers back from bidding for this site is its distance from MRT stations and other amenities. It may however mean quieter and more exclusive environments which young couples or families looking for a property near schools in its vicinity.

Bukit Batok – Growing fame

The birth of a new town often means going through some growing pains, the largest factor being time. A township takes time to grow, to iron out uncertainties and for residents to grow familiar with their surroundings and to make the place home. But ultimately, more often that not, townships come into their own and begin to grow and mature into attractive and popular entities.

RegentHeightsBukit Batok is once such estate. Sharing district 23 with Choa Chu Kang, Diary Farm, Hillview and Bukit Panjang, there are areas of unfounded quiet, and yet with the bustle not far off with pockets of businesses just a short distance away. Catching such a growing township at the right time could mean more value for money in terms of property sizes and prices, with the light of promise not too far away as the township matures and more amenities, transport convenience and commercial opportunities arrive.

Some private condominiums already in her midst include Hillview Regency, Guilin View, Parkview apartments, Regent Heights and The Jade. Not to mention the abundance of HDB flats, some older resale units with considerable floor areas going for much less in comparison to similar units in older, more mature estates.

BukitBatokHDBAnd now with the Downtown MRT line in force, the Hill View, Dairy Farm and Bukit Panjang estates are just a quick 5 to 10 minute ride away, not to mention a much shorter travel time to the city centre. Are Bukit Batok properties ripe for picking?

Private home prices on the rise?

Twin-Peaks3Prices of completed private condominium units rose 0.3% in April, though analysts are putting it up to a technical rebound. After a relatively good start to the year, private home prices have fallen 1.1% in March based on the Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI).

Some completed residential projects have seen promising signs of buying activity. The recent upward price adjustments could have been due to higher pickup rates of central region private homes such as units at OUE Twin Peaks and Ardmore Three.

Although the rise of home prices this year has been tentative, across the board prices have increased by more than 50% since 2009. Small apartment units lead the way with a 62.8% rise, followed by a 57.7% increase in non-central region units. Central region home prices are now 30.9% higher taking March 2009 as a point of comparison.

Ardmore THreeLast year saw a dip in luxury, prime district properties while this year, the increased supply of new completed private apartment units have pushed prices of units in the non-central regions down. Buyers remain cautious in their purchasing approach and are more price-sensitive though projects in prime locations and whose developers offer fresh new incentives will continue to bring in sales.

Small gems win big

Gem residences in Toa Payoh has already sold more than 55 per cent of their 578 units in their weekend launch last weekend. Median selling prices were at $1,426 psf and analysts are happy to report this a success as most new projects receive bulk of their sales within the first 2 to 3 weeks and a 50 per cent sales rate within the first month is already a positive sign.

Gem REsidencesAnd the prize came in small packages as units below 1000 sq ft were the clear winners last weekend. Approximately 60 per cent of all their 471 units below 1,000 sq ft have been sold while buyer picked up about 20 bigger-sized units. Gem residences is developed by Gamuda, Maxdin and Evia Real Estate. As Gamuda Land‘s first project in Singapore, the response is a happy one probably because prices were kept realistic and affordable. Their 980 sq ft tri-key or trio units were popular picks, 5 of their 37 units have been sold thus far.

The TerraceOther new launches which recorded sales over the weekend included Stars of Kovan with about 70 units sold of date, The Trilinq, Sturdee Residences, The Poiz Residences, Principal Garden, Botanique at Bartley, Symphony Suites, The Terrace, Sol Acres, The Amore and Bellewaters.

 

Starlight Starbright

All units at the Starlight Suites have now been sold, and all in good time as their Qualifying Certificate (QC) sales deadline loomed near.

StarlightSUitesA total of 23 units ranging from one-bedders to a 3,000 sq ft penthouse were sold for $48 million and the buyer was linked to Evia Capital. A few months earlier, news about developers hoping to bulk sell units to funds in order to meet their QC deadline and to recoup their losses were put out there. As the quantity of unsold stock in the market increases, developers have been coming up with new ways to entice buyers, individual or group.

For Starlight Suites, the sale price for these final 23 units worked out to be about $1,670 psf. At its launch, the average selling price was at $2,000 psf. The deal was done via a sales of shares in the development company, Meadows Property (Singapore) who are then not bound by the QC rules nor have to succumb to the extension charges. As Starlight Suites is situated near a Martin Place land plot which will be released for tender under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme next month, this purchase could be a blessing as Evia Capital will be able to use their purchase as a benchmark for units in the adjacent development.

111 Emerald HillA similar deal previously brokered at $75 million last year was 111 Emerald Hill. As the QC deadline for more projects draw near, how will developers react? Could there be further price drops?