August’s Property market showing weaker

Buyers may have pulled back from the property market last month, partly due to the Hungry Ghost festival. In comparison to July’s bounty of developer launches, August’s numbers may seem pale.

Those who were looking would have only been keen if the prices were too attractive to pass up, and most buyers who have not already inked a deal in July may be waiting for the next few launches coming up in the last quarter of 2016. Non-Central regions property prices dropped 0.9 per cent, the largest in the 0.6 per cent overall fall in August.

highlineresidences1Developers have been offering incentive schemes and discounts for the last couple of quarters. And the buyers may now be more aware of these possibilities and thus are less willing to fork out higher amounts for completed homes as they know new fodder may be coming their way soon.  Small apartments below 506 sq ft have fallen the hardest at 4.5 per cent in a year-on-year comparison.

Long-term investment seem to be on the minds of recent buyers.  Properties in prime locations still hold their own and while buying frequency has dropped, properties in the central region are gaining ground and popularity with investors. The incline of fall in prices and sales has gradually eased and prices have remained relatively stagnant over the last half of the year, providing a sentiment of stability.

Luxury market boosts overall real estate figures

Ironically one of the markets which first took the hit when the property cooling measures kicked in is now the one keeping the numbers looking good.

GoodwoodResidencesFor her relative political and economic stability, Singapore is considered a haven for the rich who are hoping to park their wealth somewhere safe. And real estate here are considered stable long-term assets; not so much for those in for speedy turnarounds or hoping to make a quick buck in short-term rentals, but for investors looking at long-term capital appreciation.

Recent numbers released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has shown a 76 per cent increase in sales of luxury apartments worth above $5 million this year. Some of the best sellers in this segment were Ardmore Three, Leedon Residence, Goodwood Residence and Gramercy Park.

GramercyParkProperty prices of city fringe units also rose 0.2 per cent though prices in the suburbs fell 0.5 per cent. But property analyst are seeing the market possibly bottoming out this and next quarter as the incline of the price drops have been gradually reducing.

There were a high number of completed units entering the market in the earlier part of the year, but as developers held back on major launches for a couple of quarters, it gave the market a few chance to do some catching up in terms of sales volume. The prolonged period of low interest rates may also push consumers to pick up deals now rather than later.

Executive condominiums top August property sales

August was a good month for the executive condominium (EC) market, with all 3 top sellers coming from this particular property sector, namely – Treasure Crest in Sengkang, Sol Acres in Choa Chu Kang and Bellewoods in Woodlands.

Bellewoods ECUnderstandably, there were not many major property launches in August with only 590 units launched in the month at Victoria Park Villas in District 10. A total of 805 units were sold, less than half of the 1,921 sold in July, with 41 per cent of the month’s sales coming from ECs. But demand for these rare hybrid public and private properties seems to be rising.

The price gap between ECs and private properties may be closing in as resale private property prices continue to dip though there is still a considerable distance between these 2 property types. The median selling prices of all 3 top EC developments below $800 psf whereas average prices for private apartments are mostly above the $1,000 psf range.

Sol Acres Besides comparison with ECs, new developer launches have also been fighting market competition from completed resale units, providing discounts and other incentive schemes to entice buyers. As a hybrid between public and private housing, EC buyers can tap on HDB grants and subsidies in the initial purchase and after 10 years, are able to leverage on the private property status of their property, harnessing the full capacity of a private resale condominium.

 

Small apartments: New fare better than resale

Prices of private non-landed properties in the central region have risen 0.7 per cent last month, a possible indication of the market bottoming out soon. New payment and incentive schemes could also have helped boost sales numbers, in particular for properties in the prime districts of 9 and 10. Across the board, prices of completed apartments have risen 0.2 per cent.

E MaisonNew small apartment units fared better than resale units as demand for the latter tends to be overshadowed by the former. Buyers are more open to buying small apartment units directly from developers rather than in the resale market as new projects tend to offer more longer-term benefits and immediate rental profits from resale units have been falling as the foreign workforce shrinks as a result of  tighter immigration policies. Most of the buyers are Singaporeans or permanent residents looking for properties to live in or rent out for the long-run, and having waited a couple of years for the property cooling measures to be lifted to no avail, are now dipping more than their toe into the pool.

July has proven to be a good month for the real estate market, with some property agents reporting up to a 50 per cent increase in sales in a year-on-year comparison.

Sengkang properties beginning to shine more clearly

Gone is the decade when Punggol and Sengkang were considered too far flung or unpopulated sans amenities.

HighparkResidencesIf the popularity of latest offering in Fernvale, High Park Residences and other completed private condominiums were anything to go by, more similar properties might spring up in the midst as district 19 continues in its expansion and development. Other private residential developments in the Sengkang area include H20 Residences, Riverbank@Fernvale and Rivertrees Residences. More young couples and extended families are moving into the district and with the average selling price holding steady at $1,060 psf, the private properties here are a more affordable for those crossing over from public housing.

Rivertrees Residences3 new land banks will be put up for tender by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in the upcoming months, and there may be strong bids coming from developers and consumers may very well have more than sufficient options to choose from soon. One of the sites most likely to gain interest will be the 99-year leasehold residential site on Fernvale road with a site area of 17,196 sq m. The nearby 1,390-unit High Park Residences with a median selling price of $989 psf has already sold almost all of its units within a year of its launch in July 2015.

The proximity of this site to amenities such as Seletar Mall and the stretch of eateries along Jalan Kayu, the Thanggam LRT station and Tampines Expressway (TPE) and schools will no doubt urge developers to seriously consider its potential.

 

 

Incentive schemes may reduce Home loan amount

Pay the full sum for a $2 million dollar property within 10 weeks? Or have the payment deferred and pay within 3 years? Most buyers would be enticed by the latter option. And developers have been dangling that carrot to move their unsold stock.

HilltopsBut now the authorities may have caught on to their game and have issued a circular to banks last week stipulating that the amounts deferred are to be taken into account when computing the final amount a buyer can loan from the banks. This may impact some buyers, especially those who may not have sufficient cash upfront and who may need the time to move monies around in order to make the full payment.

Deferred payment schemes are offered by developers of some completed residential properties such as OUE Twin Peaks whereby buyers are allowed to move into their new home upon exercising the option to purchase and paying a down payment, allowing them to the period of 1 to 3 years to make the full payment. With the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) most recent specifications, any benefits will have to be taken into account prior to loan calculation.

Twin Peaks2Under the deferred payment scheme, the amount deferred needs to be deducted from the final purchase price before the loan ratio is applied, thus diminishing the amount the borrower can ultimately loan and raising the upfront down payment.

On top of that, rental guarantee scheme is also under MAS’ scrutiny as these are also considered benefits to the buyer. Under such schemes, properties such as Hilltops apartments on Cairnhill, developers offer guaranteed rental returns for a specific time period.

New Jurong launch boosts July’s private home sales

MCL Land‘s Lake Grande took the lead in July’s property sales with 42.5 per cent of the month’s sales coming from this development. 464 out of its 500 units have already been sold at the median price of $1,368 psf.

LakeGrandeAcross the board, new private home sales have hit a one-year high last month with 825 suburban new private homes sold. In the city fringes and central districts, 213 and 53 units were sold respectively. This could be partly due to the rise in number of units launched, 624 in total, in July plus investors are taking advantage of the low interest rates and lower property prices to buy up available units with long-term potential.

Though the government has not yet eased up on the property cooling measures, they have held back the release of new land plots this year, which could have in turn helped clear unsold inventory. The executive condominium (EC) market is coming out strong with 830 units snapped up in July, more than thrice the 232 units sold in June. The 2 major EC launches last month were Treasure Crest in Anchorvale Cresecent and Northwave in Woodlands.

NorthwaveECPhoto credit: MCC Land

August may be a slower month as fewer deals are likely to be closed during the Hungry Ghost month, but as long as interest rates remain low, buyers will continue to scour the market for good deals. Property analysts are expecting the positive sentiments and increased interest to carry on to the end of the year.

Property market on the road to recovery

2016 has proven to be a fairly good year for the property market. Despite slight price fluctuations, prices and sales volume have been stabilising for a few quarters now, giving analysts hope that it’s on a timely road to recovery.

GramercyParkThough the government has yet to indicate an easing of property cooling measures, the market as managed to right itself within the past year or so. Signs of the luxury property market picking up point towards the property market possibly bottoming out soon, which would also mean the market’s on the road to recovery. In Q2, the fall in private residential price index was a mere 0.4 per cent, the smallest thus far. The market has also been correcting itself for 11 consecutive quarters now.

Since the 2013 peak, property prices have fallen 9.4 per cent. With the interest rates currently low and looking like it will remain so for a longer period of time as opposed to extreme fluctuations, borrowing is kept at a healthy level sans the danger of over-borrowing or a property bubble looming. Investors may be refocus their attention on other sectors, keeping the property sector speculation-free.

Leedon Residence on Holland Road.

Leedon Residence on Holland Road.

Global situations such as Brexit or global terrorism may indirectly affect the investment environment and sentiment in the country and region, but Singapore’s real estate market is considered one of the safest and investors are increasingly looking at longer-term capital appreciation.