Luxury property market heats up 

After the market lull in the past couple of years, buyers are once again picking off choice luxury units in the prime residential property sector.

ArdmoreIIIPrices in this segment have gradually become more competitive over the last year or so and sales volume has increased, partly due to this change. For example, in the first half of 2016 alone, 131 apartments priced above $5 million were sold. Only 166 similar units were sold in the entire 2015.

Investors are favoring Singapore properties they match up well against those in other global cities such as New York and London. Property analysts say most investors are still Singaporeans, though  Malaysians, Indonesians and Chinese continue to feature strongly in the investor pool as they see the value of properties here and are not deterred by the currency fluctuations.

An upcoming luxury development is the 99-year leasehold Victoria Park Villas by CapitaLand which consists of 3 bungalows and 106 semi-detached houses starting from $4.3million. In better times, these houses could have cost up to $6 million. Other high-end units currently in the market include those at Gramercy Park, OUE Twin Peaks and Ardmore Three.

The En-bloc secret

Could you possibly be sitting on an En-bloc golden egg and not know it? Or before you make an investment, do you know if your purchase could earn you a tidy sum in the  future?

Laguna Park

Laguna Park

En-bloc sales of older properties can often be the windfall property owners are looking for and having an idea of the process could be the start to planning for the future. Not every development will have the same potential and often the wait could be longer than the photos yields, but there is money to be made this way.

The first step involves securing 20% of the total share value of 25% or the total number of owners. But should the first bid at a collective sale fail,  50% of the previously mentioned total share value or total number of owners will be required to requisition a extraordinary general meeting (EOGM) within 2 years. Then there is the election of the collective sale committee (CSC). They will then draft the proposed a reserve price as part of the collective sales agreement (CSA). Though a high reserve price may increase the probability of securing sufficient signatures go the sale, the high price may also turn potential buyers away. Developers do after all need to take the time and money to conduct feasibility studies and land surveys of the site.

Then there is also the issue of valuation per unit. The criteria for share allocation as recommended by the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers are valuation, strata area and share value. In addition,  80% of the owners must also agree on the method of apportionment before the bid can happen.

ShunfuVilleOnly then will  public tender be made and a property valuation be made by an independent valuer on the closing date of the tender. In the 10-week period after the tender closing date, the CSC is still able to enter into a private treaty with a buyer. The process is often long and could take years, such as in the case of the Pearl bank apartments or Laguna Park.

 

New home sales dip in June

June and July are traditionally slower months for the local property market as the school holidays are followed by the Hungry Ghost month. The lower numbers may also have been due to the lack of new launches.

Kingsford HIllview PeakLast month, only 536 new private non-landed units were sold, about 49 per cent lower than the 1,058 units clocked in May. Despite the huge fall in market figures, property analysts remain positive about the journey as numbers have reached a plateau and the fluctuations between quarters have been minimal.

Following the slew of cooling measures implemented by the government over the past few years, th market has cooled considerably. In a year-on-year comparison to 2015, the 536 units sold is 43 per cent higher than the 375 units sold last year.

Suburban homes were the best sellers in May, with developments such as Kingsford Waterbay, The Glades and Kingsford Hillview Peak managing to sell off some of their unsold stock. Median selling prices were at $1,185 psf, $1,402 psf and $1,315 psf respectively. In previous months, sales were largely  boosted by developers offering discounts, but the units sold in June were not heavily discounted, signifying the return of buyers to the market as they gradually come to realize that prices will not come down much more.

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?