More going for properties at Sentosa Cove

If the luxury property market seemed a little dull the past year or so, the numbers this year certainly do not show any lack in lustre. From the 4 bungalows sold last year to the tune of $64.5 million, the figures have already almost doubled to 7 units at $102.7 million, and H2 is only just about to begin.

SentosaCoveBungalowMost Singaporeans who have purchased properties at Sentosa Cove have plans to live in them or to hold on to them for mid- to long-term investment purposes. Most of the properties here were sold for between $10 million and $15 million with exclusivity being one of the biggest calling cards. The most expensive bungalow sold this year thus far was at Lakeshore View. At 11,270 sq ft, it was sold for $21.25 million. In the non-landed private property front, condominiums at Sentosa Cove have also been selling fairly well this year with 21 units have been sold this far. On average, only 24 to 26 units were sold yearly in the period of 2013 to 2016.

oceanfrontsentosaWhile there has been reports of vacant units and capital-loss of properties on Sentosa, wealthy buyers are still looking for value buys and while foreign buyers are unable to access landed properties on the mainland, Sentosa Cove is a good location as any to hedge their funds. Though surprisingly, 6 out of the 7 bungalows sold this year were to Singporean buyers. As prices of properties have somewhat bottomed out over the past couple of years, investors are keen to return to the luxury property market, perhaps somewhat boosted by the narrowing of the gap between sellers and buyers’ expectations.

En bloc sales take centre stage this year

Yet another former HUDC estate has been put up for collective sale. Serangoon Ville situated in Serangoon Ave 1 has been made available for en bloc sale and the selling price is expected to be between $400 million and $430 million. The costs will be high for this land site as an additional $200 million to $220 million is required to intensify the land and to refresh the land lease by 99 years. The estate was privatised only in 2014 and has 69 years of lease left.

SerangoonVillePhoto credit: Google Maps Singapore

Property players and watchers are expecting developers to bid efficiently for this land site that averages out to be $720 psf per plot ratio, particularly since recent sales of ex-HUDCs such as Eunosville and Rio Casa were closed successfully and above asking prices. Currently, Serangoon Ville houses 7 blocks of 244 apartment units, including some maisonettes, with sizes ranging between 1,625 sq ft and 1, 733 sq ft. One redeveloped, the 296,913 sq ft plot could potentially yield 750 to 900 units.

2 other former HUDCs – Tampines Court and Florence Regency – are already in the process of putting their estates up for sale. The latter is planning to commence signing of their collective sale agreement in July this year. This year’s healthy new home sales has possibly boosted developers’ confidence in the market’s stabilisation and future recovery.

But with the number of private land sites being sold and private estates sold en bloc, one cannot but help to wonder how Singapore’s real estate sector will look like in 3 to 4 years’ time. Add the Bidadari township into the mix, the market might be seeing a huge entry of public and private housing within the next 5 years. Rents have been sliding due to the increased number of completed and available properties in the recent couple of years, how will the market react then?

2 more HUDCs try their hand at en bloc sales

On the back of successful collective sales this year, 2 more private residential developments are trying their hand at the process. Tampines Court and Florence Regency are both previous HUDCs, similar to the 2 other properties which sold recently – Rio Casa and Eunosville.

TampinesCourtThe lack of land sites made available under the government land sales (GLS) programme may be the reason behind the success of these recent en bloc sales. Developers’ hunger for land has been reflected in the the high prices paid for recent en bloc deals, and the latter could also be precisely what is bolstering the courage of residents of Tampines Court and Florence Regency.

There are a total 18 HUDC projects built since the 1970s and all have been privatised, with 9 sold thus far, including Shunfu Ville and Raintree Gardens last year. Shunfu Ville could essentially be what got the en bloc ball rolling and more successes were recorded this year. Rio Casa sold for $575 million and Eunosville for $765 million.

RioCasaHUDC HougangFlorence Regency is situated in H0ugang and has a land area of 389,000 sq ft. While it is still in the early stages of the en bloc process, Tampines Court on the other hand already has secured consent from 82 per cent of its residents. The asking price is currently set at $960 million for the 702,000 sq ft plot. At the moment, the property holds 432 maisonettes and 125 apartments. This is however not their first attempt at the collective sale process. The first attempt at $408 million was in 2008 and the second attempt in 2011. Property analysts expect home owners to seek higher prices following recent successes, but also warn against pricing too high as it may discourage developers from bidding.

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.