More unsold private home stock moved in April

New private home sales fell 11.6 per cent to 745 units last month, though the numbers may be considered to be decent as there were 2 major launches in March which caused a spike in sales volume, the highest in 8 months. The 268-unit The Cairnhill and 216-unit The Wisteria launched in March while the 305-unit Sturdee Residences and 48-unit The Asana launched in April.
The AsanaOlder projects however were finding favour with buyers as the number of transactions on previously launched developments rose from 541 to 619 in April. A few of these projects such as The Trilinq, have reached or will be reaching completion soon and are more of a draw for buyers who wish to move in sooner than later. Developers of some of these properties have also offered discounts and the lower prices are the icing on the cake.

Taking executive condominium (EC) units into consideration, the numbers are even higher. Approximately 400 EC units were sold. At the previously-launched The Terrace EC, the developers have put a buyer-referral scheme where both parties received $10,000 cash vouchers for successful transactions.

The TerraceProperty analysts are optimistic about the shift in tide as sales were spread evenly amongst the 15 top-selling residential projects, a sign that buyers are looking throughout the island, and not simply converging on new launches. Ironically, the government’s insistence on keeping the property cooling measures might have driven buyers back into the market as they realise the curbs may not be lifted anytime soon.

 

Cool moves to boost property market take off

Property buyers and investors are certainly flexing their shopping muscles this year by weighing their many options carefully and taking time to do so. It has been the buyers’ market for sometime now, with sellers and developers realising that the ball is over in the other court.

Twin Peaks2Purchasing activity has certainly not ceased, but buyers are taking their time to shop their options, with most seeing about 10 to 15 units before taking the plunge. Thus interest is definitely still evident, but the speed and volume of sales may have to take a backseat for now. Some developers have taken to new and creative ways to push sales. OUE for example has offered a deferred payment scheme for their 99-year leasehold condominium Twin Peaks. The move has helped them sell around 100 more units since end March and also put them in the race against freehold properties nearby such as Ardmore Three and Gramercy Park. Average prices at Twin peaks stand at $2,300 psf while units at Ardmore Three are going for around $2,700 psf and the upcoming Gramercy Park has prices set at around $2,600 psf.

LloydSixtyFiveIn a move to help their customers tide over property cooling curbs, in particular the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD), the developer of Lloyd Sixty-Five, TG development, is offering an “experimental purchaser scheme” which allows the buyer to pay only 12.5 per cent of the purchase price to occupy the unit without having to pay the maintenance fees and property tax for a stipulated period of time till such time when the property cooling measures may be lifted.

Property mortgage sales even include uncompleted units

A weakening rental market and the growing supply of new homes have pushed even more units into the realm of mortgage sales.

Silversea1Even uncompleted units are now going under the hammer. While only 3 properties were auctioned last year, the number have more than quadrupled to 13 in the same period this year. More mortgagees are defaulting on their loans, which could be largely due to the diminishing loans they are now able to secure based on the debt servicing limits, increasing competition in the rental market and an overall property price drop.

Investors who have been dipping their toes into too many properties may be finding themselves unable to service the multitude of loans taken on multiple properties, in particular smaller one-bedders or studio apartments which are only reaching completion in the recent couple of years. Some units at The Greenwich in Seletar and euHabitat for example, in particular smaller one-bedroom apartments priced at $1 million or below, are being put up for auction as their owners are overstretched financially and find it difficult to secure rents sufficient enough to cover their mortgages. Larger penthouses with irregular layouts above 1,500 sq ft and priced above $2million are also finding it difficult to find buyers or tenants as they exceed the budget of many investors but may not yet fulfil the requirements of affluent or high-networth buyers.

The GreenwichSome of the units put up for auction this year include a one-bedroom penthouse in Guillemard Edge, a three-bedder in Bartley Residences and a four-bedder in Silversea condominium in Marine Parade. The latter was sold at $1,529 psf or a total of $3.9million.

 

Increased supply beginning to affect private resale condo prices?

There has been talk about private non-landed home prices being affected by the onslaught of new completed homes flooding the market this year. Could the supply-glut effect be already taking hold of the market as resale completed condo prices fell 1 per cent in March?

Bentley ResidenceFebruary and January were positive months for the private resale property market as prices rose 0.5 and 0.2 per cent respectively. Though the fall in March may seem a bit of a letdown, an overall dip was registered in all market segments. The largest decrement was for the non-central regions, where a 1.4 per cent fall was recorded.

Property analysts are expecting a 3 per cent fall in private home prices this year as the supply of completed homes continue to be met by competition from new launches and competitive pricing from developer-sold projects. Resellers of completed or older resale condominium units may face increase competition from developers who are now pricing newly-launched units are more palatable pricing. Buyers have also become more selective and are more likely to pay only for location. The total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework also limits the amount they can loan, thus putting a bit of a dampener on investment- or upgrading-based property purchases.

As the middle of the year approaches quickly, the next quarter will likely show the market response more clearly as more new launches are planned. How will the consumers react to the competition for their attention. Will sales volume increase significantly or will prices fall in the heat of battle?

Private home prices dip for 10 consecutive quarters

The delicate balance between population growth, economy growth and housing provision is not an easy one to strike. And Singapore as a young nation, will have to learn quickly as land is limited but the number of completed units to enter the market in the next couple of years is set to reach 23,000.

Cairnhill Nine CapitaLand

Photo credit: Cairnhill Nine by CapitaLand

Private property prices have been dipping for 10 consecutive quarters now, and the market will be under even greater pressure in the months ahead as supply continues to increase while demand remains stagnant. Rental prices are expected to fall even faster than sale prices and the global economic situation does not seem to be helping. Prices have fallen 9.1 per cent since Q3 of 2013 and non-landed suburban properties in the OCR (outside of central region) fell the hardest.

Part of the reason for the falling figures could be the cutback on land sales by the government and the consequent lack of new launches. Only 953 units were launched in Q1, but property players are expecting the momentum to pick up as the year moves on.

It the first quarter’s numbers were anything to go by, with sales rising 7.2 per cent to 2,847 units, volume may have increased across both the new and resale private home markets.

 

Prices of suburban properties dipping

Prices of new properties in the prime central districts have been rising, even as the market dulls. Suburban homes are feeling the strain put on the market by the influx of completed new homes this year.

The PanoramaBuyers seeking out properties in the suburbs tend to be more price-sensitive, and are often hampered by the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework and the additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD), leading to higher competition from an expanding pool of stock for a shrinking pool of ready buyers. Prices at The Panorama in Ang Mo Kio have fell 9.7 per cent since its launch to $1,213 psf and similarly in Clementi, units at The Trilinq are now priced around $1,408 psf, almost 9 per cent lower than its launch price.

In comparison, buyers of properties in the prime central districts are more affluent and are able to afford the prices properties here demand. For example at Robin Residences, selling prices are now hovering at $2,371 psf, 2.4 per cent higher than its launch-price. Buyers of centrally located properties also have stronger holding power and less likely to sell unless the price is right.

RObin ResidencesThe price gap between suburban and central district homes have been widening. Last year, CCR (core central region) new-home price premiums were 81 per cent over those in the OCR (outside central region). As more OCR homes hit the secondary market this year, how will smaller investors handle the competition?

 

843 new private homes sold in March

And that is a 8-month high, especially since the last new property launch was 4 months ago – The Poiz Residences in November 2015. That could be the glimmer of hope the local property market has been waiting for, though some analysts are still cautious about a obvious rebound as the government has tightened their grip on land supply this year.

WIsteria YishunThe rise in transactions of new units last month could be partly due to the pent up demand over the Chinese new year lull in February and the lack of new launches in the first 2 months of the year. Only 209 units were launched in February while the number more than tripled to 682 in March. The number of units sold doubled from 303 in February to 843 in March. The 2 new launches in March were Cairnhill Nine and The Wisteria.

Although the government has announced that they will be unlikely to ease up on the property cooling measures anytime soon, some buyers who may have been waiting in the sidelines for better deals may be coming to realise that prices will not be falling drastically this year and may have finally made the purchase move last month.

Overall, market sentiment is picking up and buyers are picking off bargains and affordable units before the winds change. New mass market suburban properties are capturing eyeballs and wallets.

Tengah – A whole new world

Just when you think Singapore is running out of space, there is news that a whole new town will be built in the west side of the country. Announced in Parliament earlier this week by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, the new town nicknamed “Forest Town” –  Tengah will be around the size of Bishan and bordering Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok and Jurong West HDB estates.

tengah-new-town

Photo credit: HDB

Apparently mooted as early as 1991, Tengah will be an industrial park that blends nature with industries from the nearby Jurong Innovation District. In the planning are 55,000 new homes. With the buzz that has been rallying around the west – new condominiums and HDB flats in Lakeside, Bukit Batok and Choa Chu Kang – and a general rejuvenation of the Jurong regional industrial and business district, new property hot spots may spark new interest in previously underrated districts while areas which are already popular may burn even brighter.

HDB MasterplanPhoto credit: HDB

Across the island, part of the plans to rejuvenate Singapore include a new creative cluster in Punggol, a new waterfront Northern Growth corridor that embraces Woodlands and Sembawang and also a second regional business district at Jurong Lake. The government also has plans to rejuvenate older towns such as Toa Payoh, Pasir Ris and Woodlands.

As infrastructure and commercial opportunities expand over the next 1o to 20 years, the property market may gradually witness a more seamless flow of demand and supply over most districts.