To buy or not to buy.

That is the question. When rental prices fall and rise according to property prices, which in turn are directed by local economies of scales and indirectly impacted by global economies and general market sentiment, that is often the question home-seekers ask themselves.

In the current market, is it wiser to buy or rent? Under what circumstances should you definitely choose one option over the other? Property analysts advice against renting while speculating on market direction as the uncertainties may not always work in your favour. Instead, the main factor should be whether renting or buying best suits your needs.

KembanganSuitesSingapore may very well be one of the cities in the world where most people own their homes. In many other cosmopolitan cities, rental is a more-than-common way of life. While renting may suit those who are not willing to be tied down by fixed monthly outlays such as mortgages, taxes and condominium maintenance fees, it also means that the money that goes into your rent does not ultimately accumulate into owning the roof over your head. There is also the danger of rental rates being raised and frequent moves.

Buying a property is not a small decision, and market advisors caution against doing so when you have not yet made sound financial calculations. The price differences in purchasing a freehold versus a leasehold property could also be considerable in the long run as most freehold properties tend to appreciate over time.  This then brings you to the considerations of when to buy and sell your property. While it is true that leasehold properties tend to depreciate, factors such as location and the competitiveness of neighbouring properties could also lend weight to the depreciation process, slowing it down considerably.

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.

 

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.

 

New Gem in Toa Payoh

Toa Payoh, one of Singapore’s oldest HDB estates and an integral part in the Nation’s housing history has been home to some for almost 50 years now. As part of HDB’s Estate Renewal programme in 1995, it is now an established and well-connected township in the central part of Singapore, much sought-after by property and business owners alike.

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Photo credit: HDB

Gem ResidencesOne of the recent launches, private residential project Gem Residences, will be a welcome addition to the area. And the public have shown their enthusiasm accordingly, as reflected in the 50% sales in the first day of sales even ahead of the public launch on Saturday. Industry experts are citing pent up demand for private condominium units in this estate as reasons for its more-than-positive sales figures.

Prices of the approximate 300 units sold were averaging at $1,426 psf. The 578-unit project offers up a arrange of units including one-bedders, two-room units and also penthouses. With the developer offering cash rebates of $7,500 to $10,000, buyers are taking the bait, fast and furious. Most of the smaller one- and two-bedders went quickly, with prices starting from $578,00 for a 452 sq ft one-bedder.

As a quick comparison, the average prices for new condominiums in Alexandra were at $1,600 psf and in Bishan, $1,500 psf. With the $1,426 psf pricing, the developers have shown that they are aware of what buyers are willing to fork out in the current market and are pricing more cautiously, sacrificing maximum profit margins for more palatable and sellable price structures.

 

Singapore property market on the mend?

Is Singapore’s property market finally bottoming out? Are current property prices the lowest they can go?

WhitehavenHong Kong and Singapore are 2 of Asia’s most expensive residential property markets, and while both countries’ governments have implemented property cooling measures to help abate the tension, prices remain high. Though Singapore’s property price spike of 92 per cent in the decade between 2003 and 2013 was not as drastic as Hong Kong’s 370 per cent in the same time period, housing cost has increased considerably and was much fodder for debate during the past 2 elections. While home prices have fallen 1.2 percent in Singapore and 13 per cent in Hong Kong since September 2015, the fall will have to be much more drastic for the situation to return to what it was before 2003.

Taking inflation, economic growth and global economics into consideration, property analysts feel that Singapore’s property cycle has almost reached its bottom or turning point as it is in a much more advanced state than Hong Kong’s. Considering the gentle slope of decline in Singapore’s property prices, a sharp rebound seems unlikely. Will there however be a glimmer of hope for a gradual increase upon policy changes and changes in the demand and supply scale?

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?