Property prices soften last quarter

Property market prices seemed to have fallen once again as Q3’s numbers show. Weaker market sentiments as well as a weakening rental market seem to have taken a toll on property prices and sales volume. Resale HDB flat prices were down 0.3 per cent and private property prices down 0.9 percent in Q3. In a year-on-year comparison, HDB resale prices have fallen 9.8 per cent and private property prices 8 percent since 2013. Property analysts have expected a drop in prices this year of between 4 to 6 per cent.

Queens Condo Stirling RoadWhile many private property owners may not yet be feeling the impact of the price decline, those who truly want to sell their property may be faced with the dilemma of dropping their asking price in order to close the deal. With more readily available industry information, buyers are now more aware of market prices and making more informed offers, which places the ball in their court.

The HDB resale flat market seems to be stabilising. Last month’s price decline is the smallest thus far, with the previous month seeing a 0.4 per cent drop. As most HDB flat buyers are able to service their loans using their property using Central Provident Funds (CPF), they may be less affected by a weakening economy and rising interest rates.

How the market fares moving ahead, will be largely dependent on the economy. The 1998 Asian financial crisis is a good reminder of how policies, jobs and industries are closely tied.


Quality of life in quality homes

The number of private residential properties out there have blossomed, and with the options so far and wide, how do you narrow down your choices?

Location is often one of the first considerations for time-conscious buyers, but there should also be some leeway, depending on a balance of affordability and other factors such as age of the property, to consider quality of life and the lifestyle you’re in search of.

There are now a good many more properties offering waterfront living, or high-rise units with scenic views of the city of greenery than before. Take the 147-unit Riverbay apartments for example. Though not a massive development, its smaller size provides an exclusivity and quiet, especially with its view overlooking the Kallang River. Located at the fringe of the city, it also offers lush greenery and is close by the Kallang Park Connector. Other pros include the provision of a number of schools nearby including St. Andrew’s Junior and Secondary schools and Junior College, and the Stamford American Internationl School.

Suites@OrchardAnd if it’s stylish interiors and city-centre-living you’re looking for, then set your sight on properties in district 9 – Orchard and River Valley. Properties in this areas are pricier, but they do come with many pluses such as quality interiors, fittings and finishes; and are just a quick walk away from the Orchard shopping belt and MRT stations. Near the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, in fact just next to the Plaza Singapura shopping mall, is Suites at Orchard – a 10-storey project with a range of units ranging from one-bedders to penthouses.

But if it’s resort-style living you are after, then looking East would not be such a bad idea. Take Palm Isles in Flora Drive for instance. It is situated close to Changi beach, though they already have resort living down pat right on their doorstep with dip pools, spa pools, lounge pools and lap pools all in its midst. The development also offers one of the few landed houses within a private property compound – 28 three-storey homes featuring 3,757 sq ft Garden Homes and 3,014 sq ft Garden Terraces.

Though choices are aplenty, and it is wise to shop around till you find a unit you like, narrowing down on the kind of lifestyle you want will help you be a step closer to your dream home.

More launches ahead in the North-West

August proved to be a slow month for the private property market as the lack of new launches and the Hungry Ghost month made a tiny bump numbers-wise.

The number of homes sold were similar in a year-on-year comparison with 2014, and while it is comforting to know that the numbers are level, the overall primary sales figure of 7,400 units sold last year is below the ideal 10,000 to 12,000 units per year primary sales volume. The resale private property market is largely dependent on the primary sales market thus home sellers as well as developers are all hoping for more vibrant sales of new properties.

PrincipalGardenThe last quarter of the year may be more promising as there are a number of new launches coming up. This includes Principal Garden in Prince Charles Cresent, and a slew of executive condominiums (ECs) in the North and North-west, namely: Signature @ Yishun , Wandervale in Choa Chu Kang, The Criterion in Yishun and Parc Life in Sembawang.

The most recent EC launch was Sol Acres in Choa Chu Kang. So far, 259  units have been sold at approximately $787 psf. Despite the recently-announced increase in income ceiling for EC applicants from $12,000 to $14,000, the uptake for EC units seemed to have stalled somewhat, with an increasing number of units unsold.

Property analysts are chalking this up to a lull month, the location of the properties, tightening loan limits and the developers’ track records. But will the upcoming EC launches fare better?

Signature @ Yishun – New Executive Condominium launch

With crowds flocking to the show flat of the new executive condominium (EC), Signature at Yishun, it could be sign Yishun will be seeing a potential rejuvenation. This district will already have a new private condominium Northpark Residences, interconnected with the Northpoint Shopping Centre and bus terminal ready by 2018.

With the recently announced raise in income ceiling to $14,000 for EC applicants, it will not be surprising if this new launch, the first EC to be launched after the change, draws a high number of applications. Applications are open till September 20.

Signature@YIshunPhoto credit: 

Situated in Yishun Street 51, the 525-unit Signature @ Yishun EC will be quite near the Orchid Country Club and Lower Seletar Reservoir. Developed by JBE Holdings, which also has The Amore and SkyPark Residences executive condominiums under their belt, the new Signature EC will feature three- and four-bedroom units ranging from 764 to 1,302 sq ft. If prices of their previous EC launches were anything to go by, pricing of units at Signature will be around $800 psf or higher. Just next to this new EC project, another plot of land will also feature an EC by City Developments which has yet to be announced.

Yishun truly looks like it will see quite a bit of activity in the next decade or so. Will HDB flats in the district also enjoy the spillover benefits?

Resale private property prices inch up

Positive news for the resale non-landed private property front as prices inched up slightly by 0.2 per cent last month. Though not a massive leap, any shifts in the right direction is a good sign indeed.

Archipelago private condominium project in Bedok.

Properties in the fringe of the city in particular had a good showing with a 7.1 per cent increase from a year ago. This is quite impressive considering prices have fallen 6.2 per cent in the last year for units in the central region and 2.9 per cent in the suburbs. The year-end festivities usually mean a slight slow-down in the property market, but between then and after the Hungry Ghost Festival, a number of new property launches are expected to help buoy the resale property market. Some new launches include Principal Garden in Prince Charles Crescent and Thomson Impressions in Sin Ming.

A recent change in immigration policies announced by the Ministry of Manpower in July may affect the demand for investment properties and rental units. The minimum monthly salary ceiling for Employment Pass (EP) holders who are bringing their families with them will be raised to $5,000 from $4,000. This may deter existing EP holders from following through with their plans or potential EP holders looking to relocate. However, this may only mean a dip in demand for larger units. Could smaller studio or one- and two-bedder units continue to benefit from the change?



Competition heats up in suburban rental market

As the number of new condominiums reaching completion in the suburbs increase, more owners and landlords are feeling the heat of the competition, especially if many units within the same establishment are in the market for tenants.

Tenants are becoming more savvy and picky with their rental choices, and are more aware of the choices and rental prices available. Though rents are not dipping anytime yet, competition may eventually push it downwards. Older resale condominium developments may also feel the squeeze more as proximity no longer plays a part in differentiating rental prices. When placed near each other, newer private apartment units will command higher prices in comparison, as their facilities are newer and may need lesser maintenance.

WaterfallGardensThe size of the property will then come into play. Smaller suburban developments without amenities at the scale at which larger establishments offer may lose out slightly. At D’Leedon for example, rental prices were at a monthly median of $4, 288 whereas at the nearby older Waterfall Gardens, median prices were at $8,600 per month. That could however be due to the larger apartment sizes of units at Waterfall Gardens, which does not have smaller studio or one-bedders.

With diminishing expatriate housing budgets, landlords may be looking at tenants with the spending power of $3,000 to $6,000 per month. But as centrally-located apartments have rental price tags closer to $10,000 per month, suburban units may still garner some attention. It may merely be a matter of how thinly spread out the tenant pool will be.

Private property market – The road ahead

The outlook for private properties seems a little vague for the moment. Though the market seems to be enjoying a respite, with prices maintaining its current level, and prices have risen slightly over the past two months, property experts are expecting an overall fall of 3 to 4 per cent in the Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI) this year.

Buyers looking out for good deals are picking up units across both the central and non-central regions. Recent increases in the SRPI could be due to the rise in number of transactions especially in the central regions with 0.6 and 0.2 per cent increases in June and July respectively.

WoodhavenThe rental market, however, has remained weak, especially in the suburbs. And as rents begin to fall in the central regions, many tenants are making quick comparisons and opting to move into more centrally-located properties instead. For example, a private 2-bedroom condominium unit in Woodlands is being rented out for $2,000 a month, which is comparative to leasing a 3-room HDB flat.

But for buyers and investors who are considering purchasing private properties, investing in bigger resale or new properties may be preferable as smaller units will be facing fiercer rental competition once many of these units reach completion next year.

Private property sales steady

Private property sales seem to be steady in the past months, though there has been a recent spike in July as a new condominium launch pushed numbers up. Post June-holidays sales could also have made up the rise in number of sales transactions, plus some buyers may be rushing to close deals before the Hungry Ghost Month.

High Park ResidencesThe recent launch of High Park Residences in Fernvale performed exceedingly well in July, with 1,169 units sold. The average selling price stood at $989 psf. Property experts put much of their success to their ability to put the finger accurately on the buyer’s pricing ‘sweet-spot’. Smaller units with more affordable quantum prices seem to be the way to go in the current market. A good 15 per cent of the units went for under $500,000 and a 388 sq ft unit even sold at $373,450.

Situated close enough to the upcoming Seletar regional hub, the popular condominium has 2-bedders sized at 570 to 732 sq ft and 3-bedders at 872 to 990 sq ft. Considering a 2-bedder deluxe unit goes for $650,000, prices are more than affordable for the average middle-upper-class Singaporean. Other properties which have sold well last month include Botanique at Bartley, City Gate and Riverbank@Fernvale.

Moving ahead, property analysts are expecting the new property market to quieten slightly, though activity may pick up in the executive condominium (EC) segment.