Would you Woodlands?

Woodlands – This may have once been a forested area but now many call it home. Including the estates of Marsiling and Admiralty, Woodlands has HDB flats, executive condominiums (ECs) and private condominiums in its midst, not to mention a bustling regional commercial hub.

BellewoodsECSome of the condominiums standing in the district include La Casa, Woodsvale, Northoaks, The Tennery and Woodhaven. If it’s an EC you are looking for, the estate also has Bellewoods, Forestville, Twin Fountains and soon, Northwave to offer.

Under the URA Masterplan, a new Woodlands Regional Centre will feature easy and convenient links to Malaysia and also more than 700,000 sq metre of commercial spaces. New industrial spaces will also mean more jobs for the residents of Woodlands and could also translate to higher demand for rental and sale properties. The Woodlands North Coast is also in the works, aiming to bring greenery and waterfront living to the region.

woodlandsNCPhoto credit: URA

Bellewoods, an award-winning EC on Woodlands Ave 5, is one such project. It aims to bring the tranquility of green-living into the residence, with modern-day conveniences such as the woodlands MRT station and Causeway point shopping centre just next door. Developed by Qingjian Realty, Bellewoods is slated for completion next year and as it was launched before the resale levy rule was set, buyers are able to save up to $55,000 for an EC unit.

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.

 

It’s an EC world

Executive condominiums are some of the hottest properties on the buying public’s radar this year. These rare hybrid private-public homes straddle the 2 markets in the best way possible. While they begin their journey as public housing, thus allowing qualifying buyers to make use of government subsidies and loans to secure a usually cheaper-yet-comparable alternative to private condominium units, they graduate after 10 years to the private property market and their values more often that not appreciate considerably.

WandervaleECOne of the first ECs to be launched this year include Wandervale and The Visionaire. The Parc Life will soon be launched. Even though the nearby 1-327-unit Sol Acres EC might have been competing for buyers , 320 out of the 534-unit Wandervale EC in Choa Chu Kang has been sold.  Most of the units popular with HDB ugpraders and young families were the 4-bedders. 82 were sold in total. Prices averaged at $755 psf with a 3-bedroom apartment starting at $655,000 and the larger 4-bedders going for more than $896,000.  The Wandervale’s proximity to the Choa Chu Kang MRT station could have added to its popularity.

Besides The Parc Life, other EC launches in the works include Treasure Crest in Sengkang, Northwave in Woodlands and another in Choa Chu Kang.

Property market showing signs of awakening

Sturdee-ResidenceAlthough property prices have been falling, the show of interest from the buying public has never really waned, instead they are now simply more aware of their options and have become more selective in their investments.

Signs that the market lull might be broken soon have come from the positive take-up of units in 2 recent launches at The Visionaire Executive Condominium (EC) and The Sturdee Residences. 158 units were sold the 632-unit The Visionaire EC at a median price of $811 psf while prices averaged at $1,550 psf at the 305-unit The Sturdee Residences. Buyers at the private residential project have gone mainly for the smaller one- and two-bedders though 3 of its 8 penthouses have already found new owners. Two of the 1,830 sq ft penthouse units were sold at $3.2 million each.

Gem REsidencesThe Parc Life EC and private residential project Gem Residences will launch this weekend. Private condominium Stars of Kovan is expected to launch next month. The latter is a mixed-use development consisting of 390 residential units, 5 strata terraces and 46 shops. Prices are expected to range between $1,550 to $1,600 psf. E-applications for Parc Life have already exceeded the 660 units available and there is hope that uptake will be on the uptick at both these projects.

Singapore’s future smart homes

Starting with an executive condominium (EC) in Sembawang, Singapore’s aim to become a smart nation will take shape in the smart-home units which allow home owners to remotely control household appliances such as air conditioners using their mobile devices.

The VisionaireThe 632-unit The Visionaire EC in Canberra Link will feature cutting edge technology in a partnership with Samsung. Home owners will also be able to control access of visitors, monitor their homes through cameras and control locking systems to their homes using smart devices. The features are however not compulsory, they will allow owners who are not comfortable with the features to opt out.

The executive condominium is developed by Qingjian Realty and prices look to be set between $750 to $800 psf. The units will be made available by 23rd of April and there will be a range of 721 sq ft 2-bedders to 1,581 sq ft four-bedders for buyers to choose from.

Smart Nation SingaporeOn the new-technology front, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and City Development (CDL) have also partnered up to set up 2 laboratories to research and develop energy-efficient homes with features such as noise-pollution masking, solar panels energy-harnessing and pollution-inhibiting systems. The $2.25million donation from CDL will support the NUS-CDL Smart Green Home which will be ready by December 2017.

How deep is the property market well?

Property prices in Singapore have been falling since 2014, 10 consecutive quarters to be exact. In the first quarter of this year, HDB flat prices have stabilised at 0.1 per cent while private property prices have dipped 0.7 per cent. In 2015, HDB flat and private property prices fell an average of 0.4 and 0.9 per cent respectively.

Kingsford WaterbayPhoto: Kingsford Waterbay condominium 

HDB flat prices have begun to stabilise of late, though some property analysts are still expecting a further drop in the second half of the year as 25,000 new BTO flats reach completion this year. A good 30 per cent of these new-flat buyers are upgraders and home owners, not investors, which means they will be looking to sell their existing HDB flat in order to finance their new flat. This will bring a new slew of units into the resale HDB flat market. Though the demand for resale flats has not waned much, the rise in supply may put the ball in the buyers’ court.

 Photo: Clementi Gateway BTO flats

Similarly in the private property and EC (executive condominium) market, buyers will need to time their upgrading manoeuvre in order to manage cash flow, thus some may be in a rush to let go of their existing unit which could put further pressure on the market which will be seeing 21,906 new private condominium and 4,561 EC units enter its midst this year. How will the property sector perform in this crucial second quarter of 2016?

The value of ECs shine through

Executive condominiums (ECs), the hybrid that traverses public and private property markets have always been known to attract buyers for its inherent value. ECs start their journey off as public housing, which means grants and other subsidies can be taken against the purchase of these privately-developed properties. And after a 10-year period, they are released of their public property status and enter the private property market to enjoy the full status and value of private condominiums.

Nuovo1Photo: Nuovo condominium

Thus it is no surprise at all that privatised executive condominiums, especially those in prime estates such as Bishan, have been getting all the eyeballs. Some of the more popular privatised ECs to hit the market include Bishan Loft, The Dew and Nuovo. Prices at Bishan Loft for example, leaped 166% after privatisation, partly boosted by the mushrooming of new condominiums in the vicinity including Sky Vue and Sky Habitat and mostly due to the lower launch prices which ranged from $300 to $400 psf. Bishan Loft was launched in 2001.

TheCriterionPhoto: The Criterion EC

Prices of ECs have been rising over the years. Some of the latest offerings came close to the $1,000 psf mark, which even similar units on the resale market are unlikely to cross. The narrowing price gap can been since in Yishun, where the private residential project Symphony Suites launched at relatively affordable prices of $1,000 psf while the nearby EC, The Criterion were averaging prices of $795 psf. What response can the latest executive condominium launches draw from the crowd? Will they flock to purchase or hold back as more private suburban properties become price-competitive.

 

New property launches in May

The first quarter revealed a dip in new private property prices, though it could have been chalked up to the lack of new property launches. Developers may have been holding back on the launches, due to China’s market instability and the lunar new year festivities, till the later part of H1. And when that happens, pent up demand may mean good news.

Kingsford WaterbayPhoto: Kingsford Waterbay

Sturdee-ResidenceThere were a few select launches in February,  the 40-unit Longhaus in Upper Thomson Road; and The Wisteria and Cairnhill Nine this month. With the increase in uptake this month, property analysts are hopeful that numbers will look up in the second quarter.

Suburban condominiums fared particularly well, with The Panorama in Ang Mo Kio and Kingsford Waterbay both selling 18 units last month, the former at $1,211 psf and the latter at $1,127 psf. Principal Garden, Symphony Suites and The Poiz Residences are close runner-ups. A total of 430 homes were sold last month, down 10.2 per cent from January.

Buyers will however have lots to look forward to in a couple of months’ time. Sturdee Residences, The Visionaire and Parc Life executive condominiums and a new private condo in Toa Payoh will all be launching soon.