Resale HDB flat prices expected to stablise

It seems like 2016 could be the year when things stand still. Good for some, and a little less ideal for others. But either ways, it may be a good time for the dust to settle, for the market to finally take stock of the property cooling measures and interest rate hikes, to balance the supply and demand scale, and for the authorities to closely monitor and plan their next steps.

HDB mature estatePhoto credit: Singapore Tourism Board

Prices of resale HDB flats have stayed the same last November and December, perhaps signalling a stabilisation of the market. There was a slight 0.3 per cent and 0.1 per cent rise for 3- and 4-room flats, but a drop of 0.4 per cent for 5-room flats and ECs (executive condominiums). Flats in mature estates are still in demand, with a 0.2 per cent rise in prices, though in comparison, prices fell the same percentage in non-mature estates.

It has taken resale HDB flat prices some time to fall a narrow margin, thus a soft landing could be said to have been achieved considering last year only saw a 1.3 per cent drop in price index. Property experts are expecting prices to hold at their current level for the rest of the year despite HDB’s announcement of their intended launch of 18,000 new BTO flats this year, as the target audience for both flat types are different, with those searching within the resale HDB market most likely requiring a HDB flat in the short term. New flats typically require 3 to 6 years to build.

 

Decrease in property launches next year?

Large fresh batches of completed homes will be entering the market next year, which may in turn increase the supply of available private homes and decrease consumer’s demand. Add the Federal Reserve’s rate hike which was just announced yesterday, the market is expected to remain quiet in 2016. The authorities are picking up on these changes and have announced that they will be holding back on the release of land sites for sale in the first half of 2016.

As most of the completed new private homes flooding the market next year will be outside the central regions, that is 55% in the suburbs, suburban private properties might be feeling the crunch in terms of rental competition and sales volume. The total number of private homes reaching completion next year will be a whooping 22,351. Property experts’ have previously projected the market requirement of only 8,000 to 10,000 new units per year. The numbers have almost doubled over the last 4 years, with a total of 70,000 private homes were launched within this time period. Add public housing and the numbers are substantial reason for worry.

Although the government will still keep the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme going in order to keep the property and construction industry going, they will only be releasing 16 sites in the H1 of 2016. Some of the confirmed sites include a residential site in Sembawang,  an executive condominium (EC) plot in Anchorvale Lane which may yield 640 units, a mixed-use plot in Bukit Batok West and a rare plot on Martin Place near River Valley road. The last of the 4 confirmed sites may be of particular interest to developers hoping to snag a prime plot which could yield potential high-end residential units.

Developers and buyers could also be interested in a few other mixed-use sites, in particular one on Holland Drive.

New home sales up in November

The Poiz Residences near Potong Pasir MRT station sold almost 80% of its 350 units launched last month. Median prices were at $1,440 psf. Elsewhere, newly released units sold at the previously launched Sky Vue in Bishan clocked in at 59 units, with an average selling price of $1,552 psf. Other best sellers include Principal Garden and Thomson Impressions.

poiz-img-001Photo: The Poiz Residences in Potong Pasir
In total, 423 units were sold in November, making it a 79 per cent rise in new private home sales last month. Properties in the city fringes fared especially well, with transactions almost doubling that of October. This could be due to more new developer launches in November as compared to a quiet October.

Thomson ImpressionsMoving ahead, location and selling prices will be the main focus for buyers as most are out for a bargain. Take the executive condominium (EC) market for example, 186 units were sold last month without any major EC launches based on the relevance of ECs and also their attractive pricing. Executive condominiums are a hybrid of private and public housing. Buyers can apply for HDB grants to purchase these properties and after 10 years, they attain a private condominium status, often elevating the value and selling price of the units.

Property analysts are expecting 2016 to be a fruitful year for developer launches which are reasonably and affordably priced, at good locations near MRT stations or schools. Suburban projects might struggle a little as competition with new resale private condominiums (those which have just reach completion) drive supply up.

Local developers setting sights on Overseas property market

Since the implementation of the property cooling measures and a recently dampened local property market, some developers are moving to developing overseas properties in cities where economic growth and demand for certain types of properties provide fodder for potential yields.

London FlatPhoto: Flat in London

Spotting opportunities in countries such as Britain and China, these overseas properties developed by local developers give overseas and local investors alike more investment opportunities and options. China has been experiencing some signs of economic stress with the oversupply of properties, leaving some ‘ghost towns’ in her midst. But in major cities such as Shanghai, where commerce and the international community is strong, the demand for properties remain high. Especially after the government lifted their restrictions on loans and relaxed the rules on foreign purchases, interest and buying activity has increased.

In the city of London and her South Eastern suburbs, prospects remain positive. City Development Limited (CDL) is one of the developers concentrating their efforts on larger projects. They are doing the same in Tokyo despite the seemingly slower economy in Japan, and are hopeful that economic measures taken by the Japanese government will give the real estate sector a boost.

The Brownstone ECPhoto: The Brownstone EC in Sembawang

Locally, the executive condominium (EC) market has had varied results as not all launches were equally well received. The Brownstone EC in Sembawang has sold 289 out of its 638 units thus far, but The Criterion in Yishun has only sold 45 out of its 505 units. Both properties are developed by CDL. With more resale private residential options and new and resale HDB flats available in the market, buyers now have more choices on their platter, and may be taking a longer time to shop for a unit.

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: Executivecondominiums.sg 

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?

The many pluses of a Brownstone

Say Brownstone and most would think of the infamous (and also notoriously expensive) townhouses in America built in the 1800s.

But here in Singapore, a similarly named The Brownstone is a executive condominium (EC) in Canberra Drive. Response however was just as keen as it would have been if it were a brownstone townhouse in New York. Part of the attraction came from its proximity to the upcoming Canberra MRT station. Both the EC and the MRT station are planned for a 2019 completion date. The Brownstone will also feature a unique brown, sandstone-textured facade and jetty-like balconies.

The Brownstone ECThe 638-unit EC received 300 applications over the weekend of its launch and considering how the competition in the EC market has heated up since there are quite a few currently available for application in the market. Prices are expected to start at $599,000 for a 732 sq ft two-bedder to $1.3 million for a 1,711 sq ft penthouse. Other ECs launched recently include Westwood Residences on Westwood Avenue and The Vales at Anchorvale Crescent.

Buyers are often partial to executive condominiums as they are a hybrid between public and private housing, which means government grants can be applied to the initial purchases of these units, and after 10 years, they will become private properties. More often than not, their values would have appreciated by a considerable amount by then.

Jurong will have more ECs

When Westwood Residences in Jurong comes up, Lake Life will not be the only new executive condominium (EC) in the Jurong district. Applicants will have better news as prices are expected to hover around the lower end of their price expectation.

Westwood REsidencesWestwood REsidences

Photo credit: thewestwoodresidences.com

Developers are gradually becoming more attuned to buyers’ pricing sweet spot and are more likely to price new units within their affordability range. If response at Lake Life EC was anything to go by, this new executive condominium and its fresh new prices may well be hot property. However, second-timers with a subsidised flat or EC will need to take note that the latest regulatory change will mean they will be subjected to a resale levy of $40 to $50 psf. Upgraders and first-time applicants will however enjoy a discount or subsidy.

Developers, Koh Brothers and Heeton Holdings have indicated an estimated price of $800 psf. The original price range was $790 to $840 psf. Bookings for the new EC units at the 480-unit Westwood Residences will commence on May 30 but show flats will be open by this weekend. The property will lie in the exclusive area of Westwood and just a few bus stops away from the Boon Lay MRT station. It also lauds itself as the first bike-themed development, with a focus on sports and lifestyle related offerings such as an aqua gym, bicycle garage and outdoor mini velodrome.