Fierce bids for Perumal Road land site

A mixed-use land site on Perumal road which could potentially yield 200 private homes and an entire floor of commercial spaces have attracted bullish bids from property developers since its release in November last year.

Sturdee-Residence11 bids have been placed, the highest at 4.4 per cent more than the next in line came from Low Keng Huat at $174.08 million. The second highest bid came from China Construction (South Pacific) development. The keen activity in the land sales sector could translate into a competitive primary and thereafter secondary market which will in turn mean a ready pool of buyers who are ready to spend after the prolonged market lull over the past few years.

Average selling prices at this site is expected to hover around $1,700 psf due to the high land cost and also its proximity to the Farrer Park MRT station and other amenities such as City Square Mall and Mustafa Centre. The neighbouring plot where Sturdee Residences stands only lodged at $787 psf.

The lack of land sites available for sale in the earlier part of 2016 could have resulted in pent up demand from developers who are looking to replenish their lank banks in preparation for 2018 and beyond when market recovery is expected to happen. Property analysts are already seeing signs of market stabilisation and developers who prepare ahead of the recovery could just catch buyers at an opportune time.

 

Sparks of hope in property market

Despite the prolonged property lull, analysts are hopeful that a few sparks of recovery will begin to rejuvenate the market this year. The office sector may boost the commercial market while high-end luxury homes will hold up the residential property segment.

dleedonAs far as regions go, the core central region is heating up in terms of foreign interest in both residential and commercial properties. The sliding private home prices, by 11 per cent since 2013, have brought investors back into the luxury homes market. Currency valuation will however continue to play a part in the movement of investment money, and Singapore will still have to compete with other cities such as Melbourne, Sydney and Shanghai for investors’ attention.

Compared to other major cities such as Hong Kong, New York and London however, apartment prices here have fallen and will become more appealing to foreign buyers as the potential for yields in the medium term is considerable, especially as these specific market segment is expected to perform well this year.

skylineorchardboulevardThe collective sales market is another to watch in 2017, as developers are expected to collaborate to build up their store of land sites for long term yields. There might also be acquisitions of smaller developers by larger ones in order to participate in the government land sales programme. Property prices are expected to remain stable but depending on a property’s rental yields as a means of investment or profit could become less attractive as investors find it more difficult to find tenants in an increasingly competitive market.

Long-term potential of Commercial property in Singapore

Commercial properties in Singapore still hold a special place in the hearts of investors, if the activity in the market last year was anything to go by.

straitstradingbuildingThere were some massive bulk purchases of prime sites from foreign entities in 2016 and developers were actively buying up land sites. Investors are obviously seeing huge potentials of the commercial property market here. The 43-storey Asia Square Tower 1 for example was sold at $3.38 billion to Qatar Investment Authority’s sovereign fund in June 2016. This record sale by investment firm BlackRock was the largest single-asset and office transaction in the Asia-Pacific region. On a smaller but not any less worthy scale, is the sale of the Straits Trading Building to Indonesia’s Mayapada Group for $560 million. At $3,250 psf, it set a record for psf prices in the district.

Investors from all over the world are spotting the potential for long-term positive growth in this region and in extending their reach in Singapore. Large assets here are of particular interest and 2017 may see more such transactions taking place.

sbf-centerNot only are they investing in completed commercial properties, but also in land with developmental potential, such as a white site in Central Boulevard which was purchased by Malaysian plantation and real estate tycoon, Lee Shin Cheng. This Marina Bay mixed-use site was released under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme. Though the office rental market has not been in its best form last year, there is hope that it will bounce back up by 2021.

 

Will current property bright spots continue to shine in 2017?

Private home prices have continued to fall in 2016, and while that may have coloured the market atmosphere somewhat grey, bright spots are beginning to shine through the gloom, with 3 sectors performing particularly well this year.

Miro condo on Lincoln Road, just off Novena at the City Fringe districts.

Miro condo on Lincoln Road, just off Novena in the city fringe.

The luxury residential property, commercial office and collective sales segments have all shone this year. And industry players are no doubt hoping that the positive streak will continue in 2017. In this year alone, 3 en bloc sales were closed. Only 1 such transaction was recorded for 2015 and none in 2014. Even for the private home market, sales volume has risen 9.8 per cent this year despite 10.8 and 10.7 per cent fall respectively in sale prices and rents in 12 consecutive quarters.

Some property analysts however consider the fall in property prices a good thing, as this has enticed more buyers back into the market. Buyers who may have previously stayed away from the market due to the increased stamp duties and fees implemented by the authorities in the past few years to attempt to cool the market, have now returned and are now swiftly closing transactions.

2 RVG condo apartment in River Valley

2 RVG condo apartment in River Valley

In the prime districts of 9, 10 and 11, private home transactions were already 42.6 per cent higher than the total in 2015. 2,601 deals were sealed in the Orchard, River Valley, Bukit Timah and Novena areas as of mid-December. With more land allocated under the Government Land Sales (GLS) scheme and developers on the lookout for smaller prime location sites, the market may see a lot more activity quite soon.

Prime land plots released for H1 of 2017

Out of the 5 residential sites which were released under the Government Land Sales (GLS) scheme‘s confirmed list for H1 of 2017 are 3 sites which may see heated competition from bidders – one on Jiak Kim Street where the Zouk nightclub used to stand, another on Fourth Avenue right next to the Sixth Avenue MRT station and yet another on Woodleigh Lane, near the new Bidadari township and Woodleigh MRT station.

rmaisonThese 5 sites are expected to yield up to 2,330 new homes, about 50% more than the 1,560 units yielded by land released in the first half of this year. Bidding on the last few sites released this year have gotten developers and property analysts excited about the potential volume and size of land plots to be released next year, but the authorities have kept it conservative thus far, having released only 10 sites on the reserve list. This includes 1 mixed-use site and 2 commercial sites.

It is possible that the Government is concerned about the stock of unsold executive condominiums (EC) currently in the market. In addition, most of the units sold this year were purchased by investors and not true home-occupiers. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has also recently flagged their concern about rising vacancy rates in the private property market. This combination of factors may have influenced their decision on how much land supply to release in 2017. Only 1 EC site was released on the confirmed list and another on the reserved list.

River Valley’s properties peak

Just off the city centre, with a quiet and exclusive environment and a variety of hip and happening eateries, retail and office housed in quaint heritage buildings nearby, River Valley has always been a property hotspot for expatriates and young professionals.

MartinPlaceResidencesSo it probably comes as no surprise that developers were quick to bid, fast and furiously, on a GLS (government land sales) site in its vicinity. With the highest bid coming from Guocoland at $595.1 million or $1, 239 psf for the Martin Place plot which is situated near the upcoming Great World MRT station and promises to yield as many as 450 homes, this could be one of the highest bids for a land plot, aside from those on Sentosa. In January this year, a Siglap road condominium site was sold for $624.2million but that could yield up to 900 units, twice the number of units the Martin Place plot is capped at.

Confidence was likely to have been boosted by strong sales from the recent Cairnhill Nine launch. The area is peppered with a wide variety of private properties, including shophouses, older resale condominiums, newer developments and upcoming residential projects. Demand continues to be strong as rental prices become more competitive. Sales volume has always been on the rise, with 86 units sold in May this year, compared to the 15 units monthly average in 2015. Developers’ response to this land sale could be a positive indication of market confidence in recovery.

 

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?

Future new private homes in 2 estates

Toa Payoh is well known for its attractiveness as a mature HDB estate, well chocked with amenities and commanding considerable prices for the resale HDB flats. However, the private condominiums in its midst are far and few in between

TreVistaTreVistaBut that might soon change as a private residential site near Braddell MRT station has been put on sale which might yield new 99-year leasehold properties in the future. Since the Government Land Sales Programmes (GLS) is planning to reduce the number of plots going up for sale, bidding for this prime site was keen, with 14 bidders going in with the highest coming from Evia Real Estate and their partners, Maxdin and Gamuda at $345.86 million. Selling prices of the new property is expected to range between $1,450 psf and $1,550 psf.

Just like Jurong and Lakeside, developers are expecting pent-up demand for private condominium apartments in Toa Payoh to work in their favour. The newest launch here, which has been for sometime now, is Trevista.

Hundred Trees on West Coast Drive.

Hundred Trees on West Coast Drive.

Another popular site which went up for sale under the GLS programme is one at at the Sungei Pandan waterfront at West Coast. With the possibility of yielding up to 600 homes in an area near the Westgate and Jem shopping malls, the Science centre and the future high-speed rail terminal in Jurong East, this 99-year lease term site is expected to fetch $370 million at auction. Nearby properties such as Waterfront @ Faber, Infiniti and Hundred Trees, have all fared well with some having sold out.