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.

204, 500 properties to be completed by 2016

At 6,508 more units than the 197,566 units projected earlier this year, there will be 204,500 executive condominium and private apartment units built by 2016, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Completed condominium units are increasing in number as developers pour fresh new stock into the market mix. Despite having held back on some major launches as the year-end lull draws close, the number of properties available in the market continues to rise. Industry experts are however expecting developers to lower their launch prices in order to boost sales.

The CreekFrom the looks of the recent Inflora condominium launch, selling prices, of new properties at least, may indeed be on the slippery slope. But that perhaps might be good news for those looking to invest. Properties in the prime city centre spots are dropping by as much as 0.5 per cent whereas city fringe and suburban areas enjoy continued growth, however slight.

Over the next 3 years, 4, 884 more private homes will be built as National Development Minister, Mr. Khaw Boon Wan considers it “making good progress in our ramp-up of the home-building programme”. The number of HDB flats to be built will remain the same as projected. 1, 355 executive condominiums will be ready within the same time frame. What does this heightened supply mean for Singapore’s housing market and will the population growth be a reflection of a cause of this increased property growth?

Steep rise in Resale HDB Flat COV

The storm that brewed in the public housing market last quarter came in the form of COV prices. Rising from $45, 000 to as much as $67,800 in popular mature estates such as Toa Payoh and Tampines, January’s cooling measures may just have been the breakwater to calm the waves. The cooling measures have only just been implemented, and the first three weeks of 2013 saw steady median COVs and demand for resale HDB flats.

Mirage new HDB BTO Flats in Choa Chu Kang.

Mirage new HDB BTO Flats in Choa Chu Kang.

Whether these price waves will crash and subside or overtake the cooling measures, may be dependent on the supply of flats as well as whether there are changes in the eligibility of singles in applying for new HDB flats. Although National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has mentioned that this year may be the year rules change, it still awaits implementation.

The lack of supply of resale HDB flats is also partly due to the fact that most HDB owners see their flats as a good source of rental income, and as long as that option is open, and the rental demand is high, they may be unwilling to forego their HDB flats, thus decreasing the number of available resale flats in the market.

Some reasons which may have driven buyers to look for resale HDB flats:
1. They are willing to pay for a favourable location
2. They want to move into a new home quickly
3. They are looking to upgrade within the public housing category to a bigger space

On the other side of the coin, industry analysts have brought up the point that demand for resale HDB flats are driven largely by those who are ineligible to purchase new HDB flats, mainly permanent residents (PRs) and singles. Does this mean then that these groups of buyers are actually able to afford resale HDB flats and thus there may not be a need to change things around and allow them to purchase new HDB flats? Or will a change of rulings mean lesser HDB flat owners may now benefit from the rise in value of the properties over the years? Will this largely decrease the potential pool of buyers of resale HDB flats or will the demand continue to be present, perhaps minus COV (cash-over-valuation)?

More HDB Flats at lower prices

By the 20th year into the 21st century, Singapore’s largest property developer, the HDB, has made a promise to deliver cheaper HDB flats and quicker.

Depot Heights – New BTO Flats in one of HDB’s many sales launches throughout the year.

Tapping on the flourishing construction industry, the Senior Minister of State for National Development, Lee Yi Shyan has stated that they hope to increasingly rely on mechanisation to reduce on-site construction time. HDB has launched more that 52, 000 flats in the last 2 years, and 20, 000 more are expected within the next few. How will the quality and floor area of these new flats compare to the older ones and are we to expect any improvements?

What does this mean for the property market? Will it affect the private residential property sector and what does it signify about the population growth rate of the nation-state? Will the now-defunct Design-and-build scheme be reinstated as the demand for HDB flats is expected to increase by 2020? And as singles could possibly enter the playing field albeit with stipulated criteria, what changes are expected of Singapore’s real estate market by then?