HDB resale flat market stabilising

While last month’s price decline in the HDB resale flat market may be slight at 0.3 per cent, a quick rebound may yet to be. Minor fluctuations may still occur, but prices seem to be stabilising. The number of flats changing hands also seem to be on the increase, up 3.9 per cent from August.

Punggol HDB EstateThe property cooling measures however continue to impact the property market with falling prices and sales volume in the private property market. While the effect is less apparent in the HDB resale market, prices have gone down by 8 to 9 per cent since its peak in 2013. Property analysts are expecting more gradual fall for the rest of the year, at a less-than-1 per cent monthly decline.

November’s mega-launch of 12,000 BTO (Build-to-order) flats may however take a toll on the resale market as buyers may hold back on buying from the resale market. On the other hand, most recent policy changes in public housing may also help buyers qualify for and attain a resale flat more easily. Income ceiling for resale flats have been raised from $10,000 to $12,000 and families who wish to purchase a resale flat near their parents or married child can apply for a $20,000 proximity grant.

The resale market has take some time to cool, but considering it has fallen from its 3,649 units sold in May 2010 to 1,504 in September 2015, all eyes and ears may be on when the authorities are likely to relax the property cooling measures.

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.


HDB’s new sustainable homes

Mention public housing to non-Singaporeans and they may baulk at the idea of living in one as it usually means rundown, cramped living spaces in sometimes unsavoury neighbourhoods. But Singapore can be said to have made its global with the standards of public housing, in which most of Singaporeans now live.

The Housing Development Board (HDB) has begun humbly but continued to strive in improving the standards not only of homes but of living in Singapore’s many HDB flats and neighbourhoods. They launched a Roadmap to Better Living in 2011 and in it, are plans to include building eco-friendly and sustainable homes and communities; to bring a complete live-work-play-learn environment to residents.

In their HDB Awards this year, a few winners stood out :

SkyTerrace@DawsonAs part of HDB’s Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) plans, SkyTerrace@Dawson stands in one of the first mature estates to benefit from the board’s rejuvenation efforts. It in infused with roof gardens, sky terraces and incorporates a “loft concept” in units under the multi-generation living scheme. These unique units with their high ceilings and full-length windows will take you to cosmopolitan cities of Manhattan and the likes. Its prime central location near town and good schools are definitely a plus as well.

Or perhaps it’s waterfront living you prefer? Waterway Woodcress in Punggol is built right next to the Punggol Waterway and features unblocked views, a garden plaza and communal spaces, amidst hidden carpark facilities and recycling amenities such as a rainwater harvesting system which is used to wash corridors and for irrigation. Further down south into the centre of the island, is Hougang Capeview which also boasts waterfront views. It stands between Sungei Serangoon and Sungei Pinang, and is accessible to MRT stations such as Sengkang, Hougang and Kovan.

As HDB continues to roll out its roadmap, Singaporeans can look forward to better homes and public housing lifestyles in upcoming launches in Punggol Northshore, Bidadari and Tampines North.

12,000 new HDB flats to launch in November

Come November, HDB applicants will have 12,000 new units to choose from. As an effort to allow more applicants to benefit from the new housing policies which were announced in August, the Housing Board has decided to merge the last 2 major launches of HDB flats, one of which was originally planned for September, to allow for this massive combined offering in November.

Out of the 12,000 units to be launched, 7,000 will be BTO (build-to-order) flats in Bidadari, Punggol Northshore, Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang and Sengkang. Another 5,000 units will be made available under the Sale-of-balance-flats (SBF) scheme.

BIdadari HDBMain changes in housing policies which may apply to the upcoming launch include:

Market analysts are however expecting the 2,130-unit Bidadari launch to be oversubscribed by up to 5 times and with units costing 20 per cent more than other BTO flats, perhaps even up to $400,000 for a four-room unit. Likening it to Bishan, which was also built on cemetery ground, Bidadari is situated near the Potong Pasir MRT station and will have a park and lake in its midst.

But considering Bidadari is a new estate, and future launches may be slated for this area, buyers may hold back in wait rather than rush to be first, unlike launches in mature estates.

Waterfront living in public housing 

Not only do exclusive private mansions, bungalows, landed properties and condominium apartments or penthouses have waterfront views, public housing now offers such options, especially in the form of executive condominiums (ECs).

These hybrid property types begin their journey as public housing eligible for application under the Housing Development Board (HDB), and after 10 years, they become private condominium apartments, enjoying the benefits and price tags of private properties in the market. When they come with waterfront views and lifestyles, all the better.

Bellewaters ECA few of these EC properties include Bellewaters, and one in Punggol aptly named Waterwoods. Both situated in the new towns of Sengkang and Punggol, they seem targeted at young families and families who are looking to relocate or upgrade. With a projected temporary occupation permit (TOP) acquirement date of 2017, and now the raised income ceiling from $12,000 to $14,000 for ECs, it could be the prime time to seek out a good unit in potential EC developments. A bonus point for Bellewaters is that it was launched before 2013, thus the resale levy which is levied on home buyers who have previously bought a HDB flat or have taken a CPF housing grant does not apply here.

Waterwoods Punggol ECThere are big things planned for the Sengkang and Punggol HDB estates in the next couple of decades, including a North Coast Innovation Corridor with the Seletar Regional Centre and Seletar Aerospace Park in its midst, as well as the Punggol Creative Cluster and Learning Corridor which includes The Singapore Institute of Technology and links to the Punggol waterfront. The Punggol Waterway is also set to be a hub of commercial, retail and recreational activity.

Transport, though slightly lacking for now, will no doubt improve in time to come, and the new townships will have immense potential for growth.

Will new housing policy changes raise HDB flat prices?

With the upcoming General Elections in play, the government as announced a number of changes in HDB housing grants and income ceilings. How will this change the resale HDB flat landscape? Will more be going for new HDB flats or be seeking out resale flats in mature estates to take advantage of the proximity grants?

A summary of the changes include:

The BrownstoneThough it may seem like buyers may be more keen to purchase resale flats especially in mature estates, property analysts are more prudent with their predictions, stating that as long as the cooling measures are in place, demand may maintain its current level. Sellers may be able to command slightly higher prices in more popular estates, but the rise in prices will be slow. Buyers are negotiating for prices closer to median prices or recent sale prices.

The number of flats sold last month had dropped by 6.8 per cent, partly due to the Hungry Ghost month when buyers hold off purchasing properties. Prices of four- and five-room HDB flats have however risen by 0.3 per cent while three-room HDB flat and EC prices dipped by 0.7 per cent.

Sell now or later?

In real estate, it is often a timing game. How do you exactly know when to sell and when to buy? If you’re currently looking to sell your property, what should you be looking at for when making your decision of whether to sell now or later?

Just like buying a home, you first have to figure out why exactly you are selling. Is it to finance a new home upgrade, to invest in another property, or because you need the money urgently? The push factors are often stronger than you think when it comes to how much and how quickly you are willing to sell for.

KingsfordWaterbayAnother important question to ask yourself is “How much is my property worth?” Aside from getting a trustworthy real estate agent and valuator, spending a bit of time doing your own market research will help you determine where your property stands. A quick look at property websites, some of which provide tools to help you keep track of property trends and transacted property prices, or checking out resale HDB flat prices from the HDB website as well as attending property talks and seminars are just a few of the many ways to hone your pricing skills.

Market competition is also an important factor which affects pricing. Have a look at how other properties similar to yours are currently prices for a guide to pricing your property. But that said, if you know what qualities your property has above others in the market, list them. These may help you price above the market median. You do however have to be prepared to justify these premium prices and once you are confident the edge your property has, you will have a relatively easy time asking for higher prices. Location and proximity to transport nodes or schools are often a big plus; and sometimes the configuration of rooms, quality of renovation and age of the property could also be added to your property’s calling cards.


Property – To buy or not to buy now?

Since the implementation of property cooling measures by the government agencies, property prices have fallen at a gradual pace and seem to have currently reached a plateau. Some may have been waiting for an opportunity to hop into the property buy-sell train, but others may be concerned about whether they should sell now or later.

How do you decide if the time is now or later?

The WaterlineThere are a few fundamental questions to ask yourself:

  • Need or want?

Of course, owning a home of your dreams is the ultimate desire for most. And so it is a want. But you will need to evaluate your situation very honestly – do you absolutely need a new place? Or could it wait? Are you hoping to merely flip a property for profit, or have the ability to hold out for the best deal? If you answer is “Need”, then you have to a few other considerations to take care of.

  • What’s in the piggy bank?

Do you have enough left in your savings and monthly earnings, after setting aside sufficient funds for your monthly bills, every day expenses and insurance to manage the risk of buying a home? Besides having enough to make your monthly mortgage, most people may not realise the need to have an amount within your savings for very real and unforeseen situations such as periods of unemployment or health issues.

  • Are there advantages or pros? 

Is the price on the property you are hoping to buy right? If there is room for negotiation, which is why an experienced real estate agent is a boon, and the mortgage calculator helps you compare rates and tells you that the interest rates are prime, then perhaps the time truly is now.