Executive condominiums top August property sales

August was a good month for the executive condominium (EC) market, with all 3 top sellers coming from this particular property sector, namely – Treasure Crest in Sengkang, Sol Acres in Choa Chu Kang and Bellewoods in Woodlands.

Bellewoods ECUnderstandably, there were not many major property launches in August with only 590 units launched in the month at Victoria Park Villas in District 10. A total of 805 units were sold, less than half of the 1,921 sold in July, with 41 per cent of the month’s sales coming from ECs. But demand for these rare hybrid public and private properties seems to be rising.

The price gap between ECs and private properties may be closing in as resale private property prices continue to dip though there is still a considerable distance between these 2 property types. The median selling prices of all 3 top EC developments below $800 psf whereas average prices for private apartments are mostly above the $1,000 psf range.

Sol Acres Besides comparison with ECs, new developer launches have also been fighting market competition from completed resale units, providing discounts and other incentive schemes to entice buyers. As a hybrid between public and private housing, EC buyers can tap on HDB grants and subsidies in the initial purchase and after 10 years, are able to leverage on the private property status of their property, harnessing the full capacity of a private resale condominium.

 

More luxury homes above $5 million sold this year

The difference is 198 per cent – for Indonesians keeping their cash overseas without declaring it and in Indonesia for at least 3 years. And that whooping amount is possibly pushing wealthy Indonesians to pick up luxury properties in Singapore before the new law kicks in. Singapore will soon be sharing financial information with Indonesian authorities.

The TomlinsonAt the moment under a tax amnesty scheme, Indonesians pay a tax rate of 4 per cent and upwards on properties or funds outside of Indonesia. The rates are increased in stages up to 10 per cent up till March 2017, when the amnesty closes. It is uncertain if the information shared will be of both real estate and funds, but some buyers are understandably moving their monies into real estate ahead of time.

Local properties priced at $5 million and above have been attracting interest from Indonesians who have been closing deals quickly over the year. The number of such properties sold this year have already far surpassed last year’s, by almost 4 times. 30 properties valued at $5 million and above have been sold this year as of August, compared to just 8 the whole of last year.

Whitley ResidencesMost Indonesian buyers see the potential of high-end Singaporean properties and have been keeping an eye on the market, waiting for an opportune time to pick off prime properties. A total of 189 purchases, and possibly more as declarations of nationality is voluntary, were made by Indonesians from January to August this year.

Home loan refinancing may become easier

Property cooling measures putting a kink in your investment or financial planning? There may be some relief in that arena soon.

money-imageDespite emphasis that the property cooling measures are here to stay, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is fine-tuning part of the regulations to help owner-occupiers take a quicker step towards purchasing their own home. The current total debt servicing ration (TDSR) framework is strict and keeps a huge number of borrowers from refinancing their loans by taking advantage of the low interest rates; only properties purchase before the implementation of the TDSR framework in June 2013 can be exempted. Soon, all owner-occupiers will be able to apply for exemption from the TDSR rule and more home buyers will be able to refinance their loans more easily.

For buyers purchasing properties for investment purposes, current regulations stipulates that these loans can only be refinanced above the 60 per cent TDSR threshold if application is done before June 2017 and the borrower commits to a debt reduction plan. But now,the borrower only has to commit to replay at least 3 per cent of the loan’s total outstanding balance over 3 years.

Treasure CrestThese moves will help those who might have been affected by the oil and gas industry lapses and weakening global economy and who may need help with their existing home loans. The TDSR will still apply for new loans and industry experts continue to expect a certain amount of foreclosures on property owners who may have overstretched themselves financially or have been hit hard by unexpected income adjustments.

New homes in District 10 – Victoria Park Villas

Soon to nest in the midst of District 10 will be 106 semi-detached houses and 3 bungalows totalling 403,000 sq ft.

VictoriaParkVillas

Victoria Park Villas is a new development by CapitaLand situated in the junction of Coronation and Victoria Park Roads. Prime area indeed as it is only a 10-mins walk away from Farrer Road and Tan Kah Kee MRT station, not to mention having the selection of many choice schools down Bukit Timah road.

Launching tomorrow, 3 Sept, these 109 homes making up Victoria Park Villas are 99-year lease properties projected to sell at around $2,000 psf. Though on the high side, consumers will have to realise that having your own land even for awhile, will cost. The property sizes will range between 2,153 to 3,835 sq ft for semi-detached houses and 10,904 sq ft to 11, 539 sq ft in floor area for the 3 bungalows. Prices are expected to reach $12 million for the latter. Other similar properties in the King’s Drive, Hillcrest road and Greenwood Avenue have sold for between $906 to $1,351 psf last year.

Ventura HeightsNew cluster landed properties are not a dime a dozen, thus the property size, exclusivity and location Victoria Park Villas offer may very well be worth its calling price. CapitaLand has previously offer deferred payment schemes for their other properties such as d’Leedon, The Interlace and perhaps soon, Sky Habitat and Marine Blue as well. Will they be likely to extend the scheme to their upcoming projects once they are completed?

 

Strata strategy – Landed homes with benefit

Though owning your own piece of land may seem the ultimate goal in terms of local property, but the maintenance fees, property taxes and other extras it comes with are often mentioned and considered much lesser than they should be.

Eight Riversuites condominium in Whampoa East.

Eight Riversuites condominium in Whampoa East.

And it is this market gap which cluster housing and strata-landed homes fill so well. These landed properties, though mostly leasehold, come with condominium facilities and amenities, not to mention the security of a gated community. In fact, so residents of me cluster housing developments even manage to foster long and meaningful relationships with one another.

Eight Riversuites is one of the latest additions to the sector and they have 19 three-storey terrace strata landed houses, each with their own roof terraces and bdedicated asement parking spaces. Some units even come with jacuzzis. Some other popular landed strata homes include those in Thomson Grand, Whitley Residences and Belgravia Villas

Strategically situated near Boon Keng MRT station in the Bendemeer and Whampoa districts, it is in a hip up-and-coming city-fringe area and is but just 3 MRT stops away from the town centre. There are a number of schools in its vinicity and value of properties around it have risen over the past few years. As MRT stations reach completion, values of properties in their vicinity will no doubt increase as well. Prices of units currently start at $850psf. 

 

Signs of property market bottoming out?  

Though the vacancy rates of private residential properties are currently 1.4 percent higher in Q2 and at a 16-year record high, and property prices 9.4 percent lower than the 2013 peak, property analysts remain positive about the outlook as these could be signs that the property market is reaching the bottom of its cycle.

7478d455d05b4f2aa26fd1e5a8ce7bd2There were 30,310 vacant private homes in the second quarter, that is 5,391 units more than in Q1. As the number of completed properties rise, with almost 11,400 new units entering the market in the first half of 2016, the rates are seemingly modest. Property prices have also been stabilizing, and as long as interest rates remain at their current level, most households will be likely to be able to hold on to their properties over the down season.

More property buyers are now making home purchases for their own use instead of pure investment purposes and many are taking the opportunity to seal deals during this quieter time. In a year-on-year comparison, sales volume has risen 11 per cent and the luxury property market in particular is enjoying a spike in buying interest as prices have fallen sufficiently, luring buyers back into the high-end property market.

 

 

 

Home loan competition heats up

As the economy slows worldwide,  as global markets struggle to make sense of the recent Brexit vote and as the US Federal reserves rate hikes are put on hold, the time to secure or refinance a home loan could be now. Especially as banks compete for earnings with diminishing property demands.

Image courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board.

Image courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board.

The Singapore Interbank offered rate (SIBOR) at which local home loans are set to, has since fallen to 1 per cent. At its peak, rates went as high as 1.25 per cent.  On the commercial property front, the swap offer rate (SOR) was at 0.94 in June, down from 1.36 per cent in March. What all this means is it now costs less for banks to borrow funds from one another, which makes it easier to schedule fundings for their clients and they may take the opportunity to offer lower rates to secure more earnings.

Banks have been battling for clients and offering up increasingly competitive home loan packages. The dropping SIBOR rates also means linked home loan packages will have lower interest rates. If the US Federal reserve continues to hold off the incline of the rates hike, home buyers may still be able to benefit from the correspondingly lower home loan rates here.

Private resale home prices inching up

Prices of resale private non-landed homes have been on the rise since March this year and the upward climb though gradual, shows promise and property analysts are hoping market sentiments will improve as the year moves on.

Qbay ResidencesLast month’s price rise clocked at 0.5 per cent and was apparent throughout all regions. In the core central region (CCR), prices rose 0.9 per cent and 0.4 and 0.5 in the city fringe and suburbs respectively. Sales volume has also improved 27.4 per cent in a year-on-year comparison with 754 units sold, just a wisp lower than the 763 units sold in May.

Buyers are beginning to be more acceptable of the market prices of resale units as the median X-Value (TOX) was at negative $7,000, $1,000 more than the negative $8,000 in April. While there are a few major launches planned for the next half to the year, the number of unsold units in the market has been expanding to almost 15,000, and about 57,500 private homes and 12,000 executive condominiums are in the pipeline. How will the market react to the release of these units into the market? Many new launches now face challenging times beyond their initial launch. Depending on the speed and volume at which new units are released and changes in interest rates will be determining factors.