Has private property market reached stability point?

Has the private property market possibly reached a point of stabilisation? Figures of late seem to show that while there are slight fluctuations either ways of the scale, the market seems to have somewhat levelled.

Prices of completed private properties seem to have stopped declining and August showed a only a 0.6 per cent fall according to the Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI). Property analysts have put the slight decline mostly to the increase in completed units in the central regions, the possibility of buyers waiting for post-election policy changes, and the lull in property transactions in the Hungry Ghost month.

Stevesn SuitesSmaller apartment units seem to have fared well though, with prices rising 0.5 per cent in July. Vacancy rates of rental units have risen while rental rates dipped island wide. As long as foreigner labour and immigration policies remain tight, the leasing market may remain weak, especially as the number of completed units are rising in the next couple of years. Resale properties in districts 1 to 4 and 9 to 11 have suffered a hit with a 23 per cent fall in transactions in August.

The next 2 years might be a time to watch for small apartments under 506 sq ft which were purchases for investment purposes. While sellers may not yet be pressured to sell as interest rates now remain low, as the number of these units rise upon completion of many developments launched last and this year, and interest rates fluctuate, the situation may be different come 2017.



A possible supply glut in Australia property market

Economists are beginning to see possible cracks in the Australia property market as an onslaught of new homes threaten to cause a supply glut by 2017. The property market has been booming for awhile now, with most homes overvalued at 20 per cent. Partly boosted by the central bank’s series of 10 interest rate cuts since 2011, buyers have been snapping up units in one of the world’s most expensive property markets.

GreenSquareProperty prices in Sydney alone have risen 46 per cent in 3 years, with a 24 per cent average rise in the whole of Australia. The latest property offering is Green Square in Sydney, which will yield 10,000 new apartments, adding to the 213, 000 new homes which will be made available across the country. Perhaps some of the reasons for the possible glut could also be the lack of a corresponding rise in income and population growth. Confidence and capital spending have thus reflected this. Tighter lending rules have also effected a 13.1 per cent drop in investor loan growth.

Though buying will not cease or fall immediately, analysts are advising buyers to proceed with caution and to consider their mortgage options for the long term as banking rates will fluctuate and holding power will no doubt be what differentiates the wise investors from those in for a quick buck.

Waterfront living from East to West

Waterfront living is no longer restricted to those living at Sentosa or by the coastal lines mainly in the eastern districts. With a number of lakes being developed all across the island, waterfront living is becoming more possible than ever before.

In North-east, there is the Punggol Waterway; in the West, Jurong Lake; and in the East, there is the Bedok Reservoir area which has already seen the development of 3 massive private condominium establishments – Waterfront Gold, Waterfront Key and Waterfront Isle.

WaterfrontFaberNow, there is Waterfront@Faber near Sungei Ulu Pandan – a 210-unit private residential development boasting a wide variety of units including increasingly popular dual-key apartments and strata houses. The property consists of 11 such landed houses and 5 high-rise apartment blocks and holds a substantial amount of potential value in terms of its location near the future Singapore-Kuala Lumpur Speed Rail Terminus, as well as its current proximity to the Clementi MRT station and bus interchange. The latter makes it easy for travel to The International Business Park, JTC Summit, National University of Singapore and neighbouring towns and industrial hubs in Jurong and Bukit Batok.

Families will also be happy to know that the property is surrounded by a number of good schools including Nan Hua Primary and High School, The Japanese School Singapore, United World College, Singapore Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and SIM University. There is also no lack of medical facilities as the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Jurong Community Hospital and the National University Hospital are all just a stone’s throw away.

No longer does the East have monopoly of well-amenitized townships and waterfront living. It seems the West is doing well in cultivating well-rounded environments for their old and new residents.

August shows fluctuations in property rental market


OneDusanIn July, private property rentals have fallen 0.3 per cent, and now August has reflected a further 0.4 per cent drop. The number of new units entering the market no doubt has made competition tougher. Most of the fall in prices were for properties in the city centre. Rental prices of city fringe units fared better, with a 0.8 per cent rise. Overall, the number of units rented out decreased slightly compared to the month before, but rose 13.8 per cent in a year-on-year comparison.

What does the future hold for the residential rental market? 2016 seems to point towards a further influx of new properties. It used to be normal to rely on rental yields from one property to fund mortgages on another, but now the investment path may not be as easy. Spotting the right investment opportunity would take practice and a lot of market research, though there are advice out there to be had. Attending regular property seminars and talks will help you gain useful insights to what’s available out there and the potential of differing property options.

HDBrentalThe market is currently seeing a circular migration of tenants and they move from property to property in search of better rental rates. But this ensures a fairly stable rental volume level, though rental leases favoured now are the shorter 12-month ones as opposed to previous 24-month norms.

While the private property rental market faces strong competition, the HDB rental market will maintain a strong showing as rental rates are more palatable and has a strong tenant base.

Home prices surge in Australia and New Zealand

There has been a recent surge in property prices in Australia and New Zealand, in particular Sydney and Auckland. Not surprising that these are higher-density cities with housing shortage and high immigration rates.

In Sydney, high-rise living is beginning to take off with developers looking for land to build upwards. Multi-unit properties have multiplied over the past year, with approvals for high-rise residential developments rising by 28 per cent. The increased supply of homes these properties will eventually provide may bring home prices down slightly but for now, they are sky high.

main-2Some home owners whose combined land area come up to at least 4,000 sqm, have even banded together to sell their homes collectively to developers at premium prices. For example, a single standalone brick house could fetch around $1million in the suburbs, but when sold collectively with 3 to 4 other homes, they could command $21 million which means at least $4 million per house. There are fears however that the country could be entering a property market bubble, which could prove dangerous for their banking system.

Over in New Zealand, lowered interest rates and official cash rates set by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has fuelled housing demand and more buyers are now investors, making up 41 per cent of all housing purchases. The New Zealand government is looking at ramping up housing supply to help relieve some of the pressure on the housing market.

Raised Income ceilings for HDB and EC flats

In the months ahead, the HDB market may see some significant changes.

In his National Day Rally speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced a raise in income ceilings for new HDB flats as well as ECs (executive condominiums). The income ceiling for HDB flats could be raised from $10,000 to $12,000 and for executive condominiums, from $12,000 to $14,000. Just four years a, the income ceiling for ECs was raised to $12,000 but apparently income levels have risen since then. The government are also making it easier for lower-income households to purchase 2-room flats. The Special Housing Grant (SHG) will be raised from $20,000 to $40,000, giving them the financial support they truly need.

Forestville Executive Condominium.

Forestville Executive Condominium.

And to promote stronger familial ties plus cater to the growing group of young families who prefer to live near their parents, a new Proximity Housing Grant will help buyers who wish to live near their parents or married children secure their new flat.

This could be good news for buyers and home-seekers, as more applicants may then find themselves eligible for a new BTO flat or EC. But will there be more applicants now vying for available units. And how will this move  possibly affect the resale HDB flat market?


Property Auctions – Going, going, gone

With interest rates growing and demand on the decline, some home owners may be forced to allow their property to go to auction.

Mortgage auctions have been on the rise with a total of 99 homes put up for auction in the January to July period of this year alone. Property analysts are expecting an increase even as interest rates rise, with numbers hitting closer to 200 by the end of 2015.

GCB Leedon RoadRecently, landed homes, in particular larger ones such as corner terraces, semi-detached or detached houses, were the more frequent subjects of property auctions. Buyers may have been attracted to the higher profit margin of these properties, but failed to gauge their holding power. Finding buyers for these big ticket items is more difficult as they often come with a very much higher total quantum price and the pool of buyers is restricted to Singaporeans and Singaporean Permanent Residents (PRs).

Some of the properties which have sold at recent auctions include a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at Binjai Rise, a detached house in One Tree Hill and some larger apartments in Seascape @ Sentosa Cove and Orchard Scotts.

Investors seem to favour smaller apartment units at property auctions as falling rental yields all around have made them more wary. Although not as dire as the 2008 Lehman Brothers and 1998 Asian financial crisis, investors and government authorities are keeping a close eye on the market direction. Property cooling measures have seemingly curbed rampant property flipping, but could there be more room for swifter, sharper manoeuvres? How much wriggle room should you leave yourself if you’re hoping to score a good deal at the auctions?


Suburban London districts growing – Silvertown

Mixed-use properties once again capture buyers’ hearts, now in the Royal Docks suburbs in East London. A new mixed-use development led by the partnership between Chelsfield Properties, First Base and Macquarie Capital will house 3,000 residential units, amidst offices, recreational and commercial spaces all housed within a 25 ha site.


Photo Credit: Silvertownlondon.com

Named Silvertown, it is situated in the fringe of the city, where new properties are sprouting aside from the usual real estate hotspots such as Canary Wharf, City of London and the West End. As property prices climb in London, a home  in the City of London could come up to £1,500 psf. in the West End double that at £3,000 psf. In comparison, city fringe properties are structured to be more affordable for local as well as foreign buyers. Developers are hoping to target Asian investors in particular as they are a growing group of overseas investors in the UK, spending up to£5.98 billion over the last year and a half.

The clarity of property rules and the relative ease of property buy-and-sell for foreign buyers have built the confidence of overseas buyers in respect to properties in London, as compared to other cities in the Euro Zone.


Photo Credit: Silvertownlondon.com

The Silvertown development will be will linked to other areas in terms of transportation options. The much-waited London Crossrail rapid train project will be connected to it, and it is also pegged to the Royal Docks’ plans for refurbishment of the historic Millennium Mills, an old mill building which will be transformed into office spaces.