Consumer confidence in property market improving

Though gradual, the property market seems to be coming out of a long hibernation and there are some bright sparks to make 2017 a warm one.

VIIOThe supply and inventory stock is gradually diminishing, by 8.4 per cent at the end of last year, aided by the restriction in land supply by the government last year, the key word being gradual. Fortunately, the decline in home and rental prices have also been gradual, with no sudden collapse. Last year’s rate of decline of overall private home prices was at a 3-year low, at 3.1 per cent. The 2 years before saw a 3.7 and 4 per cent decline, counting backwards.

QuinterraBy now, consumers and investors are used to the price decline, which has been a regular occurrence since 2013 when the property cooling measures began to kick in. In the current market, any news of slower price declines will be good news, and of stabilisation, even better news. Private home prices have finally landed on a level where an increasing number of buyers find affordable and investment-worthy, which explains the boost in new home sales from 7,440 in 2015 to 7,972 last year.

Properties in the core-central region fared the best in the second half of 2016, while non-landed homes in the city fringe and suburbs registered 2 and 0.6 per cent drops respectively. Landed properties fared unexpectedly well with a 0.8 per cent price increase in Q4. Property analysts are expecting property prices to bottom out this year, which could the year when the property market bottoms out. The authorities do not yet seem to show any signs of easing the property cooling measures, at least not in the first half of the year.

Freehold site to yield potential landed homes in Orchard road

The Orchard road belt has not seen landed homes in its midst, or at least new ones, for quite sometime now. They are few and far in between and usually cost more than an arm and a leg. But a freehold residential site near Orchard road worth $72.8 million might potentially yield landed homes.

OneTreeHillGardensThe One Tree Hill Gardens site measures at 39,063 sq ft and currently consist of 6 maisonettes and 7 apartment blocks or $1, 864 psf in asking price. The units here are of considerable sizes, ranging from 1,916 to 4,682 sq ft. Should the development succeed at a collective sale, each home owner could receive anything between $4 to $11 million. What the site could potentially yield are 13 detached and semi-detached houses. Considering the prime district, the rarity of landed homes across the board and more so in the centre of town, and the lack of sizeable residential sites readily available for redevelopment, marketing agent Knight Frank is confident of the interest the site will garner. Recent sales of sites in Grange Road, Cuscaden Walk and Hullet Road have all drew considerable bids of $190.5 million in total.

The area surrounding the One Tree Hill Gardens site is in itself an exclusive enclave of high-end apartments and some landed homes. Add on its future proximity to the upcoming Orchard Boulevard MRT station along the Thomson-East Coast Line and up goes its value.

Status quo for landed property market this year

Though figures from the last quarter indicated that landed home prices have risen 0.9 per cent, that was following a 2.7 per cent fall in Q3. Property analysts are careful not to yet call it a market rebound as 2017 may pose a difficult year for the economy.

bishopsgateThe landed housing market may continue to feel the pressure this year as cooling measures remain and the economic outlook seems uncertain. In a year-on-year comparison with Q3 of 2013, prices have fallen 14.8 per cent. Overall landed home prices fell 4.4 per cent last year and 4.1 per cent in 2015. The lowered prices could however have been a factor in bringing buyers back. Should sales volume and landed home prices continue to stabilise, the price index may inch up albeit gradually.

There were several considerable transactions in the detached landed house segment and this could have boosted numbers in Q4. One notable sale was for a property in Bishopsgate, at $26.8 million and a couple of others in Holland Park and White House Park at $25.5 million each. Though the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework implemented in 2013 has limited buyers for private properties across the board, it has more effect on the higher-priced property segments as investors here may have more financial commitments.

whitehouseparkDespite a muted landed housing market last and possibly this year, landed homes remain much sough-after and investors in these segments may be bolder in their attempts to close deals this year.

More deals in Q4 sealed in auction property segment

Sales of auctioned properties in the 4th quarter alone have accounted for more than half of the total sales for 2016, that is almost 5 times more than the $10.3 million in the same quarter in 2015. At $47.2 million, and possibly more when the numbers are tallied come end December, this sales figure already stands at 51 per cent of the entire year’s property auction segment sales.

Seascape at Sentosa Cove.

Seascape at Sentosa Cove.

Property analysts report that this is unusual for the year-end period which is usually a slower time for the property sector due to the festive season and school holidays. Most of the transactions hailed from big-ticket prime land plots as well as larger, highly-priced residential properties. 3 vacant land plots within the Swiss Club estate in Bukit Tinggi, Jalan Kampong and Kampong Chantek and another at Jalan Bahasa boosted sales in a big way. Developers have increasingly been on the lookout for land plots to replenish diminishing land banks and prime sites with development potential are always hot property.

Orchard Scotts2Other significantly-priced properties which were sold off at the auctions included a 3-bedder apartment in Orchard Scotts for $2.35 million and a 4-bedder duplex at Seascape @ Sentosa Cove for $6.35 million. Property analysts are expecting property auctions to continue attracting bidders next year as the economy is expected to remain sluggish and most buyers are getting used to the property cooling measures. More are now quicker to commit, and may be even more keen to close deals before the end of 2016 arrives.

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?

 

Property market’s road to recovery a gradual one

While the global economy remains in the doldrums and the authorities keep the local property cooling measures in place, Singapore’s real estate market is likely to see a gradual gentle road to recovery, starting with stabilisation.

LakeGrandeJuly’s sales figures show promise, with 1,091 units sold (excluding executive condominiums). That is almost double that of June’s 536 units. Although August’s numbers may dip due to the Hungry Ghost month and the lack of major property launches, September will see the launch of Parc Riveria at West Coast Vale and Forest Woods in Serangoon. The former is developed by EL Development and the latter by City Developments.

Consumer interest on landed homes, a rare commodity in local context, has also shone of late. CapitaLand‘s launch of 6 Victoria Park Villas‘ units which all sold between $4.3 to $4.9 million led the way to positive market sentiments. July’s major launch of the highly affordable units at Lake Grande largely boosted sales figures, accounting for 40 per cent of the total number of units sold.

VictoriaParkVillasProperty analysts are expecting monthly sales of 500 to 700 units for the rest of the year, totalling up to 8,000 units for 2016. Selling prices have remained steady in July while sales figures rose 22 per cent, signalling the start to the market’s road to recovery.

New citizens new buyers of Good Class Bungalows

Buyers and sellers of Good Class Bungalows (GCB) seem to be gradually meeting on the same page as the price gap between them narrows and more transactions were recorded thus far this year – 19 to be exact, valued at a total of $438.17 million. In 2015, 33 GCBs valued at a total of $714.78 million were sold and 28 totalling $626.14 million in 2014. Analysts are predicting up to 30 GCB sales in 2016.

Leedon Road GCBEven though prices of these rare properties have not fallen much at all, investors’ interest seems to not have waned. Developer OUE have just picked up 2 sites from the British government in Nassim road at $1,652 psf for $56.58 million, a steal considering the median price of the area stands at $2,000 psf.

An increasing number of GCB buyers are new citizens, buying over these massive-sized properties from Singaporeans moving between property transactions and investment deals. These buyers see the potential in prime properties and the slightest of price adjustments will spike their interest in their search for property upgrades and prestigious addresses. Recent sales included a $27 million GCB in Gallop road and currently on the market are a $38 million Bukit Tunggal Road GCB sized at 14,000 sq ft and a $30 million Dalvey Road property on a 15,211 sq ft site.

 

Promising year ahead for landed properties?

At least in the Good Class Bungalow (GCB) segment apparently. Property analysts are predicting a 5 per cent price growth this year following promising response in the first quarter alone.

Despite economic slowdown and stock market volatility earlier in the year, this luxury landed property sector has seen a pick-up in sales volume as Singaporean investors are turning their sights on home ground once more, after a few seasons of investing in overseas propeties. Property agents have reported buyers making serious offers as compared to just a quarter ago in the latter part of 2015.

Leedon Road GCBRecent sales of GCBs included one at Swettenham Close at $1,354 psf. A total of 33 GCBs were sold in 2015, a similar number is expected for this year. Perhaps property owners have lowered their expectations and asking prices, and buyers are also enticed by the rarity and land area these bungalows provide. Many are upgraders or investors while sellers tend to be those whose children have flown the coop and are looking to downsize to more manageable properties. Rental yields for these large-sized properties have been diminishing, and these properties also tend to have higher property taxes and maintenance requirements.

Buyers may be more willing to take the bite this year as prices have already fallen 15 per cent since its peak in 2013, and further price declines will be unlikely. As these landed properties are also far and few in between, they may be quicker to pounce on a deal as it will not be easy finding similar options.