October’s new home sales up 128 per cent this year

With more that 1,252 new private homes sold in October, new home sales have risen 145 per cent from the 509 units sold in September and 128 per cent in a year-on-year comparison with 2015 when 549 units were sold.

thealpsresidences4The sudden spike may have been due to pent up demand after the slower months of the June school holidays and Hungry Ghost month in August, plus the launch of major projects in the later part of Q3. The 2 new property launches which garnered most of the sales were The Alps Residences in Tampines and Forest Woods in Serangoon Central. Each sold more than 300 units which made up 55.7 per cent of October’s sales. Other projects which consumers actively seemed out such as Stars of Kovan, The Trilinq and Kingsford Waterbay all sold only 30 units each, though understandably as these are much older launches.

Property analysts put the sudden rise in sales, a 15-month record high in fact, to the affordable prices put out by developers. Despite the slower economic outlook, consumers know a good deal when they see one and are willing to invest in what they consider to be long-term investment-worthy properties. Forest Woods is situated close to the Serangoon transport hub – the MRT station, bus interchange and NEX shopping mall – which could account for its popularity.

forestwoodsForest Woods was the top seller last month, with 364 units going at an average of $1,078 psf. Smaller units were purportedly gaining traction with buyers once more. Shoebox apartments, though aplenty in the market, remain affordable and property analysts report a direction change from investors who have turned their attention from riskier financial products back to the more stable property market.


Fewer new private property launches

Despite lower sales of new private home last month, the percentage of sales based on the number of units launched, was positive.

The lower sales figure was mainly due to the lack of new property launches. But the take-up rate of the 499 units launched was at a happy 128 per cent in May. The take-up rate was only 84 per cent in May this year, compared to 82 per cent in April 2014. Considering the 21 per cent fall in sales in the first 5 months of this year, the leap last month is a promising sign.

HighparkResidencesLeading the sales were suburban launches at Botanique at Bartley, Northpark Residences in Yishun and The Panorama in Ang Mo Kio. Median selling prices were $1,232 psf at The Panorama, $1,292 psf at Botanique at Bartley and $1,397 psf at Northpark Residences. Competitive pricing may have lowered prices on some newer launches and this could have attracted buyers back into the market. There were even reports of private funds or group of investors who have picked up 16 units at 111 Emerald Hill.

In the months ahead, the number of new property launches will remain low, which may in turn affect figures. But instead of looking at across-the-board figures, sussing out potential deals in previous launches which are re-launchning new units could be the way to get ahead of the pack. Upcoming launches to look forward to are Gramercy Park in Grange Road and High Park Residences in Fernvale.

Massive sales at Mass-market condominiums

Over the weekend, buyers turned up en-masse for a series of mass-market launches. Some were completely fresh out of the oven and some were launching a new round of units. These new properties are sprinkled across different districts and each had their plus points and investment value.

The 3 strongmen of the new condominium market this round are:

WhitehavenWhitehaven sold more than half of their 121 units. 70 apartments were picked up by eager buyers at an average price of $1,470 – $1,480 psf. A five-storey project developed by Roxy-Pacific Holdings, it does not have the bulk and density of other bigger condominiums but it does provide an exclusive and private atmosphere. And as a freehold project, prices are considered reasonable.

If you wish to go bigger, there is the 380-unit Stratum in Pasir Ris. It is a 99-year leasehold property, with a wide range of apartment sizes ranging from a 432 sq ft studio to a 2, 446 sq ft five-room duplex penthouse. In their first phase launch, 190 of 250 units released were sold over the weekend alone.

Corals at Keppel Bay previewed to intense response as well. Almost all of the 100 units released were sold and majority of the buyers were Singaporeans. Most of the units which moved were the one to three-bedders. As expected, buyers are savvy enough to recognise the investment value of this property, with it being near the HarbourFront MRT Station, and a number of amenities, entertainment spots and schools nearby. Prices at this 366-unit 99-year leasehold condominium were well spread across $1, 800 to $3,000 psf. And this is only the preview. What response will their official launch this weekend bring?

Belgravia villasAnd to whet the buyers’ appetite even further, a selection of other launches coming up include:

The long weekend is here. If you’re out house-hunting, there might be lots to look forward to.

Have HDB flat. Will buy Private Condominium

More are doing just that, it seems. A recent analysis of property market trends by DTZ Research has revealed telling signs of how many HDB upgraders out there are buying a second private property. In fact, out of the number of buyers who bought private homes last year, more than half currently live in HDB flats. 9, 380 private property units were purchased by buyers with HDB addresses whereas only 8, 239 units were purchased by those who are already in the private property market.

Shoebox apartments were top sellers for HDB upgraders. Seen here is the Bartley Ridge condominium.

Shoebox apartments were top sellers for HDB upgraders. Seen here is the Bartley Ridge condominium.

Industry players speculate that most of these buyers could be singles living with their parents in HDB flats or parents who were buying properties for their children (or under their childrens’ names). There could also be buyers who bought private properties to live in whilst renting out their HDB flats to help pay for the mortgage. Under the current HDB rulings, HDB flat owners who fulfill their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) are allowed to purchase private properties.

With that in mind, one of the most sellable properties were none other than the shoebox apartment. Strong demand for new private homes fell mainly into this lucrative category as these small units were mostly under $1 million and were considered to have high rental yield. A record 1, 675 shoebox apartments were sold in 2012, 17 per cent more than 2011.

Rising resale HDB flat prices could be the reason for driving HDB upgraders into the private property market. And mainland Chinese took first place in Q4, taking up 20 per cent of all foreign property purchases. That is one in four units bought by overseas buyers.

What does this really tell? Are the property cooling measures targeted at the right folks or have they left the essential market unchecked?