Release of new land sites in H2 may not satisfy developer demand

After holding back for the past few quarters, 16 new land sites will be released under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme in the second half of this year. That is in addition to other private land sites which might go on sale as well during the same period.

CUscadenResidencesDespite this ramped up supply of land plots, property analysts expect continued aggressive bidding from developers as they seem to be on the hunt for resources to replenish their land banks and especially as the demand for new homes has grown steadily in the last few months. As the nation’s population continues to grow, the authorities also recognise the need to keep up with the demand for new private housing in the years ahead.

The 16 sites from the GLS programme can potentially yield up to 8,125 private homes. And yet, analysts still consider this allocation inadequate in meeting developer demand. The sites most likely to draw the most number of bids are those in Jiak Kim StreetFourth Avenue and Cuscaden Road due to their locations. New record high bids are expected for these sites.

With  the possibilities of more joint ventures between developers and funds, the potential for higher bids for limited land plots may very well drive land prices up. Could that mean eventual increases in property prices, even if not now then sometime in the future? How would that then affect the market then?

Developers’ demand for land drives prices up

The lack of land plots available in the market or released by the government under the Government Land Sales programme has seen developers willing to bid an average of 29% more than what has been the usual winning bid in the past 5 years.

GrandeurPark2It may not be surprising as the market has just begun to turnaround this year and buyers’ confidence have boosted developers’ confidence. A healthy appetite for new and resale private homes, including executive condominiums (ECs) combined with the lack of new land plots made available under the GLS programme has pushed bids for land tenders up. Developers are bidding at prices about 13 per cent higher than the average premium paid in H2 of 2016. Not only are the bidding prices increasing, so are the number of bidders per land tender. An average of 13.3 bids were placed for a single land plot in the first 4 months of the year.

ClementiCanopyNew home launches have received warm and welcomed responses from the buying public in recent months. Projects such as The Clement Canopy and Grandeur Park Residences have experienced brisk sales at their launches and a total of 4,696 new homes were sold in the first 4 months of this year alone, more than double than 2016 in a year-on-year comparison.

Property analysts are however expecting more successful bids from foreign entities which could result in more private land acquisitions this year. Local bidders also tend to be more cautious and will not over-bid for a site. With prime plots being limited, they will naturally attract more and higher-priced bids,

Demand for well-located properties remain high

Properties near MRT stations often bring in the buying crowds. And there will be 2 such properties to look forward to in the first half of 2017.

GrandeurParkResidencesThe first is the 720-unit Grandeur Park Residences which is expected to launch in March, near the Tanah Merah MRT station. It’s proximity to transport, the inclusion of a childcare centre and 2 shop units is expected to add value to project. 1- to 5-bedroom units here will range between 420 sq ft and 1,450 sq ft in size. And if prices at the neighbouring The Glades are anything to go by, the units at Grandeur Park Residences may be priced between $1,300 to $1,400 psft.

Situated near East Coast Park and the upcoming Siglap MRT station, is the 843-unit Seascape Residences. With sea views and as one of the first private condominium projects to come up in the area in the last decade and a half, this new project along the coastline may make quite the splash on its launch. Prices are expected to hover between $1,550 to $1,650 psf.

SeasideResidencesDespite a weak economy and the property cooling measures, demand for new homes remain resilient and while buyers may be more selective with their purchases, properties which are well-located and offer competitive pricing will still sell. Interest rates remain a uncertain factor impacting market sentiments however, as sudden spikes may affect demand.

Launches of new projects can often boost sales of new homes across the board and this first quarter could very well already set the tone for the rest of the year.

Prices of new homes in China rise once more

Property prices in many major China cities have been on a constant climb since 2011, and new home prices have once again risen last year, at its fastest rate no less.

HuBinDaoWarning signs of a property bubble has been looming for sometime now, and as there has been no signs of relief, the fear is that the market might reach bursting point quite soon. Real estate market speculation threatens to hurt rather than help the economy even as China’s leaders fret over the country’s economic target for the year.

In over 70 cities across China, the average new home prices have risen 12.4 per cent. In top-tier cities such as Shenzhen and Shanghai, property prices have risen as much as 60 per cent in the span of a year. Some cities such as Beijing may have more leeway to cope with further market hikes, but in many cities, property markets are already languishing.

ShuiOnPlazaOut of 15 markets, 12 have shown signs of overheating as prices have began to fall. Growth is beginning to slow down as household loans and house sales have both been on the decline. The China government has implemented some cooling measures over the past year in attempts to slow down the growth of the bubble, the latest being limits placed on the number of new home loans banks are able to issue.

 

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.

 

Property market in the doldrums in Q3

The local property market seems to have taken a harder hit in the third quarter as both sales and rental figures fell. While the decline was not drastic or sudden, it nevertheless points to possibly tougher times ahead.

alexresidencesOverall property selling prices fell 1.5 per cent while rental prices dropped by 1.2 per cent. The general global economic gloom, fears of inflation and growing unemployment rates have given way to a sense of impending recession. Buyers are likely to be more careful with their finances and though property is a good way to hedge excess funds, investors are likely to weigh yield potential even more seriously should the negative sentiments persist.

The private residential market seems to be the most affected as vacancy rates rose. Property analysts report more positive sales in the resale rather than the new homes segment, possibly because there were fewer new residential project launches in Q3. Resale property sales clocked a 15.7 per cent increase while new homes sales fell by 12 per cent.

tampineshdbIn the resale HDB property market, prices continued to stabilise, with no significant rise nor fall. However, the number of transactions recorded fell by 5.5 per cent. Currently, overall private home prices have fallen 2.6 per cent.  With only 2 months left to the year, property experts expect a slight fall in prices and transactions in the private property market, which largely dependent on market sentiments may result in a final 3 to 4 per cent decrease for 2016.

New home sales dip in June

June and July are traditionally slower months for the local property market as the school holidays are followed by the Hungry Ghost month. The lower numbers may also have been due to the lack of new launches.

Kingsford HIllview PeakLast month, only 536 new private non-landed units were sold, about 49 per cent lower than the 1,058 units clocked in May. Despite the huge fall in market figures, property analysts remain positive about the journey as numbers have reached a plateau and the fluctuations between quarters have been minimal.

Following the slew of cooling measures implemented by the government over the past few years, th market has cooled considerably. In a year-on-year comparison to 2015, the 536 units sold is 43 per cent higher than the 375 units sold last year.

Suburban homes were the best sellers in May, with developments such as Kingsford Waterbay, The Glades and Kingsford Hillview Peak managing to sell off some of their unsold stock. Median selling prices were at $1,185 psf, $1,402 psf and $1,315 psf respectively. In previous months, sales were largely  boosted by developers offering discounts, but the units sold in June were not heavily discounted, signifying the return of buyers to the market as they gradually come to realize that prices will not come down much more.

Completed private home prices fall further

Completed resale private non-landed property prices have dipped further in May, following a slight increase the month before. The muted sales could have also been a reflex response to the recent Brexit vote though in the long term, property analysts are not expecting the fallout to be too drastic.

FulcrumPrice decline of apartments in the central region were the lowest, with prices falling only 0.5 per cent last month, almost evening out with the 0.4 per cent rise in April. Properties here have the location advantage and will be unlikely to see a sudden price depression anytime soon. Astute buyers are however still out for the hunt and are likely to look towards properties in this areas for good deals. In the current market, buyers who lack holding power may find themselves having to let go of their properties within a time period, and may be more open to price negotiations.

As more new properties were launched in the last couple of months, activity from this segment may have also stimulated the resale private property sector and the spillover effect of positive market sentiments could have caused a slight blip in April’s price rise. Small apartments below 506 sq ft saw the steepest fall of 1.1 per cent as competition in the rental market heats up and prices continue to fall with high supply against lower demand.