Property market showing signs of awakening

Sturdee-ResidenceAlthough property prices have been falling, the show of interest from the buying public has never really waned, instead they are now simply more aware of their options and have become more selective in their investments.

Signs that the market lull might be broken soon have come from the positive take-up of units in 2 recent launches at The Visionaire Executive Condominium (EC) and The Sturdee Residences. 158 units were sold the 632-unit The Visionaire EC at a median price of $811 psf while prices averaged at $1,550 psf at the 305-unit The Sturdee Residences. Buyers at the private residential project have gone mainly for the smaller one- and two-bedders though 3 of its 8 penthouses have already found new owners. Two of the 1,830 sq ft penthouse units were sold at $3.2 million each.

Gem REsidencesThe Parc Life EC and private residential project Gem Residences will launch this weekend. Private condominium Stars of Kovan is expected to launch next month. The latter is a mixed-use development consisting of 390 residential units, 5 strata terraces and 46 shops. Prices are expected to range between $1,550 to $1,600 psf. E-applications for Parc Life have already exceeded the 660 units available and there is hope that uptake will be on the uptick at both these projects.

Tiong Bahru Living it up

HighlineResidences2Without a doubt, most Singaporeans, expatriates and even visiting tourists will consider Tiong Bahru to be one of the hippest districts in town. Well, that makes almost everyone, really.

Tiong Bahru has achieved a world ranking in Vogue’s Global Street Style Report: 15 Coolest Neighbourhoods in the World, coming up 4th in the list, quite a feat for a little township in this small city-state. Designated a Heritage Conservation Area by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), it is much-loved for its pre-war architecture, quaint boutiques, eateries and cafes, its eclectic mix of housing options and just a general air of debonair.

Besides the shophouses and first-born HDB flats (it was Singapore’s first public housing estate), new private apartments are also coming up in its midst, providing options for more to enjoy the enclave’s gently vibrant atmosphere.

HighlineResidences1One of these new-kids-on-the-block is the Highline Residences, a 500-unit condominium inspired by the High Line in New York City and designed by award-winning architect Mok Wei Wei of W architects, which offers a good mix of one- to 4-bedroom apartments as well as dual-key units and penthouses. Developed by Keppel Land, the property is located just 5-minute’s walk away from Tiong Bahru MRT station and just a few stops away from the Orchard road shopping belt and the Central Business District. The upcoming Havelock MRT station nearby will be completed by 2021 and will add more transport options to the already-well connected area.

As far as city-fringe bohemian living goes, Tiong Bahru’s residents will be living it up for awhile.

 

 

Prices of suburban properties dipping

Prices of new properties in the prime central districts have been rising, even as the market dulls. Suburban homes are feeling the strain put on the market by the influx of completed new homes this year.

The PanoramaBuyers seeking out properties in the suburbs tend to be more price-sensitive, and are often hampered by the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework and the additional buyers’ stamp duty (ABSD), leading to higher competition from an expanding pool of stock for a shrinking pool of ready buyers. Prices at The Panorama in Ang Mo Kio have fell 9.7 per cent since its launch to $1,213 psf and similarly in Clementi, units at The Trilinq are now priced around $1,408 psf, almost 9 per cent lower than its launch price.

In comparison, buyers of properties in the prime central districts are more affluent and are able to afford the prices properties here demand. For example at Robin Residences, selling prices are now hovering at $2,371 psf, 2.4 per cent higher than its launch-price. Buyers of centrally located properties also have stronger holding power and less likely to sell unless the price is right.

RObin ResidencesThe price gap between suburban and central district homes have been widening. Last year, CCR (core central region) new-home price premiums were 81 per cent over those in the OCR (outside central region). As more OCR homes hit the secondary market this year, how will smaller investors handle the competition?

 

Upper Thomson – Foodie and Nature Haven

Upper Thomson is quickly coming into its own as the next foodie, nature and lifestyle haunt, especially with its connectivity heightened by the upcoming Thomson-East Coast MRT line. This leafy North-east suburb will soon be just a short train trip away from the town centre, the CBD and even the other ends of the island.

183 LonghausThe number of new condominiums, hip food and beverage outlets and educational centres springing up in its midst has made Upper Thomson a much sought-after area for property investment. Condominiums which have been or are being built at the moment include Thomson Grand, Adana Thomson, Thomson Impressions, Thomson Three, The Panorama and most recently – 183 Longhaus.

The latter is developed by TEE Land and is essentially a mixed-use concept which will fit in superbly with the nearby landed homes and indie businesses. Despite being a low-rise 4-storey project, it will feature 10 commercial units and 40 apartment units including 14 penthouse units ranging from 88 to 110 sq m. The amenities such as banking facilities and the Thomson Community Club, and transport options such as bus stops and the circle and Thomson-East Coast line MRT stations nearby are big pluses; not to mention the MacRithchie and Lower and Upper Pierce reservoirs are just round the corner.

Adana CondoDespite the temporary inconvenience residents of Upper Thomson might have to endure as major road and tunnelling works are underway, the future for this suburban district looks bright.

High vacancy rate hits property rental market

The days of brisk rental demand for private apartments could be going as the high number of vacant private property units in the market reached a record 10-year high at the end of 2015. Rents have fallen 4.6 per cent last year and analysts are predicting a 6 per cent drop this year.

Cassia EdgePhoto: Cassia Edge condominium

With the sheer number of new condominiums and smaller units introduced into the market in the last five to ten years, the opportunities for investors with varying financial capabilities have expanded vastly. Many of them have purchased smaller suburban units for investment purposes but 2016 may not bode well for those looking for a quick turnaround in terms of resale or rental of these units. The number of new condominium units hitting the market this year will mean increased competition for a diminishing tenant pool which will squeeze rental prices downwards. Many landlords are already finding it difficult to find tenants with the same asking prices as before, and have found it necessary to lower prices by 10 to 20 per cent.

Districts 19 and 20, which includes Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Hougang, Punggol and Sengkang, will have the highest number of new units in their midst this year – approximately 8,200. This is despite the fact that rental prices have not risen much in these districts over the past 3 years. Property experts are however positive about the huge redevelopment of the Seletar Aerospace park which may continue to provide the demand for rental units. In the eastern districts however, demand may be waning as expatriates working in the hard-hit financial and banking sectors could be leaving the country.

Buangkok – The forgotten gem

When the Buangkok name is mentioned, many may remember the time when its namesake MRT station was in the news for being underused; some may still only think of it faintly as the backyard of other more mature townships such as Ang Mo Kio and Hougang. But Buangkok has since come into its own with connectivity on the North-east MRT line and as Sengkang and Punggol continues to grow.

The 616-unit Jewel @ Buangkok private condominium has taken root at this tranquil spot on the island and is just a 3-minute walk away from the Buangkok MRT station.

DnestSituated in between the Eastern and the Northern regions, it is just a short drive away on the Tampines Expressway (TPE) and Kallang-Paya Lebar Expresseway (KPE) from the Changi Business Park, planned Paya Lebar Business Hub and the Singapore EXPO. This makes the property a prime sweet spot for not only home-occupiers but also investors.

95 per cent of the property has been sold and its range of 3-bedders, dual key 4-bedders and penthouses will come into the private market this year. Most of the units boast a north-south orientation thus cutting out sun glare, and also come with smart storage systems and premium home interiors. Another similar property nearby with a 95 percent sales record is the d’Nest condominium which is expected to receive its TOP (temporary occupation permit) status next year.

Integrated properties bring buyers in

The weekend brought good cheer to the developers of a couple of new residential properties Cairnhill Nine in the heart of Orchard Road and The Wisteria in Yishun.

CairnhillNine

Photo credit: CapitaLand

In the prime Orchard road district, half of the 268-unit Cairnhill Nine has been sold. 200 units ranging from 591 to 3,864 sq ft were launched over the weekend. The project has a good variety of units with one-bedders and two-bedders which included guest rooms, and also four-bedroom units and penthouses. The area is near the major shopping belt, with amenities such as the library@orchard and Mount Elizabeth hospital and the Novena medical area just a stone’s throw away. With MRT stations and bus stops situated nearby, and its integration with serviced residence Ascott Orchard Singapore, Cairnhill Nine looks set to be a worthy addition to the many other private apartments in the area. Nearby is the luxury Hilltops condominium, Cairnhill Residences, Helios Residences and The Peak @ Cairnhill.

WIsteria YishunPhoto: The Wisteria in Yishun

Close to 85% of the 138 units at Wisteria, a mixed-use project developed by Northern Resi which includes a 2-storey mall, have been snapped up last weekend. There has been a number of promising new properties popping in Yishun in the past year and this just adds to the pie.

Both the Wisteria and Cairnhill Nine are 99-year leasehold properties.

Investors’ loss may be end-users’ gain

With headwinds brewing in the property market, many private property owners and investors have already been or may be seriously considering letting go of their properties, in particular high-value luxury ones at below market prices. Investors with strong financial backing and holding power may be more willing to sell below market value, as long as the offer is reasonable, as they may want to release the money for investment elsewhere and make higher returns with a quicker turnaround.

TurquoisePhoto: Turquoise condominium

Smaller investors however may find themselves having to put their property in auction, in particular those who have had to suffer a loss of income. The days of old may have seen them relying on their passive income from rental of properties to supplement their income, but as the rental market is rapidly weakening, this iron rice bowl may not be so solid after all. For property owners who are in a rush to sell, they may even find themselves doing so at a loss as they would have had to put in monies for legal fees, stamp duties and mortgage loan interests in the years following their purchase.

Last year alone saw 400 secondary market transactions making a loss, four times more than the 100 in 2014; and 31 of these non-landed properties made more than $1million loss, that is more than thrice the number in 2014. Most of these were in the luxury property segment, with units at the Seascape making the largest loss of $5.2 million in the resale market. Some of the other projects with units exchanging hands at below-market prices include St. Regis Residences, Turquoise and The Orchard Residences.