Property prices in China continue to climb

Earlier in the year, China’s government laid down new regulations in an attempt to avert a property bubble, but if last month’s 33 per cent year-on-year increase in home value is anything to go by, they may have to do a whole lot more to prevent the real estate industry from travelling dangerously down the path of no return.

chinaProperty prices rose 1.2 per cent in August in 70 Chinese cities, not only in major cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen but also in regional cities. Last year, the Chinese government relaxed rules on foreigners purchasing properties in China, and despite a slowing economy, property prices have continued to rise. Unrealistically? Perhaps. In Shanghai and Beijing alone, prices have risen 4.4 and 3.6 per cent respectively. In Shenzhen and Guangzhou, home values rose as well at 2.1 and 2.4 per cent respectively. Previously, only the first and second-tier cities had to grapple with sky-rocketing property prices, but the effect may have trickled down to cities of various tiers.

Property analysts are certain however, that as long as land supply remains stagnant and loans are fairly easily attained, the rise will continue. Previous curbs have yet to made a significant impact on the industry and as long as supply remains lower than demand, property prices will continue to climb.

Executive condominiums top August property sales

August was a good month for the executive condominium (EC) market, with all 3 top sellers coming from this particular property sector, namely – Treasure Crest in Sengkang, Sol Acres in Choa Chu Kang and Bellewoods in Woodlands.

Bellewoods ECUnderstandably, there were not many major property launches in August with only 590 units launched in the month at Victoria Park Villas in District 10. A total of 805 units were sold, less than half of the 1,921 sold in July, with 41 per cent of the month’s sales coming from ECs. But demand for these rare hybrid public and private properties seems to be rising.

The price gap between ECs and private properties may be closing in as resale private property prices continue to dip though there is still a considerable distance between these 2 property types. The median selling prices of all 3 top EC developments below $800 psf whereas average prices for private apartments are mostly above the $1,000 psf range.

Sol Acres Besides comparison with ECs, new developer launches have also been fighting market competition from completed resale units, providing discounts and other incentive schemes to entice buyers. As a hybrid between public and private housing, EC buyers can tap on HDB grants and subsidies in the initial purchase and after 10 years, are able to leverage on the private property status of their property, harnessing the full capacity of a private resale condominium.

 

More luxury homes above $5 million sold this year

The difference is 198 per cent – for Indonesians keeping their cash overseas without declaring it and in Indonesia for at least 3 years. And that whooping amount is possibly pushing wealthy Indonesians to pick up luxury properties in Singapore before the new law kicks in. Singapore will soon be sharing financial information with Indonesian authorities.

The TomlinsonAt the moment under a tax amnesty scheme, Indonesians pay a tax rate of 4 per cent and upwards on properties or funds outside of Indonesia. The rates are increased in stages up to 10 per cent up till March 2017, when the amnesty closes. It is uncertain if the information shared will be of both real estate and funds, but some buyers are understandably moving their monies into real estate ahead of time.

Local properties priced at $5 million and above have been attracting interest from Indonesians who have been closing deals quickly over the year. The number of such properties sold this year have already far surpassed last year’s, by almost 4 times. 30 properties valued at $5 million and above have been sold this year as of August, compared to just 8 the whole of last year.

Whitley ResidencesMost Indonesian buyers see the potential of high-end Singaporean properties and have been keeping an eye on the market, waiting for an opportune time to pick off prime properties. A total of 189 purchases, and possibly more as declarations of nationality is voluntary, were made by Indonesians from January to August this year.

More resale condominiums sold in July and August

Current Q3 property market figures are showing that while sales volume on a year-on-year basis has risen almost 60 per cent, with a 10 per cent rise in June and inching up a further 5.3 per cent in July, home prices have slipped consecutively for 2 months.

183 LonghausA total of 817 units were sold in August while 776 were sold in July. Prices of resale non-landed residential properties have however fallen by 0.8 per cent in August, following a 0.7 per cent fall in July. Most of the price decline came from suburban properties, led by those in the city fringes. The core central region private home prices have continued to rise 0.1 per cent. Overall, buyers are paying an average of $11,000 below market value last month as compared to $10,000 in July.

A few major new launches may have injected some competition into the market, fuelled by the rise in the number of completed private homes. District 20 of Ang Mo Kio, Upper Thomson and Bishan has however had a positive showing of buyers willing to pay up to a median of $18,000 above market value for properties here. The maturity of these estates, coupled with the number of schools and proximity to town may have driven prices up. Surprisingly in district 15 which consists of Katong, Marine Parade, Joo Chiat and Amber Road, buyers are shying away from the high prices properties here used to command.

Belgravia villasThe Hungry Ghost Festival in August may have dulled sales figures slightly, though property analysts expect only marginal adjustments in the months leading to the end of 2016.

Small apartments: New fare better than resale

Prices of private non-landed properties in the central region have risen 0.7 per cent last month, a possible indication of the market bottoming out soon. New payment and incentive schemes could also have helped boost sales numbers, in particular for properties in the prime districts of 9 and 10. Across the board, prices of completed apartments have risen 0.2 per cent.

E MaisonNew small apartment units fared better than resale units as demand for the latter tends to be overshadowed by the former. Buyers are more open to buying small apartment units directly from developers rather than in the resale market as new projects tend to offer more longer-term benefits and immediate rental profits from resale units have been falling as the foreign workforce shrinks as a result of  tighter immigration policies. Most of the buyers are Singaporeans or permanent residents looking for properties to live in or rent out for the long-run, and having waited a couple of years for the property cooling measures to be lifted to no avail, are now dipping more than their toe into the pool.

July has proven to be a good month for the real estate market, with some property agents reporting up to a 50 per cent increase in sales in a year-on-year comparison.

Sengkang properties beginning to shine more clearly

Gone is the decade when Punggol and Sengkang were considered too far flung or unpopulated sans amenities.

HighparkResidencesIf the popularity of latest offering in Fernvale, High Park Residences and other completed private condominiums were anything to go by, more similar properties might spring up in the midst as district 19 continues in its expansion and development. Other private residential developments in the Sengkang area include H20 Residences, Riverbank@Fernvale and Rivertrees Residences. More young couples and extended families are moving into the district and with the average selling price holding steady at $1,060 psf, the private properties here are a more affordable for those crossing over from public housing.

Rivertrees Residences3 new land banks will be put up for tender by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in the upcoming months, and there may be strong bids coming from developers and consumers may very well have more than sufficient options to choose from soon. One of the sites most likely to gain interest will be the 99-year leasehold residential site on Fernvale road with a site area of 17,196 sq m. The nearby 1,390-unit High Park Residences with a median selling price of $989 psf has already sold almost all of its units within a year of its launch in July 2015.

The proximity of this site to amenities such as Seletar Mall and the stretch of eateries along Jalan Kayu, the Thanggam LRT station and Tampines Expressway (TPE) and schools will no doubt urge developers to seriously consider its potential.

 

 

Incentive schemes may reduce Home loan amount

Pay the full sum for a $2 million dollar property within 10 weeks? Or have the payment deferred and pay within 3 years? Most buyers would be enticed by the latter option. And developers have been dangling that carrot to move their unsold stock.

HilltopsBut now the authorities may have caught on to their game and have issued a circular to banks last week stipulating that the amounts deferred are to be taken into account when computing the final amount a buyer can loan from the banks. This may impact some buyers, especially those who may not have sufficient cash upfront and who may need the time to move monies around in order to make the full payment.

Deferred payment schemes are offered by developers of some completed residential properties such as OUE Twin Peaks whereby buyers are allowed to move into their new home upon exercising the option to purchase and paying a down payment, allowing them to the period of 1 to 3 years to make the full payment. With the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) most recent specifications, any benefits will have to be taken into account prior to loan calculation.

Twin Peaks2Under the deferred payment scheme, the amount deferred needs to be deducted from the final purchase price before the loan ratio is applied, thus diminishing the amount the borrower can ultimately loan and raising the upfront down payment.

On top of that, rental guarantee scheme is also under MAS’ scrutiny as these are also considered benefits to the buyer. Under such schemes, properties such as Hilltops apartments on Cairnhill, developers offer guaranteed rental returns for a specific time period.

More resale private properties sold in July

No movement may be good movement – as far as the current property market situation goes. Property analysts say any fluctuations in property prices or sales volume may be minimal for now. And as long as there are no drastic dips, the market is in good stead. Recovery may take awhile and it will probably be slow, a sudden rebound unlikely.

Hills TwoONeThere was a rise in property prices in Q2, though followed by a slight fall in July. Sales volume of resale private non-landed properties however has increased 31% and 770 units were sold last month, compared to the 586 in a year-on-year comparison. Buyers are back in action and are picking up deals which seem to be aplenty as more private properties enter the market, heating up competition in and between new and resale segments. The number of deals closed have been rising steadily since May with a 35.5 per cent increase followed by a 27.4 per cent increase in June.

For the rest of 2016, the resale market may see some heightened activity as stabilising prices prompt buyers who have waited long enough in the sidelines to jump back into the fold. The number of new launches this year is also considerably fewer than the last, and as buyers come to realise that prices are unlikely to fall further anytime soon, more may see the diminishing choices in the primary market as a sign to reconsider possibilities in the resale market.