Increase in Foreign property purchases

The local property market is looking a little zestier as more foreign buyers picked up units in the first quarter. This affirms the continued popularity of properties in Singapore as compared to those in other major Asian cities, or global cities for that matter.

Kingsford HIllview PeakProperty prices in Singapore are still relatively affordable, and the number of purchases made by non-Singaporean residents rose by 5.4 per cent, while purchases made by permanent residents rose by 2.6 per cent in Q1. The Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) initially dampened sales, but as foreign property investors find themselves having similar, it not even higher, fees levied upon them in other markets, their return is not particularly surprising. While there are other emerging markets with even lower property prices, the stability and proven track record of Singapore’s properties has done the market justice.

Most of the properties foreign buyers hunt down are priced between $1.5 to $3 million. They bought 79 units at Cairnhill Nine and 38 units at Kingsford Hillview peak. Most of the foreign buyers were Mainland Chinese or Malaysians. Property analysts are keeping positive about the market’s prospects for the rest of the year despite the number of local buyers falling 18.2 per cent, though it could be due to the Chinese New Year holidays falling in the middle of Q1.

 

 

Bukit Batok – Growing fame

The birth of a new town often means going through some growing pains, the largest factor being time. A township takes time to grow, to iron out uncertainties and for residents to grow familiar with their surroundings and to make the place home. But ultimately, more often that not, townships come into their own and begin to grow and mature into attractive and popular entities.

RegentHeightsBukit Batok is once such estate. Sharing district 23 with Choa Chu Kang, Diary Farm, Hillview and Bukit Panjang, there are areas of unfounded quiet, and yet with the bustle not far off with pockets of businesses just a short distance away. Catching such a growing township at the right time could mean more value for money in terms of property sizes and prices, with the light of promise not too far away as the township matures and more amenities, transport convenience and commercial opportunities arrive.

Some private condominiums already in her midst include Hillview Regency, Guilin View, Parkview apartments, Regent Heights and The Jade. Not to mention the abundance of HDB flats, some older resale units with considerable floor areas going for much less in comparison to similar units in older, more mature estates.

BukitBatokHDBAnd now with the Downtown MRT line in force, the Hill View, Dairy Farm and Bukit Panjang estates are just a quick 5 to 10 minute ride away, not to mention a much shorter travel time to the city centre. Are Bukit Batok properties ripe for picking?

Private home prices on the rise?

Twin-Peaks3Prices of completed private condominium units rose 0.3% in April, though analysts are putting it up to a technical rebound. After a relatively good start to the year, private home prices have fallen 1.1% in March based on the Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI).

Some completed residential projects have seen promising signs of buying activity. The recent upward price adjustments could have been due to higher pickup rates of central region private homes such as units at OUE Twin Peaks and Ardmore Three.

Although the rise of home prices this year has been tentative, across the board prices have increased by more than 50% since 2009. Small apartment units lead the way with a 62.8% rise, followed by a 57.7% increase in non-central region units. Central region home prices are now 30.9% higher taking March 2009 as a point of comparison.

Ardmore THreeLast year saw a dip in luxury, prime district properties while this year, the increased supply of new completed private apartment units have pushed prices of units in the non-central regions down. Buyers remain cautious in their purchasing approach and are more price-sensitive though projects in prime locations and whose developers offer fresh new incentives will continue to bring in sales.

Small gems win big

Gem residences in Toa Payoh has already sold more than 55 per cent of their 578 units in their weekend launch last weekend. Median selling prices were at $1,426 psf and analysts are happy to report this a success as most new projects receive bulk of their sales within the first 2 to 3 weeks and a 50 per cent sales rate within the first month is already a positive sign.

Gem REsidencesAnd the prize came in small packages as units below 1000 sq ft were the clear winners last weekend. Approximately 60 per cent of all their 471 units below 1,000 sq ft have been sold while buyer picked up about 20 bigger-sized units. Gem residences is developed by Gamuda, Maxdin and Evia Real Estate. As Gamuda Land‘s first project in Singapore, the response is a happy one probably because prices were kept realistic and affordable. Their 980 sq ft tri-key or trio units were popular picks, 5 of their 37 units have been sold thus far.

The TerraceOther new launches which recorded sales over the weekend included Stars of Kovan with about 70 units sold of date, The Trilinq, Sturdee Residences, The Poiz Residences, Principal Garden, Botanique at Bartley, Symphony Suites, The Terrace, Sol Acres, The Amore and Bellewaters.

 

Would you Woodlands?

Woodlands – This may have once been a forested area but now many call it home. Including the estates of Marsiling and Admiralty, Woodlands has HDB flats, executive condominiums (ECs) and private condominiums in its midst, not to mention a bustling regional commercial hub.

BellewoodsECSome of the condominiums standing in the district include La Casa, Woodsvale, Northoaks, The Tennery and Woodhaven. If it’s an EC you are looking for, the estate also has Bellewoods, Forestville, Twin Fountains and soon, Northwave to offer.

Under the URA Masterplan, a new Woodlands Regional Centre will feature easy and convenient links to Malaysia and also more than 700,000 sq metre of commercial spaces. New industrial spaces will also mean more jobs for the residents of Woodlands and could also translate to higher demand for rental and sale properties. The Woodlands North Coast is also in the works, aiming to bring greenery and waterfront living to the region.

woodlandsNCPhoto credit: URA

Bellewoods, an award-winning EC on Woodlands Ave 5, is one such project. It aims to bring the tranquility of green-living into the residence, with modern-day conveniences such as the woodlands MRT station and Causeway point shopping centre just next door. Developed by Qingjian Realty, Bellewoods is slated for completion next year and as it was launched before the resale levy rule was set, buyers are able to save up to $55,000 for an EC unit.

Shunfu Ville finally sold en bloc

After many turns in the collective sale route, the Shunfu Ville estate in Bishan has finally been sold en bloc. $638 million for 358 units. As one of the few remaining HUDC (Housing and Urban Development Company) estates in Singapore, this has been a long but fruitful wait for many of its owners who will each reap an average of $1.782 million from the sale. Back in its launch days, each unit was sold at approximately $230,000.

ShunfuVilleQingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group is the proud new owner of the estate. Though the price seems steep, the potential use of the plot of land this size is even steeper. The Shunfu Ville land area is almost equivalent to that of up to 3 similar land plots offered under the the government land sales programme.

Privatised in 2013, owners of the ageing estate have found maintenance increasingly difficult and expensive and 81 per cent came to an agreement to seal the deal last Thursday. The reserve price was lowered from $688 million to $638 million.

NaturaLoftMeasuring at 408,927 sf qt, Qingjian has plans to build up to 1,000 apartment units and a number of terrace-house units on this 2.8 plot ratio land. This may mean an injection of even more private condominium units into the Bishan and Upper Thomson districts. The developer also has another project, Natura Loft, opposite Shunfu Ville.

 

More unsold private home stock moved in April

New private home sales fell 11.6 per cent to 745 units last month, though the numbers may be considered to be decent as there were 2 major launches in March which caused a spike in sales volume, the highest in 8 months. The 268-unit The Cairnhill and 216-unit The Wisteria launched in March while the 305-unit Sturdee Residences and 48-unit The Asana launched in April.
The AsanaOlder projects however were finding favour with buyers as the number of transactions on previously launched developments rose from 541 to 619 in April. A few of these projects such as The Trilinq, have reached or will be reaching completion soon and are more of a draw for buyers who wish to move in sooner than later. Developers of some of these properties have also offered discounts and the lower prices are the icing on the cake.

Taking executive condominium (EC) units into consideration, the numbers are even higher. Approximately 400 EC units were sold. At the previously-launched The Terrace EC, the developers have put a buyer-referral scheme where both parties received $10,000 cash vouchers for successful transactions.

The TerraceProperty analysts are optimistic about the shift in tide as sales were spread evenly amongst the 15 top-selling residential projects, a sign that buyers are looking throughout the island, and not simply converging on new launches. Ironically, the government’s insistence on keeping the property cooling measures might have driven buyers back into the market as they realise the curbs may not be lifted anytime soon.

 

Cool moves to boost property market take off

Property buyers and investors are certainly flexing their shopping muscles this year by weighing their many options carefully and taking time to do so. It has been the buyers’ market for sometime now, with sellers and developers realising that the ball is over in the other court.

Twin Peaks2Purchasing activity has certainly not ceased, but buyers are taking their time to shop their options, with most seeing about 10 to 15 units before taking the plunge. Thus interest is definitely still evident, but the speed and volume of sales may have to take a backseat for now. Some developers have taken to new and creative ways to push sales. OUE for example has offered a deferred payment scheme for their 99-year leasehold condominium Twin Peaks. The move has helped them sell around 100 more units since end March and also put them in the race against freehold properties nearby such as Ardmore Three and Gramercy Park. Average prices at Twin peaks stand at $2,300 psf while units at Ardmore Three are going for around $2,700 psf and the upcoming Gramercy Park has prices set at around $2,600 psf.

LloydSixtyFiveIn a move to help their customers tide over property cooling curbs, in particular the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD), the developer of Lloyd Sixty-Five, TG development, is offering an “experimental purchaser scheme” which allows the buyer to pay only 12.5 per cent of the purchase price to occupy the unit without having to pay the maintenance fees and property tax for a stipulated period of time till such time when the property cooling measures may be lifted.