New private homes with strong attributes still a draw

Amidst speculations of a bottoming-out real estate market, the 3 major project previews over the weekend might be good indicators of market fluctuations in the months ahead.

38-jervoisPhoto credit: Prominent Land

Judging from the strength of public response from recent launches, new private non-landed developments with strong attributes such as good locations, usually those near MRT stations and shopping malls, and affordable quantum prices will take market headlines for now. Buyers are not entirely shrinking away from making purchases, but they may be pickier as the choices available outweigh the current demand.

City Development’s (CDL) latest private residential offering of the Forest Woods condominium clocked an encouragingly positive level of sales in its recent launch, perhaps leading the way for the next few launches coming up – Queens Peak on Dundee Road in Queenstown, Parc Riviera in West Coast Vale and 38 Jervois in Jervois Road.

forestwoodsThe last of these projects is a rather exclusive boutique offering of 27 units developed by Prominent Land. At 38 Jervios, units range from 474 sq ft one-bedders to 1,098 sq ft two-bedders plus penthouse study with prices averaging $2,100 psf and up. Buyers can expect to fork out $1.08 million for a one-bedroom unit to $1,81 million for a 3-bedroom unit. 6 of the 27 units will be penthouses.

Although these new private homes may push sales figures past the 1,000 a month mark, property analysts do not yet expect a sudden market uptick as prospects of the economy remain lacklustre.

Property cooling measures likely to remain

The economic slowdown and diminishing growth rates are causes for concern not only for the Singapore government, but also for consumers and businesses.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has recently spoken about the property cooling measures which were implemented in succession over the past three years. He has mentioned that they are likely to remain at this time of uncertainty as a response to “global context and environment”.

Kingsford HIllview PeakProperty prices have fallen 10.8 per cent since Q3 of 2013 and prices fell 1.5 per cent in the third quarter of this year, bringing it to the 12th consecutive quarter of price decline. The real estate industry currently faces stagnation and though interest rates are low, many are looking for higher yields. He has warned against creating an environment rife with property speculation and has said that capital inflow might create a volatile and highly-speculative atmosphere which will result in property market fluctuations.

With the high number of completed units entering the market this year, and with unsold inventory rising, the property cooling measures may be helpful in keeping the delicate market balance. As of Q2 this year, there were 21,500 unsold and uncompleted private homes, the lowest ever recorded, indicating a possible shift of influence from the seller to the buyer. The government has also held back on the launch of land sites earlier this year.

Meyerise2Property analysts are not surprised by the government’s move to keep the property curbs in place, though sudden pace changes and steeper declines might prompt the government to reconsider relaxing the rules sooner.

Fall in Q3 Private home prices

Private home prices have been falling for the past 3 years, 12 consecutive quarters to be exact, and it’s currently at it’s lowest in 7 years. Last quarter’s fall was the steepest at 1.5%. So it does seem like the property cooling measures which were rolled out at around the same time have worked. And while the authorities are committed to continue having them in place, the real estate industry might have to bite down hard and stay the course.

threebalmoralEffects from the general global, regional and local economic markets have trickled down to the property sector as worry about the job market and a weakening economy affects demand and risk-taking. Though interest in high-end core central region luxury properties may have improved, prices have yet to completely made a turnaround. Home prices in this segment fell the hardest at 1.8 per cent following a 0.3 per cent rise in Q2. Landed property prices also fell 2.2 per cent while previously in-demand city fringe properties saw a 1.3 per cent fall.

As the last quarter of the year will possibly see more new property launches in comparison to Q3 which was relatively quiet, and HDB rolls out its next launch of 5,090 new BTO flats in Bedok, Bidadari, Punggol and Kallang/Whampoa HDB estates in November, will existing unsold stock and resale private homes be on the receiving end of added pressure and competition?

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 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.

New homes in District 10 – Victoria Park Villas

Soon to nest in the midst of District 10 will be 106 semi-detached houses and 3 bungalows totalling 403,000 sq ft.


Victoria Park Villas is a new development by CapitaLand situated in the junction of Coronation and Victoria Park Roads. Prime area indeed as it is only a 10-mins walk away from Farrer Road and Tan Kah Kee MRT station, not to mention having the selection of many choice schools down Bukit Timah road.

Launching tomorrow, 3 Sept, these 109 homes making up Victoria Park Villas are 99-year lease properties projected to sell at around $2,000 psf. Though on the high side, consumers will have to realise that having your own land even for awhile, will cost. The property sizes will range between 2,153 to 3,835 sq ft for semi-detached houses and 10,904 sq ft to 11, 539 sq ft in floor area for the 3 bungalows. Prices are expected to reach $12 million for the latter. Other similar properties in the King’s Drive, Hillcrest road and Greenwood Avenue have sold for between $906 to $1,351 psf last year.

Ventura HeightsNew cluster landed properties are not a dime a dozen, thus the property size, exclusivity and location Victoria Park Villas offer may very well be worth its calling price. CapitaLand has previously offer deferred payment schemes for their other properties such as d’Leedon, The Interlace and perhaps soon, Sky Habitat and Marine Blue as well. Will they be likely to extend the scheme to their upcoming projects once they are completed?


Developers keen to build more ECs in Sengkang

Despite the substantial quantity of unsold inventory in the executive condominium (EC) market, the numbers have been decreasing as more units sold in the last quarter, developers are picking up on the changing market sentiments and have come out in full force at the most recent land sales tender for an EC site on Anchorvale Lane. There were 16 bids in total for the site which could potentially yield 630 units.

Treasure Chest ECAs the private property market continues to show price improvements, the EC market has followed suit. Executive condominiums are a hybrid between public and private properties and more often than not, offer an almost surefire appreciation in its value after 10 years when it transits from the former to the latter. It’s initial step into the market as public housing means buyers can utilise HDB grant and subsidies to shave off part of the selling prices.

There are a number of ECs in the vicinity of this Anchorvale Lane site, namely The Vales, Bellewaters and Treasure Chest. The last sold 72 units within a week of its launch in July. However developers must be positive about the outlook of the EC market. Admittedly, the situation may change in a few years’ time and as the estate matures and becomes more popular with young families, there may also be an eventual shift in demand.

The ValesThe highest bid of $240.95 million came from Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments. With this $355 psf purchase price, property analysts are expecting the developers to price their units at $820 psf and above, which is a sliver higher than other EC projects.

New citizens new buyers of Good Class Bungalows

Buyers and sellers of Good Class Bungalows (GCB) seem to be gradually meeting on the same page as the price gap between them narrows and more transactions were recorded thus far this year – 19 to be exact, valued at a total of $438.17 million. In 2015, 33 GCBs valued at a total of $714.78 million were sold and 28 totalling $626.14 million in 2014. Analysts are predicting up to 30 GCB sales in 2016.

Leedon Road GCBEven though prices of these rare properties have not fallen much at all, investors’ interest seems to not have waned. Developer OUE have just picked up 2 sites from the British government in Nassim road at $1,652 psf for $56.58 million, a steal considering the median price of the area stands at $2,000 psf.

An increasing number of GCB buyers are new citizens, buying over these massive-sized properties from Singaporeans moving between property transactions and investment deals. These buyers see the potential in prime properties and the slightest of price adjustments will spike their interest in their search for property upgrades and prestigious addresses. Recent sales included a $27 million GCB in Gallop road and currently on the market are a $38 million Bukit Tunggal Road GCB sized at 14,000 sq ft and a $30 million Dalvey Road property on a 15,211 sq ft site.