Poiz Residences – Poised for Potential

Come this weekend, another mixed-use development will enter the market and perhaps just in time to add some excitement to the year-end festivities.

With half of its units launching this Saturday, November 28, is the 731-unit condominium Poiz Residences developed by MCC Land. It is part of a mixed-use development that includes the retail and lifestyle-centric Poiz Centre. The project is situated in Myeappa Chettiar, just right next to the Potong Pasir MRT station.

poiz-img-001Photo credit: MCC Land

With the new Bidadari HDB estate coming up not far away, and schools such as St. Andrew’s primary, secondary and junior colleges nearby, the new private condominium may provide buyers with a tantalising option. Tentative completion date for the property is in 2019, which will comfortably coincide with that of the HDB flats in Bidadari.

Pricing of units at Poiz Residences are expected to be around the average of $1,380 psf with a good mix of 4 penthouses, 202 three-bedroom units, 52 four-bedders, and the rest made up of the highly palatable one- and two-bedders. With buyers now more akin to units with lower quantum prices, the latter might sell quickly.

MCC Land is hoping to position the mixed-use project as a mainstay of the Potong Pasir area, building it up as a central destination in the region.

More for less – Smaller condo apartments

With the rising prices of land plots sold under the Government Land Sales programme and with developers taking into consideration how the property cooling measures have affected buyers’ purchasing power, private apartment sizes have been diminishing since 2010.

LakevillePhoto: Lakeville at Jurong West

More apparent in units in the city fringes, average sizes have shrunk from 1,051 to 810 sq ft. And in the suburbs, apartment sizes went from 878 sq ft to 811 sq ft; though the average sizes from new projects actually dropped from 1, 113 sq ft in 2006 to 667 sq ft in 2011 but rose again to 928 sq ft in 2014.

In 2012, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) put in place guidelines for the maximum number of units for condominium developments outside of the central area. Developers have since noticed that buyers are more sensitive to the total quantum price of a unit rather than per unit prices, especially since the implementation of loan curbs such as the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), hence maximising the land area and total number of units would be the best way to go.

Symphony SUitesPhoto: Symphony Suites

There are some residential projects which chose to follow their own path however, including Lakeville and Symphony Suites. But as the population continues to grow, it seems that unit sizes will only continue to diminish. Resale units may then have an edge over the smaller-sized newer units, provided pricing is equally competitive when time comes.

October shows dip in resale private home prices

In the current market, where sentiments and demand are weakened by the property cooling measures, it might be idealistic to wait for the market to climb back to its peak in 2009 and 2013. But angle of decline for resale properties has been gentle, with a 7.6 per cent fall from January 2014.

26 NewtonPhoto: 26 Newton condo apartment

Though resale private home prices have dipped since then, the lowered prices may have brought more buyers back into the market. Resale properties or condominiums which were new launches between 2010 and 2012 have relatively larger floor area and in the current market, and buyers who are looking for a permanent home may find the fact that they have higher bargaining power a more-than-valid reason for approaching the resale property market.

Properties in the city fringes fared better as they are priced much lower than city centre properties, and yet offer the proximity or a good location and hints at exclusivity. Resale prices here have fallen just 5 per cent since the highs in 2013. This region has always been popular with investors and owner-occupiers and the lack of new launches here of late may have raised the number of resale transactions.

Suburban resale properties are facing a slightly different situation as the large number of new units have decreased the leasing and resale demand. Fiercer competition may have caused some owners to lower prices, more so than ever, buyers and tenants are finding the ball in their court.

Moderation of HDB flat prices modest

HDB flat prices rose 50 per cent between 2009 and 2013. With the property curbs in the last 3 years, prices have fallen 10 per cent. The government are considering the decline moderate and have mentioned that it is not yet time to completely reverse the process and policies despite recent figures showing a stabilisation of resale flat prices and a rise in sales volume.

Yishun HDB

Photo: HDB flat in Yishun

The most effective cooling measures thus far have been the 2013 implementation of the mortgage servicing ratio limit. The loan amount home buyers were able to take to service a HDB flat loan was capped at 30 per cent of their gross income. On top of that, there was a 60 per cent Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) which was also introduced in 2013 to prevent borrowers from over stretching themselves with the number and amount of loans payments.

Industry experts are mostly in agreement about a sudden and drastic switch in policies which back backfire on the industry and property market. But some have felt that certain measures such as the ABSD (additional buyers’ stamp duty) could be lifted in phases to encourage property investment. The current rule requires foreign property buyers to pay an additional 15 per cent of the price of a property here while Singaporeans have to do the same but at 7 and 10 per cent for second and third subsequent properties.

The new National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has however mentioned that adjustments may be possible, depending on global and local economic situations.


Tri-factor sustaining Property market – Government, industry and home owners

As 2016 brings a slew of completed new homes into the property market, developers are concerned about what market restrictions and rising construction and project development costs will do to the industry.

Kallang Riverside

Photo: Kallang Riverside

Even as everyone understands that Singapore is a land-scarce country, and the costs of properties will never be unrealistically low, the current market sentiment seems to be one of wait-and-see. But property prices may never fall too far without affecting the quality of homes. Developers are already feeling the financial squeeze as land costs rise, along with regulatory fees for plans submissions and costs of construction, fittings and furnishings. On top of that, developers are also under the time pressure of selling all their units within a five-year period in order to avoid paying the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty. At the moment 3,000 units from the development of properties from land plots sold under the Government Land Sales Programme in 2012 remain unsold, they will reach their five-year deadline next year.

Thus as much as a home buyers may be waiting for even lower prices, new properties launched in the months or year ahead may not be able to lower their prices any further. Moving ahead, how the Government manages its land sales programme, and how developers manoeuvre around rising project development costs and market their products may be key to keeping the industry and ultimately the overall economy healthy and growing.

Luxury tucked away – Seletar Hills

For now, the district of Seletar and its surroundings are fairly quiet and laid-back. But all that may soon change as the area is being redeveloped as part of the North Coast Innovation Corridor.

The exclusive Seletar Hills Estate in its midst holds a great deal of potential with the serene environment it provides as well as its proximity to town. A 999-year leasehold landed housing project is being built there at the moment –  Luxus Hills is currently in the seventh phase of its development and will feature 28 terrace units and 4 semi-detached houses. These landed properties are developed by Bukit Sembawang Estates whose other properties include Skyline Residences and Paterson Suites.

LUxus HillsPhoto: Luxus Hills

The surrounding area will soon be very vibrant with commercial and retail businesses including the Seletar Aerospace Hub, Greenwich V and Seletar Mall. Within a short drive or bus ride away are the Ang Mo Kio Town Centre and Compass Point in Sengkang. Situated somewhat midway between Yio Chu Kang, Sengkang and Punggol, and Ang Mo Kio, it’s proximity to the Central Expressway (CTE) also makes it a cinch to get to the Central Business District (CBD) and Orchard belt. The Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Yio Chu Kang and Buangkok MRT stations are within easy reach.

Each of the Luxus Hills homes are designed to suit multi-generational families and come with four en-suite bedrooms, a guest room and roof terrace.

Other properties nearby include Riverbank, Rivertrees Residences, Seletar Park Residence, The Greenwich and Belgravia Park.


Compact apartment units popular with buyers

At a couple of the most recent property launches – Principal Garden and Thomson Impressions, smaller units such as one- and two-bedders were the stars of the show.

The developers of both properties have managed to hit it off with the buyers with smaller apartments. As buyers are now more price-conscious, it was no surprise that these units priced below the $1 million dollar mark sold fast and furious. At Principal Garden alone, 120 of the 200 units launched last weekend were sold at a $1,600 psf median; 70 per cent of the 663-unit Prince Charles Crescent project consists of one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging rom 484 to 807 sq ft. For a gauge of the quantum prices here, selling prices of a one-bedder started from $777,000 and $1.18 million for a two-bedder.


Photo: Principal Garden

Another much talked-about new property, Thomson Impressions, also launched 150 units last week, and 87 have since been sold at an average of $1, 393 psf. Similar to Principal Gardens, 60 per cent of the 288-unit Lorong Puntong property near Sin Ming Avenue are made up of one- and two-bedders. With its prime location near the future Bright Hill MRT station and many good schools, one-bedroom apartments at Thomson Impressions were going from $670,000.

About 85 per cent of the buyers at the launch were Singaporeans, which could signify a comeback of sorts for the private property market. Sales figures may indicate a shift to more palatable quantum pricing and smaller apartments.

Upper Thomson – Property Hot Spot

Ever since the up-and-coming Thomson-East Coast MRT Line was announced, a number of new properties along the upper thomson stretch have been launched to good, if not resounding, response.

New residential developments which will be ready within the next few years include Thomson Grand, Thomson Three and now, Thomson Impressions. These are all situated within walking distance of the Bright Hill and Upper Thomson stations. Units launched and priced under $1 million have almost all been snapped up as property analysts hint at a possible million dollar sweet spot for most buyers and investors.

Thomson Three 1Photo: Thomson Three

Smaller units such as one- and two-bedders were particularly popular. At Thomson Impressions, one-bedders start at $670,000 and two-bedders $980,000. Apartment sizes range from 68 to 71 sq m for the two-bedroom apartments, comparable to sizes of three-room HDB flats. Thomson Impressions is made up of 100 one-bedders, 72 two-bedders, 106 three-bedders plus 5 penthouses and 5 strata-landed homes.

Prices are fairly affordable, especially for HDB upgrades who typically go for private properties below $1.2 million. Previously, units at Thomson Three which were priced at around $1,400 psf, sold quickly as well. There are currently only 8 units left. Smaller projects with under 300 units tend to sell well, especially if the location is prime and are near a number of good schools. Ai Tong primary school, Catholic High School, St. Nicholas Girls’ School, Raffle Instituition are all within the district or nearby towns.

Compared to larger mass market projects, these smaller developments also have the advantage of exclusivity, and much lower competition in terms of resale and leasing.

The 19-storey Thomson Impression is situated in Lorong Puntong and is expected to be completed by 2019.