Increased supply beginning to affect private resale condo prices?

There has been talk about private non-landed home prices being affected by the onslaught of new completed homes flooding the market this year. Could the supply-glut effect be already taking hold of the market as resale completed condo prices fell 1 per cent in March?

Bentley ResidenceFebruary and January were positive months for the private resale property market as prices rose 0.5 and 0.2 per cent respectively. Though the fall in March may seem a bit of a letdown, an overall dip was registered in all market segments. The largest decrement was for the non-central regions, where a 1.4 per cent fall was recorded.

Property analysts are expecting a 3 per cent fall in private home prices this year as the supply of completed homes continue to be met by competition from new launches and competitive pricing from developer-sold projects. Resellers of completed or older resale condominium units may face increase competition from developers who are now pricing newly-launched units are more palatable pricing. Buyers have also become more selective and are more likely to pay only for location. The total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework also limits the amount they can loan, thus putting a bit of a dampener on investment- or upgrading-based property purchases.

As the middle of the year approaches quickly, the next quarter will likely show the market response more clearly as more new launches are planned. How will the consumers react to the competition for their attention. Will sales volume increase significantly or will prices fall in the heat of battle?

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.

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?

 

No luxury comfort for luxury property market

At $1,300 psf for a Cairnhill Plaza 4-bedder, it might be the lowest for a prime property in the middle of town in the last 10 years. As competition in the luxury property market heats up, owners and investors are finding themselves in a bit of a bind as prices dip and the buyers are few and far in between.

The Sail MarinaLeasing them out to fund mortgages have also proven to be increasingly difficult as the foreign workforce and pool of expatriates have shrunk due to job losses in the finance, oil and gas sectors. Combined number of secondary market losses registered in the core central region which consists of the prime districts of 9 to 11, the downtown core planning area and Sentosa Cove come up to 63 in the first quarter of this year alone.

As most of the expatriates looking for housing are now middle- or executive-level individuals with smaller housing budgets, smaller suburban properties in areas with regional business and commercial hubs are doing better than larger, high-end apartments in the prime or Central Business Districts (CBD). In fact, property analysts are now finding that more buyers are local Singaporeans who are purchasing a second or subsequent holiday home. As they are purchasing for occupation purposes, rental yields are less of a concern for them and are able to hold on to their purchases till a later date should they wish to sell.

Rental market bodes well for HDB flats

The rental market has been on the downhill slip as a fresh crop of completed new private homes hits the market this year. Competition for an increasing limiting tenant pool will prove to be tough for private property landlords, but HDB flat rental prices are holding out well despite the softening rental market.

Paterson SuitesCore central region private apartments seem to be suffering the most with the global finance, oil and gas sectors in turmoil. Expatriates working here and their families have been moving out of the country, scaling the tenant pool for luxury and high-end prime properties down even further. For example, a 3-bedder in a 1,600 sq ft unit in Paterson Suites which would have tenanted at $7,000 in January is now offering $5,800 in rent.

Serangoon HDB flatPrivate property rental prices fell 1 per cent in March, while HDB flat rents fell just 0.1 per cent. Changes in immigration policies have reduced the foreign workforce in Singapore and those remaining may have to work around a smaller housing allowance, hence many private properties may be out of their rental budget. HDB flats are a fair and affordable option. For locals or HDB upgraders who have to rent a home while waiting for their new BTO flat or condominium to be built, private units often prove to be too expensive as well. Will the positive rental yields for the HDB flat market boost the sales figures for this sector?

 

 

843 new private homes sold in March

And that is a 8-month high, especially since the last new property launch was 4 months ago – The Poiz Residences in November 2015. That could be the glimmer of hope the local property market has been waiting for, though some analysts are still cautious about a obvious rebound as the government has tightened their grip on land supply this year.

WIsteria YishunThe rise in transactions of new units last month could be partly due to the pent up demand over the Chinese new year lull in February and the lack of new launches in the first 2 months of the year. Only 209 units were launched in February while the number more than tripled to 682 in March. The number of units sold doubled from 303 in February to 843 in March. The 2 new launches in March were Cairnhill Nine and The Wisteria.

Although the government has announced that they will be unlikely to ease up on the property cooling measures anytime soon, some buyers who may have been waiting in the sidelines for better deals may be coming to realise that prices will not be falling drastically this year and may have finally made the purchase move last month.

Overall, market sentiment is picking up and buyers are picking off bargains and affordable units before the winds change. New mass market suburban properties are capturing eyeballs and wallets.

Top reductions on Top-end London properties

As the number of new high-end luxury properties in London‘s prime and popular fringe districts such as Central London, Nine Elms and Earls Court climb, developers are feeling the pressure of a slump in demand and international investments.

London ApartmentDevelopers are finding that they now have to pursue overseas buyers more actively than before. They are also looking outside for cheaper development loans as there has been a 13 per cent fall in international buyers last year, and sales have fallen 19 per cent. Funding for some developments may be running into trouble and developers are looking at offering discounts for bulk purchases in order to secure monies for the construction process.

London Apartment2Higher property taxes have dulled some of the shine of high-end London apartments and land values have fell 1.1 per cent by the last quarter of 2015, compared to a 6.4 per cent gain in the earlier part of the year. What will this year hold for the industry? Property analysts are hoping developers find the funds they need to finance more extensive fringe projects. There are however doubts about whether bulk buyers willing to take up more than 100 units will be easy to find as most of these newer projects are not designed for the rental market.

New launches versus Completed private homes

As home supply inches towards a new high this year, the public’s attention may now be shifted to the competition between completed new homes and new developer launches.

Property investment was almost a sure thing not long ago, but now 3 to 5 years down the road from the peak of the market, when property prices were high but so were buying sentiment and potential investment yields, units which were launched then are now made available in the physical, adding pressure to the already-gluggy property market.

Private apartment prices in the core central region (CCR) have taken a turn for the better with a 0.4 per cent rise in the first quarter of 2016, following a 0.3 per cent fall in the last quarter of 2015. Luxury properties in the prime districts may once again be welcoming affluent buyers and investors as average unit prices have risen from $2,215 psf to $2,243 psf by the end of last year.

In the city fringes however, private property prices have continued to ebb, falling 0.4 per cent for 2 consecutive quarters now. Out of the central regions (OCR) and in the suburbs, prices fell 0.9 per cent. For the rest of the year, property experts are expecting private apartment prices to stabilise in the central regions while landed and suburban non-landed homes continue to struggle.