Singapore no. 2 destination for Asian property investors

A recent study has found Singapore to be No. 2 in a list of top destinations for wealthy Asian investors. The Wealth Report compiled by Knight Frank has placed Singapore second, after only Britain, as a country high net worth Asians are favouring as a property-investment destination.

BishopsgateResidencesExcluding their primary residence, these individuals are defined by their portfolios of at least US$30 million (S$42.3 million). They are also more likely to apportion most of their assets to real estate investments. This could come as good news to developers and property marketing agencies, helping them narrow down their target audiences and structure more focused marketing strategies which are more essential now than ever as the economy languishes.

While Chinese investors are the mainstay of the real estate scene, Indian and Malaysian buyers are making an increasingly obvious presence. Property analysts are expecting the proportion of foreign home buyers in Singapore to rise to between 25 and 28 per cent this year. Their numbers currently stand at 24.7 per cent. Singapore’s slower rate of property growth allows investors to take stock of their investment and stake calculated risks without having to grapple with the rapidly increasing price growth in cities in China, Australia and Canada.

Some of the other countries which are also gaining traction in the real estate investment arena are China and Vietnam. Singapore’s stable political and business environment has however continued to make it a choice pick amongst Asian investors.

New private homes still receiving buyers’ love

As expected, even in the real estate downturn, property buyers still know what’s value for their money and properties near MRT stations are always the first to draw the crowds.

The 845-unit Commonwealth Towers near Queenstown MRT station sold 175 homes in the first day of its launch alone last weekend. Most of the units sold were one- and two-bedders, which may signify a change in the buying trends amongst property investors. As buying power decreases due largely to the restrictions in loan limits, buyers are favouring smaller units going for a lower quantum price.

Waterfront@FaberPrices ranged from $721, 000 for a one-bedder to $2.2 million for a four-bedroom apartment. With its prime location, it goes without saying that most investors would be looking at renting out their units. And with its considerable proximity to schools, universities, hospitals and other amenities, this is a good spot to grab.

Waterfront@Faber over in Clementi won over some buyers with its more exclusive 210-units. Prices ranged between $1, 100 to $1, 250 psf. The minimum size for apartments here are 721 sq ft two-bedders. The largest are 2, 292 sq ft four-bedders. There are 11 strata-landed homes in the development, with the remaining 199 being apartment units.

Going by the loving buyers have shown these 2 recent launches, will upcoming launches such as the Coco Palms condominium in Pasir Ris, The Crest at Prince Charles Crescent and Amber Skye at Amber Road receive the same or heightened attention?

Get help investing in Iskandar properties

The next time you’re thinking about investing in properties in Malaysia, don’t just sit there and surf the net and wonder about all the possibilities from the couch. Property developers are increasingly aware of the growing interest in Malaysian properties, especially those in Iskandar Malaysia, and are organizing regular trips to allow potential investors a more in-depth peek into the workings and actual environment of the properties just across the border.

Meridin Suites in Malaysia.

Meridin Suites in Malaysia.

Ascendent Assets, for example, offers weekend training courses which provides the participant with tips and tricks about investing in Malaysian properties. There is quite a lot of know as the rules and regulations change quickly and new updates are always available. And unlike investing in a property close to home, foreign property purchases have a bigger risk factor, which can be cut down by finding out all you can before putting your hard-earned money into the pot. One of the pluses about this course is the meeting of Iskandar Regional Development Authority officials and the ability to visit and inspect the actual sites. Getty Goh, Ascendent Assets’ Director advises investors against leaping into the deep end with the idea that the property market in Malaysia is as fertile as in Singapore.

Malaysian property developer, Mah Sing, holds similar weekend excursions and is experienced with buyers interested in their Medini-based development, The Meridin @ Medini. Most of them are drawn to the urban-style living which comes with the corresponding convenience of hotels, shops and hospitals nearby, but increasingly the development of EduCity which will feature international universities have also proven to be a strong pull factor.

Developers also provide an option for experienced investors who are familiar with foreign property purchases but may be shopping around for the best deals. Property clubs, usually run by real estate agents, allow a group of like-minded individuals to get together and explore different markets and network with relevant individuals in the Malaysian market.

So there is help out there if you are willing to look hard enough. And unlike before when it’s like stepping out into the dark, there is now many beacons to help guide you on your way.

Singapore top 5 in Asian real estate investors’ list for 2013

Things may be looking up for Singapore next year, in the real estate market. Asian property investors are looking forward to the market picking up in 2013, and that means they might be looking for new areas to put their money. Up to 70 per cent of investors have indicated an interest in expanding their property portfolio within the region. They are looking for 20 per cent or more in returns, according to the Colliers 2013 Global Investor Sentiment survey.

Singapor aerial view

Singapore, together with Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Beijing, will benefit from this renewed interest in Asia. Though it is uncertain if they are only looking at office developments, the residential market may benefit as well as previous reports have put the luxury property market at a lull. Depending on whether new cooling measures will be rolled out and how they may affect residential investors, there is still a possibility that investors are eyeing both commercial and residential properties.

It is interesting to note that issues once considered determining factors in investment are not necessarily top priorities. The euro zone crisis, and United States and China elections are not rated top in the investors’ checklist. As long as they consider real estate a good hedge against inflation, the money for high-end properties with good potential in a major Asian city will keep coming.

More investors flocking to London Properties

Near the popular Oxford Street shopping belt in Central London, the Fitzroy Place apartments are raking in millions in property sales. At least 60 units were snapped up by Singaporean buyers over just two weekends. Average price? £1, 700 (S$3,300) psf.

Fitzroy PLaceWhy the rush for properties in London? Is the market looking up and could London be the next spot to watch, especially for foreign investment in residential properties? What is the attraction and what are the returns?

The British government has recently amended stamp duty for properties above the  £2 million mark  from 5 to 7 per cent. And if a company is purchasing the property, the stamp duty is up to 15 per cent. Hefty for sure. But the only thing it has changed is that sellers readjust their prices to hold it slightly below £2 million to avoid the duties.

Industry experts however do warn against the possible depreciation of the British Pound against the Singapore dollar. Even though it may seem that more are now available for the same amount, further depreciation may affect the capital gains or negate rental yields. This however, is dependent on which properties were purchased in the first place. Besides properties in Central London, those in selected city fringe and suburban areas are also seeing a rise in interest from overseas investors, particularly those from Hong Kong and Singapore.

Where can you find out more about investing in overseas properties? If you missed iProperty’s International Property expo earlier this month, don’t fret. Watch this spot for more property event updates and seminars where you can gather important information and pose questions to industry experts.

The Promised Land

At least this may be how landed properties are viewed in Singapore.

Thomson HouseMost buyers and investors would see owning their own land and building their own home a dream come true. Thus it is no wonder landed properties around Singapore are commanding rising prices. Suburban landed homes have recently seen a rise in prices and sales.

The districts which saw the most fervent activity were District 20, 16 and 23. Strangely, district 11 (Novena, Watten Estate) saw a dip in prices this past year. Ang Mo Kio saw a rise of 23.2 per cent in average psf price in 2012, topping the charts with an average psf of $1, 266. Notably, the Serangoon landed homes are selling exceedingly well, with the higest number of sales in the third quarter, with a rise of 33 per cent of sales in a quarter-on-quarter comparison. At these prices, could this be a sign that property investors are becoming more savvy and cost-conscious, and shunning more expensive city-centre homes for suburban properties in the city-fringe?

Industry insiders are predicting that the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) could have turned investors away from homes in central prime districts. In the long term, they also expect demand for landed housing to remain positive and prices to continue to trend upwards.

Property prices heading skywards

Cooling measures have met their match as the property market here heats up. Healthy sales from recent new property launches such as eCo in Bedok South and Sky Green off Upper Paya Lebar Road are indicating a rebound in property sales following a slight dip after announcements of the most recent property cooling curbs which were more to safeguard the banking system from excessive lending rather than deter investors or buyers from snapping up properties.

Skyline ResidencesAs long as investors still have sufficient funds to afford the cash upfront payments for properties, and have holding power to support their purchases, the buying may continue well into the next year or two. Instead of a complete stop, they could simply be turning their attention to smaller, more affordable units. Will shoebox apartments benefit from this change of direction?

Areas which showed the most positive sales were homes in the city-fringe and suburban areas. They held a average rise of 4.5 per cent and 4.2 per cent in October. Industry players cite rising construction and land costs as one of the reasons for this continued price hike. Corresponding rise in prices of resale HDB flats may have also provided a boost in the suburban homes market.  The narrowing price gaps between city-centre and suburban homes might be the next trend to watch, as that could very well be the sign of the next property bubble. Whether it will burst and when is a path to be lightly treaded.

Sentosa Cove home prices reach yet another high

At $32.5 million, more than $4 million more than the previous high of $28.2 million in 2010. The 10, 111 sq ft bungalow at Ocean Drive was sold at $3, 214 psf.  As one of the only areas where foreigners can purchase landed properties, Sentosa Cove has been seeing hearty responses from property investors this last quarter.

Sentosa Cove Bungalow.

The prestige, luxury and exclusivity of Sentosa Cove has lured many foreign home buyers to the area and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) data has shown a rise of 1.1 per cent in landed property alone. Overall, the residential property prices rose 0.6 per cent.

Across on the mainland, Serangoon landed properties registered the highest growth with a 33 per cent gain. 156 properties were sold in the third quarter of this year alone. As land becomes more scarce and home sizes shrink, landed properties have become rare and thus reflected in their sales value. Do you know how much your landed property is worth and what should be watching out for when purchasing an existing landed home? How should you work out the numbers and how much should you put aside for reconstruction, renovation and maintenance?