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?

Residential property investors on the decline

The property cooling measures seem to be finally taking effect as the number of property buyers purchasing real estate for investment purposes are decreasing. Since the several rounds of property cooling curbs have been launched, the percentage of residential property investors have dropped from 38 per cent in 2010, to 31.8 per cent in 2012.

With the most recent measure being the home loan tenure period limitation, industry analysts are predicting an even further drop when the full 12-month figures are out. Despite the decline, one in three home buyers here are still looking into buying properties for investment purposes.

iProp EXPO Nov 2012With the raise of downpayments for a second and subsequent property to 40 per cent and a 16 per cent stamp duty for home owners selling a property within a year of purchase, many home owners have been putting down their children’s names on the second or third mortgages. As their children are younger and can have more years on the loan tenure, it gives them the ability to purchase bigger apartments. On paper that is. And many of these property investors may have already taken out their mortgages prior to the recent property cooling curb. Should you be a current property investor, is it a good time to enter the market?

How does this affect the affordability of homes? Is investing in residential property risky and what should your considerations be? If its answers from experienced experts you’re looking for, attending timely property and investment seminars may be one way you can gain more knowledge and ensure that you are truly making a wise decision.

Executive Maisonettes– Few and far in between

A rare and dying breed of public housing properties indeed. Most savvy home buyer are aware of the rarity of these property types.

Woodlands Executive MaisonetteIn the last 10 years alone, prices of these HDB units with bigger spaces, usually two floor of spacious living area, have risen up to more than 100 per cent. Even more so especially since HDB has once again announced that they will not be building any more maisonettes.

The recent million-dollar public housing units sold in Bishan and Queenstown were also HDB executive maisonettes. As rare as HUDC units, many of which were privatised and sold en bloc, scarcity makes for higher buyer demand from property investors and home upgraders alike. A viable option between public and private property, executive maisonettes are perhaps for the select few who need the space and are able to afford the high prices.

More remote HDB estates such as Choa Chu Kang and Yishun still have a number of these executive maisonettes priced at under $400 psf, still a way to go from the $620 psf price tag of the recent million-dollar Queenstown maisonette. Is this an option more buyers are considering as private property prices continue to remain high?