Property market outlook positive

New condominium launches are once again welcoming eager crowds. Drawn mainly by the affordable prices and viable unit options, buyers are flocking new weekend property launches in search of investment-worthy buys.

Coco Palms2Both East and West ends of the island were covered last weekend, as sales started out briskly at Coco Palms near Pasir Ris MRT station and Waterfront@Faber on West Coast Road. Although buyers are now more selective, Coco Palms still sold a whooping 82 per cent of its 600 units released last Sunday. Not surprisingly, all of its one-bedders were sold out within the day. With price tags of $498, 000 for a 493 sq ft one-bedder, these units are highly affordable and practical. They are within the range of most young couples of singletons, and also make for easy rentals, especially with t’s proximity to the MRT station and international schools such as the United World College of South East Asia.

Waterfront@FaberAt the 210-unit Waterfront@Faber, 80 units were sold as 7pm on Sunday. Prices ranged between $1,100 psf and $1,350 psf. It’s distance, about a 20-minute walk, from Clementi MRT station could be a slight drawback for investors, but those who were looking for a quiet place of their own will still consider it a good buy. But considering the recent growth of commercial and regional hubs in the west, such as in the Woodlands, Buona Vista and Jurong areas, thinking far ahead may be a wise move.

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?

City fringe districts going strong

In the current softening property market, where private home sales and prices are on the downhill slide, it takes a good location to help a new launch stand its pricing ground.

The Thomson and Bishan area saw 3 such promising launches – Thomson Three, Three 11 and Sky Vue. Throw their proximity to current and future mrt stations, good schools, heartland shopping malls and other eateries into the mix, and it’s a recipe for success.

Thomson ThreeAll 65 units at Three 11 along Upper Thomson Road has been sold, whilst Thomson Three on Bright Hill Drive has already seen a 87 per cent take-up rate of its 445 units. Prices at the former were around $1,368 psf and $1, 308 psf at the latter.

Closer to Bishan, prices were even more positive, with units at the Sky Vue going at a median of $1, 465 psf. Prices have however dipped slightly. At its launch last September, prices were higher at $1, 500 psf. Closer to the Bishan MRT station, the massive 505-unit development, Sky Habitat, relaunched with encouraging sales figures last week. Prices were quite a bit lower than its launch price of $1, 700 psf. Discounts of 10 to 15 per cent were not rare, with units going at $1, 279 to $1, 590 psf. Perhaps these prices were more realistic and are sitting well with buyers still looking for a potential investment buy.

Sky Vue2In short, private home sales has been affected across the island, but there are still buyers out there looking for property worth their buck. And if the price is right, they might just bite.

Resale flats still awaiting buyers

Despite the fact that resale HDB flat prices have been on the downward slide for 2 quarters now, the number of resale flat transactions have not yet picked up. One might think the lowered COV prices might bring in the buyers, but perhaps it might be time sellers reconsider their asking prices.

Resale flats in the newer towns such as Sengkang and Punggol have seen the lowest COV prices thus far, with some sellers even willing to sell under valuation, with the lowest being $5,000 below valued selling price in December last year. The highest COV was for a unit in Marine Parade, with a COV of $40,000. Popularity of the unit, plus many other environmental factors, condition of the flat, and competition from buyers all determine how much cash over valuation the seller could demand.

Queenstown-HDBThe first half of 2014 might see a delicate tango between resale HDB flat sellers and buyers as buyers hold off in wait of possibly further reduction in market prices, and sellers doing the same as they wait for lowered prices in the private property market and to see if demand picks up in the later half of the year. As 2013 was the year of announcements, with new MRT stations and bus routes being planned, new redevelopment areas and township rejuvenations, much of the hype might be past. Is 2014 the year where the dust settles and the property market solidifies pockets of positive and negative performers?

Panorama : The view up there

Up north in district 20. Up there in the price range too. That’s where units at the newest kid on the block, The Panorama condominium in Ang Mo Kio stood.

As a mature estate, Ang Mo Kio has not had a private property launch for sometime now. The last was Centro Residences, situated just next to Ang Mo Kio hub and bus interchange, and opposite the Ang Mo Kio MRT station. For all its proximity to transport and amenities, the $1, 902 psf price tag is well-deserved. But that was at its peak. In the last quarter of 2013, sales hovered around $1,550 psf. When it was first launched in 2009, prices were much lower at $1, 174 psf.

The PanoramaBut the 698-unit The Panorama is launching at $1, 400 to $1, 600 psf. Those are the launch prices. Does it have legs to take it further up the sales scale, especially with the upcoming Mayflower station on the Thomson MRT Line and North-South Expressway just a stone’s throw away? The number of schools nearby such as St. Nicholas Girls’ School, Anderson Junior College, Nanyang Polytechnic, James Cook University and Australian International School may provide sufficient demand for units either for sale or eventually for rent. The condominium is developed by Wheelock Properties and is targeted for occupation in 2019.

The prices of resale HDB flats in Ang Mo Kio may be more stable compared to those in other HDB estates, which would also translate to a larger pool of ready private property buyers. But that could also mean developers may be less likely to temper the prices of new launches here as demand may be well-matched or even supersede demand. All that remains is to await the actual numbers after its launch.

Geylang East shines brightly for property investors

Saying “Geylang” is almost the same as saying “Red light district”. But as infamous as the area is, for its various night-time activities as  as good food, properties at its fringes are also becoming the favourites of savvy investors. Its accessibility to both the Paya Lebar commercial and industrial areas and the city centre has placed Geylang East in the spotlight, but for all the right reasons.

Surrounded by small apartment blocks, shophouses and boutique hotels, the area is plump for the picking of property developers hoping to add new private homes to the district. The fresh and continuous supply of workers in the neighbouring commercial centres looking for homes to rent will provide investors with positive rental yields.

Grandview SuitesThe latest land sale of a 99-year leasehold residential plot near the Aljunied MRT station could be indicative of 215 new homes. Recent launches in the area include Grandview suites in Lorong 22, The Centren in Lorong 27, The Octet and #1 Loft. Most are smaller condominium developments with less than 60 units each. Average selling prices are between $1, 184 psf to $1,300 psf. Guillemard Suites is one of the larger establishments with 146 units and its freehold status makes it popular with investors even long after its launch a couple of years back.

Industry analysts said the median capital values for homes in Geylang have risen across the board over the past 3 years and are likely to continue its climb as Singapore’s urban and commercial landscape looks set for a major revamp and regeneration over the next 5 to 10 years.

Waterfront Singapore

URA Master Plan 2013As an island country, waterfront living seems like it should be a buzz word. And it certainly will be, come as early as 2023. A new blueprint, the Draft Master Plan 2013, for nation planning has been put in place, with promises of more and better homes, and a more sustainable green and ecological living environment. National Development Minister, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, has said in his blog post that “the underlying philosophy of making Singapore an endearing home and a clean, green, livable city remains unchanged”.

About half a million new homes have been planned for new housing areas. These include Bidadari, Tampines North and Punggol Matilda. Other older HDB estates will also see the injection of some new blood, in Sembawang, Yishun, Hougang and Choa Chu Kang. A strong focal point of the Master Plan is the Greater Southern Waterfront, a 1,000 hectare development along the south coastline.


Punggol Matilda HDB1And as recent property news have signaled, the Kampong Bugis and Marina South areas will be a hotbed for private residential home activity, with the possible yield of 13, 000 new homes. Out of the 13,000, 9,000 private properties are designated for the Marina South area, which will only be developed once the Thomson Line is completed in 2017 or 2018. And cyclists may have something to cheer for, with URA setting the wheels in place to make Singapore more cyclist-friendly.

As the nation becomes more congested, it now becomes less practical to travel too far from home for work, and the constant development and setting up of regional commercial centres will make the most sense. The Woodlands Regional Centre and North Coast Innovation Corridor are just two of the many scattered around the country.  There were also talks about a new commercial centre in Punggol, and new industrial sites at the Seletar Aerospace Park, and also in Defu and an area called 2 West near the Nanyang Technological University. Since properties near commercial and financial hubs usually fetch the highest prices,  could this also cause property prices to rise overall?

New but discounted

Some new properties are already slashing selling prices as the weakening property market is sending developers into somewhat of a frenzy. In bids to move more units before the festive season, various properties across the island are offering discounts. Will these recent moves be enough to woo buyers back?

Changing the landscape of the Bugis-Rochor district is this immense mixed-use development. Photo by www.theDuoResidences.com.

Changing the landscape of the Bugis-Rochor district is this immense mixed-use development. Photo by www.theDuoResidences.com.

Alex Residences near Redhill MRT station was one of the latest private residential developments to make such such a move. Only to be launched next weekend, the 429-unit condominium is set to launch at $1, 600 psf, lower than the Echelon next door, which sold for an average of $1, 745 psf at its launch around the same time last year. All units at the Echelon have been sold. The Alex Residences might be aiming for the same fully-sold status, and hoping the lowered prices will make it more palatable for investors.

One of the hardest-hitting reasons behind the recent lull in activity is the newly introduced debt-to-income cap. Home buyers are now no longer able to take loans of larger amounts since their income essentially is their own limiting factor. With starting prices of $760, 000 for a small 476-sq ft one-bedroom apartment to just around $2 million for a 1, 044 sq ft three-bedder, they might just hit the target market. Targeted for occupancy by February 2019, Alex Residences could be banking on the fact that resale units along the Alexandra Road and River Valley stretch have reportedly rose by 9 per cent for the last two years. Rental prices have also gone up by 4 to 6 per cent.

Sky Vue2Other properties which may have their price tag lowered at Sky Vue in Bishan and Duo Residences in Bugis. Is this an opportune time to enter the property market and which properties are worth the wait and risk?