No property tax for 8 in 10 home owners

8 in 10 private home owners and up to 80% of those who own a HDB flat will receive a christmas gift that keeps on giving. Due to the marked-down annual values of up to 260,000 homes, 80% of home owners will pay almost 3 to 20 per cent less property tax in 2016, according to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). The owners of 380,000 four-room HDB flats, 250,000 five-room HDB flats and 65,000 ECs (executive flats) will also see their taxes greatly reduced; some may not even have to pay any property taxes next year.

FOresta Mount Faber

Photo: The Foresta @ Mount Faber

Considering the IRAS has received $4 billion in property taxes in the 12 months leading up to March 31, it may be a small dent, but to the home owners, it may be truly happy news. As residential rents have been on the decline for sometime now, and with the expected supply boom next year, property owners may be facing some struggles when the onslaught of new private homes and BTO flats enter the market in 2016. Some of the effects can already be seen in the market in the latter half of 2015.

As property values are calculated based on the rental value of similar properties in the vicinity of a said property, the falling rental rates have no doubt been part of the reason for the tax cuts. Rents for private homes have fallen 3.3 per cent this year. Though a progressive tax system has already been implemented last year, with home owners who are living in their properties not having to pay taxes for the first $8,000 of their property’s annual value, this readjustment will help them save even more.


Downtown Line 2 – 12 stations bring buzz to prime districts

The Downtown line is having an open house this coming weekend on December 5, and with 12 new DTL2 (Downtown Line 2) stations commencing operations from December 27, travel across the island will now take half the time it used to. Spanning Bukit Panjang and Rochor, with stations such as Cashew, Hillview, Beauty World, King Albert Park, Tan Kah Kee, Sixth Avenue, Botanic Gardens, Stevens, Newton and Little India in between, the new stations and train service may just bring some year-end cheer to home and business owners in their vicinity.


Photo: Goodwood Residences

Not only do they potentially bring a buzz to businesses nearby, residential properties may also find an appreciation in sale and lease value. DTL2 runs through most of Hillview, Upper Bukit Timah and Bukit Timah, where the prime district of 10 stands. Properties along this stretch may see a rise on the already-high prices as the only public transport plying this route used to be the buses. Traffic jams are more than a dime a dozen, especially during peak hours and also when during the afternoons when schools are let out.

Downtown Line RochorPhoto credit: Land Transport Authority (LTA). Rochor Downtown Line Station.

Private properties along these 2 very long stretch include Hillbrooks, Springs Grove, Robin Residences, Stevens Suites and the newer Goodwood Residences, Three Balmoral, Hills TwoOne. Further up near the Cashew station are residential projects such as Cashew Villas and Cashew Crescent Terraces.

The rest of the Downtown Line, 16 stations of DTL3, are expected to be up and running by 2017.

Melbourne’s Twin Peaks

As if the property scene in one of the loveliest Asia-Pacfic cities could not get more exciting enough, add towering twin 80-storey residential blocks and with almost 2,000 retailers in arm’s reach and there is buzz upon buzz.

QueensPlaceMelbourne‘s central business district (CBD) will be welcoming at least 819 new private apartments in just one tower alone of the 2-towered Queens Place, a landmark residential project right in the city centre atop Flagstaff Hill, the city’s highest point. Talk about cream of the crop.

Interspersed between residential units within the 80 floors of block 1, which has been launched in Stage One of the project, are commercial and retail spaces. With prices starting from A$429,000, there are a variety of units available including one-, two- and three-bedders, penthouses and sub-penthouses. Demand from local buyers have been positive and the project certainly presents itself well to overseas investors.

Photo credit: South East Property

This sparkling new gem also boasts amenities such as private lobbies, pool, spa, sauna, wine cellar, library, private gardens, private bars and dining rooms, and even poker and mahjong rooms. It’s prime location puts it within 2-minutes walk away from major shopping malls including Emporium, Myer, David Jones and Melbourne Central, and also the numerous offices nearby. Without doubt it would command considerable resale and rental yields especially with a rising Australian property market.

The project is marketed exclusively by South East Property in Singapore and Malaysia, in collaboration with Colliers International.

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.

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.


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.