Rise in private condominium rental

Could the market be turning on its heels, headed up the charts? Vacancy rates have been falling as the number of rental properties finding tenants have been on the rise.

Property analysts are however not positive about the numbers. They have attributed it to statistics more than the actual market sentiment. Rental rates have instead fallen 1.7 per cent in Q1, which could show that the number of new occupant-ready properties entering the market last and this year may have shaven a chunk off the property rental pie. From now to 2018, almost 67,300 new units will flood the market, giving a possible indication of how the market will react in the months or even years to come.

AstoriaParkCondoLocation nevertheless still has the ability to bring rental prices up a significant notch. At the Astoria Park condominium near Kembangan MRT station for example, rents have risen for the first 3 months of the year. Older condominiums may have a battle at hand as newer properties offer fresher facilities; though the proximity to amenities, transport nodes and schools may put the former right back on the tenants’ maps. Landlords of older developments may also have an upper hand in their option of coming down on prices since they may have purchased the units at a lower cost.

As more new residential properties come into the fold in the months ahead, the symbiotic relationship between rental and sale prices could become more obvious and things may seem a lot clearer then.

 

Waterfront living in Penang

Mixed-use properties have always been popular with property investors, and when you throw waterfront living and resort charm into the mix, the popularity index may just shoot up the charts.

The Light Waterfront Penang

Photo credit: IJM Land

Waterfront properties are not only increasing in numbers locally, but also across the border in Malaysia. In Penang, a new waterfront mixed-use development is being planned for about 5 kilometres away from George Town, spanning more than 750 metres. With a shopping mall, residential blocks, hotels, convention centre and an office tower, it looks set to be a self-contained township on its own. The residential property linked to this development is named The Light Waterfront Penang and will boast 1, 177 private condominium units and villas. Most of these units have already been completed and sold.

Despite recent news about a possible supply glut in the Iskandar development, specific areas still hold their worth in terms of property investment. Foreigners who are hoping to invest in properties in Malaysia are governed by certain rules but with sufficient knowledge at hand and experienced agents or agencies by your side, it is possible to find something worth your time and money.

Cluster landed homes – The next goldmine?

Landed homes have always been known to be one of the most expensive properties in land-scarce Singapore and understandably so. And most would think that properties with individual land titles will always be a step ahead of leasehold properties. But apparently strata landed properties, or more commonly known as cluster landed homes, have seen the fastest price rise over recent years.

The four types of landed properties in Singapore are:

  • Leasehold non-strata landed homes
  • Freehold non-strata landed homes
  • Leasehold strata landed homes
  • Freehold strata landed homes

Casa FidelioAnd the last one on the list above have seen speedy rise in value of 77.3 per cent from 2004 to 2008. And the third on the list have been even more popular since 2009, with the fastest rise in capital value of 20.1 per cent a year. This could be due to the fact that most of these cluster homes have been built in the last decade or so, and have better floor planning and a larger floor area due to the fact that they are often built up to at least two storeys. Some older freehold landed properties may come with a land deed, but often extensive renovation have to be done, which raises the cost for the buyer.

Hillcrest-VillaPhoto credit: MCL Land

Examples of the price rise in freehold cluster housing properties can be seen at the Casa Fidelio in Siglap. In 2004, a terraced house cost only $760,000 and by 2008, it was sold for $1.18 million. In 2007, the launch of the Hillcrest Villa in Bukit Timah also pushed prices of cluster landed homes up by almost $1.5 million. Though landed properties are one of the highest profit-earning tickets out there, the cost of such properties in today’s market will require a healthy bank balance and deep pockets. What options are there out there for buyers who wish to invest in such properties? 

 

Lions, Alligators, Elephants & Locusts – Investment lessons from the wild

The_Petronas_Twin_Towers_in_Kuala_Lumpur_(Malaysia)

Here is my take on the Asia Pacific real estate market and why Malaysia is still the place to invest.

Before I go into the details of the market, I want to identify the segment of the market which I believe holds the key to any major real estate boom; the middle and upper middle class. For this article. I will specifically look at the middle classes of Asia Pacific.

According to a report by Ernst and Young released on 25 April 2013 in London

“By 2030, two-thirds of the global middle class will be residents of the Asia-Pacific region, while Europe’s share of this population will have dropped by 14%” – Ernst & Young

From studying the different markets of the world that went from sleepy to scintillating and boring to boom, we can see a certain pattern emerging. It always starts with strong government initiatives for economic transformation and growth that motivate and trigger an influx of savvy investors both big and small to develop various fundamental industries like construction, transportation, utilities, education, health care, corporate services, logistics, recreation etc. which are crucial to building a successful city or region.

Real estate will also have to be developed to anticipate the population growth created by such transformation. As such It baffles me to hear people saying constantly that supply is greater than demand during the transformation period. Doesn’t it make sense to build homes and offices first and than fill them up as you go along? Any government worth its salt will ensure there are homes first before bringing the people in! That means there will always be more homes and offices than people during this phase and the disparity is greatest at the beginning.  Imagine doing the opposite? Where would the people live or the businessmen do their businesses? I can imagine these people would leave as soon as they come to such cities as there are not enough housing or places to run their businesses effectively. My point is if a country is going to grow successfully, there must always be more homes and offices first. Yet In some strange ways, you will hear people saying that there is an oversupply or saying that the place is a ghost town and there are still nothing there and no one is living there! Excuse me, but it is still a construction zone and there are no bars and restaurants and anything else at the moment and supply will always exceed demand at this stage.

It is good to note that most of the savvy investors and institutional investors would have gone in early. They are the lions and alligators and elephants but like lions, alligators and elephants, the big players’ who have gone in will not cause a frenzy. The lions, alligators, and elephants eat and have their fill and will then sleep. No impact on the forest or jungle (real estate market). Eventually,  the market will go into a little slumber. This slumber will persists until visible signs of change appear and more stories of people making money surfaces. This is where the middle class, the locusts (who are, at the moment, still grasshoppers) will come in and devour all in its sight.

China, Hong Kong, Singapore is not palatable for most middle and upper middle class as prices are too high and/or restrictions aplenty.

India is for Indians or NRI and has its restrictions and may not be

Emerging markets like Myanmar, Cambodia, Philipines, Thailand, Vietnam, Jakarta are emerging markets and are not for bulk of the middle & upper middle classes as they are more risk adversed and these markets do not have a mature secondary (resale) market.

Australia & New Zealand, Taiwan are slower markets and may not generate the right rate of returns for those who wants faster returns

One country, Malaysia, where many people speak English, Chinese, Indian etc and where food from India, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Korea, Japan etc can me found. Where it’s relatively cosmopolitan and many MNC’s are moving to. Where Price WaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young report to be the place to set up businesses to penetrate the lucrative South East Asia market. One major reason, Profitability.

Where there are quality workforce, adequate facilities and has all the logistic support equivalent to developed cities but much lower operating costs. PWC and E&Y

The World bank reported it to have better investor protection than Australia, UK and the U.S.

It is strategically located right in the middle of Asia Pacific and a short distance to all the countries mentioned above

Yet prices of its properties are still one of the cheapest in the region.

Fact is the middle & upper middle class will finally realize that there is only a place that suits their profile. Just that they will only move when all the Economic Transformation Program are in place, the people and industries are in place and then the middle class who waited will see all these happening and then it will boom.

It is like Singapore in 2005 period where we were in the transformation transition. The middle class stayed away from District 1,2 and 4 in Singapore and avoided properties like The Sail & Icon until they finally saw the Marina Bay Area truly transformed with the Casino, MBS, Flyer, Esplanade, F1 happening and heard people started making money. By then, the properties which could have turned many middle class into multi-millionaires became out of reach of them. Pity.

In Malaysia, All the Savvy investor and institutional investors have gone in. They are the lions and tigers and elephants but like them, the big players’ who have gone in will not cause a frenzy. The lions, tigers, and elephants eat and have their fill and will then sleep. No impact on the forest or jungle (real estate market). It is the middle class, the locusts (who are now still grasshoppers) that will come in and devour all in its sight.

In short, the middle class will consider these:

  • Proximity
  • Culture
  • Investor protection
  • Resale
  • Increase in population thru transformation
  • A mature local real estate market
  • Lower price and entry level

Singapore had all of these but the one country most similar to Singapore in Culture, language, and social and economic make up. Which country in Asia Pacific is most similar to Singapore in these aspects?

Remember, Singapore boomed and attracted the expatriates and grew our population because of adding one element to work and live, play. Which country is working on the same industries and ingredients that transformed Singapore in the last 20 years?

Your guess is as good as mine. We are just waiting for the grasshoppers from China, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and even Malaysians themselves to become locusts.

 

By Colin TanColinTan Training & Consultancy

ColinTan Training & Consultancy

The private home gentle wave

It’s an up and down ride for the private non-landed property market for more than a year now. Across the board, non-landed resale home prices dropped 6.2 per cent last year. Prices of homes in the central districts dipped an average of 7 per cent last year, though there were good months when some segments managed to bounce back slightly before falling again. That could mean that things were mainly level though there are outliers.

Duchess ResidencesResale private apartment prices fell 0.2 per cent last month, with a 3.9 per cent fall compared to the same month last year. But some city fringe properties bounced back with an average price rise of 0.4 per cent. Part of the yoyo-ing in prices could be due to the Chinese New Year period in February and buyers were just coming back into the fray in March.

The second quarter of this year would be a crucial point in almost determining how the rest of the year will flow, at least up to just before the Hungry Ghost month. Though the ride has been more a gentle wave of price fluctuations rather than a roller coaster ride, property experts are however not expecting a drastic change in prices unless there are major policy changes or a major interest rates hike.

The year could be a relatively quiet one with bright sparks and dull moments along the way, but the basics of good location and lowered total quantum prices will still move units.

Penchant for Penthouses

Although the luxury property market seems to be falling behind as property cooling measures take bite, penthouses which are few and far in between are attracting the right customers.

At the exclusive Ardmore Park district, the one-and-only penthouse at Le Nouvel Ardmore recently sold at $51 million, apparently the highest recorded since the global financial crisis. Measuring at 13, 875 sq feet, that translated to about $5,000 psf. Considering news of a recent high-end property resale at a loss of $15.8 million just broke not too long ago, industry players are understandably happy about the recent progress.

Le Nouvel Ardmore in the exclusive Ardmore Park area. Image by Wing Tai Holdings Limited.

Le Nouvel Ardmore in the exclusive Ardmore Park area. Image by Wing Tai Holdings Limited.

Prime district condominiums are all in the millionaire range and penthouses are even higher on the price charts, mostly because of the floor area. One of the largest sale of penthouses in recent years was one at TwentyOne Angullia Park which sold for $42.9 million in 2013. Other high-end apartments include The Marq on Paterson Hill, The Orchard Residences and the Ardmore Park condominium. At The Marq, four-bedders start at $20.5 million ($6, 850 psf) which makes for a higher per square foot price than the $51 million penthouse at Le Nouvel Ardmore, but with a more palatable quantum price.

Are the buyers coming back into the market, slowly but surely? What will entice them back quicker and what are they looking for in a property? Property experts expect properties which are already completed will be a much higher draw for this high-end luxury property customer base as they often prefer to invest in the tangible.

Private properties – Not all in the slumps

Recent figures showed that the property cooling measures have only really affected the luxury market, which has slipped into the red.

Even then, there are properties within the private property market which have not been as drastically affected by the measures and market slump. At Cote d’Azur in Marine Parade for example, prices rose by 4.3 per cent. Prices of resale units at Costal del Sol also rose 4.5 per cent. And for the new property market, in Chestnut Avenue, selling prices of units at Eco Sanctuary showed a promising increase of 4.1 per cent.

Eco SanctuaryAlthough this could be caused by developers choosing to release juicier units later in their launch schedule, enticing buyers to purchase at their latest launches, this nevertheless gives hope to the market. Buyers are still wiling to fork out the cash to get the units they want. And there is no lack of these savvy folks.

Naturally as with all market movements, effects are never seldom felt the same way across the board, there will be units with more potential than others. It takes a keen eye and a close followup of market trends to make a killing at the right time.

While this is good news for property developers and sellers, it raises the question of whether the property cooling measures have really been effective in making property purchasing affordable for the majority, or only instead stymied the inflow of foreign cash earnings in the high-end property market?

 

Dual key apartments rising in popularity

The latest property type on the block has been gathering an increasing crowd of fans. Not surprisingly, since they offer the space and the privacy for larger, multi-generational families, giving them the option of having their family members close, but not too close for comfort.

The concept began with the Housing Development Board and their “Granny flats” in 1986 and the first private properties to pick up on that were the Caspian and 8@Woodleigh. And now, new properties actively set aside a number of units as dual key apartments.

Boathouse ResidencesSome of the latest market offerings to include these units include Seventy Saint Patrick’s, Northpark Residences, Riverbank@Fernvale and Botanique @ Bartley. Older properties with these options include Coco Palms, and The Santorini at Tampines. At the latter, there are 144 dual key units. Most of the dual key units include a two- or three-room unit attached to a studio apartment, with two separate entrances.

In addition to providing privacy, these units also provide a cheaper alternative to buyers who are running an office out of their home. It gives them a separate entrance to their business and a physical separation from their living quarters while saving on transport costs and time.

Plus, it is easier to rent out these smaller units. For longterm investment considerations, these units could also be sold as it is or as a normal unit with the separating structures reconfigured.

Coming up later this year, the Boathouse Residences, developed by Frasers Centrepoint Limited, will also feature dual key apartments.