Private home sales – Will the decline continue?

The property market has been softening. The decline seemed inevitable, especially as completed new private homes flood the market in the upcoming year or two.

Not surprisingly, shoebox apartments saw the largest dip in sales as the number of units are somewhat saturated. Buying power is also now lower and buyers who were initially looking at these units for investment may no longer be able to get the loans they need.

 

Marina One residential project with 1,042 new condominium units. Photo by marina-one.org.

Marina One residential project with 1,042 new condominium units. Photo by marina-one.org.

Rental issues such as the age, functionality and location of resale units now have to compete with the newer and sometimes faster property models. In the central districts, the decline in rents and sales of apartments were most evident. This could be due to the number of unsold high-end properties in these areas. Even suburban condominiums are feeling the heat as many expatriates shun them as they often do not provide the convenience and exclusivity they desire.

Whether the effect will transfer to the HDB resale market also awaits to be seen. As HDB upgraders who are moving to their completed units will have to let go of their HDB units within a specified time period, many may be in a hurry to let go of their units and possibly at lower prices than before as the market gets competitive. Pair this up with a diminishing market for smaller units as singles are now able to purchase new flats from HDB directly, as well as a smaller pool of permanent residents, the property market seems to be in for quite the turn this year.

Even as more new property launches are promised, how private home sales fare the next quarter may set the mood for the rest of the year.

Rent out your property quickly

As one of the best means of passive income, property rentals are one of the first physical investment returns most beginner investors are drawn to. But as the number of homes entering the market increase, picking up speed towards 2016, it might be prudent for property owners to take steps right now to prime themselves for when the competition truly gets tough. How can landlords pull ahead in the weakening rental market?

Property analysts are predicting a two to three month average waiting time for landlords when previously it may have taken only a month or two before finding a suitable tenant. It is very much the tenant’s market now and many are taking it online in their search for home rentals.

Online property search engineOnline searches make it easier for the tenant to look at similar units within the same development and make more efficient price comparisons. This also means price points are a crucial deciding factor. Holding on to prices may mean a longer waiting period which also translates to larger income losses Though going too low may seem unsavory, easing up on prices slightly while offering longer lease terms may help you secure profits more quickly.

It might be futile comparing rental prices to what it was a couple of years back, simply because new properties are springing up all over, and the newer, swankier, though smaller unit nearby may be more attractive to tenants. Providing working, good condition fittings and appliances could also be what helps you seal the deal.

City Square Residences near Little India used to go for $1000 psf in 2009. Now it is going for as much as $2,500 psf. So perhaps the adage “Spend money to make money” may not be so far from the truth here. Sprucing up your unit with light renovation touches or simply giving your appliances an overhaul may score you a tenant sooner than later. And not forgetting, the personal touch always works. Meeting your tenants and building a good relationship makes for a better rental process for both landlord and tenant.

Lakeside’s Westside Story

Off on the west-side, Jurong and Woodlands are the main areas of business and redevelopment. But with the authorities planning to diversify commercial activity into the suburbs and redeveloping the Jurong Lake District into yet another hub for waterfront living, leisure and business, Lakeside may no longer be the town just on the side.

URA Jurong Lake District

Photo credit: Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Jurong Gateway and the potential working population and medical tourist it will bring serves to bring new life to the sleepy Lakeside township. Other businesses in the mix are Big Box, Westgate, Genting Hotel, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital. The previously very much industrial west-side of Singapore will see new life in many ways.

Already response at The Lakefront Residences spoke volumes, as it sold out of its 629 units during its launch in 2010. Prices then were at an average of $1, 000 to $1, 050 psf. Units were already selling this year at $1, 1199 psf. Units at The Lakeshore and Lakeholmz saw similar sales values with promising increases throughout the past few quarters. Though rentals and sales may not yet peak this year, the potential for growth is tremendous.

LakevilleThe newest kid on the block is Lakeville in Jurong West Street 41. Developer, MCL Land, is expecting buyers to mainly be HDB upgraders from the nearby, though not ruling out savvy investors who might see the rental possibilities of these units near future regional commercial hubs.

New private residential projects breezing into Marine Parade

With its proximity and accessibility to the city centre, and its seaside township feel, properties in Marine Parade have always been an easy breezy sell. But it has been sometime since new properties were launched hence news of upcoming projects might bring a fresh round of excitement.

A new launch to look forward to is the Marine Blue (working title) project whose building is underway across Parkway Parade Mall, developed by CapitaLand.

Coralis condominium.

Coralis condominium.

Other properties which are garnering some eager eyeballs area:

Some of these properties are older resale homes, but some new units  will soon be ready for occupation, with the Silversea possibly receiving its TOP (temporary occupation permit) by end of April. Marine Blue units are expected to sell at a promising $2, 000 psf, which may then also bring up prices at the neigbouring Silversea condominium. Most of the units have been sold at the 383-unit Silversea since its launch in 2009. Recent sales clocked at $1, 714 psf. At the Coralis, which was completed in 2013, sales stood at $1, 842 psf.

SilverseaHigh rental prices are expected to hold up and  future transport links such as the Eastern Region Line which will pass through Tanjong Rhu, Marine Parade, Siglap, Bedok South and Upper East Coast Road may only mean rising value in properties in these districts.

HDB dwellers invest in shoebox apartments

With a private home market which fell 40 per cent last year, 2014 looks like it might continue to be in the home buyer’s favour. But more HDB dwellers have been snapping up shoebox apartments in light of the fall in home prices.

J GatewayConsidering the fact that most HDB flats are more than 500 sq ft in size, these smaller homes are more likely than not for investment purposes. In 2013, 13.3 per cent of private home transactions were from HDB dwellers, with them making up a whooping 62 per cent of sales in the shoebox apartment category.  Some of the more popular choices from this group were the Bartley Ridge, J Gateway and D’Nest condominium developments.

But it seems buyers are letting their nest eggs lay for longer, with secondary home sales dropping to a 10-year low. With smaller apartments being possibly easier to rent, with its overall lower rental price, it is an easy entry-level property investment and suited to HDB owners who are looking to ease their way into the private property market.

Who exactly are still buying up private properties then? The foreign buying force, it seems. The fall in foreigners purchasing homes here is marginal and in fact increased from 6 to 9 per cent in 2013. Mainland Chinese were the top buyers, closely followed by Malaysians and Indonesians.

iProperty launches new Room-for-rent E-service

Home rental has always been a big thing in Singapore. As in most other busy, cosmopolitan cities.

Some folks have extra space to spare, some are hoping to rake in their investments, others need a place to stay. Just a little cosy corner to call your own. If you’re not looking to rent a whole house, condo apartment or HDB flat, but only a room, iProperty now offers an efficient way of searching room rental listings throughout Singapore in just a few easy clicks.

iProperty room rentalRegistration is free and 4 easy steps later you’re able to post your rental ad. Powered by iProperty, the rental portal resides at sg-house.com. Attract as many as 52,000 views on your post and find a suitable tenant quickly and at the comfort of your desk. It’s an easy way for landlords to reach potential tenants and vice versa.

Short-term accommodation options are also available. Great for companies hunting down term rentals for their overseas employees. Filter down your search through keywords and find what you need pronto.

Besides this new feature, iProperty’s recently revamped website also has organised links and a site chock full of other property related resources such as a search function for properties near MRT stations or schools, directory of condominiums in Singapore and property trends.

Private condo units – Buy 15 in a go

As the property cycle could be heading towards its low point, property developers are eager to find ways to let go of remaining units in order to recoup losses or earn whatever profits are left.

Some have taken to offering discounts or freebies, whilst others have are even offering bulk sales of units at lower prices. Buyers are now more cautious about their purchases and with lending limits being restricted, many are now unable to afford additional property purchases. Most of these would be the middle to upper-middle classes who eye small private apartment units as potential for rental revenues. But as rental demand dips, they may think twice.

Newton Imperial21 units of the 36-unit condominium, Newton Imperial has been put up for bulk sale recently for possibly between $65 to $72 million. Only 15 units of the Great Newton Properties owned condominium development has been sold since its completion in 2011, most of which are to foreigners. The Newton and Novena area is known to be popular with expatriates and was once in hot demand as its city fringe location made its properties highly valuable. Most of the apartments in Newton Imperial are three-bedroom units.

Though bulk sales are a risky investment, there might still be a chance of profits, especially if the units are designed to suit specific tastes and are in the right location. Rental of private apartment units in Newton are at an average of $8, 000 psf. Units at the Newton Imperial were previously sold at approximately $1, 880 psf. Nearby, other private establishments such as L’Viv and 26 Newton are selling units at $2, 100 to $2,600 psf.

What lies in the future of private properties? Is the market headed towards a downward spiral and at what speed?

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.