Consumer confidence in property market improving

Though gradual, the property market seems to be coming out of a long hibernation and there are some bright sparks to make 2017 a warm one.

VIIOThe supply and inventory stock is gradually diminishing, by 8.4 per cent at the end of last year, aided by the restriction in land supply by the government last year, the key word being gradual. Fortunately, the decline in home and rental prices have also been gradual, with no sudden collapse. Last year’s rate of decline of overall private home prices was at a 3-year low, at 3.1 per cent. The 2 years before saw a 3.7 and 4 per cent decline, counting backwards.

QuinterraBy now, consumers and investors are used to the price decline, which has been a regular occurrence since 2013 when the property cooling measures began to kick in. In the current market, any news of slower price declines will be good news, and of stabilisation, even better news. Private home prices have finally landed on a level where an increasing number of buyers find affordable and investment-worthy, which explains the boost in new home sales from 7,440 in 2015 to 7,972 last year.

Properties in the core-central region fared the best in the second half of 2016, while non-landed homes in the city fringe and suburbs registered 2 and 0.6 per cent drops respectively. Landed properties fared unexpectedly well with a 0.8 per cent price increase in Q4. Property analysts are expecting property prices to bottom out this year, which could the year when the property market bottoms out. The authorities do not yet seem to show any signs of easing the property cooling measures, at least not in the first half of the year.

Resale HDB flat market’s continued stabilisation

For 2 consecutive years now, the sales volume of resale HDB flats have been on the rise. Since 2014, the number of transactions recorded for resale HDB flats have been increasing, from 17,318 in 2014 to 19,306 in 2015 and then 20,813 last year.

ToaPayohHDBflatResale flat prices are showing signs of stabilisation, with only a 0.1 per cent fall in 2016 from the year before. Though last quarter’s transaction figures fell 9.1 per cent, it could be due to the usual year-end lull as most were away for the school holidays. Akin to buyers’ sentiments and reactions in the private property market, HDB flat buyers have also been increasingly keen on closing deals as prices have been falling steadily since 2013. Most consider the market currently nearing or at the bottom of the property cycle and are thus more confident or willing to make the purchase at what they consider lowest-possible prices.

Despite the government ramping up supply of new BTO (build-to-order) flats for young couples and families, even including singles in their bigger scheme of things by providing them the option to purchase 2-room units directly from HDB instead of previously restricting them to only units in the resale market, there are still those who will require a unit sooner rather than later or do not quite qualify for new flats. These buyers will be the ones who prop up the market, though with the current cooling measures still in place, prices are unlikely to rebound anytime soon.

ClementiHDBflatProperty analysts are however hopeful that the number of resale flats transacted this year will be closer to the 21,000 to 23,000 mark. Resale prices have fallen to a level at which young couple and families find attractive or affordable enough to commit. A large number of HDB flats and suburban condominiums will also reach completion this year, which could mean more HDB upgraders will be looking to sell their existing flat in the resale market. And as rents are expected to fall as well, for the same reasons, the most optimistic outlook could be a 1 to 2 per cent price increase by end 2017.

Rise in new private home sales volume

The number of new private homes sold last year have risen on the back of declining prices in the primary private home sales market. Fighting against predictions of a languishing private residential sector, new private home sales have held up in 2016 with 8,136 new units sold, 9.4 per cent higher than 2015’s 7,440.

SantoriniBuyers have been picking up units directly from developers, aided by a couple of pushes from low interest rates an and lower selling prices. Though 2016 was a slow year for Singapore’s real estate industry in terms of home prices, the number of transactions clocked have surprisingly went against all odds. While private home prices have fallen over the past 3 years, market sentiments have begun to pick up last year and increased interest and availability of one- and two-bedroom units whose total quantum prices were more palatable for the general buying public and investors alike.

In Q4 of 2016, 2,480 new units were sold, the highest number in a quarter for the year. Despite the year end’s usual market lull and only 90 new units launched in the last quarter, December’s sales were positive with suburban projects leading the way with 231 sales, followed by 112 in the city fringes and 24 in the core central region. Last month’s best seller was The Santorini in Tampines which sold 26 units at an average price of $1,046 psf.

More condo developments offering deferred payment plans

As the number of completed private home units in the market rise without the same exponential reaction from buyers, developers are finding it increasingly difficult to move remaining units.

peak-cairnhillMore developers have been seen to offer incentives such as a deferred payment scheme in order to entice buyers. One of the latest to hop on the bandwagon is TG Development‘s The Peak @ Cairnhill II. Following good response to their previously-launched deferred payment scheme, CapitaLand has added Sky Habitat to their other 2 properties, d’Leedon and The Interlace, offering the same incentive. Their stay-then-pay option allows Singaporean buyers to make a 10 per cent down payment (15 per cent for foreign buyers) within 8 weeks to exercise the option to purchase and the other 90 per cent within a year from that even while living in the unit.

Some other properties such as One Balmoral are offering sweeteners such as direct discounts. The freehold 91-unit condominium in prime district 10 has offered a 13 per cent discount on all their units with prices averaging at $2,150 to $2,200 psf. Over at the waterfront-style Corals at Keppel Bay, the developer is offering $50,000 off selected units with average prices working out to be around $1,850 psf.

threebalmoral the increasing number of unsold units in the market, industry experts are not yet concerned about new launches coming up this year. New blood will likely inject active browsing and buying sentiments into a stabilising market, and with prices holding steady buyers are likely to take the bait, and the effect may very well trickle down to the secondary and other sectors.

Private resale property market to cruise on status quo

2016 proved to be a roller coaster year for the private home market, as prices fluctuated throughout the year but never quite settled into an upward swing. Price increases lasted hardly a quarter before turning the opposite direction and movements differed between regions as well.

SeletarParkResidencesAcross the board, resale private home prices rose 0.1 per cent. Most of the increase were for properties in the prime districts. Prices here rose 1.8 per cent while falling 0.9 per cent and 0.4 per cent in the city fringe and suburban districts respectively. Location continues to rule buyers’ decision-making process and prime district home prices remained stable despite the year-end lack of market activity.

As the rental market continues to wane and competition from completed properties put further pressure on rental prices, more private condominium unit owners may be pushed to sell this year as they come to the end of their 4-year holding period, after which they will have to foot their sellers’ stamp-duty bill. Buyers of resale units could have the upper hand when it comes to negotiations in these cases.

NathanResidencesThe number of private apartment units sold have been falling as well, with 484 units sold as compared to the 618 sold in November. Though the numbers are higher than the 453 units sold in December 2015, it is still a far cry from the 2,050 in April 2010 – a 76.3 per cent fall in fact. Property analysts are expecting prices and sales volume to maintain their current levels, though 2017 could be more a year of keeping the status quo than quick recovery.

Continued decline of private resale condo prices expected

2017 has arrived and the question on every property owner, seeker and investor’s mind may be how the year will fare for them. Will interest rates rise and how will that affect their financial sustainability? Will vacancy rate fall and will there be an increase in resale units hence affecting price competitiveness?

casabellaThe last couple of months of 2016 has shown a continued decrease in resale condo prices. In November, overall resale condominium prices have fallen 0.7 per cent, following a 0.2 per cent in October from September. While central region private non-landed residential properties have regained some favour with foreign buyers, prices have dipped despite a rise in sales volume. Property analysts are expecting a market stagnation at best for 2017 as a quick rebound seems unlikely due to the continued slow economic growth and global political uncertainty.

The increase in sales volume is however a sign of hope for the property sector, as the rate of price decline may cease after a period of increased activity. Most sellers who are listing their units under the current market conditions are more likely than not serious sellers as most investors will try to hold on to their units and tide over the market lull. Thus buyers are increasingly aware of this change in tide and are negotiating for lower prices.

seletar-springsThe segment most affected could be the small suburban condominium apartments as the number of resale units are on the rise and also facing competition from HDB flats. While official figures are yet to be computed, analysts are expecting private property prices to have fallen by approximately 3.5 per cent last year.

Luxury home market shows signs of revival

The luxury property segment has shown strengthening signs of revival these past few months as units at high-end residential developments such as Leedon Residence and Goodwood Residence have been picked up at an increased rate, even without discounts, deferrer payment schemes or incentives.

GoodwoodResidencesAbout 70 per cent of the sales at Goodwood Residence were from investment buyers and the average selling price was at $2,300 psf. The property situated in Bukit Timah is developed by Singapore-listed developer GuocoLand and all of it’s 3 penthouses and 210 units have been sold. The penthouses sized between 3,900 and 9,600 sq ft were sold for between $6.5 to $14.23 million.

Over at the 381-unit Leedon Residence, with variety of 2- to 5-bedroom units, more than three quarters of which have been sold. Prices here are considerable as well, with most units going for only slightly lesser than $2,000 psf. Some 5-bedders have been sold for between $8.5 to $10 million. The remaining 100 or so units may be picked up by a group in a bulk sale.

Leedon Residence on Holland Road.

Leedon Residence on Holland Road.

Property analysts are holding back their optimism for a market turnaround as they chalk most of the sales up to value-for-money deals from the sector. Due to a subdued market, more opportunities for investors have popped up and while transactions of non-landed homes with prices of $2,000 psf and above have increased by 80 per cent, most of these investors are not banking on quick or huge returns. They may however be willing to and are able to hold on to the units for when the market makes a comeback.

New private home sales figures on track for H4

Though there was a 31.4% fall from October’s record sales of 1,253 units, the year is nevertheless set to end on a cheerful note, as spirits in the new private home market are buoyed by a 13.3% year-on-year spike last month with developers selling 860 units in November alone (excluding the 250 new executive condominium units sold). The fourth quarter has clocked a 2,500-unit sales figure thus far and property analysts say the projected market figures are are on track as the year-end is usually a quieter time for the property sector.

parcriviera2Even before numbers for December are consolidated, the number of new homes sold this year have already crossed 7,769, which is already more than the total of 7,440 homes sold last year. The lowered private property prices have attracted a considerable market audience, with most going for units with lower quantum prices. Most buyers are hoping to score a good deal before prices bounce back up, and have shown interest in smaller one- and two-bedders. The demand for larger units are slightly lacking in comparison.

queenspeak2Units at the newly launched Queens Peak condominium development in Queenstown and Parc Riviera in West Coast Vale were the month’s best sellers. Most of the units sold were priced under $1 million with 185 such units sold at Queens Peak and 110 of the sme at Parc Riviera. A positive outlook on the private home market next year seems likely with a projected 8,000 number of new homes sold by end of 2016.