Will property market bottom out soon?

Hopes of a market rebound may be reignited as the bottom of the cycle seems to be in close reach. While private home prices have fallen by 0.4% for the 13th consecutive quarter, the rate of decline of private home prices have been reduced from the 1.5% in 2016’s Q3.

cairnhillresidencesIn 2016, private home prices fell only 3%, the slowest since 2013. Since the third quarter of 2013, home prices have fallen 11.2%, with a 4% fall in 2014 followed by a 3.75% fall in 2013. The projected fall in home value this year is 2% to 3%. While home seekers and investors may be drawn back into the market with the lowered property prices, analysts are not expecting them to splurge.

highlandresidencesIn Q4 of 2016, non-landed private home prices fell 0.7 per cent, led by city fringe properties with a 2 per cent drop. Prices of units in the core central region remained unchanged while suburban home prices fell 0.3 per cent. Units in the core central region have suffered a 1.9 per cent fall in Q3, thus the fact that sales volume have increased while prices remained unchanged could be a good sign for the year ahead.

Landed property prices posted a surprising rise of 0.9 per cent after a 2.7 per cent fall in Q3 while in the resale HDB flat market, prices fell 0.1 per cent.

Resale private condo prices up by 0.3%

Resale private non-landed property prices have inched up slightly in November with a 0.3 per cent increase following a 0.7 per cent fall in October.

teresavilleHowever on a year-on-year comparison, prices were 1 per cent lower than November 2015. As more new units enter the market and demand wanes, more sellers have put their properties up for sale below estimated market values. In districts 22 and 27 of Boon Lay, Jurong, Tuas, Sembawang and Yishun, private condominium units have been sold at around $20,000 below the market norm.

But in district 4 which includes Mount Faber, Telok Blangah and Habourfront, condominium prices have been consistent with some buyers even paying up to $25,000 above market value. On a positive note, the margin between the market value and the average selling prices of resale condominiums have been narrowing, as more buyers get used to the stamp duty requirements and additional fees involved and are rather actively seeking good deals.

pebblebaySales volume of resale condo units has also improved 21.3 per cent from last November with the 581 transactions recorded for the month. In the prime districts, prices rose by 2.3 per cent while those in the city fringe dipped 1.5 per cent. Suburban resale private condos fared least well with a 2.6 per cent fall in prices. Analysts are watching the market closely for signs of how it will fare in 2017, and have raised concerns about prices possibly lowering further as more unsold homes seep into the market.

Property market in the doldrums in Q3

The local property market seems to have taken a harder hit in the third quarter as both sales and rental figures fell. While the decline was not drastic or sudden, it nevertheless points to possibly tougher times ahead.

alexresidencesOverall property selling prices fell 1.5 per cent while rental prices dropped by 1.2 per cent. The general global economic gloom, fears of inflation and growing unemployment rates have given way to a sense of impending recession. Buyers are likely to be more careful with their finances and though property is a good way to hedge excess funds, investors are likely to weigh yield potential even more seriously should the negative sentiments persist.

The private residential market seems to be the most affected as vacancy rates rose. Property analysts report more positive sales in the resale rather than the new homes segment, possibly because there were fewer new residential project launches in Q3. Resale property sales clocked a 15.7 per cent increase while new homes sales fell by 12 per cent.

tampineshdbIn the resale HDB property market, prices continued to stabilise, with no significant rise nor fall. However, the number of transactions recorded fell by 5.5 per cent. Currently, overall private home prices have fallen 2.6 per cent.  With only 2 months left to the year, property experts expect a slight fall in prices and transactions in the private property market, which largely dependent on market sentiments may result in a final 3 to 4 per cent decrease for 2016.

Property cooling measures likely to remain

The economic slowdown and diminishing growth rates are causes for concern not only for the Singapore government, but also for consumers and businesses.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has recently spoken about the property cooling measures which were implemented in succession over the past three years. He has mentioned that they are likely to remain at this time of uncertainty as a response to “global context and environment”.

Kingsford HIllview PeakProperty prices have fallen 10.8 per cent since Q3 of 2013 and prices fell 1.5 per cent in the third quarter of this year, bringing it to the 12th consecutive quarter of price decline. The real estate industry currently faces stagnation and though interest rates are low, many are looking for higher yields. He has warned against creating an environment rife with property speculation and has said that capital inflow might create a volatile and highly-speculative atmosphere which will result in property market fluctuations.

With the high number of completed units entering the market this year, and with unsold inventory rising, the property cooling measures may be helpful in keeping the delicate market balance. As of Q2 this year, there were 21,500 unsold and uncompleted private homes, the lowest ever recorded, indicating a possible shift of influence from the seller to the buyer. The government has also held back on the launch of land sites earlier this year.

Meyerise2Property analysts are not surprised by the government’s move to keep the property curbs in place, though sudden pace changes and steeper declines might prompt the government to reconsider relaxing the rules sooner.

Forest Woods condominium in Serangoon selling fast

Keeping unit prices at the new Forest Woods condominium below the $1 million mark seems to be a good move by developer, City Developments (CDL).

forestwoodsBuyers are attracted by the prime suburban location and its proximity to the Serangoon MRT station which speaks volumes since location is still a key mitigating factor for most tenants. The fact that the Serangoon MRT station is a major interchange node connecting between different MRT lines, is linked to a bus interchange and also a huge shopping mall, NEX, are all bonuses. And as property prices have been falling for a couple of years now, buyer sentiment is that they will not fall any further, and are taking the opportunity to buy now before interest rates potentially rise in the later part of the year. The $6,000 to $12,000 early bird discount may also have enticed some to seal the deal early.

forestwoods2All the one- and two-bedroom apartments launched at Forest Woods have sold out and the median selling price currently stands at $1,400 psf. The development has a range of units ranging from 506 sq ft one-bedders to 2,185 sq ft penthouses. As of Sunday evening (the project was launched last weekend), almost 65% of the units were already sold. One of the three penthouses available was also sold at $2.85 million. Almost 90 per cent of the buyers were Singaporeans, with the rest being permanent residents or foreigners from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Switzerland.

Luxury market boosts overall real estate figures

Ironically one of the markets which first took the hit when the property cooling measures kicked in is now the one keeping the numbers looking good.

GoodwoodResidencesFor her relative political and economic stability, Singapore is considered a haven for the rich who are hoping to park their wealth somewhere safe. And real estate here are considered stable long-term assets; not so much for those in for speedy turnarounds or hoping to make a quick buck in short-term rentals, but for investors looking at long-term capital appreciation.

Recent numbers released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has shown a 76 per cent increase in sales of luxury apartments worth above $5 million this year. Some of the best sellers in this segment were Ardmore Three, Leedon Residence, Goodwood Residence and Gramercy Park.

GramercyParkProperty prices of city fringe units also rose 0.2 per cent though prices in the suburbs fell 0.5 per cent. But property analyst are seeing the market possibly bottoming out this and next quarter as the incline of the price drops have been gradually reducing.

There were a high number of completed units entering the market in the earlier part of the year, but as developers held back on major launches for a couple of quarters, it gave the market a few chance to do some catching up in terms of sales volume. The prolonged period of low interest rates may also push consumers to pick up deals now rather than later.

More resale condominiums sold in July and August

Current Q3 property market figures are showing that while sales volume on a year-on-year basis has risen almost 60 per cent, with a 10 per cent rise in June and inching up a further 5.3 per cent in July, home prices have slipped consecutively for 2 months.

183 LonghausA total of 817 units were sold in August while 776 were sold in July. Prices of resale non-landed residential properties have however fallen by 0.8 per cent in August, following a 0.7 per cent fall in July. Most of the price decline came from suburban properties, led by those in the city fringes. The core central region private home prices have continued to rise 0.1 per cent. Overall, buyers are paying an average of $11,000 below market value last month as compared to $10,000 in July.

A few major new launches may have injected some competition into the market, fuelled by the rise in the number of completed private homes. District 20 of Ang Mo Kio, Upper Thomson and Bishan has however had a positive showing of buyers willing to pay up to a median of $18,000 above market value for properties here. The maturity of these estates, coupled with the number of schools and proximity to town may have driven prices up. Surprisingly in district 15 which consists of Katong, Marine Parade, Joo Chiat and Amber Road, buyers are shying away from the high prices properties here used to command.

Belgravia villasThe Hungry Ghost Festival in August may have dulled sales figures slightly, though property analysts expect only marginal adjustments in the months leading to the end of 2016.

Regional centres primed for growth

28 districts and 29 HDB estates strong, Singapore’s real estate market still holds space for growth, especially in the suburbs. As buyers become more investment-savvy, and the country grows, their needs and demands shift with the tides of time.

Lakeside URA MasterplanPhoto credit: URA

Buyers of today are looking for properties in a good location, not necessarily only in the central region, with the potential for value appreciation. There are now more regional centres than 2 decades ago, such as Woodlands, Tampines, Jurong and Seletar. These townships are considered second-tier commercial zones where residential, retail and industrial sectors connect and where residents can live, work and play all in the same location without having to step foot into the city centre. It helps spread the population out across the island and also create job opportunities and boosts property value and prices.

FLoravilleWith the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Masterplan moving into action, there may be even more property hotspots coming up by the end of the decade. There are plans to develop the once sleepy Lakeside district into Singaporea’s second CBD. The Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail terminus will be located at Lakeside Gateway, which will be a good way of driving rental traffic in the area. The North will also see the development of the North Coast Innovation Corridor, centred around Woodlands and connected to the North South and Thomson MRT lines. And over in the North-east, the Seletar Aerospace Park is poised to bring in 10,000 new job opportunities and the early adopters of properties in the area may do well in the long term.