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.

2017 likely to remain quiet for property sector

matilda-sundeck-bto-flat2017 looks to be a pretty much run-of-the-mill year for the public housing scene, on the surface at least. It may be the year when the authorities make policy adjustments to keep the number of new BTO flats in line with demand from young families and to make them available sooner.

The National Development Minister, Mr Lawrence Wong, has indicated that one of his key goals by 2018 is to reduce the waiting period for a new flat to 2 to 3 years as opposed to the current norm of 3 to 4 years. This may help relieve some pressure from the resale flat market, though sellers may find it more difficult to then find buyers for their units unless they are well-located or are rarer unit-types such as 3-rooms flats or executive flats or maisonettes.

The next BTO launch will be in February with 4,100 flats being offered in Clementi, Punggol, Tampines and Woodlands. The Housing Board is looking at a total of 17,000 flats in their 2017 launches.

hdb-maisonetteThe private property market will need some transformation in order to keep up with competition from regional markets and changing buyer requirements. Some property players have already made changes by providing mobile apps for their agents as well as build a rating system so buyers can easily appoint an agent for their selling and buying needs, but perhaps more radical changes need to happen from the policymakers’ end in order to sustain a profitable real estate market while keeping the numbers realistic enough for true home seekers.

More deals in Q4 sealed in auction property segment

Sales of auctioned properties in the 4th quarter alone have accounted for more than half of the total sales for 2016, that is almost 5 times more than the $10.3 million in the same quarter in 2015. At $47.2 million, and possibly more when the numbers are tallied come end December, this sales figure already stands at 51 per cent of the entire year’s property auction segment sales.

Seascape at Sentosa Cove.

Seascape at Sentosa Cove.

Property analysts report that this is unusual for the year-end period which is usually a slower time for the property sector due to the festive season and school holidays. Most of the transactions hailed from big-ticket prime land plots as well as larger, highly-priced residential properties. 3 vacant land plots within the Swiss Club estate in Bukit Tinggi, Jalan Kampong and Kampong Chantek and another at Jalan Bahasa boosted sales in a big way. Developers have increasingly been on the lookout for land plots to replenish diminishing land banks and prime sites with development potential are always hot property.

Orchard Scotts2Other significantly-priced properties which were sold off at the auctions included a 3-bedder apartment in Orchard Scotts for $2.35 million and a 4-bedder duplex at Seascape @ Sentosa Cove for $6.35 million. Property analysts are expecting property auctions to continue attracting bidders next year as the economy is expected to remain sluggish and most buyers are getting used to the property cooling measures. More are now quicker to commit, and may be even more keen to close deals before the end of 2016 arrives.

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.

Post-brexit: Singaporeans still believe in value of London homes

Brexit may have rocked London’s real estate sector, but it does not seem to have rocked Singaporeans’ confidence in the market. In fact, their appetite for properties in London has continued to be rather voracious.

televisioncentrelondonPhoto credit: televisioncentre.com

More first-time buyers are reportedly entering the overseas investment market, and for many, the United Kingdom is one of the first non-Asian market they are dipping their toes into. The Brexit seems to have opened doors for these first-time investors who see the recent turn of events cultivating the prime time to enter the market. The weaker pound is one of the reasons Singaporeans are making their foray into the London property sector. In fact, property analysts and UK-based developers have reported seeing Singaporeans picking up London homes priced between £300,000 and £500,000. And most interestingly, majority of these buyers are HDB flat dwellers who see foreign property investments as more worthy than local properties.

lincolnsquarePhoto credit: The Lodha Group

Take for example Television Centre, a new mixed-use project in West London developed by Stanhope, which will yield 950 new homes amidst massive office, lifestyle and retail spaces and a hotel and even TV studios . Its first marketing effort outside of the UK had a sales target of 40 units. But thus far, it has already sold 45 units and a third of the buyers were from Singapore. Another property, Lincoln Square, marketed by Lodha UK, has also seen their sales doubling. Most buyers either have business links in London or have children who are studying in colleges nearby such as the London School of Economics and King’s College London.

Though property prices in London have been falling for half a year now, these new Singaporean investors are more keen on long-term gains, and see the current timing as optimal and to be taken advantage of.

Singapore gains traction as property investment safe haven

A little red dot, almost invisible in the huge map of the world. But as political and economic turmoil rock the majority, Singapore is increasingly considered by many global investors as a safe haven for foreign funds.

Asia SquareThe strength of the SingDollar, coupled with a relatively stable political climate has provided foreign investors with the assurance that their monies are well-protected. Thus far, $8.85 billion has reportedly been spent by foreign investment on Singapore property, a 62 per cent increase from last year, the highest in 9 years and making up 41.7 per cent of total property spending in 2016. In 2015, the total foreign monies invested in the local property market was $5.46 million and in 2014, $4.67 million. Qatar Investment Authority was a major foreign player this year, putting in $3.4 billion for Asia Square Tower One. Also in the Marina Bay area, a white site in Central Boulevard has been bid on and won by Wealthy Link of IOI properties at $2.57 billion. Projected to be up for sale next year are Jurong Point Mall and Asia Square Tower Two.

Though the commercial property rental market has dulled slightly, the lack of new office spaces being developed within the next 3 to 4 years might help the rental market eventually gain traction. 2020 might be the watershed year when the market is projected to rebound significantly and most investors are willing and able to financially wait out the next few years ahead.

marina-bay-suitesIn the residential market, a number of en bloc sales were successfully tendered this year, with Qingjian Realty’s $638 million for Shunfu Ville taking the spotlight. The sharp increase in interest this year could be the fact that other markets in Asia have been on the upturn in the past decade, and although Singapore has been priced out in terms of capital gains due to an economic slowdown during this time, she has more than made up for lost time with this year’s results.

 

Last GLS site of the year drew 14 bids

Perhaps because it was the last land plot for sale under the Government Land Sales (GLS) scheme for 2016, or that the 22,195 square metre site is situated near both the Commonwealth and Queesntown MRT stations in an area which has not seen new private home launches for awhile, but the latest Margaret Drive site saw an active bidding war between 14 developers with MCL Land lodging $238.38 million as the highest bidder.

queenspeakcondoThe highest bid is almost 8 per cent higher than the second highest of $220.9 million that came from Allgreen properties, and 14.5 per cent higher than the price of the land site on which Queens Peak condominium will stand. The site was originally on the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) reserve list but was triggered for sale when the minimum bidding price was met. A developer had originally committed to bid at least $184.758 million.

Commonwealth TowersCompared to the $483.2 million and $562.8 million previous wining bids on the neighbouring Commonwealth Towers and Queens Peak residential developments, the $238.39 million for this new site could yield 300 highly affordable units in the future. Property analysts deem the bullish bids as a sign that developers are keen to add new sites to their development lists, and truthfully, land is not easy to come by in this tiny island.

 

Economic slowdown affects industrial property market

2016 has seen quite a few political shakeups and the economy has been suffering the aftershocks. The  gas and oil market have been slightly flailing, with some companies stripping down to the minimum or moving out entirely hence the pickup for new industrial units or renewal of older leases have been lesser than optimal.

az-paya-lebar-industrial-propertyIn Singapore, industrial property prices and rental demand have declined in the third quarter, in particular sites or units with 30- and 60-year leases. Following the recent Trump win in the US elections, global uncertainty continues as countries question what future moves the newly elected US president in terms of trade agreements. With one of the most fast-moving industries of late begin e-commerce, which may not require as much space as manufacturing, storage and smaller boutique spaces could be the next wave.

Economic analysts say that global trade needs some rejuvenating or the industrial and warehousing sectors may continue to decline. Freehold industrial developments saw the smallest fall in prices of 1.4 per cent while 60-year leases fell 4.7 per cent and 30-year leases, 2.1 per cent. Rental demand is lower than supply and it continues to be a tenants’ market.

jtcinternationalbusinessparkThe only plus is the increase in interest in business park units, with rents expected to increase by 3 to 5 per cent next year. The International Business Park in Jurong East has seen a rise in average monthly rent of $0.10 psf with 25 leases signed in Q3 alone.

In the industrial sales market however, fewer industrial properties exchanged hands as most companies are holding back their expansion plans in lieu of the economic slowdown. Property analysts are expecting a further 5 per cent dip in industrial rents come end of 2016.