Luxury market makes for a suitable investment playground

Recent news of veteran banker and one of Singapore’s richest men, Wee Cho Yaw’s latest property purchase of 45-units at the luxury property, The Nassim for $411.6 million, may have reignited interest from potential buyers of high-end luxury apartment units.

Seascape at Sentosa Cove.

Seascape at Sentosa Cove.

Although property prices have fallen last year, the rate of decline has slowed and the luxury market has fared considerably better than the other property segment. Prices of high-end properties in prime districts, particularly in the Central Business District, Orchard road and Tanglin areas, have fallen 1.2 per cent last year. But the fall is still lesser than the 2.8 and 3.4 per cent in the city fringe and suburbs respectively. This segment also clocked more transactions last year, an increase of 48.7 per cent from 2015. Home sales in the city fringe and suburbs rose by 27.2 and 3.7 per cent.

Meyer Road Bunaglow2Property analysts are confident that the luxury market will find its footing more firmly this year as the supply of high-end properties will increase in the next few years. Though rents have fallen, those who have the holding power will come out tops in the long run, when the property cooling measures are relaxed. Most sellers put a 15 to 20 per cent premium on the value of freehold properties. Property auctions and en bloc sales could be activities to watch this year, especially for those with cash to spare and the financial endurance to last through at least the next few years.

 

2017 to welcome more bulk sales?

As Qualifying Certificate (QC) deadlines close in on more residential projects, bulk sales could the difference between having to pay hefty penalties and escaping by the skin of their teeth. The Qualifying Certificate which developers are issued with once they purchase a private residential land plot binds them in a contract to finish building the project within 5 years of acquiring the land and to sell all units within 2 years of obtaining a temporary occupation permit (TOP). Should there be remaining units after this time, the developers will be required to pay extension charges.

nassimhillcapitalandPhoto credit: CapitaLand

The Qualifying Certificate which developers are issued with once they purchase a private residential land plot binds them in a contract to finish building the project within 5 years of acquiring the land and to sell all units within 2 years of obtaining a temporary occupation permit (TOP). Should there be remaining units after this time, the developers will be required to pay extension charges.

iLiv@GrangeThe most recent bulk sale of the 45 remaining units at The Nassim has helped developer CapitaLand avoid having to possibly pay up to millions of dollars worth of penalties as their QC deadline is in August this year. Mr Wee Cho Yaw, chairman emeritus of United Overseas Bank has paid $411.6 million for the 45 units with a strata area of 16,466 sq m at an approximate 18 per cent discount on the current sale price of individual units. The development consists of 55 units housed in eight 5-storey blocks, and the other 10 units have been sold to individual buyers.

Other recent bulk sales include the 156 units sold at a 16 per cent discount at Nouvel 18 and 30 units sold at a 23 per cent discount at iLiv@Grange. Though this enbloc exit of units may relief the unsold inventory of some pressure, more completed units are entering the market this year and may we could be looking at more bulk sales in the year ahead.

 

Rents down but sales of some projects up

Home rental prices have been slipping with a 0.4 per cent and 0.5 per cent fall in the private non-landed apartments and HDB flats markets respectively.

Cairnhill Nine CapitaLandPhoto credit: CapitaLand

But perhaps the decline in rent has increased rental volume. There was a 8.2 per cent increase across the board in rental volume with 3,686 units leased this October as compared to 3,408 from the same month last year. On the same year-on-year comparison, rental prices were however down by 4.5 per cent.

The increase in rental volume may also be reflected in the sales volume this quarter as stronger home sales may have lifted earnings for some developers. CapitaLand for example saw a 28.4 per cent rise in net profit in Q3. Locally, their private residential projects, The Nassim and Cairnhill Nine, have boosted sales, together with their new projects in China – namely Riverfront in Hangzhou, New Horizon in Shanghai and Vermont Hills in Beijing.

nassimhillcapitalandPhoto credit: CapitaLand

In Singapore, they have sold 206 units in the second quarter, and a total of $1.24 billion in total sales value in the first 3 quarters of the year. With the happy increase in number of launches within the last quarter, sales volume may hit a positive note and ring in the festive year-end cheer come end December.

Luxury properties – Pushing through the fog

Despite the sharp fall in interest and sales in the high-end luxury property market, developers are pushing through the bad times and focusing on the light in the horizon, however far.

Cairnhillnine CondoPhoto credit: cairnhillninecondo.sg

This year, CapitaLand is leading the way with their integrated 99-year leasehold Cairnhill project which consists of the 268-unit CairnHill Nine condominium and the 220-unit serviced residence Ascott Orchard Singapore. The development will stand at what used to be Somerset Grand Cairnhill and will connect to Paragon Shopping Mall via a link bridge.

Prices at the prime district property can expect prices to hover around $2,500 psf, which is competitive considering the recent market landscape. Most of the units are one- and two-bedders from 592 to 1,325 sq ft, which might make for easier leasing. One-bedroom apartments here will start from $1.35 million and a good 90 per cent of the units will be priced affordably below $3 million.

By merging residential apartments and serviced residences, CapitaLand is hoping to offer unique suite of services including concierge or housekeeping services even to privately-owned residential units. To be completed by end of 2016, the project looks sets to attract local as well as international investors. Other launches to look forward to from the same developer include The Nassim and Victoria Park Villas.