Massive response to HDB’s massive November launch

HDB combined September and November’s launches to roll out a massive 12,000 new and balance flats this month. And the response is overwhelming. Especially as more applicants are now eligible for new HDB flats as this is the first launch following the implementation of the new income ceilings of $6,000 for singles and $12,000 for families.

BidadariPhoto credit: HDB

More than 2,100 families and 220 singles applied for flats in estates such as Bidadari, Bukit Batok, Hougang, Sengkang, Choa Chu Kang and Punggol. Demand for flats in the much-lauded Bidadari HDB estate was the highest, as projected. There were almost 22 applicants vying for a single unit and the most popular units were the four-room flats, with more 5 applicants per unit. A total of 1,400 elderly buyers applied for the 966 units specially set aside for them, though the number of singles going for 2-room flats under the 2-room flexi scheme overshadowed the number of elderly applicants.

This response to this launch, despite it having a total of 12,000 units made available, could possibly show that the demand for public housing has not yet waned. Combined with the ease of applying for a HDB flat, and with the gap between public and private property prices widening, demand may remain high in the year ahead.

Applications for the current launch close at midnight. The next launch will be in February 2016.

Melbourne’s Twin Peaks

As if the property scene in one of the loveliest Asia-Pacfic cities could not get more exciting enough, add towering twin 80-storey residential blocks and with almost 2,000 retailers in arm’s reach and there is buzz upon buzz.

QueensPlaceMelbourne‘s central business district (CBD) will be welcoming at least 819 new private apartments in just one tower alone of the 2-towered Queens Place, a landmark residential project right in the city centre atop Flagstaff Hill, the city’s highest point. Talk about cream of the crop.

Interspersed between residential units within the 80 floors of block 1, which has been launched in Stage One of the project, are commercial and retail spaces. With prices starting from A$429,000, there are a variety of units available including one-, two- and three-bedders, penthouses and sub-penthouses. Demand from local buyers have been positive and the project certainly presents itself well to overseas investors.

Photo credit: South East Property

This sparkling new gem also boasts amenities such as private lobbies, pool, spa, sauna, wine cellar, library, private gardens, private bars and dining rooms, and even poker and mahjong rooms. It’s prime location puts it within 2-minutes walk away from major shopping malls including Emporium, Myer, David Jones and Melbourne Central, and also the numerous offices nearby. Without doubt it would command considerable resale and rental yields especially with a rising Australian property market.

The project is marketed exclusively by South East Property in Singapore and Malaysia, in collaboration with Colliers International.

Poiz Residences – Poised for Potential

Come this weekend, another mixed-use development will enter the market and perhaps just in time to add some excitement to the year-end festivities.

With half of its units launching this Saturday, November 28, is the 731-unit condominium Poiz Residences developed by MCC Land. It is part of a mixed-use development that includes the retail and lifestyle-centric Poiz Centre. The project is situated in Myeappa Chettiar, just right next to the Potong Pasir MRT station.

poiz-img-001Photo credit: MCC Land

With the new Bidadari HDB estate coming up not far away, and schools such as St. Andrew’s primary, secondary and junior colleges nearby, the new private condominium may provide buyers with a tantalising option. Tentative completion date for the property is in 2019, which will comfortably coincide with that of the HDB flats in Bidadari.

Pricing of units at Poiz Residences are expected to be around the average of $1,380 psf with a good mix of 4 penthouses, 202 three-bedroom units, 52 four-bedders, and the rest made up of the highly palatable one- and two-bedders. With buyers now more akin to units with lower quantum prices, the latter might sell quickly.

MCC Land is hoping to position the mixed-use project as a mainstay of the Potong Pasir area, building it up as a central destination in the region.

More for less – Smaller condo apartments

With the rising prices of land plots sold under the Government Land Sales programme and with developers taking into consideration how the property cooling measures have affected buyers’ purchasing power, private apartment sizes have been diminishing since 2010.

LakevillePhoto: Lakeville at Jurong West

More apparent in units in the city fringes, average sizes have shrunk from 1,051 to 810 sq ft. And in the suburbs, apartment sizes went from 878 sq ft to 811 sq ft; though the average sizes from new projects actually dropped from 1, 113 sq ft in 2006 to 667 sq ft in 2011 but rose again to 928 sq ft in 2014.

In 2012, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) put in place guidelines for the maximum number of units for condominium developments outside of the central area. Developers have since noticed that buyers are more sensitive to the total quantum price of a unit rather than per unit prices, especially since the implementation of loan curbs such as the Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), hence maximising the land area and total number of units would be the best way to go.

Symphony SUitesPhoto: Symphony Suites

There are some residential projects which chose to follow their own path however, including Lakeville and Symphony Suites. But as the population continues to grow, it seems that unit sizes will only continue to diminish. Resale units may then have an edge over the smaller-sized newer units, provided pricing is equally competitive when time comes.

Garden homes – New Bidadari HDB estate

Bishan was once set on cemetery grounds, but now it is a booming township with HDB flats, private condominiums, landed homes, schools, malls, libraries, sports complexes and MRT stations. Properties here are in high demand and HDB flat prices alone have blossomed more than thrice what their original owners purchased them for back in the 80s.

Bidadar HDB flat_EditPhoto credit: HDB

Thus the same fact that an all-new HDB estate, Bidadari, is built on a former cemetery site would probably not deter buyers, with this estate holding similar potential for growth. Besides a 10ha Bidadari Park featuring a new Alkaff Lake, named after the Alkaff family which built the Alkaff Gardens in 1929 which was closed after World War II, the area is also centrally located in Toa Payoh town which gives it the clout of good location and living environment.

Schools nearby include the Cedar Primary School and Cedar Girls’ Secondary School, and St. Andrew’s Primary, Secondary schools and Junior College.

Bidadari HDB flats 2

Photo credit: HDB

These new Bidadari HDB flats however may not come cheap, with prices about 20 per cent higher than other launches. For a gauge, a Build-to-order (BTO) launch at Punggol Northshore in May this year had four-room flats going from $284,00 to $350,000. There are 3 projects in the launch – Alkaff CourtView, Alkaff LakeView and Alkaff Vista.

Other BTO projects included in the launch are Waterfront I and Waterfront II @ Northshore and Northshore StraistView in Punggol, Hougang Rivercourt in Hougang, Fernvale woods in Sengkang, Teck Whye Vista in Choa Chu Kang and West Quarry in Bukit Batok.

Applications are open now till 26 November.

October shows dip in resale private home prices

In the current market, where sentiments and demand are weakened by the property cooling measures, it might be idealistic to wait for the market to climb back to its peak in 2009 and 2013. But angle of decline for resale properties has been gentle, with a 7.6 per cent fall from January 2014.

26 NewtonPhoto: 26 Newton condo apartment

Though resale private home prices have dipped since then, the lowered prices may have brought more buyers back into the market. Resale properties or condominiums which were new launches between 2010 and 2012 have relatively larger floor area and in the current market, and buyers who are looking for a permanent home may find the fact that they have higher bargaining power a more-than-valid reason for approaching the resale property market.

Properties in the city fringes fared better as they are priced much lower than city centre properties, and yet offer the proximity or a good location and hints at exclusivity. Resale prices here have fallen just 5 per cent since the highs in 2013. This region has always been popular with investors and owner-occupiers and the lack of new launches here of late may have raised the number of resale transactions.

Suburban resale properties are facing a slightly different situation as the large number of new units have decreased the leasing and resale demand. Fiercer competition may have caused some owners to lower prices, more so than ever, buyers and tenants are finding the ball in their court.

From East to West – What’s prompting Singaporean investors to invest in UK properties?


Investment trends in 2015 have made for compelling analysis.

Uncertainty in global equities markets and political instability are just some of the reasons that have prompted many of the world’s investor community to reconsider their investment strategies this year.

Yet amid all of this change and upheaval has remained one asset that continues to generate global investment interest – UK property.

A weakening rand, for example, has triggered high numbers of investors in South Africa to get their money out of the country and diversify their portfolio with a British real estate acquisition.

And another region in which the UK market has seen significant levels of sentiment is Singapore. This year many investors have decided to hold off entering one of Asia’s most popular property markets, and instead invested in one of the highest performing in Europe. Such significant activity has prompted Select Property Group, the UK’s leading property investment company, to open an office in downtown Singapore, where they will be holding an exclusive grand opening on 25th November.

But why are investors in the region rushing to secure assets in a market 7,000 miles away?

Singapore – a 13-year slump with no end in sight

For many investors, patience has finally worn thin. Singapore’s property market has now been sliding for eight consecutive quarters, overwhelmed by the government cooling measures put in place in recent years to control what has become the continent’s second most expensive real estate market. With yields being swallowed and an outlook that predicts little market improvement, an alternative investment strategy is urgently sought.

What about the Singapore equities market?

Although it offers an alternative investment option, Singapore shares are also on the wane. The Straits Times Index has plummeted 18.6% since its peak in the middle of April this year.

Besides, it’s real estate that investors in Singapore have familiarised themselves with, thanks to historic capital growth of 83.7% in the last 10 years. But now house prices are experiencing slow residual declines and they cannot be offset by yields.

Property is still the answer, just not in Singapore.

So why has the UK now become the place investors want to own real estate?

High returns and a long track record of growth for international investors make British property an attractive proposition. In three decades UK residential real estate has driven better returns than gilts, equities and commercial property.

Instead of weathering the storm of the Singapore market, investors can take advantage of the security the UK offers, with its political and economic stability and returns in a strong currency.

Which UK markets are currently offering the highest growth?

Traditionally a nation of homeowners, Britain is currently undergoing a rental revolution. A preference for flexibility, as well as changing generational attitudes, means that by 2025, it’s estimated that over 50% of 20 to 39-year-olds in the UK will be renting their property.

As such, private rented sector (PRS) property is one of the must-have property assets in the UK right now. Cities such as Manchester have seen yield growth 13 times faster than London, as the demand for property in key regional markets is being met with low levels of supply.

Additionally, student property has been established as the UK’s number one asset in recent years. A product that experienced growth throughout each year of the global economic downturn, huge undersupplies of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) across the UK has created huge investment opportunities in a country with an international appeal for higher education.

Select Property Group will hold the exclusive grand opening of its new Singapore office on Thursday November 25th – and it wants you be part of it. Hear about the latest UK investment opportunities and find out why Select Property Group are the trusted UK property investment experts of investors in over 117 countries. To register and secure your place, follow this link.

3 new MRT stations – Opportunity for property growth

76 Shenton
3 new MRT stations, part of the sixth phase of the Circle Line to be completed by 2025, have just been announced last week:

  • Keppel
  • Cantonment
  • Prince Edward

These areas are yet to be heavily populated, thus the breadth and depth for growth could potentially attract residential developers and commercial and retail businesses alike. These 3 new stations will link the rest of the island to the new Greater Southern Waterfront district under URA’s redevelopment and rejuvenation Masterplan which will take the place of the Keppel docklands.

Currently, residential areas in these districts are few and far in between. The nearest HDB area might be The Pinnacle @ Duxton and some HDB blocks in the Cantonment and Spottiswoode Park estates. The nearby Tanjong Pagar and Chinatown districts have already seen a positive revival with new apartment buildings and retail shops injecting some life into the previously sleepy region.

The Beacon

Some of the properties near the Prince Edward MRT station which will also benefit from the redevelopment of these districts include Spottiswoode 18, Spottiswoode Residences, The Beacon, 76 SHenton and Lumiere. Nearer the Keppel station, there are private apartment blocks such as The Pearl@Mount Faber and Mount Faber Lodge.

Developers and industry players are hoping this redevelopment project will revive property interest this region as sales have been a little quiet last year due to the property cooling measures.