Housing supply to slow down in 2015

The authorities have announced that public housing supply and land sales will slow down come 2015 as the market has showed signs of cooling and stablising after the many rounds of property cooling measures rolled out over the past year or two.

West Terra HDB Bukit BatokPhoto Credit: HDB

The Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, has commented in a blog post that the supply of new HDB flats will slow by 25 per cent next year. There will only be 4 launches next year, compared to the usual 6 per year. Each launch usually puts out up to 4,000 new Build-to-order (BTO) flats. The rate of successful BTO flat applications has been on the rise as reflected in the few recent launches. More married couples achieve success in getting their new flats, and the authorities have been allowances for couples either opting to apply for a flat with their parents, or for one near their parents. In addition, parents who opt to apply for a flat in a non-mature estate to be near their married children, will also receive priority.

The slight shift in policies may ensure that families remain close-knit and are able to receive help when needed. It may also help with a shift in aging mature estates and introduce a more age-balanced population per HDB estate. Mr Khaw Boon Wan also hopes that the move will help newlyweds plan for a family more efficiently and in turn increase Singapore’s population with a higher birth rate.

In the private property sector, the number of land plots being sold for executive condominiums and private apartments has already been reduced this year, though the industry might see a further reduction come 2015. But will this mean a decline in the building, construction and property industries? Or has the previous land sales and launches been sufficient to keep the industry going for the next few years? Which part of the cycle is the property sector in at the moment and are we set for a boom or lull in the next year?

Housing supply to slow down in 2015

The authorities have announced that public housing supply and land sales will all slow down come 2015 as the market has showed signs of cooling and stablising after the many rounds of property cooling measures rolled out over the past year or two.

The Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, has commented in a blog post that the supply of new HDB flats will slow by 25 per cent next year. There will only be 4 launches next year, compared to the usual 6 per year. Each launch usually puts out up to 4,000 new Build-to-order (BTO) flats. The rate of successful BTO flat applications has been on the rise as reflected in the few recent launches. More married couples achieve success in getting their new flats, and the authorities have been allowances for couples either opting to apply for a flat with their parents, or for one near their parents. In addition, parents who opt to apply for a flat in a non-mature estate to be near their married children, will also receive priority.

The slight shift in policies may ensure that families remain close-knit and are able to receive help when needed. It may also help with a shift in aging mature estates and introduce a more age-balanced population per HDB estate. Mr Khaw Boon Wan also hopes that the move will help newlyweds plan for a family more efficiently and in turn increase Singapore’s population with a higher birth rate.

In the private property sector, the number of land plots being sold for executive condominiums and private apartments has already been reduced this year, though the industry might see a further reduction come 2015. But will this mean a decline in the building, construction and property industries? Or has the previous land sales and launches been sufficient to keep the industry going for the next few years? Which part of the cycle is the property sector in at the moment and are we set for a boom or lull in the next year?

Private home sales down in Q3

Despite recent new launches, private home sales remained lacklustre as the third quarter registered  lowest sales figures since 2008. Only 1,596 new homes were sold in the last 3 months, though 648 units were sold in August alone, signifying a plausible comeback.
 Tre ResidencesSome of the more popular residential properties were the newer ones such as Highline Residences, Seventy St Patrick’s, Lakeville, Eight Riversuites, and some new launches from projects such as The Panorama. As per previous years, post Hungry Ghost Festival meant home buyers were once again eager for new deals and were actively seeking property purchase opportunities.

Across the board, 6,030 private properties were sold in the first 3 quarters of the year, almost half that of the same period last year. Much of the decline was due to weakening demand in the primary market, which could be a result of the tightening home loan limits implemented in June 2013.

Upcoming launches of Sophia Hills, Tre Residences and Symphony Suites might bring renewed activity into the market and possibly close the year on a high. But most of the attention will be in the executive condominium (EC) market as the drought of new launches in this sector welcome new launches of Lake Life, Bellewoods and Bellewaters.

New life at Jurong Lake district

We’ve all heard about the various prestigious “Lake districts” of popular cities across the globe. Now, Singapore could finally boast a few of their own as waterfront living takes on a whole new spin. Sentosa Cove, Marina Bay, Punggol waterway and now Jurong Lake.

Lake Life ECAt the Lake Life EC (executive condominium) in the Jurong Lake district, almost 1,200 applications were registered when it was launched 2 weekends ago. And with one in three applicants being a first-time home buyer, it shows the demand for and power of these hybrid properties. An EC is sold under the HDB scheme but after 10 years, it becomes private property, making it value for money in the long run.

Though EC buyers may qualify for the HDB grants and subsidies, it largely depends on their income ceiling, which has been raised to $12,000 per household. Prices of these flats are also considerably higher than other HDB flats, new and resale.

As the price gap between private homes in the city centre and city fringe continue to narrow, and as suburban private properties rise in price, ECs may become the property of choice for growing households and young couples. How the scale tips may eventually affect the effectiveness and purpose of this hybrid property. Are ECs here to stay? Or could they possibly become obsolete?

Rise in HDB Resale flat sales

As HDB resale flat prices continue to decline for the eighth month in September, buyers are taking the opportunity to suss out the best deals. The number of sales transactions for HDB resale flats rose to the highest since April this year. A total of 1, 469 flats were sold in September, up 10.7 per cent from August and almost 20 per cent from the same month last year.

St George Towers

Photo credit: HDB

It comes as no surprise that the larger flats saw the largest fall in prices. Five-room HDB flat prices fell 1.6 per cent, followed by three- and four-room flats dipping 0.2 per cent and ECs (executive condominiums) 0.1 per cent. The recent numbers also revealed the fact that buyers are willing to accept a smaller price difference between the selling price and the average market value when previously, they had expected larger margins before committing to a deal.

Some of the factors contributing to the drop in HDB flat prices could be:

The first and last two factors in the list may have more lasting effects that expected. And it may change the value and purpose of HDB flats. But would the change be all that bad? Or will it help refocus investments into the private property market?

[Giveaway] 365 Days of Fun with the Right Tools of the Trade (ToTT)

365daysoffun

Be it seeking your dream home, investing in that overseas property that provides high yields, or simply cooking up a storm in the kitchen, it pays to have the right tools in hand. Long been know to culinary enthusiasts as a culinary heaven filled with an unrivalled range of Tools of The Trade for the kitchen, you can now add this latest offering, 365 Days of Fun: Recipes for any Occasion Cookbook to the list of must-buys from this culinary heaven.

And now, the latest cookbook by ToTT comes packed with 24 recipes of fun and delicious recipes with the help of renowned chefs including Andrew Walsh, executive chef of tapas bar Esquina, Audra Morrice, MasterChef Australia 2012 finalist, Felix Chong, hef de cuisine of Truffle Gourmet and Shen Tan, executive chef of Ujong @Raffles, amongst others.

Based on the concept of concocting the most appetizing meals to mark any occasion and not just the holidays on the calendar, the 365 Days of Fun cookbook is the perfect helper in the kitchen. Some ‘special occasions’ recipes that stood out were, ‘Movie Night’, where families and friends find themselves in need of finger food to dip their hands in; the ‘Ice Cream Social’, there is absolutely no reason for indulging in feel-good ice cream; The Out-of-Towners, when the occasion calls for you to host visiting relatives and friends.

Thanks to ToTT, we take a sneak peek into the book and share the excerpts of three of the recipes.

 

Movie Nights

Movie Night

LOBSTER ROLLS WITH SPICY KETCHUP AND LIME AIOLI

Serves 4
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes

To make spicy ketchup, combine ketchup, gherkins and sea salt.

To serve, warm lobster meat in a griddle pan with olive oil and lemon juice. Gently toast the buns, spread lime aioli then fill with warm lobster meat. Top with spicy ketchup and thinly sliced green chilli.
Ice cream Social

 

Icecream social

HONEY VANILLA ICE CREAM

Makes 1 litre
Prep time 10 minutes + 8 hours chill time
Cook time 15 minutes

Combine milk, honey and sugar in a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Add scraped vanilla beans.

Return saucepan to the stove, cooking over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil and is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and continue to stir for a few more minutes. Whisk in salt. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 4 hours.

Once chilled, pour ice cream base into a Cuisinart Ice Cream and Gelato Maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is complete, pack into a container and apply a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream (to prevent the formation of ice crystals). Close with airtight lid and freeze.

 
Out of TownersOut of towners

SPICED LAMB CURRY

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes + 12 hours marinating time
Cook time 3-4 hours

In a small bowl, mix together chilli powder, olive oil and yoghurt. Pour over lamb chunks and toss well so the meat is well coated in marinade. Chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add oil and reserved rempah. Fry until fragrant and oil starts to release from rempah.

Add marinated lamb and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients for the curry base (except rice) and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and let simmer until lamb is tender, about 3-4 hours. Serve hot with rice.

 

For the full recipes, please visit www.tottstore.com or the ToTT store to purchase the 365 Days of Fun cookbook, priced at $12.90.

In conjunction with the launch of the cookbook and their 4th birthday, ToTT will be organizing a series of demonstration classes available for booking with tickets priced at $58 each, with half of the proceeds going to Children’s Aid Society and Help Family Services.

For workshop details and bookings, please visit http://content.tottstore.com/classes

 

iProperty.com is giving away 10 copies of the 365 Days of Fun Cookbook, kindly sponsored by ToTT.
Simply comment below with your name and email address and we’ll be in touch if you are one of the winners! (Contest ends 31st October 2014)

 

EC options widen with new launches

Property market activity may be back on track as new EC launches inject some much-needed cheer. Bellewoods executive condominium in Woodlands just opened for applications last weekend. And this is after a year-long hiatus with the last major EC launch of Skypark Residences in Sembawang last September.

Bellewoods ECUnits at the Bellwoods were going at an average of $750 to $820 psf and industry experts are expecting prices to go up as construction and land costs increase. A change in policy earlier this year, with the authorities placing a 15-month time frame between the time a developer secures a land plot and the time they can begin selling. At the Lake Life executive condominium in Yuan Ching road, prices are expected to hover between $880 to $980psf. There is also worry that buyers who had originally intended to purchase an EC unit may by the end of 15 months, have received a pay raise and thus moving above the income ceiling which disqualifies him from being eligible to apply for one.

But despite these obstacles, developers remain ositive about the market response as pent-up demand may bring the crowd back despite the seemingly quiet market of recent months. There will also be another round of EC launches planned for the second quarter of 2015. Although there may be more options available, an oversupply seems unlikely as the government has reduced the supply of EC land this year. For the HDB upgrader, ECs now seems like it is truly fulfilling what it set out to do, to fill the gap between public and private housing.

Downturn for Downtown homes

The luxury property market has taken a downturn as homes in the downtown areas take a hit. Transactions were still taking place, and there were homes being resold, but an increasingly number of them at a loss. Recent transactions show a $60,000 loss in the resale of a Marina Bay Residences unit just last month. One of the largest differences came from a $342,000 loss from a subsale of a Robinson Suites unit.

eMuch of the competition comes from unsold stock from developers, a dipping rental market and a diminishing expatriate population. The first factor could be the most hurtful to investors as some developers have begun adjusting prices downwards, and even renting out unsold units instead of selling them. This puts up fierce competition for buyers who have originally planned for their properties to earn them the monthly sustenance through rental. Even small apartments and and one-bedders are meeting similar fate.

Downtown home prices have fallen 8 per cent, and properties in the prime districts 9 and 11 have fallen 5 per cent. Ultimately, it may come down to holding power. And learning some tricks of the trade through property seminars and talks could be the best way to safeguard yourself from bad investments.