iProperty Survey Shows Pricing Concern Amid Unshaken Confidence in Property

Consumers seek investment, private condominiums and overseas properties

Singapore, 30 April 2014 – The iProperty Asia Property Market Sentiment Report H1 2014 (APMSR), Asia’s largest consumer sentiment survey, reveals Singaporeans’ broad support for cooling measures and expectations of falling prices, while expressing unshaken confidence in property as an investment, both nationally and internationally. It also suggests growing pent-up demand, with private condominiums top of the purchase wish list.

iProperty.com Singapore General Manager, Mr. Sean Tan stated “The cooling measures have begun to lower prices, which respondents recognise and support. Property, in both Singapore and overseas remains a very attractive investment, and confidence in its long-term value is strong. The question now is when will buyers feel comfortable with adjusted prices and jump back in? With 51 per cent intending to buy a property within the next 24 months, there is a lot of pent-up demand.”

Survey respondents agree the implementation of the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) have helped cool property prices, but many remain unsatisfied with current price levels. More than half (52 per cent) believe further cooling measures are required.

53 per cent say HDB resale prices are beyond the reach of the average Singaporean family. That is down from 61 per cent in the previous survey. 37 per cent feel HDB resale prices will continue to fall and 49 per cent say prices will not rise for the next three years. This may indicate pricing levels are becoming more comfortable for buyers. If half expect price stability, how long will they wait?

There is a huge jump in respondents who see property as a long-term investment – 53 per cent, up from 23 per cent. 23 per cent also intend to buy a property within the next 12 months, and an additional 28 per cent within the next one to two years. Over two-thirds (67 per cent) have a preference for new developments and more – 71 per cent up from 69 per cent – are interested in purchasing a private condominium.

“Although respondents are concerned with financing options, more than half (51 per cent) have a budget above S$800,000,” noted Mr. Tan, “Some developers are already pricing their projects or lowering prices of previously launched projects to within this range.”

Sentiments towards foreign property buyers remain volatile, with 72 per cent saying foreigners are driving up property prices. 43 per cent of respondents request more ownership restrictions on foreigners. This is despite falling transactions by foreign buyers; only seven per cent of property transactions were made by foreigners in 2013.

Overseas Investment – Malaysia Falls, Australia Rises

Singaporeans continue to view international properties as attractive; 42 per cent see overseas property as a good investment and private condominiums/serviced apartments are preferred by 67 per cent of respondents. 43 per cent of respondents intend to buy an overseas property within the next two years, 26 per cent within the next 12 months.

Interest in overseas property has shifted, with increased interest in Australia (22 per cent up from 19 per cent). Malaysia, which remains the top choice, declined from 39 per cent to 35 per cent. The UK and Thailand were next, each with nine per cent.

Malaysia remains the first choice for international investment, despite the country’s own cooling measures, including restrictions on properties below RM1 million and higher Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT). Interest in Iskandar Malaysia has declined to 51 per cent (down from 59 per cent), but the area remains appealing, as most high-end properties are above the RM1 million level. Even with those restrictions, 64 per cent of respondents cite ‘affordable property prices’ as the main reason for purchasing in Iskandar Malaysia. Additionally, Medini Iskandar is exempt from the RM1 million minimum price for foreign purchase.

Respondents continue to view the Iskandar Regional Development Authority positively, with 79 per cent (up 9 per cent) agreeing that Iskandar has been promoted well. Peace of mind and security, followed by lack of caveats and data, remain areas of concern.

“The survey shows consumers retain great confidence in the property sector. Prices are declining, and while buyers are currently hesitating, the appetite for property remains very strong, at both the national and international level. The property market will certainly see a revival in demand; the big question is when. Timing the market is always tough,” said Mr. Getty Goh, Director at real estate research and investment firm Ascendant Assets.

The APMSR is Asia’s largest consumer sentiment survey, with 18,500 respondents from four countries, including some 3,000 in Singapore. The survey was conducted by iProperty Group from December 2013 to January 2014.

Down the full report at http://www.iproperty.com.sg/asia-property-sentiment-survey/download/

iProperty Survey Shows Buyers Cautious, Owners Confident

iProperty.com has launched the Asia’s Biggest Property Sentiment Survey Report and received overwhelming response from consumers and members of the media. The one-of-a-kind survey enables interested parties to gain better perspectives of the property market, current consumer sentiments and how it will affect future property decisions. The findings of the report is featured on media such as Channel NewsAsia, TODAY Newspaper, Yahoo Finance! and many others. Feel free to click on respective media logo below to view their special reports on the iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiments Report.

Click on any media logo below to view the respective news report

 

Download your own copy of the Asia Sentiment Consumer Survey Report. To better understand how the Singapore property market has evolved over the past few years, we have collaborated with Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd to analyse the 2013 H1 survey results.

View the special follow-up report by Ascendant Assets to shed light on the implications of the survey results. We hope the iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiments Report 2013 is a valuable source of information for you to understand the real estate market. Thank you for supporting us and making this possible.

No better time to Invest in Overseas Property

Simply because if the time is right for you, it is the right time. There are risks, which comes with all types of investment of course, but you can certainly make wise, calculated decisions by attending property seminars, speaking with experienced industry experts and doing your own research.

expo_sg_2013

With information of overseas property becoming more accessible and detailed, and with online sources available 24-7, information is at your fingertips, literally. Why purchase a property in Asia? It is nearer to home, and also makes a good holiday home option. Depending on the rules and regulations in the country of purchase, properties are cheaper and have more space for growth. And rental yields can be substantial, if you invest in the right property in the right location. Compared to Singapore properties, where home loans and buying curbs are increasingly being implemented, the real estate landscape overseas could be more fertile for short-term investment.

Horizon Hills in Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia.

Horizon Hills in Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia.

Malaysian properties are increasingly popular, especially with strong and steady developments at the Iskandar region. Horizon Hills in Nusajaya, Johor,is part of the Iskandar Malaysia development. Movenpick WHite Sands PattayaNear enough to Singapore with properties half the price or less of the same here, with the luxury of the space of your own, landed homes here are easily accessible via the North-South Expressway, Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, Skudai Expressway and the Perling Expressway. Cluster housing within a spacious buy cosy 1,200 acres, it encourages family and community living.

Looking further north into Thailand, beachfront living in the heart of Asia is offered by Apex Development. Situated in Pattaya, the Movenpick White Sands Beach Condotel development provides investors the opportunity to take part in a hotel development by purchasing hotel rooms which they can in turn earn rent on. This development is nearing completion, is targeted to be ready by end 2013.

But if it an urban lifestyle you fancy, Ayala Land, part of the Ayala Corporation in the Philippines is offering up that possibility at your doorstep. A variety of properties under the Ayala Land umbrella will put you in the centre of Makati city, Manila, with conveniences, shopping and much more in the vicnity.

Garden Towers and Escalada Scelod condominiums in the Philippines. Photo by Ayala Land.

Garden Towers and Escala Salcedo condominiums in the Philippines. Photo by Ayala Land.

Still undecided about which to go for, or perhaps you might even be considering a few, the iProperty International Property expo is where you will find all these developers and more, under one roof, presenting collections and properties at the same time. It might just be the best way to do your research, consult with experts, gather various information and compare pros and cons across the board before signing on the dotted line. The exhibition runs from 26 to 28 July at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre and you can pre-register here.

Cooling Measures May Not Be Enough to Dampen Property Fever, Says iProperty

Consumer sentiments report says affordability remains a top concern; tighter restrictions seen to impact sales but not prices.

SINGAPORE, 4 February 2013 – The iProperty Group, owner of Asia’s No. 1 network of property portal sites under the iProperty brand (www.iproperty.com) today released its iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Report (APMSR) H1 2013, revealing a continuing clamor for Government to heighten the affordability of public housing.

“Singapore property buyers understand that prices will continue to go up, but appreciate the Government stepping in to manage the pace and ensure that public housing will remain within their reach,” said Sean Tan, General Manager of iProperty.com Singapore.

Tan said the seventh round of cooling measures, which was announced on 12 January 2013, just two weeks after the survey was completed, would impact property sales but unlikely to make a dent in terms prices.

“The new measures would certainly make residential property buyers more cautious. In fact, the sentiments report already reflects this trend, with more than half of the consumers surveyed said they may be deferring their purchase much longer to up to two years. I think we can expect property sales to dip slightly as a result of the new measures, but prices will continue to go up, or at best, remain flat in 2013,” he added.

He continued, “However, low interest and high liquidity are expected to keep the property market buoyant, even in the face of tighter restrictions.”

Carried out in four markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong with a total of 17,303 respondents, including 2,099 from Singapore, the iProperty sentiments survey aims to provide property investors, buyers, sellers and owners – both locals and expatriates – with insights into the property market from a consumers’ perspective.

In Singapore, rising property prices resurfaced as a top concern, and sentiments lean towards Government taking a more active stance to decelerate the increases.

While respondents seemed to favour stricter market restrictions, a surprising 70% indicated that they were likely to support government moves to allow singles to buy new HDB flats, a reversal of the current rules that limit HDB flat ownership to singles over the age of 35 who purchase on the open market. Changing the rules would allow singles, too, to enjoy the benefits of subsidized public housing.

Key findings include:

  • 64% of the survey respondents felt the current resale prices of HDB flats are not affordable to the average Singaporean family
  • 50% of survey respondents predicted prices will continue to rise over the next three years despite an increased supply of build-to-order (BTO) flats
  • 67% of those surveyed opined that government should take more active steps to cool the market
  • 41% of the respondents felt that the government is not doing enough to ensure sufficient housing is available to foreigners

Overall, the forecast for the Singapore property market in 2013 remains positive, with 55 % of respondents unfazed by fears of a property bubble. Majority of respondents (66%) are confident that their property will retain its value in 2013.

Market Realities

The report also revealed an interesting alignment between consumers’ preferred measures to curb HDB price increases and the government’s approach.

Respondents’ felt HDB prices could be better controlled if the Government were to adopt measures such as, imposing stricter guidelines for permanent residents subletting or selling their HDB flats (45%); putting a cap on resale prices of HDB flats (30%); and putting a levy on subletting HDB flats (25%).

“The issues and proposed solutions that figured prominently were addressed in the latest round of cooling measures. It is a testament to how the study reflects market realities,” Tan added.

To deliver more useful insights to property buyers and sellers, iProperty.com Singapore has partnered with Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd, one of Singapore’s real estate research consultancies, to analyse the sentiments and how the trends have evolved over the past few years.

“In the 2013 survey, about 72% of the respondents indicated that they do not intend to buy a property in the next one year. For consumers, it is not easy to fathom what 72% means.  However, if consumers know that only 38% gave that answer the year before, it would definitely be more telling. We are working with iProperty.com Singapore to identify these underlying trends so that the study can become a truly invaluable tool that consumers can use in deciding when, where and what to buy,” said Getty Goh, Director of Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd.

Download full report at http://www.iproperty.com.sg/asia-property-market-sentiment-report.

 


Asia Property Market Sentiment Report 2013 Winners.

 iPad Mini 16 GB Wifi

Winner: Tan Rui Xiang

Challenger Voucher $200

Winner: Wong Yi Shun

Challenger Gift Voucher$100

Winner: Ong Wan Chin

Consolation Prizes, 20 x  NTUC vouchers

Wong Siew Peng
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Clara Yong
Melissa Tan
Eric Ng Yong Xiang
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Tan Jie Shi

Amy Yeo Mei Yi
Andy Tan
Elaine Chew Jie Ying
Sharon Ang
Yeo Xuan Xuan
Tong Yi Yang
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* Winners will be contacted through email within one week of prize announcement.

Asia Property Market Sentiment Survey reveals nearly two thirds of Singaporeans in the market to purchase property in the next 12 months

Many looking at overseas investment opportunities

Despite rising house prices and concerns about affordability, a survey has revealed that 62% of Singaporeans still intend to purchase property in the next six to twelve months. This is one of the key findings of the iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Report (H2) 2012 released by the iProperty Group, owner of Asia’s No.1 network of property portals, today.

“While housing affordability remains a major concern for consumers in Singapore, with many adopting a wait-and-see approach, the majority of Singaporeans are still actively looking to purchase property in the short to mid-term,” says Sean Tan, General Manager, iProperty.com Singapore. “This suggests that despite the economic situation in Europe and the US, which has slowed demand from some of Singapore’s key trading partners, the sentiment among consumers in the Singapore real estate market remains positive.”

Survey findings also revealed that 38% of respondents in Singapore were considering investing overseas with Malaysia and Australia being the two favoured destinations. The Singapore figure was noticeably higher than for consumers in Hong Kong (15%), Indonesia (32%), and Malaysia (19%).

“It’s not surprising that people are looking outside of Singapore for investment opportunities. Singapore’s currency is one of the strongest in the region and house prices are among the highest. For many, this makes overseas investment a more attractive proposition than investing locally,” added Tan.

Other findings in the report showed that 86% of people surveyed in Singapore cited affordability and rising house prices as their biggest concern about the local property market. Respondents also felt strongly about ensuring the affordability of HDB flats. 80% came out in favour of the Singapore Government’s continued involvement in maintaining the price of resale HDB flats at affordable levels. Additionally, 63% feel that the Government should step up its efforts in monitoring the number of shoebox apartments in a residential development.

Summary of key findings:

•    62% of Singapore survey respondents indicated that they were in the market to purchase a property in the next six to twelve months.

•    38% of the survey respondents showed a keen interest in investing in overseas property, significantly higher than all the other countries surveyed

•    86% of people surveyed in Singapore cited affordability and rising house prices as their biggest concern about the Singapore property market.

•    80% of respondents felt strongly that the Singapore Government should continue to be involved in maintaining the prices of resale HDB flats at an affordable level.

•    63% of those surveyed feel that the Singapore government should step up in its efforts to monitor the number of shoebox apartments in a residential development.

The iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Survey 2012 was carried out in July 2012 and attracted over 25,000 respondents. The iProperty Group leveraged on its market leading websites in Malaysia (iproperty.com.my), Hong Kong (GoHome.com.hk), Indonesia (Rumah123.com and rumahdanproperti.com) and Singapore (iproperty.com.sg) to gauge the opinions of consumers on the property market. The majority of the survey respondents were between 26 and 50 years old and mainly held executive/managerial and professional level positions with an annual income above the national average. 2,983 respondents from Singapore took part.

Asian Overview
The survey findings revealed interesting and valuable insights on how consumers from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore viewed the property market. Key regional highlights include:

•    Respondents in Malaysia and Indonesia preferred landed property, while respondents in Hong Kong and Singapore opted for private condominiums/serviced apartments as their property of interest.

•    Affordability and rising house prices continue to remain the biggest concerns for survey respondents in all four markets.

•    Majority of the respondents in each country had occupied their current premises for less than five years. The survey reveals that many respondents aspire to upgrade their current living conditions once every five years on average.

•    Location was the highest rated factor for respondents in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Respondents in Hong Kong, however, rated price to be most important factor in determining the purchase of property.

Similar to previous survey findings, location and price were still the two key factors that survey respondents viewed as important, ahead of political/economic climate, when deciding to purchase a property.

“In Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, location trumped price whereas respondents in Hong Kong viewed price to be the key factor,” says Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO of the iProperty Group. “In the property industry, location and price are the most important factors that any property buyer and investor should look into before embarking on what is said to be their biggest investment.”

 

Download Asia Property Market Sentiment Report H2 2012

 


About iProperty.com Singapore (www.iProperty.com.sg)

iProperty.com Singapore, part of the iProperty Group Limited, is the country’s number 1 property website with more than 600,000 property listings in Singapore and the rest of Asia, and over 700,000 monthly unique visitors. Working with more than 14,000 real estate agents, iProperty.com.sg hosts the most comprehensive online database of properties for sale and rent in Singapore and powers the real estate channels and property content of xinMSN, ThinkProperty.com.sg, Sg-House.com, iLuxuryAsia.com, PropertyZone.sg, CNTV.cn, Mitula.com, CommercialAsia.com and StreetSine.com. Every month, the website helps tens of thousands of Singaporeans, expatriates and foreigners find their dream homes or investment properties.

Castlewood Group brings the world renowned Nikki Beach brand to six markets in Asia

Castlewood Group brings the world renowned Nikki Beach brand to six markets in Asia

Nikki Beach Hotel and Spa, Phuket to Open in 2013

May 2, 2012, Singapore

Commercial Real Estate Developer, The Castlewood Group Singapore, announced today they are expanding the world-renowned lifestyle brand, Nikki Beach, in Asia, commencing with a Hotel, Spa and Beach Club in Phuket in 2013. Nikki Beach which has already seen massive success with its Koh Samui Beach club which opened 2009, plans to operate and expand its brand with Castlewood Group in Singapore, Koh Samui (hotel property), Bali, Langkawi and Hai Nan – potential investors will have the opportunity to own a slice of one of the hottest and exclusive properties which attracts celebrities and trendsetters alike.

Nikki Beach Hotel & SpaIn 1998, Nikki Beach introduced the world to the ultimate beach club concept bringing together dining, fashion, art, music and entertainment and was quoted by the London Observer as the Sexiest Place on Earth.Over a decade later, the Nikki Beach concept has transcended its international venues and grown into a global luxury lifestyle brand – Nikki Beach Lifestyle which comprises of a clothing line, global events such as the famed Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals and the upcoming London Olympic Games, plus a Nikki Beach music label, VIP membership and concierge program as well as a hotel and resort division.

The Nikki Beach way of life can now be experienced in twelve cities, in nine different countries: Miami Beach, Florida, USA; St. Tropez, France; St. Barth, French West Indies; Marbella, Spain; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Marrakech, Morocco; Koh Samui, Thailand; Mallorca, Spain and also at the Cannes Film Festival, France; the Toronto International Film Festival, Canada; and this year at the 2012 Olympics in London

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Founder Jack Penrod is so respected in the industry that the State of Florida, Miami Dade County and the City of Miami Beach honored him with the phenomenal success of Nikki Beach and his contribution to the transformation of the infamous South Beach Miami over the past 25 years by declaring Tuesday, April 17, 2012 Jack Penrod Day.

Castlewood Group CEO Chris Comer said,

We are delighted to contribute to the expansion of this hugely exciting and successful brand in Asia and offer our investors the chance to become part of the Nikki Beach lifestyle. The Nikki Beach Club plus The Nikki Beach Hotel and Spa in Bang Tao, Phuket will be our first offering to the market and will comprise a 5 star hotel with 151 luxurious suites and a mix of 23 sky villas and exclusive villas all with private pools and gardens. In addition there is a 45 m free form swimming pool, roof top infinity pool with bar and lounge overlooking an external yoga area. Combined with the glamour of the Nikki Beach Club this will be the place to be seen in Phuket.

Castlewood Group has seen a strong interest across Asia to purchase commercial real estate. Investors can buy into the Nikki Beach Hotel and Spa, Phuket starting from S$60,280 and can select fixed returns with a 5% guaranteed returns for 8 years or variable returns which have the potential to achieve up to 30% per annum. The investment offers an early exit in 2016 and a full term managed exit in 2020. The investment has no stamp duty and is HDB friendly.

The investor is fully insured for the full amount of each individual purchase. This insures the title of the land and the subsequent value of the property and the business built upon it by First American Title Insurance, itself a fortune 500 company and one of the worlds largest underwriters. Also added to the insurance and in an effort to provide the safest buying 3 environment possible, Castlewood Group has placed the development and its assets in a fully secured third party trust based in Singapore and managed by Intercontinental Trust an independent member of Baker Tilly, the 8th largest provider of accountancy and business services in the world. This trust deed will remain in place until the hotel exit which is planned for December 2020.

Weve gone the extra mile to make this an attractive and safe investment. This financial assurance combined with the exciting lifestyle experience with Nikki Beach has prompted a great deal of interest and we look forward to achieving our goals to launch Nikki Beach properties in Singapore, Koh Samui, Bali, Langkawi and Hai Nan, Chris Comer added.

Plans for the Nikki Beach hotel and Spa, Phuket have been warmly received. At the recent Asia Pacific Hotels Awards sponsored by RICS ( Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors,) and HSBC held on April 27, 2012 Nikki Beach Hotel and Spa Phuket won an award for New Hotel Design and Construction Thailand 2012 & 2013.

Nikki BeachWe are thrilled to be collaborating with the Castlewood Group as they have a rich pedigree in selling, managing and marketing outstanding properties worldwide. Our first property in Asia was the Koh Samui Beach club which is proving to be a great success. We cant wait to expand the excitement of Nikki Beach in Asia as we know we have many fans and followers of the brand and our choice of partner is absolutely critical to making this an outstanding experience for everyone,said Founder and President of Nikki Beach, Jack Penrod.

About Castlewood Group

www.castlewoodgroup.com

Castlewood was first established in 2006 as Castlewood International Dubai. In Dubai, Castlewood provided a new product and service that was new to both Dubai and United Arab Emirates (UAE) market the company sourced and acquired plots of land in desirable locations, then project designed concepts with a team of architects and collectively marketed the project in its entirety to large-scale real-estate developers.

In 2008, the company moved to Singapore and set up the Castlewood Investment Properties Pte Ltd, a division of Castlewood International. Utilising Singapore as a global hub for the companys real estate development sales and marketing function, Castlewood grew its marketing base to cover China and the Middle East with future plans to expand in markets such as India, Taiwan, Russia and all the former Soviet Union countries. In 2010, Castlewood Group Pte Ltd was formed with a number of companies that fall under this umbrella.

Castlewood Groups mission is to bring affordable Commercial Real Estate Investments to the masses. This is been achieved by developing hotels and setting up investment opportunities in hotel rooms which cater for both small and large scale investors The concept of hotel room investment has been around for many years and has been undertaken by business leaders such as Donald Trump and brands such as Ritz Carlton & Radisson. The key to its success is transparent and verifiable future growth at the destination in which the hotel is to be built along with a clear and proven demand within the 5 star luxury key markets at the location. .

Castlewood Group is ensuring investors see maximum returns by engaging a high end luxury brand to manage hotel properties which will assist the hotel achieving both maximum room rates and occupancy levels. In 2012, a partnership was formed between Castlewood Group and Nikki Beach seeing Nikki Beach set to manage the groups properties. Nikki Beach brings with them a loyal and high end clientele synonymous with a jet setting lifestyle and all things high end. Works on the Nikki Beach Hotel and Spa Phuket commenced in 2012 with opening scheduled for 2013.

In the coming years Castlewood Group plans to open properties in Singapore, Koh Samui, Bali, Langkawi and Hai Nan all of which will be manage by Nikki Beach.

 

About Nikki Beach

In 1998, Nikki Beach introduced the world to the ultimate beach club concept bringing together dining, fashion, art, music and entertainment. Quoted by the London Observer as the Sexiest Place on Earth, over a decade later, Nikki Beach continues to make its mark in the worlds hottest addresses and trendsetting locales, recently claiming the #1 spot in Travel Channels Worlds Sexiest Beach Bars. The Nikki Beach concept has transcended its international venues and grown into a luxury global lifestyle company: Nikki Beach Lifestyle, launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009 with a clothing line; Marketing and Public Relations Divisions; Global Sponsorships and Special Events; Nikki Beach Music label; a VIP membership card and concierge program; and a Hotel and Resorts Division.

Nikki Beach lifestyle can now be experienced in twelve cities, in nine different countries with more locations to come in the near future: Miami Beach, Florida, USA; St. Tropez, France; St. Barth, French West Indies; Marbella, Spain; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Marrakech, Morocco; Koh Samui, Thailand; Mallorca, Spain; and also at the Cannes Film Festival, France; the Toronto International Film Festival, Canada; and this year at the 2012 Olympics in London. For more information on Nikki Beach, please visit www.nikkibeach.com.

 

For further information please contact:

Kristy Peters

k.peters@castlewoodgroup.com

63030888

Visit  www.castlewoodgroup.com for more information

PropNex CEO: What Seniors & Singles Should Be Thinking About Right Now

In this exclusive one-on-one interview with iProperty.com at the recent iProperty.com Expo at Marina Bay Sands, CEO of PropNex and Singapore’s leading real estate expert Mohamed Ismail Gafoor discusses the latest trends in the Singapore and Malaysia property market. He also provides valuable advice for 2 growing demographic groups in Singapore: seniors who own a house and are planning for their life after retirement, and singles under 35 contemplating their first studio home purchase.

Mohamed Ismail speaking to a full crowd at the iProperty Expo at Marina Bay Sands

Q. You have often emphasized that landed housing in Singapore is by far the best choice for real estate investors. Could you tell us why? 

Landed property will always be a goldmine – for the simple reason that land is in limited supply, and Singaporeans will always consider owning a landed house to be their ultimate dream.

However, not all landed properties are created equal. While the government can still release sites for landed properties with a 99-year lease, the existing stock of freehold landed properties are highly limited. I would lean away from landed properties with a 99-year lease as they present unique challenges for their owners. It is much harder for leasehold landed properties to meet the criteria for enbloc, as a 100% owner consensus is required – as compared to private condos more than 10 yrs old which need only 80%. There is only a 20-25% price difference at the entry-level for freehold vs. leasehold for landed properties, but the key advantage of freehold landed homes is that it provides for perpetual ownership, making it a much better deal.

Q. What are the possible implications of the proposal to double the entry price at which foreigners can buy real estate in Malaysia?

First of all, I can certainly understand the rationale behind such a policy proposal. Just as what has happened in Singapore, the Malaysian government is concerned about a property bubble forming, and likewise they also have to address the growing public concerns on the ground about rising property prices.

In spite of this, I remain very confident that the M$1 million minimum price for foreign purchasers of Malaysian property will not be a blanket limit across all states. In particular, such a policy would not be advantageous for the state of Johor especially when the entire Iskandar project is still at the infancy stage of development. It is likely the MY$1million minimum purchase price will apply to properties in the downtown KL region, but highly unlikely for areas such as Ipoh and Malacca.

As many well-off Singaporeans have already been picking up units well above the MY$1 million mark, it will not be surprising if they remain willing to pay for a good product which is still relatively affordable, particularly given the strength of the Singapore currency. Those most likely to be affected by the higher entry price are HDB upgraders, who have been mostly buying lower-tier fringe properties.

Q. What should senior citizens keep in mind when deciding if they should opt for the LBS (Lease Buy-Back Scheme), or “downsizing” to a studio flat instead?

PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail

The LBS has the advantage of allowing seniors to continue to stay in the same flat in the same environment they have grown used to after many years. While some may be concerned about “outliving” the 30 years remaining on the lease under this program, the reality is that there are many seniors who will require specialized care at a health-care facility by that age. Hence, although the take-up rate for the LBS scheme has been low, I do see some do see some merit in this program.

However, I consider “downsizing” to be the more exciting option among the two.  Downsizing to a studio apartment allows seniors to be able to completely cash-out on their existing property and use part of the proceeds to buy a smaller elder-friendly property at a reasonable price. Living in an elder-friendly community with adapted facilities (e.g.: lifts and ramps) will also provide a close-knit community where seniors can grow old together. Furthermore, having a lump sum payment in hand also gives one a greater feeling of strength and security. However, the inherent risk in “downsizing” is that seniors who do not have necessary skill or discipline to manage their funds can lose everything very quickly. Hence, deciding which option to go is very much an individual decision.

Q: What advice do you have for single working professionals under the age of 35 who are contemplating investing into a private studio flat for their own-stay?

As Singapore’s population continues to increase, it is inevitable that property sizes will shrink. Although shoebox unit sizes in Singapore are still decent compared with cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong, it is undeniable that reduced space and high density will lead to a compromised lifestyle.

For single working professionals who want to move out of their parent’s house into their own home for lifestyle reasons, I would say that it is perfectly okay to buy studio apartment –  but they really need to look out for the PSF (price per square feet) they are paying. Although the quantum of studio apartments may be low, all capital appreciation is ultimately a by-product of rental yield. Hence, the risk is that if rentals do not go up much, there is limited room for capital to appreciate. Paying high prices for an entry-level studio flat in the outlying areas could mean there may be limited scope for rental appreciation.

 

iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Report 2012

In December last year, many of you participated in iProperty.com Asia Property Market Sentiment Survey, which resulted in this Report. We thank you for making this Report so great, filled with insights that we’re sure will help you make better property decisions – here and overseas.

As the first regional online property survey of its kind, the iProperty.com Asia Property Market Report comprises of 7,720 responses from website visitors and subscribers of iProperty Group networks in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The survey revealed a common thread amongst property buyers throughout the region, but also key country-specific findings.

Did you know?

“85.6% of respondents in Singapore deemed affordability and
rising housing prices as the top 2 issues in the property market.”

“42.2% of Singaporean users in the survey showed interest in overseas property,
citing Malaysia and Australia as their most preferred overseas locations.”

“Over half (51.7%) of Singapore buyers has a budget of
between SGD 500,000 to SGD 1 million.”

“ Two-thirds (66.4%) felts that the Singapore property market is holding
up well despite the threat of a global recession.”

“ 58.3% agreed that the government should
step in to control COV on HDB flats.”

 

Download the full 65-page Report now.