iProperty H2 2014 Survey: Sellers Up, Buyers Down

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Owners keen to sell while buyers expect price declines; HDB confidence rises.

The latest iProperty Asia Property Market Sentiment Report H2 2014, Asia’s largest consumer property sentiment survey, shows a significant shift in Singapore sentiment, with more wanting to sell (from one per cent to 16 per cent) and fewer wanting to buy now (from 22 per cent to ten per cent) as prices head lower. More respondents also expect new and resale private condominium prices will continue to decline (up from 34 per cent to 53 per cent), but are more confident about HDB values.

“The H2 2014 report shows that both property sellers and buyers are nervous a year after the start of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR). In the H2 2013 APMSR report, just after the TDSR was announced, 59 per cent of owners were confident their property would retain its value; now only 38 per cent think so, a decline of 21 per cent.  Another 25 per cent are unsure if the value will be retained,” commented Mr. Sean Tan, iProperty.com Singapore General Manager.

“Buyers are biding their time, with affordability and financing as top concerns. While the number of respondents who intend to purchase within the next 24 months remains the same at 51 per cent, buyers may wait for new and resale private condo prices to fall,” said Mr. Tan.

Developers are already responding to the more cautious market, delaying new project launches and lowering launch prices, among other strategies. According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), developer launches decreased from 441 to 351 private homes last month. Median prices between Q1 2013 and Q2 2014 declined three per cent for completed projects, while declining eight per cent for uncompleted projects.

Singaporeans do however continue to view property as a good investment, stating rental income (34 per cent) and long-term investment (29 per cent) as the top reasons. Home ownership was at 23 per cent. Private condominiums (57 per cent) continue to be the top choice, with terrace houses at 25 per cent and HDBs at 23 per cent. Survey respondents chose price, location and potential ROI as the top three factors when purchasing properties.

“Singaporeans are confident about property and have the money. 17 per cent of respondents have identified budgets above $1 million; 61 per cent have budgeted between $500,000 and $1 million; and 18 per cent have less than a $500,000 budget. The market is now correcting after the rapid rise over the last few years ago, and demand is there at the right price point,” concluded Mr Tan.

Mr. Getty Goh, Director at real estate research and consultancy firm Ascendant Assets, noted that buyers are jumping in to purchase properties when prices are within expectation, or if they are in a good location. “Examples include the 91 per cent surge in sales in District 9 and 10 reported by Barclays, and more recently the good sales figures at Highline Residences,” said Mr. Goh.

The Highline Residences in Tiong Bahru, District 3, launched in September, saw a strong sales with 80 per cent of its 160 units launched, following a “special preview discount” that took prices from $2,000 per sq. ft. (psf) to an average of $1,900 psf. District 3 was selected as one of the top three preferred locations in the iProperty H2 2014 survey.

A large number of respondents (45 per cent) indicated lower price per square foot was more important than other incentives, such as furniture vouchers. The next most important criteria (40 per cent) were smaller unit sizes. CIMB has reported that median sizes of homes have fallen from 1,200 sq. ft. to 800 sq. ft., because “most buyers compromised on smaller units in order to keep the investment amount more affordable”.

52 per cent say HDB resale prices are not affordable, down from 53 per cent in the previous survey, and from 61 per cent before that. Only 15 per cent say HDB resale prices will continue to fall, down from 37 per cent in the previous survey. This shows pricing levels are becoming more comfortable for buyers.

Overseas Properties Popular For Investment Purposes; Malaysia #1 followed by Australia and the UK

Overseas property continues to appeal for investment, with private condominiums and serviced apartments as the preferred property type. In May 2014, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) reported that the value of overseas property investments handled by local real estate agencies increased by 43 per cent from S$1.4 billion in 2012 to S$2 billion in 2013. Malaysia accounted for slightly more than half of investments, followed by the United Kingdom and Australia.

Malaysia remains Singaporean’s top investment destination at 31 per cent. Most respondents (40 per cent) are willing to pay less than S$500,000 for overseas properties and the attractive exchange rate of the Malaysian currency against the Singapore dollar continues to draw Singaporeans. Iskandar Malaysia remains a stronghold for investors, with 58 per cent stating investment as a reason for purchase, while citing affordability (54 per cent) and proximity to Singapore (69 per cent) as positives.

Australia sees continued interest (18 per cent, down from 22 per cent) along with the United Kingdom (UK) (12 per cent up from 9 per cent). Australia appeals for its proximity, quality education and lifestyle. The UK draws interest for capital growth, yields and as a place for buyers’ children to live while they study. Recent exchange rate shifts have made investing in both locations more attractive.

Respondents also indicated a preference for seminars and exhibitions when purchasing overseas properties, with 53 per cent having purchased their overseas properties through developer shows/seminars/exhibitions in Singapore.

The APMSR is Asia’s largest consumer sentiment survey, with close to 13,000 respondents from four countries, including 2,805 in Singapore. The survey was conducted by iProperty Group from June to July 2014. For the full report, please refer to http://www.iproperty.com.sg/asia-property-sentiment-survey/download/.

The Most Expensive Real Estate Markets in the World

How does the average price per square foot of property in Singapore rank against the world? And which countries are in the Top 10 list of most expensive real estate markets in the world  for 2013? Find out here in this infographics, courtesy of Jackson+Rowe.

The Most Expensive Real Estate Markets in the World

 

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.

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Winners of the People’s Choice Award 2013 – Rise of the “Suburban Condominiums”.

While Singapore has a land area of only 710sq m, there are more than 2,000 private residential developments.  As each development has its unique style, architecture and design to suit the myriad of taste and preferences, consumers are spoilt for choices.

From the annual iProperty Consumer Sentiments Survey, more than 2,000 Singapore respondents indicated thatlocation, price and area were the fundamentals of property selection in Singapore.  As a follow-up, the inaugural People’s Choice Awards (PCA) was organised by iProperty.com to find out which projects are the hot favourites among consumers.  Respondents could vote for whichever properties they felt were most deserving of the awards and unlike actually buying the property, they were not constrained by their budget.

I recall writing an article for iProperty.com several months ago and had selected some of the developments that I thought would stand a chance of winning some of the awards.

To recap, I thought that Marina Bay Suites stood a goodchance of winning the “Take my Breath Award” as the condominium overlooked the Marina Bay as well as the integrated resort.  As for the “Object of Desire Award” I thought that the Interlace stood a very good chance of winning as world-renowned architects Ole Scheeren and Rem Koolhaas from OMA designed the development.  As for the condominium that I would “bet my granny’s savings on” is My Manhattan as it was located near the top 3 most profitable developments from 2009 to 2012.

And the winners are…

City Slickers Award – Best Condominium in Orchard/CBD District:

Skyline @ Orchard Boulevard by Far East Organization

Life’s a Beach Award – Condominium with the Best Resort feel:

Seastrand by Far East Organization

Object of Desire Award – Condominium with the Best Architecture

The Palette by City Developments Limited

Property I would even bet my granny’s savings on Award – Condominium you think that has the highest appreciation potential

Gaia by Amerald Land Ptd Ltd

Saving Gaia Award – Best Eco-Friendly Condominium

eCO by Far East Organization

Supersize Me Award – Best Condominium for Families

Euhabitat by Far East Organization

Staycation Award – Condominium that has facilities of a hotel

Riversound Residence by Qing Jian Realty Pte Ltd

Swinging Single Party Pad Award – Condominium that is best for Singles

Altez by Far East Organization

Take my Breath Award – Condominium with the greatest views

H20 Residences by City Development Limited

Property with the Most Votes award ​

eCO by Far East Organization

 

What can we glean from the results?

One of the key observations was that many of the developments that won awards were located in the Outside Central Region (OCR).  This goes to show that Singaporeans are starting to accept that desirabledevelopments do not necessarily have to be located in traditional hotspots like Districts 9, 10 and 11.  While traditional hotspots still command a premium, consumers who are more particular on design, facilities, eco-friendliness, etc. are prepared to look beyond the Core Central Region (CCR).

 

If we were to take a look at developed countries such as the United States or Australia, many condominium projects there offer such special facilities such as a movie theatre, personal trainer in the gym, concierge service, etc.  As Singaporeans become more discerning, it is no longer enough to just offer garden-variety facilities like tennis courts and swimming pools.  To really stand out, developers would have to spend time to come up withunique identifying features such as one-of-a-kindarchitecture or even special facilities like rock-climbing walls and golf simulators.

 

Property investors hoping to find the next hot deal should also move beyond the conventional wisdom of “location, location, location”.  With an area of only 710sq m, any part of Singapore is likely to be several minutes’ drive away from amenities or a shopping mall.  Hence, to assess the potential of a project, they should also take into consideration the “feel good” factor that the projects elicit.  Hopefully, you will remember this list of PCA winners and eventually use this information to help you decide on your next purchase.

It’s Not All About The Price: More Singaporeans Choose Outside Central Region Condos for “Suburban Appeal”

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Suburban condos dominate iProperty.com’s inaugural People’s Choice Awards. 

It used to be the case that Singaporeans purchased suburban condominiums because they could not afford properties in District 9, 10 and 11, but the winners of iProperty’s inaugural People’s Choice Awards are proving that it is no longer all about the price.  Suburban condominiums Outside the Central Region (OCR) bagged the most awards (eight awards), followed by condominiums in the Core Central Region (two awards).  The OCR covers suburbs such as Punggol, Woodlands and Jurong, where mass-market condominiums are located.

Mr Sean Tan, General Manager of iProperty.com said, “We organised the People’s Choice Awards to gain more insight into condominium buyers’ preferences.  From our recent Consumer Sentiments Survey, we learnt that location, price and security are the fundamentals of property selection in Singapore.  However, we wanted to probe further, and find out if there are other underlying pull factors independent of these conventional categories.  Voters could vote for whichever properties they felt were most deserving of the awards.  Unlike real-life buyers, they were not constrained by price, so it is quite insightful to find suburban condominiums holding their own in the popularity stakes.”

The Palette, located within walking distance of Pasir Ris MRT Station, came up tops for being an “Object of Desire”, that is, the condominium with the best architecture.

Mr Chia Ngiang Hong, Group General Manager, City Developments Limited (CDL) said, “The Palette is unique for its impressive façade that melds modern and clean lines with an elegant, wave formation that cleverly serves its practical purpose of offering enchanting views for every resident. Its generously appointed ground provides for a lush and beautifully sculptured terrain replete with palm trees and soothing waterscapes, yet filled with an array of amenities.  We owe the award largely to the unique design concept of a suburban idyll.”

Voting for the People’s Choice Awards took place from 1 December 2012 to 6 January 2013.  Over 600 voters participated in the process.  The complete winners list can be found in Appendix.

Scenic river/seafront views trump city skyline for jaded cosmopolitans

Singapore may be famed for its gorgeous skyline but its residents prefer to retire to the suburban idyll of a condominium with scenic river/seafront views.  H2O Residences by CDL won the “Take My Breath Away” award for the condominium with the best view.

Mr Chia said, “Nestled in the heart of Sengkang New Town, “H2O Residences offers breathtaking, unobstructed views of lush surroundings and charming waterways. It is designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding water bodies and park –  the first-of-its-kind development in Singapore that connects residents to an active, riverfront lifestyle.  The award reflects condominium buyers’ appreciation for a greener and more vibrant riverfront living.”

According to Mr Getty Goh, Director of real estate research company Ascendant Assets, Singaporeans are becoming more “discerning about their condominium choices, beyond the standard criteria of location and price.”  He said, “With 13,308 new private condominium units rolled out in 2012, and about 16,439 more in 2013, buyers are spoilt for choice.  They are no longer interested in garden variety condominiums offering a tennis court and swimming pool.  Increasingly, they are looking at unique identifying features such as the architecture or developments that best embody their values, such as environmental consciousness and lifestyle habits.  For example, some condominiums now feature rock-climbing walls and golf simulators to cater to sports enthusiasts.

“Price, location and size are no doubt still the top draws for condominium buyers, however, since 2011Q2, we have observed a higher proportion (up to 70% in 2012Q1) of consumers gravitating towards the Outside Central Region for the “suburban appeal,” said Mr Goh.

For today’s contemporary urban dwellers, however, condominiums in the Core Central Region are still the top draws. Altez, located within the CBD and developed by Far East Organization, bagged the award for “Condo which is best for singles”.

Ms Shaw Lay See, Director for Property Sales, Far East Organization said, “Buyers are interested in well-conceived products of value in an excellent location. With Altez apartments sized and designed in line with compact downtown living in major cosmopolitan cities such as London, Manhattan, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong, it has all the makings of a well-conceived urban product created to offer sophisticated, comfortable and exclusive city centre living. Aside from its distinctive facilities and panoramic views at 62-storeys high, Altez is attractive to time-starved cosmopolitan city dwellers and homeowners who enjoy the excitement of living in the city.”

Altez is next to Tanjong Pagar MRT station and is a short walk to the new downtown at Marina Bay. Located in the heart of Singapore means it takes no time at all to travel anywhere, be it to the newest gourmet restaurant in town, the trendiest shopping destination or the hottest nightspots.

Mr Tan summed it up, “Judging from the winners list, we have a clear trend of families as well as an increasing number of cosmopolitans voting for the rusticity of suburban condominiums, while those attracted to the pulsating energy of Singapore’s city life are drawn to developments in the Core Central Region.

Our 10 award categories may be quirky and playful, but they are relevant and have confirmed the increasing sophistication of property market participants.  This bodes well for the property development scene, and will provide the inspiration for it to stay vibrant and relevant.”

Click here for a full detailed list of award winners!

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About Mr Getty Goh

Mr Getty Goh is the Director of Ascendant Assets. Ascendant Assets Pte Ltd is a real estate research and investment consultancy that specialises in providing research and analysis on the Singapore property market. The firm’s strength lies in customising solutions and providing sound advice that adds value to a client’s property investment. We provide the following services:

•           Structure property investment deals
•           Provide real estate research services
•           Provide project co-ordination for property redevelopment
•           Assist foreign investors invest and manage their properties
•           Help SMEs diversify through property investments

Ascendant Assets is not a real estate agency. They do not market properties or broker property deals. The firm focuses on helping its clients make informed property investment decisions by providing research and statistics.  Since its establishment in 2008, Ascendant Assets has lent its expertise to public and private sector clients, investors as well as homeowners.