Singapore Property News: 16th to 31st October 2014

Real Estate News

Property Market Activities

Dip in resale prices of private homes (ST, 29 October 2014)

Resale prices of private homes dipped in September, dashing hopes that there would be a buyer rebound from the Hungry Ghost month when sales went on hold. Apartment prices fell 0.7 per cent overall in September from August, according to the Singapore Residential Price Index (SRPI). That decline reversed the revised 0.2 per cent increase in August over July and points to further falls ahead. September’s reversal confirms analyst forecasts that home prices have yet to bottom out in the wake of tough mortgage caps and levies on foreign buyers. They point to an impasse between buyers and sellers as home owners have holding power and are in no hurry to sell.

Tharman: Home prices correction not there yet (BT, 29 October 2014)

Property prices in Singapore have not seen a “meaningful correction” yet, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. “We have seen some correction in both private property prices and HDB resale prices over the last 4-5 quarters, but there is some distance to go in achieving a meaningful correction after the sharp run-up in prices in recent years,” he said. “If we do not get a meaningful reversal after each upswing, property prices will run ahead of the growth of household incomes over the long term, which we should avoid.” He noted how the risk profiles of borrowers have improved, with the share of borrowers taking up multiple housing loans declining to 13 per cent of new housing loans.

Record wave of new homes could swamp prices and rents (BT, 25 October 2014)

With a record number of new private homes being completed this year and the next, it could be a while before prices and rents hit bottom, property consultants say. More HDB flats entering the rental market could further heat up the competition for tenants, they add. Such projections dispelled any mild optimism that could have arisen from the recent data from the URA, which showed the fall in private home prices moderating. URA’s overall private residential price index slipped 0.7 per cent in the third quarter-marking its most gentle decline since it turned south a year ago. The main drag was a 1.8 per cent fall in landed homes, while non-landed homes fell by a smaller 0.4 per cent quarter on quarter.

Malaysians widen lead over Chinese as top private home buyers (BT, 23 October 2014)

The gap between the top two nationalities of private home buyers among foreigners and PRs widened in the third quarter, after purchases by mainland Chinese fell more than those by Malaysians. This is the first time since Q3 2012 that a significant lead by the Malaysians has emerged. According to a caveats analysis by a consulting firm, the Chinese share fell four percentage points to 25.62 per cent in Q3 from a quarter earlier. This is their lowest share since Q4 2012, when it was 25.42 per cent. The Malaysian share came in at 28.65 per cent, down slightly from 29.96 per cent in Q2.

Cairnhill Mansions in collective sale bid (ST, 23 October 2014)

The owners of an ageing District 9 residential property are launching their fourth attempt at a collective sale. Cairnhill Mansions’ 61 owners will begin the process next June with the aim of getting the requisite 80 per cent backing before the option expires a year later. The 50-year-old freehold building, which sits on a prime site near Goodwood Park Hotel, has 60 apartments and a penthouse. The last attempt at a collective sale coincided with the rollout of property market cooling measures in 2011. The owners failed to find a buyer at the reserve price of $361.5 million, or about $2,308 per sq ft of potential gross floor area. Sale committee chairman Charles Ho said the building’s ageing infrastructure is costly to maintain and can be a hazard.

Hiap Hoe snaps up unsold condo units (ST, 16 October 2014)

Two bulk purchases of units on the top floors of Skyline 360° at St Thomas Walk and Signature at Lewis condominiums have raised eyebrows over the basement pricing – and the fact that the developer itself has bought them. Listed developer Hiap Hoe swept up remaining units at both luxury developments through a wholly-owned company in September, disclosures filed with the Singapore Exchange showed. Units on the highest floors of a project almost always command a premium, yet the pricing is lowest for any level in the projects. HH Residences, a unit set up in April, had snapped up five units at the 61-unit Skyline 360º condo in River Valley for $35 million from Bukit Panjang Plaza, another Hiap Hoe subsidiary.

Public Housing

Lake Life releases pricing, brings public viewing date forward (BT, 31 October 2014)

The consortium behind executive condominium (EC) Lake Life announced that units will range from S$799 to S$930 per square foot – a wider range than its earlier indicative price of S$880 to S$890 psf. Overall, the units will average S$857 psf in price. The 546-unit EC in the Jurong Lake District will open for public viewing from Nov 1, instead of the earlier announced date of Nov 5, to cater for the expected large crowds, it said. Already, it has achieved a record numbers of e-applications for an EC. Bookings open on Nov 8. Lake Life’s average price is S$685,000 for a two-bedroom, S$898,000 for a three-bedroom, and $984,000 for a three-bedroom premium. Four-bedroom units will be rolled out at an average price of S$1.07 million.

Cut in supply of BTO flats will ward off glut (ST, 22 October 2014)

Prospective buyers of new Housing Board flats may be alarmed by the news that there will be a 25 per cent cut in the number of flats launched next year. This is not a case of regular supply being choked off but, instead, a return to sustainable levels after three years of unusually high supply. The move helps to avoid the damaging prospect of a supply glut – a problem that may seem alien to first-time buyers today but was a pressing issue just over a decade ago. When announcing the move, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan was careful to put it in context. From 2011 to last year, more than 25,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats were launched each year to meet “pent-up demand”.

Government Land Sales

URA release of Paya Lebar Central site, with conditions, draws mixed views (BT, 29 October 2014)

The URA has finally released a much anticipated, big-ticket mixed development site in Paya Lebar Central. Nearly 55 per cent of the project’s maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 164,794 square metres (about 1.77 million square feet) has to be for office use. The rest of the space can be for additional office, retail, entertainment, F&B and residential uses. Small strata office and retail units will not be in play for this project, as URA is limiting the number of strata lots to just five for the entire office component of at least 90,000 sq m (968,751 sq ft) GFA. This points to an average strata office size of under 200,000 sq ft. The residential component can comprise up to 440 individually strata titled units.

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