Singapore Property News: 1st to 15th October 2014

Real Estate News

Property Market Activities

SRX flash estimate shows uptick in condo resale in Sept (BT, 15 October 2014)

The latest flash estimates from SRX Property shows that 468 non-landed private homes were transacted in the resale market in September, up 15.3 per cent from August, and up 13.3 per cent year on year. This has led some market commentators to suggest that resale prices could be stabilising, though prices have yet to bottom out. Moreover, the overall median transaction over X-value (TOX) – an indicator of how much buyers pay over past transacted prices of comparable units – was negative S$2,000 in September, based on the September flash estimate; this was a marked improvement from negative S$10,000 in August, and the best showing since September 2013, when the TOX was positive S$3,000.

More than 100 Marina One units snapped up on Friday (BT, 11 October 2014)

Over 100 units were sold at Marina One Residences on 10th Oct, taking total sales to more than 300 units. As of end-10th, the developer M+S had released 372 units in the 1,042-unit condo. On 9th, M+S indicated that it had sold slightly more than 200 units to multiple-unit buyers since 3rd Oct. On that day, balloting began for buyers of three or more units. Balloting for those purchasing two units began on 8th. On 10th, balloting was started for single-unit buyers who had submitted cheques during the preview period. Prices in the condo range from S$1,960 psf to S$3,100 psf after an early-bird discount of 10 per cent, for those who registered during the preview.

September new home sales tipped to pick up (ST, 11 October 2014)

Sales of new homes in September probably picked up as developers were eager to push out new units to capture buyers before the Christmas holidays. Consultants tip that between 500 and 600 units were sold – an improvement on the 432 units moved in August, which was the lowest since the meagre 259 transactions in December. If expert estimates are on the money, around 1,500 to 1,600 new units would have been sold in the third quarter. “Developers started rolling out their launches from September to capitalise on existing demand ahead of the annual school-holiday season,” said a property professional. This was in marked contrast with August when few projects were launched, given the Hungry Ghost month.

Resale volumes of private condos plunge (BT, 7 October 2014)

In yet another sign of a stalemate between buyers and sellers, resale volumes of private condominiums have fallen to levels last seen during the Global Financial Crisis, with the bloodbath of declines seen splattered islandwide. While sellers with strong holding power seemed unwilling to let go of their units at much-lower prices, District 18 in the east and District 27 in the north appear to have held up well in resale volumes for the second quarter. District 18, which comprises Tampines and Pasir Ris, saw resale volumes inch up 5.6 per cent in the second quarter this year to 57 transactions compared to the year-ago period before the start of the total debt servicing ratio.

City, non-city condo price gap narrows (BT, 4 October 2014)

The price gaps for resale private condos in the city area versus those in the city fringe and suburbs have been narrowing since the market started softening in late 2011, a report released said. The gap in median prices between the Core Central Region (CCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR) reached a high of S$610 psf in Q4 2011, but this gap has fallen to S$461 psf in the second quarter this year. Similarly, between median prices in the city and the Outside Central Region (OCR), the price gap has fallen from a high of S$870 psf to S$712 psf over the same period. A research professional pointed out that the narrowing price gap was due to the impact of the cooling measures, which had a stronger impact on high-end homes.

Home price fall eases but no rebound in sight (BT, 2 October 2014)

Prices of private homes and HDB resale flats softened further in the third quarter, albeit at a slower rate for the private market. This, market players say, could be due to the holding power of private home owners and developers. Consultants added that the resulting stalemate does not mean private home prices have bottomed out, but could instead lead to a protracted and slow price correction. Flash estimates released by the URA recently showed that the overall Private Residential Property Price Index, comprising both landed and non-landed homes, fell 0.6 per cent over the third quarter – after slipping one per cent in the preceding quarter. Prices have fallen 3.8 per cent over four consecutive quarters. Resale HDB prices also showed continued weakness under the weight of the mortgage servicing ratio.

Public Housing

Record high e-applications for Lake Life EC (BT, 13 October 2014)

The 546-unit executive condominium (EC) Lake Life has been more than three times subscribed, receiving a record number of e-applications for an EC project in Singapore. The project – which is in the Jurong Lake district – received over 1,848 applications. Sea Horizon received more than 1,500 last year. Of the more than 1,800 e-applications, about 65 per cent are second time applicants, while the average age of applicants is about 42 years. Nearly 60 per cent of applicants earn between S$8,001 and S$12,000, while just 10 per cent have a combined income of less than S$5,000. The combined income ceiling for EC applicants is S$12,000. E-applications ended at 9.30pm on 12th night. Pricing of the units will be released on 5th Nov, which is when the showflats will open for viewing. Bookings for Lake Life will be launched on 8th Nov.

Reverse mortgage not a popular option, but will be further studied (ST, 9 October 2014)

An ongoing study into reverse mortgage schemes in other countries has shown that their take-up rates are low, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said on 8th. Still, the Government will continue to study the scheme, which allows a property owner to convert some of the value of the home he owns into cash while still living in it, he added. He said that “as the reverse mortgage is a complex financial product, we need to study it carefully, before we decide whether to introduce it as an additional option for our seniors.” He noted that insurer NTUC Income previously offered such a scheme, but it did not take off. Only 24 households took it up between its launch in 2006 and it being scrapped in 2008.

Government Land Sales

China’s Nanshan pips 17 other bidders for Bishan housing site (BT, 9 October 2014)

Chinese conglomerate Nanshan Group has topped the bids for a site off Sin Ming Avenue released by the URA, potentially marking its first foray into the residential market here. Nanshan’s bid of S$173.57 million for the site in Lorong Puntong beat a field of 17 other bidders that included a mix of local and foreign developers. Working out to S$731 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), the bid is also higher than the $720 psf ppr that UOL and Singapore Land paid for the nearby Thomson Three site in August 2012. While the popularity of the Bishan site was highly expected, what was least expected was the 7.2 per cent margin between Nanshan’s bid and the next highest bid from Sustained Land’s SL Capital Ventures Pte Ltd.

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