Resale condominium market in gradual recovery
Could a slice of sunshine be sliding its way back into the local private property market? Resale condominium prices have risen 1.1% in January and it’s a bigger increase than the 0.5% in the last 2 months of 2016.
And as expected, non-landed private residential properties located in prime districts lead the way, with a 1.9% month-on-month increase. Central region properties also gained 1.5% in terms of prices while that of suburban properties rose by 0.4%. In a year-on-year comparison, resale prices were 0.3% higher than in the same period of 2016.
In some districts, resale properties exchanged hands at lower-than-market value, though the price difference at minus $4,000 is lesser that the $5,000 in December. District 23 posted more than 10 resale transactions in January alone and selling prices went as high as $2,000 above market value.
Though the year is still young, it could be a budding sign of the things to come for the rest of the year. Property analysts are not expecting sharp rebounds anytime soon, though the stabilisation of prices and an increase in sales volume would already be sufficient to signify market recovery, albeit a gradual one. What could also be seen from the market data was that sellers were beginning to moderate their asking prices, possibly with pressure coming in from new property launches and completed new units entering the weak rental market.
Many new office buildings pre-leased
A sense of strength is coming back into the property market this year, with the bottom of the cycle possibly closing in. And consumer interest, in both the residential and commercial fronts, are on the rise too.
With news of Facebook pre-leasing space at Marina One, the upcoming Frasers Tower in the heart of the Central Business District (CBD) has also received leasing proposals for 30 per cent of its 38-storey office building from various interest tenants. Most were from multi-national conglomerates, legal services, technology firms and a serviced-office provider, The Executive Centre who expressed interest in taking up an entire 20,000 sq ft floor space.
New office buildings are gradually filling up even before they are completed or ready for occupancy. There is however some movement from other existing buildings as tenants take the opportunity to relocate or upgrade, as seen in the mix of tenancy in Marina One and Guoco Tower. Frasers Tower has a 663,000 sq ft of total net leasable area. More new office spaces are currently being developed in the CBD, including UIC Building and the new property which will sit on the site of the previous CPF building. Though office rents have been falling, it may be a good sign after all as the market would have picked up by the time these new buildings are build.
Winning $292 million West Coast Vale land sales bid
Properties in West Coast have been garnering tons of interest lately. One of the latest offerings in the area is the Parc Riviera condominium, and nearby the Clement Canopy also recently launched last weekend.
Thus a winning bid of $292 million for a 99-year leasehold site in West Coast Vale probably did not come as a surprise. The bid was won by China Construction Development, with 8 other bidders vying for the same site. Second in line was MCC Land (Singapore) with a bid of $289.9 million. The affordable quantum was likely what drew the bidders as the plot was one of the last to be offered up for tender last year under the Government Land Sales Programme. The site was launched on December 7.
Considering the final bidding price of $592 psf is 7.4 per cent higher than the $551 psf paid for the neighbouring Parc Riviera project, the developers must be optimistic about the prospects of the property market. Parc Riviera is closer to the Ayer Rajah Expressway though the proximity of the Jurong Lake District and malls such as Jem will help in marketing the property to potential buyers.
Developers have been seen to be more aggressively bidding for land plots in recent tenders as most are hoping to replenish their land banks and preparing for better times ahead as the property market is seen to be bottoming out.
Why property cooling measures are here to stay
ABSD, SSD, TDSR, QC – These abbreviations related to property cooling measures implemented over the course of 5 years have taken root in the local real estate and construction industry and despite a much quieter market, may not go away anytime soon. And with good reason.
The demand for properties in other major Asia-pacific countries and cities such as Hong Kong, China, Australia and Japan have not seem to wane, reflected by soaring home prices in Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne and various top-tier cities in China. And this is despite their governments placing more restrictive regulations in place in efforts to curb investment outflow and property speculation. But perhaps it could be the case of too-little-too-late. And it also goes to show that investors are still looking for markets to hedge their funds and the pool of willing China investors looking to take capital out of their country agains a depreciating yuan.
In Singapore, despite a gradually decline in home prices, the market has remained resilient and a untimely lifting of property curbs may result in a quick and unrecoverable increase in property speculation. In fact, despite the series of property curbs instrumented since 2013, the property cycle seems to already be reaching the bottom, which could only mean a turnaround possibly within the year. Last year, resale volume rose 28 per cent and total sales increased by 16 per cent from 2015, indicative of a recovering, or at least stabilising, market.
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