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  1. #21
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    17 August 2015 Luxury homes: Languishing or luxuriating?

    17 August 2015 Luxury homes: Languishing or luxuriating? Singapore’s luxury residential developments have, despite their increasingly premium prices, proven consistently popular amongst home buyers. But how have the cooling measures implemented in recent years affected the situation? We explore the current market climate.
    By Cheryl Marie Tay
    Singapore is known worldwide for many things, one of which is its abundance of luxury residences. From condominiums and semi-detached homes to bungalows and even mansions and villas, there is certainly no shortage of upscale housing on this tiny island from which to choose.
    Yet in September 2009, thanks to the significant increase in the number of foreigners buying private residential properties in Singapore, the government introduced property cooling measures to avoid a potential housing bubble. Additional taxes were enforced on those buying their second and subsequent homes, and restrictions regarding who could buy what type of residential
    property became more stringent.

    This led to a price correction across the board in the private residential market, as well as slower buying activity, with the regulations reviewed and revised twice a year since then, all the way till December 2013. Though different segments of the market have been affected to varying degrees, some more than others, the effects of the measures cannot be denied.

  2. #22
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    Reviewed, revised… but still resilient

    Reviewed, revised… but still resilient
    Though the aforementioned cooling measures initially caused a fall in private residential property prices, and the measures have not been reviewed since 2013, private home sales have been climbing relatively steadily. Both the Good Class Bungalow (GCB) and luxury apartment segments have performed well, with sales volume recovering from previous dips and stagnation caused by the cooling measures (refer to Figure 1).



    Sales push
    According to CBRE Research, in the first half of this year, the sales volume of apartments in the Core Central Region (CCR) worth $5 million and above topped that in the second half of 2014 by 45.7 percent (refer to Figure 2). Property developers have been more aggressive in marketing units in their projects, both in Singapore and overseas. This is especially true for projects that were completed within the past 12 to 18 months, with prices ranging from $2,600 psf to $3,000 psf (the latter more common in newer projects).



    Notably, 16 units at Marina Bay Suites were sold for $2,100 psf to $2,500 psf each, while at Goodwood Residence, 20 units were sold for $4.4 million to $6.6 million each. Furthermore, seven Tomlinson Heights units were sold for $7.6 million to $11 million each, and a penthouse at Le Nouvel Ardmore measuring 13,875 sq ft was sold for the record price of $51 million.

    Developers with unsold housing units are expected to continue to actively promote them, and CBRE Research foresees a gradual return of market confidence, as well as minimal downside in prices due to no new luxury supply beyond 2017 having been announced.

  3. #23
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    Fizzling on the beach

    Fizzling on the beach
    Sentosa Cove, on the other hand, has not enjoyed as good a year so far. Famous for being the prestigious, coveted location of possibly the most pricey landed homes in all of Singapore, and once an enclave for wealthy foreigners to buy luxury residential property here, its housing market has been experiencing a downturn.


    When it came to its bungalows, only three transactions took place throughout 2014, and caveats were lodged for just two bungalows in the first half of 2015. CBRE Research attributes this poor sales performance to cooling measures such as the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) framework and Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD), imposed on both local and foreign investors.
    The two bungalows in question, one on Treasure Island and the other at Ocean Drive, had an average price of $2,011 psf, 20 percent higher than the average $1,676 psf of the three bungalows sold last year, and 5.3 percent lower than the average price in 2013. 2014’s unusually low prices were the result of less attractive property features, such as non-sea facing orientation, alongside smaller land and built-up areas.
    Recovery in Sentosa Cove’s bungalow market is expected to be sluggish, in part because of the hurdles it has to overcome, thanks to the property cooling measures. Another reason for its delayed recovery is Singaporeans’ reluctance to invest in residential property in the area, as they are able to purchase freehold bungalows at comparable prices in more convenient and accessible locations in mainland Singapore. Considering all this, sellers would do well to lower their price expectations when negotiating with potential buyers.

  4. #24
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    Good class, good sales

    Good class, good sales
    The Good Class Bungalow (GCB) segment, on the other hand, has been doing far better than the bungalow market in Sentosa Cove (refer to Figure 3). In the first half of this year alone, 15 GCBs were sold, maintaining the segment’s consistent performance of last year, when 15 GCBs were sold in H1 and 13 were sold in H2.



    Of the GCBs sold in H1 this year, seven were smaller bungalows measuring below 15,070 sq ft each in land area. Unsurprisingly, these bungalows were more affordable, each costing between $7 million and $10 million. This is in stark contrast to larger GCBs, which cost more than twice ($20 million to $30 million each). One example of the latter is a 31,129 sq ft GCB on Belmont Road, which was sold for $44.19 million.
    Good class investments
    Investment-wise, Singapore’s GCB sector displayed significant improvements from last year, registering an investment value of $377.6 million in the first half of this year, 9.8 percent higher than the $344.8 million recorded in the first half of last year and 33.9 percent higher than the $282.06 million recorded in the second half of last year.

    This healthy performance in the GCB segment could very well be attributed to the sale of a large 73,281 sq ft GCB on Ridout Road for $91.69 million. Using land area as a guide, the average price of GCBs in the first half of this year was reported as $1,442 psf, lower than H1 2014’s $1,488 psf but higher than H2 2014’s $1,381 psf. These figures show that prices of GCBs have remained at a consistently high level, despite their overall sales volume having shrunk significantly in the past two years.

    Positive prediction

    At the same time, this also means that though the cooling measures have not managed to adversely affect prices in the GCB market, they have contributed to the more muted buying activity observed in recent years, and have also prevented investors from over-leveraging themselves, mortgage-wise. This has in turn led to a stronger, healthier property market. Additionally, it helps that buyers of GCBs tend to be either owner-occupiers, or long-term investors with a greater pool of finances.

    For the second half of this year, CBRE Research predicts that prices will remain resilient, and that another 10 to 15 GCBs will be sold, maintaining the GCB market’s strong performance thus far.

  5. #25
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    17 August 2015 Eye on Dakota: A slice of history

    17 August 2015 Eye on Dakota: A slice of history We explored one of Singapore’s oldest, quietest and most charming neighbourhoods, Dakota Crescent, which will be vacated by the end of 2016 to make way for new developments under Mountbatten’s estate renewal plans.
    By Michelle Yee
    For the benefit of those who may not know what Singapore’s housing landscape used to look like during the 1950s, be sure to make a trip down to Dakota Crescent, located right opposite the famous Old Airport Road hawker centre.
    Before we visited, we had seen tonnes of retro architecture and old-school playground photographs of this place on social media, and we were definitely excited to physically discover one of the oldest, quietest and most charming neighbourhoods left in Singapore.
    And we have to agree that everything that has been said about this place is absolutely true. Exploring 12 Dakota Crescent on a Saturday afternoon brought us on a trip down memory lane — unlike the high-density and high-rise developments that we commonly see in most public housing estates today, the layout and architecture in Dakota Crescent are vastly different. Featuring 17 low-rise brick-clad flats, the area, which was built in 1958 by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) — HDB’s predecessor — features vast open spaces that are free of unnecessary urban installations.
    Unlike other new public housing estates, Dakota Crescent is also exceptionally quaint and tranquil, likely because the 648 units of two- and three-room flats are only about 60 percent occupied. The flats are mostly occupied by elderly residents, who might have resided there since day one. The neighbourliness, convenience and sentiments made them reluctant to uproot themselves to another
    newer estate.

    Other nostalgic sites here that are a hit with photographers and artists include the iconic old dove playground — one of the few nostalgic playgrounds left in Singapore — and the convenience stores (mama shops). Though the place has no doubt aged with time, it is generally still well-preserved. For those who are keen to visit Dakota Crescent, be sure to swing by soon, as the HDB announced in 2014 that the area will be vacated by the end of 2016 to make way for new developments under Mountbatten’s estate renewal plans.

    Quaint old world charm in an excellent location
    “Dakota Crescent enjoys a relatively central location and has a slew of amenities located nearby. In addition, being one of Singapore’s oldest housing estates, it boasts a unique contrast of new and old: old low-rise HDB flats currently occupy one end of the street, while the other end features relatively new high-rise condominium developments. However, this is set to change as the area has already been earmarked for redevelopment,” said Mr Wong Xian Yang, Research and Consultancy Manager at OrangeTee.

    “The area that is to undergo redevelopment is currently zoned as residential, with an indicated GPR (gross plot ratio) of 2.8, according to the Master Plan 2014. Currently, no change in use is expected but whether the new development will be under the HDB or will be private, that is still unknown. Another possible redevelopment site would be at Northlight School Campus 1, as the school has already moved out to Towner Road.
    “The potential value that can be unlocked from redevelopment is promising, given its strategic location and accessibility. No doubt the area has a rich heritage, but the potential for redevelopment can’t be ignored. The intensification of use is expected, and we can expect the population density to increase after redevelopment. As such, the progressive increase in human traffic in the Dakota Crescent area may introduce the need for more retail elements and other amenities. Looking at the Master Plan 2014, there are reserve sites in the area which may be
    used for such amenities.

    “Lastly, in view of the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) push to encourage cycling in Singapore, Dakota Crescent presents itself as an ideal location to pilot this project, given its accessibility to park connectors and relatively close distance to the central business district (CBD).”

  6. #26
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    Looking ahead

    Looking ahead
    While some feel it’s a pity to redevelop an old neighbourhood chock-full of history, analysts say that the redevelopment plans will inject life and vibrancy into an otherwise sleepy estate.


    Wong says: “The prospects for Dakota Crescent seem favourable. Accessibility scores highly, with two MRT stations serving the area, and the CBD is only a short drive away. The Kallang Leisure Park is also within proximity. Also located nearby is the Paya Lebar sub-regional centre, and should it be
    developed as planned, it would definitely bode well for the redeveloped Dakota Crescent as well.

    “With limited land available for redevelopment, combined with its central location and abundance of amenities, properties in Dakota Crescent are expected to remain highly sought after by investors and owner occupiers alike,” Wong added.
    Developments to look at:
    Waterbank @ Dakota
    Strategically located at 25 Dakota Crescent, Waterbank at Dakota, which is developed by UOL Group Limited, benefits from being close to various schools and amenities, including Broadrick Secondary School, Chung Cheng High School, City Plaza, Parkway Parade Shopping Centre, and more. Residents can also look forward to a slew of dining options, as the stretch of eateries and restaurants located along Guillemard Road is just a short walk away from the development. In terms of facilities within the project itself, residents can expect barbecue pits, a fully equipped gymnasium and clubhouse, lap pool, and more.

    Dakota Residences
    Developed by Ho Bee Group, Dakota Residences, located at 34 Dakota Crescent, is a 99-year leasehold condominium that comprises 348 units. Apart from being situated near many amenities, including the popular Old Airport Road Market and Food Centre, Jalan Batu Market and Food Centre, as well as several supermarkets and good schools, residents can look forward to enjoying a variety of recreational facilities within the development, such as a spa sanctuary, amphitheatre, outdoor fitness corner, reflexology path, and more. Available unit types range from two- (1,023 to 1,119 sq ft) to four- (1,830 to 1,970 sq ft) bedrooms.

  7. #27
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    17 August 2015 Heartland rentals

    17 August 2015 Heartland rentals This issue, we take a closer look at HDB rentals, which have seen volumes pick up in recent quarters, even as rents continue to slump.
    By Chang Hui Chew
    As we cross Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, we look around at our HDB flats, often thought of as a world class public housing programme that has contributed to the dizzy heights of our nation’s success. In 50 years, the HDB flat has become quintessentially Singaporean, and is now the primary source of many Singaporeans’ wealth. Last issue, we looked at the HDB resale market and predicted a recovery where transaction rates would pick up while prices would continue to remain depressed. This issue, we give you the Guru View of HDB flat rentals.

  8. #28
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    Overall rent and volumes

    Overall rent and volumes
    Transaction volumes, reported by HDB as approvals for subletting, have been moving upwards while prices have dipped over the same period (refer to Figure 1), with 3-, 4- and 5-room flats accounting for over 90 percent of the approvals. The private condo market has seen rental volume jump by 21 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2015, while rental prices have seen declines of about
    3.9 percent year-on-year over the same period. We see a similar trend observed in the HDB market as well, with rental units continuing to move, while prices dip.


    The increase in HDB rental demand is likely due to shrinking expatriate compensation packages as salaries become “localized”. Furthermore, with many multi-national companies moving out of the Central Business District to more suburban locations like Changi and Alexandra Business Parks, rental demand has also followed.
    New permanent residents (PRs) are also likely to contribute to the buoyancy of rental volumes as well. New PRs have a mandatory waiting period of three years before they can buy a resale HDB flat off the open market, and will have to rent a flat in the meantime.
    As such, older, larger HDB units conveniently located near suburban hubs, public transportation and amenities like supermarkets remain popular with tenants, and will continue to enjoy higher demand. We see this reflected in the price resilience of 5-room rents, with average monthly rents dipping a mild 4.4 percent from its previous peak in Q3 2013. In contrast, 3-room flats saw average monthly rentals fall 5.1 percent over the same period.
    It is likely that rental supply is responsible for keeping rental prices down, despite an increased demand and uptake for rental units. In these past few years, a record number of private residential units have been completed, with many HDB upgraders choosing to lease out their existing units, instead of selling them off. With HDB resale prices falling, HDB sellers might prefer to hold on to their units until the property cycle goes back on the upswing, or just hold onto their units for passive income. With increased supply in the market, even with increased demand for rental HDB flats, prices are unlikely to see much upward movement.

  9. #29
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    Splitting by type

    Splitting by type
    3-room flats have, for the period under analysis, been the bulk of subletting approvals. This is likely due to their lower quantums, making them a popular option for new PRs waiting out their three-year time bar. 3-room flats are also a likely option for newlyweds waiting for their BTOs or condo units to complete, if they choose not to live with their parents.


    In recent quarters however, 3-room flats are seeing their lead shrinking, with 4-room flats seeing a sharper 3.4 percent increase over the last quarter (refer to Figure 2). This is in contrast to 3- and 5-room flats which saw minimal gains under 1.0 percent in the same period. Given decreasing monthly rentals, tenants might find that springing for a larger 4-room flat over a 3-room is within their means. We also continue to see differences between mature and non-mature estates, with 5-room flats in mature estates commanding an average premium of 17.4 percent over HDB flats in newer estates.

    Prices by estate
    More centrally located mature estates saw a larger degree of price movement, quarter to quarter. Queenstown saw a 6.4 percent growth for 4-room flats, while 5-room flats dipped 3.1 percent, between the first and second quarters of 2015. Bukit Merah saw rents for 4-room flats bump 1.7 percent upwards while rents for 5 room flats dipped 0.6 percent over the same period. 3-room flats in the central area saw price dips of 2.1 percent as well.

    3-room flats in Kallang / Whampoa saw median monthly rents move up by five percent while 5-room flats fell by the same amount. Rents for 4- and 5-room flats in Toa Payoh fell by 1.9 and 1.7 percent respectively. Marine Parade, perennially popular with expatriates, saw 3- and 4-room median rents remain flat for the first half of the year. The mature estates continue to reflect downward pressures on HDB rental pricing, even if transaction volumes are picking up.
    Non-mature estates were more muted in their price movements, with many estates seeing rentals remain flat for the first half of the year. Sengkang saw rental prices of its 5-room and executive flats depress 2.1 percent and four percent respectively, while Woodlands and Yishun also saw their 5-room flats dip by just over four percent. Sembawang saw the sharpest dip of the first half of the year, with executive flats sliding 7.6 percent for the first half of the year.

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    Looking at demand

    Looking at demand
    The popularity of mature estates bears out in PropertyGuru’s proprietary search data as well. In the second quarter of 2015, the five most searched HDB estates for HDB rentals were Bedok, Yishun, Jurong West, Ang Mo Kio and Tampines (see Table 1). Out of these, HDB considers Bedok, Ang Mo Kio and Tampines mature estates.



    Interestingly, Jurong West, even as a far flung non-mature estate, saw median monthly rents in the second quarter on the higher end for each flat type. This is likely due to the higher demand for rental units in the area, due to foreign students at Nanyang Technological University, and foreign workers from the Tuas and Jurong West industrial areas.

    Location is also likely to play a big part in these estates popularity with tenants, as three out of the five of the most searched HDB estates for rental – Bedok, Yishun and Ang Mo Kio – are all less than half an hour via the MRT to the Orchard Road shopping belt.
    With search demand being a forward indicator of rental transactions, we expect that the rental transactions for these five estates is likely to increase by the end of Q3 2015 as well.

 

 

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