Our top Singapore property stories.

Govt unveils land sales programme for first-half 2018

Six confirmed list and nine reserve list sites will be launched under the H1 2018 Government Land Sales (GLS) programme, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced in December.

These land parcels could potentially yield approximately 8,045 private homes and 63,960 sq m of commercial space.

The confirmed list sites are mainly intended for private homes, including one for executive condominium (EC) development. These are expected to generate about 2,775 private units (including 450 ECs) and 4,450 sq m of commercial space.

Among the confirmed list sites, the plots at Cuscaden and Mattar Road are expected to be the most sought-after due to their location and size, said Edmund Tie & Co’s research head Dr Lee Nai Jia.

“For the Cuscaden site, we expect bids of around $1,600 to $1,750 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr), while bids at Mattar Road should range from $1,200 to $1,400 psf ppr.”

The URA also revealed details of the reserve list sites, which consists of one commercial site and eight private housing plots, including two EC sites. These are expected to yield 5,270 private homes (including 1,255 ECs) and 59,510 sq m of commercial space, mostly for offices.

New home sales set to cool

Excluding executive condominiums (ECs), private home sales in Singapore increased slightly to 785 units in November 2017 compared to 760 units in the month before, according to data from the URA.

On a monthly basis, this represents a 3.3 percent gain versus the 15.7 percent growth seen in October, said OrangeTee. On a yearly basis, it translates to an 8.7 percent drop, but this is an improvement from the 39.3 percent plunge seen in the preceding month.

For the first 10 months, private home sales surged by 31.6 percent compared to the same period in 2016, noted the consultancy.

In November, the best-selling project was Parc Botannia in the Outside Central Region, which found buyers for 253 units at a median price of $1,287 psf.  Second was Queens Peak in the Rest of Central Region, which moved 71 units at $1,694 psf. The third was Kingsford Waterbay in the Outside Central Region, where 38 units changed hands for $1,346 psf.

For the whole of 2017, Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex Realty, expects private home sales to surpass 11,600 units (excluding ECs), while EC deals could reach around 4,100 units.

“Sales performance in December and January will likely taper due to the seasonal school holidays and the start of a new year and lack of major projects slated for launch,” he noted.

HDB to maintain a steady supply of flats next year

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will maintain a steady supply of around 17,000 new flats in 2018, comparable to the 17,584 flats launched this year, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong revealed recently.

“We will continue to calibrate our flat supply carefully, taking into account underlying demand and the stability of the HDB resale market,” he wrote in a blog post.

Wong noted that about 1,000 flats will be launched in Yishun, Sembawang and Sengkang in the second half of 2018. The flats will have shorter waiting periods of around 2.5 years, instead of the usual three to four years for most other Build-to-Order projects.

New flat buyers can expect a “good spread of projects across mature and non-mature estates, including flats in the new Tengah town”.

For 2017, Wong said the government was focused on helping first-timer families secure their own home.

To help these couples better afford a flat in the open market, the government raised the Central Provident Fund Housing Grant from $30,000 to $40,000 or $50,000 in February.

The enhanced grant has benefitted close to 6,900 first-timer households, said Wong.

The government also raised the rent subsidies for the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme, benefiting around 840 households who are waiting for their new flats to be ready.

In August 2017, the government also launched the first Re-offer of Balance Flats exercise for those with urgent housing needs, or who are not so particular about location.

“While the flat selection exercise is still ongoing, about 800 households have already managed to book a flat.

“All these mean that young couples will have even more affordable and accessible housing options to start their marriage and parenthood journey early,” shared Wong.

En bloc sales still rising, highest in two years

The number of collective sales deals in Singapore have already reached the highest level in two years, reported Singapore Business Review, citing a Cushman & Wakefield report.

Compared to one deal for the whole of 2015 and six in 2016, 20 existing housing projects with a total of around 2,900 units have changed hands via this method so far this year.

“The en bloc market has kickstarted a round of frenzy buying, as fence-sitters fear that private home prices could soon rise beyond their reach, once developers gear up for new launches next year,” said Cushman’s research director Christine Li.

Moreover, collective sales have already exceeded the $6.34 billion figure calculated by the property consultancy as of 15 November 2017.

Among the top deals this year are the $728 million and $907 million sales of Pearlbank Apartments and Amber Park respectively, with the latter located on one of the biggest sites measuring 213,675 sq ft.

According to United Overseas Bank, the high number of successful en bloc sales could spur homeowners to jump on the bandwagon in an attempt to monetise their properties at a good price. The lender even thinks that the collective sales boom could extend for another 12 to 24 months with about 60 to 80 projects at some point in the collective sales process.

Meanwhile, the continued rise in en bloc transactions comes despite the central bank’s warning that the redevelopment of these sites is expected to lead to an additional 20,000 new homes. This figure is projected to result in a two-fold surge in the number of unsold units entering the market over the next one to two years.

With regards to the anticipated price hike stemming from the collective sales frenzy, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong believes that this may not happen as an uptick in valuation depends on demand/supply factors during the launch of these new developments.

  The PropertyGuru News & Views   This article was first published in the print version PropertyGuru News & Views. Download PDFs of full print issues or read more stories now!