Singapore condo

Despite a muted market, the real estate consulting firm expects buying activity to increase, with new projects launching in the second half of 2020. The resale market is also expected to see stronger sales as viewings resume. 

Residential investment sales in Singapore were muted during the second quarter of 2020, due to the lack of awarded Government Land Sale (GLS) sites and dampened market sentiments amid the economic uncertainties.

In its Real Estate Times Singapore Q2 2020 report, Edmund Tie revealed that residential investment sales plunged from nearly $2 billion in Q1 2020 to $261.3 million in Q2 2020, as the circuit breaker measures imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19 limited viewing opportunities.

The quarter also saw two Good Class Bungalows being sold – namely, 53 Windsor Park Road at $21.7 million and 76 Windsor Park Road at $21.3 million – compared to four GCBs transacted in Q1 2020.

The report noted that while the residential collective sales market remained subdued with no en bloc sale concluded, some activity was seen as Wing Fong Mansions and Wing Fong Court were launched for tender for the second time in June.

Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) statistics for Q2 2020 showed that private home prices climbed 0.3%, following a 1% decline in Q1 2020.

After two consecutive quarters of decline, prices for private non-landed properties rose 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q2 2020.

All market segments, except for the Rest of Central Region (RCR), saw price growths.

Non-landed property prices in the Core Central Region (CCR) increased 2.7%, while those in the Outside Central Region (OCR) climbed 0.1%. Non-landed property prices in the RCR, on the other hand, dropped 1.7% quarter-on-quarter in Q2 2020.

After dropping 0.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2020, URA Landed Property Price Index remained unchanged from the previous quarter in Q2 2020.

Edmund Tie noted that the government provided relief for Singaporean married couples seeking Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) remission for the joint purchase of their second home, with the extension of six months for the sale of their first house.

“This will help contain selling pressures in the market,” it said.

Housing loans continued to increase for the third quarter in a row by 49.2% year-on-year in Q1 2020, due to the lower interest rate environment.

“New sales volume dominated the private residential market in Q2 2020, as homebuyers purchased homes with the aid of virtual showflats or had visited the showflats before the circuit breaker period,” said the report.

But despite an increase in new sales in June due to pent-up demand, new sales fell 27.1% year-on-year and 20.3% quarter-on-quarter to 1,713 units in Q2 2020.

The report attributed the lower new sales to a reduction in new launches, closure of show galleries during the circuit breaker period and dampened sentiment due to the gloomy economic outlook.

There were three new launches in Q2 2020 – Kopar at Newton, 15 Holland Hill and Parkwood Residences.

With sales preview conducted in late March, Kopar at Newton was launched before the implementation of the circuit breaker period from 7 April to 1 June. The District 9 project achieved a take-up rate of 31.7% as 120 of the 378 units were sold at an average price of $2,272 per sq ft (psf).

15 Holland Hill moved three out of its 59 units at an average price of $2,797 psf, while Parkwood Residences sold one out of its 18 units at an average price of $1,323 psf.

In Q2 2020, resale volume plunged 55.1% quarter-on-quarter to 951 units.

“This may be due to the prohibition of home-viewing during the circuit breaker period and sellers may hence withhold their selling decisions until the easing of the circuit breaker measures, as viewing is more important for completed properties,” said Edmund Tie.

With this, total private homes sales volume dropped 37.6% quarter-on-quarter to 2,664 units in Q2 2020 from the previous quarter’s 4,269 units.

The private residential leasing market saw total rental volume fall 18.4% year-on-year and 10% quarter-on-quarter to 19,506 transactions during the period under review.

The URA Rental Index for All Residential Property for Q2 2020 also declined 1.2% quarter-on-quarter, after a quarter-on-quarter rebound of 1.1% in the previous quarter, “which may be due to the reduction of companies’ rental budgets and salaries amid the economic uncertainties”.

Looking ahead, Edmund Tie expects foreign demand for residential properties in Singapore to improve as countries gradually ease their lockdown measures.

In fact, high-net worth mainland Chinese homebuyers were “reported to have snapped up luxury properties in Singapore through online marketing platforms, as they seek to divert their funds overseas as a hedge against inflation and devaluation risks”, it said.

And with sales galleries and physical viewings now able to take place after the government began to progressively reopen the economy from 2 June, buying activity is also expected to increase, with new projects launching in the second half of 2020.

“We expect projects that are well-located, attractively priced and possessing strong project attributes to continue to attract buyers,” it said.

“The resale market is also expected to see stronger sales as viewings resume,” added Edmund Tie.