18th October to 25th October 2022
New private home sales in Singapore more than doubled in September, surging 125% to 987 units, thanks to robust sales at Lentor Modern and Sky Eden @ Bedok. Meanwhile, Copen Grand executive condominium (EC) in the upcoming Tengah Town sold 465 out of its 639 units, or 73%, during its first launch day.
1) New private home sales surge 125% in September
New private home sales in Singapore more than doubled in September, surging 125% to 987 units, from 437 units in August, amid the strong sales seen at Lentor Modern and Sky Eden @ Bedok.
“These two headline-grabbing launches also set new price benchmarks with the reported median prices above the $2,100 psf mark,” said Leonard Tay, Head of Research at Knight Frank.
On an annual basis, new home sales rose 18.3%.
The Outside Central Region (OCR) accounted for 70% of September’s total sales, while the Core Central Region (CCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR) made up 20% and 10%, respectively, noted Edmund Tie.
PropNex Realty pointed out that last month’s figure is the highest monthly home sales since May this year when 1,355 units were sold.
In September, developers launched 913 units, up by 6.8 times from 134 units in August.
“Despite the higher volume of units launched for sale, monthly sales have once again exceeded the launch units, reflecting the strong demand for private homes,” said Huttons Asia.
“This is the 13th month that sales have exceeded units launched for sale,” it added.
2) Copen Grand EC sells 73% of units on launch day
Copen Grand, the first executive condo at the upcoming Tengah Town, sold 465 out of its 639 units, or 73%, during its first day of launch, revealed developers City Developments Limited (CDL) and MCL Land.
The units achieved an average launch price of $1,300 per sq ft, “with an additional 3% applied to units sold under the deferred payment scheme”.
With this, a two-bedroom plus study unit is priced from $1.08 million, $1.18 million for a three-bedder deluxe, $1.28 million for a three-bedder premium and $1.48 million for a four-bedder deluxe. A four-bedroom premium and a five-bedroom premium, on the other hand, are priced at $1.58 million and $1.88 million, respectively.
Located within Tengah Garden Walk, Copen Grand features 12 blocks of 14-storey residential towers.
Unit sizes range between 807 sq ft for a two-bedroom plus study to 1,722 sq ft for a top-floor five-bedroom premium unit.
“All unit types were well-received by homebuyers, with the four-bedroom deluxe units fully sold,” said CDL and MCL Land.
3) Developers to provide bigger homes in Central Area under new rules
A new circular from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will see developers providing larger non-landed housing units at their projects within the Central Area from January 2023.
Under the new circular, “all new flats and condominiums within the Central Area, as well as the residential component of commercial and mixed-use developments, will be required to provide a minimum of 20% of dwelling units with a nett internal area of at least 70 sq m” from 18 January 2023.
The move comes after URA observed “a persistent trend in declining dwelling unit sizes”, which is in conflict with its planning intention to position the Central Area as an attractive place to live, work and play.
Huttons Asia Senior Research Director Lee Sze Teck believes the new rule will have minimal impact on the market since most, if not all, of the projects within the Central Area are already in compliance with it.
However, he expects the rule change to affect the prospects of some en bloc sites within the Central Area.
“Together with the increase in land betterment rates and changes to how gross floor area is computed, the costs to developers will rise considerably and eat into the margins of developers. Developers may re-assess potential bids for en bloc sites,” said Lee.
4) HDB waives 15-month wait-out period for 220 private homeowners
The Housing and Development Board (HDB) received 650 appeals from present and former private homeowners facing challenges in securing an HDB flat following the implementation of the latest cooling measures.
Of these, 220 had obtained an Option to Purchase (OTP) an HDB resale flat, prior to the rollout of the new rules.
“For these home seekers, HDB has exercised flexibility and waived the 15-month wait-out period for all of them,” shared Minister for National Development Desmond Lee as quoted by TODAY.
Another group of affected home seekers are those who have not obtained an OTP to acquire an HDB resale flat but have committed to selling or have recently sold their existing private home.
For such cases, Lee noted that HDB will assess their appeals on a case-by-case basis.
Separately, Lee said Build-To-Order (BTO) flats are offered with different attributes, grant amounts and price points to cater not only to the needs of median-income households but also to those earning a lower income, reported The Straits Times.
5) Most Singapore households able to service mortgages despite interest rate hike
Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, noted that household debt in Singapore remained healthy, with the stress test conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) showing that most households are able to continue servicing their mortgages, while a “a relatively small portion may be more constrained”.
The stress tests looked into the debt-repayment ability of households based on income, with financial buffers like savings excluded. Tan shared that scenarios tested included further interest rate hikes as well as a significant loss in income, “even under a 400 basis point increase and a 10% reduction in income”.
“The proportion of non-performing mortgages among financial institution (FI) loans is low, at 0.3%. The number of foreclosures has in fact trended down since 2021, and remained low at fewer than 30 units so far this year. MAS does not expect widespread foreclosures in the near to medium term,” said Tan.
6) How small can three-bedroom condos go?
The sizes of three-bedroom condominiums – typically targeted at families – have been getting smaller, reported The Business Times citing PropertyGuru data.
Lee Nai Jia, Head of Real Estate Intelligence, Data and Software Solutions at PropertyGuru, attributed the decline in size to demand and supply pressures.
And while developers have increased prices, prospective buyers have been “surprisingly receptive” – not minding the loss of area provided the prices meet their budget, he said.
Despite this, Alan Cheong, Savills’ Executive Director of Research and Consultancy, believes three-bedroom condominiums won’t go below 850 sq ft.
“Unlike in Hong Kong, people here are psychologically used to a certain size for a traditionally laid out apartment,” said Cheong, adding that buyers here won’t accept smaller units unless there is a speculative fever or housing shortage.
PropertyGuru’s Dr Lee said market forces will also play a role.
“The pandemic is creating a shift in demand for more space, due to the introduction of work-from-home arrangements,” he pointed out. “However, it remains to be seen whether the increase in demand is permanent.”
7) Luxury home sales unchanged in Q3 2022
Sales for luxury non-landed homes remained stable, with 110 units shifted in the third quarter of 2022, unchanged from the previous quarter, reported Singapore Business Review citing Huttons.
And while the sale volume was unchanged, the total quantum of buyers invested in such homes increased 15.5% quarter-on-quarter to $1 billion, showed Huttons’ Prestige Report Q3 2022.
“There were larger units with higher quantum sold in Q3 2022 compared to Q2 2022,” read the report.
“Buyers were looking for units with large floor plates which are hard to come by and are willing to pay for them.”
Huttons noted that most of the demand came from foreign nationalities from the US, China and Malaysia.
“Interest in the luxury segment of the non-landed market is expected to stay robust in Q4 2022. The high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are using the property as one hedge against inflation,” said Huttons.
“The rising US dollar makes investing in Singapore properties relatively cheaper and will contribute to demand,” it added.
8) Buying leasehold property is more sensible, but freehold property has niche appeal
Land for residential and commercial use in Singapore is typically sold with a 99-year tenure, while some parcels have long leasehold tenure or freehold tenures which start from 929 to 999 years due to historical reasons.
A buyer of a new 99-year leasehold home has about 94 years to collect rent and/or live at the property after considering the time to complete development, compared to an indefinite period for a freehold property.
With this, new freehold homes cost about 10% more than those with a 99-year lease.
“Financially, it may not be sensible to spend more to buy a freehold property,” said The Business Times.
“For an owner-occupier, the savings that come from buying a leasehold home versus a freehold one can translate to servicing a smaller home loan or tying up fewer funds in a non-income generating asset.”
Despite these, families “who focus on stewardship of assets over multi-generations may be keen on freehold assets and pay premiums for such assets, which are increasingly scarce,” noted The Business Times.
“In turbulent times, some may find the draw of possibly owning an asset forever irresistible,” it added.
9) Five-storey office building at 51 Club Street on sale for $120 million
A five-storey corner standalone office building at 51 Club Street has been put up for sale via expression of interest (EOI) with an indicative price of $120 million, revealed exclusive marketing agent CBRE.
This works out to about $4,155 per sq ft (psf) based on a total gross floor area of 28,876 sq ft.
With a leasehold tenure of 999 years, the property was extensively refurbished in 2011 and features office specifications such as “a regular, efficient floorplate, generous floor-to-ceiling height, a passenger lift that serves all floors in the building, and a private parking facility with five lots”.
The building’s 60-metre-wide dual road frontage along Club Street offers highly visible naming and signage opportunities for the new owner or an anchor tenant, said CBRE Singapore’s Executive Director of Capital Markets Clemence Lee.
The EOI exercise for 51 Club Street closes on 22 November 2022.
10) Prime retail rents continue an upward trend in Q3
Prime rents of retail space in Singapore continued on an upward trend, with average island-wide gross rental rising 1.5% quarter-on-quarter to $25.60 per sq ft per month (psf pm), revealed Knight Frank.
This comes as retail spending “continued to be driven by employees returning to the workplace and the burgeoning inflow of tourists”.
In July and August 2022, retail sales rose 17.5% year-on-year to a combined $6.8 billion. Excluding February, monthly retail sales since November last year have been hovering above the average sales level of around $3.2 billion registered during pre-pandemic 2019.
“Stable and healthy growth in tourist arrivals and Singapore seemingly able to return to pre-COVID normalcy point to sustainable recovery for the retail market, and prime retail rents are on course to grow by the earlier projection of 2% to 4% for the whole of 2022,” said Knight Frank.
Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.