Better value for older homes

While the local property market plunged in late 2008 along with the global economy, home values have since bounced back to its normal level. Since the second quarter of this year, a larger number of interested home buyers have lined up outside the showrooms of new condominium launches.

Property developers have responded quickly by pushing their launches to attract potential home buyers despite the high-prices. Houses in the heartlands are being sold higher than those in prime districts 9, 10 and 11. The 99-year leasehold Centro Residences at Ang Mo Kio was sold quickly at a starting price of $1,150 per square foot (psf).

“We have been seeing a bottom-up recovery in Singapore’s property market since February. Buying was initially driven by HDB upgraders who benefited from resilient HDB prices and price-cutting by developers. Subsequently, buying spilled over to the mid-end segment, with local and foreign investors returning to the market,” said Foo Sze Ming, an investment analyst from OCBC Investment Research.

The improvement in the property market was fuelled by the increased demand from home buyers who postponed their purchases last year, the recovery of the economy, high consumer liquidity, low interest rates and the possible en-bloc sellers who cashed out two years ago.

While the fast recovery of the property market must be applauded, home prices have driven up too quickly to a level that experts agree is unsustainable. CB Richard Ellis’ analysis showed that the price quantum of non-landed homes between Q1 and Q2 this year have increased by 28 percent. Between Q2 and Q3, prices escalated 11 percent from $825,000 to $916,000 for apartments ranging from 400 square feet to 700 square feet.

“In the first quarter, most of the new freehold homes sold were shoebox-sized units in mid- to high-end projects like 
Alexis, Newton Edge, Parc Sophia, RV Suites and The Mercury at a median price of $1,000 psf to $1,200 psf. In the second quarter, a significant proportion were larger family-sized suburban projects like I Residences, The Arte and Versilia On Haig, which reflected a median price of $830 psf to $925 psf,” explained Joseph Tan, executive director of CB Richard Ellis.

The buying pattern for the property market shows that recession fears are over. The latest figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) indicates a total of 2,767 sold private houses in July, showing a 52 percent jump from 1,826 units in June.

By the end of September, Viva sold 203 units at $1,537psf, Volari @ Balmoral sold 82 units at $2,059 psf and Sophia Residences sold 210 units at $1,590 psf. As developers push their prices, the resistance from home buyers sets in. “There appears to be a small upward trend. While the number of transactions declined, those that went through achieved slightly higher prices,” said Colin Tan, the international director for research consultancy firm Chesterton Suntec.

Source : PropertyGuru – 16 Nov 2009

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