More properties up for auction but sales value down

More properties were auctioned in the first half of the year but the sales value was down markedly on the same period last year due to the lack of big-ticket landed units.

Transaction value came in at about $39.6 million, a fall of 11.2 per cent compared with the same six months last year, a Knight Frank report showed.

It noted that demand for large quantum properties remained patchy due to the additional buyer’s stamp duty, with bidders only willing to pay more if the property had attractive attributes.

At least the auctioneers were busy, with 449 properties put up for sale in the six months to June 30, up 23.4 per cent from last year.

Ms Sharon Lee, Knight Frank’s senior director and head of auctions, said: “Despite the latest cooling measures, buyers are still attracted to projects at choice locations that are priced reasonably.”

Residential property dominated the auction listings and included 157 for mortgagee sales listings, down a touch on the 159 in the second half of last year.

Knight Frank said the pipeline of mortgagee listings has stabilised as some distressed owners were able to dispose of their properties before foreclosure.

The number of prime residential homes going under the hammer in the first half remained subdued, possibly because the wealth of collective sales and the increased interest from foreigners meant there was less need to put them up for auction.

One residential location that saw a significant rise in interest was District 17, which covers the areas of Loyang and Changi.

There had been little activity in the area previously, but the first half saw 23 residential auction listings, the most since 2011. Knight Frank noted that nearly half of these were mortgagee sales.

The average price of residential units sold at auction across the island dropped to under $2 million, from $2.9 million in the first half of last year. There were no big-ticket items and fewer landed homes were sold.

Retail properties were also put up for auction in the first half. Knight Frank said the slower leasing market has hit strata-titled owners and some may be under pressure to sell.

There were 41 industrial listings under mortgagee sales, the highest since Knight Frank started tracking the data in 2011.

It expects more residential properties to be listed for auction this year as the recent cooling measures could make it more difficult for homeowners to sell.

Sellers who need to offload a property urgently are likely to take the auction route.

The number of mortgagee listings is expected to stay stable despite higher interest rates as the increases have been gradual and there is some improvement in the rental market.

However, the cooling measures are likely to make buyers even more price-sensitive.

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