Residential investment sales plunged in Q3

Investment sales for residential property in Singapore have fallen 30.8 per cent in a single quarter, with analysts attributing the dive to the slew of cooling measures introduced by the Government in August.

According to a report issued yesterday by property consultancy Colliers International, the third quarter saw a total value of $3.74 billion in residential investment sales, well below the $5.4 billion recorded in the previous quarter.

This was mainly due to lower prices submitted by developers in tenders for state residential land sites, analysts said. Compared to the second quarter’s $1.85 billion, third-quarter figures for state land sales came in at $897.08 million or a 51.5-per-cent drop, according to the report.

The policy measures, coupled with the ample land supply through the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme, have “resulted in developers’ cautiously optimistic stance in state land tenders that closed in September”, observed Ms Tay Huey Ying, director of research and advisory at Colliers International and author of the report.

Ms Tay noted that only four to nine parties typically bid for any land site in the third quarter, compared to between 10 and 18 in the second quarter.

Mr Eugene Lim, associate director of ERA Asia Pacific, believes the focus on public housing and mass market housing had contributed to the fall in residential investment sales.

“The types of land that are being launched are not for high-end residential properties. More land sites for executive condominiums (ECs) and mass market housing have gone on sale in the quarter,” he said.

“The value of tenders is also not that high because the land sites are not in prime locations,” he noted.

Among the measures announced in August was the reduction of the loan-to-value ratio from 80 to 70 per cent for buyers with one or more outstanding mortgage loans at the time of their new purchase. The measures seem to have taken effect, as the number of homes sold last month numbered only 911 units. This is a drop from 1,259 units in August and the peak of 1,553 units in July.

Market watchers foresee property prices dipping 3 to 5 per cent by year-end and they expect this trend to continue into next year.

And they forecast more property launches by the end of this year as developers try to offload inventory before the downtrend deepens.

“Developers who have bought land from GLS in the last few months will want to rush out their launches in the last quarter. However, monthly sales will be slow and my estimate is around 500 to 600 units,” said KPC Properties managing director Koh Poh Chew.

Source : Today – 22 Oct 2010

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