Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

March 31, 2008

Home prices surpass 1996 levels

Filed under: General — Propertymarketupdates @ 3:28 am

Even if the US sub-prime problem drags on, mid and mass market homes would still see price increases this year, says HAN HUAN MEI

RESIDENTIAL property prices in Singapore saw phenomenal growth in 2006-7. Robust economic growth of about 7-8 per cent in the past three years, a growing number of millionaires and anticipated spinoffs from the integrated resorts ignited the high-end segment before finally filtering down to the mid and mass markets in the second quarter of 2007.

By the end of 2007, prices in dollar terms had surpassed the levels in 1996, although the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) private residential price index had yet to hit the peak of 181.4 points achieved in Q2 1996. This is especially the case for new projects. For example, units in luxury projects like Cliveden at Grange, Hilltops and The Orchard Residences were selling at above $3,500 per sq ft compared with those in Ardmore Park, which were selling above $1,800 psf in 1996.

In the mid-tier segment, units in projects like Aalto, Jardin and Zenith were selling above $1,600 psf in 2007, compared to 1 King Albert Park and Trellis Tower, which were sold at $900-$1,100 psf in 1996. As for mass market projects, 2007 saw units in projects like Fontaine Parry, Hillvista and Oasis Garden being sold at $850-$1,000 psf while in 1996, units in Hazel Park, Ballota Park and Sherwood Condominium were sold at $680 psf-$850 psf.

In the last two years, the URA price index showed that prices of landed homes rose by 32 per cent while those of non-landed homes (apartments and condominiums) rose by 47 per cent. Furthermore, within the non-landed segment, prices of uncompleted homes (mostly new launches and developers’ sales) grew by 53 per cent whereas those of completed homes (existing stock, resale transactions) rose 45 per cent.

Based on URA price indices by region for uncompleted non-landed properties, the Core Central Region (CCR, districts 9, 10, 11 and Downtown Core and Sentosa) took the lead with a 67 per cent growth followed by the Rest of Central Region (RCR, Central Region outside the core region) with a 41 per cent growth and the Outside Central Region (OCR), with a 35 per cent growth.

For non-landed homes in the resale market, the price increase was 45 per cent over the last two years, driven mostly by transactions in the CCR. Prices there rose by 43 per cent, followed by 31 per cent for those in the RCR and 28 per cent for those in the OCR.

A comparison of median prices in Q4 2007 showed an interesting geographical shift across the island from Q4 2006. For simplicity, we have confined our analysis to non-landed homes.

For the new homes sold as at Q4 2006, the highest price band was $1,500-$2,000 psf for properties in districts 1, 2 and 4. Examples of new projects in these districts in 2006 would include Marina Bay Residences, Lumiere, and The Coast and The Oceanfront at Sentosa Cove.

Properties in the lowest band – below $700 psf – were found in districts 5, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 22, 23, 6 and 27. Examples of new launches at that time included Ferraria Park, One St Michael’s, The Infiniti, The Quartz and The Stellar. Most of these are 99-year leasehold projects catering to the mass market. However, by Q4 2007, the highest price band moved up to over $3,000 psf for properties in districts 9 and 10 for projects like 8 Napier, Cliveden At Grange, Scotts Square and The Orchard Residences. Similarly, the lowest band was raised to $700 psf to $1,000 psf for projects in districts 3, 5, 8, 12, 13, 17, 19 and 22, reflective of prices of Casa Fortuna, Fontaine Parry, Oasis Garden and The Lakeshore.

As for properties in the popular East Coast area, their prices have moved up from $700-$1,000 psf to $1,000-$1,500 psf for district 15. In district 16, they moved from below $700 psf to $700-$1,000 psf over the same period.

In the resale market, there was a lag in price growth because this sector involved basically older properties which lacked the aesthetic appeal and quality of new properties. As at Q4 2006, among the properties that were sold, only those in district 9 made it to the top of the range for the price band of $1,000-$1,500 psf. These included properties like Aspen Heights, Cairnhill Crest, The Claymore and The Pier At Robertson. However, a year on, the price band moved up to $1,500-$2,000 psf. Transactions in district 10 joined this category, involving units in Ardmore Park, Draycott Eight and The Tessarina.

With the exception of districts 4, 9, 10 and 11, resale transactions in the rest of the island were largely below $700 psf in Q4 2006, the price band for mass market properties. Similarly, in Q4 2007, property prices in the more popular districts (1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 15, 16 and 21) moved up to the $700-$1,000 psf price band.

Notably, prices of properties in districts 1 and 3 as well as 11 moved up to the $1,000-$1,500 psf band in Q4 2007 from previous price bands of below $700 psf and $700-$1,000 psf respectively.

Last year ended on a cautious note as the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US had a somewhat negative effect on global financial markets and the economy. Most home buyers have been infected by the current mood and have turned cautious. Should the US enter a mild recession in the first six months of 2008 and the sub-prime problems clear up so that sentiment improves after June this year, the private residential market should continue where it left off in the third quarter of 2007.

Luxury prices would remain firm, mid-market homes would be expected to rise by 5 to 10 per cent while mass market home prices could grow by 10 to 15 per cent in 2008, once the situation becomes more positive.

In the worst case scenario, where the US sub-prime problem drags on to the end of the year and beyond, prices of luxury properties may ease marginally, while mid- and mass market homes would still see price increases, albeit at one to 2 per cent and 3 to 5 per cent respectively.

Han Huan Mei is an associate director, CBRE Research, CB Richard Ellis.

Source : Business Times – 27 Mar 2008


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