S’poreans ranked among top luxury home buyers abroad

Three Asian nationalities led by Singapore have made it to the top 10 list of luxury home buyers abroad, according to the Wealth Report 2012 by Knight Frank and Citibank.

Singaporeans, along with buyers from China and Hong Kong were listed as the top purchasers of luxury property, while Indonesia, Malaysia and India were among the nations of growing importance. Vietnam and the Philippines were ranked as the economies to watch.

Over the next five years, Latin American, Russian, Middle Eastern, Chinese and other nationalities from emerging economies are expected to become prime property buyers, the report noted.

Moreover, governance was found to be the main problem for most emerging countries, forcing high-net-worth individuals with more than S$100 million to relocate to other destinations.

“The newly enriched become aware of the potential impacts of corruption and arbitrary rule changes on their ability to plan for inter-generational wealth transfers. In extreme cases, as wealth steadily increases, so too do the perceived risks from falling out of political favour,” added the report.
Source: PropertyGuru, 17 Aug 2012

Is Singapore property market hot or cold?

Two weeks ago, a front page news report in a business daily blasted the commonly held notion that Singapore’s private housing market is red hot, at least where developer sales are concerned.

The report – drawing on a study by Savills – said that compared to 2007, the market actually underperformed last year, even as home sales in terms of total units sold were higher. It said the market would most probably do the same this year.

Developers sold 13,910 units last year, 19.4 per cent higher than the 11,647 units in 2007. Judging from the pace of sales for the first half of this year, the final numbers for this year could add up to as many as 15,824 units, which will be an astounding 35.8 per cent higher.

But it said this simple analysis belied the fact that significantly more of the units sold in recent years were much smaller apartments located mainly in the suburban areas. In 2007, the majority of apartments sold were comparatively much bigger and most were located in the central areas.

In terms of total floor area sold and the average dollar per square foot achieved, the 13.43 million sq ft in developer sales last year was about 19.2 per cent lower than the 16.62 million sq ft sold in 2007.

In terms of the dollar average per square foot achieved, properties sold in 2007 averaged S$1,368, compared to S$1,257 last year and S$1,179 for the first half of this year.

In terms of total worth, the dollar value of the units sold last year stood at S$16.9 billion. Based on the first-half performance, the annualised figure for this year could go up to S$16.3 billion. Both figures are much lower than 2007′s S$22.7 billion.

Just from these figures, it does seem that the market is not as red-hot as we thought it was. This is important because if the market is not hot, then by implication, no more cooling measures are necessary.

More developer sales do not necessarily mean it is getting easier to sell, as there is considerably more supply now, resulting in falling market shares of individual developers. In fact, the reverse – harder to sell – may hold true.

Every new project launch takes the attention away from older ones so much so that it has become the norm for developers to refresh their launches with events – such as art appreciation talks or cooking lessons by renowned chefs – to tempt potential buyers to visit their show flats.

My suspicion is that most people are not going to be easily swayed, simply because they cannot afford private homes at current price levels, even if market conditions may be actually cooler than in 2007. For them, the market is simply less hot, but hot nevertheless.

Usually, price is the yardstick by which most judge whether the market is hot or not. If so, the market has cooled somewhat compared to 2007. For the past year and a half, prices can be considered relatively stable.

Can we ignore sales volume? In most cases, yes, but not when it is threatening to breach record levels.

Indeed, on Wednesday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said that new private home sales rebounded 42 per cent from June to 1,943 units in July, boosted by demand for condominiums in the suburbs.

So far, the analysis has been confined to the primary market. The secondary or resale market for completed properties used to be twice as big just a few years back but has since shrunk considerably as many switch to new launches.

Another yardstick to determine whether a market is hot or not is the actual money flow into the housing sector. Although many are not aware that the worth of properties bought in 2007 is probably the highest ever, just as many do not realise that possibly less money could have been used to buy high-valued properties in 2007 than last year or this year.

Most of the deals in 2007 were probably closed under the deferred payment scheme: Just a 20-per-cent deposit allowed a buyer to buy a property worth five times more.

Today, after five rounds of cooling measures, up to a 40-per-cent deposit for local investors with more than one outstanding mortgage is needed to buy a property of the same value. Lest we forget, there is also the additional buyer’s stamp duty.

In fact, the money flows from properties bought in 2007 could have started to flow into the market only three to four years later, namely in 2010, last year and possibly this year.

So, whether the private housing market is hot, less hot or cool really depends on the yardstick you choose.

By Colin Tan – Head of Research & Consultancy at Chesterton Suntec International

Source : Today – 17 Aug 2012

eCO at Bedok by Far East Organisation

eCO – a new development located along the raintree-lined Bedok South Avenue 3 and nestled within an established private residential estate offers five residential lifestyles – SOHO, Suite, Loft, Condominium and Townhouse, all within one gated community.

Community in a Garden

eCO is conceived “in harmony with nature” where garden spaces are tastefully landscaped to create a realm of tranquillity and comfort. World renowned DP Architects has seamlessly integrated nature into the development design, whilst Ken Yeang, who is best known for advancing green design, sought inspiration from nature’s harmonious bounties and designed ecological features for the project. Rich tropical landscape, majestic rain trees, lush gardens and leisure spaces will form the backdrop where the community will learn and grow together.

Raintrees and Sea Apple Trees have been preserved as part of living in harmony with nature. Approximately twenty to thirty years old, these trees have been part of the environment and will continue to play a part in the eCO landscape.

Ease of Accessibility

eCO is well connected to major arterial roads and expressways such as East Coast Parkway (ECP) and Pan Island Expressway (PIE). Residents will also enjoy the convenience of public transportation system to other parts of Singapore via the Tanah Merah MRT Interchange station which is only a 5-minute walk away.

Proximity to a Wide Array of Amenities

Residents will enjoy a wide range of shopping, dining and entertainment options at the nearby East Coast Seafood Centre, Bedok and Simei Town Centres. Outdoor recreation facilities can also be found at the nearby Bedok Reservoir Park, East Coast Park and Laguna National Golf and Country Club. eCO is an ideal home for families with school-going children. Reputable academic institutions such as St. Anthony’s Canossian Primary School, Anglican High School and Temasek Junior College are within a 2km radius. It is also close to the Changi Business Park and Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Location: Bedok South Avenue 3 (District 16)
Tenure: 99 years leasehold w.e.f 14 May 2012
Expected Completion: TBC
Site Area: approx 308,300 sqft
Total Units: 742

Unit Types:
2 bedroom ~ 937 – 1153 sqft
3 bedroom (compact) ~ 1096 – 1377 sqft
3 bedroom ~ 1164 – 1348 sqft
3 bedroom loft ~ 1536 – 2088 sqft
4 bedroom loft (compact) ~ 2127 – 2162 sqft
1 bedroom ~ 558 – 708 sqft
2 bedroom (compact) ~ 594 – 792 sqft
2 bedroom loft (compact) ~ 986 sqft
2 bedroom loft ~ 898 – 986 sqft
3 bedroom loft (compact) ~ 1083 sqft
2 bedroom (compact) ~ 553 – 773 sqft
3 bedroom (compact) ~ 873 – 1009 sqft
4 bedroom ~ 3352 – 3407 sqft

Register your interest for eCO now!

Demand for private homes rebounds in July

SINGAPORE: Demand for private residential properties in Singapore rebounded in July, according to data released by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Figures showed that excluding Executive Condominiums (ECs), sales of private properties rose to 1,943 units last month, up nearly 42 per cent from June.

Three out of the top four best selling projects were located in the suburban areas.

They were Parc Centros in Punggol which sold 492 units last month, Parc Olympia located in Loyang (204 units) and River Isles in Punggol (86 units).

Meanwhile, V on Shenton, located in the core central region, was the third best selling development with 144 units sold in July.

Sales rose across the board in July, with the core central region seeing the steepest increase, with 253 units of new homes sold in the central area, up by 79 per cent on-month.

Analysts say this is driven by the narrowing gap between prices of city homes and mass market projects.

HSR’s special advisor, Donald Han, said: “Smart money is beginning to slowly trickle back to the core central region area which is where some developers are taking the opportunity to start launching projects. Primarily, we are looking at projects ranging from S$2,000 per square foot (psf) and beyond, and that is starting to bite.”

Propnex’s chief executive officer, Mohamed Ismail, said: “When one compares with the mass market near the MRT which is going at S$1,300 to S$1,400 psf, a core central region at S$2,000 psf is an irresistible offer.”

Meanwhile, sales of new units at the city fringe rose 52 per cent on-month to 181 units in July. The mass market segment moved 1,509 units last month, up 36 per cent compared to June.

Based on the transactions in July, analysts say many of the top sellers are priced modestly and this reflects growing resistance to further price increase.

For instance, the median price at Parc Centros was S$924 psf and S$874 psf at Parc Olympia.

Over 11,900 new homes have been sold in the first half of the year, but analysts expect sales to slow in the second half, partly due to the upcoming Hungry Ghost Festival and the year-end festive period.

For the full year, analysts expect new home sales to come in at between 20,000 units and 21,000 units.”

Developers placed 1,767 units of new private homes for sale in July, compared to June where 1,303 units were launched.

Including ECs, URA said a total of 2,067 units of new homes have been sold in July.

Between January and July 2012, a total of 13,871 new private homes and 2,550 ECs have been sold.

Source: Channel News Asia, 15 Aug 2012

New MRT line in east by 2020 – will have 10 stops

THE new Eastern Region Line (ERL) will have 10 stations and pass through estates such as Marine Parade, Tanjong Rhu, Siglap, Bedok South and Upper East Coast. Slated to open by 2020, it will be 13km long, fully underground, and use driverless four-car trains. Its stations will link to the city centre and to the upcoming Thomson Line which will also use a four-car train. The older North-South and East-West lines use six-car trains. The ERL, which will run almost parallel to the existing East-West Line, was first announced in the LTA’s 2008 Masterplan. Together with the Thomson Line, scheduled to open in 2018 to connect northern Singapore to the Marina Bay area, the new lines are meant to alleviate congestion on existing MRT lines, but little information about the ERL has emerged since. The documents also included mention of an “integrated” interchange station linking the new ERL with an extension of an existing MRT line – though it did not specify which existing line this was. It also did not give further details about the new interchange station. Source: The Straits Times – 14 August 2012

Two launches planned despite Hungry Ghost Festival

TWO launches are on the cards over the next few weeks despite the traditionally inauspicious Hungry Ghost Festival starting on Friday.
Developers have tended to shy away from launching in the Chinese seventh month but there are increasing signs that superstition is taking a back seat when sales are in the offing.
Marketing agents say the 752-unit eCO project in Bedok South Avenue 3 is expected to launch early next month.
Units are likely to be priced from $1,150 per sq ft (psf) to $1,300 psf, meaning a typical 1,166 sq ft three-bedder will be about $1.4 million.
The 99-year leasehold project, jointly developed by Far East Organization, Frasers Centrepoint and Sekisui House, will feature various units, including suites, small office, home office (Soho) apartments and townhouses.
The freehold mixed development One Dusun Residences at Jalan Dusun in Balestier is also readying for launch.
It consists of 154 Soho apartments – largely two-bedders or two-plus-study units – and 76 shop units. Marketing materials suggest its preview will be at the end of this month.
Two-bedroom units – from 452 sq ft to 786 sq ft – are estimated to cost more than $600,000 while buyers of commercial units will have to stump up between $700,000 and $1.3 million.
Some experts say that the habit of developers avoiding new launches in the seventh month could be less common now as the younger generation of home buyers might be less superstitious.
However, ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim said most developers still avoid the seventh month for launches.
“Developers might do the ground work by gathering buyer interest and holding the preview during that time but the main launch is often after the seventh month,” he added.
He noted that at least three executive condominium projects – in Punggol, Sengkang and Woodlands – with a total of more than 1,700 units are expected to be pushed out in the fourth quarter.
Source: The Straits Times – 14 August 2012

Singapore the world’s 5th most important city for super-rich

Singapore has been ranked fifth amongst the most important global and regional cities for consumers with a net worth of more than US$100 million (S$124.49 million).

This according to the Wealth Report 2012, a joint study by Knight Frank and Citibank, which polled high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) from around the world to rank the cities and identify the areas with the fastest growth.

Respondents were also asked to rank cities based on quality of life, economic activity, political power as well as knowledge and influence.

London clinched top spot as the most important global city, followed by New York, Hong Kong, Paris and Singapore.

Over a 10-year period, respondents ranked London, New York, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore as the top five cities.

However, HNWIs placed Beijing at the top of the ‘fastest growing in importance’ category, followed by Shanghai, London, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Source: PropertyGuru, 14 Aug 2012

The Marq is 6th most expensive globally

By Zeinab Yusuf Saiwalla

Singapore – The Republic’s most expensive residential real estate, The Marq on Paterson Hill, was ranked sixth in a global comparison of record transactions in the top 10 “world class” cities, according to a recent study by international real estate adviser Savills.

No previous-year data was available as this was the first time Singapore was included in the rankings.

With a hefty price tag of £3,400 (S$6,606) per square foot, the luxury residence designed by French label Hermès hit the headlines when the transaction was made in 2011.

All the spacious 6,200 sq ft apartments at the Signature Tower at The Marq, developed by SC Global Developments, feature a carefully curated combination of Hermès furniture, furnishing fabrics, wallpapers, carpets, tableware, along with made-to-order leather upholstered items and a choice of artworks.

It is no wonder then, that it made it to the league of the most expensive homes in top world cities.

The league table shows the top three “world class” cities closely grouped with records set at over £8,000 psf.

London’s Kensington Garden Palace continued to hold top spot for the fourth year, after setting a record-breaking price of £8,500 psf for a home in 2008.

Following closely behind was the transaction for a house in Hong Kong’s Deep Water Bay Road, which sold at £8,400 psf and an apartment in New York’s 15 Central Park West which fetched a price of £8,300 psf. Both were transacted in 2011.

“Seven out of 10 of the record transactions were undertaken within the last two years and six out of the 10 properties were new builds. The fact that these prices have been achieved during the global residential market’s most turbulent times illustrates the autonomy with which the billionaire market operates, fuelling the very top of the market,” said Yolande Barnes, director of Savills global research.
Source: Business Times, 13 Aug 2012

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