New Condo Launch Singapore – Luxury Condo Sales & Review
Foreigners and Affluent Locals Are Keeping Singapore’ Luxury Segment of the Property Market Vibrant, Hitting Over 4,000 Psf This Year
The apparent housing boom that began last year, particularly in the last quarter of 2017, has solidified. Not only are developers having it easy selling their stocks of completed units, they are also selling them at relatively attractive rates.
Rates for the mass market have stabilized at between S$1,000 and S$1,200 per sq ft (psf), while those of luxury units have hit, and sometimes exceeded, the S$2,500 psf mark. Luxury units are generally 1,500 sq ft in size at the minimum.
After the introduction of ABSD back in 2011 when the political climate rendered such measures or similar ones inevitable, the housing market cooled down a bit, and with determination to hasten stability in the economy, the government revised the ABSD in 2013, adding even more stringent measures.
The measures clearly worked as anticipated, considering that the four years that followed only saw a tepid growth of the real estate market.
That trend has now come to a halt, and people in Singapore, both locals and foreigners, are buying residential units as if the ABSD and associated taxes are not of much consequence.
Mid last year when the success of collective sales began to draw attention, analysts thought it was probably a temporal wind of excitement for properties in specific areas.
Others thought the reality that ordinary home owners could turn overnight millionaires had a role to play in the number of residential properties being offered for sale, and soon there would be a scarcity of such middle-class home owners willing to sell their old condos at fair prices.
In fact, it was feared that developers would realize at the beginning of 2018 that the market had become saturated with completed houses and others under construction that they would stop acquiring more sites for redevelopment.
Surprisingly, the prediction has not come to be, and instead, developers seem more optimistic than ever about the continuing vibrancy of the property market.
Singapore’s cooling measures, which many developers wished were lifted in the four years the property market was dull, are still largely intact, and if anything, they have been enhanced.
In the 2018 budget, for example, the Minister of Finance introduced a 4% hike on buyer’s stamp duty, for any properties bought beginning Feb 20, 2018 whose price exceeded a million Singaporean dollars.
This goes to show how confident the government is about the state of the property market, believing activity is not too high as to cause unnecessary inflation, and not too low as to lead to apathy among developers that might dampen the rest of the economy.
As a whole, Singapore’s property market has been positive, not only with developers accumulating land for future development, but with consumers willing to part with unusually high sums of money to acquire new homes.
In fact, prime areas are no longer confined to the three districts – 9, 10 and 11 – but in the last decade and a half, they have gradually increased to include Districts 1 and 2 within the city centre, as well as District 4’s cluster of properties in Sentosa and the neighbourhood.
It even appears like District 15, especially the Amber/Marine Parade area, is soon going to join the list of prime districts.
As from 2016, there has been notable interest in luxury homes within the areas of Districts 1, 2, 4, 9, 10 and 11, but that has been in line with the rest of the property market.
It seems that was how the upward price trend was ignited, with volumes of home purchases rising and accumulated inventory being getting depleted.
Inevitably, property prices had to rise, and as 2017 progressed, there was real need among developers to replenish their land banks.
Home Buyers willing to pay high price for their Dream Property
As at now and in the near future, the economy is not threatened by continued buying of properties by developers. Brokers continue to report quicker property sales, meaning the market is ready for new launches.
In this regard, it seems it is not just the diminishing of property stocks in the luxury category that is causing a general price hike in the market.
Owners of new developments are also being clever in the timing of their launches, and in some cases, there are other favourable conditions of sale that are helping.
As examples, one only needs to look at how fast the luxurious housing units at Twin Peaks, The Nassim, Ardmore 3, Gramercy Park and Hilltops have been selling.
The speed has, definitely, been aided by the arrangement of deferred payments, and also mechanisms for rental guarantee. With risks sizeably reduced, buyers are prepared to commit to such pricey developments.
Gramercy Park, developed by City Developments, has led in unit price, with one of its properties fetching S$24.5 million or the equivalent of S$3,362 psf.
The property leading in price per square foot (psf) comes from Le Nouvel Ardmore, which is within Ardmore Park, having fetched S$15.66 million that resulted in a land rate of S$4,098 psf.
In January 2018, when City Developments launched the sale of their new luxury property, New Futura, 18 out of the 25 released were scooped in a single day, their prices resulting in an average land rate of S$3,200 psf.
Nassim has also had a highly priced unit this year at S$19.6 million, which resulted to its land rate being S$2,776 psf.
Even in absolute figures Nouvel Ardmore has not been left behind.
Back in 2015, a buyer bought its only penthouse at a staggering figure of S$51 million. In fact, several of its units have found buyers, and last year the prices of those at Ardmore.
Three resulted to high land rates, one of them reaching S$4,439 psf. Last year, a housing unit at Nassim went for a whopping S$25.6 million.
Le Nouvel Ardmore Still Holding One of the Highest Record Sale – S$4,098 psf
The allure of Singapore Luxury Properties to foreigners is not new. Indonesians, for example, have always liked the country for the quality of its healthcare facilities, as well as its great investment opportunities.
Even when in 2016 Indonesia tried to lure its citizens back home together with their investments by offering tax amnesty, the impact on prices of Singapore’s luxury properties appears to have been marginal. Does that mean Indonesians did not take advantage of the amnesty programme?
In reality, there has been a balancing act helping to keep prices of luxury properties stable in Singapore. Whereas the number of Indonesians may have dropped, the number of Chinese investing and settling in Singapore has been on the rise.
In fact, the number of Chinese buying prime properties has surpassed that of Indonesians.
Another prominent category of foreigners making its mark in Singapore’s luxury property market are the Indians, mostly investing in prime districts 9 and 11.
In 2017, non-Singaporeans who bought real estate properties constituted 23.5% on the overall, yet that figure was higher when it came to their investment in prime areas of the country, standing at 30.3%.
In fact, if the categorization of luxury properties were to be given a minimum cut-off of S$2,500 psf, the percentage of non-Singaporeans buying luxury properties will even be higher.
Despite the enthusiasm developers have shown as from 2017 in replenishing their land banks, supply of inventory is still limited.
Demand by foreigners continues to soar, and this is not only because of the reasons traditionally known, including Singapore’s good governance, political stability, high levels of security in urban areas and great financial and investment systems.
One cannot ignore the high quality of luxury condos on offer in the CCR, which makes the quoted prices relatively reasonable.
Of course, it is not lost on home buyers that other preferred major world cities like Hong Kong, London and Sydney have also raised their cost of acquiring property, including introducing or escalating stamp duties.
Needless to say, such moves serve to neutralize the disadvantage foreigners initially saw in Singapore’s property market when ABSD was first introduced. In short, even with the high pricing of luxury properties in Singapore’s CCR and other regions, the prices are still attractive compared to the closest best alternative cities.
In any case, it is clear affluent home owners are more concerned about quality, and they are prepared to pay high property prices for value.
It is anticipated that demand for freehold properties within Singapore’s CCR will continue, including luxurious ones selling at S$10 million and above.
This is because there is an increase in the number of Singaporeans with a high net-worth, and others are already millionaires, in which case affordability of high cost homes will not be an issue.
As such, demand for properties in prime areas of the country is bound to keep rising.
At the same time, Singapore has retained its position as a preferred destination for affluent foreigners.
The price tag for its luxury homes is still more attractive than the visitors would find in other decent cities elsewhere in the world.
Moreover, the economic climate in Singapore is favourable even for a working expatriate, and as such it is tempting for foreigners to buy homes in the country as they continue working.