SINGAPORE – Last week, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) released private home sales figures that were 165% higher than a year ago.
Earlier on, a Morgan Stanley analyst published a note to clients, predicting that private home prices will rise 10% by end 2018.
And in late July, the last executive condo that launched – Hundred Palms Residences – sold out all 521 units in a single day.
What’s exactly stirring the Singapore market now? Here are 5 things that are making buyers excited currently.
1. Relaxation of some policies
It all started in March 2017 when the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) started to relax some of the property cooling measures – somewhat. The most important of which was the Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD), which was reduced from a holding period of 4 years to that of 3 years, and from a maximum of 16% to a maximum of 12%. Some property buyers see this as the start of an unwinding of a series of property cooling measures enacted since 2008, although MAS emphasised that it is not.
2. Record land bids as developers’ land bank dries up
Then in May this year, a 99-year leasehold government land at Stirling Road drew a record bid of S$1.003 billion from China-based developers Logan Property and Nanshan Group. With foreign developers joining in the fray and with more developers than available plots of land from the government land sales (GLS) program, it’s no wonder that land bids are going through the roof. To property buyers, it is inconceivable that property prices will drop much further due to such bullish land bids.
3. En bloc fever driving up buyer demand
En bloc fever is back this year as developers seek to replenish their land stock, with the latest being Tampines Court in a $970 million en bloc sale, the biggest in 10 years. Not only does this cause huge excitement in the buyers’ market, but these en bloc sales also displace thousands of families who now need to seek new homes with their newfound million-dollar wealth.
4. Upward revision to GDP growth
Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Singapore is also looking better this year, with the MAS narrowing its projection upwards from 1-3% to 2-3%. Analysts now expect GDP for this year to be around 2.5%, outperforming last year’s.
5. Singapore property market lagging behind
Singapore’s private home prices have fallen for the past 15 consecutive quarters, while many other regional real estate markets have surged ahead. Hong Kong property prices have risen 21% in the first half of this year alone, while markets like Shanghai and Melbourne have reached new highs. This makes property in Singapore an attractive bargain.
Due to these reasons, Singapore buyers are expecting prices to start rising in the near future again, causing some “panic buying” in the market. If that happens, buyers expect cooling measures like ABSD to remain. Hence, many of the buyers are no longer waiting for these measures to be removed as the bullish market makes it unlikely at the moment.