Hundred Palms Residences – New kid on the block?

Given that there is very little new property launches coming up this year, we are now expecting the latest executive condominium, Hundred Palms Residences to open up for sale later this year. This is a new executive condominium at Yio Chu Kang Road and is slated to be popular even before the sales have begun!

Just in case you’re new to the housing market in Singapore, Executive Condominiums (ECs) are a form of hybrid public housing with the HDB rules regulations in place for the initial purchasers and that these HDB restrictions will be completely lifted 10 years after an EC project has been completed.

Parc Life Executive Condominium at Sembawang

According to information by property agents, this new Hundred Palms condominium will open for sale in June and is said to be in hot demand because of its location and proximity to the popular Rosyth School (many families in Singapore love to send their children to these top schools). As a matter of fact confirmed by the developer, more than 70 percent of the Hundred Palms Residences residential development are units of 3-bedroom types and above. In additional, they have also catered the top range of four and five bedroom for keen homeowners. This serene and quiet location Yio Chu Kang of Hundred Palms EC helps to elevate the response of Hundred Palms Executive Condominium.

What is so special about Executive Condominiums this year??

Unlike its private residential condominiums, the supply of ECs is very limited, and the only source of new EC sites is from the Government under their Government Land Sales Programme (GLS). There has been no new parcels that are released for Executive Condominiums (even on the confirmed list in the past two GLS exercises). Bearing in mind the 15-month waiting period from acquiring the site and market launch of the project that developers have to adhere to, ECs will be in short supply in 2017 and 2018. Only three new EC projects are expected to be launched this year, compared to five last year.

Should you rent or buy a property in Singapore?

A lot of us tend to think that purchase a property is always more advantageous than leasing one in the long run because servicing the monthly mortgage is similar to paying the monthly rent. This ideology of buying a property in Singapore is common because home ownership is always the preferred choice.

However, the huge jump in property prices in Singapore over the last decade is now affecting the affordability of many people when it comes to purchasing one. Since the introduction of the property measures back in 2014, the government has managed to contain the property prices and it has to so call stabilise the property prices ever since. The rental market particularly, has witness a more than significant reduction in the rates and volume, compared to the property prices. Based on the statistics given by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), rental rates has declined over 4 percent in 2016, compared to the drop in the residential non-landed private property which was only 2.6 percent. This has got many of us thinking that there are many rental deals to pick up in the market right now, but is this true? Let us have a quick look.

Seaside Residences (Upcoming at Siglap)

We will take a actual scenario right now in the private residential property market and see if it is better to buy or rent the same property in Singapore. Let us use the Sturdee Residences and its vicinity projects for reference, we will use City Square Residences, both of which are within walking distance to Farrer Park MRT. See Sturdee Residences Floor Plans

Projection on Rental

Units at City Square Residences are currently commanding at an reasonable four dollars per square foot on a monthly basis, this would mean that for an average size of a two bedroom unit, it would roughly cost around $3,230 for rental per month. Taking into consideration that the rental increment on average is annualised at 3.5 percent over the next four years. The total rent amount to be paid is over $160,000 Singapore dollars.

Tenancy Monthly Rent Annual Rent Increase Total Annual Rent
Year 1 $3,230 $38,760
Year 2 $3,327 3 percent $39,924
Year 3 $3,427 3 percent $41,124
Year 4 $3,530 3 percent $42,360
Total rent over 4 years $162,168

Projection on Buying a Property

On the basis of the recent transactions with the same development, a similar unit was sold at over $1,500,000 Singapore Dollars. Let us assume that the property purchaser is able to a mortgage loan with a thirty year tenure with the loan amount of $1,200,000 Singapore Dollars.

The upfront costs would include a downpayment of $300,000, and a buyer’s stamp duty (BSD) of $39,600. This works out to a total of $339,600. Of course, a huge amount of the money that goes to buying property is the cost of borrowing. While this can be hard to predict, we have done a simulation based on two different interest rate scenarios:

1.5 percent 2 percent
Monthly repayment $4,141 $4,435
Annual mortgage payment $49,692 $53,220
Annual maintenance costs $3,600 $3,600
Property tax $1,000 $1,000
Total costs per year $54,292 $57,820
Total costs for 4 years $217,168 $231,280

It can be seen that after the first four years, the initial costs of ownership would sum up to be a total of over $210,000 (this amount excludes the upfront costs) and it is over $55,000 more than the costs of renting for the four years. On an annual basis, you would be paying over $13,000 lesser if you were to lease the apartment instead.

But consider the scenario where the person is looking to sell this condominium after 4 years. At this point, the remaining loan principal stands at around $1.07 million. Including all upfront costs and what he had paid for the 4 years of ownership, he would need to set a minimum selling price of $1.63 million to break even. This number is also excluding all miscellaneous payments of renovation costs, agent’s commissions and bank administrative fees.

This means that over 4 years, the owner would need to have his property appreciate by about 8.3 percent. What this implies is that if the annual growth in value of the home were to be less than two percent per year, or if interest rates were to rise to more than 1.5 percent, the homeowner might have been better off renting in the coming years.

But the financial aspect is only one factor out of many for most people deciding on whether to buy or rent. Short-term factors can include the possibility of moving to other countries due to work/family, financial commitment issues such as a retrenchment possibility, and even the near-term interest rate/rental/price outlook.

For those who are looking to buy a property and sell it within the next 5 to 10 years, the provided example may give you some food for thought, since you may find that the gain may not be as much as you wished for.

Find the right property and protect your capital!

It has been over 3 years since private residential home prices have fallen from its peak back in 2013. It has fallen as much by 11% since the third Quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2016. In fact, the three property market segments has seen price decline in 3Q2016 with approximately 1.8% fall in Core Central Region (CCR) versus a 0.3% increase in 2Q2016; a 1.3% fall in Rest of Central Region (RCR) versus a 0.2% uptick in the previous quarter; and a 1.2% decline in Outside Central Region (OCR) versus a 0.5% dip in 2Q2016.

Private residential non-landed homes in Singapore

Since 2013, the market sentiment has been on a downhill ever since. With this in mind, I want to discuss on the possibility of seeking properties that can be seen as defensive assets – properties in these areas have previously demonstrated its resilience and ability to sustain its value in previous down-cycles. My research on this led to me to believe that planning area of Clementi, Bukit Timah, Hougang and Redhill are amongst the most resilient in the previous downturn cycles. As a matter of fact, the doesn’t really come up as a huge surprise because these are areas of maturity and have very good infrastructure and amenities – Redhill is one good example where you can find condominiums near MRT stations like Principal Garden and Alex Residences.

How did we come out with this?

By using the change in median per-square-foot resale prices of private residential non-landed homes, we were able to draw comparisons in the different planning areas since the peak-price period to the existing down cycle. A minimum of ten resale transactions in these areas were required in each reference quarter so that we could better draw comparisons.

By using the performances of these private homes (in terms of prices) near to the 26 MRT Stations, we analysed by matching resale transactions from Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) caveat data and comparing the purchase and subsequent resale prices of private non-landed homes and found that homes located within 500-metre of a MRT Station is has greater likelihood to change hands at profit compared to those that are not close the MRT Station at all. (Not surprising on this)

Let take on this example – Since 2000, there were 194 out of a total of 204 private residential non-landed homes, located within 500 meters of a MRT Station, were bought and resold in 2015 with a profit for the property owners. Comparing this to 634 out of 689 private residential non-landed homes sold in 2015 (95% versus 92%). In fact, these private homes close to the MRT Station, also fetched a slightly higher annualised profit averaging 6% compared with the 5% for homes not located near an MRT station.

Mature estates offer good price resilience.

Comparing the individual MRT stations that are within 500m of the homes in the resilient areas that were bought since 2000 and subsequently resold in 2015, it was found that the homes around Beauty World MRT station saw the highest average annualised profit at 9%, followed by those near Chinese Garden MRT station at 8%, Aljunied MRT station and Kovan MRT station at 7%, and Kembangan MRT station at 6%. The comparison excludes MRT stations around where there were less than five homes whose caveats could be traced over the intervening period.

Over the past five years, for non-landed properties in the resilient planning areas bought in 2010 and resold in 2015, 98%, or 59, of a total of 60 properties near MRT station were resold at a profit. In comparison, a marginally smaller percentage of 96%, or 154, of a total of 160 homes not located near an MRT station resulted in profits for their sellers. The annualised profit was also slightly higher for the homes located within 500m of an MRT station at an average of 23%, compared with 22% for homes located away from MRT stations.

What do you think? Rather interesting ain’t it?

Always go for a short lease!

Hi guys, I want to share some of my experiences when it comes to renting an apartment in Singapore. One of my close friend, Laura, recently got posted to Singapore for her work and I had to the opportunity to do some house hunting (I like that!) with her.

At it was my first time looking for a property to rent, I did some digging. During the hunt, I realised three important things in Singapore:

  • Rent anywhere is expensive!
  • The neighbourhoods are always changing
  • The leases terms can sometimes be unreasonable.

This goes out to all the expats looking for a property in Singapore – To save you the steep learning curve, I am going to try and explain to you why it is better to go for a shorter rental lease.

Don’t be fooled by your neighbourhood

I personally think this should apply to all expats in Singapore. You may think that getting an apartment in Singapore is simple and straight-forth because most of the residential areas often look the same. The truth is, there can be huge differences!

Take Katong for example, most people often think of it as chill-out and laid back area. The same does not apply to Jurong for example, it can be seemingly serious and daunting. There is distinct differences in these areas and besides that, more than often, your preferences for amenities will differ. A good example is seeing someone doing their shopping at Cold Storage thinking that a plate of Carrot Cake is normally priced at 10 dollars – A tell tale sign of a new expat.

As you start to integrate in Singapore, you will probably start to looking out for hawker centres and coffee shops rather that cafes. And importantly, you are very likely to then develop the native Singaporean disdain for places like Clarke Quay and move into our non-touristy areas in Singapore.

The power of negotiation!

Take today for example – rental prices are falling and the most of the tenants for scrambling to secure tenants. Taking a short rental lease allows you to exactly that when the rental market is bad – To re-negotiate for a lower price sooner! Most landlords scramble to secure longer leases, when they see the rental market dipping. As a tenant, you do exactly the opposite.

Conclusion

Lastly, don’t forget that Singapore is not a big country. It is very likely you are going to see a lot of constant re-development during your stay here. And, we are also moving very fast up the charts in terms of rental here. You may have secured a unit that you think has really good amenities that you like, but it can all be gone in a glimpse. For example, an new train station can be announced and all of a sudden you find yourself sitting right behind a work site.

I hope this was a read for all of you new expats in Singapore. Do I make sense in this? Feel free to comment!