Monday, May 10, 2010

Sales of landed homes likely to surpass 2009 numbers this year

Demand for landed homes in Singapore is expected to remain firm this year. Analysts said the number of sales transactions is likely to surpass the 2,892 units sold last year.

Over 1,500 landed homes, excluding good class bungalows, changed hands in the first quarter of this year alone. They were worth about S$3.2 billion, compared with S$5.2 billion for the whole of 2009.

The debt crisis in Greece has been spooking stock markets of late, but its impact on the property sector is not immediately clear.

Some real estate agencies expect more interest in landed homes. HSR, for instance, said landed home sales have risen by about 10 per cent in the first four months of 2010.

It said landed homes are seen as safer bets during market uncertainty, while they also fetch lucrative rentals.

Jeffrey Hong, executive director, Agency, HSR International Realtors, said: “Rental yields for 2009 and even now, a corner terrace for example over in East Coast area, the rate is running perhaps between S$6,000 to S$9,000 compared to a year and a half ago, 2008, the rental is about S$3,500 to S$4,000.”

Colliers International said 498 units were transacted in March – just 17 per cent lower than the peak in May 2007.

The average unit price in the first quarter is S$826 per square foot (psf) for terrace houses, S$812 psf for semi-detached houses and S$988 psf for detached houses.

Some home buyers prefer landed homes as their average prices are comparable to those of private condominiums. Observers said there is room for price growth with the positive sentiment.

Grace Ng, deputy managing director, Agency & Business Services, Colliers International, said: “If you look at the last bottom, that’s 2Q 2009, landed property prices have recovered by about 35 per cent. If you compare with the last peak in 2Q 08, landed property prices have surpassed the last peak by about 9 per cent.”

Colliers added that some buyers see landed properties as offering more value for money because they would own a piece land with their home. There is also a perception that landed homes are a good hedge against inflation.

In the near term, Colliers said demand is likely to remain firm backed by the low interest rate environment, high liquidity and improving job market.

HSR said District 19 has seen the highest volume of transactions in 2009, followed by District 15.

Over 600 deals were done in District 19, which includes areas like Serangoon Gardens, Yio Chu Kang, Kovan and some parts of Hougang. District 15 – comprising the East Coast, Katong and Joo Chiat – saw nearly 400 transactions in 2009.

This year, market players expect both districts to do well again, along side the Bukit Timah area.

Going forward, market players said given the limited supply of landed properties, prices are not likely to be subjected to volatile swings. All in, there are about 68,000 landed homes in Singapore, making up some 9 per cent of the total stock of private residential properties here.

Landed homes led the growth in property prices in the first quarter, climbing 8.3 per cent. And analysts said the trend should continue for the rest of the year, barring unforeseen events.

Source: Channel News Asia, 10 May 2010

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