Prices for smaller projects expected to rise by 3 to 5 per cent next year
Jan 30, 2023
By   Internet
  • City News
  • Small flat projects
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Abstract: Smaller flat projects have always been popular with buyers, especially singles, expatriates and couples, as they offer more privacy and seclusion.

A number of small flat projects have been launched this year, with Hill House, which came on the market last month, selling 16.67 per cent or 12 units in its first weekend at an average price of $2,980 per square foot.


Located in River Valley, the 72-unit project is being developed by developer Macly Group in association with Roxy-Pacific Holdings and LWH Holdings.


Kovan Jewel, also launched in November, has so far sold four units at prices ranging from $2,063 to $2,200 per square foot. It is a 34-unit freehold development developed by Soon Lian realty.


Smaller condominium projects typically have no more than 100 units and no more than five storeys, and most are freehold or 999-year leases.


In an interview with the Union-Tribune, ERA's head of industrial research and consultancy, Mak Chun-wing, said, "Buyers of smaller condominium projects can enjoy more privacy because fewer units are being launched and there are fewer neighbours."


He pointed out that smaller projects in the core central district (CCR) and other established districts in the central district (RCR) are generally freehold or long-term leases, which is a major selling point to attract buyers. Also, collective sale schemes for smaller projects usually have a higher success rate as there are fewer owners.


In an interview, property analyst Wong Gah Sing said that smaller condominium projects are generally well received and typically sell at least about 50 per cent of their units on average three months after launch, mainly due to, among other things, the higher exclusivity of smaller condominium projects.


"Singles, expatriates and couples like to have a more peaceful living environment. Older people who have sold their landed homes or large older flats in hand will also consider buying these flats as their children move out after they get married and start a family."


While larger developments generally offer more amenities such as clubs, swimming pools and gyms, there may also be more residents sharing facilities, and it may be more difficult to book facilities for private occasions, said Sidney Lee, senior research director at Hopedale Group.


Wong Gah Sing highlighted that while most boutique flat projects do not have many amenities, the overall maintenance costs and sinking fund per unit are high, ranging from $200 to $250. The cost of maintenance depends on the facilities provided, the size of the flat and the number of residents.


Assuming the government does not launch another round of property cooling measures next year, Wong Gah Sing expects flat prices in smaller projects to rise by 3 to 5 per cent next year.


In comparison, overall suburban flats are expected to rise by about 2 to 3 per cent next year. On the rental side, rents for smaller projects are expected to rise by 5 to 7 per cent next year.

According to Sun Yanqing, Director of Industrial Research and Consulting at Orange Ease, boutique projects likely to be launched next year include One Leonie Residences at Sophia Road (70 units), The Cairnhill at Cairnhill Rise (75 units) and Pasir Ris Road (formerly known as Former Gloria Mansion) (84 units).


A total of three EC projects, North Gaia, Copen Grand and Tenet, have been launched on the market this year, supplying more than 1,800 residential units to the market.


Executive condominiums (ECs) have always been popular with first-time buyers and HDB upgraders, and analysts expect demand and sales for these projects to remain strong next year, even after the government launched a new round of cooling measures at the end of September this year.


A total of three EC projects, North Gaia, Copen Grand and Tenet, have been launched on the market this year, supplying more than 1,800 residential units to the market.


According to data provided by Bona Real Estate to the Union-Tribune, the average price per square foot for these projects this year is $1,296, $1,333 and $1,360 respectively.


Among them, Dengfeng Jia Yuan and Jing Li Xuan sold 73 per cent and 72 per cent of their units in the first draw on the first weekend of launch, with Dengfeng Jia Yuan selling out in the second draw.


In an interview, Ismail Gafoor, President of Bona Real Estate, noted that the average price of EC is attractive to buyers compared to the newly launched Out of Central Region (OCR) mass market projects. Prices for the upcoming mass private developments are expected to remain firm, with the difference in price per square foot between EC and mass private developments also exceeding $700.


Sidney Lee, Senior Head of Research at Hopedale Group, told the newspaper that the main drivers of the EC market this year are HDB uplifters and first-time home buyers. The number of HDB flats reaching the five-year minimum residence period (MOP) hit a record high of 30,000 this year, with many eligible second-time buyers entering the EC market.


First-time buyers who could not afford to buy a pre-buy HDB flat (BTO) and could not afford a private home also opted for EC.


In an interview, ERA's Head of Industrial Research and Consultancy, Mr Mak Chun-wing, said that the price of private homes for the general public has been steadily increasing, while the price of EC is relatively limited to a certain extent, given that the income ceiling for purchasing EC is $16,000 and most EC units are three-bedroomed. As the price gap between mass private housing and EC widens, some HDB uplifters will start buying EC.


Looking ahead to the next two years, Ismail expects at least two EC projects to be launched on the market, in the lots on Bukit Batok West 8 Road and Bukit Batok West 5 Road. He expects the price per square foot for the new projects to exceed $1,300 on average.


According to Mak Chun Wing, the demand for EC depends on several factors, including price and the state of the economy. If there is no recession, future launches are expected to be comparable to this year in terms of price per square foot and sales performance is expected to be quite good. Moreover, with only one project to be launched next year, demand will be quite good as long as the price is reasonable.


Esmay also believes that demand for EC will remain strong and will not be affected by the new round of cooling measures at the end of September, especially in prime locations near major transport hubs and amenities.


He also said that economic headwinds and rising interest rates would prompt homebuyers to be more cautious when buying a home. At the same time, the Deferred Payment Scheme, which is available for new EC purchases, will help buyers avoid the current high interest rates.


Lystra also believes that the new EC programme is unaffected by the cooling measures and high interest rates. Although the cooling measures have reduced the loan amount, buyers can choose the Deferred Payment Scheme to save while the construction phase is underway. Considering that not many new EC or private residential projects have been launched in the past few years, it is expected that next year's EC debut will be well received.


As for the resale market, data provided by Bona Industrial shows that a total of 1,851 EC units have changed hands as at 25 November this year, at a median price of $1,126 per square foot. Over 4,000 EC units are expected to reach the minimum age of occupancy next year, bringing potential supply to the resale market.


Mr Mak noted that between 400 and 650 EC units have changed hands each quarter from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of this year, with prices more attractive than resale private homes.


He expects the EC resale market to be fairly stable, with the possibility of a decline in sales volume and demand if the market is hit.