Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bye-bye SIBOR?

Reports say Singapore's central bank is in discussions to discontinue the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (SIBOR).

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched a review of the SIBOR last July after abuses related to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) surfaced.

A few months later, it broadened investigations to include some exchange rates set in the city.

Analysts say getting rid of SIBOR would force banks in Singapore to renegotiate outstanding loans, which could potentially hit earnings.

SIBOR is used as a basis for the pricing of all loans in Singapore, ranging from business loans to mortgages.
Source: Channel News Asia

The wife and I wonder if this means reverting back to SOR (Swap Offer rate) or moving to an alternative benchmark that is less prone to abuse (is there such a thing?).  More importantly, will any such change expedites the rise in mortgage rate?

Maybe our "banker" readers can shed some light on the matter...


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jan 2013 new private home sales jumped 43%

Sales of new private homes in Singapore jumped by about 43% on-month in January 2013, despite the latest round of cooling measures introduced last month.

According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), 2,013 units of new private homes - excluding executive condominiums - were sold in January, compared to 1,410 units sold in December 2012.

A URA spokesperson said about 60% of the 2,013 units were sold before January 12 - before the latest cooling measures took effect.

The remaining 40% of the units were transacted from January 12 onwards.

The rush to beat the January 12 deadline partly caused the spike in new private home sales during what is traditionally a lull period.

Extending sales hours way into the night before the new measures kicked in helped pushed sales at La Fiesta in Sengkang.

The development saw a total of 404 units sold in January - making it the best-selling project for the month.

Out of the total sales, only 44 units were moved at La Fiesta post cooling measures.

Thomas Tan, executive director at RE/MAX Singapore, said: "After the cooling measures were announced, I think the effect will be seen probably after one quarter.

"You will probably see a truer picture - what is really happening in the market - from March or even April onwards, so that the cooling measures can take its course, then buyers can make informed decisions."

Experts said sales discounts in the form of furniture rebates and renovation vouchers also helped move sales after the new measures were implemented.

But they added that sales momentum may run out of steam in the coming months.

Getty Goh, director at Ascendant Assets, said: "In February, we may expect to see good volume but it may not translate to significant price increases. This is because of all the discounts given.

"Right now, although we do not have clear visibility. Going forward, when the Parliament passes new regulations to the developers' act, the Housing Developers' Act, which requires them to start publishing what sort of discounts they are giving, then after that, we will be able to get a better sense of the kind of actual figures that we are talking about here."

Meanwhile, data released by URA on Friday showed that 350 units of new private homes located in the core central region were sold in January.

Developers moved 376 new units in the city fringe and 1,287 units in the suburban areas.

Looking ahead for the full year, experts do not expect total sales in 2013 to surpass the record sales of 22,684 new private homes in 2012.
Source: Channel News Asia

And for those who are interested in d'Leedon, the wife and I understand that 263 units were sold at d'Leedon last month. This, coupled with a total of 848 units sold till Dec 2012, meant that a total of 1,111 units (although data in the URA website indicates 1,110) have been sold as at Jan 2013.

So if the project has indeed moved another 100 units in the first 15 days of February, the "left only less than 500 units" as informed by our agent friend could well be true...


Saturday, February 9, 2013

As Lunar New Year looms...

Here's wishing all our readers

Entire Family Safe and Healthy, Whatever the Heart Wishes
Good luck in the Year of the Snake!

HUAT AH..!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Resale price up 0.6% in January 2013

Resale prices of non-landed private residential units inched up 0.6% in January, compared to December 2012, according to flash estimates released by the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX).

SRX compiles data from 11 top property agencies in Singapore.

It said resale prices of non-landed private homes in the city fringes rose 2.5% to an average of $1,256psf in January, compared to December 2012.

Resale prices in mass market segment rose 1.1% to $997psf.

In contrast, resale prices of private homes in the core central region saw a drop of 2.9% month-on-month to $1,878psf.

SRX noted that January 2013 saw a 16.7% month-on-month increase in the volume of transactions for non-landed private residential homes.

Compared to the same period last year, the monthly resale volume of 920 units in January was almost triple the 309 units sold in January 2012. SRX said this was mainly due to the Lunar New Year holidays falling in January 2012.

Meanwhile, rental prices for non-landed private homes in January rose 1.2%, compared with December 2012.

This was led by a 3.8% increase in the city fringes, followed by a 0.9% appreciation in the core central region. The mass market segment saw rentals decline by 0.6%.
Source: Channel News Asia

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

First there's 华语cool. Now it's Shoebox cool..!

The hype over shoebox property units seems to have cooled down.

Sales transactions in these small private apartments have fallen by 46% in the second half of 2012.

In the second half of 2012, some 1372 units were transacted compared to 2539 units in the first half of last year.

Experts cited fewer launches as developers focus on building bigger units to meet demand.

Still, analysts said there is always demand for such units that are generally smaller than 700sqft.

Demand for shoebox units was the highest in the city area and its fringes last year and this was translated to large price increases.

Data analysed by Knight Frank showed that prices of shoebox units in the city fringes or Rest of Central Region (RCR) grew eight per cent in 2012 from 2011 and those in the city up by 3.1%.

However, this does not apply across the board.

Shoebox units in suburban areas are less popular and their prices dipped 6.3% last year.

With the latest property cooling measures, experts said the tables may now turn in favour of shoebox units that are further away from the city.

Their lower prices have now become an attraction to home buyers.

Alice Tan, senior manager at Knight Frank Consultancy and Research, said: "The recent cooling measures would impact on price quantum per se because home buyers would be working out their sums in terms of how much cash outlay they can put forth. Given the higher price sensitivity, shoebox could still be in demand, especially those in the prime areas and city fringe areas."

With property developers now focusing on building larger homes, experts said a supply shortage for shoebox units is beckoning.

From November last year, the government restricted the number of shoebox units that can be built in a development in the suburbs, where the number of completed shoebox units is expected to quadruple to some 11,000 by the end of 2015.

With supply now curbed, prices should also stabilise.

Colin Tan, research head at Suntec-Chesterton, said: "The White Paper (on Population) may have boosted investors' confidence because people are now asking is there now oversupply or not? This may also have boosted the popularity of shoebox units. Most of the shoebox units in the suburbs have been quite close to MRT stations."

Mr Tan said there will still be rental demand for shoebox units in these areas but the rental prices may not meet the owner's expectations.

Analysts expect prices of shoebox units to soften by one to two per cent this year.

But for the time being, prices may remain flat for at least the next six months as buyers stay on the sidelines to ascertain the effects of the cooling measures and the general direction of the world economy.

Source: Channel News Asia

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Citigold Property insights Q42012

Below is a report from the good folks at Citibank Preferred Wealth Management unit that provides an overview of the Singapore property sectors in 2012 and what to expect for 2013.

Click on lonk below to read the report:

Friday, February 1, 2013

ECs: Cooling measures? What cooling measures?!

Some Executive Condominium (EC) developers have seen higher sales despite the government introducing a package of cooling measures on January 12.

EC projects like One Canberra and Watercolours, which were launched last year, have seen sales jumped by about five times after the measures kicked in.

In the two weekends after the new measures kicked in, One Canberra sold 30 units, up from two to three units per week before the announcement.

Over 60% have been sold after it was launched for sale in June 2012.

Mr Ken Yeo and his wife spent two months hunting for a new home and they finally bought one after the government introduced the seventh round of cooling measures last month.

The couple bought a 3-room dual-key executive condominium at One Canberra at Yishun for $813,000.

They intend to have their parent-in-laws move in with them when the new home is ready.

Mr Yeo said: "Talking about the price is one thing. It might be going up in the near future and there might be more cooling measures coming out. They were the two main concerns."

ECs hogged the headlines when a luxurious penthouse unit was sold for over $2 million last year.

It prompted the government to introduce a few measures targeting the segment to make sure that ECs do not stray from its objective of providing alternative housing for the sandwiched class.

Under the new rules, the maximum size of an EC unit must be no larger than 160 square metres. Some developers said this will encourage the industry to review how units are being laid out and improve space planning.

For instance, Global Property Strategic Alliance, which is jointly developing Watercolours EC at Pasir Ris, said it is looking at rolling out a new type of unit - a maisonette - in its next EC project.

Watercolours is developed by Huge Development, a joint venture between Ho Lee Group, UE E&C, GPS Alliance Development & Investment and EVIA Real Estate.

Jeffery Hong, chief executive officer of Global Property Strategic Alliance, said: "Typically in the 2-storey penthouses, if you look at the second floor, it is basically the master bedroom and the roof terraces. This is unlike the maisonette whereby your first level will be your living and dining area, and the second floor will be all your bedrooms instead of terraces."

Watercolours have also sold 20 units in the last two weekends. This is more than five times from before the cooling measures were implemented.

Watercolours was launched mid last year and over 70% of units here have been sold so far.

Under another new measure, developers will only be allowed to launch units for sale 15 months from the date of award of the EC sites.

Industry players said this will weed out weaker developers.

Richard Nah, senior manager at MCC Land Singapore, said: "The immediate income for new development upon launch is the five per cent booking fee. And when they exercise the sales and purchase agreement, it will be another 15%. This is about 20% of the sales price.

"This will go a long way into mitigating some of the cost (construction, marketing, building and running of the showflat) that the developer will have to shoulder. If the developer were to lose this avenue where they can get the funds from, they would either need to have strong financial backing or finance this through the banks. This will further add to the cost of the development."

Analysts expect seven new EC projects to be launched for sale this year from sites awarded in 2012.

Assuming all the projects are fully sold, analysts said there won't be any new EC units in the market in the first half of next year as a result of the 15-month restriction on sites sold after January 12.

They added that ECs will continue to be popular among home buyers and they expect prices to remain stable this year.
Source: Channel News Asia