While penning these lines, the pandemic is rapidly spreading around the world. But the launches of new residential projects in Singapore seem to be on another planet, not affected, with some reporting exceptional sales to mostly local buyers. There are difficulties with the foreign buyers, especially the Chinese, who in some cases were unable to attend the viewings or finalise their deals because of the travel ban.
But what is happening in the Singapore property that draws 2,000 visitors last weekend to the new higher-end project by Wing Tai Asia and makes them snatch 70 per cent or over 360 units with prices averaging SGD 2,450 (approx. USD 1,753) per square foot?
NEW PLAYING FIELD
A study by the IMF showed that Singapore’s private residential prices appear to have decoupled since 2013 from the global chase for yields. The demand by foreign investors for the local property was so strong that the Singapore regulators had to undertake extreme measures in recent years. This jubilant love for Singapore properties, said the study, which was released within the annual Financial Stability Review of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) end of last year, was behind the steep rise in prices. By targeting sources of risks including transactions of speculators, foreigners and corporates through stamp duties, the cooling measures undertaken by the local authorities since 2013 have limited excessive property price increases. In fact, it made the prime residential property undervalued. And it left the playground to mostly local buyers and investors.
Based on the statistics released on Jan 15, 2020, from the URA, The Urban Redevelopment Authority, developers are estimated to have sold close to 10,164 private housing units for the full year in 2019. This translates to an increase of 15.6 per cent y-o-y over the 8,795 new private homes sold in 2018. The number of new home sales in 2019 was the highest since 2017, which saw 10,566 units sold, means the buyers are adjusting and accepting the latest measures implemented in 2018 to cool the property market.
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