By: Deborah Law, Executive Director, Expat Realtor
With six straight quarters of private home prices dropping since the peak in Q3 of 2013, Singapore is now into its longest stretch of price decline in more than a decade. The private market has seen the biggest drop, and overall market transactions nearly halved last year. However, new figures from developers and caveats lodged with the Singapore Land Authority show that not all projects have suffered steep price declines, and price drops have been highly uneven, with some projects dropping by 20 percent and some by only one percent. In fact, a couple of condos have even managed a miniscule gain.
For those still keen to buy and sell, it seems banks are valuing properties a lot lower than expected. This causes disappointment for both buyers and sellers, as some buyers cannot get the mortgage they would need to pay the seller’s price.
The good news is that the big property players are showing a keen interest in the luxury market, which they feel has bottomed out and will start to turn soon. According to REDAS, the representative body for the real estate industry in Singapore, prices of luxury homes (defined as more than 1,500 square feet in size, and costing above $2,400 per square foot) have dropped at least 20 percent since the start of 2013. Anything around $2,000 per square foot is deemed to be a bargain, even with the 15 percent tax for foreigners.
Tip of the month: With interest rates and SIBOR (Singapore Interbank Offered Rate) rising, you may want to speak to your advisor about locking your mortgage into a more secure fixed rate loan sooner rather than later, to give yourself some certainty about the level of your repayments. Be careful to check their lock-in periods and penalties.
For more on the best areas to live, see Expat Living’s neighbourhood round-up here, plus lots of specific area guides by expat residents here.
Size: 3,600 sq. ft land, 2,300 sq. ft built
Type: Landed corner terrace
With its pool, garden and perfect proportions, this delightful corner house is the ideal family home. An easy flow, good-sized rooms throughout, a decked patio off the dining room leading to the swimming pool area, and a beautiful green back garden make it perfect for entertaining. One bedroom or helper’s room downstairs and four bedrooms upstairs, incorporating an extra-large master bedroom and four bathrooms (three attached), provide plenty of room. Located in a green and serene cul-de-sac in a quiet residential area at the end of Bukit Timah Road, near Rifle Range Road, it’s close to parks and shopping centres and one kilometre from the Methodist Girls’ School and Pei Hwa Primary School.
Size: 1,860 sq. ft land, 2,000 sq. ft built
Type: Landed terrace
Along with a large kitchen and spacious living and dining areas, this well-priced, perfectly renovated terrace house has three bedrooms, a family area and plenty of storage. It is situated in an excellent location near to the Australian, French and Stamford international schools, and to shops; the CBD is just a 15-minute drive away.
Size: 5,000 sq. ft land, 3,300 sq. ft built
Type: Landed semi-detached
Available in June, this appealing, good-sized family home on a corner plot is in a fabulous Bukit Timah location. Ideal for entertaining, the garden includes a large swimming pool that leads off from the patio area. Beautifully presented and well-maintained, this is an exclusive family home. All doors from the lounge and dining area open on to the large patio and garden, or from its square, European-style kitchen. It also has a helper’s room and a pool shower, and the large master bedroom has a mezzanine area that can be used as an office.
Size: 4,500 sq. ft land, 3,800 sq.ft built
Type: Landed semi-detached
This beautifully renovated home is only on the market because its expat owners are relocating to Germany. It’s ideal for smaller families or couples, as the house has been remodelled to have three larger bedrooms instead of four smaller ones. Bedroom three has a large loft area, perfect for a child. The master bedroom has a fabulous walk-in wardrobe, and there are four bathrooms.
The open-plan, state-of-the-art Valcucina kitchen with Miele appliances, lava-grill barbecue, induction hob, steamer, built-in coffee maker and dishwasher flows easily into the lounge, dining and outdoor areas. The home has power saving LED lights, and the pool comes with an endless fast-lane swimming machine. Outside, the built-in barbecue sits in a perfectly manicured garden. Close to Changi Business Park and United World College SEA Tampines, with easy access to the PIE or ECP, you can be in the CBD or Orchard area in around 15 minutes.
This story first appeared in Expat Living’s May 2015 issue.